I'm leaving tomorrow! I'm not really preoccupied by happy or sad right now, I'm more just bracing myself for international air travel. I'm really glad to be flying Asiana, because I think non American airlines are a little more old-fashioned service oriented. I can't wait for my hot towel.
I'm a little tripped out that most of my classmates are flying west, while my flight is eastbound. Yes I knew the world was round, but… I guess I forget that America was that… wide.
We all now have stories about readjusting to English. It's painless of course, but funny when you experience it with others. Swearing too much, over gesturing, using 2nd language strategies to talk, inability to maintain a cohesive thread in a conversation, and awkward pauses for vocabulary gaps… followed by the pleasure of remembering the word. My word was "ultrasonic"… or was it "hypersonic?"
I'm alone in my room (X is gone) and I'm half packed. Today at the bus stop, in the middle of C telling me his packing woes, I remembered my original plan to buy a bag here in China, and that way, I could have plenty of room for everything. Of course it's too late to do that, so I think I'm just going to go buy a cheap zip up shopping bag and fill it with clothes. That will be checked bag number 2. Piece of cake.
The guys have promised to knock on my door tomorrow morning, at least to say goodbye, maybe even to get breakfast (i.e., sit on a park bench and eat a loaf of bread down by the river).
I feel like I'm just getting to know them, because we all just started speaking English yesterday. I also am pretty sure their Chinese is better than mine, and I'm not saying that to be modest. My strength has always been pronunciation, but these guys are remembering words we learned in class and using them in the wild. I think it's because they are more adventurous conversationalists than I am. Also, they are younger, so maybe my language learning instinct has gotten rusty. No, I don't believe that, but I had to throw it out there. Anyway, I admire their progress. I know next year I will have to keep working on Mandarin speaking and reading seriously in order to be where I want to in terms of proficiency.
I want to talk a little more about my current social life. My friends in Seattle are my friends, and I'm a little bummed about leaving them behind. My friends in Hangzhou were mostly X and E, both of whom I've been happy to see every day of this program. There are other people, who I feel like I'm just now getting to know… but tomorrow morning is it. Who knows if I'll hear from them again after tomorrow. Realistically, I probably won't. I I know how this works, this is my fourth study abroad experience, and I know about losing touch.
How odd, I'm in a social transition funk. Me. I haven't felt this funk since quitting grad school ten years ago. I feel like I need to go on one of the retreats that I run. That is, that I used to run, when I was a high school teacher.
E and I went to dinner (for the last time!), we went into the neighborhood, to a restaurant we had been to before. We ordered stewed beef and potatoes, chopped chicken bones, and some greens. While eating, I remembered how much I like Calrose Niko Niko rice, the rice that I grew up on. I know other people think that rice has no flavor, but to me that Calrose rice tastes like sunshine.
After dinner, I packed a little, hung out in E's room a little, and then tried to cell phone coordinate a night at the movies, with some help from the gals in 402. We got in a cab and met C and A and roommates and saw Nanjing. Afterwards, we all took the 206 night bus back. I'm sure that means something.
Remind me to post about the animal sightings I've had.