Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ramble on. A brain dump.

Something keeps bothering me…

Is there another word for dragonfly?

I could have sworn we called them something else as kids. I'm constantly surrounded by dragonflies here in China, which means I'm constantly questioning to myself, "Dangit, what did we call them?!" Oh well.

There's a particular path I walk along when I go on long walks or runs, and there are always swarms of dragonflies…hmm "swarms" sounds eerie and disturbing, which isn't right at all. What do you call a friendly gathering of dragonflies? A Dragonfly Sunday School? A Dragonfly Potluck? Anyway, these schools of dragonflies are beautiful and create a kind of peaceful feeling. (And they get bonus points for being mosquito-eaters.)

Yesterday on a long walk down the path around noon or so, the sun was directly overhead, and the dragonflies were out in full effect. They created the most beautiful and mesmerizing scene of shadows on the grass next to the brick path. I stopped, stood for awhile and stared at the tiny dragonfly shadows swirling all around.

…with bodies of silvery green sequins
and fairy dust, or so I imagine
if I could bring myself to look away
from their swift and spellbinding shadow play,
they zip through sweltering air of mid-day…

Today I went for a run along the same path, but didn't see nearly as many dragonflies. Instead, I was surprised by a tiny dog that came running up from behind me and then passed me and kept on running. I looked around but there was no one. Apparently I was the only one crazy enough to be out and about (and running no less) during the hottest part of the day. I do get strange looks from the people who ride by on scooters, because noon to 2 or 3pm is when most people take their naps. It's like the whole city shuts down for nap time. But in an effort to not hold myself hostage in my apartment because of the heat and humidity, I decided to start going out a little bit each day during the hottest times so I can get more acclimated to this weather. I think it's working! Anyway, the dog…

I caught up with the lil guy after awhile. He had stopped to drink from a puddle on the side of the path. I stopped to chat with him for a minute, and to take a breather to keep myself from bursting into flames. And during our chat, he extended his front legs down into the puddle (it was a small puddle circumference-wise, but pretty deep) and cooled off his dog belly. I was like wow dog, that's the smartest thing I've seen all day. Then I bent down to feel the water, and it was HOT. Like hot, hot. Not just warm. This place is nuts! Speaking of hot water, it's usually a challenge for me to finish my walk or run before my once-cool bottle of water turns too-hot-to-drink.

I just looked at today's weather, and during the time I went for the run it says the temperature was 95 degrees fahrenheit with 80% humidity. Hmm, maybe I'll rethink this mid-day exercise thing.

I also had to cut today's run short due to some pretty bad foot pain. I hurt my left foot the other day at the gym, at least I think it was at the gym, and I tried to rest it somewhat since then. I definitely overestimated its recovery today. It hurts worse now than it did before. I never claimed to be brilliant. I think it was injured at the gym when running barefoot on the hardwood floors. Running barefoot on a hard surface is a new thing for me, so my body is still getting used to it. It's part of the warmup the boxing teachers have me do before they give me boxing drills to work on. I haven't been to the gym since Sunday, and the people there ask me in Chinese "You come tomorrow?" each time, and I said yes and now I haven't been there in two days. And I don't really know if I should be contacting anyone (not that I even know any phone numbers) to let them know I won't be showing up since we don't really have set appointments. I just show up and we work out. Maybe "You come tomorrow?" is their way of setting an appointment? I wonder if it's ok to be flaky here like it is in the US? :) I think I'll stop by there tomorrow to check in and maybe do some weights, or non-foot related exercises.

Speaking of this gym, the people there are so incredibly friendly and helpful. They even gave me a used pair of boxing gloves as a gift, which is great for a newbie like me. I can try 'em out without having to run out and buy some, especially since this is a new sport for me. They also gifted me a brand new pair of the wraps that go around your hands before putting them in the gloves. They're really long canvas-strap-like material. They even gave me a lesson on how to properly wrap my hands. They don't have me punching anything yet…still punching the air…but I have a feeling it's coming soon! The've taught me a series of punches and footwork but I have no idea what the proper names of the moves are (outside of what I've heard them called in Rocky and Million Dollar Baby!), because my boxing teachers know that I don't speak much Chinese yet, so they just demonstrate the movements and make me follow along until they're satisfied that I'm doing them correctly. They speak entirely in Chinese, but they do use the English word "no" a lot :)

I started doing my favorite yoga routine again recently after not doing it for about a year. It's a DVD called "Yoga Conditioning For Weightloss" that I've been doing on and off for over ten years now, and after slacking off for ages, I'm already starting to feel stronger again. I've tried a lot of yoga DVDs and classes over the years, and this routine suits me really well. I'm already noticing the flexibility and muscle tone coming back. And it just feels so darn good and makes for a great start to the day. I can do most of the routine with my bum foot, so that's a plus.

Hmm, what else is new.

Today I finished a book that I've been savoring since February, meaning, I didn't want it to end so I purposely only read a little bit at a time and tried to stretch it out as long as possible. It's by the philosopher Heidegger and it's called "The Essence Of Truth". It's basically a series of lectures he wrote in the 1930s that an editor compiled and translated. It made my head spin more than any other book I've ever read. And I'm going to read it again, maybe later this year, to make sure I really grasped it and can fully absorb everything he intended. I love how philosophy and poetry go hand in hand…there's a lot of great inspiration in this book. I wrote one poem for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) last month that was inspired by something he presented in the book. ----- A Lecture From Heidegger

Speaking of NaPoWriMo, it's the reason why I had an urge to sit down and ramble out a big long blog post this evening. For the entire month of April I focused mostly on posting poetry here. The goal was to write 30 poems in 30 days, but I ended up with over 70 (if you count every single little itty bitty teensie weensie terrible one), hooray! I plan to keep writing and hopefully trying to improve, if I can muster up the patience involved in such an endeavor!

So what's the goal for May? Well I am diving face first into Chinese. Full blast. Full speed ahead. Take no prisoners.

I've been picking up bits and pieces since moving here in February, but it's been slow going for the most part. I feel like I should be able to communicate a bit better by now. I bought a few children's books the other day and am already noticing a big improvement…in just 3 days! Very exciting, very motivating. It's just an all around interesting language. It just seems so dang complex due to the tones, the characters, the same word meaning SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS. The list goes on. I did accidentally make myself laugh the other day when I was studying. I came across the Chinese character for "love" and thinking that it should be much simpler I immediately said out loud to myself "wow, love is complicated!"… then I died laughing with myself for a moment after realizing how so very wise I just accidentally was.


  1. Were you thinking of damselflies by any chance ?

    1. Hiya! No I don't remember that name, but after looking up dragonflies online and reading wikipedia, I learned that's another name they go by. I think this will always be a mystery to me...I'm probably thinking of another insect entirely ha!