It is hard to believe that 2 years ago I was in China finishing my year of studying Chinese and began teaching children of migrant workers English. I drug out my departure to the very last minute. My visa expired July 20 and I
left July 19th. I was caught between two worlds I loved very much. One I had to leave to go to China and the one I was leaving to go back to America.
China forever changed me and how I not only saw myself but how I saw the world. I was branded in a way that only someone who has traveled and spent significant time in another country, could understand. It’s not something one can truly explain, we simply nod when other travelers and expats talk about it, as if to acknowledge that we too “get it.”
I often kick myself for not taking more advantage of being in China for the year with things like trips across the country to Sichuan or Xinjiang or not immersing myself in Chinese language or studying harder. I often times beat myself up that I wasted a great opportunity as if I can go backwards in time and do it all again. I can’t and I need to stop trying.
I also need to stop waiting, waiting for a better time to write all these stories down, all these random thoughts about this glorious trip that hit me as I am showering or driving; small moments that I had forgotten until that moment, the smell of the fresh fruit from the street vendors or the feel of the hot breeze from the winds that constantly blew through Kaifeng.
As I sit here on my tiny front porch in Ohio I can’t help but wonder; where does the time go?