Thursday, 5 November 2009

not for all the chickpeas in china

Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001
From: Ceels
Subject: not for all the chickpeas in china

I hate packing. I seem to have six times as much stuff as I have room. You should see China Post people pack. They defy the universal laws. If I didn't have such big feet I could fit way more in my suitcase. It turns out that Chinese men don't like big feet, no matter how big your bottom is. Dammit. Now I am going to have to go back to being liked for who I am.

The other night there was a full moon and a clear sky and I saw the man in the moon for the first time. Until now I have only ever seen a rabbit sitting at a table. It was very exciting. (Yeah, I know).

So I am leaving Beijing.

I have changed a lot, you know. I can now dodge traffic with an ease that few who have seen me cross a road would believe. Because of the lack of full-length mirrors I now have a self-image that consists of two pairs of limbs and a face in the tiny bathroom mirror. I can project my voice over a room of forty yelling students. I can catch Beijing buses at peak hour. Food in all its guises does not faze me (except the stinky tofu). I can sing along to aqua, backstreet boys, n'sync, Christina and Britney. And I haven't watched television in six months.

And there are lots of things to miss. No more 35 degree heat and 75% humidity. No more waking up at 3am in a tangle of soggy sheets. No more men falling off their bicycles trying to get a better look at how white my legs are. No more catching a glimpse of my reflection on the train and realising that not only am I twice as big as everybody else, but also the neon light is making me glow like Christmas. No more walking into a shop and declaring that I have something, instead of saying that I want something. No more chewy-air days. No more cheap fresh lychees. No more watermelons that would make you cry for how sweet they are. No more being cheated because I am a foreigner. No more being stared (pointed/ laughed/ spat) at because I am a foreigner. No more squashing the mosquitoes on the wall by my bed (that really annoys mum). No more Chinese lessons from the guards at the gate. No more lots of things, but I can't think of any more.

It will be good to come home. I am going to eat pizza and steak and one of mum's hamburgers and I am going to spend all the money I have saved on clothing. All of it. I went to the bank yesterday to change my money. Unfortunately I didn't have the seven billion bits of paper and three eyewitnesses that Chinese bureaucracy needs to do any thing, so they wouldn't change my money. Another Australian teacher came in just after me. I tried bursting into tears and he tried raising his voice. We neither of us got what we wanted. I have to go back today with my plane tickets, contract, residence visa, passport, foreign expert papers and all my money (in cash, in brown paper envelopes). They are all in the one bag. I am experiencing hyperparanoia about someone stealing it.

Well, I must run, I am about to go head to head with my suit case to see if I can't convince it that it is bigger than it is.
all my love
china blossom

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