Not forgotten

I haven’t forgotten you.

I’ve made a mistake and now work in a writer’s sweatshop. It’s hard to find time to think for oneself, let alone write it down. I’ll do better. I should also write this on my other blog…and my journal is suffering too.

We make miscalculations. Mine has been going on for three months.

Three months of regulated bathroom breaks.

Three months of being monitored by cameras.

Three months of writing thousands of words every day, and being told I’m not a good writer because I left the date off a letter, and have a tendency to use “dramatic” words.

Three months of not exercising, writing, creating, or doing anything other than going to work and working.

So it goes, according to Vonnegut. I think perhaps I need to make a change.

Things are about to get interesting again…….


Another Suitcase, Another Hall

I’ve wept upon leaving places.

I’ve run away from places.

And Wenjiang? My new school? In the Lifetime Movie of my life, I walk around the classroom and gently touch mementos of a four-month experience that has changed me for the better. A small smile tugs at the corners of my mouth as I recall hijinks or that one great day where I succeeded at getting a point through the barrier of language. In reality, I slowly walk around the classroom, swatting mosquitos and throwing away the food in the refrigerator. My feelings were…a little muted. I am sad to say goodbye to the people who have been so friendly. I regret that the teachers and I did not bond until my last two weeks here.

 I rejoice at the thought of going home, where I can understand all the signs. It might sound touristy or hopelessly Western of me, but it has been hard not understanding 95% of what I try to read. I’ll be happy to go where there is Internet that simply works. I’ll be grateful to drink the tap water again.

 Truthfully, I will miss my students, though not as much as the Lifetime Movie Channel version of me ought to. Instead, I feel very practical about everything. My suitcases must be packed, my room tidied and emptied. The classroom needs to be cleaned and locked It might be because I am so undecided about my emotions that I default to logistics.

 That is a safe thing for someone with mixed feelings – break it down to immediate needs. I pack my medical suitcase, filled with treatments I thankfully never had to take. That surprises me – I ate a lot of local food and things I probably should have avoided, but I only got sick once.  I pack up the souvenirs for family and friends, the packets of tea, the decorative tassels, my red clay teapot. I leave behind my newly acquired heels, my dishes, a pack of instant ramen, and my little dragon turtle statue.

 And it is not as though I am going home straight away.

 I’ll be in Beijing and Xi’an for the next few days. So there will be photos and stories aplenty before I have to write travel stories about the Midwest.


Suitcases packed, classroom cleaned, I stare at my uneven floor, my broken shower, my IKEA furniture and the tiny touches which made the space my own. I might feel a twinge of sadness. Endings are always a little sad for me – they represent a change, and most of my life is change.

Off I go, into the wild blue yonder!