I love Wuhan. I love the sticky sauna sweat I get soaked with the second I walk outside. I love the weird sewer smells that occasionally punch me in the face when I’m not paying attention to where I walk. I love the crowded streets of strangers, half of the population hurrying to wait for the metro, and the other half walking as if the world will wait for them. I love the annoyances that come with living here just as much as I love the conveniences and beauties of this place.
Love, love, love, love.
Sounds like I’m overcompensating, right?
It’s cause I miss home.
Here’s what I miss about the Midwest, and why I have no intention of returning, for more than a short visit, any time soon.
I miss the crap out of my peeps. Shocker, I know, but let’s be honest… Life can get lonely sometime. No matter how surrounded by people we may make ourselves, and no matter how much I dive into work, and no matter how deep into the abyss of expat or local culture I dive, sometimes life is lonely. These times where I feel overwhelmed with the expectations I set for myself that are looming in the near future— these are the times when I miss the people who have known me longer than I have known myself. Cause sometimes we don’t know who we are, and we need those people to remind us.
Which is why…
I wish my Dad was here in China right now. He’s brilliantly simple and knows how to bring me back down to earth when I’m trying to be superwoman and save the world. Dad. If you’re reading this. You are my superhero. And I know that you would tell me that I’m just stressing myself out, because there’s nothing to worry about. I haven’t magically forgotten how to teach a classroom of 50 primary students because I never really knew how. I just did it. It was in me. And it happened like magic. Have fun. Teach. Chill out, woman.
Which for some reason reminds me of how much…
I miss Dunkin Donuts coffee. Cause these next few weeks of overtime is going to mean lots of instant coffee. The amount of coffee I consume, is not healthy. I’m aware. But coffee is my drug of choice and we’re all addicted to something. But seriously. Last summer, I think I went through DD’s West Peoria Drive-Thru on my way to Welch at least three times a week. That gorgeous blueberry iced coffee with a little bit of cream— liquid blueberry muffins in my mouth yo.
This nescafe crap just ain’t kicking it with my taste buds these days. Snob? Yep. Still drinking it? Yep.
But really I want some serious…
BRUNCH. I miss brunch. Cause diners do it best. Bluebird Diner. 50’s Dinner. Maid Rite. Wild Berries. Childers. One World. Hamburg Inn. Sterling Diner. I’m a breakfast girl. I miss my that safe routine of Weight Watcher’s weigh-in followed by coffee, and omelettes.
White mugs with coffee stains. Apple butter on rye toast. Veggie omelettes with extra veggies. Conversation that could take up the whole day. And Goodwill runs, and dog park plans afterward.
And I miss my dogs.
So bad. I miss running through the fresh air with my neurotic boxer Remy even when the weather was 14 degrees, or the day had just finished being rainy. I miss Laura Bradley Park’s dog park, filled with pitbulls and huskies and chihuahuas. I miss the unconditional love in the big brown eyes of a begging 80lb pooch hoping to cuddle into my daybed, and I miss the comfort that hugging a big dog brings when nothing feels comfortable.
And I seriously miss being understood. Sometimes it’s hard to be surrounded by a communication barrier as well as a cultural barrier, as well as an everything barrier.
But I’m still not going home, because…
I believe in myself. I believe that I can do this. I believe that I can keep being happy here even when I’ve overloaded my plate with more than what feels do-able. I believe that I can be happy doing anything, and I’m going to keep believing that. Going home now would be giving up on myself in a weak moment. We all have weak moments, but I done staying stuck in my weak moments. I want to power through and bust out on the other side stronger, happier, and crazier than ever.
In a crazy sort of sane way.
And I’m far from done doing China, because there is still the world to see in Wuhan alone. I have KTV to sing, ferry boat rides to take, parks to hike in, Korean BBQ to eat, Wuhanese to learn, and more of life to be lived.
And I’m only as lonely as I want to be. I’ll always be a bit of an introvert, the type of person who recharges inside my lair of chosen loneliness. But being an extrovert makes me happy too, so I know I don’t have to be alone if I don’t want to be.
And even though I feel overwhelmed and out of control, I know only I can control how I feel. And it’s in times of trials that we decide who we really want to be.
And at the end of the day, I still want to be happy, healthy, and busy in China.
So, I’ll see you for a visit good ole’ Midwest. Seeya around Christmas. I love you. I miss you.
See you on the other side.