On Site: Tokyo P2

I have finally found time to finish up my post about Tokyo! The highlight of my trip was the Japanese garden we visited. We couldn’t go all the way to Japan without properly seeing a Japanese garden! The day was cloudy and cool, but I still really enjoyed the whole experience. I often miss nature when in Tianjin; so coming to this garden reminded me again of the beauty of our God’s creation.

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While we were at the Japanese garden we enjoyed a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The tea was strong, but very flavorful, and the desert was rice cake with red bean filling – delicious!

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Walking next to the light rail on the way to the robotics competition – its rainy!
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Snapped this while we were waiting at the bus stop. Turned out to look more like a modeling crew then a robotics shot – I’m so blessed to have these guys as my teammates!

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

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Doesn’t this look like an entrance into the “Secret Garden?” I was walking down this path for the third time yesterday afternoon and was suddenly hit with the urge to show Megan this place. She would love it.

This botanical garden houses over seventeen separate gardens, all pertaining to a specific region or theme. Some of my favorites are the Spice and Tropical Fruits garden, the Fern garden (the moment I stepped into this area, I smelled a wonderful earthy scent, like that of a damp forest), the Desert room (succulents are, of course, my favorite), and the Butterfly garden. The Butterfly photographed in this post. Although I didn’t actually capture any butterflies or moths in any of these photos, I assure you, they were fluttering in every direction.

I can imagine Megan watching the various, brightly colored creatures dance around in this glass room. It is seriously magical.

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The project that we are currently working on in Drawing class (the reason I have returned so frequently to Phipps), is essentially a plant adoption. We are to choose our favorite plant and find out everything we can about it: photograph, draw, and research. We are supposed to know this plant from the inside out. I chose the “Philodendron” from Brazil (tree pictured below). I love the texture and pattern of its trunk, and the branches are ¬†intertwined creating a very interesting structure.

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The drawing below is a synopsis of five different gardens within Phipps. We were to pick one plant from each garden and use it to represent the whole. I learned so much about simplifying my work throughout this process. Every assignment that we’ve completed so far has brought me great leaps farther in my knowledge of “design drawing.” It is such a privilege to study here, under such brilliant professors.¬†

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I admit that this process is often extremely aggravating. Drawing isn’t a personal hobby or “enjoyable activity” for me (as you know). However, I’m thankful that I have this unique opportunity to improve and learn. Tell me what you’ve been working on recently!

Miss you guys xo!

The Last of the Season

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Grandpa sent Megan and I out to pick the last peonies of the season late yesterday afternoon. Unaccustomed as we are to caring for garden-grown flowers in China, I took full advantage of this special opportunity. Snipping away joyously, Megan and I carefully chose the prettiest blooms to gather for dinner’s bouquet.

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Since arriving at my grandparents house in the beautiful, Eastern South Dakota region, I’ve noticed how good it feels to live in a place where nature is rich and vibrant. There is a comfort in growing your own fruits and vegetables, which my grandpa faithfully continues to do each spring. I hope that one day when I have my own family, I might be able to do the same.

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After peony picking, we gathered in the kitchen for some rhubarb crisp and vanilla ice cream. yum.

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