I seem to dream more, or maybe I remember them better. But not really remembering, more like flashes of them dart through my thoughts more frequently. Or words float into mind like vieux, French for 'old,' or j'ai oubliais french for 'I forgot,' and trieste, French for 'sad.' And I sometimes dream in Chinese now! For no reason at all I felt tears rising when I was leaving the farmers market last week with my hands full of shopping bags of melons, lemons, lettuce, cucumbers and longan. I can't shake this dream-like quality-- maybe its a feature of jet lag-- but... things I am looking at are familiar, but at the same time memories of California overlay in a water color collage, fuzzy and blending the edges so that here and there are in the same 'now.'
The past couple of weeks have seen freshmen appearing on campus, opening bank accounts and buying phone service in large numbers-- a shock to us locals trying to go about and do our business. Lines of brand new bicycles appear outside buildings that have been empty during summer break. Squads of them dressed in camouflage fatigues are marched around campus. Our office participated in creating the word T-S-I-N-G-H-U-A spelled out by freshmen wearing shirts in the school colors. Soon classes will begin.
Taiji Ball, sounds just like Tai Chi Ball, is a traditional sport which one person can play using a variety of balls. The version pictured here uses a tennis ball sized ball, with or without feather tail, and a racquet. The idea is to control the ball while moving arms and legs around, over and under, without letting it drop to the ground. Here's a cool link to videos of several of these sports thanks to Hong Feng.
I took my picture at the senior center between my apartment and campus. The big yard is usually full of people dancing or playing with fans, balls, etc. http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/SIC6Oq8q0Fk/
Hua Jiao, Sichuan pepper also called pepper bush, Chinese Prickley-ash and Zanthoxylum simulans is grown as a landscape shrub near the apartments in my neighborhood. It belongs to the 'warm the interior' class of Chinese medicinal herbs used to treat internal cold syndromes such as a deficiency of yang. Only the outer husk of the 3-4mm berry that splits open to release black shiny seeds is used. Although called 'pepper' it is not related. It is used in Sichuan cuisine and also important in Tibetan, Bhutanese and Nepalese cuisine since few spices grow in those mountainous countries.
I was lucky to get this image of a grandmother holding her granddaughter over a tree well in the sidewalk as the baby pees. This is the norm in China, and it works very well to train the children. Pants are split at the crotch and the caregiver gently holds the child in a squat where they can pee, in the toilet or on the side of the road, and softly whistles a pee song. Chinese children are toilet trained in this way at 6-7 months old, but must have assistance.
Contrast this to western style toilet training where the child wears a diaper until 1-2 years of age and independently learns to use the toilet without assistance. The Chinese method saves a lot on the cost of diapers, water and soap.Every year, approximately 18 billion disposable diapers enter the landfills in the United States. These diapers consist of 100,000 tons of plastic and 800,000 tons of tree pulp and cost parents an average of $2,000 from birth to potty training. Source: Clean Air Council: Waste Facts and Figures Read more: How many disposable diapers are in landfills each year? | Answerbaghttp://www.answerbag.com/q_view/2097519#ixzz1X9ODaE40http://oz.plymouth.edu/~megp/webct/culturalconflict.htm
Hui tou jian