Feeling sorry for myself when I haven’t left the house in 4 days is easy to do.
I’m homesick but I’m not ready to go home yet.
My heart hurts.
Sick of being sick. China, you’re rough.
I’ve been thinking a lot today and doing a lot of reflecting and stuff and all of a sudden I just kinda stopped thinking and realized how proud of myself that I am. Up and moving to a foreign country where I didn’t know one other person, sticking it through with all of its many difficulties. I’m just really really fucking proud. I seem to spend so much of my time criticizing and being super hard on myself, when really, I should be so much more aware of how much I’ve accomplished. My entire life, it seems, has revolved around my worries of what others think of me. A constant nagging. This unnessesary anxiety. Such a huge portion of my time and energy and awareness, and for what? For someone else’s approval? For a boost of self esteem? I’m grateful for days like this when things just kind of slow down, words are muted and yet everything around you is so clear. And all at once you just take a step back and truly see yourself from the outside, in.
It’s only after half a bottle of booze that nostalgia can truly be at its finest.
I guess in China, I’m now learning, that some vegetables must be boiled for a minimum of 20 minutes before you can eat them. Probably something to do with the chemicals they use to generate crops as fast as they do. How scary. It was described to me in the relation of cooking meat. A little too late, I might add. I don’t think I have ever been that ill before. And from green beans of all things. Ugh. The filthy squatter toilets of China will be the death of me. For now: crackers, a can of sprite, and all the tummy medicine I can stomach. Sleep is now. Wake me up, never. Ughh.
I have spent the last hour or so reading through past posts of mine. From my initial arrival in China, to the extreme lows of my days in Changzhou, and the extreme highs of my arrival back in Beijing. Well, here I am. It’s been awhile. I’ve decided to attempt to begin again.
Life in Beijing has been pretty good. Definitely not easy, definitely not overly amazing. But all in all, it’s been an experience. I’ve settled in pretty effortlessly. Having lived here now for almost 5 months, the transition was flawless. I’ve gone through the honeymoon phase, the loss of that phase, and now with a feeling of home mixed with a feeling of needing a change. It’s been a pretty crazy ride.
Moving back to Beijing definitely brought things in my life full circle. My overall happiness was basically non existent in Changzhou, and my move ‘home’ was completely necessary. I couldn’t be happier in that regard. My first week back, fueled by late nights out, copious amounts of liquor, and old friends, brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I remember turning to a friend of mine in a crowded room on my “homecoming party” and being so overwhelmed with happiness and a feeling of being ‘home’, I could barely speak about how I couldn’t remember being happier.
It was inevitable that these feelings would begin to dissipate. Every good thing eventually comes to an end. The feelings of euphoria began to fizzle out and I was left with self reflection and heartache. It’s not that I had built up a place in my mind that I was coming back to, and it had let me down; but more so the friendships I was coming ‘home’ to. People change and life continues, with or without you. I returned to exactly that, and the realization was hard to swallow. Not much else needs to be said on the issue, really, however I will say that I am and probably always will be, a dreamer.
Since branching out of my social circle, I have been so lucky to have met some very wonderful people. You learn that you can’t be very picky when living in a Foreign Country in regards to the people you meet along the way. In short, some of the Foreigners living in China, are really really fucking weird. Totally a “big fish, small pond” type deal where a lot of the girls will basically throw themselves at any white skinned man for a quick ‘get out of jail free’ card. Unfortunately for them, a lot of these guys are lacking a decent personality, and their weirdness gets lost in translation.
From my camping trip on The Great Wall of China, to my first ever argument completely in Chinese, I’ve definitely grown a lot since moving back to Beijing.
My first Christmas away from home was surprisingly wonderful. My best friend Tom, (who happens to also be one of my housemates), and I got really into the spirit this year. I think I was in the Christmas spirit more this year than I have been in the past 4 years combined. We hung stockings, put up decorations, had a little tree, watched classic films, exchanged awesome gifts, ordered a huge turkey to be cooked and delivered (there are no ovens in China!) for Christmas dinner, and had a sweet dinner party with close friends at our place. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing guy not only in my Chinese life, but under my Chinese roof. Our across-the-road neighbor is my other (and equally amazing) friend Anne. This girl has been a vital part of my life as-of-late, and I am so grateful for her friendship. I have to say, The Great Wall trip we all took in September definitely brought us close. I can’t imagine going through the past several months without them. They have been absolute rocks.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. Our lease is up in September, and Tom is moving back to the UK mid August (which I can’t even think about!!). I’ve been feeling pretty annoyed with China the past little while, and I’ve been trying to map out all of my (endless, really) options. I’ve been unable to really save any money in China. With my expensive move back to Beijing where I had to hand over all my savings (and all of my Mother and sisters as well, wahh), I still haven’t been able to catch up. A lot of people turn to extra jobs on the side, but between this extra cold weather (it’s been colder than -15 on average the past month+), and trying to focus on learning Chinese and getting to the gym as much as possible, I’ve just been too lazy to bother. I’ve already decided that I’m going to stay in Beijing until Mid August/September ish, and then maybe take a month off to visit home, and then continue on with my travels. I’ve been toying with the idea of South Korea lately, but everything is up in the air at this point, and I’m trying not to set anything in stone. I’m excited to be out of my recent ‘rut’ that I had been feeling, and get on with my life in Beijing. It’s really such a wonderfully backwards, terribly-exciting-yet-sometimes-overly-depressing place to live. I think it is also one of the most difficult places to be single. It’s definitely become an issue for me. There are NO GOOD LOOKING/WESTERN/INTERESTING MEN ANYWHERE IN BEIJING. Seriously. I’m going crazy. Looking forward to getting out of the city and into THAILAND next month. I will be meeting my MOM in Bankok on the 4th of February for 3 weeks of complete bliss. I could not be more excited to see one of my best friends. I’m also excited to get out of China for awhile. It’ll be nice to have a little break!
Anyway, I’m going to conclude this novel. I’d like to finish it off by saying that I am continually grateful for close friends, imported foods and Western grocery stores, pirated DVDS, a very (very) relaxing job and lifestyle, and an apartment that I adore.
I will also add that I am NOT grateful for extremely slow internet, all of the blocked websites (including skype!!), the constant staring, spitting, nose picking, and farting-in-public ways of the Chinese culture, and all of the near-accidental death experiences we have on a regular basis just walking out the front door
China, even though we seem to be currently having a love/hate relationship with each other, I will always remember the moment I initially fell in love with you; I’m anchored to you. And for now, I’m here to stay.