Habibi's Horizons.

Questions, a way forward :)   Insights, learnings and adventures all experienced here in the Middle Kingdom. 活到老,学到老。

"Greetings. I am pleased to see that we are different. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us." - Vulcan Greeting, Star Trek. 
I have missed writing and reflecting on here very much. But as I look back at the year’s last experiences, I feel like they were all small stepping stones leading me to an ocean of learning that I never thought I’d be swimming in. 
This is what my final year at university looks like, in a nutty nut shell: Friendship. Intercultural friendship. Fostering heart to heart communication between Chinese and western students on our Nottingham university campus. 
I love it.  

"Greetings. I am pleased to see that we are different. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us." - Vulcan Greeting, Star Trek. 


I have missed writing and reflecting on here very much. But as I look back at the year’s last experiences, I feel like they were all small stepping stones leading me to an ocean of learning that I never thought I’d be swimming in. 

This is what my final year at university looks like, in a nutty nut shell: Friendship. Intercultural friendship. Fostering heart to heart communication between Chinese and western students on our Nottingham university campus. 


I love it.  

— 7 months ago with 1 note
#chinese  #friendship  #learning  #friends  #culture  #university 

"Friendship is not just laughing and playing together but being sincerely happy with the progress of a friend, actually helping each other to grow." 

The implications of these words are ground breaking, heart opening, mind stretching, character questioning, motive pondering, gifts that will help us awaken to the new understanding of what true friendship looks like. 

One of the most beautiful things about this process, especially with the Chinese, is they sincerely want to make friends. With their whole heart. Like, true friendship! 

Now is not the time for empty words, hollow and soundless. Now is the time to adorn our lives with action and dedication to encouraging and inspiring one another. 

成长是陪伴。 

Sharing a few photos of Penny and I, my sister from Fuzhou, when we tought together in Yunnan. Where we learnt that friendship, like a tender flower, had to be nurtured, watered and tended to, whilst always directed toward the shining rays of the sun. 

— 9 months ago with 3 notes
#friendship  #china  #chinese  #culture  #friend  #family  #quote  #happy 

Sifting through the moments in China, I see a beautiful gem appear as I remember the precious time spent with a Naxi friend and her family in Lijiang, Yunnan. 

Walking to their home was a breathe of sweet, fresh mountain air, different from the smoggy thickness of some of the cities that I had spent time in in the East. There home was surrounded by a verdant isle of green and the occasional grazing pony. Embraced also by the majestic mountains standing tall like noble guards around a fortress, within which lay an interconnected golden web of family life. A golden web of love that gently wove it’s way through the neighborhood of the Naxi community.


And boy, do the naxi people know how to put UNITY into COMMUNITY.

One of my fondest moments from staying with them was walking with my naxi friend’s mum to the market one morning. Walking down the bustling streets at a time in the morning where the air was crisp, alive and enchanting with noise, movement and smell we collected, along the way, friends and neighbors that were all heading the same direction: 菜市场,the fresh market that was filled with a multitude of delicious produce, all of which would be prepared that very evening for a sumptuous and earthy meal.

Along the way we conversed with friends, neighbors, family, workers… Although these names had absolutely no meaning, it seemed, in their interaction with one another. It was brother, sister, uncle, aunt… It was family. Family that existed outside the boundaries of the home, or rather it was home everywhere they went: on the streets, in the marketplace, in the restaurants. Simply because, they KNEW EVERYONE, especially my friend’s mother who’s morning smile and grounding, warm voice which made you feel like you were being embraced by your own mum, listened and conversed with so many. 

“Let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path”

This was a public practice, not an abstract ideological concept, that I learnt the Naxi people knew how to apply into their day to day life. We have a lot to learn from these wise and noble people.

Simply put, I feel I know a little more about what a neighborhood and street should look like. These two words which were… well.. Just words a few months ago, jumped off of the pages from the quotation books and into thickets and busy garden of my heart. I live on a street. There are other people around me who live here too. This is a neighborhood. We are all here. You, like me, need to buy food to eat, (though it may not be in a lively wet market like in Yunnan) we have to go around the same chores that the every day throws at us, we share so much in common. How about we share, step by step, a little of our hearts with each other? How about, we learn together what it means to live on a street, to be part of a neighborhood together? Can we tread this path together, like the Naxi people do, the colours of their clothes and the sounds of their voices blended together like the running colours of tie-dye.

Can we learn how to put unity into community? 

— 9 months ago with 3 notes
#china  #culture  #people  #community  #yunnan  #travel 
Because, you know..
In China we like to draw eyebrows onto our dogs.
Animate their furry faces a little more. 哎呀。Aiyaaa. 

Because, you know..

In China we like to draw eyebrows onto our dogs.

Animate their furry faces a little more. 

哎呀。Aiyaaa. 

— 10 months ago with 3 notes
#dog  #china  #chinese  #culture 

像蓝天一样的海。
大自然让我感觉特别的感激。
如果我心灵有自己的颜色,那。。应该是这个海的颜色。 


A tropical throwback, photos taken in Sai Kung, this last July. The clear blue ocean of Hong Kong surrounded by rolling hills that made me think of “Lost”, apart from… we of course knew where we were and there were most definitely no roaming polar bears..

After walking a fairly long walk in thick humid air that all made us sticky and tomato red we finally came upon the beach with hues of blue that looked like they belonged to the waters of fairytale stories about mermaids… Apart from it was very real! It was my first time going to a beache like this… as you most probably can tell! I was plunged into a vibrantly coloured world where I felt like I was swimming in the sky.

It is poignant looking back at these photos as autumn gradually starts to embrace us with its frosty mornings, chesnuts and crunchy leaves. 

No harm in changing colours though. From sky blue to sunny golds and rich reds, I expect a warmth in the colours of this next coming season, not only because I think it resembles the soft glowing fire of a homely fireplace, but it will also bring to heart the images of China and the people who believed these fiery colours were auspicious and of good fortune! 

All things are a reminder of home in China :) I am grateful for this.  

— 10 months ago with 2 notes
#travel  #photography  #hongkong  #season  #blue  #ocean  #china  #chinese 

"Where is your home?"

Many people have asked over the last few weeks. 

There are as many replies as there are lights in the Hong Kong night sky, but I felt a truthful answer is “Where I feel connected, where I feel I can make a contribution, a place that I can show love, a place where I can find harmony with the music of the environment and the people, even though we are different…”

So, I am home in England now after 13 months of once again having my heart turned inside and out with the awe inspiring wonders and soul itching, head scratching, open-your-eyes kind of challenges. With family. Connected. Trying to listen to the sounds and resonance of the souls and atmosphere here. Slowly tuning in after what’s been a year of the “Sound of China” on replay, every day, but always my favourite song. 

I will still be posting about all things China related as it occupies such a huge place in my heart… and because I must learn how to synthesize what was learnt in the middle kingdom to the chanting of culture here. 

See you after graduation (one year left back in Nottingham), beloved land of China, and hello Britain, land of drinking tea out of tea bags, of scones, of BBC and vast greenland with few people… You are a little different from what I’m used to!

I like the sound of change though. :) 

P.S. Will also be rewinding on my soundtrack of experiences over the last few months, there are many stories and photos yet to share! 期待跟你们分享!

— 10 months ago
#china  #chinese  #home  #travel  #thought  #writing  #family 

My dearest family in Fuzhou. This is my mother, my father, and my sister. 

虽然我们现在的距离很远,我会在我心里带, 我跟他们在一起时候的美好的回忆。 
 

— 11 months ago with 2 notes
#chinese  #china  #family  #travel  #photography  #love  #no boundaries  #fuzhou  #experience  #unity 

Dressing up in 开封Kaifeng, an old town filled with entertainment for passing tourists. Friends and I, 左越zuo yue and 小卜xiao bu, locals of Zhengzhou traveled together from their home for a day…

Yes.. We did it, we decided to dress up as Chinese dolls in 36 degree heat with humidity.

We danced around pretending to be Chinese empresses of a time long gone, a time which belongs to servants and courts, courts richly decorated with sumptuous丰盛 banquets, and women who were somewhat regarded as delicate butterflies that would wither and tremble at the slightest wind. 

Well. I can see why they might wither and stumble under the weight of the headdresses we wore…

But see the women of China now, in more and more places, advancing alongside man, causing the awakening of life in our sleepy hearts… 

And… like us… dancing with hilarity and joy through life whilst dressing up the moments of our days with the colours and brightness of friendship, unity, truthfulness.. striving to adorn our heads with the “crown of justice.”

~

These are some moments of Henan Province for you :) 

— 11 months ago with 4 notes
#china  #travel  #photographers on tumblr  #people  #journey  #explore  #chinese  #friendship  #writing  #women  #history  #costume  #culture 

Singing to a dear friend’s Grandma. Because music “elevates our soul” and is a universal language that every.single.one.of.us understands.

Such a dear lady with a great sense of humor, sincerely loved by her whole family, especially her granddaughter. Sharing this song, “Nightingale of Paradise”, that my mum composed when I was a child. 

家庭是至关重要的。亲爱的奶奶,我在这里送给你一个心灵上的拥抱。爱你。

— 11 months ago with 3 notes
#china  #chinese  #family  #music  #people  #song  #grandma  #life  #happy  #joy  #hope  #language  #love 
I am here.

Words, where have you gone? Where have I buried you? I’ve checked in my extremely well used backpack, and you don’t seem to be tangled among any of my badly packed clothes… 

What I’m feeling right now is an indeciperable spectrum of emotions as I reflect on the fact that I will be leaving this country that has left more footprints in my heart than I have on her soil. 

Let me share with you the places that I have been over the last couple of months. 

Upon completing my exchange year at the Nottingham Campus I first went to:

Beijing.

Then…

Shanghai.

Then…

Kunming.

Then…

Lijiang.

Then…

Fuzhou.

Then…

Zhengzhou.

Then…

Guangzhou (current destination).

Current destination of heart: The vast, wild andbeautiful land of feeling overwhelmed. 
 

— 12 months ago
#china  #chinese  #travel  #writing  #thought  #adventure  #joy  #places 
在红色的背景下 ~
Embraced by red, exploring the grounds of one of Kunming’s temples in Yunnan. 

在红色的背景下 ~

Embraced by red, exploring the grounds of one of Kunming’s temples in Yunnan. 

— 1 year ago with 2 notes
#china  #chinese  #photography  #person  #red  #background  #yunnan  #explore  #temple 

And this was the sky tonight. 

好漂亮的一个日落。

— 1 year ago with 3 notes
#china  #chinese  #sky  #clouds  #beauty  #nature  #scenery  #landscape  #photography  #photographers on tumblr  #colours  #sunset 

I spent a glorious day yesterday walking with the elderly Chinese, slow steady and wise, in green lake park, Kunming. 

Their faces were deeply lined, I could only imagine what changes and storms of life they have seen, like a worn leaf that had been blown around by the winds of revolution, famine, joy, pain, growth and love. When the equilibrium of the world was shaken awakening us to the understanding that we are all connected, the once cocooned China was catapulted into an arena of bright lights and bombs, in other words: the world stage… 

It struck me as I was walking behind their humble statue, they clasp their hands behind their back which I find an incredbily respecful physical stance, that in front of me were these incredible wise beings who had weathered all this experience, all this learning. 

But are they conscious of their own extraordinariness?

I don’t think they were. I don’t think they would walk the way they do, with a sort of bow to everyone if they knew this. 

As I followed them, smiling, we came to a lucious, verdant green embrace from the bamboos. As they walked ahead, it seemed to me that the bamboos were sloping toward them, bowing at this old couple’s humbleness, like servants saluting and  welcoming a beloved king and queen. 

Can you imagine if these people each wrote a book about their life?

I mean… Wow..  

— 1 year ago with 2 notes
#china  #people  #writing  #old  #photography  #photographers on tumblr  #culture  #thought  #couple  #experience  #life  #travel  #human  #green 

Returned to the Spring City. Kunming. Returned to the West. To the place where mountains stand tall and competition/money don’t take precedence in life… 就是Yunnan.

Spent a day wondering the city with a friend, getting caught in the random, last-around-ten-minute-rain showers, and stopping at every puppy that was being sold on the street. 哎呀aiyaaaaa. 

— 1 year ago with 2 notes
#china  #travel  #photography  #yunnan  #animals  #friends  #chinese  #culture 
Smiles and rollings hills, a day filled with thrills, climbing above the hanging and clinging smog, an arduous slow slog, but a surge of joy when i finally see the sun, a gentle whisper of love, from the warm rays above.
爬山是一个慢长的过程,但是山上到了时,因为没有那么多的窒息空气污染,我就可以看到充满阳光的天空。

Smiles and rollings hills, a day filled with thrills, climbing above the hanging and clinging smog, an arduous slow slog, but a surge of joy when i finally see the sun, a gentle whisper of love, from the warm rays above.

爬山是一个慢长的过程,但是山上到了时,因为没有那么多的窒息空气污染,我就可以看到充满阳光的天空。

— 1 year ago with 3 notes
#china  #the great wall  #nature  #scenery  #smile  #happiness  #green  #chinese  #travel  #WRITING  #beijing  #photography  #hills  #flowers