Monday, December 26, 2011

merry christmas

In America, today is the holiday that people tend to get together and give shit to each other; there is and a general feeling of warmth and goodwill between people.  I am currently listening to James Taylor and thinking about the calmness and the feelings this season used to mean to me.  But right now I'm alone and so far away from all my previous associations with Christmas.  None of this is because I'm in China--in fact, I'm no longer in China.
In the middle of November I came to the conclusion that the numerous hours I was spending each day debating whether or not my time in China was remaining a positive experience was telling enough of the situation.  I was severely unhappy with my job which was taking too much time of my personal life, albeit partially through my own doing, of which I felt compelled, because I took it as a sign of my own failure when my classes did not go as hoped.  My attitude towards China and the people I was daily coming into contact with proved to be too negative--each day I found myself angry and at times, full of violent energy.

A good portion of my troubles probably came from my own unmalleable ideas of acceptable behavior.  Unfortunately, despite my research and the belief that my experience of culture shock would be minimal, I began to struggle daily.  Sometimes times I would just sit in my apartment and talk to the plants, enjoying the quiet and the complete lack of Chinese people.  I felt like I was becoming racist.  I heard myself constantly saying mean things in my head, expecting the negative and anticipating confrontation.

By this time I had made many close friends, Chinese and foreign.  Constantly I got together with friends, talked, went out and did things, worked hard to meet new people and did the other things someone experiencing culture shock is supposed to do.  As much as I wanted things to work out, I felt it was too much.  This was incredibly hard for me; I had built a new life, made friends I did not want to leave and was living in an exciting and interesting place.  In exchange for ending my frustration I would be leaving my friends (some of who I felt a deep connection to) and moving back to my parent's house, relinquishing some independence.  Back to the structure and monotony of America, where currently in the Starbucks I sit, someone is actually capable of singing along with an Eric Clapton song--something that was utterly unimaginable in China.  I fucking hate Eric Clapton.  Of all the shitty Chinese music I heard in China, even the opera, nothing sounded as infuriating as Eric Clapton's smooth voice singing such disgusting, useless lyrics.

I felt like leaving was a sign of retreat, of failure.  Now that I'm home I often still feel that way.  In some ways I am disappointed with myself.  However, it felt necessary to come home to curtail the spiraling negativity I was experiencing.  I still think I made the right choice.  I feel I had two choices and neither of them was attractive, neither was really even neutral...they were both somehow setbacks.

Beyond this, after coming back to Texas, the most successful and rewarding personal relationship I have ever been in finally imploded.  This may have been coming for a while but it is still very painful, though it may have been the right decision.  I feel obligated to write this.

Anyway, I thought I was going to write a funny entry today but it didn't turn out that way.  What I wanted to say I miss my friends in China and I wish I could be there to celebrate Christmas with them despite the fact that some of them don't even celebrate Christmas.

This isn't supposed to be negative.  I actually feel very fortunate--I was able to go to China...and I was able to leave when I felt necessary.  As well, I have a nice place to live and I was asked to come back to Starbucks and even given a higher pay rate than before I left.  I guess this post can summarize something that's askew with me (possibly my generation or America...or humans in general).  How fortunate am I yet I still feel horribly frustrated and unsatisfied to be back in America.  I feel somewhat sick just reading that last sentence.

I just felt like writing.  Please give me your thoughts on what I said.

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