It’s hard to convey just how much mental energy went into pain suppression, so that I could actually THINK in the remaining part of my mind. There was sadness over things I couldn’t share in with my friends, and fear that I was seen as lazy for not joining in.
Cambodia’s Moon Festival is like China’s 中秋节 (Mid-Autumn Festival). It was fun to watch children in our street playing joyfully with lit lanterns while adults chatted and nibbled on food offerings.
It’s been a week now since I left Beijing and arrived in Phnom Penh. All in all, it’s been a great first week – a great start to this “middle” time I find myself in. I am delighted to feel so at home, and look forward to engaging in life here while I can.
A lot of people have made comments along the lines of “but you’ll be back”. I hope that’s true, but I don’t know for sure. It’s important to me that I close this chapter well, that I don’t leave things hanging. I need this to be a real ending.
I haven’t read a lot of books about China, but these are the three China books I really, really like – and highly recommend to anyone who wants to understand more about China: River Town, Dreaming In Chinese, and China Road.
While I’m not excited about leaving China, I am excited about WHY I am leaving. As surreal as it is to be leaving the world I know and love here, I want to continue to grow – which means being me in different places, doing different things.
I love the reminder that this world can be small. It’s a good thing to think on as I prepare to leave the place where I met many of the closest friends I’ve ever had. Not bad thoughts to dwell on during my last visit to the Great Wall of China.
I am obviously foreign in a country whose citizens are, for the most part, quite ethnically homogenous. I stand out. Not everyone sees past it all and connects with the person underneath. I love when it doesn’t matter that I’m a foreigner.