Anticipation

Anticipate your fate as it streams in through the cracks, sending currents of light straight to your heart.

You breathe in and

out the door you go, clicking the handle four times for luck. And four minutes later you walk and talk and slip into the pace of the day without looking back.

The last seat is yours for the taking and with burning eyes you sink down.

Sleep only comes to those who can quiet their minds but your mind is vibrating at ten million beats a second, and your blood is pumping so fast you could explode at any given moment. Right there on the bus a rainbow would appear, jolting energy out from all its colours of the world, landing smack bang on peoples’ heads and then everyone would shuffle off the bus in pure politeness.

You’re a daydreamer, you dream away the days in a blur of imagine…

Imagine if everyday felt like this, like anything could happen, like contentness swirling through your veins and shooting out your fingertips and making things come alive. The moon is glowing. They say it’s the pollution. But you just see a glow. The brightest glow that carries you home and into bed where you don’t sleep because how can you sleep when you feel like this?

Cicadas shriek, you smile but look away before they smile back, your eyes are on the sky, the prize, something bigger. You’re drowning in it and you don’t mind one bit. It makes your nails grow faster, your eyes blink and blink and it’s almost here, but you don’t want it to end.

They say anticipation is sweeter, where days blend together from the roots to the tops of the highest branches collecting nectar as they go. Everything floats up, including you, and you try to grab onto something but you can’t stop rising and soon who knows where you’ll end up?

But then…

As quickly as it all built up, it slows, to the pace of a snail. Keyboards click and the water bubbles up and a haze covers the city. You nestle into it, these last moments. Stretching them out until the end of the day. If only you could freeze this feeling into miniature flower-shaped ice cube molds. Everyday when you crave to caress the clouds once more, just squeeze out a frozen flower and as it tumbles into the half empty glass, wait…

…for it to hit the bottom, sending water swishing up making your glass totally and utterly full. Let it float up, the flower and your heart and as it comes to a halt in the middle, sending little ripples of spring blossom out across the water, feel that familiar anticipation flood your everything. Let it linger, melting into a maze of memories that is like playing your favourite song on repeat from morning until night, day after day.

Then let it repeat, again.

Watermelons and Positivity

Watermelons rattle and rumble in the back of trucks on every corner of every street. Competition is fierce and with a quick ‘knock knock’, the winner of the watermelon wars can be identified pretty quickly. That’s when you know you can trust a fruit seller. The simple techniques they use to distinguish the good from the bad. A sniff here, a shake there, and you’ve got the best apples in town. They care. They want you to enjoy their fruit so they’ll go the extra mile to ensure you get the best of the best. That’s why it’s nice to buy local. Fruits of the season from the fruit bearers themselves. It’s all well and easy to hop into Walmart for a bunch of grapes or a conveniently-chopped up pineapple, but where did they come from exactly? Don’t you want something fresher?

I love China for that reason. Well, as long as they’re not using too many pesticides that is. You can live your life here according to what fruits are in season. Right now it is most definitely watermelon season and I am positively devouring them on a daily basis. For some reason this fruit talk reminds me how easy it to forget where you are and how different your life is from the one you grew up living. When I was a kid, I could never have opened my front door and had my every sense overwhelmed in the way I do now. I kind of love the way you can just buy fruit from the back of trucks and freshly-baked bread from two Uyghur people who have set up a mini mobile bakery under the trees near my office. Once they’re done baking, they take turns sleeping in a hammock. They have been there for years and I love crossing the bridge and knowing that I’m getting closer as the sweet, salty scent of the baking bread wafts up to rest on the end of my nose.

Sometimes when you think about something, it just happens. This past week I think I started to feel a bit isolated from people here. I have decided to start revising all my old Chinese that I might have forgotten so that I can start having more deep and meaningful conversations again. I also thought how much of a pity it is that we often sit next to people and shove our faces into our phones instead of making eye contact or striking up a conversation. On Monday I was on the bus on my way to yoga and I really wanted to read my book. The man next to me started asking me the usual questions in Chinese such as ‘Where are you from?’ ‘What do you do here?’ etc. I politely replied, but then not so politely pulled out my book and stuck my nose in. I felt guilty but at the same time, I wasn’t really in the mood for chatting to a stranger.

And that is our big problem as humans. Back in the day, I’m pretty sure we would have been happy to talk to anyone. We were more community-focused, more dependent on our neighbours and fellow human beings. Nowadays we’d rather talk to our ‘friends’ who live in our phone. I don’t like this. So on Wednesday night after yoga when I hopped off the bus and saw a guy who lives in the same building as me, I immediately smiled and walked over to him, and without even asking I just walked home with him and asked him how he’s doing? What does he do here? Does he feel happy? etc etc. I could have just nodded my head in acknowledgement and continued on my merry way, and believe me, the introvert inside me was screaming for me to do this, but I decided to take the opportunity to be more friendly and isn’t that how we make friends anyway? By stepping out of our comfort zones, approaching people and recognizing that they too, are a human, just like you, and they deserve to be given a chance to become more than a mere stranger.

I think this is a chain effect, because as I turned the corner out of my apartment complex today, I found myself walking directly next to an elderly Chinese man. I’m talking synchronized walking, step for step, exact same pace. I actually admitted to myself that this felt pretty funny and I looked at him to see if he had noticed this too. Before I even had time to catch his eye, he had struck up a conversation. And that is how I found myself walking to the bus stop today with a total stranger, chatting about life and work and the differences between China and Scotland. As I neared the bus stop, I said bye and have a nice day! I may never meet this person again, but it sure was nice to know that not all humans are cold and unfriendly. Of course, I’m not totally naïve here. I know it may have purely been because I am a foreigner and he was just curious, but hey, it’s better than nothing. And afterwards, I spotted a colleague on the bus and said good morning, and then I though to myself, wow! Even in such a bit city you can still build a little community and feel like you really belong, no matter your age or gender or where you come from.

Here’s to more talking and laughing with strangers that may become friends, to more positivity, and of course…more watermelons.

Happy Weekend!

Love,

Luna

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 Image by the talented Chhuy-ing.

Love Birds: a short flight of fancy

He glimpsed her through the flocks, and had to admit, her eyes really glowed against all of that green. It was obvious she was from a similar breed. The way she moved, so free from inhibitions and the fact she was as happy alone as when she was surrounded by others. Plucking up some inebriated courage, he flew over to her and introduced himself. Her eyelashes fluttered and the rest, well, the rest was history.

She took him back to her cosy little nest, which she had built all by herself on the southern tip of the city. She liked to be close to the ocean, her secret getaway when the city took its toll, and of course her gate way to other lands, other skies. He lived more to the east, higher up in height and higher up the ladder. He cruised with a different type altogether, and yet it is more than likely that they would have passed each other at some point or other, if not today, then upon some other eve.

There was an immediate understanding, perhaps owing to their breed. A mischievous look from her was all it took to ruffle his feathers and after that first encounter she found herself flapping all over the place. Her heart was in her stomach and she felt as if she’d just flown around the world and back. She couldn’t wait to see him again. Sending out a message of flirtation, she waited for a reply. It came, after some time. Maybe it had been held up by the storm or lost in the wind, she told herself calmly. Except she didn’t feel calm. She was anxious and already planning the nest they would build together one day. She tried to slow down but it was so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of it all. Her heart began to soar too high, too fast. Knowing that she might get knocked down at some point, she retreated a little.

And every time she did so, he would pop up and carry her along on his dangerous flight of love, or was it lust? She began to feel addicted to the adrenaline of it all. The way he would pick and choose their route, the things they would see and do, and then after a tumultuous ride of highs and lows, he’d dangle her over the edge and she really could snap at any moment, falling back down to earth with a broken heart, a broken wing or two. She knew it was risky but she had been flying solo so long and this adventure was new and exciting and who knew what would happen next? Maybe he would finally make it official and tell all his friends. She didn’t know how much longer she could handle being referred to as his ‘bird’. She didn’t want to be anyone’s ‘bird’. So, she decided to wait it out.

They glided through the seasons, both departing frequently and flying off in different directions. The summer passed in a haze of humidity and absence. With the arrival of autumn though, they became a little closer. It started to get cold out there and it’s always nicer to seek warmth from another. She had grown used to his delay in communication and started to accept it as normal, even though others were whistling all around her, reaching out to her with their wide, open arms. She darted off every time one of them approached. She wanted him, only him, in all his mysterious glory. And sometimes she really did have him. They would be hovering on the edge of something solid, something real, and as she glanced at him with those big, watery eyes, he would take off.

Back to her nest she would go, where she would overthink every single thing she had said, every move she had made. It was obvious they were not on the same path. She stuck around regardless, daring herself to get hurt. And on moonlit evenings she would look out and wonder what he was up to? Was he building their nest? Or was he flitting around, creating his own world? They were circumnavigating, it was clear. Maybe her inner compass had broken? Was it possible for her to have lost herself this much?

Having reached her limit, she asked him outright: “Will you ever be ready to build a nest together?” He didn’t respond. He stayed very still, but something inside him had flown off. The next day, he really flew, leaving her to pick up all the stray feathers, the aftermath. She needed to clear her head with sea breeze and she knew just the place for this.

As she flew home amongst the stars, the mountains jutting out below, she could feel the past year falling away. It wasn’t going to be an easy journey. There were so many places they had graced together, but she flew solo once upon a time and she sure as hell would do it again. She thought back to the night they had met. She had no idea it was on the horizon. And yet, if you asked her now, she would tell you she would do it again. Over and over again. Those adrenaline-fueled flights of fancy aren’t every day occurrences. They are pretty special. And anyway, it’s not that difficult to heal a broken wing, a broken heart. Especially when there’s a whole world out there to explore. Lucky for her, her wanderlusting wings heal pretty quickly.

Where to next? She wondered.

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 Image sourced from here.

Home is everywhere

“Oh hi, we haven’t seen you in a while.”

This was not the greeting I was expecting when I returned to my favourite local beef noodle restaurant in the back alley behind my old apartment in Taipei. Seeing as I hadn’t lived there for three years, I assumed I would be forgotten. Just another foreign face among many. But I was wrong. They hadn’t forgotten me. They smiled at me like I was an old friend and they remembered my precise order. As the old tattooed Taiwanese guy went over to slice some noodles into my bowl, I sat there feeling amazed. Most of the time, nothing changes. We assume because we’ve changed, that everything will have changed. But these people who run successful restaurants, they are still there. And what keeps people coming back is this kind of attitude. He could have just been pretending, but it seemed pretty genuine. It felt good to be ‘home’. And that broth! No one can make beef noodle soup as good as that place. I walked back to the apartment in a state of awe.

My smile remained as I noticed the amount of letters lying in the basket of my bicycle under the stairs. Yes, my bicycle still sits there, waiting for my return one day. She may be covered in rust, with love-heart shaped dust, but she is as loyal as ever. The fact that my old roommate has let it sit there for years, and that no one else has dared throw it out too, makes me feel overjoyed. Returning to Taiwan is really like returning home. The streets still sparkle, still smell of the same deliciousness. The same old men play cards in the park, nestled deep under the trees where squirrels and butterflies frolic by day and bats by night. Everyone in Taiwan looks happy.

Anyway, enough about how much I love Taiwan. That’s not something I need to annoy you all with. I just wanted to write about the feeling of coming home, even if it’s not your ‘actual’ home. I tend to feel that way in a lot of places, especially Scotland and Taiwan, and South Africa of course. But even in places like Luang Prabang too. When I visited there for the first time in February this year, I instantly fell in love. As I walked the streets dotted with monks flitting in and out of temples, I felt like I’d been there before, like I had lived there once upon a time. I didn’t need to use a map. The streets felt familiar, the people like family.

Perhaps it’s a mindset. A way to instantly feel comfortable in a place. Just let it assume the role of ‘home’ and you’re instantly on the path to a wonderful experience. As the saying goes ‘home is where the heart is’. And if we break this down into simple terms, the heart is wherever you are. And thus, everywhere you go is technically ‘home’. I like that. Of course there will be some places that just don’t float your boat, and that’s OK. You don’t need to give your heart to everywhere. But if you feel at ease, please open your heart and accept a place with wide open arms and a curious hunger for everything that place encompasses. Don’t be afraid to let it crawl under your skin, burrowing there forever more. That’s what makes us human. The fact we can let things, people, places affect us. The fact we are able to open ourselves up and say “yes, here I am, here’s my heart, I am vulnerable.” We should want to be moved, want our hearts and our world to be rocked on a daily basis. Why settle for anything less? Find the place, the person, the job, the book…whatever it is that makes you feel at ‘home’, makes your heart feel like it’s right where it’s supposed to be in that moment.

And if you think you haven’t found ‘home’ yet, maybe you just need to open yourself up a bit and start collecting things around you to build your ‘home’ in all its metaphorical glory. Live a life that blows your mind everyday.

Love,

Luna

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The Gratitude Attitude

I am grateful for every breath that guides me through this sweet, crazy little thing we call ‘life’. We shouldn’t squander these precious days with nonexistent boredom, pointless scrolling through other peoples lives, being negative or complaining. We are lucky to be alive, to be able to call this earth- in all its glory and misery- our home. Let us be more positive, more kind, give more thanks, and in return maybe we can reap its sweet nectar and share it with those around us. We are the lucky ones. The ones who can grace these lands, absorbing it all for our greedy little hearts and minds. So today I give thanks to this beautiful earth for continually looking after me. I hope I am looking after you too, earth.

It’s amazing what a little bit of gratefulness can do for you. Every morning at my work desk, I write a page of things I feel grateful for and it really does help. A feeling of calm immediately whooshes over me, and the more grateful I am, the more light my life feels, the more little things jump out at me and squeal for appreciation. We shouldn’t take these small things that make up our day for granted. The way the sun begins to rise a little earlier every day turning the leaves a deep gold which bounces off your window, creeping through the gap in your curtains waking you gently from your slumber. Access to water, hot water at that. Inspiration in the form of beautiful literature, music that makes you want to dance throughout the whole day, smiles from strangers that automatically paint a smile across your face too. Getting excited to make a cup of warm tea. Tea soothes and solves everything. Catching someone in a ‘moment’, whether they have just tripped and pick themselves back up with a giggle, or have just received a funny message from a lover and their happiness becomes your happiness. Food glorious food that nourishes and heals you. Kisses from loved ones, both near and afar, real and in emoji-form. These are the things we should be saying thanks for each and every day.

It’s pretty simple. If we were just a bit more grateful for the things we did have, such as legs to walk across this spectacular world with, eyes to glimpse all of the beauty that surrounds us everywhere we turn, ears to hear all those magical voices and accents from every corner of the globe, all those birds chilling in the treetops, instead of constantly striving for the things we don’t have, and to be honest don’t really need, such as that brand new fast car, a bigger house with an even bigger mortgage, the latest smart phone, I’m pretty sure the world would be a happier place. If you’re lucky enough to be able to see and hear what lies around you, give thanks to it. To the birds that wake you up with their pretty melodies, to the guards that keep watch over your apartment complex 24/7 and always greet you with a smile, to the people who empty your rubbish bin every day who whistle as they work, to the waiter in the restaurant who constantly tops up your water every minute…give thanks to them. And of course to your family and friends who make your world go round!

I promise you’ll feel happier. Go say thank you to someone purely because you think they are an amazing human being. The reaction from them is bound to make you feel good too, and so the cycle goes. Also, don’t forget to thank yourself for being awesome! After every yoga practice our teacher reminds us to thank ourselves for the practice, and she is so right. Not only should you thank your body for being strong enough to undergo such a practice, but also you should thank it for supporting you and allowing you to live a healthy life. You should also continually thank your heart for being open and not only being able to dish out gratitude but also being able to accept it too. It’s important that you learn to be able to accept a compliment. If you constantly put yourself down and never tell yourself ‘I love you’ or give thanks for having lived through another stunning day, how can you expect other people to love you or feel grateful for you? Don’t forget yourself. You matter too.

And so, I thank whoever actually reads my ramblings and gets something out of it, and I thank myself for being disciplined enough to actually sit and write and for enjoying this creative process.

Love,

Luna

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Starting and Stopping

The last time I let my heart run wild, sending quick little movements out from my fingertips, the days were cold and the nights were colder. Recently I’ve been filling notebooks with my thoughts, sharing them only with myself and the contents of my bag where the notebook lives. I want to share. I have so many ideas fluttering around and I can’t count how many times I’ve opened a blank page and let my feelings pour out. And yet, I can’t click ‘publish’. Enough is enough. Sometimes if you don’t do something for a long time, it can be really hard to start again. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve started and stopped yoga, started and stopped being a vegetarian, started and stopped starting and stopping. Today I must start again, even if the words don’t inspire, don’t strike a chord with anyone but myself. It’s so easy to fall off the bandwagon, but today I’m jumping back on. Hello words on my screen, what do you want to say?

Firstly, they want to say that you should never let other people’s negative opinions affect you. I have only ever written to inspire, to make people happy, to make them think. Sometimes I even write just for me, to capture a moment, a flurry of feelings that I want to set down to look back on at a later stage in my life. If someone takes offence at writing that is only there to inspire, then that is their problem. It should never ever stop you from continuing to write.

People are weird. Well, people are generally very awesome, but there are definitely some negative odd balls out there. Usually when people act like that, they have their own issues swarming around. Lately I’ve decided life is just too short to surround yourself with anyone who is less than lovely. There have been days where I’ve thought I would actually rather hang out with the characters in my book than be involved in the drama that can emanate around this city. That’s when I wish all my best friends lived in the same place, but alas that would be too good to be true, and so instead it will suffice to seek out the positive people. The people who want to talk about ideas instead of gossiping about others, the people who seek to make the world a better place instead of polluting it with their destructive, selfish habits. We can be friends!

The same applies for everything in life. If you are fortunate enough to be able to choose your job, your city or village or wherever you want to live, your partner, your friends, your food…choose carefully. Quit complaining and change something if you’re not happy and choose the life that best reflects who you are and find those people that make your heart squeal, your soul smile, your whole being relax. Ditch the life that makes you walk on eggshells, makes you wake up in the morning dreading your day. Live your best life and smile and be grateful everyday!

Love,

Luna

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Print can be bought on Etsy here.

We all float on

We float. We float all afternoon under the warm rays of the sun, paddling furiously like puppy dogs every time the sun slips behind the peaks of the mountains. The river winds on and on for days, and we are pulled along by its currents, by our alcohol-induced laughter. Every time a rock nears us, jutting out from the watery world below, we work together to avoid the inevitable onslaught of bruises, of losing someone to the powers of the river. But it happens. We lose someone. Their tire whisked away in the swirls of the current, only to wash up on a big, old rock, planting them there like a sun-basking mermaid. Pretty soon though, they rejoin our island of multi-cultural tires, each one carrying along a different country, a different face. From above, we must look like a miniature world. Each tire island representing a different continent, all brought together under one magnificent moon.

We are there to float. We are there to have fun. For two hours we drift into the setting sun, sipping our homemade concoctions. We sing songs from all around the world and grab onto strangers’ hands and ankles so that we can stick together. We don’t know each others names, but that’s totally fine. We give free foot massages instead, and talk about life and love and laugh so much our tires almost do somersaults, flipping us underneath. These carefree days are the most beautiful. The days where you can float down a river billions of miles from home with absolute strangers and not feel weird about it. In fact, if anything, it feels completely and utterly normal. You float. You greet. You cheers. You turn to the person in the tire next to you, smile at them, then throw your head back, letting your hair tickle the surface of the river and you just laugh. Life can be so random. One moment you are sitting in a café by yourself, the next you’re floating down a river, declaring your love for all these people you just met. Friends forever with your tubing family.

You will probably wake up the next day in a hungover haze, but you’ll be happy. Happy you had the chance to encounter all of these people from different worlds. To float with them on a beautiful river, twirling and swirling through the currents and the calm. And when you really think about it, that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? We float through moments, through years, with strangers who become family, friends, lovers. Most of the time it’s calm, but there’s the occasional current of chaos that we need to overcome in order to be able to float on again. But that is life, so let’s just enjoy the ride. The crazier the adventure, the better I say!

Imaged sourced from here.

You are more than your accomplishments

Curled up in a cosy little huddle around the coffee table, we listened intently as Maggie chattered away, a sparkle in her eye and a genuine smile upon her face. When our director Tre told us that Margaret (Maggie) Edson had replied to his email and agreed to Skype with us all, I thought he was pulling our leg. Why would a Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright want to Skype with a group of random actors in Shenzhen, China? Well, probably because she is one of the kindest, most down-to-earth people I have ever had the chance to meet (if meeting over Skype counts). For some reason when we think of someone famous who has won prestigious awards we more often than not assume that they have no interest in speaking to the little people (us). Why would we think in this way? As I ran into the room and plopped down on the floor, cross-legged, Maggie immediately greeted me and it was with real interest that she asked me questions, not just out of nicety. She remembered all of our names and she listened to our questions and thoughts intently. She seemed as happy as we were to have this unique opportunity to discuss her play and the production we put on of it. It felt like talking to an old friend, someone we had known our whole lives. Everything she said, regarding both the play and real life, really hit me hard. This woman is wise I tell you. So wise. I couldn’t stop smiling and nodding along with everything she said. And she is funny! I may have laughed a lot during the ninety minutes that we all chatted. Now I feel more inspired than ever and I wanted to share a few things that she talked to us about because I feel that these are things we all need to acknowledge.

Firstly, we need to slow down. I mean, really slow down. This is particularly important in our modern-day technology-fueled ‘go go go’ lifestyle. We never stop. We wake up, go to work, work all day, go home, sleep, and then we do it all again. We say ‘yes’ to everything. We fill up our schedules until they are positively bursting at the seams with both work and social engagements. It’s almost like we’re scared to stop, scared to stop ticking things off a list of never-ending activities. Why must we do something every single night after work? What’s wrong with going home, cooking a delicious meal, climbing into bed and reading until we drift into sleep? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with that, and yet still we inject our lives with such chaos, until before we know it, we are having an absolute meltdown. This is very true for Shenzhen. Living in such a young city filled with budding entrepreneurs, this city is our playground. We are the generation that has been put in charge of creating and developing the image and future of this baby city. And we don’t know when to stop. We can’t stop. We are addicted to accomplishing things. We work full-time, we party full-time and still, we are hungry for more. One more business plan, one more TV commercial, one more drink.

Well, this past weekend I realised enough is enough. After a magically-inspiring but busy week of performing ‘Wit’ every night, I decided that this weekend was ‘my’ weekend. I told the TV commercial people I needed to rest. I sold my ticket for the music festival I’d been so excited to attend. I ran to the supermarket and stocked up on all my favourite foods. I lit my candles and pulled out my fairy lights to create a more Christmasy mood. I played relaxing music, watched movies, read a lot. I didn’t go anywhere until Sunday night when it was time to Skype Maggie and it was probably the most relaxing weekend I’ve had in a long time. But I need to admit something…

I felt guilty. Should I have gone to the music festival even though I was tired and it was raining heavily? What about the TV commercial people? Had I let them down? Maybe I should be writing instead of watching movies? I better go outside and exercise a bit.

Those were the thoughts than ran through my mind continually. Then it struck me. Have we actually forgotten how to slow down, how to relax? What happened to us that made us want to accomplish so much? All I accomplished this past weekend was some much-needed rest, and let me tell you, I feel happier than ever. I woke up smiling. My skin has a glow again. My head isn’t so fuzzy and my heart feels inspired. Maggie told us that she currently has an elderly relative staying with her at the moment and she was intrigued to watch this older lady just doing nothing. Just sitting in an armchair with the cat on her lap. And yet, she looked so content. Content doing nothing. I believe that is something our generation have no idea how to do. We do yoga. We meditate. We sleep in on the weekends. But do we really ever fully relax? Is there a way that we could somehow remind ourselves that it is totally OK to just lie on our beds and stare into space. To sit against a tree in the park and read our books without having to run to catch a bus, a train. To engage in a real conversation with someone without checking our phones or letting our minds drift. Seriously, we need to revert back to a slower-paced life if we want to strive for what we’re all really looking for- that of happiness. We think that if we fast-track that new business of ours we’ll be happy. If we drown ourselves in a decade of debt just so we can have the latest, fanciest car we’ll have found what it is we’re looking for. Goals are gold. We should have goals. But they should not consume us to the extent that they do. As Maggie so kindly reminded us all yesterday, “you are more than your accomplishments.”

She is right. You, me, we are so much more than the sum amount of all that we’ve achieved in our lives so far. I am so proud of all that I’ve accomplished in my mere 28 years on this planet, and yet do you know what I am more proud of, or at least should be more proud of? Who I am. For being a kind, caring, compassionate human being. For always being honest and never harming anyone else. For being able to feel and in return, express these feelings, and for that making me who I am. For all my flaws and quirks, because they are unique to me. When I die one day (sorry, but come on, we all will die eventually. Wit reminded me of that, and we shouldn’t be scared), noone is going to remember me for the things I’ve accomplished, the gifts I bought them, the houses I owned, the countries I travelled to, the bicycle I rode. They are going to hopefully remember me because of the relationships I created and allowed to flourish. For being a real friend, an ear that was always ready to listen, a shoulder that was ready for any tears or laughter that came its way. For loving unconditionally and making people smile. For inspiring, if only for a second. These are the things I hope I am remembered for and the things you may also hope to be remembered by. Achieving amazing things in one’s life is awesome, but loving other human beings, laughing so hard you snort, watching little humans you brought into the world grow and blossom into big kind human beings, that is what matters. Relationships, with both yourself and others, and of course the world around you. Nurture those, instead of your greedy little materialistic desires.

Wit. A play that at first glance seems so full of arrogance and an overwhelming urge to want more knowledge, more recognition, is actually a play about kindness, about the human touch. Once you push all that 17th century metaphysical poetry aside and really engage with what is going on under all those complicated big words, you will notice a vulnerability, a gentleness that is buried within all of us. And sometimes it takes something like dying to let that out. Vivian Bearing is a professor who spends her life buried knee-deep in a pile of John  Donne books. Then she gets cancer. And who is there to comfort her? Well, noone actually, because she spent so much time and energy on John Donne papers that she never truly formed a real relationship with another human being. Thank goodness for the character I played- Susie, the nurse, or we might have all left the theatre in an even bigger pile of tears. Susie brings that element of kindness back into Vivian’s world. It was always there, lurking in the shadows of all that poetry and philosophy, and yet she couldn’t quite see it. E.M Ashford (her professor in university, a wise, kind woman) tried to instil it in her, but in that moment all she cared about was gaining more knowledge.

Moral of the story? It’s perfectly OK to follow your path in life, to ignite that passion within you, but please never lose sight of who you really are- that of a human being with a heart made to love and spread kindness wherever it goes. When you’re on your death bed strive to spend your last days surrounded by the people you love and who love you back, because those thesis papers and contracts and business plans sure as hell won’t be keeping you company. That’s not to say that success in what you love isn’t important too, but it’s all about finding a balance. Sign that contract, but at the same time turn your phone off on sundays and take your kids out for ice-cream in the park. Hold meetings all day and write until your hands might fall off, but at night have dinner with your loved ones and really listen to what it is they’re saying. Slow down and enjoy all of those little moments because they are so much more meaningful than anything else will ever be. Those are the moments that will flash across your mind. The faces of your loved ones, the way they sounded when they laughed, the smell of lavender growing in your garden, the taste of birthday cake.

Thank you Maggie for not only writing an incredibly, insightful play that struck such a chord within us, that brought a diverse group of talented people together from all around the world, but also for reminding us that we are far more than our accomplishments add up to. We are human beings and we are capable of the most magical thing in the world- kindness.

Let’s all slow down, be kind and learn to really appreciate life again.

Love,

Luna

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Winter Song

Those chilly mornings where you alarm clock goes off and it’s still pitch black outside and you’ve barely slept because life.is.busy. But you jump out of bed anyway and run to the hot shower shivering and smiling. You are healthy and even though you only really sleep in your apartment at the moment, that’s totally OK because that just means life is good and fulfilling and fun. It really must be winter now because the nosy neighbour across the road who usually stares into your apartment each morning hoping to get a peek at a naked foreigner is not in his usual spot. He must be huddled up indoors. Hopefully he doesn’t own a set of binoculars. You should keep your curtains closed, you tell yourself, but then you would miss out on the beautiful rising of the sun and the pretty view of trees blowing in the breeze. You keep them open.

On the way to work you spot an elderly Chinese gentleman grinning. He is carrying a McDonald’s brown paper bag and you chuckle silently to yourself. It’s funny how the West has just crept in here, almost overnight. Back home if you saw an old Scottish gent nibbling on some noodles for breakfast, would you giggle too? Another man cycles by with a plant the size of a jungle on the back of his bicycle. No one bats an eyelid. Everyone zigzags along the path, the rat race to get breakfast before anyone else. You skip the baozi stand and opt for a bowl of hot porridge instead. It really is getting cold around these parts and you can’t help but smell that Christmasy scent, just around the corner. Or maybe it’s the copious amounts of cinnamon you just sprinkled over your porridge? Either way, Christmas is coming! You started to feel it this past weekend as you wandered through the flea market in the local art district. Two big, beautiful trees decorated with ballerina cutouts stood smack bang in the centre of the market. People looked happy with their little red noses and bobble hats. You drank warm fresh fruit tea under the trees and ate mini heart-shaped chocolate cakes with a tiny spoon and talked about your plans for the Christmas holidays. Scotland and Ireland for two weeks. It can’t come quick enough and yet at the same time why on earth is time ticking by so fast? How can it be the 1st of December tomorrow already? Slow down please.

The weekend always passes by in a blink of an eye. Sleep Party People graced the stage dressed as bunny rabbits to mark the start of the weekend and you danced and closed your eyes and let the music scoop you up and warm you from the inside out. You slept like the dead and awoke bright eyed and healthy and set about having a productive weekend filled with lots of walking and talking and good food and good people. The perfect mix of relaxation and fun before a week of performing.

Here is to health and happiness and cosy winter days with lovely people.

On Spontaneity

This year has been one of the most spontaneous years of my life. I like to believe that I’m quite a spontaneous person in general, but yesterday as I booked a flight ticket for TODAY, I thought to myself, wow, who even are you?! Two weeks ago my Mum got offered a trip to China for work and she jumped at the chance. Because I’m going home to Scotland for Christmas next month we thought we’ll just wait until then to see each other. However, over the weekend I started thinking how can I possibly not go visit my Mum when she is in the same country as me? China is huge, but still. So yesterday I woke up, came to the office and immediately booked a ticket. I GET TO SEE MY MUM TODAY! Wow, that feels so surreal and amazing. It’s even more exciting because normally what I love about travelling is the anticipation and planning that happens before a trip. This time though, I have no time to plan. That makes it all the more awesome because I have no expectations and I don’t have to wait. I am flying today!

My Mum has been to Beijing and Xi’an so far, and today we will meet in Chengdu in Sichuan province. I have been there once before in 2012 for my friend’s wedding and so this time I will get the chance to finally meet her little girl Tekla, who was born 3 years ago. My Mum has quite a busy schedule, but it’s all fun stuff, such as visiting the Big Buddha in Leshan, going to the panda reserve, frolicking in ancient villages and experiencing the local spicy hotpot cuisine. I can’t wait to see all of these place with her and I can already imagine the amount of hysterical laughter that will ensue. China never fails to amuse and every adventure is guaranteed to be hilarious.

Also, seeing my Mum is just what the doctor ordered. It’s so special for us because usually we only see each other twice a year when I go back to Scotland. Lately I’ve been feeling a little tired and uninspired, but after I get to see my Mum who oozes calm, everything will be wonderful. I just know it.

It’s funny because last week my work spontaneously took us on a weekend trip to Hunan province. It was freezing but beautiful and just the kind of typical adventure you’d expect from China (more on that story later). Anyway, after I got back, I told myself and everyone around me that I won’t be going anywhere until Christmas, and yet here I am, a mere week later and I’m already flying off somewhere else. Haha. Well, that is life and what better way to spend it than to grab every opportunity that comes flying your way. I know I won’t look back when I’m an old poor lady and regret that I used my credit card to pay for this trip because I ran out of money from ‘too much travelling’. Most likely I would regret it if I didn’t go! And so, here I go again, off on another adventure which I’m sure will be filled with funny stories, cute pandas and lots of magical moments with my Muma!

Love,

Luna

p.s. Have you ever spontaneously booked a flight? Have you ever just turned up at the airport and chosen a random destination? I would love to do that sometime!

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