The Last Day

Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
Trip End Mar 28, 2010

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Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Had an awkward ride on the fast train from Beijing. And probably the longest taxi ride getting to the station for over an hours (still only amounted to ~$10).  

Six months can sure go by fast.  I'm finally leaving China tomorrow via Tianjin's airport.  Not sure when I will return.  Lots of memories...

Am I ready to go?

A part of me is not.  For one, it's been over a year since I've driven a car. And my recent exposure to driving (the Chinese type) has been... rather unconventional.  What's more is that my brain has steadily become wired to think in kilometers, kilograms, Celsius, Chinese Yuan, and military time.  I've even had dreams in Chinese where I have been

agonizing over not being able to read those complex characters.  "Ok, that means 7 and that means 10… the rest I have no idea.  I don’t get it!!!"  Imagine having nightmares like that.  Come to think of it, that constitutes much of daily life too.  

My inability to absorb all the Mandarin isn’t the only reason though.  As the months have passed here in China, I have been more homesick than usual.  For a time, I didn’t think much of it.  But after my brother’s visit to Beijing and not finding the right opportunities to go to Europe, I am grateful to be able to go to Pittsburgh which will be close to family.  Don't get me wrong though... that's not to say that I plan to settle there or that Europe isn't still in mind. =)

What I will miss the most here is not the food, nor the daily chaos… but of course, the people.  In the same sense, while I look forward to the US…. inhaling fresh air and being able to drive from place to place on my own, it’s still people who I will want to see.  The challenge will be that the territory is larger than when I left.  Especially now that it extends beyond the US.  But it's a good “problem”... giving me more excuses to keep traveling.  At the same time, my eventual place in Pittsburgh will always be welcome to guests… as long as I am not away. ;-) 

Here’s a short poem that aims to summarize my thoughts:

Strange deal it was, I agreed,
See the world, but have no home,
Make newfound friends, and then leave…
All to return to what I’ve known.
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