Go knows no impossibilities. (miracle series)

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Not all miracles are health related or even critical situations, sometimes God does things just to spoil us. It was that way with my first trip into China way back before the doors began to open. I had a fascination for China since at five years old I discovered it was on the other side of the globe and dug up my dad’s rose bed trying to dig there lol!

Some 40 years ago, having lived some years in Hong Kong (then a British colony) it was my dream to visit China. The situation was impossible as visas were given only by special invitation or to H K Chinese with relatives in China. I’d been praying for some time for a way when a Chinese friend told me he had relatives still in China. He took me to the China Travel Agency in Kowloon and pretended I was his sister in law.

To get some idea of this office imagine a run on the stock exchange, yelling, jostling, confusion. For him to get a visa stamp on my passport could be explained by this hubbub. The miracle was when he also submitted my husband’s British passport and obtained a visa on it too. Chinese are sharp and no matter the confusion would definitely get that with a British husband I couldn’t be his sister in law, but just, stamp, stamp and there it was the dream come true!

When we entered China, the officials couldn’t believe our visa, or figure how we could have gotten it lol! We were celebrities! Most mainland Chinese had never seen a foreigner before and definitely not our three blond, blue eyed children. If we stopped in the street we’d instantly be surrounded by a huge crowd and well-meaning people would just pick up one of the kids and run off with them to show their neighbours. My husband, who spoke more Cantonese, would be forever chasing after them. Then suddenly the crowd would melt away and we’d be left with one man – the government representative. It happened every time, so it was difficult to talk with anyone. They were always very concerned that we had three children when the old one child policy was in effect, asking how or earth we coped etc. Sadly, we only had funds for a short stay, but it showed me with God all things are possible and even the “bamboo curtain” was nothing to Him. A few years later the doors began to open and I, along with many others, got to spend four wonderful years there, the complete fulfilment of my childhood dream.

Age is not the enemy.

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Modern western culture portrays old age as somthing scary, ugly, the end of all the good stuff, to be fought veheminately. Celebrities go to great lengths to stave off its onslaughts with diets, creams and cosmetic surgery till they look like walking skulls.

I remember the East where old age is venerated due to its wisdom, the old retired couples in China dancing in the park every evening, dining out surrounded by their children and grandchildren and how natural it seemed.

Part is due to the much healthier lifestyle (you seldom see old Chinese with a stick let alone a walker or wheelchair) and family ties are far stronger. The widow or widower helping with the grandkids seldom find themselves lonely. Old age is seldom lamented, rather seen it as a time of well deserved rest and enjoyment. There’s almost a holiday spirit about it.

How far have we in the west strayed from the natural concept of age. I came across the phrase, “old age is only disappointing if we find ourselves older in years without growing closer to God.” This also set me thinking. Feeling our lives have been well lived, looking back with satisfaction and forward with expectation gives peace.

The frantic striving to live every second because there are new wrinkles etc. so full of fear, for cancer, for strokes, for disabilities, drains us of the joys of old age. Growing closer to God brings peace and wisdom and with it the ability to enjoy this golden age slowly, deeply, like a vintage wine. We once knew this.

Age is opportunity no less

Than youth itself, though in another dress;

And as the evening twilight fades away,

The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

My Secret Garden.

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from July 2014

Song Bird Songs

cactus

It was a rickety old stair case that led to my secret place far above the towering apartment buildings of our compound in southern China. The rusting metal framework with it’s shrouding of bamboo cutting off access had been beckoning me since my arrival.
Finally curiosity overcame my fears (no one would know, everyone was out). Grabbing a chair and with my mobile in my pocket (just incase) I climbed precariously. My legs barely able to straddle the bamboo scaffolding I grasped the iron rail and pulled myself over. Anxiety gripped me; would it still take my weight? Then I clambered upward.
What a sight met my eyes. Alone, neglected, a “garden” had bloomed. Some long gone owner had once stored things there (for there was no order) then, closing off the stairs, it had been abandoned forever – that is till I came. Towering cactus had bloomed from soil…

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Thoughts on Cities While in Guangzhou.

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from July 2014 (written 2011)

Song Bird Songs

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(Actually I love Guangzhou and its people, but these are aspects of many fast growing cities)

What lies within these concrete walls imprisoned in its tiny boxes? Souls that once worked  beneath brilliant skies, cut homes from stone or wood and, surrounded by nature, slept vivid dreams of peace. Now all is polluted. The air, the walls, the couch, the bed, send toxic fumes into their heads … repose of soul is hard to find.

Trailing vines dotted with flowers adorn overwhelming tangles of concrete climbing every pillar and hanging in verdant curtains in attempts to incorporate the inborn Chinese love of nature and beauty as spiraling roads obstruct the skyline and towering pollution dims their lines.

Men crawl like teaming ants. I observe them as they scurry to and fro engaged forever in a frantic rush to pile up goods for a winter that may destroy them all. Fighting…

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As spring turns to summer

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(View from my bed)

I linger this morning taking in the sunshine and gentle breeze. Grandson departed for the weekend, it’s just me and the sunshine. Nostalgia gone this morning I’m basking in English spring (remembering there is no real spring in China where I lived just rain, more rain, then the heat of summer). In South China beauty reigns in autumn but in England in the spring.

I think it was Kipling that wrote from India, “Oh to be in England now that April’s here,” (and May and June…)

It’s a time to be here to see nature awaken and blossom, to feel the chill winds turn to cooling breezes. I am reminded that where ever I am to be content, to take in the beauty that surrounds me and to breathe it out to others, sharing these breaths of nature’s bounty. The hand of God is everywhere!

a feast of nostalgia.

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chinese food

It’s Chinese but Anglicized, sweet and sour, but not succulent, noodles, stir fry, dumplings, but lacking the subtle nuances of the real thing. The smiles are polite and kind but lack the friendly vitality. I am heart sick for China.

The buffet tempted me in (that and my grandson’s eagerness) but it’s painful to be so tempted, only the feel of the chopsticks and the taste of the tea are the same. I long to book a flight and just go, but I remember too well the toll that trip takes on my body.

I recall my friends, the tearful partings, the smells, the humidity, the feeling of coming home, my other home. How I am sometimes torn between two worlds wishing I could spend time in both. Life is easier here but sometimes I miss that other home…

Success?

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sucess

(My ballet dancing friend insists it’s not usually quite this bad, but you get the general idea.)

One new year in China at the English club I often frequented we discussed our goals in life. I was surprised that apart from a retired entrepreneur they all said the same, they wanted to be rich and successful.

I found it odd because goals tend to be more varied in the west and riches and success never really appealed that much to me. For me being loved, having a family, being happy and fulfilled seemed far more important. Like the poster success in any field always comes with a price tag attached and sore feet are by no means the worst.

Do I think one should have no goals or aspirations? By no means, striving for and accomplishing a goal gives great satisfaction. Rather my thought is before attempting to “climb the ladder of success” check the price tag and be sure its against the right wall.

Blog Forcast.

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A warning of severe blog delays and disruptions for the next two weeks has been issued due to forecast family visitations (my daughter and grand-kids). This current of warm and loving air, arising in the Far East is due to hit London in the early hours of tomorrow.

Imminent precipitation of get-togethers, dinners and wine drinking, followed by long chats and deep conversations, preceded by heavy showers of love and affection are predicted.

A heavy fall of good times may temporarily prevent communications and blog updates.

(Wishing you all a similarly great time with your loved ones near or far.)

31 day challenge day 28

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airport

What are you looking forward to?

Moist eyes, big hugs, endless chatter and meet ups, deep conversations (and probably lots of food and alcohol).

You see next week my daughter and two grand kids will come from China for a visit (poor hubby has to stay and take care of their business). This means lots of family get togethers, long talks and catch ups and the pleasure of enjoying her company again. (Since my grandson here is off for half term and they get along we’re hoping they mostly entertain each other – the youngest is nine)

We’ve always been a close and loving family but the commitments of work, family and in some cases location tend to make our get togethers less frequent, (but all the more precious). The son in laws tend to heave a sigh after a while  and disappear to play feifa or smoke cigars while our “clan” chatter on and they are neglected. My son seems the only one able to handle all the “girl talk” (but then growing up with 6 sisters he developed immunity long ago lol!)