So I was all eager to get back to work for my first full week back. Unfortunately, as my luck would have it, Keiko cancelled class Monday and Cissy cancelled class Tuesday. Consequently, I was left to non-class activities. I guess I shouldn’t complain… John and I certainly needed several days to overcome jet lag. We’re such wusses with that. The first four days back, we fell asleep around 4-5pm and awoke 12 hours later. But hey, we weren’t the only ones. The dogs were off schedule too. Martin was stopped up for DAYS. Plus, neither dog bothered to wake us for food or trips outside. It was a bizaare few days.
Still, the upside of waking up early is you meet a whole different community. A bunch of retired folk get up for their morning exercises and then there are also a bunch of people who get up for work–delivering produce to the open markets. The street vendors get going early! Bicycles loaded with fresh fruits and veggies flooded the open market. The breakfast people also got going– chopping their onions, kneading their pancake dough, preparing for the morning rush hour lines.
On the other side of town, the streets were barren and peaceful. For once, John and I actually stopped to take pictures. Gorgeous old trees line the streets in central SH and form a beautiful, lush canopy. Breathing the “fresh” morning air was like popping a caffeine pill– we felt so energized. The air was so much better than the usual bus/taxi exhaust during the day.
I’ve started doing yoga in the mornings. An effective jumpstart to the day– not as rigorous as running/going to the gym but still an intense experience. Unfortunately, mybody doesn’t flex like it used to. 🙁 No more nose-to-the-knee skillz. Then again, undergrad was a DECADE ago. Sigh.
John and I returned to some bad news: most of our American friends are leaving China. There’s some kind of mass exodus going on. My friend Em quit her job as an event planner for a British company. She decided she’s just burned out with China. Been here about two years and just needs a break. Her solution? She’s moving to Africa in December. Her boyfriend Zack wraps up his residency this fall and will return to Zambia. He’ll be stationed in a village where he will do community medicine. My friend Anqian, whose been griping about SH since he arrived (against his will) 8 months ago, finally has an escape plan. He signed on with the World Bank and is moving to La Paz, Bolivia to do international economic development. Lastly, my Duke classmate Bill Yen is nearing the end of his post-grad architecture fellowship… I haven’t talked to him in a while but expect he’ll be shipping out as well.
So it’s back to just the two of us– introverts sliding farther toward the anti-social extreme. I know, I have to fight it. We have to build people skills. Add it to the to-do list. Actually, last night I met some friends of Anqian’s. This guy Francis is a co-organizer of ORIENTED happy hours– some global networking group. He said I should attend the next event. I already signed up as a member online so hey, that’s a step in the right diretion. We’ll see what happens.