Use your imagination.


What is imagination?

The amount of times I’ve pointed at my head in frustration and had my assistant translate the phrase ‘use your imagination’…well let’s just say I could have and should have mastered that phrase by now.

I am well aware of the fact that in China collective thinking is appreciated more than the individualistic outlook. I have been both a student and now a teacher in China and I never cease to be amazed by how much copying goes on.

I came to Guangzhou for the first time last year as an exchange student at Jinan University and in my class we would attempt to debate certain issues regarding love, instigated by the study of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

a lion-fly.

What do you get when you cross a lion mask/hat/puppet and a pair of sparkly, pink butterfly wings….?

Yes, a LION-FLY. The cutest, strongest creature on the block. Kung Fu dolls beware. This beast can roar, fly AND look pretty at the same time.
I told my little kids they are real. I also told my kids today that in order to grow tall and strong like me, they must eat flowers and grass, because that’s what I did and now here I am, a giant in this little people land.
I also deliberately bring playdough to every class because I LOVE the smell of playdough. The kids hate it, but I told them they’ll learn to love it. Look how cute they are in their lion-fly outfits….
You see, they are real!

moments of late.

Living in a big city is still very new to me. I constantly have lists of fun things I want to do everytime I have a free moment, as opposed to being back in my village in Strathkinness where the most exciting thing to do is…well…no, nothing. But I miss that wee place.

But anyway, an update…or two.

An Orange art gallery in the middle of a glorious park. A children’s art exhibition of wonder and delight. A teacher who has an astonishingly amazing imagination taught these talented ones. Picture a boy making a pair of trousers, while a swarm of flies buzz around a cherry cake, while unbeknown to both the flies and the boy, two gangly, green aliens peek out from behind a big old tree. This is the kind of art I’m talking about, and I bloody love it. The mini artists were running around dressed in fairy dresses and suits. A five year old in a suit. Eptiome of cuteness.

My friend and I spotted the free wine almost immediately. I mean why else were we there? OK, so I’m kidding, we DO love art, but well, let’s be honest now, who doesn’t love FREE wine?! I wasn’t discreet about it either. ‘I want free wineeeeeee!’ So this lovely lady overheard me (damn I though no-one here spoke English..) and immediately offered us some. Turns out not only had she consumed almost ALL of the wine (she was wasted, to put it bluntly) but her son was studying at the same university my friend studied at. That got us all merry and chatting, and what a little world we all live in. We mingled with artists, directors and made some more little connections. The drunk lady got even more drunk and told us some secrets, then she fell on the floor, and we fell on the floor laughing with her. To top it off to a splendid finish, we ran into the wine-induced, late afternoon for a spot of Vietnamese food.

A trip to Shenzhen, a city, that according to Dan, popped up over night. A fake Eiffel Tower poking out through a smoggy, misty sky, skyscraper upon skyscraper. My voice coming out of a cute little bunny rabbit. A bunny version of Marilyn Monroe. A slithery snake with a posh English accent and a liking for dusting teapots. And a bird. A little chickedy bird, with a streak of anger that could challenge me-during-a-full-moon any month of the year!

Work upon work upon work upon planning for VIETNAM IN NINE DAYS. I am very excited!!

a hazy day (or rather….an I hate China day)- you decide.

Insomnia. Frustration upon frustration. The heater buzzes, a door slams, my pillow is too soft. Every five minutes the truck roars past my window and the construction continues. Shouldn’t there be some kind of rule declaring when you can and cannot build new apartment buildings? This particular company like to do it outside my window every night ALL night. They also like to dig up the ground early in the mornings. A silver shutter slides down with a BANG. The demons upstairs scrape their furniture across my ceiling. I plan in my head a little revenge note. This keeps me awake for even longer as I stumble and search my tiny Chinese part of my old brain, to create some kind of nasty sentence of warning. I’m a coward. I should just bang on their door and ask them to kindly refrain from making noise.

Snores. A cockroach on the way to the bathroom. Toss upon toss upon turn. A message from Scotland. Five hours until my alarm goes off….four hours….three hours….you get the picture.

Thus, today was hazy. It still is. But lucky for me I have a pretty free day at work.

I crawled out of bed, climbed back into bed with my toast. Crawled out again and ran across the bridge to catch my metro ride. The sun was shining down on me and that early morning warmth made things just a little brighter inside me. Then BOOM! Millions of people in my way. I stood in the penguin parade for a good 10minutes, then it seemed the penguins had plotted to death-stare me down today. Why today of all days? I’m exhausted and I WILL punch your lights out. I was a bitch this morning.

Luckily my first class was making a Kung Fu doll. I pretended to be that legend…Jackie Chan, and took my anger out on breaking wooden chopsticks in half. HUA HUA HUA! Take that penguins! Take that midnight drillers! I got told to take it easy by my assistant. So I decided to laugh at what we were making. I’ve never seen such funny Kung Fu dolls in all my life. (Actually, I’ve never seen a Kung Fu doll…probably why mine looked like it did). Big goggly eyes. I love goggly eyes. Blue tissue-paper hair. Clay bright-red lipstick lips. Big wooden stick bodies, with very fashionable Kung Fu clothes. Imagine your typical Kung Fu outfit with purple felt sleeves and pink sparkly sequin buttons. Very pretty. My Kung Fu dolls will kick your ass!

Feeling a bit better about life again (thank god for crafty sessions), I decided to go and treat myself to some Vietnamese food, in anticipation for my upcoming trip to lovely Vietnam! I threw in some Mexican burritos for good measure, and it was damn tasty. Sat here now with my leftover fresh spring rolls and just finished a freaking awesome, but expensive, Mars Bar. Imported food, expensive, but a MUST.

Nine days until Vietnam. Brand-spanking new Green rucksack ordered (pretty pink rucksack, living in my wee attic at home, please don’t think you’ve been replaced…rather think of this new rucksack as your brother, or hot new lover…he looks strong and I just know he’s going to be up for an adventure…Africa will always be your’s, but can new Green rucksack have Asia…?). A screen test for a cool acting job set for friday. A dvd series of English language learning, a.k.a me in a shop buying groceries, me in an office. haha. Can’t wait. Waiting to hear back from an audition last week for my DREAM job. No pressure there….!

Yes, life is good again.

water in a teacup.

2011 has unfolded wonderfully so far….

*I have booked my ‘one-way’ flight to South East Asia. Vietnam- Ho Chi Minh is first on the cards, and I can’t wait! From the hustle and bustles of motorbikes in the city to the paradise beaches to the magical temples of Cambodia to a dolphin land to lush jungles of tree houses and river tubing through fairy forests of Laos to inspiring architecture and limestone peaks of the north of Vietnam, it is going to be truly amazing.
*When browsing in the book shop last week I was followed around by a local guy who had a few words of wisdom for me: ‘Life is like a river, live your life like the river’ was the first thing he said to me. He then found me later on and reminded me that if your pour water into a teacup it always takes the shape of the cup. He told me to live my life like that. Change. Always changing. Always moving with the river of life. Never stop moving with that flow. Never stop changing your shape, always move. A wise man. The right advice at the right time I feel.
*This year is all about change. Let’s see how that goes….
I have made many resolutions over the years but this year I aim to keep them:
*Write everyday. Blog, email, a note for me, a letter to you, an idea.
*Finish my degree!! Wonderful lady…for you…and for me :)
*Be happy everyday. Might seem cliche, but won’t it just make life so much easier if I can be happy everyday?
Rather than write them here, I shall go make them happen. 
What are your resolutions? What special treats do you have planned for this beautiful, new year?
Reading: The Elephant Vanishes- Haruki Murakami.
              South East Asia on a shoestring- Lonely Planet.
Watched: Never Let Me Go.
               Black Swan.

bye bye little 2010.

t’was the night before Christmas and all through China not a shimmer of light, not even a stocking….

Surprisingly though, Christmas in China this year was filled with golden coldness and sparkles. A mission to the outskirts of the city for a festive gig that never happened. In it’s place we roller-disco’d to our hearts content. Hope was restored into my life when a taxi driver from Harbin understood me and we had such lovely chats. Onto reggae central to dance the night away amongst orange mojitos and wee whisky’s. Topped off with a run under an eerie bridge chasing a rat (or rather being chased BY a rat). Happy Christmas Eve it was indeed. Santa got his cookies and milk, and a little stumpy carrot for the reindeer’s too.
Then came Christmas. We unwrapped our sparkly gifts and made the most delicious blueberry and chocolate pancakes with strawberries on the side, accompanied by a Christmas breakfast juice concoction. A lazy day, sprawled on the sofa, mesmerised by the classic Christmas films, eagerly anticipating our turkey later in the evening.
What a lovely turkey it was. Juicy and perfect. As were the trimmings, and the free wine went down nicely too. A Christmas in China. A relaxing, magical, delicious day….
Goodbye to 2010 was celebrated in style in Hong Kong. A train ride to Chungking Mansions, hazy reunion hugs, a boat ride across the chilly sea to the party island, a traditional tea ceremony with dinner, strawberry cocktails, dancing in the street as if it were 1997, it was 1997! Ribena with a little ‘moonshine’, a ridiculous hidden club of wealth, free champagne, sparkles, glitter hats, peace signs upon peace signs, happy friend time,  chocolate danish, Indian feasts of hilarity, escalator upon escalator, a Thai troll and then a final breakfast. 
Hello wonderful 2011.