Beautiful Little Things

Locate the sacred in the mundane.   ~Lily Yeh

I’ve been realising lately, as I’ve talked about my experiences in Peace Corps China with people in my life as well as groups in my community, that it’s almost as if I had two selves while I was there. One who was swept up in the beauty and intricacy of the culture and the environment, and one who was in a constant state of spine-crushing pain and disillusionment.

Though I imagine this isn’t terribly uncommon (in fact, I know it’s not) for Peace Corps volunteers world-wide, I wanted to equalize things a little bit. For everything shared through a veil of hurt and anger, there was a moment that shone bright through rose-coloured glasses. My intention is to record these here, as I remember them, though knowing me, I may use this platform to pontificate from time to thyme.

Life is too short to spend a day not living, and our pasts are the foundations of our presents.

So here’s what I remember today.

Walking across the tiled campus square to catch the morning bus to Lidu in the spring, the mists would rise and you could barely tell it was daylight sometimes. But beside the bus stop was a little pool of water with tiled sides and an amoeba-like form, in which floated lotus blossoms and lily pads. Sometimes hiding under the large leafy greens, sometimes sitting on top of them, sometimes leaping, and sometimes not seen at all, were about a dozen tiny frogs, perhaps as long as my smallest finger. While we waited to pile onto the bus and brave the bumpy ride to Lidu, we were serenaded by a chorus of tiny frog peeps.

It’s hard to start even the earliest, most grey and damp morning crabby when the froglets are singing.


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