Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Very Snowy Shanghai

SHJan 035
Originally uploaded by mgaston123.

...and an even more frozen Mich.

I swore I'd never do serious winter again after Kosovo, yet somehow I find myself a little bit delighted with the snow that's been falling here for 3 days straight. I stopped in the park on the way to work this morning to snap a few pictures of the pristine landscape. A passing policeman was kind enough to offer to take a picture of me bundled up in all my glory.

Supposedly this is the worst snowstorm Shanghai has seen in 24 years. Oddly enough, after 3 days of snow, we only had about 3 inches on the ground this morning, and by the time I left work this evening, most of that was gone.

I have to admit, even though I'm enjoying the scenery, I'd be much happier if it was sunny and warm (and I was on a beach with some sort of fruity rum cocktail in a coconut shell in my sunbaked hand).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Thor and the girls
Originally uploaded by mgaston123.

The little protective bubble that I live in, where news is something that happens to other people, where wars are distant things, and terrorists attacks don't really affect my daily life, was horribly and irreparably shattered yesterday.

My dear friend Thor Hesla, who has been mentioned a multitude of times in this blog as the Thorganizer or the God of Thunder, was killed in a terrorist attack on a hotel in Afghanistan on Monday.

I've spent the past two days whirling through stages of grief all melded together - denial, anger, sorrow - but still cannot find acceptance for this. It's too soon, and my emotions are way too raw. A multitude of websites have gone up and a great collective effort has gone into paying homage to the man that touched so many lives.

I have also spent a great deal of time remembering. Remembering Thor making me laugh so hard that tears were running down my face and I felt like I was going to throw up. Remembering being so frustrated with him I wanted to choke him when trying to argue an opinion with him. Remembering how he always subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) took care of those around him. Remembering how he loved to make you feel good about yourself, and how much fun he had at poking fun at you too. Remembering that some people were put on this planet to make it a better place. And remembering that life is short - we should always live it to it's fullest, as did Thor.

I'll miss you a great deal, my friend, but I'll never forget you. Thank you for making my world a better place.