There’s a war going on outside!

It’s the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year and my apartment is getting bombarded front and back and from all sides by large explosions accompanied by car alarms. It’s only 10:31pm, and this frenzy of fireworks will probably last until midnight! Wow! Today is also known as “Yuan Xiao Jie” which is the festival for eating sesame rice balls or “Yuan xiao” (photo below). My apartmentmates and I had 6 each, perfectly cooked to tenderness. (You have to drop them frozen one by one in boiling water, and cook it for 1 minute after the balls float in the water).

“Yuan Xiao”

Something else exciting happened today! Yuan fen! (The Chinese word for circular destiny/serendipity)

During the Chinese New Year’s, I spent a lot of time watching the TV with my grandparents (it’s mostly what they do now that their eye sight has gone bad, and their bodies have gotten weak.) During this period, I saw this one program about Dong Lina (below) that replayed over and over again. Dong Lina was a young woman who was blinded during childhood from an eye illness and was thus committed to a life being trained as a blind masseuse to make a living. However, she was unsatisfied and decided to follow her gut taking on a bigger challenge by entering a competition with the Chinese National Radio. In the end, they offered her a job and a position as a radio talk host. I thought it was very touching when she was filmed expressing her greatest fear… that “each day will be the same as the day before.”

Today, after work, I entered the subway on line 2 at my usual time. I was shocked to find that right next to me was the young woman Dong Lina sitting in the same subway car as I was! Unable to contain my excitement, I spoke to her and her friend in the subway to tell them how I much I was inspired by her spirit and how my family enjoyed seeing her story. I also shared with them my own admirable, courageous friend who was also struck with blindness at childhood. They were both very sweet and listened intently, showing interest. Then I bid farewell and left at my stop. This was yuan fen. Simple! I hope our paths will cross again. It’s a sign. Thunder always strikes twice in the same place. It must.

Ms. Dong Lina’s greatest fear is that “each day will be the same as the day before.”

Youku video of her competition performance:
Global Times article: