Culture shock part 2?

Something major has happened in my attitude since my last post. Although I was trying not focus on it, last week was a pretty crappy week. I had been feeling sick all week, and was feeling frustrated, tired and cranky. I didn’t feel like doing much or being social.

Last Friday I passed on the opportunity to go to mushroom hotpot with most of my coworkers because I was practically cross-eyed with nausea, and was feeling guilty about not being social. But I went home nonetheless, and relaxed watching a goofy French movie. I can’t explain what happened exactly, but a the end of the movie I realized that I felt so much better – and that I just wanted to get outside and go for a run. I had recently purchased some fancy stretchy pants in anticipation of attending a yoga class (but then it cost the equivalent of US$10! What a rip off…), so I hopped into them and bounded outside.

It was the most beautiful night I’d seen in Kunming so far – the air was warm, the sky was completely clear. I headed towards Cuihu (“Green Lake”) and wandered among trees strung with white Christmas lights (or whatever they’d call them here). It seemed like the whole city was out enjoying the evening – walking their dogs, eating ice cream, sitting outside and having a beer. I suddenly remembered that this was what a really good mood felt like – I was jubilant, for god’s sake…

I’m not sure what did it, but it seemed like suddenly the spell of my crappy week had been broken. I’m going to say, in retrospect that week two here was stage two of culture shock. And that now I’m in stage 3 (this would be the “adjustment” phase, when you get back to living normal life, develop routines, etc.). This is all extremely convenient because it means that PRACTICALLY ANY SECOND NOW, I’m going to be feeling right at home!

This might all be a bunch of garbage also, but I can say that going to work no longer makes me nervous, I’m starting to make friends, I’m set up with most of my basic needs, and I think everything is going to be alright.

Now if only RP were here. Sigh.

Bay Ridge by Night

I just came back from a nighttime jog around my neighborhood – yes, it is Saturday night, but I went out drinking and to a concert last night, so THERE. Walking outside at night, preferably in near-total darkness, has a healing effect on me.

Today has been a day of quiet – I slept in this morning and woke up to soft rain, the whole world looking leafy and green (the spring leaves all having unfurled at once, it seems). Today was a day of relaxation befitting my first day post job-quitting. Yesterday was my last day at work in NYC, and my whole team (in fact everyone I knew at my organization) was very sweet about it; toasting me with champagne, wishing me well, promising me a job upon my return to New York. The president of the organization gave me a little parting gift, courtesy of the director of our Beijing office:

Despite the fact that it looks like a maxipad, it is in fact a hygienic face mask. Thanks, Dr. G – whaaat a comedian…

I thought today might feel like the moment after you hand in your final paper of the semester – relief, left-over energy buzzing around your head – but it doesn’t. Although it wasn’t my dream job, I was a little sad to actually walk out the door of my office for the last time. Now I only have the future to prepare for (a week-long trip to Toronto/Detroit in a couple weeks, maybe a final party in our apartment, then Boston, DC, possibly a few other locations, and then – China!). It’s not sinking in yet – maybe tomorrow.

As usual, my run around outside brought up lots of swirling thoughts, and reminded me that I’ve been wanting to write something about my sisters (of whom I have two, one older (M) and one younger (G)). Not on my previous list of Things We’ll Miss were my parents and my sisters. RP might not say out loud that he will miss his family, but I’ll say it. This year in NYC has been the first that I have lived near my family in seven years, and now I’m off again. Particularly, it is the most I have seen my sisters in as long as I can remember, and I have been reminded this whole year how important they are to me.

I’ll save more on that for a future post, but tonight I miss them already.

In Like a Lion

This is what it looks like in Brooklyn today:


You’ll have to forgive the graininess, but I’m not venturing out – I know you can’t tell, but it’s bucketing down with snow, blizzard-style. When I moved myself and my boyfriend RP to New York for my job, it was scenes like the above that I had in mind, climate-wise. Real East Coast seasons! (Not like in California, where we were living at the time.) Real winters with snow that I love!! (Not like London, where we lived before California.)

What I forgot was the fact that winter is a whole season, not just a nice week of snow around Christmas (or March…). This winter has been a big smack in the head for me – so reminder to Self: Jessica, you do not like winter. It is dark and freezing and oppressive and forces you to wear this hideous thing every day:


What you like, Jessica, is going away somewhere cold for a week to ooh and aah at the pretty snowy landscape, to stay inside and drink hot chocolate, and then to return to temperate climes. Duly noted.

Fortunately, this is a temporary problem; not only will this probably be the last gasp of this frigid season, but RP and I are moving to Kunming (the capital city of Yunnan province in southwest China) in a few months.

And that’s what this blog is all about.