Looking over the past few months' entries and pondering what I should write about today, I notice a disturbing trend: overwhelming negativity.
What happened to the cheerful optimism I came here with? The amusement/astoundment at Chinese doings? Have I grown incapable of cultural observation and appreciation? Where is the carefree gallivanting of days past? It seems that all I've done since last summer is whine and complain. Where is the eager anticipation of the next adventure?
To be fair, I have good reason to whine and complain: things here have taken a dramatic turn. All of the freedom I had when I first came here has been severely curtailed, both by new regulations and by my full schedule. And, since my incontrovertible decision to leave China for good – and all of the implied questions of where to live and such, it is a bit difficult to be sunny and optimistic while being sullen and resentful.
Being subjected to noisome and uncomely behaviors has taken its toll. I recall, in my early days here, the delight at women dancing by the pond. These days I look forward to rainy evenings so that I don't have to hear the same songs, over and over again, again this night, from 7 to 9 PM.
Although I still think it is great the people gather to dance, do they have to do it every night? How about alternating nights, so that we can have a measure of peace?
And there I go, complaining. Again!
Truth is, there is not much to write about because I am not doing much of anything besides teaching and staying home these days. Among the myriad of aspects of living here that I have grown tired of, being stared at and talked about drive my current behavior. Stared at and talked about while doing the most mundane of things! Recalling the time when I was walking to the bus stop, and a man strove to catch up... so he could video me walking down the street.
I so long for anonymity!
With my departure imminent, my focus is on getting through these last three months and on what lies ahead. In light of all the uncertainties, surely I couldn't be blamed for not making the most of the time I have left here, could I? In fact, it seems a bit unreal that I am still here.
In my mind, I am already packed. A month ago I went through my cabinets, cleaning and purging and setting aside the few items I will take with me. Big cleaning projects: taking apart the kitchen vent hood and the stove. Clearing out the cabinets. Moving the fridge; the sofas, the desks, the bed. Scrubbing walls and windows. Calculating how many drop cloths I will need.
I refuse to leave this house as filthy as the concrete bunker was when I moved in!
I have written plenty of entries over the last few weeks, but none that I would be proud to publish: they are just too negative for my taste and style. What's really disturbing is that those are in fact my thoughts! I think that, being overwhelmed by eagerness for new horizons, the reality of still being here brings me down.
I have always been the type of person who, once a decision is made, cannot wait to get on with the new plan. Yet here I sit, with a flight out – (probably) never to return, a wedding (not mine!) and a new country to move to. I can barely wrap my head around still being in the same place and doing the same thing I've been doing for seven years. I feel like I am in limbo!
And here is where I find the eager anticipation of the next adventure. It isn't gone, just stifled under the day-to-day. There really is a keen desire to explore new realms, an expectancy and a soaring, roaring, burning desire to see what will come next. Not just where I will hang my hat but what I will do and how it will be when I am there.
It is in these quiet times, with a sparkling clean kitchen, with rain falling outside, with silence from the pond that I can finally let my imagination run free, free to meet whatever will come my way.
Less than three months to go!