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Gracelle
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Blog title: Dancing In the Wind
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Life is a piece of dance. You need to find the right partner to make it beautiful.

True love is the second life, a splendid journey, a stunning experience. Please follow your inside voice, the longing for love and attachment to family, to taste the sweetness of life with me, to share this pure and peaceful joy.

My blog address: http://MillionaireMatch.com/blog/Gracelle
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Life 95 Views 02/18/14
Life sucks. Life is gorgeous.
We're in Heaven, and Hell as well.
With our beloved, it's Heaven.
Otherwise, it's damn Hell.
 
To joy in Heaven, 
We need to find the one.
The one brings light and warmth,
The angel without wings.

 

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Am I Mistress? 153 Views 02/14/14
Here's the truth many once asked for:
In May 2004, a famous professor was invited to an academic meeting in our law school. As a young lecturer(also doing my Ph.D), I posed a question and he highly praised me. It was impressive to the audience.
 
In July, the Prof. got trouble in a scandal: two candidates for his PhD tutorship, the male passed English exam(the obligatory test for PhD in China), the female failed. In the final interview of April he chose the woman. The man felt it unfair and posted it on the Internet. The rivals of the Prof. in law circle took the advantage of this, intended to ruin his fame. (Unlike in US, Chinese universities get funds from the government. Anywhere exist interests, there must be conflicts. This Prof. is sharp and outspoken in academic arguments, so he has some rivals. There're different interests groups in law circle.)
His rivals attacked his personality and professional accomplishments. There was a dispute between two groups in law circle. My law school was in rivals' group, while I supported this Prof's theory (precisely, he translated Judge/ Prof. Richard Posner's theory), namely, Economic Analysis of Law. Prof. Posner is the leading figure of " Chicago School".  It influenced my pragmatism belief. Why? My 1st degree is Economics, so I can understand this new branch of Law and I have great interest in it. That's why my question impressed this Prof so much, back then few Chinese scholars researched on the subject.
 
In August, the situation of academic war got worse. Economic Analysis of Law was criticized as bullshit just because it was translated/ introduced by this Prof. in a scandal. It was frustrating, as I aimed to do research in this field. I also thought it was unfair to mingle his moral level with professional achievement. I mean, they were diffident fields to discuss; we can't judge his academic works through his morality level; besides, no solid evidence for this scandal.
 
So, I wrote an article in pen name to defend this subject and support Posner's theory, and published on Peking University's law-thinker site. ( 10 years ago I was innocent, brave, had strong sense of fairness.) Though with a pen name, I soon caught suspicion, maybe due to my unique fine writing style( unlike dry traditional legal writings) and economic background knowledge. Thus, gossip began and I was regarded as a charming confidant of the Prof., as I did a favor to support him in crisis.
 
In December 2005, Paris,  I met him in international symposia( I studied in Paris I (Sorbonne-Pantheon) University 2005-2006). He asked me to post a letter for his wife. I did, and he invited me to have lunch with his former students. During lunch, he hoped me to show him around the Museum Louvre the next day, as his male students would be busy. The next morning at the entrance I appointed with him to meet at noon, then rushed to class. At noon, I backed to museum to show him around a bit. In the afternoon  he took the flight to china. (My blog Paris)
The gossip went worse because many knew he went to Paris for 2 days. The fact was he stayed in hotel with 2 former male students, and I lived in student dorm with a roommate of Muslim( I didn't eat pork for 1 year). So, NO SEX. Even if he'd like to, I wouldn't agree, as he was married and I also a bit doubted that "scandal". But I didn't asked him about "the female candidate", as I respected his privacy and he looked so honest. For me, he was like academic friend of the same group, easy-going. For him, I was intelligent, cute, nice? I guess.
 
In 2007, China, I accidentally found the info of "the female candidate". My God, she was born in 1970, even older than me. She initially came from an school( not university)in SiChuan Province, then went to Beijing and became adult student of Peking University. She is short(over 150cm)and fat, plain-looking. Her husband was in Sichuan.
Now I realized the " scandal" was a conspiracy. In 2004, her photo was posted online, in which she sat there, with face downward looked at somewhere, so you couldn't tell her age, appearance and height. The public were misguided to believe she was a 20's student, and easily form a picture: young girls slept with prof. to get a diploma. In fact she was 34 and married at that time.
 
 
Later, rumor spread in China, as some high officials got involved in. The gossip eventually turned into a political mess. The situation was totally out of control. It lasted for 4 years until the Presidency Election 2012-13. I don't care about politics at all. The rumor was disgusting, so I quit the job. Thanks to my savings from projects for Japanese Foundation, I can invest them in a company. Thank God!
 
The rumor was disgusting, stupid and absurd. I was rumored as acned( I have fine skin), lazy( I worked hard in my 20's and made myself a millionaire; I cooked and did housework by myself in the 4 years; I painted, etc). However, that woman was rumored as a virgin! ( with a husband,virgin of age 40?) , as a young girl, shy; poem(actually I sometimes write poems). etc.
 
I just ignored the rumor. However, I couldn't stand some women with fake boobs superficially postured before me in the street in the past 4 years. I felt pity for this, it advocated a harmful social culture, namely, women trade themselves for interests other than by working hard or virtues.
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How Many Sex Partners Should I Have? 372 Views 02/02/14
Recently I watch some romantic movies in order to get some inspiration or tips on True Love.
Not every romance has a happy ending, which poses a good question to the viewers and help them to think about it.
 
Besides some insights of romance, what impressed me most is a girl over 20s who had sex with 50 men since age 12( in other movies the popular statistics are 20~30). I was shocked. I can't imagine it from my poor experiences of sex(my first time was in 20s, the same guy until we broke up.)
 
 So suddenly I felt a twinge of envy for her. Wow, she enjoyed so much! Should I go to night club to have some fun or try dating many guys? I was confused at that moment. 
 
In the following two days, I kept thinking What I'm Searching? Then I'm coolheaded, it's Love not Sex (Of course, love brings you to bed). I'm quite sure I don't like have sex with a stranger or different guys. I can't bear it. It's not my taste.
 
Now I'm calm and peaceful, as I know myself better than ever, and I don't envy her any more.
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What Makes Me A Happy Woman? 90 Views 01/25/14
Robert asked me the question:" What makes you a happy woman?"
Here's answer.
 
Confidence. I'm comfortable with my merits and flaws, and I know merits outweigh flaws,haha. I'm sure I can take care of myself and others, physically and emotionally. I know what I want in life(the happiness/a Happy marriage) and strive for them.
 
Life philosophy. I believe in Taoism, Pragmatism and God. From Taoism, I'm to "let it be", keep calm and peaceful under any circumstance; as a pragmatist, I pursue happiness in due courses; God makes me more compassionate, no jealousy, love and respect kind persons.
 
By nature. I'm lucky to be optimistic, always look at the bright sides of things no matter what happens.
Past experiences. I've gone through a lot in the past, thank God, which made me a better person. I learned to reflect on what happened and nourished myself from it. I was rumored, thus suffered unfair criticism from some jealous women. However, I ignored the rumor and kept calm. It's obvious that if I was as worthless as they criticized, they needn't regard me as a rival; if so, they're idiots as they scare themselves by a fake competition. Glad to know my value was recognized by the public though in an annoying way( the stupid rumor).
 
In this sense, I managed to make something positive out of those unpleasant experiences. I'm happy with this. It means I'm not defeated by the adversity, not hesitate to face challenges, not lose hope of happiness.
P.S.: Robert is the only friend to pose such a question, to care about my inner world. I appreciate it. Look forward to hearing from him more questions that provoke   ideas. 
Now I'm 90% happy as I feel lonely on weekends. Once I stay with Him(my true love) I'm definitely 100% happy, Haha.
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What's True Love? 69 Views 01/21/14
Recently I watched a romantic Danish movie, one line resonating with me, "I love you. My life can't be without you." So, what's the true love?
 
Love is a feeling, a conviction that you do adore him/her and you enjoy the company all the time no matter under what circumstances.
 
True love is joyful. 
He/she would make your life different from now on, more delightful and worthwhile. Such a wonderful feeling that you hope to spend the rest of life with this person, you hope to enjoy every day.
 
True love is unique. 
He/she plays an irreplaceable role in your emotional life. This person understand you, support you and cherish you; meanwhile, has his own brand, his unique charm, such as nice personality, talent, etc., or he's the one loves you the most.
 
True love does comprise chemistry, while chemistry doesn't imply true love. Sometimes it's the lust that misleads you. A whore can satisfy your lust, but can't meet the need of true love. Thus, true love should work both in bed and in mind.

 

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My Blind-Date Experiences 125 Views 01/19/14
I began my blind date adventure two months ago. 
On a sunny day in November 2013, I suddenly felt the urge for a romantic relationship, after 8 years' distraction on study and hobbies. It's time back to love battle. So I searched "matchmaking sites", then somehow Australia. xxx.com popped on top of the list. I clicked and registered a username there.
 
It needs a profile. What shall I say to my dear Prince White? It was hard to make it due to 8 -year gap in romance. I tried to imagine He was there smiling at me. Closing my eyes, I felt his unique scent, his tender touch and warm hug. Deep down inside me the desire for true love was awaken. Such an irresistible impulse that I realized I'd rather die if I couldn't find Him as life would be boring. A happy marriage is vital to me. That was my profile, my dream relationship. I wrote it with my heart.
 
I looked through the site. One picture caught my eyes, a father and son in the swimming pool. His loving eyes were impressive. I thought he was softhearted to his family. His name is Marcca, age 51, CEO.
 
Two days later I got an email from Charlx, a long and nice introduction of himself, age 41, with a little daughter, the successful professional, PhD. He sounded sincere. We sent emails. He gave me Tel and asked me to close profile. I didn't but promised so once I knew him more. Then came the first weekend, I attended a public event all day. On the way home I somehow felt lonely especially when couples passing me by. I expected to get his warm email as a comfort, however, no email. I wrote him that even a few lines from him would delight me on weekend. He didn't respond in 2 days. Then I said it was over since you were too busy to work out the relationship. Several days later, he explained" wasn't feel fine". An excuse?  I didn't write back.
 
I was a bit down by this. At that point arrived the email from Marcca. I  said " now isn't the good timing. I need a break of 3 weeks or 1 month to put me together, to continue soulmate search." Next morning came his 2nd email:" It's the light at the end of the tunnel. ...I await your response." I knew he was sincere, however, I didn't answer him, just not in the mood. I can't bear to emotionally swift from a man to another overnight. I deleted my photos from the profile. To my surprise, 10 days later I was recovered from it. I back to the site, but Marcca's profile was gone. I decided to close profile on that Australia website.
 
One friend recommended me to visit this site, as it's more reliable. On the 1st day I logged in, I got the email from Chxx, age 46. Oh, My God. Marcca came too late, Charlx came too early. Chxx's arrival was good timing, neither too late nor too early. When I woke up on the New Year morning I got his greeting message. It was sweet. He hoped to meet up in his country. I agreed and prepared for visa, which requires his invitation letter and copies of passport and financial statement. He was reluctant to supply copies in case I was a scammer. It sounded insulting. Actually I can get visa on my own(via visit of other forms), however, I wanted to see his cooperation. I didn't see it. That's all.
 
 
Look back I can sense my romantic/tender side, my rational/self-protective side as well. For the former, I sincerely search true love/my future husband at all costs; for the latter, I'm a bit selective, he should be a gentleman, a nice person.
 
According to a research, there are at least 2000 good matches to you in the whole world. All you need is the good timing, to find Him at the right time. 
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We Are All Kids 81 Views 01/16/14

Recently I haven't written any blog as I've been busy or not in the mood. Today I'd like to share a touching moment in daily life.

When I was waiting for the lift, a young mother and her little daughter  stepped in. Apparently they just went shopping, the mother carried several shopping bags. The 4 or 5 year old ittle girl had a colorful paper in her hands, then she dropped it on the floor and ran into the lift. Her mother scolded her:" Don't litter again. You're annoying !"  I noticed the little girl became unhappy due to mother's words, she stood quietly at the corner of the lift, then she made eye contact with me. I gave her a big smile and said: " Come on, my dear, your mum is joking. She loves you." At that time her mother also smiled at me and looked at her  in a loving way. Then they got their floor, the lift opened. When the mother pulling the girl's hand stepped out of the lift, the little girl suddenly turned to me and in a very loud voice said:" Good bye, dear aunt!" " Good bye, sweetie, have a nice day!" I said to her and  somehow got touched.

I have no kids yet. I do love kids. They're innocent, like angels. They're helpless, need to be looked after and protected by adults. So please be loving and patient to kids, as your unintentional words might hurt their tender hearts, might deprive them of happiness.

We all went through that phase of life as a kid. We are all kids. Please love and give kids due respect, which would bring a much better future.

 

2014 January

 

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The Treasures I Lost (3) 36 Views 01/09/14

My beloved blue tophus earring lost on the bank of Qinhuai River.

 

The next stop was Yangzhou. In a shop on the Dongguan high street, I was surprised to spot a pair of pale blue earrings, dotted with little dark blue and orange, golden brim, in a shape of a prolonged water drop. My heart was pounding as if I bumped into an old friend whom I missed so much. I bought them immediately. The shopkeeper said there was only one pair in the shop. Although this pair of earrings was not that one I lost, the similarity of their color (pale blue) and design was somewhat a great comfort for me.

 

Encountering, possessing and losing one item, it seems to be a cycle and unchangeable reality of the world as well. Like human beings, items have their own destiny. I encountered them by chance, I cherished them until someday they disappeared from my life. I say nothing about it, even though I know that item has stolen my heart and is my treasure for ever. I am grateful and happy with the transitory possession, as it warmed and ornamented my life, like the fireworks.

2013, May

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The Treasures I Lost (2) 22 Views 01/09/14

Two: Small Porcelain Bowl

In 2013, in Hokkaido, Japan. One day I was shopping in a small shop, suddenly several small flower bowls caught my attention, white blossom of sakura depicted on the whole pale red porcelain bowl, refined shades, tasteful design and good quality, like the artworks. I picked up one to hold in my hand. I liked it so much that I wouldn’t put it down. I bought a pair of bowls, one pale red and one pale green, then left happily. As soon as I went back to the flat, I filled the bowls with water, put in the colorful stone necklace I bought in Beijing. In such a way it looked exquisite, sakura blossoming in the clear water, plus colorful crystal-clear stone necklace sparking. I placed the bowls on the desk, really a feast to eyes.

 

After I returned to China, small flower bowls stayed on my desk as usual. When tired of reading, I would look at them for a while, then in a mood as delightful as sakura and got refreshed.

 

I moved from Changchun to Hangzhou, then to Shanghai due to career change. During this period, my baggage became less and less, especially the law books for my Ph.D remain few, while small flower bowls I kept all the time. In 2012 from UK back to China, I posted my baggage from Shanghai to Shandong. Postman checked the cases and informed that porcelain wasn’t allowed to post and I had to take them out. Unluckily, I forgot where the bowls were put, as I rushed to weigh the cases and paid postage (there were 8 cases and other customers waited in the queue). Until I received the cases in Shandong, I found my small flower bowls were gone. It was a blow.

I lost my lovely small flower bowls. I fantasy one day I could come across bowls exactly alike.

 

Three: One Earring

In the spring of 2006, in Paris, France. Every day on my way to University of Paris I (Sorbonne), I took the opportunity to enjoy the glamour of French women passing by me in the street, at the underground, sitting in the open café, or stepping out of the building nearby. They hurriedly passing by, I barely caught a glimpse, which was a surprisingly pleasant experience. In my view, the secret of French ladies’ charm is their natural elegancy and good taste for dressing, regardless of how old they are. Bestowed with a nice figure, high and slim, most French females have a model style, easy to be glamorous via smart dressing. The most common clothes such as a shirt, a plain cotton skirt, even sweater and plimsolls could play magic on them, which turned into a fascinating scene, lighting up the street. This was the power of beauty, silent but overwhelming, I was carried away by it.

 

I always appreciate the spirit of fashion. It is not a sexy thing, but an attitude towards life, namely, love life and enjoy it to the full. Life never lacks of beauty and joy, but rather lacks of eyes to discover it and hearts to feel it. In my spare time, I often lingered at crafts shops in Paris, which was an enjoyable pastime. One day I saw a pair of tophus earrings, the long silver chain embellished with three tophus, like three pale blue water drops, the top one smallest and the end one largest. Seven unequal-sized crystals lined up with the chain casually but chicly, with a pale red one among them. I gently picked up earrings, the crystals slightly swaying and shining in the mild beam of the noon. It was appealing, pale blue, transparence and pale red mixed up perfectly, a quite good match with my black hair. I liked them very much and paid immediately.

 

This pair of earrings had been worn until I had a tour to Nanjing in the December of 2012. Impressed by the reputation of the night scene on Qinhuai River, I went there in the freezing cold. Despite it was 8 clock at night, the walking street along the river was crowded, hustle and bustle. Tasting various local specialties, watching colorful lanterns and lamps, I had a wonderful time and strolled around up to 10 clock. When waiting for the underground, I found one of my earrings was gone. I recalled that I pulled wool cap down to cover my ears for several times due to the chilly weather. It was likely that one earring was hooked by the wool cap and then fell to the ground when I walked along the river bank. The next day I rushed back and looked for it thoroughly. However, where could I find my earring on such a large tourist zone? I felt frustrated but had no other choice. My bel

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The Treasures I Lost 30 Views 01/09/14

 

To me, some items are cherished so much that it’s hard to discard them, especially after a long time possession. At first sight I fell in love with these items and regarded them as treasures. Owning them is a moderate pleasure and a huge satisfaction as well. There are several items in my life, gotten by chance and lost in the flux of life, to leave me endlessly missing them.

 

One: Zheng

I can’t tell the exact time when attracted by Zheng, just remember being hit by the distinct traits: the lingering charm of its sound, the elegancy of its slim and simple structure, and the refined taste of its dark color. Compared with Pipa’s, the sound of Zheng displays less intensity and more mildness, delivering an artistic conception resonated with the audience. Compared with Erhu’s, the touching tone of Zheng implies less grief, sentimental but not being heartbroken. Although I was fond of Zheng, I never played it, engaged in study and trifles instead ( an excuse? I guess).

 

In 2010 when I lived in Shanghai, the opportunity of playing Zheng finally arrived. Recovered from a 2 month-long illness (It was severe cough caused by the feeling of heartbreak and it was such a pain that consumed my vigor a lot), like the rebirth of phoenix from the fire, I was in a simplest mood ever since and tried to ignore all distractions in the life. During the recovery process I gained more insights of the life and society, and believed in the principle of ShunQiZiRan (let things run its course). The reason for my feeling of hurt was my disappointment to the current social circumstances and public opinions, for example, some people spread the rumor for their own interests which stirred the society and brought the nation into a chaos, while others blindly followed the rumor without judging it discreetly. At that time I struggled to keep calm in spite of the severity of the outside world. It occurred to me that the life was short and it wasn’t wise to give up hobbies for the sake of the pursuit of material goals such as fame and money etc. If you had any hobby, just enjoy it. So I began to learn Zheng-playing from Ms. Zhu. She chose Longfeng(Dragon &Phoenix, a brand from Yangzhou)for me to start, the one decorated with carvings of ancient carriage. I liked it very much. It was a pleasant experience every time I went to her home for study. She was kind and played Zheng well. Under her instruction of over ten classes, I could play YuZhouChangWan(the song of fishers in the evening ) on my own. Of course, I haven’t played at a professional level so far, however, playing a whole song on Zheng to entertain myself was such a delight for me. When I sat at it, wrapped my nails and began to play, my heart was instantly as peaceful as the deep green lake, where rippled by the breeze in the sound of Zheng. At that moment, the hullabaloo around me and pains of the life were totally drowned by the lake water, no chance to hide or escape from. Even the air in the room seemed to become lively, dancing between light and shadow naughtily. During that period of time, I led an orderly life: two hours of Zheng playing in the morning, reading or blogging in the afternoon, and a walk to the Zhongshan Park in the evening.

 

In September I went to Cambridge to study and my favorite Zhen was carried with me. Its package for the flight was a tough task. I wrapped it with a blanket plus thick plastic layers. When I stepped out of the arrival hall of the Heathrow Airport in London with heavily packaged Zheng on my luggage trolley, I immediately caught curious attention from the crowd. HaHa. OH, my God. I called a taxi and the driver had to adjust the seat to place Zheng in the car. However, despite I took Zheng to UK over a long international journey, I eventually couldn’t play it as expected. I had a full class schedule and back home late in the evening, so I wouldn’t play it in case of disturbing neighbors. Was it possible to play it on the greens in the park at weekends? No, the weather of UK was notorious for being windy, overcast and rainy in the autumn and winter. So, I ended up sighing to my Zheng on numerous nights, which stood quietly in the corner of my bedroom.

 

Considering the possible damage to Zheng during another long international journey, I decided to transact it before my return to China. Thanks to Mr. Yang and Mr. Jiang, I left Zheng with the Student Art Society of Cambridge. The day when Zheng was taken away, I took photos for it, so sad that I regretted to part it. Recalling the days of living on Jiangsu Road in Shanghai 2010, I regarded this Zheng as an old friend, who accompanied me in the tough time and supported me to go through hardships. Playing Zheng on a daily basis helped to shelter me from current annoyance for a moment, which got me refreshed and able to retain strengths and vigor to move on.

 

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Cambridge Mood Diary(2) 31 Views 01/09/14

It is somewhat exaggerated?

However, QiPao is no longer the daily dress. Influenced by the Marxism and the Russian Revolution, Chinese Communist Party led a revolution and set up a new regime in 1949. Regarded as the part of a bourgeois life style due to the fact that only upper class could afford silk QiPao( poor women in cloth or rags), it was politically wrong to wear QiPao according to the egalitarian ideology, thus it was abandoned. Today, QiPao still can be seen on some special occasions like the wedding, where the bride usually wears a white wedding-robe(the western style), then wears a red QiPao because it is beautiful. 

I bought my first QiPao several years ago( before going to Paris for study in 2005, sounds like a necessity for abroad life, HaHa) , but I didn't wear it! As Paris is the fashion centre, I bought clothes there and enjoyed. So, up until now my QiPao is still new because I wore it several times since I came to Cambridge in 2011. I am fond of QiPao but wear it only when I am abroad for social activities (you are a foreigner and no one cares about your style. In fact it is somewhat like other Asian costumes). In China, I rarely wear it because it doesn't fit the surroundings, even though mine is a more modern version, short in length(the genuine QiPao to the ankle). Imagine you are in the street, people in T-shirts, jeans or shorts passing.....For me, the best means to savour the charm of QiPao is to watch the films or pictures of 1920-30's.

By the way, I once spotted several people dressed in ancient Han gown(over two thousands years ago), like the costumes in Chinese opera, huge sleeves etc. It is stunning but inconvenient for modern daily life, good for horse-riding or 轿子(sedan) not for bicycling or car driving. HaHa


P.S.: 火锅(HuoGuo, fire pot) is another Mandarin speciality, a renowned food.   

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Dancing in the wind 44 Views 01/08/14

As a Chinese saying goes: You should be self-independent at the age of thirty; You should have no confusion over life at the age of forty; You should be aware of the destiny at the age of fifty. Of course, in this traditional Chinese cultural context "You" refers to the male, while social roles of the female are missing.

Today female adults are liberated from housework and grow into an important social force. Under this circumstances, the Self-Independence of 30-year-olds gains new significance. For women, it means economic self-independence and spiritual self-independence. The scene is like dancing in the wind, freely and delightfully.

Your purse determines your status both at home and in the society. It sounds a bit cliche that The economic base determines the superstructure but it is the case, and it doesn't conflict with the principle of Everyone is equal before the law. There are numerous examples to demonstrate it. In civil law, the evolution of the concept of civil subject is linked with the development of the institution of the ownership of property. According to ancient Roman Law, the Father was dominant in the family and owned the property, his offspring had no right to claim the ownership. In modern civil law, the right to claim ownership is the implication of being a qualified civil subject (there are exceptions for minors and the limited-capability persons, but they still can benefit from certain acts like donation). Of course, having the right to claim property and literally owning property are two different matters. As for women, they were not be treated as civil subjects in the early days, and until after the bourgeois revolution did they begin to enjoy equal rights as men in the society. 
Besides natural association with the social role of women, economic self-independence is an  important factor in family relationships as well. Being financially dependent on the husband, the wife tends to lack sense of security and exposes herself to the possible risk of being a puppet. No matter how sweet the honey-moon is, the equilibrium of relationship is easy to break in the long term.

The sense of ego is the secret weapon of female charms, the source of loveliness.

According to the Bible, Eve was created by God to accompany Adam. In Chinese version,   Goddess used the clay to create mankind. Anyway, the difference doesn't matter. The important thing is that females have appeared on the historical stage with a new identity, an independent existence and an attractive creature. 

However, the establishment of many institutions such as the same pay for the same work, no gender discrimination and so on cannot be taken as the promises of a happen life to females.  For them, a happy life only exists in the dream but never realised.

The question is what does happiness mean and where can you find it? The answer is Happiness lies in your heart. When you stop sobbing, wipe away your tears, look at the running world around you and learn to appreciate it, you will surprisingly find a new world, a marvellous world. You will smell the fragrance of flowers, hear the cheerful twittering of birds, feel the warmth of sunshine, etc. You will catch every touching moment and keep them in mind, reminding yourself the goodness of the life. No longer relying on him like a vine climbing on the wall, no longer being anxious about his affection to you, you learn to enjoy life, enjoy every day. Unconsciously, you are wearing a big smile now, radiant and irresistible charming.



At the age of thirty, you gain deeper understanding of the world than before, have more insights into the life; you are calm to face the challenges of the fate, bear more courage to fulfil the responsibility you are expected of. 

27 June 2012, Cambridge


发自我的 iPad

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Cambridge Mood Diary 21 Views 01/08/14

Finding a husband should be like eating salmon, every day facing it but never get bored with. HaHa.                                                                                                27 June                                                     


16 June, Sex equal to love?
Just now I watched a Hollywood love story, as always, a happy ending. it sounds a bit cliche, anyway.

To be honest, I don't believe this would be the case in realty. It shocks me not for the dramatic feelings, but its claim that the best way to express your love is sex. 
As usual, the more I am longing for true love, the more possible I ignore the sex. But now I have to admit  I'm out-of-date, I feel puzzled. 
All the modern films treat sex as the  prologue of relationship. Is sex equal to the love? I don't know. Maybe this is a classic question, like the one about chicken and egg. Does the love spark ignite our passion, or the satisfaction of desire convinces us of the affections?
Maybe both cases are true. 

For me, passion should be the fruit of affection, I mean, technically.  Sometimes instincts do play a role in the relationship, but this type of relationship won't go far. The reason is palpable that we don't spend all the time in bed, instead most of the time we dress up and keep calm. A good match of characters and personalities is vital to the sound relationship, I suppose.



17 June
Tonight I chanced to watch a film, Perfume: A Story of Murder. Several years ago I read the novel of French version. Only finishing the first chapter I dropped it, as the scene was horrible and the darkness of that age held me back. 

The plot is not as pleasant as the fragrance. Obsessed with the scents in the world, the man experiments to make the best perfume by killing girls to collect their body aromas. 

Gifted in the sense of smell, grown up in the salvage and hardship, no family affections, no education, he is a primitive man, a unique creature. The only thing he knows and concerns is the scent, through which he gets to know the world. For him, smell is the soul of the existence. 

I don't like the theme, it's too dark, too desperate. I don't know how the author made up this story, even doubt what his intention was. The turbulent society of those days sets the backdrop, its poverty, crime and grime are shocking. 




18 June
Today I watch True Love: Nick. 

What a dilemma! Maintaining the balance between family commitments and irresistible affections is like treading a string in the air. You have no choice but to make an option, no matter it is right or not, always a ruthless one to both sides.

Love, deeply-rooted in our nature , is doomed to be the eternal theme of human society. This is the magic of heart, the amazing chemical reactions in human body, the marvellous feelings of each other. As well as enjoying the fabulous pleasure of love, we suffer all the biting emotions provoked by it such as desperation, jealousy and sadness.

Day by day, we see love stories putting on across the world, in comic or tragic endings; generation after generation, we have no knowledge of guaranteeing love fresh to pass down. We try and error but never find the solution. 

Anyway, I like the background music, a touching melody, properly depicted the atmosphere.



True Love : Paul
Bored with the house-bound wife and noisy baby, he spotted a young woman on the way to work.......Finally, he found he was deceived for money, then back to wife.
The same story happens again and again. 
I am speechless for it. Maybe people (especially the husbands) don't know to cherish what they own until they lost them ?


19 June, True Love : Holly

Unexpectedly, I am moved by the affections between the two girls.
Maybe what they long for are the comfort, the tender, the understanding from each other.
Sometimes we are defeated by the loneliness, fancy someone beside you to share with your moods, to accompany you.

They are brave to challenge the convention, to face the world. I can kind of understand them. Maybe we should be tolerant to them? 

19 June,  True Love :Sandra
Age cannot block our feelings for love. Love is not the privilege of the youth.
The middle-aged people still need love to nourish their lives.


8 June
Today I wore a 旗袍(QiPao,  mandarin gown) to attend the Holy Trinity Church services. One Indonesian church-friend said:" You're wearing a Chinese dress!" " Not exactly," I corrected him slightly. 

In fact,  QiPao originated from the traditional costume of Man People(满族), one of 56 ethnic groups in China. Several hundreds years ago, Man nomadic tribes who lived in the northeast of China, famous for horse-riding skills, established Qing Dynasty(清朝),the last feudal regime in China's history.  Consequently, mandarin gown replaced Han gown (of Han People) to become the national dress. However, at that time, mandarin gown was different from modern QiPao , for example, big sleeves,etc. 

During the period of 民国(the Republic of China from 1912-1949) QiPao gained its name, when the modern style formed and became a fashion. Compared to the traditional mandarin costume, it is close-fitting, perfectly displaying the curves of females and the sleeves are snug or without sleeves. Now its shape is similar to modern western dress except for the collar and hand-made buttons. 

Why QiPao is considered as the traditional Chinese dress by so many foreigners?
The reason is simple. Prior to 民国( the Republic of China from 1912-1949), Chinese females had little chance to go abroad, due to feudal culture and the isolation political policy. Since then, more and more Chinese people have visited other countries, including many females, of course, who usually wore QiPao, as it was daily dress and beautiful. Unlike western gowns, QiPao has an oriental charm, a good match to the figure and appearance of Chinese women. It boasts the best way to display the glamour of a Chinese lady. It is somewhat ex

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Casablanca 38 Views 01/08/14

18 June 2012, on the train to London

Last night I watched Casablanca. Once again I was thrilled, a real classic.

The touching story of gentleman-ship: two gentlemen love the same lady. At the critical moment, they both choose to protect her.....


Second World War set the gloom backdrop, however, such an unpleasant circumstances highlights the charm of the love, the sweeping force of the love. The dangerous situation is the best way to test human nature, to identify true love, to create genuine romantic feelings.

Patriotism, love and sacrifice are woven into the theme. Pay tribute to the intelligence( if they are for the right cause, HaHa.)

The soundtrack As Time Goes By is my favourite. It interprets the whole story, so overwhelming. 



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Paris(2) 96 Views 12/20/13

[Continued] It seems that the white marble is given the temperature of the human body, the muscular lines present the beauty of force, the slightly upward lips show confidence and persistence, a smart look gleams in the deep eyes. The flipped skirt is the mischief of the wind, lustrous eyes disclose the secret pleasure of love, a charming smile glows with happiness and shyness. I was captivated by these figures!
Great works such as David, Venus, or little angels with wings have been endowed with souls in the hands of the masters. The magic is the glamour of eternity.

I continued my visit to the picture galleries where the chef d’oeuvres of various times and various schools are displayed on the walls. The classic canvases have a look of magnificence in a luxuriant style(luxuriously colourful), particularly the ones on religious themes, each painting telling a Bible story. The paintings of the contemporary Impressionist School are mainly concerned with scenery and portraits of ordinary people, which reflects the prevailing humanist trends of the society at that time. As I was used to viewing traditional Chinese paintings, which were characterised by a concern with feeling rather than with accurate depiction, I was greatly inspired by the different styles of these western paintings. The art world was incredibly tremendous, I exclaimed.

La Joconde. The mysterious smile of Mona Lisa held my gaze for quite a while. It is said that from whichever direction viewers look at the painting they would meet Mona Lisa’s eyes without any exception. I had a try and it was the case. As a masterpiece, this painting is separately exhibited in a small hall where photo-taking is forbidden. It was in this small hall that I had an appointment with a scholar.

In the middle of December, some Chinese scholars were invited to an international conference at l'IEP (Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris). At the conference I fortuitously met a professor whom I knew. During the break, he asked if I would do him a favour to post a letter for his wife. I promised to help him. Early the next morning I went to the post office and deliberately chose the registered mail in case the letter got lost. Then I came to the conference and handed him the receipt and the change. To express his gratitude, he invited me to lunch. During the lunch, he said he would return to China the next day and before boarding he would like to visit the Louvre. “Would anyone like to accompany me to serve as a guide?” he asked (he doesn't speak French). Other people said they were occupied. I was going to have classes in the morning and after that I would be free. So the next morning we met at the entrance of the Louvre. After making an appointment to meet in the hall of La Joconde at 12 clock, I rushed to school. 

The reasons for choosing La Joconde hall were palpable. It was easy for the professor to find the way in the giant Louvre. Due to the fame of the painting anyone could show him the direction. Moreover, since it is forbidden to take photos, he could spend time appreciating the masterpiece in case I was late (for example, because of traffic jam), and it would not be a waste of time. Actually I was late, by nearly as much as an hour (HaHa, my God). Normally my class finished at half past eleven. That day we visited a Paris law court. When the staff finished the presentation it was nearly 12 clock, followed by the Q&A section. I was a bit anxious but I could do nothing but wait (I hadn’t brought my cell phone). Two girls began to raise questions endlessly. When the class was over it was already half past twelve. I headed for the Louvre hurriedly. Considering the professor would take the flight in the afternoon, it was better to cancel lunch to spare more time to visit the museum. So I stopped on the way to buy some fresh croissants, drinks and fruits in the bakery. When I finally arrived, it was one clock. No time to explain, I accompanied him to visit other halls. This experience strengthened my sense of punctuality. I now try to be on time; if unavoidable delay occurs, I will let others know it as soon as possible.

The Louvre records the story of civilisation and fixes the marks of time. It resembles a sage, calmly telling us what happened in the past, demonstrating history in a silent but powerful manner. Yet at the same time, it resembles a cheerful teenager in the bloom of youth, making progress day by day, becoming more vigorous and reaching mature. My every visit to the Louvre was productive of new discoveries.

The Rodin, Orsay and Picasso museums were also my favourite haunts at the weekends. Gazing at these great works of art, my eyes shifting between sculptures and paintings, I appreciated the nuances of fabulous shades, lines and strokes, dialogued with the masters in my imagination, and tried to understand and interpret the intention of the author. Nothing could be more pleasant in the world than such an experience.

It is worth mentioning that the French government attaches great importance to the preservation of the country’s rich heritage and culture. Each year a wide range of public places offer two days of free entry to the public, such as the Presidential Residence, the Parliament, the Louvre, La Tour Eiffel, the Pompidou Modern Art Centre etc. I once waited for nearly three hours outside the President’s Palace, the long queue of foreign tourists all in good order, as was at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

Paris inspires the artists.
This is an ingenious, sensitive and charming nation.

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London&Scotland (2) 54 Views 12/20/13

 

[Continued]It was a vast stretch of grassland, its colour so pure that as though it had just been rinsed, crystal-like, the deliberately trimmed seed-bed of God. Flocks of sheep were scattered in the fields, resembling white flowers on a gigantic piece of emerald.  I noticed several black lambs among them (This was the first time I saw a black lamb). Ah, ha, was it the one in the nursery rhyme about Mary’s Little Lamb?


“Look at the rainbow over there!” Yes, at the edge of the sky was a rainbow. The nearer we came, the clearer it appeared: the seven colours of the spectrum merged into a huge arc of light beams, splendid and magnificent. “Castle!” Almost at the same time, a castle on the top of the mountains came into my view. “Oh, my God!” I said breathlessly. It was Manifique! The huge rainbow hung in the pale blue sky, the medieval castle perched on the blackish green hills, and white sheep strewed in the vivid green fields below. At that moment time seemed to stop and everything was framed into a perfect picture. Still, yet overwhelmingly powerful, my heart and soul were totally captured by such a power, the force of beauty, the magic of Nature. 

The castle remained as it had been in the Middle Ages. Standing in the yard, I gently touched the giant stone of the wall, and sensed the air filled with the history of ancient times. I could even imagine a scene: the knights in full gear holding their swords, noisy troops, restless horses, an emergency rally in the yard…… Evidence of the defensive functions of the castle could be spotted everywhere, from arrow slits in the walls to the specially designed passageways within the castle, reminding the tourists of the ever impending danger and severity of battles in those days.

While I wandered through large chambers, the typical lifestyle of the nobility could easily be discovered, a delicate and complex lifestyle. It seemed that the master had just left for an outing and we were the waiting guests. In one side room, the staff, who dressed up as maids, sat around the fire doing some sewing work. Wearing brown gowns, white aprons and white lace caps, they resembled the figures in an old canvas. Gazing at their graceful backs, I felt as if I were there back in that age.

Scottish ceremony was taking place in the garden at the rear of the castle. Accompanied by the cheerful sound of bagpipes, young women in traditional costumes were dancing hand in hand. Game was roasting on the bonfire, the mouth-watering scent wafted round, jugs filled with wine were laid out to cater for the guests. Occasionally, the fragrant smell of herbs from the woods outside the castle was wafted inside by the breeze bringing some freshness to the banquet.  

The next day, sunny, after lunch I had a quiet saunter down the path nearby our cottage. It was a placid village. The wall of the pub was strikingly spread with bright pink flowers, highlighting the big P-shaped black signboard, quite a smart match. An elderly local couple sat on the bench, “hello”, they smiled at me, whilst two wild ducks were strolling around, enjoying a sunbathe.

Shortly after I came to a tarn. The surrounding hills were mirrored in the crystalline waters.    The tranquility of rural life blended with the beauty of landscape created such a fine view. Sat on a rock, I took a photo. This inviting and evocative photo is still on my desk now. I often gaze at it to recall the picturesque scenery and the peaceful mood of that sunny afternoon.

Edinburgh was the last stop. Amazingly, the castle in Edinburgh is in unexpected harmony with the landscape. I could not but admire the designer’s remarkable imagination and creativity. The castle is built on the mountain; in other words, the mountain is a natural castle, and the castle is a deliberately transformed mountain. I associated it with the Potala Palace, the most sacred architecture in Tibet. Sharing a similar design idea, the Potala Palace is such a grand edifice and retains its stunning delicacy as well. The only difference between the two castles is that the Potala Palace seems to possess a hint of divine nature, like a castle in heaven, pure and flawless, without any trace of human affairs, while the castle in Edinburgh is an appealing resort on earth. 


Although on my first arrival I was not accustomed to the Scottish accent, different from the Londoners', the hospitality of the locals could be easily felt.

The trip to Scotland was a brief but marvellous experience, a breath-taking glimpse.

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Snow of Hokkaido (2) 22 Views 12/20/13

[Continued] In the enchantment of the moonlight, the snow-ridden branches magically turned into Sakura, a mass of gleaming blossom, a mass of crystal. For the moment the surroundings were tranquil and time ceased. Nothing could be seen but the enormous crystal art work in front of me. I held my breath in case my breath exhaling would melt it. “Good things will never change.”

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Paris 82 Views 12/18/13

Paris is a romantic city, the capital of art.

In 2005, I arrived in Paris in the cool autumn wind. At that time I was in a low mood, thus I could not fully appreciate the picturesque scenery. That was a pity. I long for a revisit when I can approach her to discover her glamour.

Gare de Lyon. It was a nearly ten-minute walk from the residence to the Gare de Lyon, quite convenient. In the light of dawn I went to school, walking to the Gare to take the underground. A faint glimmer of orange light came from the café, the tantalising fragrance of coffee wafted in the air, waiters were busy preparing for the arrival of the customers of the day. Office-staff passed in a hurry, holding  Le monde or a baguette in hand. The big clock at the top of the Gare faithfully served the travellers, telling the time precisely.

La Bastille. This was two blocks away from the residence. In my history textbook for secondary school, the capture of La Bastille marked the start of the French Revolution, and of other revolutions worldwide. The renowned La Liberté guidant le peuple (Freedom guiding the people), in the Louvre, was a masterpiece depicting this epic historic event, and is regarded as the symbol of the French nation. Under the guidance of Monsieur Boden, we visited the ruins of la Bastille. Evidences of the fierce alley fights of the time can no longer be traced, the site is a scene of peaceful civic life instead. Only La Déclaration remains glorious and permanent in the course of history.

Le Panthéon. Our classes were held in the Université Paris I (Panthéon –Sorbonne). Outside the entrance to the university was a small square in front of le Panthéon. The pediment decorated with delicate carvings, the huge columns supporting the architrave, the wide stylobates resting on the ground, all these features gave le Panthéon the majestic grandeur of a Greek temple, solemn and dignified. Inside, numerous great philosophers and masters were honoured such as Montesquieu, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Voltaire and so on, an ideal venue for the public to admire their geniuses and remarkable achievements.

From the square, La Tour Eiffel could be seen thrusting into the sky in the far distance. A straightforward avenue ran in the direction of the tower, lined with cafés and bookshops that seemingly bowed to the tower and fairly highlighted its grandeur. I recalled a film starring Sophie Marceau (Fang Fang) that had a shot of this avenue, where can be regarded as an archetypal sign of Paris. At one end of it was a big crossroads adjoining the beautiful Parc de Luxembourg. At the crossroads I turned right and shortly came to La Seine. On the bridge I looked around and the elegant building of Notre Dame came into sight.

In my mind, the classic work of Notre-Dame de Paris (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”)was synonymous with tragic love. Both the gripping plot and the vivid characters contributed to its huge success, for instance, the beautiful, innocent and kind Gipsy girl, the ugly, hunchbacked but warm-hearted bell-ringer. Facing the Cathedral, I attempted to imagine what had happened here according to the novel. However, none of the miserable atmosphere of that touching story could be perceived. Just like her name, Notre Dame stands there, in such a demure and graceful manner, overlooking the tourists rushing to and fro at her feet; twin bell towers extend towards the blue sky, a gothic spire rising at the east end. Fine statues of religious images solemnly rest in place, finely sculpted in an amazing way. My endeavours to take an overall photo of Notre Dame failed, her height beyond the camera’s scope. What a shame, I thought. Several years later, I saw a painting of Notre Dame by Mr. Liu Haisu, the renowned contemporary Chinese artist, his Notre Dame was also partly portrayed. At that moment I felt relieved. Maybe, like 
the statue of Venus lacking her arms, the soul of the art was to capture and express the spirit of the object rather than anything else.

Following the congregation I entered Notre Dame, the faint light and holy ambience instantly calming my heart. Passing rows of benches, I noticed a giant ivory cross hung on the right side of the aisle, “Amen” I murmured. Moving forward, I came to the sanctuary at the centre of the Cathedral. The Crucifix loomed high behind it; on the golden cross, a look of suffering across Jesus’s face. Gazing at his emaciated face in the candle light, I prayed silently. After a while church services began. Boys in white robes stood at both sides of the sanctuary, holding lilies in their hands. The sound of the organ rose from the gallery, the beautiful choir echoed it in the hall. The scene was so pure and gorgeous that I was moved to tears.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The next year I had my internship in a firm near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (the boss couple were kind). At the end of April, the tall French xx trees were in blossom, as if wreathed in pale purple clouds, fantastically decorating the boulevard. The neighbourhood was the well-known commercial area of Paris, dense with luxury brands, which enabled you to grasp the latest trends of fashion in no time. Moving forward, the towering Arc de Triomphe comes into view, its stunning splendour seeming to demonstrate Napoleon’s great ambition to the world.


Louvre

The Louvre was the venue I most frequently visited during my one-year stay in Paris.  At weekends there was free admission for students.

On the square of the Louvre, the transparent pyramid was quite striking, serving as the symbol of the Louvre, the masterwork of Mr. Bei Yiming, the most famous Chinese architect.

It was said that the Louvre was built on the ruins of an ancient royal palace, the remains still being displayed at the museum. The parts of the Louvre above ground were designed symmetrically and neatly arrayed. The terraced buildings adjoined each other to form a vast square court, elegant and full of geometric beauty, the typical style of French palaces.

Within the museum, crisscrossing passages led to the exhibition halls of each continent. The Louvre was much more enormous than I had imagined. No wonder it was the largest museum in the world. I was eager to locate its three gems: the Goddess of Victory, Venus and the Mona Lisa. I spent a long time observing them, I could not tear my eyes away; I was totally fascinated, thrilled to be able to appreciate such great works of art.

The displays of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures were my favourites where I lingered for the most time. Unlike the other halls, there is a big indoor yard for the display of the huge statues. Every time I crossed the yard, I couldn’t help looking up at their eyes, as though I was drawn by some kind of mysterious force. They are cold and silent statues, yet they seem to possess a life of their own. I suppose it is the magic of art. Filled with curiosity about this magic effect, I approached to have a close look. It seems that the white marble is given the temperature of the human body, the muscular lines present

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London & Scotland 58 Views 12/18/13

London is the first foreign city I have visited in my life, for this reason it is unforgettable.

In the late spring of 2001, I arrived in London. The royal cavalry ritual in front of Buckingham Palace, the highly profiled black door of 10 Downing Street, Big Ben, the intriguing Tower Bridge, Westminster, London Eye, innumerable historical sites and resorts were generous gifts bestowed by history to this metropolis. Excitedly strolling around for a while, I had a break in a café by the Thames and, inhaling the tantalising aroma of fresh coffee, began to sense London.

London impressed me with a feeling of crowdedness and many a time I winded my way along a twisty lane. Cautiously evading the buildings located irregularly on either side, the lane struggled to move forward, like a purling brook fighting its way through the jungle. It’s said that British law provided such overall protection for the ownership of real estate that private properties were shielded from arbitrary confiscation. So when London streets were redesigned by governments in earlier times, private properties had to be respected and preserved. Consequently, lanes were shaped in a curving manner, distinct from streets in other capital cities.

Attending lectures at LSE. A small board marked with “LSE”, simple and modest, hung at the entrance. I could hardly associate these ordinary buildings with any renowned economists, such as Professor Coase, Robinson, etc. Mr. Fei Xiaotong, a famous Chinese sociologist, once studied at LSE as a visiting scholar. Being the most important forum for economists in those days, LSE contributed greatly to much fruitful research, especially in the field of Institutional Economics. (Nowadays the subject of Economic Analysis of Law has blossomed in America, particularly at the University of Chicago, and is thus branded as “the Chicago School”.)

Near to LSE was the law school of Lincoln’s Inn. Now and then young lawyers in smart suits, carrying briefcases, passed in a hurry. I continued walking, as a lovely small square with a central fountain appeared. Scattered on the lawn, people were enjoying the brilliant sunshine and leisure during lunch-time. In the distance rose the grand white dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, standing out among dark surroundings,and holy melody of its choir as if resounded,pure and beautiful, a sound from heaven.

This is what London was like. The distinctive architectural style of Victorian buildings was witness to the glories of past eras on the British Isles; meanwhile, chic touring double-deckers and unique red telephone boxes reminded me of the modern rhythm of this metropolis.

If the city centre of London could be described as being filled with a reserved and somewhat noble disposition, the outskirts definitely qualified to be depicted as bucolic. In front of my dwelling was there a small lake, with swans gracefully swimming on it and a piece of woodland perching on the bank. On a drizzly afternoon, holding a nice cup of tea, I looked out of the window from the first floor, and there before me was a watercolour painting. The gloomy sky set the backdrop; several strokes of cloud were properly drawn on it; the baroque buildings loomed in the distance; two pairs of swans decorated the dark-green lake, affectionately nestling up to their companions; willow branches swayed in the breeze, gently kissing the waters,  as if playing a serenade to swan couples.

Fairs on Sunday. The whole street was packed with stalls of fresh vegetable and fruit, delicately arranged by the owner. In the bright sunshine of mid-day, red strawberries, green apples, yellow oranges naughtily tempted the passers-by. The bosses of the seafood and the butcher’s shops cheerfully greeted their regular clients, and chatted about what they would have for dinner. Behind the stalls were Indian boutiques full of various traditional items,  novel and interesting. Holding a bunch of flowers and a shopping bag of food, I mixed with the crowd. With its vitality and vibrant humanity, the hustle and bustle of the fair made me feel exhilarated. At that moment the fair was full of earthly joys.

In contrast, the way home was tranquil. Right outside the fair were bus stops and a parking lot. The streams of people dispersed in different directions in a short time. I crossed the road, entered a neighbouring block. The narrow lane was empty except for traditional-looking houses standing there, silently. One house caught my attention, 1680 marked on its roof,  which meant it was over three hundred years old. I observed it with respect: simply designed, light-grey appearance looked rather mild and not arrogant at all; little trace of its having undergone dramatic social changes over a long period of time could be perceived. It seemed that time had been extraordinarily merciful to this building. Later I came to know that British people have a tradition of maintaining their houses so that old buildings can be well kept and handed down to later generations. 

At the end of the lane was a piece of small grassland, dotted with flowers and benches. The giant leaves of a tree sheltered the place from the scorching sun, giving cool shade. Next to the grassland was a small graveyard, riddled with crosses. To my surprise, it wasn't eerie, perhaps due to its likeness to a garden and its favourable location, in the very centre of a residential area, with the world of the living just behind me and a mere stone’s throw away. I couldn’t but appreciate such a considerate and humane design, which enabled you to believe that the spirits of the dead still stayed with their beloved families, never left, and were accompanying them, sharing their happiness and grief. Out of curiosity I looked around: flowers placed by some tombs, apparently they were visited recently; while other tombs had candies, dolls and toys around. Every time I passed through this block, my heart became peaceful. In the silence I tasted the atmosphere of olden times and the power of tradition.

Scotland

Starring the French actress Sophie Marceau and Mel Gibson, Braveheart was one of my favourite films. The haunting melody of the bagpipe in the background music accompanied by stunning views of Scotland, always thrilled me, touching the softest part of my heart, and reminded me of this mysterious and charming land.

Getting off the plane from London, friends rented a car and headed for Glasgow. My only knowledge of Glasgow was that Adam Smith once taught moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow. In the square of the city centre stood a brass statue. “Is he Adam Smith?” I thought excitedly. A flock of pigeons strolled around, looking for the grains on the ground. Once the tourists approached, they immediately fled, beating their wings in the glow of the sunset sky, their plumage turning into glossy gold. What a warm and poetic picture!

The next morning we drove to a castle. On the way, suddenly my attention was drawn to the massive expanse of vivid green. It was a vast stretch of grassland, its colour so pure that as though it had just been rinsed, crystal-l

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Snow of Hokkaido 23 Views 12/18/13

The snow in Hokkaido is the most beautiful I have ever seen.

The magic arises from the snow’s various shapes, which I once curiously counted, around twenty different shapes in a wide range of sizes. For example, one could be as tiny as the dust, or as large as the blossom of Sakura, or like a butterfly, or like a goose feather and so on. I was enchanted by the variety of snowflakes, especially when I stepped out of the house and found snow was falling in another shape. Dancing around me in such a cheerful manner, kissing my face and my hair naughtily, these little angels rejoiced in their visits to earth. Instantly, my heart was full of joy.

I was fascinated by the glamour of snow, by its diverse and charming manner: sometimes it floated around like gentle breeze embracing me, so sweet; sometimes it recalled me of falling blossom on a summer evening, in a touching way, so sensitive; sometimes its feathery snowflakes wove me into a tight net, holding me from the rest of the world, so powerful.

I arrived in Hokkaido from Shenyang in December of 2003, when I was lucky enough to experience its great winter. In the early morning I went out into the street; a white world came into view, everything being covered with a thick mantle of snow. My steps made a creaking sound in the snow as I wandered around; the fresh air had the cool flavour of mint in such a freezing morning. Once in a while students passing by, I was attracted by their youthful faces glowing with courage, as buoyant as the sunshine. The most impressive was that the girls wore short skirts in such chilly weather, a Japanese tradition, I supposed.

I was worried that I might get lost, thus deliberately learned several Japanese phrases for asking the way. (Now I have forgotten them and only remember that ascending tone at the end of the question, similar to French pronunciation, namely, xxxxx des car?) It turned out to be unnecessary. The streets in Hokkaido were designed in a symmetrical manner, each clearly marked with the road number, easy to locate.

On my way to the supermarket I often lingered to appreciate chic houses, most of which were brown two-storey wooden buildings. White snow was a perfect foil to these houses, which made them more elegant. Meanwhile, the sloping roof added a European flavour to the quaint Japanese houses. Some plants were growing in the mini-yard enclosed by a metre-high fence. In one yard, an old pine tree was as high as the roof, its snow-covered branches sheltering the entire yard. If decorated with colourful lights, it would be wonderful for Christmas, I said to myself.

At dusk the view was different. The lane was so quiet that I could even hear my treads in the snow and the occasional bark of dog in the far distance. The tempting scent of dinner wafted through the air, particularly the smell from the Japanese roasting shop. Every house was lit up, it's warm orange light urged pedestrians to quicken their pace in this winter evening. Turning left, I came to the main avenue, as heavy with traffic and as crowded as usual.

By coincidence the traditional Japanese day marking girls’ adolescence was the same day as my birthday (12 January). That morning I excitedly took photos on the streets. With the backdrop of the snow, the whole street looked like a giant palette, dense with various bright colours; everyone soaked in an atmosphere of joyfulness. Dressed in brilliantly coloured traditional Japanese kimono costumes, wearing geta sandals, ornamented with flowers in their hair, the girls went to the temple in company with their families. 

Tourists visiting Japan are never meant to miss a hot spring spa, which initially I presumed was nothing special, just like springs elsewhere. However, when I pushed my legs into the hot spring and the clear water began to flow over my body, I realised this would be a unique experience. From the gentle pressure of the water there arose an agreeable feeling, like that of a baby lying in a cradle, cozy and safe. Standing on the plain warm rocks, I bent down, resting my neck on the surface of the water; then faint outlines of the mountains in the far distance and the hamlet at its foot could be spotted. The fresh breeze blew and I could easily touch the snow at the edge of the spring, all of which made the experience so intriguing. It was an open air hot spring, an incredible natural spa in the snow. Following the marvellous hot spring spa, a delicious Japanese meal was served, which could be regarded as a typical portrait of Japanese leisure culture. 

Japanese food is distinctive anywhere in the world. My favourite is Sashimi, delicious and nutritional, which was available in attractive packages at any big supermarket. The Japanese cuisine restaurants were quite striking; compared with some Chinese restaurants, these lovely Japanese restaurants were mini-sized. Inside, they were finely decorated in a typical Japanese style, that is, simple and delicate. Both ornaments on the wall and the way the meal was presented displayed the creativity and good taste of the owner. When customers praised the owner for his satisfying service, he would modestly and happily say, “thank you”.

Noodles restaurants were common and popular. Each time I went there, I usually finished the delicious seafood and soup and left some noodles. It was not the fault of the noodles, in fact their quality was superb. (I preferred seafood and soup. Even in China I seldom eat noodles.)

The rice was pretty expensive and for this reason many Japanese chose finely packaged rice as a New Year gift for their friends, which really surprised me. No wonder the price of Sushi was high, a well-known Japanese food mainly made of rice. I tried to make several types of Sushi by myself and they tasted nice, Ha Ha. For me, the most enjoyable moment of Sushi-making was to slice sushi nicely, then array it in the shape of a flower on a plate. It looked like an exquisite artefact. Now I was to enjoy my masterpiece in a cheerful mood.

Mention of a local speciality, Natto, should not be omitted here. Someone once joked that: “If you could not bear it, you were not qualified to be Japanese.” Is that true? Considering my constant interest in diverse cuisines, I would never miss the opportunity of trying such a taste. To be honest, its flavour was similar to the sauce paste made by my grand-mother in my childhood, and also similar to some strong French fromage. Both such substances produce a special flavour after a period of fermenting. It took you some time to get used to it, and if you did, you would love it. 

Year by year, every time I recall the days in Hokkaido, a picture pops into my mind: outside the window, the snow is falling gracefully, over old branches of the tree and covering the scene…...

That moment will remain fresh in my memory all my life. It seemed to be a fairyland, the only possible place to find such glamour. In the winter darkness, a faint light was shed from the street lamp, snow shone glossy in the moonlight, and a big crystalline tree was there, its lush branches drooping towards the ground. Its dense crown resembled a peacock displaying its full tail. In the enchantmen

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