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Saturday, May 19, 2007

May Malaise

I'm sitting here in my flat, eating a gooey stinky delicious durian (a feat with one hand), listening to some great music (Love's "Forever Changes" at the moment), I just had dinner with my friends Kaly and Dez (haven't seen much of either of them lately, Kaly especially, what with her working in Shenzhen and all), and I gotta say: I feel quite content at the moment. So content, in fact, that for the first time, well, ever, the thought of shaking this all up by going back to the states in a month and a half doesn't sound sublimely perfect.

So it goes. You need change in life, I think, and it'll be good to get out of Zhanjiang and into somewhere new. That new place will be America, Delaware, "home" for the summer, then come August: Jilin.

It's too hot in Zhanjiang. Really damn hot. Two showers and shirts a day are normal. I'm not especially complaining, but I've for so long divorced myself from the relationship between climate and geography. Any kind of travel was in America, and it was simple: south is hotter, north is colder, and you're living in that nice cozy temperate zone. Now I've got seasonal rains and bizarre mercury spikes that I notice but don't take the time to understand.

To offset that heat: swimming. Oddly enough, this school actually has a damn good Olympic-sized pool. After the gym, Steve and I have been meeting up with Liam and taking a dip. Since most Chinese can't swim, that big lap pool is pretty empty, with only a few fakers hanging around the edge, pretending they're just about to/just finished doing laps. All the guys that can actually swim are off in the kiddie pool trying to teach the girls. Only problem, of course, is staring.

Ah, staring. Like an ingrown toenail that keeps biting at your inside, asserting itself ever so painfully, people still stare. Something is supremely strange about being a foreigner in a place like China, especially when you come from a place like America. I'm almost oblivious to it now, but if you try, you can still feel all those eyes on you when you walk around, you can still decipher the intent behind the unintelligible Chinese whisper that turns a handful of heads your way.

So this weekend I've been planning the rest of the term: shoring up the traveling loose ends, planning my finals, getting a lock on what chapters I'll cover as we wind down to the end of the term, and marking. Nothing exciting, but the work has a calm routine to it that I am almost beginning to enjoy. I guess it's just the pace here. It can be boring, but nothing's too rushed.

Ah, well, this is one hell of a meandering post, isn't it? It's kind of a strange malaise here in Zhanjiang, the inevitable end winding down as the tourist-cum-teacher prepares to return home. There's an unmistakable lull at the moment, but the whirlwind of activity that's to come in the next six weeks is clearly on the horizon, the eye of the storm staring back in calm inexorability.

Man I love those long pretentious words.

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