Haven’t Forgotten

I’m working in Purgatory.

Purgatory, in case you were wondering, is beige. It’s beige and there is no art on the walls. There is, however, a camera that watches how often you get up from your desk, measures the time of your stretches, and calculates how long it takes for you to use the restroom.

For all that China drained me and made me sad, at least there I could hop on my scooter in the afternoon and go driving on my own. Not at this place. I’ve found a job that requires me to do the exact same thing every day. I mean that literally – the exact same task everyday. I’m working on a white collar assembly line, and nothing is expected of me except to fall in line and never deviate.

I thought this is what I wanted. I know now that is not the case.

So, readers, this gal is taking her moxie and going to shake things loose. I feel a wind in the air that’s calling me out from this soulless, oppressing box that has not even a motivation poster to cheer me. I think it’s time to smell the wind, chart the stars, and move on.

Wish me luck!

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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!