A rainy day in Sydney is very much alive with colour and sound and beautiful clouds. There is the sound of rain and of wind, trees twisting in the wind, lightning arcing across the sky, the loud colours of living plants highlighted in the glistening wet. Not to mention the scent of damp earth, and eucalytpus. How can anyone not love all that?
A long time ago now I began to collect jewellery as souvenirs. When I wear something I bought in a particular place or with a particular person, I think back to that time and place. And that makes me happy. My jewellery boxes are treasure chests of memories. They are a tangible connection to people and places that matter to me – my souvenirs.
In Chinese certain numbers “mean” certain things. This makes phone numbers a bit of fun in China. Companies often try to play on numbers to make something memorable. Sichuan Airlines famously spent $300,000 on a phone number. The number string 5201314 means “I will love you forever”.
Today is Chinese new year’s eve! It’s such a fun time of year to be in China and it’s strange not to be there – a reminder that I really have started a new season of my life. This is actually the first time in ten years that I am outside China for Chinese new year! Here is a collection of those stories I’ve written about Chinese new year and its various traditions.
People keep asking me about re-entry, and whether I’m struggling to re-adjust. The problem is, I’m starting again, more than returning to something. One big difference community living rather than abundant solitude. One similarity is the international flavour of the community I am living in. It’s also lovely to start reconnecting to the culture of my passport country – its beaches and parks, at least!
I have now been at SMBC for a whole week – so here are some stories from my first week of my new life here in Sydney, Australia. I am amazed at how settled and content I feel just one week in. I do expect the weight of the transition to hit at some point, but I live on a lovely campus with lovely people and am enjoying the study so far.
I have thought a lot about what it was like to leave Australia for China. It is the only other transition of this magnitude that I’ve made in my life. I knew when I left for Beijing that it was a Real Move, a permanent change, that I would not be going back to where I was, or who I was, before. I feel the same way now – that this is a bigger change than I can articulate.
I leave Cambodia for Australia tomorrow morning, 11 years since I first moved to China. I have crammed a lot into those 11 years! My whole adult life, the whole span of time lived outside my parents’ house. My entire career. All the things I did on my own, as an independent adult, I did in those 11 years.