My surrogate family
The friends who got me through each day. Jennifer, Steven, Kirk, Jaime, Megan and Eli. After many dinners, movie dates, and long bus rides these were the people who became my chinese family
I leave today, leave China for who knows when. I, of course, tell my teachers that I will be back as soon as I can. But my history tells me a different story. I still have not returned to Italy after 7 years (and I loved, loved it there). As I leave, I wonder if I will return. Will time away from China make the heart grow fonder or will the lure of toilet seats and signs in english make me curse life in China.
Even as I dream of not playing the grocery shopping guessing game, I still find my sentimental walking down the streets, stepping over diapers, coughing out smog, and watching children aged 10 pee on the sidewalk. Basically, I am still processing this experience, not sure what it will mean for my future or how I will interpret it into my past. Will I romanticize china or criticize it?
So I am packing some confusion and mixed feelings into my already overstuffed bags. But the one thing I am not taking with me back to America is regret. I have never once regretted the decision to give up my real job, with my real life,
Friends let friends share their drink
All you could drink, served up fishbowl style in Shenzhen.
in a real city (sometimes I question shenzhen) to live, experience, breathe and be frustrated in this other world.
Even though I have missed my niece's first steps and another of my brother and mother's birthdays. Even though I am having trouble remembered how loving jena and eric are and how milissa and i could talk forever about just about nothing. Even though it took sarah 4 days of traveling for us to hang out. And even though I won't have money to go to ami's wedding in India......even though... so much.
But I have gained so much this year. From volunteering in Cambodia. mary. eli. agnes and megan. james. belle. ms. huang. friends abound. They have made me laugh and a few made me cry. I have traveled alone. I have traveled with friends. I have traveled and met friends. I have grown stronger (mostly mentally except those 6 flights up to my room help). I have challenged myself with both teaching and living. And as much as I looked forward to coming home, I still have always felt this year that I was where I needed to be.
So today, I'm leaving on a jet
plane and I don't know if I will be back again....
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