From China back to the US then to Wales with a detour to Paris. Wrapping up with a Christmas at home.
December 30, 2013
Dearest family, and family of friends,
I hope this year-end letter finds you well. For those of you who celebrate it, Merry Belated Christmas and the happiest of (almost) new year's! And for those of you in China, happy (super) early Spring Festival. In continuation with my last letter, I decided to bust out my doodle skills and make good use of my trusty (though growing dusty) ink pens and half-draw, half write to you fantastic people in these twilight hours of 2013.
希望你们都很好。 我想在这封信中给大家祝圣诞节快乐 （虽然有点晚了），元旦快乐 和 提早祝大家春节快乐！ 我上次来信用画画的方式表达自己生活中发生的一些事情，也用绘画的工具来照亮我身边重要的人（就是你：好朋友们！）。 我发现我很享受这个过程， 所以决定再次用墨水儿和图片的方式给你们写信。
From the kickoff of 2013 spent in Beijing's Miyun mountains with my fantastic Hua Dan family of co-workers and volunteers (not to mention the 30 some squabbly, adorable, puffy -thanks-to-the-marshmallow-jackets, and laughing kids) to my first ever spring festival in China, in the company of extended family ... 2013 began with a crisp (cold!) and delicious start. February waltzed into March and as I spent my remaining days in Chengdu, collecting more oral history interviews with Hua Dan, tucking in my fair share of hot-pot and other Sichuan spice-filled cuisine, and soaking in the musical talents and general glow-worthy vibes of Chengdu friends and family.
A plane ride took me from March to April, and back to the capital city which was beginning to feel like home. Hello again Beijing. It wasn't the smog, or my apartment (because god knows I do NOT get homesick for the former). But home nevertheless. Because of the people. If home is where the heart is, I suppose my heart is with the people I meet. Not in pieces, though... more it seems to expand with every good conversation, with every hearty laugh... with every cup of coffee sipped over shared passion.
It was one of those shared passions that led me to Jude, partner in crime and cofounder of Bottlerocket, this part startup / part social movement / part art project that is SO much more than the sum of its parts. But more about this later (in the post script of this letter if you've time on your hands for a bit more reading).
But shucks. I'm beginning to ramble, so onto 2013 Part II!
This year has been a fantastic one, a joyous one, a stretchy one (I never knew myself to be so elastic) ... and it was so because of each one of you. It's important for me to recognize that the year hasn't been without its struggles, its moments of panics (spouts of blues and, in some cases, the mean reds). Looking back though, my year of being 23 has been a good one. Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly might jump into a cab and go to Tiffany's in order to recenter and calm down. I don't need Tiffany's. If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then by transitive property consider yourselves diamonds. Given the fact that precious jewels aren't really my thing (I'll take a pretty shell or a glass trinket any day), I suppose another metaphor is in order. As I search about, my first thought lands here:
Round. Colorful. All, if you look closely enough, unique and beautiful. You, friends, are my marbles. And I "collect" you as I would with marbles, tucking y'all ;) safely in the pocket of my heart.
Now! enough of these strained metaphors (my writing chops are a bit rusty as of late). I do want to close this letter, as always, with a thank you. Thank you for being part of my life, for being my friend, my family, my mentor ... my dance partner and artistic partner in crime. For being patient when I ramble, and even more when I lose my cool. Here's to you, volunteer editors, supporters, fantastic advice givers and willing listeners. God (and every other lovely thing on this green earth) bless.
Cheers to another great year.
P.S. Bottlerocket related post-script:
Yesterday around 2am, I put the finishing touches on Bottlerocket's first complete "Life Map " for the Beautiful Lives (mapping) Project. As an artist and a writer, I've always yearned to reach and audience and to "do some good" in this world via my craft [...]