I've spent nearly the last year in China trying to distill from all the madness and maddening humidity a reason for why I had once loved this place. A reason for why I had once considered this to be as home as any home. I haven't found it.
What I have discovered instead is a certain bitterness for expatriates who insist on residing here without accepting that they are, in fact, living in China. Those who live with blinders to the culture around them. Those who have been here for five years and still can't ask a taxi to take them home because they don't speak a single syllable of Chinese. Those who I once idolised for their liberal lifestyle, I have come to realise are just the people that I never wanted to be, transplanted into a financially fertile environ. I'm not impressed anymore.
Of course there are exceptions to this example...and, in fairness it's biased more towards expats who actually do have a twisted sort of love for this place and do devote themselves to understanding the language and the culture. I have devoted myself to it, and though I do have a certain love for this place, I now understand that China is not my home (at least not the south) and that I must strike out again in search of this idea of home.
I have a ticket for the 7th of September that flies me straight back to Krabi, Thailand for a two month dpearture from obligations and pollution. I'll be climbing and taking pictures and hopefully getting paid for the latter from time to time. Then the great subcontinent of India will finally finish reeling me back in. The heavily perfumed hooks that it left burried in my heart have been pulling tighter and tighter since I last left and it's time to go back. I'll spend another birthday in a world class climbing hotspot. Hampi will take my fingertips and I will take the power of Hanuman.
And then 2010 will arrive. I will head north with the changing climate until I find myself in Nepal. Here I will join my father for a trekking adventure through the Himalayas, drink Chai at altitude and get drunk on fermented Yak lactates. My beard will grow faster than it ever has and I will dream of the Scandinavian country from which my family came but I have never visited and I will visit it. I will plant all three legs of my tripod firmly strandling a fjord and not leave until I have left my mark in every hipster magazine you were ever cool enough to buy at 7-11.
And then Africa.
*in our next intallment we will discuss the big project: home/canada/sustainability and art spaces