Yesterday was a big day – I send the first draft of the book to my publisher/editor. I had my first Khmer (Cambodian) language lesson. Finally, it was a big day because it marked one month since I arrived in Phnom Penh.
A lot of people have made comments along the lines of “but you’ll be back”. I hope that’s true, but I don’t know for sure. It’s important to me that I close this chapter well, that I don’t leave things hanging. I need this to be a real ending.
I haven’t read a lot of books about China, but these are the three China books I really, really like – and highly recommend to anyone who wants to understand more about China: River Town, Dreaming In Chinese, and China Road.
While I’m not excited about leaving China, I am excited about WHY I am leaving. As surreal as it is to be leaving the world I know and love here, I want to continue to grow – which means being me in different places, doing different things.
I am obviously foreign in a country whose citizens are, for the most part, quite ethnically homogenous. I stand out. Not everyone sees past it all and connects with the person underneath. I love when it doesn’t matter that I’m a foreigner.
I remember how different my apartment felt when that furniture arrived. They weren’t just things – they meant something. It’s so strange to think they won’t be mine again. That these solid pieces of my life in China are just gone.
I bought a one-way plane ticket out of China. There’s something so FINAL about having paid for a plane ticket, about having a concrete date. About knowing exactly how much time I have left here. I suspect that’s why I put it off so long.
I was surprised at all the emotions stirred in me my when my flight landed in Beijing. I’m back – but I’m not staying. I’m home – but it won’t be my home for much longer. As I looked down I realised that I am about to become home-less.
17 days ago I received some terrible news. A girl from my youth group had passed away overnight. She was a beautiful girl, a beautiful person, and she will be missed. It’s been a long fortnight for me. I have been exhausted – mind, body and soul.
Imagine you are at a party at someone’s house when suddenly a house plant starts talking to you. Perhaps you would ignore it, ask if the person next to you heard it, or try talking back while laughing at the situation. I am that house plant.
This year ANZAC Day comes with terrible timing, but it’s important to me to go to the Dawn Service at the Australian embassy one last time. While I’ll be groaning when I get up in the morning, I know I’ll be glad I went.
A large part of cultivating Good China Days is changing assumptions and expectations. Here are a bunch of things that help me adjust my attitude toward China – and create space for days that make me love this country, and its people.