We have been served different parts of the lotus at some of our more formal dinners here in Feicheng. It is not only delicious, but it is rich in vitamins and minerals.
So much for the nutritional value. The lotus is, quite simply, beautiful, and I was delighted to finally photograph it today. The plant grows in insanely murky water; yet it produces one of the most spectacular blooms on earth. I understand why it carries so much symbolism in the Buddhist faith.
Sometimes a picture might tell a story. Perhaps this one tells a little about life in Shanghai. Perhaps it tells a larger story.
The two men in the foreground: I wonder what they are thinking. One appears to be anxiously looking for something. A taxi maybe? The other, casually crouching on the curb. Is he waiting for a ride? Just passing the time?
Look closely inside the gate. A young couple (perhaps students because they are both wearing backpacks) pass by rows of doors that lead into the lives inside the apartments. Laundry hangs from the windows and across the narrow street. Most of the apartments have window air-conditioning units. It looks as if this was once a modern and upscale apartment complex.
More people are deeper inside, heading toward us. There must be another entrance into the complex because there are a few cars, and of course, the ubiquitous bike, both motorized and foot-powered, and it doesn’t look as if a car would fit through this iron gate.
I frequently go about my life, concerned about only that which directly affects me. I don’t consider that there are countless numbers of people all over the world who have their daily problems, concerns, joys, and loves. I believe that it is important to stop and think for a moment that we all share the same desires, not just for food, shelter, and clothing, but for companionship, safety, and peace. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we find a way to fulfill these desires, and, if we are very fortunate, we might find a little love along the way.
One of the best aspects of life in Feicheng, Shandong Province, China is the sense of community. Although Feicheng has a population of nearly 1 million people, it has a small-town feel.
After the evening meal, the people come outside. They walk, sit and chat, gather together for a type of exercise that appears to be is a slow moving line-dance, they buy and sell on the sides of the streets, they watch their children play or perform.
I’ve been in China for nearly a month and on the job in Feicheng, Shandong Province, for two weeks. Truly the highlight of my trip is our dinner at a Feicheng colleague’s home, which I understand is a rare privilege. Before sitting down to the indescribably delicious meal that his wife and sister prepared, we had fun making dumplings (the kind that are boiled, not fried).