London, ON, April 2007
Quick note from the road: This is my last night in Shanghai, and I feel ambivalent about leaving. Of course, I want to go home. I miss my wife and kids, and they miss me. Life isn't easy for my wife when I disappear to faraway places. It's hard enough keeping the house on an even keel when we're both around, so when she flies solo, things only get tougher for her.Oh yes, today's picture. It's blurred, but that was the point. I have included a picture of our dog, Frasier, in this entry because the world still needs wiggly puppies, and I need to be around more to enjoy ours. I'll see him Friday night (today, actually, in light of the wacky things that being here does to the calendar), because later this afternoon I begin the long journey home.
Yet at the same time, I'm conscious of the fact that this has been an extraordinary trip that has, in so many ways, changed me. I was privileged to visit a place unlike any I've ever been. I learned more about a nation and a culture than I ever could have learned from reading it in a book. I lived it for a brief time, and got to see a society that struggles with the rapid proliferation of capitalism. I learned this lesson right outside my hotel's front door, when a street vendor approached me and tried to sell me DVDs, shoes and watches. This is a city that is full of such itinerant sales people, hustling up and down the main roads with frightening frequency.
In contrast, I push words around a screen. I know I'll be able to afford to eat tomorrow. I have the right to write whatever I wish - including this blog - free of fear of political recrimination. I lead a charmed life in comparison. The images of this place will remain burned in my consciousness, teaching me that I'm a very lucky person to have the opportunities that I do. And that I'd be very silly indeed to not act on them.
He's a bundle of barely contained energy. As we watch him run free in the enclosed dog run near our house, it occurs to me that the pure joy of a puppy at play can have unintended benefits for his newfound family.
Your turn: The first three words that come to mind when you see this image are...?