In the blink of an eye, nine months has passed and today we start our slow journey home. From here we will travel through Singapore, Borneo (Malaysia), Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and Vancouver before finally arriving home to Toronto at the end of July. Let’s see if our plan to overcome jet lag by travelling East one country at a time works.
There’s a phrase in Chinese that best describes how I feel about leaving Guangzhou,“shě bù dé”, meaning the person cannot bear to leave or is in fact just quite sad and reluctant to leave a person or place. I love this phrase for the simple way it captures a much more complicated mix of emotions because that is how I feel about leaving China. It’s complicated. It’s a relief to leave the constant Chinese crowds where survival is based on one’s ability to get there first. No handicaps for the handicapped in this country. It’s a relief to go where what I read and what I do online is not censored. It’s a relief to leave behind toxic pollution days that leave my throat sore and my head hurting. So why can’t I bear to leave? Because this place has become home to me. That sense you get when you walk in your front door or when you get into your own bed and lay your head down on your pillow. Familiar ground. The people and places have become so familiar that it’s hard to say good-bye. Wǒ shě bù dé. Fortunately, it looks like we are not really saying good-bye forever so zhí dào xià yī cì Guǎngzhōu (Until next time Guangzhou)!