This is going to include the highlights of my journal, started 2 April 2016 in Shanghai. It’s still going now, and I’m bringing it to Korea again. “Transitional Nature” is one of the big categories on my blog, and it is about my desire to move abroad many many times. Tomorrow morning at 3AM I begin the journey to Busan, where I will be living for at least a year. I never thought I would set foot in Korea again when we left in 2013.
I was wrong, apparently!
I think it’s important to write down the reality of moving abroad a lot, especially in a time period like this one where it’s happened three times already this year. I’m excited to go to Korea again, but I’m also having the usual nerves that come with travel for me. Oh yes, gentle reader…it’s not actually a walk in the park to have this travelling life! It’s complex, scary at times, and stressful always.
Here is a genuine account of what this international life is like, through the words I’ve written in the past five months:
946 2 April 2016
I’m hoping to capture the transition from Shanghai to Colorado to Iceland. In a month, I’ll almost be in Louisville. In two months, I’ll be outside Selfoss. Two months ago seems very close. Two months from now seems epically far.
Line 12 6 April 2016
I’m going to Shanghai Museum today to get out of the house. Next week, I’ll learn how to make Xiao Long Bao. Then I’ll pass the HSK 2 on the 16th. Then we’ll travel. Then we move on.
I feel incredibly anxious. Sick to the stomach. As much as I’ve felt miserable here in Shanghai this year, the change is scary. Soon, soon, soon.
Shanghai Museum Same Day
I saw a coin minted under the reign of Ghengis Khan today. Dark and rainy, bringing the May flowers we will not get the full benefit of. I wish I had fallen for China the way I did for Italy or Chile. China I have great respect for, and it is a great civilisation. But I’m not in love with it.
Line 12 8 April 2016
We’ve got to get out of here.
753 14 April 2016
Absolutely stifling in Shanghai today. Hot, 217 AQI, massively humid. I’ve been feeling sad about leaving, but today I’m ready for this shit to be over.
732 22 April 2016
One year in Shanghai. We carried all our possessions out of the house in three suitcases and rolled them down the street to Shadow’s house. I’ve been loading myself up with my travel jewellery, slowly transforming from Teacher Coleen to Traveller Coleen.
Every other place I’ve lived on these long jaunts has felt magical or transformative or meaningful. It’s just SO SIMILAR to Louisville, in so many ways.
946 (one last time) 23 April 2016
Heavy rain, and they changed the bus schedule back to having it arrive at 7:32AM. Today’s the day. I’ve been thinking of it for months now, conjuring it in my mind while listening to ‘Now We Are Free’ from the Gladiator soundtrack, imagining walking out of Shanghai 08 and never coming back.
Last night I did something I’m more proud of than anything in China; I sat down and had a conversation with our landlords. For about 25 minutes. We talked about how old I am, about China, about why we are going. About my strange wooden earrings.
They prophesised that in two years, I will have a baby. Very rarely these days do I feel the pull of a prediction as a magical thing.
I think I am ready.
Hostel Travelling With, Xi’an 26 April 2016
Hua Shan, five peaks in a day. Like a giant, adult playground! YAY. Travel is best.
Sanya 2 May 2016
I have the sea (higher waves today, which the Chinese insist on jumping OVER and consequently being absolutely rocked by), beautiful sand, and a nice HefeWeiss beer. I also have a book en francais, “Rendez-Vous Au Colorado” which I picked up yesterday while awaiting breakfast. I’ve read 83 pages so far.
The book describes my native land as something exotic and distant. Wild. The way I write about places I travel to. It’s strange to have it turned on its head like that. It’s his India, full of spirituality and mystery, along with a certain karma.
Of course, Colorado, though mine, is distant to me now in both space and time. Well, not time to be. In four days, I will return to DIA. But I’m also not sure it’s home now.
Colorado is not where I got married.
Colorado is not where I’ve lived for the last five years.
Colorado is not welcoming to my husband.
What does it mean when the land of my birth has become so distant? Am I changed, or has it changed?
To be continued…………….