For quite a time, there was nothing very much to blog about. Things settled down; after the first two months of settling in and teething problems, we entered a relative era of peace. Routines were established; class, lunch, study/gym/taichi, dinner, hang out, play a few rounds of Mafia, homework, study for 听写 (dictation). A steady workload of Chinese homework and assignments from home kept me much busier than I anticipated, but still found time to get trigger-happy on Book Depository (not that I got very far). The weather found a rhythm, too; it was hot and humid for a few days, rain non-stop for a few days, be gloriously mild and clear for all of 15 hours, then the cycle would repeat. We enjoyed grumbling about the weather as much as we enjoyed grumbling about little things we’d label ‘just China things’; this was life now. It had become familiar, and we were all happy to just exist, be, have fun, enjoy the here and now. My personal life also stabilised; I found that my love for the people back home didn’t diminish, but only blossomed stronger than ever. I gained confidence in that love; I was strong enough, stable enough now to freely give love and not need to receive it back. Juliana stayed an emotional crutch for me (though that never changed); it was good to have someone who I knew was listening to me and supported me no matter what, even when I was too much (and I am too often too much).
She visited me for a change, came down to Hangzhou; but the skies chose that weekend to open up on us, and I tried my best to make up for her awful hour-and-a-half-long cab ride by feeding her as much as I could. (I think I succeeded. Much to my amusement, she went through a third of my snack corner.) From Friday to Sunday evening, I was floating – I was among some my best friends I’d made during my short time of 22 years on this earth, one from my Sydney life and one from Hangzhou. Not that it mattered, really – most Australians I’ve met are all brilliant, and we click like we’ve known each other for ages. Joe and Juliana got along swimmingly, like I knew they would, and baby of the group Micah amused/distracted/blinded us all with his ‘firsts’ (legal alcoholic beverage, atrociously leached, hair, what have you).
But then slowly the peace, which had fallen upon us all without us quite realising, started to lift; things were shifting again. I was reminded that life was moving on, popping the insulated bubble of a community that was Zhejiang University International College, but it was popping in extreme slow motion. Good friends were leaving, one by one; people had left before, but now the pace was picking up. We tried to stay up for Micah’s last night, but at 4am we gave out; we woke back up again the next morning at 7am to see him off. I wrote him a sweet letter, but otherwise didn’t think much more of saying goodbyes. Then we were all hyper-conscious of the fact that Luni was leaving, reminded almost hourly by the way she seemed to spontaneously break into tears days before she was due to leave, much to our amusement. Our family was quietly, slowly but surely growing smaller, but there was still exams ahead of us; it was quite the obstacle to overcome before we were due to go our separate ways. While busied ourselves with studying, we also stayed up late, went out at night, seizing upon the last few nights we had in the city with everyone here.
Peace and routine was giving way to change, again, and it was bittersweet. So much was behind me, ahead of me, in front of me. I was deliriously happy 99% of my time; unexpected changes in some of my relationships did pop up, but if they did they didn’t seem to dampen my spirits very much. I took pleasure in sunsets, in cheap watermelon juices, in smiles, in my French accent which was improving after months of practicing my r’s in the back of my throat, drank in the love and energy from my friends and let it absorb me and tried to give it back threefold. I skipped some nights filling in my daily diary entries and had to make up for them the next day because I would just crash after spending the whole day and night with friends. I spent a lot of time wondering how my heart was able to expand this much to include more people than I could have ever imagined.
I wrote a lot of to-do lists in the last week of semester. I’d put off blogging for an entire month; if I wasn’t working to get something crossed off the list, I was YouTubing, catching up on an entire season’s worth of Game of Thrones, on social media – just doing something mindless as a complete contrast to studying or pesky admin things I had to take care of (planning flights and accommodation for Europe, getting Russian and Mongolian visas taken care of. They’re still not taken care of). I lost a lot of sleep, but didn’t mind (at all); I was doing more but documenting less of it. Living in the moment is what they call it I suppose. I tried not to overthink things – after all, I had so much good in my heart, so much love to give. When had pure intentions and goodwill hurt anyone? It was going to be okay, and I pushed any small niggling worries to the back of my mind. Iwas often feeling happy and sad at exactly the same time; I felt like I was living in the past, the present and in the future, torn between three, wanting to be everywhere all at once. All three dimensions of my existence were so rich in their own ways and I delighted in them, grew nostalgic for little snapshots of every day life before they were even over; relived moments, daydreamed about them. I started getting homesick – but not for Sydney. For Hangzhou.
I started writing this blog post weeks ago in my dorm room. I’m now
finishing this off in my aunt’s little flat in Guangzhou and now publishing & editing it in a hotel room in Hong Kong, two days after I finished writing this, visiting my mother (who had been here for a month) and other relatives. I’m still reeling from last night, which is one of the best nights I’ve had in Hangzhou, and then this afternoon, which was a final lunch (dumplings) with my closest friends. I laughed at myself as I watched them out the window while my cab pulled me away from them; how dramatic I was being. Saying goodbye to my friends in Sydney was awful, but I’d had known it was coming for a while; this time round, I hadn’t given any thought to it at all and it was all the more wretched for it. I drifted in and out of sleep on my way to the airport (running late, of course, because it’s me after all) and felt distracted and convoluted as I sat out the 2-hour delay (a double-edged sword; I didn’t miss my flight, but now I had to wait). I couldn’t process leaving the friends that I had become used to seeing every single day for the last four months. It had just taken me that length of time to get used to saying goodbye to my friends in Sydney. The same part of my soul that was so often riding on a consistent Cloud 9 high on life also made me emotionally exhausted; my capacity to love was proportionate to the amount of mourning I seem to do when I have to leave the things or the ones I love.
So now I’m here, on the first night of my two-month holiday around corners of the globe I’d only ever briefly entertained the thought of visiting. I know I’m excited for it, that after a shower and a good night’s sleep I’ll wake up with my energy levels replenished, both figuratively and literally hungry. But for tonight I am giving myself the time to miss my friends, to admit to myself that all I want right now is a massive massive bed with all my closest friends in the world on it so we can create a spoon-train and cuddle and talk shit and slowly drift off to sleep.
(Also my phone ran out of credit so I am feeling particularly isolated right now) nah we good now fam
tl;dr: life is fukin sik but saying goodbye sux a looOoOOoot of ass. feel like i’d just gotten settled and i’ve had to bounce again. looking forward to croissants and the eiffel tower and whatnot but i mostly miss me mates already.