I’ve been avoiding writing this entry. Perhaps it’s due to the massive appeal of sitting at the beach reading Jane Austen instead of typing at my computer. But that excuse wouldn’t exactly be accurate since I’ve spent large parts of my week and a half home on the couch, watching Rocco’s Dinner Party, and making use of my iPhone’s non-camera related capabilities (although I did finish Sense and Sensibility and have since started Northanger Abbey). I think the real reason I’ve been avoiding this entry is that it means “Lindsay: Summer in Beijing” is over. Finished. Fini. 完了。I will no longer wake up each morning and have the bakery man at the dining hall know I’m getting a croissant with bean paste filling and a bottle of “orange juice” for breakfast. I’ll no longer have four hours of class where I won’t hear Swallow say things like “Maybe sometimes when I’m drunk I don’t know how to do it. Maybe I fall asleep on the street. Oh I mean my friend.” or Li Laoshi go on an anti-communist rant before saying obscure things like “Plums are big, like American person” or “So please, Yong Heng, help some poor people”
or Liu Laoshi confusing snakes with Snickers and tripping and stepping on at least two pieces of chalk each lesson.
I won’t be able to take a bus into Wu Dao Kou on Friday nights to
get free t-shirts at Propaganda, see 17 Again playing at Sensation’s bar, or dance the night away at Halloween theme night at Global in July, or top the night off with La Bamba’s nachos;
or take the subway to Sanlitun on Saturday nights where I’d run into British friends from Qingdao, eat freshly grilled eggplant and bread from the street stands, and rage on the roof top of Kokoma, but not before stealing a sombrero as a souvenir. Even in the middle of this reminiscence stream of thought I had to take a Facebook break.
So it took another two days along with that Facebook break to pick back up. Let the stream commence: I’ll no longer be able to go to the Pearl Market, Antique Market, Wangfujing, and the Hutongs all in one weekend to power through souvenir shopping during the last three weeks but still have an awesome time doing since haggling prices in Chinese is ten times more fun than haggling in
English in addition to making Chinese frenemies because they respect your attempts at conversing with them. I’ll no longer struggle to read shirts that have English words but truly make no sense but it’s in English so I know it’s a status symbol. And I’ll while I’ll still probably see some crazy shoes, none will compare to these. I’ll no longer be dragged around various historical sites by crazy tour guides who can’t distinguish an hour wait from a three hour wait while sweaty people touch you from all sides and hit you in your head with their umbrellas they use to block the sun.
I’ll no longer make Staci take 8 million photos of Jordan and I at said historical sites (even if Jordan gets to be Rose). Ok, maybe I still will. I’ll no longer be considered a celebrity due to by general blonde-hair-blue-eyes appearance and movie star sunglasses and have to pose for eighteen million pictures with a happy smile (even if the mob of middle schoolers almost tramples you) for a frown or “no” would make Americans look like pretentious jerks.
I’ll no longer have to make the confusingly ambiguous choice between the far dining hall, the farthest dining hall, and the close (and best) dining hall even though the close one always won (even if it was the furthest from where we were) and I would always get creepily hit on in Chinese by the 40 year old chef and given water every time I asked for Coke by the drink man. I’ll no longer have to go on hunts for Coke Zero because no honestly likes the taste of real Coke (besides Jordan) and who would wants to spend the calories on a drink instead of ice cream? I’ll no longer eat Magnum ice cream every day after dinner on campus or seek out the nearest DQ for a Blizzard or happy hour chocolate-vanilla swirl cones at Burger King during shopping adventures or hot fudge sundaes at McDonalds or KFC at 2 am only to find out that 1) the machines shut down at midnight and 2) we don’t really want ice cream after all. I’ll no longer have to pull up Google translate before ordering weekly pizza or Subway sandwiches to be delivered to the dorm because white rice really just doesn’t sound good and we don’t want to get out of bed that day. Nor will I have to simply point at menu items and say “this one and that one” instead of the actual names of nachos and a quesadilla. I also will no longer drink my weight in calcium deposits from the water I had to boil each day or keep my mouth sealed tight while showering for fear of ingested just the slightest drop of contaminated water. I will no longer have the luxury of buses, cabs, subways, or simply walking to get where I need to be. Mass public transit, however crowded, is a beautiful thing (shout out to NYC).
I don’t think it’s ever taken me this long to write a post. In the time between my last paragraph, I’ve been to the Harry Potter Exhibition in NYC, got a haircut, and went grocery shopping with my mom (free cookie sample at Stop & Shop. Day highlight). But I guess I don’t really have much else to say. I go back to Gainesville on Wednesday and will resume normal school life. My first entry from China had a title rom the song “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked. For symmetry’s sake, this entry’s title is also from Wicked and a perfect theme for my adventures in China. So instead of my usual “Until next time,” for there won’t be a next time, I’ll leave you with a person favorite verse of the song I teared up listening to on the cab ride to the airport just two weeks ago.
“It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime. So let me say before we part, so much of me is made of what I learned from you. You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine by being my friend. Like a ship blown from its mooring by a wind off the sea; like a seed dropped by a skybird in a distant wood.
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”