“Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.” — Ray Bradbury
I still spend my days in Penang feeling a little (sometimes a lot) lost — geographically, culturally, emotionally. Don’t even get me started on the seven-story mall, where I stare at the directory, willing the winding corridors and bizarre numbering system to make sense in my brain, while more spatially inclined people whiz up and down the escalators around me, off to the bookstore on Level 3 or the udon kiosk on Level G. I’m slowly figuring it out … which store might sell ice packs or sunglasses or alarm clocks, where I can sit quietly with a cafe mocha and hide for a while, what route home has an honest-to-goodness crosswalk and occasional stretches of, gasp, sidewalk.
On one of my daily walks — the one from the kids’ school to the aforementioned maze of a mall on mostly residential roads with a dearth of scooters (hooray!) and, alas, pavement — I got to thinking about what has made this experience so different from Romania, which I don’t remember hating or crying over or feeling near-constant malaise about. I realized something. I think it’s the pictures. At least partly. In Romania, I was always looking through my camera lens, even if it was only the imaginary one in my brain. I was constantly looking for colorful, different, beautiful, bizarre things to capture. Here, I just see trash, grime, apathy.
So I’m going to start looking through that imaginary lens again. Looking for photographs. Looking for beauty. Looking for something to endear this place to me. I still expect to feel disoriented. But Ray Bradbury says that’s okay, fun even, so I’ll try to embrace the lostness. I’ll turn toward it. I’ll look for it and capture it.
Here’s my first attempt.
When do you feel most disoriented? Can you navigate a mall like a champ? And what did the lens in your brain capture today?
Tags: Children, Creativity, Curiosity, Family, Fun, Growing Up, Kids, Perspectives, Photography, Summer
“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
F is “for everything Thy goodness sends.” See more F’s at Jenny’s.
Tags: Books, Cats, Children, Kids, Photography, Play, Rain, Summer
“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” — Henry James
D is for downpour and distraction and delightful. See more D’s at Jenny’s.
Tags: Autumn, Children, Fall, Halloween, Kids, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Play, Pumpkins
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” — George Eliot
Are you wedded to autumn like Eliot (and me) or to another season? Have you made your annual pumpkin-patch pilgrimage yet? Are your Halloween costumes ready to go??
W is for wheeeeee! and wonderstruck and wedded to autumn. See more W’s at Jenny’s.
Tags: Balance, Children, Fun, Growing Up, Life, Motherhood, Perspectives, Photography, Play
“There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” — Alexander Woollcott
Are the leaves and acorns falling off the trees where you are? What’s your learning-to-ride-a-bike story? And have you patted a fluffy bunny lately?
T is for truth and training wheels and tenderness. See more T’s at Jenny’s.
Tags: Balls, Braids, Children, Family, Outdoors, Photography, Play, Summer, Tires
“If you want sweet dreams, you’ve got to live a sweet life.” — Barbara Kingsolver
What makes your life sweet? What’s your favorite Barbara Kingsolver book? And what fancy hair trick (à la French braids) can you do?
D is for dreams. See more Ds at Jenny’s.
Tags: Camping, Children, Family, Fun, Kids, Motherhood, Nature, Outdoors, Photography
“Camping: The art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet.” — Unknown
Camping is a mixed bag for me. Or should I say, a mixed sleeping bag?
I don’t like bugs. Or sweat. Or dirt. Or marshmallows. But my family does. So I go. Twice a year, as per a verbal agreement between my husband and me, I drag myself into the woods, along with three kids, a gigantic dog, an even more gigantic tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, firewood, s’more fixin’s, peanut butter and jelly fixin’s, water shoes for 5, hiking shoes for 5, stuffed animals for way more than 5, camp dishes and utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, a hefty supply of hand sanitizer, and a thousand other things.
We spend the weekend killing mosquitoes, peeing in bushes, toasting droopy hamburger buns over a campfire that blows smoke in our faces, and getting dirt wedged semi-permanently into our fingernails and toenails. But we also fall asleep to a cricket concert and wake up to an avian serenade. We pick dandelions and track ladybugs. And with sticky, grape-juice-colored fingers, we steer matchbox cars through sand pits and stick tunnels.
So I go. And it’s worth it. Despite the 27 loads of burr-laden laundry that always come home with us.
Does your family camp? Got any favorite ghost stories? And marshmallows — yea or nay?
“X” is for miXed bag … See more Xs at Jenny’s on Thursday.
Tags: Art, Children, Gardening, Kids, Motherhood, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Play, Spring
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Live in the question.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
What questions are you living in? How important are the answers? And don’t you wish they made grown-up-sized rocking horses?
“U” is for unsolved … See more Us at Jenny’s.
Tags: Children, Creativity, Family, Fun, Growing Up, Kids, Personal, Perspectives, Photography
“Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?” — Goldie Hawn
How do you stop, or at least slow, the march of time? What symbolizes time for you? And don’t you wish you could pull off pink ruffles? (I know I do!)
“T” is for time … See more Ts at Jenny’s.
Tags: Baskets, Boys, Children, Easter, Eggs, Holidays, Kids, Nature, Outdoors, Photography
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” — Ray Bradbury
What beautiful stuff do you see around you? What’s your best Easter egg hiding place? And what do you like to find inside those pastel plastic shells?
“S” is for “the beautiful stuff” … See more Ss at Jenny’s.