Back in the Saddle

I never believed the old people in my life when they'd talk about time slipping away on them: the shpeels on such illustrious topics as “Don't worry, you'll grow up soon enough” or “You'll wonder where the time has gone.” I've never been in a hurry to get to the next big thing, and as such, assumed that time would continue to seem to stretch on forever thanks to my ever youthful and laid back mind.

Summer came and went in the blink of an eye.

Old people and their preternaturally accurate forecasts of the future. *sigh

I'm already back in China. In fact, as some of you who keep pestering me about my blog are well aware, I've been back for nearly a month.

Life changes seem to keep rolling on down, whether I like them or not. Most of them have been for the better. We've got a pretty good group of new teachers; perhaps too good. I've been so busy that I don't think I've spent a weekend inside my apartment. For this, I mostly blame Julie (yes you), a girl who moved into the sixth floor next to my buddy Dan. My friend Andrew has come over here as well, and is my new neighbor. There are a slew of other cool teachers too (Walter- my heterosexual half-joking man crush, Hue- the Welshman with the wavy locks of downy brown hair, and his snarky girlfriend Emily.) You'll hear some about them in the due course of time.

Classes have started. Fall has already shown up. Students are buzzing around the campus. Awkward questions are being asked at English corner. But below all these surface concerns a more profound thought has tapped me on the shoulder: a year has slipped away on me. This has prompted all sorts of complicated internal monologues, most of which can be summed up with this one thought: living in China can be sort of scary.

Coming over here sort of felt like putting my life on hold. Things would enter this bizarre stasis state, and when I'm ready to head back home, life will resume, just like I left it (totally not true). China's a vacation, a holiday from the grind of higher education or future job seeking.

That sounds good, right? I mean China's pretty cool. I've been here a year already, had a good time. This year has started off well, and promises to be even better. I was talking with other teachers about their future plans, and we got to talking about how good we have it here, about how maybe another year would be good....

I came over here with two goals in mind: learn Chinese and cultivate my writing skills. Guess how much of either of those two activities happened?

The scary thing about China is this: its easy to assume the vacation mentality. I work, at most, 14 hours a week. I've got more money than I know what to do with, even after paying my college loans. There are enough cool people to hang with that its like being back in high school and college. I've got enough books, movies, and video games to keep me content till kingdom come.

And if I'm not careful I'm going to wake up in this apartment at the age of thirty with a collection of short story fragments on my hard drive, and still unsure of how to ask for the bathroom in Chinese.

This wasn't so much of a negative thought, as a sobering one. All this is not to say I might not stay over here yet another year. In fact, if a bunch of my cool teacher buddies (or even just a few key ones) decide to stay, I'll probably stay another year too. But it is to say that I'm no longer on extended vacation.

It's sort of an exciting thought.

Public Service Announcement:

I'm beginning to really enjoy my blog, and as a result there will be a number of changes this year. First and foremost, I've hired some staff. In the past my posts have been hastily banged out in the course of an hour on a Sunday afternoon. No longer! I've hired an editor (myself) to keep me in line and grammatically correct, an advertising specialist (also myself) to increase my readership, and potentially an art director (also also myself, but we're still in negotiations) to post lovely pictures. These new staff members will begin their assignments next week.

As ever, life will go on. I've read many books since the last time I talked to you, faithful readers. Right now I'm reading It by Stephen King. It is good, but It needs to end soon so I can move on to something else.

I'll catch you next week.

Stay groovy.