Countdown: 16 days until takeoff

It’s been hot here long enough that I’ve forgotten the cold. When it first started to warm up in May, during those first 90F + days, I was so grateful for every minute of sun. I gloried in the sweat trickling down my chest, back, forehead, the crooks of my knees and elbows. It felt like some vague and ancient worry was being baked away, along with the ache in my bones from being too cold for too long. The hassle of boots, heavy coats, icy floors and toilet seats was suddenly and seemingly permanently behind me. And the people rejoiced.

But now it’s the third week of an intense heat wave, high humidity, and I’ve been retreating indoors to air conditioning, to my fan and water bottle and trays of ice cubes. I have forgotten, the way I always do, that things I’ve wanted so badly lose their charm once I’ve got them. I’ve forgotten that habits are less interesting than novelties. I have to be a more active participant in gratitude. I have to work harder to remember why this abominable heat made me happy in the first place.

As if the weather has heard my complaints, the wind is up and a brief rainstorm just burst overhead. Thunder brews in the background. The sky is dark and the treetops wave wildly like they’re dancing in a mosh pit. A kid runs by on the sidewalk: red shorts, blue shirt. Barefoot.

Today I returned library books, cashed checks, asked about exchanging currency, and purchased a money belt. I’m importing my favorite comfort CDs (Jewel, of course) into my iTunes so if I need the sounds of home in China, I have them. Two friends are subletting my room for most of August. Every little thing. Wrapping up loose ends. I’ve spent the last week drinking too much and eating too much with people I love, people I haven’t figured out how to miss in the way I’m going to miss them.

I don’t like goodbyes. I’m bad at them. But I don’t want to rob anyone of your goodbyes if goodbyes are important to you. If I said I’d see you again before I left, I may have been lying. If I lied to you, I’m sorry. Come find me. I’ll brave a few goodbyes.

I’m scared. I’m at that point where my sleep is always restless. I read about cultural “do’s and don’ts” before bed and try to go over basic Chinese phrases in my head and imagine scenarios in which this adventure is everything I imagined and more. I dream about love and betrayal, close friends and acquaintances. I dream for six or seven straight hours and then get up feeling tired, like I’ve been running all night.

Big thunder! Pounding rain! My street’s going to flood again.

I’m curious about the weather in Beijing and Shenzhen. Hot and humid seems to be the year-round consensus. We’ll see–weather’s never as easy as that. I like to be surprised.

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One response to “Countdown: 16 days until takeoff

  1. HUMID! When I went to Hong Kong, which is barely south, I was taking two showers a day. It is crazy how humid it is. We could not see out our hotel window from the condensation. You can walk to across the border to Hong Kong though. Taking a ferry to Macau is also possible. Both of which are pretty cool cities. Go see the BIG Budda. He is HUGE!!!!

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