Last week was pretty good thanks to the WordPress editor who “Freshly Pressed” my previous post. I’m sure there are some of you reading who’ve also been Freshly Pressed. I’m sure you felt the same way I did about it: surprised and thrilled that your writing/photography got noticed and then completely blown away by all the likes, comments, and reblogs that followed. I had no idea that so many people would be interested in reading about the Shanghai Marriage Market, or that it would spark such an enlightening discussion about matchmaking customs and marriage values around the globe. The post sparked a whole comment thread centered on matchmaking in India, and inspired another blogger to write a post telling us more about it. I, for one, can’t wait to read that. Other people shared snip-its of their own matchmaking stories, like the gentleman who “met” and courted his wife via the U.S. Postal Service. Let me tell you, it was quite fun to learn about and interact with so many people in the WordPress community.
As a way to say thanks to WordPress, I’ve decided to participate in my first WordPress challenge. It was a no-brainer, given that this week’s photo challenge is to show abandoned. Can something that is in the process of being created, or in this case being built, be abandoned, I had to ask myself? My answer: yes, because here in China, while there’s lots of stuff being built, most of it’s never actually finished. Entire communities in various stages of construction surround us in Haiyang. They all begin in the same way — a frenzied rush to clear ground, dig holes, and pour foundations — and end-up the same — unfinished communities of concrete shells, like the one pictured below. It’s about two miles from the expat village. In the year and three months that we’ve been here, I’ve never seen any work being done on this “community,” if that’s what it was once meant to be. I’ve never seen the crane that lurks over the shells move. It’s as if, one day, construction came to an irreversible grinding halt. Someone’s grandiose vision suddenly turned into another concrete eyesore along the roads of Haiyang.