I joke that I like gloomy and cloudy days because they are thought provoking days. It’s funny because it’s true. As the days in Shanghai are becoming increasingly more cloudy and cold, I find myself making more time to create through art, writing, photography and my yoga practice. One of the main reasons I love yoga and meditation so much is that it has helped me learn to not think and find clarity in my thoughts that like anyone can look like a Picasso painting exploded.
I decided to take a moment to do some yoga meditative poses on my nightly walk and reflect on the past few days and challenges that have come my way. I’m so proud of myself for how far I have come as a person and my growth in learning to truly feel my emotions and to do my best to lead with kindness, empathy and compassion for myself and others. The past few weeks I have learned what are essential things to always have with you to make life easier and for basic survival skills. I thought my backpack I got at REI and it has been the perfect bag. It’s canvas, light, durable, has lots of room and I’m so happy I brought it. The first thing I learned was to ALWAYS bring an umbrella with you because rain or shine, the umbrella is critical to surviving the weather extremes and changes of daily life in Shanghai
I’ve only truly fallen in love once before. Love is the most inexplicable emotion that doesn’t quite make sense but is like nothing else and perhaps the purest of all the emotions. When it is real and lasting, there is nothing better. There are so many variations and types of love. I fell in love with school from a young age, have a true love for food and love traveling. I have also received the most pure and unwavering love from my family that as I get older continue to be so grateful for. I know how fortunate I have to have a lot of love in my life from my family and friends. There is a great quote from the movie The Fault in Our Stars that perfectly summarizes love for me.
“Falling in love is like falling asleep, it happens slowly then all at once.”
Sonia is pure sunshine. There is no other way to put it as she radiates joy that pours out of her gentle nature, kindness and adorable dimples. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and is emotionally intelligent beyond belief. Her empathy and commitment to learn from everyone she meets is so admirable and I know she is one of those people here on earth that quite possibly is an angel.
“It gets better, just keep going and don’t give up.”
When Jenna and I first met almost three years ago in a drug anthropology class, we could have never anticipated how things would unfold. These past few weeks have brought the past full circle and I couldn’t be more grateful that this human is part of my life. Jenna is a gentle pixie with the heart of a lion and soul of someone who has lived far more than twenty-one years. I was so fortunate to spend these past three weeks in Bolivia with her on a course about democracy and development with an extraordinary professor. It is this professor that started our friendship three years ago in her classroom. One class and one person transformed both of our lives on levels that have impacted us both forever.
I dare you not to love Ron and want to be him when you grow up. It’s not possible because he is one of the greatest humans ever. I met Ron while in Bolivia as he is a dear friend of my professor and has been living in Bolivia since the 70’s. When you meet Ron, you may think he is soft spoken but but his mind anything but. He is one of those people who has truly lived; in every essence of the world and is still going. His style is something to aspire too, always with a hat on top and smile hiding underneath. He is forever a student, fascinated with the happenings of every day, from the mundane to the complex questions he continues to inquire about. If there is one thing I can say about him it’s that he is one of kind.