A link to China

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It’s been just over one year now since I returned home from China. While some things have changed, it has not taken long before I have found myself feeling myself in a similar situation to what I was in previously – unchallenged, unsatisfied and to a smaller degree, unhappy.

Moving to China was about attempting to enforce change. Not only did I want to immerse myself in a culture completely foreign to the one I grew up in, I wanted to bump my life out of the rut it had fallen into, shifting the wheels into a different track, leading elsewhere.

Every day since my return I have felt like part of me is lacking. To coin a cliché, I feel like I truly did leave part of me back in China. When I think really hard on it, the negatives of the adventure begin to resurface, but they are easily outweighed by the positives, and I hold on to many fond memories.

I feel like I have a close affiliation with Chinese culture. Of course I don’t really; I mean in my day to life I am not remotely Chinese in behaviour, though I feel a link. I am constantly interested by anything Chinese, where headlines containing the word China continue to grab my attention. I enjoy the company of Chinese – not that I have any Chinese friends, but I would prefer to be surrounded by them than my own countrymen.

As I eat in Box Hill; a suburb of Victoria with a large Chinese population, I am always listening in to the Chinese as they happily talk away while enjoying their meals. I can’t understand what they’re saying, but I want to. Every time I hear a familiar word, I smile. It’s like winning tiny battles, where the more of the language I learn, the more satisfying it is to understand the context of what is an alien language to me. This is not made any easier by the tonal nature of the language which puts it on a shelf so beyond my reach that I wonder if I will ever truly cross over into the realm of fluency.

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