The Old Must Go for the New to Come

In January 2010, I crammed 25 years of my life into two little 50 lbs bags and headed out on a China-bound plane to educate the young and inquisitive minds of Dalian on all things American. But why? Why leave a coveted associate producer position at CBS (and six years of journalism training to boot) and head off to a lowly English teaching position in China? Why? Because, frankly, I've learned getting what you think you want out of life isn't always what it's cracked up to be. What follows are the tales of my trials and triumphs (like overcoming my fear of the dreaded squatty potty) and the lessons I've learned along the way...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Beginning of the End

I hate packing for a move…I feel like I do it far too often. But I suppose that is a common plight of us transient 20-somethings. I think it’s the whole notion of taking all these bits and pieces of life that have been so carefully and thoughtfully sorted out into a nice, neat, peaceful existence, and tossing them all back into a box to be jumbled up all over again. It almost makes the whole idea of unpacking in the first place—of transforming the place you stay into the place you live—pointless…meaningless. The more comfortable we make our stay, the more painful it feels when it’s time to leave. And for me, that time is just about here. This week, I reluctantly packed my first box of items to be shipped back to the states. In a few short weeks my time in China will come to an end, and what was once a part of my everyday existence—with all its adventures, misadventures, joys and frustrations—will become just a surreal memory.

I think my mind can’t yet grasp just how close it is to the end of my stay here because I still feel like I haven’t had enough time for the beginning…The questions I came here with… many still unresolved…the goals I set…many still unfulfilled. But then again, this isn’t some perfectly woven together script in which all the pieces convene in a harmonious cinematic ending…This is life. And in my life, this is just another chapter—a chapter filled with humorous cultural exchanges; mystical ancient cities; breath-taking landscapes; bustling, glistening metropolises; budding friendships; touching family reunions; chance meetings and romantic encounters (but I don’t kiss and tell :o)); singing, dancing and badly choreographed Kung Fu fight scenes; some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted (some of the worst, too); and some of the most beautiful, generous, inquisitive, kind-hearted people I’ve ever met (Hillary, Hanna, Linda, Agnes, Dawn, Betty, Sharon, Sophia, Jim, Michael, Lily, Sunny, Abby, Emma, Walker, Zoe, Jamie, Kelly, Spring, Olivia, Beva, Linda, Cam, Heidi, Mena…just to name a few).

And it was a chapter, of course, filled with writing…my sanity. I came…I saw…and I wrote. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and yes, that is absolutely true. But I think it’s also true that a word can hold a thousand images…a phrase can hold ten-thousand…and a sentence can unleash an endless stream of memories…at least, that’s my opinion. But then again, I am a writer. And I haven’t exactly completed this chapter just yet. Who knows what the next few weeks hold? In the meantime, I should probably get back to packing away more of my life back into boxes…yet again.

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