Friday, February 18, 2011

My City

I left my apartment this morning and walked down to a nearby Starbucks to get some work done. After a couple hours, the place begins to fill up with people and noise and hustle and bustle, the amount of coffee in my cup almost acting as a gauge for the peace of the room. Around lunch time I head over to my grocery store and pick up a few things before I go the Chine Unicom to put more money on my phone. I spend the afternoon at my office/apartment getting more work done (only mildly interrupted by a wonderful company prayer time), and then head out with my Chinese co-workers to dinner. We took my shortcut to the nearby foodcourt and tried out this Indian place I just love. We get done eating just in time for me to head over to dance practice for the play I am in. Thankfully practice is right in my neck of the woods, and I get there in no time. Three jives and a Charleston later I head out to my favorite place to think and watch the ocean reflect the colors of the city lights. As I sit writing this blog, a couple fireworks go off right around me... and I barely notice. Yup, this is my side of the city.

Did you hear it? Did you hear how mant times I said "my"? All of the sudden I have realized that I don't see this as someone else's city anymore. It is my city. "They" don't live here. "We" live here.

At some completely elusive and undefinable point, I stopped living in CHINA and started... just living. I am not amazed anymore. Not really. Its not new. Its not fantastic. HiSense, Jusco, crowds, decorations, all the general Chinese-ness of everything-- its just a part of life. Grabbing a taxi, walking by the ocean, being surrounded by sky-scrapers, ordering meals in Mandarin-- this is just life now. I don't know when it happened. But it has. I am not a stranger visiting a foreign land anymore. I am an acquaintance living in a foreign land. Maybe at some point, living anywhere just becomes like living anywhere else. Life takes over. And now, indelibly, inevitably, truly-- this place is a part of me, and I am a part of it.

~J.L. Smith

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