Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Don't Understand, But I Do.

I feel like there is buzzing, life going on around me today but I don't understand it.
In a way that's more than normal - not just because I'm in China and Mandarin is not my first language.

Even when my Chinese co-workers are speaking Mandarin I can put bits and pieces together and understand the general topic of conversation. I can add to the conversation sometimes even. - in English and Mandarin.

But this isn't that. This is different. It's more in an "out of body" way.
I now know for a fact that I will be leaving China in EARLY April either the 1st or the 2nd. I went into my principal's office again last night and talked to her ( calmly, patiently) about my leave date.

So now- everything is rushing at me - getting my apartment security $$ back from my landlady. booking my flight. getting rid of the things I don't need to take home, making sure I make plans to make time to SEE and SPEND TIME with the people that matter the most .... especially my favorite person.

I'm at work right now. Using my happynewjokes.com VPN to access blogger here and all I can think of right now is going downstairs to get a cup of coffee ( as if that will make this whole situation easier? I dunno)

I cried going to bed last night. Wrapped up in two layers of pajamas ( b/c it's still a litttttle chilly at nights here) with my "favorite" scarf wrapped around my neck. Actually the "good cry" before bed ritual has happened a few nights in a row now. This whole year has been the extreme of both sides of the coin. Seriously. I've never had the extreme of both together like this. Filled with the most DIFFERENT and EYE OPENING times and also the most FRUSTRATING times/situations. "I don't understand, but I do" - pretty much summarizes everything here. Things are done differently - business/life, etc. and sometimes I shake my head and don't understand, but then looking back, with some perspective - I DO. I DO understand. The people in China are not that different from people in America. Everyone wants to have a good, successful business, a happy family, a happy life, to be able to travel and to give their family the best that they can. I think these are universal "wants". The country itself - is SLOWLY becoming more "democratic" and less "communist". I think that's what scares the government the most. The PEOPLE are slowly gaining access to the "outside world" and wanting things that they've never wanted before. They are seeing things in different ways. Chinese people have VPN codes and, if they can afford the little extra monthly expense, pay for them and have access to Facebook and Twitter. There are (small) protests and uprisings. This rampant desire ( and big $$ business ) to learn English will ensure that the future will be different, the country will continue to change. For better or worse.

I know that I want to go somewhere new for this next year - to Taipei in Taiwan ideally, or if I'm still in China, Shanghai. I WANT a BIG CITY with more social/adventure options for a "single" American woman. BUT that doesn't change the fact that I've had a life here for the past year and that my heart and mind have made memories. The good thing is, I can take the memories with me and I can come back to visit. The hard part is this initially "goodbye" that's coming soon.

I've made plans with Lisa for later this month. We've been texting via my little "itranslator" iphone app this morning...but the app doesn't work without internet connection. So after I left the house ( and sent a text with my plan ideas) to come to work here about an hour ago, she sent a final little reply message. I will have to go home later and see what she said.

BUT I saw and I understand the Chinese characters for "OK" that she typed, so I think the plans are good to go. ...

I don't understand, but I do.

When I do start packing, I think packing my carry on bag full of tissues will be a smart idea. :-/

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