En vino veritas, blood is thicker than water.  While we’re on the subject of liquid-related sayings, I’ll add 雨里有诗 (yu li you shi, yu li yo sure) or “in rain there is poems.  I’ve found that rain *really* motivates me more than anything else to write poetry.  Weirdly so.  I’m not gonna argue with it though, and the amount of rain we’ve been having means I actually managed to bang out a quatrain.  I only seem to be able to write about my moods still, but I guess it’s a start.

饮后晓时望浃地
乡愁已消不怨习
雨洗冰城似洗心
但愿作诗当淋地

Rough translation:

At dawn after drinking I look outside upon the sodden ground
The homesickness of the week has left, and study brings me joy
Rain washes down the roads of Icetown (Harbin) like the veins of my heart
I just want to write poems when water soaks the street.

Here’s a rain poem that’s actually quality, by Yehuda Amichai, the “most translated Israeli poet since King David.”  Nice.

The first rain reminds me
Of the rising summer dust.
The rain doesn’t remember the rain of yesteryear.
A year is a trained beast with no memories.
Soon you will again wear your harnesses,
Beautiful and embroidered, to hold
Sheer stockings: you
Mare and harnesser in one body.

The white panic of soft flesh
In the panic of a sudden vision
Of ancient saints.

With this weekend we’re coming into the leadup to finals.  Feeling good about them, not much more to say now, although I should get out an essay draft or two today if I want to stay on top of things.

After that we get our Fall break which is great in that other domestic tourists will be few and far between, most everyone having used their vacation time this past week for National Day.  My current plans are to head down to Beijing, take a day trip two provinces over to Shanxi to see the Yungang grottoes, a site my mom wanted to see when she was her and instead opted for Pingyao, a city whose center has remained essentially unchanged since the Qing Dynasty.  (Fun fact, that wasn’t out of any desire to preserve cultural and architecural heritage/attract tourists, it’s because the local government was too poor to tear it all down during the Cultural Revolution.)  Pictures when I go of course.  Then I’ll kick around in Beijing for a day or two or three to see which of my friends are in town, then entertaining the idea of seeing Shenyang (capital of the province inbetween Harbin’s Heilongjiang and Beijing).  It’s got some sights to see and the nearest American Consulate, which I’m actually quite interested to visit.

The weather’s turning up here in Manchuria, we’re at or below freezing at night I believe, and the fact that central heating doesn’t come on until October 20th I hear has left many of my classmates bundling up in blankets as they write homework (I’m not unaffected, just more used to it, thanks Massachusetts Winters).  Personally I’ll take all the fresh air I can get until the coal plants fire up for the winter.

One last piece of good news, my absentee ballot came!  I’m glad I can actually vote, so spent some time today filling in bubbles for the obvious choices.  The more obscure propositions and local officials will require some more investigation.  Go America!

And to all you my beloved readers, however many of you there might be, please go out and vote this election.  The younger you are the stronger I make this exhortation, raise our generations average 30% turnout rate.

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