Sunday, February 2, 2014

Interstitial space

I'm not here, not really, not fully anyway.

Family reunited in Texas: early December 2013
This is a thought that has occupied my mind since last week. I can't recall which day. The full force of it hit me Thursday night while watching this performance from the CCTV Spring Festival Gala. At end of bit: a family dinner. I saw it, and tears welled up at once.

I wake up every morning knowing that I'm in Texas, knowing that I'm at my father's home, knowing that ahead of me is a day of activities mostly revolved around getting a job and getting my family into its own quarters. At the same time, I wake up every day as if in a dream, as if I could wake up and still be in Changsha, in my apartment, in my bed, breathing emphysema-inducing pollution, ready to face a new day.

I'm not really here.

I know I won't see the food venders lining the road, but I know they should be there (unless, of course, the chengguan makes their rounds).

I know I won't see the high school kids from my building waiting at  the bus stop, but I know they should be there.

I know I won't hear the abrasive yet warm (with a hint of aggressiveness) tone of the Changsha dialect, but I know I should hear it.

I'm now almost three months into this transition, one that I didn't want to make but knew I had to make. I know I've pushed myself too hard over the past few months, not using the time I was gifted to actually let myself face the transition head-on. Perhaps now I'm letting myself do so.

I didn't want to make a personal blog. I wanted to just stick to my "professional blog". Probably that was the smart thing to do, as the first few months were more about being disappointed and angry and a slew of other emotions. However, I think this may be a good way to process and invite others into the process. I may discuss my own state. I may discuss cultural observations based on the contrast with China. I may pose questions I have about the US. I may even quit blogging when I feel the moment has passed.

Want to join me on this journey?

My last few minutes wife family in Changsha: November 6, 2013


  1. It takes a while. I don't understand why either, and I am not sure of a lot - will we go back in the future? Is out time in Asia done for now? I don't know. But I am learning to love the US again even if it is a slow process. Asia changes you though - and that is a good thing. I am learning that we can fully love both the countries we were expats in and our "home" country.

    1. I wouldn't say that I don't love the US. I suppose I would say that I now see the world differently, and as a consequence, see the US differently as well. That's probably what you mean when you say, "Asia changes you though - and that is a good thing." Thank you for your comment.