Weekly Photo Challenge: Evanescent


1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other themed photos:


Seen in Tianjin



Weekend in Tianjin

I had a lovely weekend in Tianjin, though I wouldn’t call the city a “must-see.” It offers a few fine sights so a weekend is certainly enough, but I really went because it’s the one place close by that I haven’t been to.

We arrived Friday night around quarter to nine. It was eas enough to find the taxi queue but finding an honest driver was another story. Since there’s a queue you get whom you get. Our driver first tried to get us to pay 200 rmb and forego the meter, but we have been around enough to know for whose advantage that would be. We had to go from Tianjin South station to right by the Tianjin Eye, the world’s largest Ferris wheel sitting on a bridge. It is quite a distance, but not a 160 rmb drive. On return it cost 60 rmb. (Even if there’s a night surcharge it’s not that high.)

Our first day we went to the Tianhao Temple, which is located in a nice Chinese Ancient Street with Qing dynasty architecture and lots of crafts and food stalls. If I worked for some Chinese tourism board here, I would launch a campaign to get higher quality, more unique offerings for prospective shoppers. That’s lacking in these venues which are pretty much the same from town to town.

We decided to walk to the Wudadao district where the French and British concession were in the 19th century. The walk took a few hours, but the day was nice and the conversation pleasant. If we wanted we could have hopped on the subway or a bus.

Along the way we saw the China House, which is known for the shards of pottery embedded in the concrete gates and walls. It’s gloriously tacky. Since the Lonely Planet said the interior wasn’t worth seeing, we decided not to spend the $10 or so going inside.

In Wudadao we found the new plaza, which is actually just a small shopping center encircling the track that Eric Liddell, of Chariots of Fire fame, designed. We later found the site of his home, but weren’t impressed with the new building they’ve erected there.

On Sunday I chose to go up in the Tianjin Eye, the world’s fourth tallest Ferris Wheel with two of my friends. Had I known the wait would be two and a half hours, I probably would have gone with the others to explore the city more. Anyway, eventually we got through the line and the view was breathtaking. We lucked out on getting a clear day. I wouldn’t bother going on a day with the usual pollution.

We stayed at the Tianjin Riverside Holiday Inn, which was a fine choice. The rooms are modern and well equipped. We had a few hiccups though they were all worked out. There were five of us, three women and a married couple. I booked the room for the three women with IHG Rewards points. The room was large enough for three according to the website. Our first night the third person was delayed due to work, but I confirmed with reception that we would be three and we’d need a third bed the next night. No problem.

Silent Sunday



Chinese Zumba?

Here’s my first stab at an iMovie. It’s less than a minute long. The guy in the orange was so joyful.

On Meditation

I used to meditate twice daily, but fell off the bandwagon. I did feel quite serene then. Time to resume? Sure.

Here’s a starter’s guide.

Bullet Journals

In Indonesia both Tara and I dedicated a good amount of time to goal meeting and avoiding procrastination. Our trainees are busy teachers and like us have important goals that we want to achieve, but finding the time to get to work is tough. It seems other chores crop up and little gets done. I hate that I do so little writing during the school year. I put so much time into teaching and put my own writing on the back burner.

One habit I hope will fix this is starting and keeping a Bullet Journal. The video above explains how to make one and how they can empower you.

Another tactic I’m employing (though not as much as I should) I learned from a Coursera class called “Learning How to Learn.” It’s a great 4 week course to improve learning skills for people of any age, but especially for high school and college students. The professor advocates the “Pomodoro Method” to beat procrastination. The name comes from an Italian expert who had a timer that looked like a tomato (tomato in Italian is “pomodoro”). The tactic is to set the timer for 25 minutes and to get to the task you need to complete. Don’t let anything stop you! What you’ll find is at first, you are tempted to not work. You’ll have an urge to complete a “short” chore, to check email, etc. Ignore that temptation. Soon those unrelated temptations fall away and you make progress. In fact often, I’ll be writing and the timer goes off and I’ll stretch for a couple minutes and do another 25.

Give it a try!

What’s your experience with procrastination? How do you overcome it?



There’s a lot I’d rather do with my time, but this week I’ve got to organize my stuff. I haven’t culled clothing based on whether they spark joy, but I have rolled up all my all my knit shirts. I’ve found if I roll them and stand them up they fit the drawer perfectly and I can see each item. (She still lays each shirt on a side, I’m laying them on an edge so they’re going up and down.) I think I can fit twice as much in a drawer and see each item.

I have eliminated several bags of papers I’ve collected — tax forms that are more than 7 years old, my ACT and SAT scores, loads of notebooks. I have kept a few poems and stories I wrote in grammar school. There’s no need to delete my entire history.

Civility at Work

I admire how this young Hong Kong protestor calls attention to the two men who are apparently spies and have been following him. He does it with respect and civility showing how the Chinese government operates and the risk those who want democracy face in the “One Country/Two Systems” era.

I pray nothing bad happens to this man.

Last Class: IMIS 14-2

Before the semester started I emailed our Foreign Affairs liaison to say I thought the IMIS 14-2 sophomores would be best served if another, more authoritative teacher taught the class. I said while I liked the students as people, I felt they weren’t learning as much as they should. Moreover, I’d taught them for two semesters already.

They were a handful and their grades in English 2 were lower than English 1, when I’d hoped the grades would have gone up. Several students had been caught cheating so a clean slate seemed like a good idea to me.

However, I would up getting them. That was okay, and while many goofed off and chatted in Chinese about whatever, I did enjoy teaching those who tried.

We only offer three English courses in this program. The last class for me is usually a movie or something fun. This class should have been held on a Thursday morning, but due to some ball-dropping by an office worker a colleague and I had to go get our medical exams for our work visas on Thursday morning. We had to make up the class on Thursday night, which was inconvenient for several students.

So no one really wanted to be at this class. Well, we watched an episode of Doctor Who after reviewing our finals. When the program was done, I told the students I had enjoyed teaching them and wished them well. I said, I’d see them around campus and would love to hear from them from time to time. Then I dismissed them. What surprised me was that many didn’t leave.

Then Irina, a woman who rarely speaks in English or seems to like school at all, came up and hugged me. More followed suit as they thanked me and a couple said they loved me. It was so touching, especially since China is not a hugging culture. Some started to cry and I did too. It just goes to show, you never really know how you affect people and it’s a big reason why I do what I do.

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