Friday, December 12, 2008

Candles of Remembrance

A piece titled Candles of Remembrance which I wrote about Christmas in Finland is up on Angela Cerrito's Cultural Comprehension.

You can also read my essay (a revised version) below.

It was 3 pm, a cold Christmas Eve afternoon, and a broad sunset stretched across the sky as my family drove over snow-covered roads to the cemetery at Espoon Tuomiokirkko, an impressive medieval cathedral in Finland. A vast field of candles, spreading farther than our eyes could see, flickered through the bare trees.

 After we parked on an edge of a field, we joined the swelling throngs of people walking over ice-laden sidewalks toward the cemetery surrounding the cathedral. A service finished as we arrived, and people poured out the church doors.

 We quietly walked along narrow pathways, cleared of snow, through the cemetery lit by candles and the fading sun; a peaceful reverence embraced us. One, two or three candles rested on many snow-covered graves; an occasional grave lay dark and empty; more candles than I could count covered other graves.

 Occasionally, we paused and read gravestones: we read names of the recently deceased on new headstones; we read names on weathered headstones so ancient that the engravings were barely discernable. We wandered, while group after group—some large, some small—walked directly to their loved ones’ graves, carrying candles whose flames would withstand the wind, rain, and snow.

 An elderly couple with canes hobbled slowly toward us. They left the path, struggled through several inches of snow up a slight slope trying to reach a headstone, and I wished my language skills were better so I could offer the woman my arm. She watched as her husband lit the candles and with difficulty bent to place them on the ground. They stood still, silent.

 The cold seeped into my bones, and we moved on to a section of the cemetery lined with row upon row of identical gravestones surrounded by a short hedge. Upon each grave sat an identical candle, and at the rear, stretching from hedge to hedge, stood a 30-foot tall memorial for those who had died in World War II. Inside the hedge, soldiers stood guarding their fallen comrades. Small groups stepped inside the hedge and added candles to these graves. This was just a portion of those who died for Finland, I thought.

 A father clasped the hands of two young children, a young girl and a little boy, no more than four years old. They lit their candle and placed it on a grave. The father drew his children close to him. As we slipped by, hoping to not disturb them, I glanced at the headstone. As I read the name and date, my heart went out to the family. Their mother had died young, in her 30’s, not many years younger than me. It was those children’s first motherless Christmas.

 A cold breeze burned my face. My tears, freezing into small strands of ice as they slid downward, dampened my cheeks.

 Hundreds of lit candles huddled close together on snow-covered ground near the front doors of the cathedral: a place for those who could not travel to their loved ones’ graves. We paused here as sounds of sacred music flowed out through the open doors of the cathedral. A sign in Finnish said: “We love. We remember.”

 Crowds of people constantly came and went, adding their candles to the others. A woman, alone, lit a candle and held it in her shaking hands. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she found room for her candle. She paused for a moment gazing at the candle, then disappeared into the crowd.

 I wished I had brought candles to light for those I love who have passed away. But I remembered them as I watched the glowing flames.

 Now when I think about Christmas Eve, my heart aches and my eyes dampen for one of my friends who lives in Finland. She will soon carry a candle and walk through a cemetery and visit a grave that was not there last Christmas. She will light that candle and place it on the snowy ground and cry for the memories she had hoped for, the memories that will never be, for the infant that took only a few breaths. I wish I could be at her side to comfort her and wrap her in my arms. Instead, I will cry with her on Christmas Eve, as she lights a candle and places it on his grave, though I’m a continent away.

 While walking through the silent snow in the crowded cemetery, I sensed the symbolism as the dim afternoon darkened into the candlelit night. The lit candles express a longing for our loved ones and our hope of the resurrection.

 Today, I can still see the images of the cemetery, the gravestones, the candles, the people, the tears.
 I think for many, this tradition of lighting candles on Christmas Eve is an expression of faith, an expression of hope for reunion, an expression of remembrance. Remembering those who are no longer with us is a somber way to spend Christmas Eve, yet it helps us realize what is truly important: our family and friends. Now every year on Christmas Eve, I remember those I love who have passed on. And I will always remember my walk through the Finnish candlelit cemetery.

  “We love. We remember.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Technique and Tone

Technique creates tone.

My years of playing musical instruments and taking lessons taught me the importance of tone.
I know the importance of correct technique--the way I hold my hands, the way I position my body, the way I touch and pluck and manipulate the strings.

The guzheng is a complicated instrument and a challenge to learn.

I learned to tune the guzheng. This is the easy part.
I use picks that I tape (with medical tape) to my fingers.

Yes, these are my fingers. I am holding my hand at a funny angle.

My ear is becoming used to the pentatonic scale.
I am learning a new musical notation. (This is not so easy.)
Every single black speck means something.
All those numbers and dots and lines and squiggles.
I can't read the Chinese, but I can read this music. I can't play this exercise yet--it is toward the back of the book.

If you click on the picture you will be able to see the music more clearly. (The link takes you to a larger photo.)

My guzheng teacher and Chinese teaching methods focus on technique. The first book contains exercises that teach me some (all?) of the ways of creating sound on the guzheng. I am learning rapidly. My teacher allows me to progress as fast as I can, after all I don't need to take the exams like everyone else.

My teacher doesn't speak English.
I don't speak Chinese.
She demonstrates and I imitate. She moves my hands and fingers into the correct positions. This is hard. She is constantly correcting my hand position and with my left hand holding it in the correct position for a whole exercise. And it is hard to keep the open fist position and use the correct plucking technique. Very hard.
I try to hold my hands too close to the strings--I'm supposed to hold them quite far away.

It is hard for my hands to get used to different positions--to get in the habit so it is automatic to move in certain ways.
My left hand struggles--and wants to be in a piano position. The left hand is used on both sides of the bridges--one side to play melody and harmony, and the other side to create vibrato, change the actual note value as in making an A an B or an F an F#, and create sound effects.

I've been taking lessons for over 3 months. I realize that it takes years to learn to play the guzheng well.

The guzheng sounds SO cool.
The songs are very diverse and fun to listen to.
I hope to post a music sample of me playing within the next few months.
I hope to learn to play songs while I live in China. Where else could I find a teacher?

Photo of my Guzheng

Technique and tone are also critical to writing--but I'll let you make the comparisons.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fundraiser for literary journal--YA full manuscript critiques

For those who need something more to want for Christmas, or if you need an idea of a gift for a writing friend--this is for you.

Hunger Mountain, Vermont College's Journal of Arts and Letters (their literary journal) is auctioning off manuscript critiques.

I want a manuscript critique! (The bids start at less than $100.) I don't have a manuscript ready at the moment, but I could revise Crossings, or revise River so I have a second draft.

Many award winning authors and poets are donating their time and expertise to this auction. I'll note some of those who write young adult novels and picture books. These authors either teach at Vermont College (and I've met them and they are wonderful teachers and give great lectures), have taught at Vermont College, or have been a visiting author at VC.

Kathi Appelt (Nat. Book Award finalist this year.) (A partial novel critique and a PB critique are up for auction.)
Norma Fox Mazer (Newbery Honor Award)
Louise Hawes (Her lecture on characters and desire last semester was amazing.)
Carolyn Coman (Newbery Honor Award and Nat. Book Award finalist.)

The details are here:
The auction ends on December 13th.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Revision rambles

Deep revision.
Anything can change.
This is the time to ask myself questions.
Make decisions.
Decisions about characters and plot, setting and voice, point of view and theme.

My goal of revision is to find the best way to tell the story.

Revision means being willing to delete characters or scenes which don't contribute to the story. It entails adding scenes and rearranging events; it leads to rewriting the beginning, the end and everything in the middle; it involves moving sentences, paragraphs and scenes; it requires the deepening of characters, tightening the plot, adding suspense; and it means discovering the best words and sentences to use.

In essence, revision is where the craft of writing lies.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Juggling multiple stories

During this semester I have written many stories in different genres.

The viewpoint characters (narrators) I've juggled during the past month have included a 3 year old girl in a picture book, a 10 year old boy in a MG short story, a 17 year old girl in a YA short story, and dual viewpoints with an 18 year old boy and a 16 year old girl in a YA novel. (Yes, I've been busy.)

At first it was a huge leap to jump back and forth between different characters and different fictional worlds. Plus, I was stepping aside into analytical writing for my critical essays. Writing such a variety is easier now after doing this for four months, though I still prefer to work on different stories on different days.

I find it is easier to make the jump when I'm revising.

It has been great practice, learning to jump from one character's mind to another's. This skill translates to when I'm writing a single book, because I believe the writer needs to be able to inhabit every character, not just the point of view character.

What I've learned from juggling multiple stories:
-Rereading part of the story helps me remember the voice of the character I'm writing. If I don't have the voice, I don't have the character or the story.
-Clearing my mind and entering that particular fictional world is essential.
-I need to enter that character's head, view his world from his point of view.
-I don't jump from one character to another without preparing to make the jump. Waiting a day is good. But if there isn't time, taking an hour doing something else (lunch, exercise, a walk) will make the writing go more smoothly.
-Actors learn to switch from portraying one character to another, often very quickly. Writers can also learn to do this with practice. Still, time spent with the character--both time in the story and weeks or months, allow me to better understand the character and do a better job of showing the character on the page.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Garden of Idiom

We visited Yuexiu park.

I like this sign.
(Luckily it is also in English.)
The name gives me lots of fun writing ideas. It would be fun to create a fable garden of idiom in a story. What an interesting setting.

I love the settings in stories. Changing the setting changes a story just as much as changing a character will change the story.

This wall is from the Ming Dynasty. (Around 1400)

The ancient tree roots have become one with the wall.

Yuexiu park is huge. It is also very, very crowded. It is hard to explain how crowded the park is. It is hard for me to fathom (even though I was there) how such a huge park (similar in size to Central Park in NYC) can have so many people in it. It was a challenge to take pictures without people in them; the photo of the wall does have a few people.

We became the site to see. People kept counting our kids and whispering to each other, snapping photos of us with their cell phones, and a few people asked (in Chinese and English) if they could have their photos taken with us.

We are fairly noticeable. We were the only foreigners in the park. Plus, we had kids with us! I'll never get used to being stared and pointed at.

We ate ramen noodles for lunch. We couldn't resist when we saw the ramen noodle stand.

The Chinese parks are beautiful with their walking paths (paved with decorative stones) and lakes and flowers and traditional architecture.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MFA update

I'm almost finished with everything for my third packet, which is due Friday. It is hard to believe I'm halfway through my first semester at Vermont College of Fine Arts!

I'm thrilled to be working with Margaret Bechard. She's an award winning author, and is also a great teacher. I've loved both her books, Hanging on to Max (contemporary) and Spacer and Rat (sci fi), that I've read. Her feedback to me is incredibly insightful, detailed, and useful in improving my writing immediately. It is also applicable to all my future writing. I'm lucky I got her as my advisor.

So far this semester I've written a lot and learned even more:
-Six critical essays.
-One picture book.
-Two short stories--one decent, the other in need of CPR.
-34,000 words of a first draft of River, a contemporary YA adventure novel. After I finish this draft I'll need to step back and make some hard POV (point of view) decisions, choose the best way to tell this story.
-I've read 3 craft books and stacks of other books.
-Plus, I better understand many craft issues, especially ones related to characters and their development, POV, and showing emotion.

My break is over. Time for me to get back to work. I still have some revising to do on the essays and need to write more of my letter to Margaret, where I discuss my writing this past month.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Danger Working

Danger Working

"Danger working, keep away trom the wall"
This sign is across the alley from the front entrance of my youngest child's school. I'm not sure what the Chinese characters say on the sign.

My imagination went to work.

Is Danger a character?
Or is Danger something else?
Is there a story in this sign?

I want to include Danger in a story I write. The ideas are swirling.

Signs like this (or notes from school) are not a rare occurrence. In every country I've lived there are mistranslations. Translating is hard and a native should always read to insure accuracy. I've read papers (in English) for very educated people who realized they need a native speaker to check their grammar and word usage.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Broken eggs

My newest goal: Bringing eggs home (in a clear plastic bag) from the wet market a mile away without breaking a single egg.

I manage to break an egg every single time, whether I walk or use my bike.
I buy my fruits and vegetables at this market of little booths--including one egg booth, so I have a pretty decent load to carry. I always put the eggs on top.

We don't own a car and won't buy one while we are living in China. (Lots of reasons for this.)
So we walk or use the bus or taxis. (I could take a taxi home--it would only cost $1, but it really isn't far.)

Maybe I should order one of those backpacking plastic eggholders.

Eggs and how I buy them.

I choose out eggs from a good sized crate full of eggs. I choose from the crate of normal chicken eggs. Then I hold them over a light--Hm--explaining time here. There is a flat horizontal board in the front of the egg booth (at first I assumed it was part of the structure of the tilted table) and egg sized holes are cut out. I flip a switch, turn on a light bulb and check each egg--I'm not sure for what I'm checking and perhaps I don't want to know, but I see other people doing this and I assume if it looks wrong on the inside, it is a bad egg. (I wonder if I'll see (recognize) a bad egg while I'm here)
I place each egg in a plastic netted basket-about 8 inches in diameter. After I hand the plastic basket to the lady, she gently places the egg in a thin bag--like the ones in the veggie section at the store and weighs them. I look at the scale to see how much it costs, because even though I can count in Chinese, it can be hard to understand what they are saying. And I pay. It costs about $1 for 8 eggs.

After I get home, and throw away the egg I broke, I wash the eggs--I always suds them up before I put them away--because, well trust me, they need to be washed.

Trivia--eggs are not refrigerated in most countries.

Today has the worst pollution I've seen here so far. The high humidity makes the large particulates extremely visible: brown-gray, essence of fog, visibility --about 200 meters because I can see (through the haze) the neighboring building and can (kind of) see a silhouette of a skycraper across the way. My eyes feel gritty just biking to and from the market.

It is intriguing how our diet changes so much from one country to the next. In Iceland eggs were extremely expensive and it was a special treat if I made scrambled eggs. (Powdered eggs from the states were cheaper than fresh eggs.) Here, eggs are one of the cheapest food products available.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moon Festival

Happy Moon Festival.
This evening is the Mid-Autumn Festival in China. This important holiday is also called the Lantern Festival. We ate mooncakes. We got together with friends, ate, and watched the brilliant, full harvest moon.

Here are some of my kids with their lanterns (not lit--I'm not brave enough to use candles inside fabric lanterns) and masks which they received at a spectacular event ("Mid-Autumn Festival Reception of Chinese Traditional Operas" organized by the government of Guangdong Province) we attended a few nights ago.

This is as close as I'll come to posting photos of my family online.
I have no idea why they received masks in their gift bags, because I don't think it is part of the celebration. But perhaps it is.

Step outside tonight and look at your moon. I hope your autumn moon is as bright as ours.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Noticing Details

New places are an opportunity to see fascinating details. But it takes time to see the details.

Each of us notices different details because of our life experiences and who we are. Same with our characters.

I receive a huge onslaught on my senses the first day, (and the first week) when I enter a foreign country. I mostly notice big things, with a few small details that catch my eye. As I adjust I notice more details. My first day here in China--through the mental haze of jetlag--I noticed things like all the green and flowers; some cool architecture in some old, sagging brick buildings towered over by skyscrapers; the cars and taxis zipping in out of traffic--normal big city traffic. I noticed the river we crossed and the yellow apartment building. (Why are we always in a yellow house or building?) I noticed the huge empty feel of an empty apartment, void of everything except basic furniture.

Now I notice different details: things like the pollen falling from the palm trees; a tree with vines growing downward out of the limbs whose vine tips are a lighter color, and if they find soil they will become roots and eventually trees; the gardeners dipping small buckets hanging off 4 foot long poles into water in a wheelbarrow lined with plastic to water hanging plants; the men walking on hanging scaffolding under the bridge--doing repairs; the narrow passageways in some of the markets with the uneven, ancient stone and dirt walkways; the cage-like metal bars around apartment building decks; the laundry hanging outside of windows--inside these cages; green onion cookies (!); bamboo scaffolding that climbs up and up tall skyscrapers.

Photo is of a narrow street in downtown Guangzhou, near Shamian Island. I didn't get a photo of the passageways--but in them I felt like I stepped back 1000 years in time.

The characters in my WIP are entering a new environment. They will notice more details, just as I notice more, as they grow accustomed to a new place. I’m trying to capture the essence of a new place and a new experience. They’ll notice more and more details and understand more of the language with each chapter. The trick is to make their experience feel authentic to my readers.

I love looking for details. Sometimes I wander with my camera and take photos so I can remember things when I'm bombarded by too many details.

Are there any books which use details extremely well? Do you have any favorite books that show characters becoming familiar with an unfamiliar place?

I think details noticed are an essential part of the character voice. Books with a strong voice, tend to have a character who sees details in a way unique to that character and this flavors the entire story.

(Note--I can only see and reply to my blogger. I don't have access to the LJ feed, so if you have a comment please come to or send me an email.)

Lost in a taxi

There are different types of lost. Sometimes we don't know where we are. And other times we don't know where we are going. I think the worst type of lost is when we have no clue we are lost.

Last night we took a taxi to my older kids' school. It was a back-to-school night where we rush around and listen to all the teachers talk for ten minutes or so. In our case it meant three school schedules (3 kids on this campus) and two parents, so we planned to skip some classes. (Isn't this every kids dream--skip the classes they don't want to attend.)

How did we get lost? The school is in a new area of the city, 45 minutes away. (Guangzhou has about 8-9 million people, so it is a big city.) We drove with some other parents so we could split the fare.

They told the driver where to go--since they speak Chinese. We drove and drove. It is a long way and for a long time the route looked familiar, but then it didn't. The driver slowed down, rolled down his window and while driving at the pace of a bicyclist he asked where Science Park (the technology park where the school is at) is. We wandered more. He asked some people standing under an overpass. We started making phone calls. Of course he didn't have a map and the standard map doesn't go out this far. And we'd left the one decent map at home. He rolled down his window and talked to another driver while we waited at an intersection. We circled some more and he asked more people. The taxi driver was at least in the right section of town, but had no idea where he was or where to go. The 15th or maybe 20th person he asked (in another 30 minutes of driving) knew where Science Park is. We arrived 30 minutes late after 1 1/2 hours in the taxi. At least taxis are cheap here and he didn't charge the full fare which would have been about $20. It should have cost $10--if he'd driven there correctly.

The other couple we went with had arranged for a ride home earlier in the day, since taxi drivers tend to get lost and can't find the school. (This happened to me last time I was at the school. It took me 45 minutes to get a driver--the guards at the entrance called and it took them several calls to get a driver who knew where the school was.)

The funny thing--I wasn't stressed. Five years ago I would have been super stressed. I figured the worst thing would be missing the evening. (I am stressed about other things--like the MFA packet I'm sending to Margaret next week.)

I sometimes get lost when I write. It doesn't stress me like it used to. I know that sometimes a character needs to wander and find out where she is going. I'll revise out the wanderings later. Other times I don't know where I am in the story and that can mean stepping back and looking at the plot, getting to know my characters better and if I'm really lost, asking my writing friends for directions.

We need to be brave and explore our stories and our neighborhoods. And when we get lost--for we will get lost--remember that all will end well. After all, getting lost is part of living.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Not giving up

Persistence is necessary in both writing and in living in a new country.
Not giving up when things don't go the way we expect. Trying again and again and again. Sometimes trying a different approach.

Living in a new place means trying and sometimes failing. Learning the language. Or enough language for survival. Learning to navigate the streets and discovering where to shop. Not finding what one wants, and searching, knowing the product is somewhere.

Recently, we've been searching for a music store where I could buy a piano. (Our piano was destroyed in the Finland to Iceland move.) I'd love to buy another top quality upright, but with all our moving we wanted a good electronic piano.

We asked people where music stores are and got a vague answer--but enough of an answer to make it worth the hunt. A week ago we went searching for the music store. We went to the mall where it was supposed to be and walked through the most upscale mall here. (Think fancy NYC shopping mixed with the Orient. I saw all the expensive labels I'd only heard of before, plus fancy dried, packaged caterpillars and tea rooms.)

We tried again this past Saturday.
This is what we found as we wandered near a metro stop through winding narrow passages in an underground mall filled with tiny shops no larger than 5 feet by 8 feet.

A Moomin shop! I had to take a photo. For those who have never heard of Moomins, they are all over Finland, made popular by the childrens books by Tove Jansson and are translated into many languages. There is a Moomin shop in Helsinki. Moomins are about the last thing I expected to find in China.

And then we walked across the street.
We entered a modern mall. The mall is similar to what one would find a a big city in the US--seven or eight stories tall, with everything from electronics to clothing to furniture to books to a grocery store.
I've never seen the slanted moving sidewalks (like in airports, but steeply tilted) in the US, but they are in every mall overseas I've been in. The grocery carts have special stops on the wheels so the carts won't roll away while on these sidewalks.

We wandered around a couple blocks in each direction, hoping to find the music store.
We saw this entrance to a park.

Lots and lots of people, but no one to ask.
No one speaks English.

We flagged a taxi and headed home.
We'd ask again, another person.
We would try again.
Another day.

But on our way back we saw a music store.
"Ting. Ting," (stop) we tell the driver.
We climb out, hoping there are pianos in the store.

Tons of pianos and all types of instruments, just like in a US music store. And luck was with us. A university student who speaks English works in the store on Saturdays ! :)

I took photos of some cool traditional Chinese instruments.

I could have looked longer at the guzheng. They are beautiful. Carvings, inlays, fine workmanship. They've been played for over 2000 years. They sound awesome.

Here are some pipas, essentially a type of lute. The next photo is of Chinese flutes.

After looking at everything in the store (music stores are as much fun as book stores) I chose a piano.
I had eyed the wooden pianos, sorely tempted. But we ended up buying a Yamaha--a super nice one--with a full size keyboard, weighted keys, touch sensitive, great tone. Not the same as my old piano--a great upright with amazing sound and wonderful response to my touch--but extremely nice for an electronic model, as nice as they come.

The interesting thing, in writing as well as in life, thwarted expectations and being forced to explore paths we didn't first see gives new experiences to us and the characters in our stories.

Next Saturday--back to the music store.
I'm going to buy a guzheng and schedule lessons.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What my children would never learn in the US

My seven year old daughter flagged a taxi today. With confidence.

Is this a normal thing for a child to do?
She better not flag a taxi when I'm not with her.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Danger Working

Danger Working

"Danger working, keep away trom the wall"
This sign is across the alley from the front entrance of my youngest child's school. I'm not sure what the Chinese characters say on the sign.

My imagination went to work.

Is Danger a character?
Or is Danger something else?
Is there a story in this sign?

I want to include Danger in a story I write. The ideas are swirling.

Signs like this (or notes from school) are not a rare occurrence. In every country I've lived there are mistranslations. Translating is hard and a native should always read to insure accuracy. I've read papers (in English) for very educated people who realized they need a native speaker check their grammar and word usage.

Point of View

Point of view makes a difference in how each person approaches life.
I went out for lunch yesterday to meet some of the other women who live in my apartment complex.

I came home wondering why people think I need an ayi-- a woman who cleans, cooks and shops (full time of course), a cell phone (I’m eyeing my husband’s blackberry, but it doesn’t make sense to get one at this time and I’m home almost always anyway), a driver (yes, a driver for a car we don’t own because we won’t buy one here). Their pov is it is impossible to live without an ayi.

I’m not a picky eater. Yet I’m not the bravest with trying new foods either. They raved about how good the restaurant was, oohed and awed over the meals. We each chose an entre--placed the dishes in the center of the table and ate family style. I have a hard time eating things that still look alive. Sorry. I can't do it. The food was interesting, yes, but I had a plateful of food when we finished. At least no one ordered (or the restaurant doesn’t serve) 5 snake soup.

The following are some of the foods I've seen that some think are wonderful, but I hope hope hope to avoid. Anteater, jellyfish, snake, python (I know it is a snake), rat--that is what they looked like, seahorses, caterpillars, turtles, those special eggs that have stuff growing on the outside, the other special eggs and I won’t mention what they contain, and crocodile. (My kids disagree and would try some of the above--my kids ate food in other countries that I wouldn’t eat either.)

I’ve hardly cooked meat since we’ve arrived. I have no desire to eat any meat. Walking through markets AND grocery stores and seeing animals slaughtered is hard on my appetite. Any hints on vegetarian cooking would be appreciated.

It is useful to see such a huge range of viewpoints as I meet so many different people. It helps me create characters who are very different than each other. It reminds me that the most interesting characters have unique characteristics and have reasons for what they do.

There are more ways to view the world than I can imagine.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Typhoon approaching

Typhoon Nuri (a level 8 storm) will hit my area soon. It is passing over Hong Kong right now. We are inland a bit, so I assume the storm will lessen before it arrives.

My kids are coming home early from school. I just got the phone calls. There are signs posted near the elevators in my building warning us to stay indoors and to make sure drains are clear and windows are shut.

The wind is blowing. The palm trees branches are really moving, but the trunks aren't bending. Not yet. This wind feels like a normal wind in Iceland, but I'm sure it will grow stronger in the next few hours.

We live on an island and I have no idea what a bad storm will do to transportation or to the water levels of the river. Or if we will lose electricity.

Fridge is full and I have a lot in my cupboards. Even so, I'm headed to the store to buy some extra food. Some fun food for my kids.