This morning's email brought a dramatic, red, Chinese New Year greeting from John Fu in Copenhagen. He was a college student when we met in Xian, China eleven years ago. Determined to get his next degree in the English-speaking world (he was a proficient translator in 2000), he got his MBA in Denmark where he now lives and works as a business consultant. We had hilarious experiences with Chinese government officials he helped me to interview in Xian. I wanted to know how they were dealing with garbage issues. Did they have a problem? Mayo, as they say in Chinese.
As we sat in a cab on our way to Xian officialdom, John asked what was in my backpack. Unzipping the green bag, I pulled out the world's smallest kitchen composter and a red knit worm to explain my kitchen composting mission. "Oh, so this is your religion," was his insightful reply.*
Dedicated capitalist that he is, John will surely be delighted to be headlined with Warren Buffett performing at a charity fund-raiser. If you can read Mandarin, let me know how the translation works. When I went to YouTube for the embed code, I found such ugly, racist comments! Opened another window on why the U.S. is in deep stuff politically and socially. Of course, you already knew everything about that from at weeks of the Republican side-show that dominates every TV news program.
But I digress. Busha Full of Grace raised my consciousness about the Year of the Dragon. Currently this spunky, knitting Grandma is nanny to a Chinese family. To expand her knowledge of the celebration, her search led to the ten important facts she posted. "No sitting in a bedroom" knocked me out; Number 10, "Songbirds are Good," was more expected.
*To honor my "religion," John Fu had a chop mark made with "compost" in Mandarin. For "This Dirt Museum: The Ladies' Room," my 2001 installation, I enlarged the image, added the word in Spanish. It had a prominent spot in the show and still hangs in our apartment. Shown here with a few of the 150 red worm interpretations I knit for the exhibition. [You too can have a chop; order here.]
Though amused by the idea that my intense practice of transforming kitchen green waste into a useful, earth-enhancing amendment might be considered highly spiritual, perhaps a "religion," John's response has grown on me.
When we moved to our retirement community, a woman in the mail room invited me to join the Green Team. What a vintage designation my NYC self thought. Not that at all I discovered.
We now live in Portland, Oregon, sustainability-intense city where you never forget your reusable grocery bag. [See latest "Portlandia" episode.] Once again we kitchen compost. I am very involved in encouraging neighbors to do likewise. No longer do red wigglers in our living room transform the stuff, but the intention is the same.