Friday, 1 August 2008

Random Thoughts

I'm not quite sure what to write today so it will be a bit of a stream of consciousness.

I saw a man on a subway platform today repeatedly slapping a woman (presumably wife or girlfriend) in the face. It was truly horrifying. I thought we were all supposed to be desensitized by violence in movies, games, and the news but the sheer brutality of it was absolutely shocking. I mean this is something I have literally never seen before in my life. Hours later, it still makes my blood flash boil thinking about it. All I could think to do was to start screaming at this guy in a language he didn't understand, indicating by gestures that he could try it on someone else, but the subway doors had closed and all I could do was grimace and talk myself out of taking the next subway back. Apparently domestic violence is a big problem in China.

Only three weeks to go before my departure from China and (much like my last job) I don't really want to stay but the departure is still sad. I won't miss the slow, spotty Internet. I won't miss ordering bottled water. I definitely won't miss the pollution or the heat. I won't miss the one channel of English propaganda on television, or the staring, or the spitting, or the manually controlled traffic lights that don't give pedestrians enough time to get across the road, even if you get a head start before they go green.

What will I miss? I don't exactly know. I'll miss the cheap taxis and cheap beer. I'll miss the variety of food choices (at least compared to where I'm going next!). I'll regret not having got the most out of the country (no travel!) and not having learned enough of the language to even have a basic conversation with the taxi drivers. I'll miss the way something noticeable has changed every single time I go outside. But these all seem insignificant and I think there's something more to it. Or could it be just sentimentality because it was "home" for a while? It may take some time for me to figure this one out... and I think I may be back sometime to see a bit more of the country (maybe they'll have fixed the traffic lights!).

One final observation: I seem to be getting restless. It's been 5 or 6 months since I went on leave and this appears to be a pattern. When I returned from Europe in July of 2002, it was just after Christmas that I started working at UBC. When I returned from Australia, it was about 5 months before I started working at Emily Carr. And I became restless in Australia after about five and a half months of being there. It seems that's about as long as I can stand being unfocused (at least in one place). Julia commented that for her it would be more like a few hours but it's good to know what my limit is.

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