Sunday, December 9


So I'm due for a post, and I'm giving full credit to Orion for these few words, to whom I said I'd post yesterday...

- One more week 'til vacation
- The whole family is preparing for what may be the biggest event of my life so far: Lillian and I will bring our families together for a celebration in Korla, Xing Jiang, China!
- Four of my classes performed shows completely in English (videos posted on my youtube page)
- My friend Shawn started working at the French school last week, so an old buddy will be my co-worker!
- I'm now coordinator for the English teaching team
- A friend's baby in Beijing is due for release this week
- Lillian and I will have to survive without NBC's "Heroes", but we'll soon be able to turn to ABC's "Lost"!
- I still love riding my bike to work each day
- Don't ask me to sing "Jingle Bells" again once this week is over

Monday, November 5

Pain & Nightmares

If I understand correctly, people are more likely to have nightmares in case of a fever. I've always considered nightmares as beneficial - an experience we learn from. I generally analyze a nightmare more closely than other dreams, since they are so powerful and memorable.

The world of dreams is a mysterious one, and challenges science to think beyond the superficial relationship between our daily life and our nighttime working mind. Some dreams are premonitory, they can help us make decisions, they give us glimpses of other lives, of other places. Some people can meet each other in their dream. It's a place where our spirit is connected to other souls, spirits and worlds.

After my nightmare last night, I've been thinking a lot. Fever is associated with pain. Through the physical experience of pain, is it not possible that our soul opens up to the spiritual world of pain? Do our nightmares at times of suffering teach us something specific? My nightmare was one of the holocaust, and upon awakening, I realized I might have witnessed an actual experience, perhaps shared by a soul or souls, who latched on to my receptivity. Isn't empathizing with the horrors of victims of the holocaust a precious gift? Isn't the strength that can come from it one that might help eradicate these events in the future of the world?

Treasure your nightmares.

Wednesday, October 17

Service & Family

I have entered entered a phase of my life where I am developing a new understanding of service, especially with respect to family. Lillian and I are really looking forward to meeting with all of the parents together in December. My parents are making a big effort and sacrificing a lot of resources to make it out to Xin Jiang.
My sister might come and stay at our apartment for a couple of months next year!
Down the road a little, Lillian and I are seriously considering (almost firmly decided on) inviting her parents to move in with us after they retire, and stay a few months every year in the meanwhile. They are really worried about being a burden, but I think it will be so good, especially for our children to always have their grandparents around. What a blessing! I remember when I was growing up in Martinique and my grandmother stayed with us for some two years. That was so special.
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Thursday, October 4


Some memories about my parents:

When I was two years old, I walked with my parents into the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar (Baha'i House of Worship) in Wilmette (near Chicago). As I looked up to the ceiling, my mother explained to me the meaning of "The Greatest Name" ("O Glory of the All-Glorious")

At four years old, I got sick one afternoon, and fell asleep after taking some medicine. I woke up crying in the middle of the night. My dad immediately came to me and gave me some dinner that my family had put aside for when I woke up. I was utterly comforted.

Around the same age, as I was walking with my mom near the Savane park in downtown Fort-de-France, I fell on the ground hurt my hand and got some gravel under my skin. I remember being completely reassured by my mother's love and care.

I have a handful of memories like this, of simple things that happened to me when I was a child. These events are proof of the love of my parents, and a source of strength to this day. No one can plan these moments. There were surely many others when they exerted much greater effort for my safety and happiness, but they can't choose which I remember. It's both empowering and daunting to know this: our smallest efforts can have the greatest effect; our slightest thoughtless act may truly let someone down.

Wednesday, September 26

Profile: Suzanne Allmart

Profile: Suzanne Allmart

Beauty & Strength:

Suzanne is a River. He spirit flows simultaneously in multiple realms of grandeur, a bird of light soaring through a sky of majesty. The world around her is colored with her glow. She evokes peace and understanding. She is a superb mother, dedicated to her family, and determined to play her role in (re)establishing the beauty and importance of pregnancy and motherhood in the world.


She is a most simple person, actually, and simplicity is the feeling I had when I met her in the beginning of 2003, when I moved to Champaign-Urbana. She was one of a host of friends I made during my short stay there, and has over the years remained a most dear and beloved companion. She and her husband Husayn are a big inspiration for the marriage Lillian and I have begun, and their parenthood will likely help to guide ours. I love to look at their weblos, especially as they recount their adventures in raising Amia.


Suzanne has reached out through many talents to help this darkened world. She has been trained as a dula, she provides exemplary service to her family and community, and likes to dance (and play oboe still?)


Suzanne will continue to give strength and vision to those around her through both her incredible insights into life, so eloquently and softly spoken, and her actions as a mother now, and in other venues later.

Token Couplet:

A river flows and feeds its blessed banks,
To her and to its Source they offer thanks.

Wednesday, September 12


Lillian and I faced some troubles during our travels. A sad thing about tourism spreading to the remoter areas of China is the impact it has on people's perception of money, business, and social structure.

Specifically, many people we meet seem to be completely focused on abusing any given situation for the sole purpose of making more money, to the detriment of travelers, who are perceived as being more affluent, wasteful, and perhaps undeserving of their wealth. One example is our forray down to a dock, where we were hoping to cross the river by ferry, to visit the famed and gorgeous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. We walked a long time, and the picture on the right shows the plateau across the river, which was our destination. You might notice in the bottom-right and small building, where the people who man the ferry hang out when there aren't passengers.
We walked through some neat paths!
On the way to the ferry, a local guy told us that it costs 10RMB ($1.50 US)to get across, but when we got there, the two men said it was 15! We said the price we had been told, and they claimed it had gone up. We refused to pay it, and they refused to change their mind, claiming that if we still wanted to get across later, they would have to charge more still, because they'd come just for us - whereas at the moment, there were others traveling, who had probably paid 5 or less, since they're locals...

We tried to find another way across, but there was none - which is why they assumed they could charge whatever price they wanted to. We may be the first people that ever turned around because of their price, and as we made our way back up to the plateau, we saw the two men get on the boat and start it from the other side. There was no one else. They were coming for us. But we didn't look back.

I hope my readers will find opportunities in their lives to practice and demonstrate justice, by perhaps sacrificing a little to stand for the right thing. Lillian and I completely changed our travel itinerary. The journey to the ferry had taken several hours. The rest of the journey was of course magnificent (check out our picture site - link at the top). Life is good.
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Friday, August 31


Lillian and I have been harrassed a few times about making babies quickly. We have our mission laid out clearly.

Meanwhile, traveling in Yunnan, we saw how common it is for women there to use baby carriers. The one in the picture is the most common type, but others are popular too - including another back version and the side sling.

Here in Shanghai, babies are usually with their grandparents, as many (most?) people consider that young parents should focus on their careers and making money for the future of the family. So the babies stay with their grandparents, usually throughout the day until mommy and daddy get off tired from work, but often away from them in another city for upwards of 3-4 years. It was relieving to see that in this part of China, the normalcy of parents bringing up their own children has not been disturbed. In fact, I frequently saw fathers carrying their children, sometimes in baby carriers! Yay!

Lillian and I bought two baby carriers - we mailed one to the US for my sister Charlotte, and kept one for our firstborn.
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Thursday, August 30

The Civilized Sounds of Nature

In both her music and her lyrics, Bjork captures best the correspondences between the sounds of nature and those of modern (city) life. The Modern Things and the Overture for "Selmasongs: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack Dancer in the Dark" are some good examples.
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Traveling in beautiful areas of Yunnan, somewhat removed from civilization, I discovered that water, wind and creatures created sounds that I had previously heard only through modern technology. The sound of water bouncing from a large rock sounded just like an airplane when I stepped on my tiptoes; that of the wind through the trees in one area like flicking a ruler; and that of one bug like a typewriter. (Okay, one of those is made up...)

It reminds me of the unity of all things in Creation.

Wednesday, August 8


Plan A: Visit the US - no go no visa
Plan B: Visit family in Canada - no go no time for all the forms
Plan C: Trip to Tibet - no go because quota for number of foreign visitors already met for August
Plan D: Party in Xinjiang - no go because Lillian's parents are busy, no time to prepare a wedding party there, so we'll have to go back in Feb anyway
Plan E: vacation to Yunnan


Tuesday, July 24

Normal Life Post

It's been the most fascinating year!

* April 29/May 1: danio and Lillian get married
This was the biggest single event of my life, eclipsing turning 15 in 1995, moving to the US in 1997, producing "The Peach" in 2002, and moving to China in 2006 (excluding maybe being conceived).

* June 1: Shanghai Wedding reception
Some 60+ family members and friends came and celebrated on a boat

Mark visited Lillian and I in Shanghai a couple weeks ago, and he and I had a great conversation about how getting married makes a man... As Shawn would say - "that'll put some hair on your chest!"

I spent whole school semester teaching Chinese primary school children through my work at NewBeat Jazz English Training Institute. I was the first teacher to hold a regular position teaching kids outside of kindergarten. It was a pioneering post, and the biggest job challenge of my life, even affecting my personality. I learned a lot really fast, through the sheer amount of mistakes I made. I am stronger for it, but this position, along with some other events, lead me to decide to leave NewBeat before the elapse of my second contract, which would have lasted until January 2008.

* August 2008: a new life
I got a dream job, teaching English at the Ecole Francaise de Shanghai (French School of Shanghai). Bonuses include:
- I can actually speak the children's mother tongue
- I will be given a curriculum - rather than having to make up everything myself
- The class size remain below 20 students
- The students are arranged in classes according to their level of English, with certain periods in the year where they learn other students of their own grade.
- Higher salary
- Free French/European lunch
- All weekends off
- Lots of vacation time
Lillian and I got a new apartment, into which we will move in some ten days. From this place, I can bike to EFS in 15 minutes, and Lillian will work four days per week instead of six, giving her more time to work on her degree (she got a three-year degree in tourism, and is working on acquiring the BA/four-year equivalent).


Thanks for all the loving thoughts from our friends - Lillian and I are very moved by your support and encouragement. We will not visit the US this summer, and we're working on the next plan.

Some reasons the US Embassy officer mentioned for not granting the visa:

(Note: the main things they're trying to determine during the tourist visa application is whether or not the applicant is likely to overstay her visa.)

- Lillian was born in Xingjiang, studied in Guilin, and now works in Shanghai, respectively the far Northwest, the far South and the far East of China - so there's every reason to believe she would have any difficulty moving to yet another place, namely the US.

- Lillian and I have been married less than three months, which is the typical scenario of an American who wants to bring his Chinese wife back with him to the US.

- Lillian did not present an official letter of invitation from me. None out of all the websites through which I browsed mentioned that I was supposed to supply this.

Lillian and I send all our love our love to our family and friends, and remind you that we are always with you in spirit.
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Wednesday, July 18

The Golden Rule Challenge

"Do unto others..." we always say. There are different versions, but in short, if I wish something for myself, I should also wish it for others. (This rule may exclude the weird things we wish for, like wishing for more awkward pauses, for spiders to welcome you home, or for Fantastic Four 3 to come out.)

How well do we really follow this rule? I challenge you, reader, to amp up your observance of the Golden rule!

A few years ago, when I played hours on end of combat video games (mostly Tekken and Capcom vs. SNK), I found myself only having fun half the time, while the other half was spent complaining that my controller didn't function properly. Then it dawned on me that it should be perpetually fun, so I started watching what attacks and move my opponent was performing. In general, if I lost, it was by virtue of good, commendable play on his part. So I would praise him, "Whoa! nice move! you got me good!" I was wishing for him what I wished for myself.

I was job-searching recently, when my friend's sister said to me that her friend in Britain was looking for a job here in Shanghai. I wished for her what I wished for myself, and gave her the contact information for the schools I was applying for, knowing that her degree in education gave her a better chance to get the position than I had. (Incidentally, I got a dream job starting next month, teaching English to French primary school students who reside in Shanghai!)

Imagine watching a soccer game, where you don't choose sides, but enjoy the game and cheer for both teams. Imagine playing on a team, and being as excited when the opposing team gets a goal as you would if you scored yourself!

Imagine if everyone started to understand the golden rule on a deeper level. What would this life be like?

Competition is a vicious beast, which is not necessary, as you may think. The world, or part of it, is moving towards becoming more civilized, more powerful, evolving. Be a part of the change - take the Golden Rule Challenge!

Sunday, July 8

Four Long Days

For the first time since we've been married, Lillian and I had to be a long time away from each other: 4 grueling days :(

The good news is that I got to spend those days with nine kids, keep them safe, and help them practice some English

Lillian and I also had the immense pleasure of seeing Eric Jensen and Mark Eghrari, who both came through Shanghai around the same time - but somehow missed each other. It's so great to see good friends and share joy and news with them!

Friday, June 22

Your Potential

I have only made little steps here and there in terms of advancing my mission of saving the world through my unique understanding of the role performance must and will play in the advancement of world civilization: collaborations here and there that have ended in me teaching a class to some acting students in a university, setting up but never finishing a co-production of an original play, and a short original performance with a few friends in front of a small audience. These don't at all meet the hopes I had for what I might be doing by now in China.

So I was listening to some Saul Williams, and I just started going crazy, feeling so intensely that I need to make bigger steps in reaching my goals and liberating my dormant potential. This really worried Lillian, because when I came home that evening, I did a really poor job at explaining my state of mind, and she worried that I was getting depressed and feeling down - which was not the case! I just felt a greater sense of urgency.

Sometimes, this world and my life seem to redirect my steps in an unexpected direction, where it becomes harder to envision the correct path to service and greatness. But then I think of the lives of great people - particularly 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who spent most of His life in prison, aiding those who were near Him, and changing the lives of a few, whom He could directly assist and support (ok, maybe more than "a few"...). Not until later in life was He able to travel abroad and speak to large audiences of various countries and walks of life - until His loving words and encouragement deeply touched the hearts of millions!

So I just need to remember to try the best I can, and God will give me the appropriate opportunities, according to the most perfect path for my life. Trust. Peace. Contentment. Wonderment.

Fish with frog's eyes: creation is perfect.

Robbie and I love and frequently recall the above quote from an almost obscure poem. Upon recalling this quote, Robbie might look like this:

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Thursday, June 14

Smoothies, Tea and Coffee

I guess Lillian and I have it made now: bought a blender a few weeks ago, we've received plenty of great tea from friends, and just got a coffee maker a few days ago from a gift card we got at our wedding reception.

I adore all of those drinks, and so does my wife - specifically, we're both extreme fruit lovers.

Long Jing, or "Dragon Well", was my favorite tea since Jason and I had bought a can back during college winter vacation 2000. That was the time we got to wake up slow, peacefully walking around the woods of Alaska Pacific University... the time when he asked me mid-morning, in an unexplainable tortured voice, "Are we gonna eat today?"

Mr. Falconer said to me on the phone, in response to the news that we had bought a coffee maker, "Finally, someone with some sense!"

Otherwise, the wedding reception was great, although I barely got to visit with my friends... About 65 came, and our program included meeting people, listening to family speeches (including my parents' recorded voices), viewing our wedding pics from Guilin on a big screen, eating cake, singing, acting, etc. all on a big boat floating on the Huang Pu River in the middle of Shanghai's nighttime skyline.

You can check out the pictures from our trip to Hangzhou - my third time there! Lillian's parents will be in town until Monday, at which point we'll miss them a lot - especially mom's daily double-delicious drool-drawing delicacies (she's been cooking every meal for us, that is...)

PS: Cirque du Soleil is coming to Shanghai this month!

Wednesday, May 23


Lillian's parents are visiting for a couple of weeks! They're staying with us in the apartment, we're having a great time, and they are helping with preparing the wedding party scheduled to take place on a boat on the Huangpu river on Children's Day - June 1 - also my mom's b-day!

It's suddenly pouring cats and dogs today, which is awesome! Less than a month into our marriage, Lillian and I have had a rollercoaster of a life together, and I can honestly say I've never been so happy. To think I found my eternal partner...

We did submit the visa application, but there's a 39-day wait to get an interview. It's gonna be a tight schedule to organize visiting the US. Please pencil in a wedding reception in Richmond, Virginia around mid-August.

Here are some pictures of some friends - I miss them so. Robbie and I were one crazy unique pair, Christian and Mishkin another, and the four of us were unstoppable!

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Sunday, May 6

The danio is married!

It was quite an amazing journey!
Day 1: Train to Guilin
Day 2: Take care of various documents for Lillian - passport, etc.; night bus to Nanning
Day 3: Get official marriage license from the Nanning government; train back to Guilin
Day 4: Marriage ceremony with a couple of friends (including Javad) around midnight; visiting town
Day 5: Wedding pictures in Guilin, Yang Shuo and in between
Day 6: A day of adventures in and around Yang Shuo
Day 7: More adventures, in Long Shen
Day 8: Train back

Sunday, April 22

Let's Make Babies!!!

There's hardly any bigger, better news in life than a new baby, especially one related to me!
Sophia is Charlotte's third baby, making me three-times-uncle!
Between this and adding Lillian's relatives, my family is growing
- and soon enough we'll have our own BABIES!!!
I wrote a poem!

I am born. It is done.
Love and life have begun.
I am born out of women who shine
Like melodious suns in your heart.
May your journey to these be inclined,
Who shed light on how life ends and starts.

Lillian was, is and remains the beginning of being.
But for her, we are not, and never know blindness from seeing.

Charlotte charts the progress within birthing
Leading hearts to prove that they are worthy.

Suzanne, channel of life for the pure,
Dreams, delivers the future a cure.

Some meanings:
Birth and death are great powers, and some women have had a great influence in my ability to absorb their signigicance. This poem was born today.

Lillian, fiance (wife next week!) is in many ways my center - as far as human beings are concerned, she plays the pivotal role of reifying existence.

Charlotte, my sister, has been researching the various facets of birthing for many years, and has just delivered her third child. She lives the kind of life that makes it hard for others to understand "how she can do it all" - and she does do it all, which requires negotiating the various changes and challenges of life - which for those who witness, is a lesson in living, and giving birth.

Suzanne is a great and mysterious inspiration to me. She has developed an afinity with birthing, through various aspects of her life - a mother herself, a doula, and a dreamer of many birthing dreams. She also has a great positive influence on the people in her life.

On another note, it is obvious that I owe my greatest gratitude to my own mother, who sacrificed and labored to bring me into this wondrous world!

Note: Silverchair has a new album - you can listen to the whole album on their website. I most highly recommend it.
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Saturday, April 14

Warmth & Vulnerability

I had a house-warming party, with lots and lots of fruit!

Love is an amazing gift.

I am so excited to get married in two weeks! There's a warmth in my life that I've never known. I really feel that all the hype in songs and movies about love is actually underplayed - true love, and falling in love, are much more powerful and intense still. This is mostly because they miss the whole spiritual aspect of the relationship, which adds multiple dimensions to the relationship.

I've recently realized that I've had this idea that when you really love someone, you end up feeling feeling vulnerable. Maybe vulnerability seemed to me like a sign of true love. I wouldn't have agreed theoretically with this idea, but it's been a part of my reality. I now know that showing weakness and susceptibility do not enhance the feeling of love and appreciation in the partner - at least not in Lillian. I think that strength, confidence and empathy form a good combination, where one stands firm, aware and understanding, confirming one partner's reality at the same time as one's own.

I feel like there are so many new worlds to explore. What's interesting is that I'm actually still on this earthly world. Seeing how rich life is here, I can scarcely imagine what exploring other Worlds will be like. Maybe the fact that I will discover them with Lillian gives me a sense of their existence and impressions.
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Sunday, April 1

Two Keys to the Valley of Contentment

Key to the Valley of Contentment:

Sometimes, when you win, you lose.

Sometimes, when you lose, you win.

Those two strange phrases from "What Dreams May Come", my very favorite movie a few years ago, evoke strange feelings in me. I don't particularly buy into them, but they resonate with my heart, and generate tickling musings.

The truth is, we sometimes battle to take the right path and make the right decisions, only to find that it has no result we can recognize. We can only assume that our good intention has some kind of positive effect, but we still need to figure out how to tackle the challenge at hand. It sometimes even feels like a waste of time!

And then at other times, the opposite seems to happen - we make no particular move within one problematic area of our lives, and it is suddenly inadvertently resolved!

When we trust that those things which are meant to be resolved will do so of their own, and accept that our efforts, however valiant and purposeful, may not result in what we intend them to - without at all diminishing them - we bathe in deep contentment.

Key to the Valley of Contentment:

Have you ever noticed that an artist from one of your favorite bands goes solo, and his or her music suddenly loses all the beauty it had heretofore? (I'm thinking of the exorbitant and lamentable tragedy of Tom Yorke, Louise Rhodes, Lisa Gerrard and Billy Corgan's solo ventures among others.) Why are sophomore albums so frequently vastly inferior to debuts? Why is it that when some artist gain access to greater resources, they often lose their spunk?

I think people have a misguided idea of what it is to "get what you want". What do you want? Do you want what others say you want? If you're an actor, do you want to be a Hollywood star? (It's often been assumed that that would be my aspiration...) If you're a painter, is your main goal to have your art exposed around the world and sold at exorbitant prices (I know, I've used this exquisite word twice now!)?

Wise people always say they have all they need - everyone always ever has all they need. What a joy to know that the people in my life are the very souls that will benefit the most from my talents and my work! We always pray to reach more souls and touch more hearts, and we can remain confident that we have been chosen to bless the very people with whom we already come in contact. There's no one else we were supposed to have met or impressed - but maybe the very next moment there will be!

All you need is love.
Love (actually) is all around.
All is full of love.

Thursday, March 29

Han Yuan

Han Yuan is an awesome (though pricy) private Chinese language school, where I studied October through January. Learning there helped my level of spoken Chinese increase dramatically. I particularly love the teachers, the materials (books they have designed themselves), the atmosphere, and the complementary drinks!)

They had a fun Christmas Party, which Lillian and I attended:

This is my main teacher, who has lots of energy and enjoys her job!

The teachers are all young girls - I'm not sure how they justify that...

Camille, my one classmate, an awesome French adventurer, who's been all over China, and has the craziest sense of humour. We had such a blast, perpetually cracking up at everything. I sure didn't mind someone to speak French with. He's supposed to be helping Lillian and I organize our hopefully very imaginative wedding party this summer.
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Monday, March 26

No Time to Read

As some may know, there are a number of weblos I cannot access, and my habit of keeping up with my friends' weblos has been all but lost.

Enters Google to save danio's life for the 5th or 6th time! Google Reader lets me check your delicious life updates as I would e-mail! I've lost many URLs to my friends' weblos, so please take this opportunity to shamelessly post yours as a comment below. You may e-mail if as well.

Lillian and I are planning to set up our own weblo and picture site - both through one convenient all-in-one Google account. I'll post a link when that's done.

And speaking of pictures, I'll post pictures of our trip to Xinjiang within the next week. I'm very hopeful that I will gradually return to a regular schedule of posting on this weblo. Please rest assured that the danio's life remains full of beauty, excitement, depth, growth, spiraling, and (for better or for worse) devoid of babies or decadence...

Saturday, March 3

Fast & Future


Life is great!

Back in Shanghai!

I have some two months of e-mails to catch up with, so if I owe you one, I'm working on it.

The fast has begun - refraining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset for 19 days. That's not hard at all, though. What's hard is being away from Lillian for 19 days. Kind of interesting having two overlapping fast - the latter ending upon her return to Shanghai on Wednesday.

We'll be posting lots of pictures onse she gets back with the camera.

Sunday, February 18

Wedding Schedule

So here's the idea:

Marriage 1:
Lillian and danio travel to Nanning and Guilin at the end of April to get our official marriage papers, because neither of us are Shanghai locals, so we can't get married here.

Marriage 2:
Late June, we have our official wedding party in Shanghai

Marriage 3:
We should be visiting the US in August, and probably have a wedding reception in Richmond, VA

Marriage 4:
We'll be coming back to Xinjiang about a year from now, so the family on Lillian's side will throw a party (or two), and have a big gathering!

Sunday, February 11

Home Sweet Home

Well, here I am, happy as can be with my new family in my new home, Kuerle, Xinjiang, China.

I've been here some three and a half days, but it already feels like much longer. It's so beautiful here, and it's just about the best vacation I've ever had. It's so great to see Lillian in her natural environment, as it were :)

So I'll be here for another few days, with mom, dad, and the family, then off to new adventures, then back in Shanghai by the end of the month.

All my love to all of you!

Saturday, January 20


To follow-up on two posts from last year:

The rainy days mystery:

I was recounting how I had a mission to complete, and I positively had to do so before the long rain stopped. At that time, in mid-September, it rained for over a week straight, without a clearing in the sky. As you may know, I most love rainy weather. At the time, I was falling deeply in love with Lillian, who at the time had no particular interest in me. I knew that in order to make steps forward in my dream to gain admittance into her heart, I must first purify my heart. Well, the mission was successful, in that I was honestly able to sublimate my love for her, such as to truly wish her happiness and success, regardless of the results for me - regardless of whether or not whe would reciprocate the kind of love I had. Hurray! and now look at me: the happiest man alive!

Unhappy danio:

In another post, I mentioned how I had to face how sometimes I am unhappy. Well to contradict the last sentence from the last paragraph, I have recently found myself feeling unhappy more frequently than I can remember in long years. It has a lot to do with my job in primary school, where I cannot control the classroom, I get exhausted and impatient, failing to serve consummately in my workplace. I just decided to try to take concrete measure to help ensure that the standard jubilant danio's demeanor endures. I don't know how I'll do that, but it's exciting to really tackle this mission full-on. One new aspect is the presence of my life-long companion, Lillian, who is here to listen to me and accompany me on my mission. The sense of companionship is most precious (even though I remain a weirdo for living life the way I do - such a dreamer-thinker that danio...)

Wednesday, January 10

Faux Pas

Some of you will really appreciate this:
Some years ago, I made a big booboo - I had a friend at work who really wanted to go out for lunch once or twice per week, so she offered to even pay if someone would accompany her. I said, "I'll eat on you, I have no shame!"

I have outdone myself twice here.
Xiao3 Jie3 (numbers are the tones) kind of means woman, and can be used to call on a waitress in a restaurant. Outside of this context, it means prostitute. I heard Liz call Jacqui xiao3 "J" once, mistaking it for the above. It was quite an insult when I called on her out loud the next time...

Today's takes the cake, though, the summum of embarrassment.
At our NewBeat (my school) meeting today, we were passing minutes from previous meetings around, to make sure everyone had signed them. Actually, we're supposed to put our initials - in my case a small "d". One piece of paper was passed along to me, Liz and Stephanie indicating that my "d" couldn't be seen. I responded in Chinese, saying, "ok, fine! you wanna see my 'd'?!? I'll show you my 'd'!!" Well it turns out, I was pronouncing di4, which of all things, happens to mean penis.

So there you have it...


What I like on the metro:

* People staring at my vocabulary notebook, allowing me to start a conversation with a complete stranger!
* People asleep, so cozy-looking
* The arhu players with their little bowls for collecting money
* So many different people, with so many different lives

What I don't like on the metro:

* Beggers, especially children trained to bow down their head to your feet, or mothers with their babies
* Having to put not only my backpack on my lap, but also my coat, because it's too hot
* Bad smells you just have to live with for the duration of your trip


Lillian and I have had dinner a couple of times with Maryam and Andy - who are married, and will help us avoid some legal annoyances that may come with marriage between a Chinese and an American citizen.


Just a few more weeks before we take off to the other side of the country to visit the beautiful Xingjiang and "meet the parents"!
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Wednesday, January 3


Hey there!

Please watch a new video of Lillian and me!

Tuesday, January 2

It's a New Day

I am delighted to announce that Lillian and I are engaged to be married this year!

We are both very happy, and wish you, dear reader, much much joy in this year 2007.

La vie est belle!

I will share more in future posts.
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