I can’t believe that in less than 24 hours I’m outta here. Dalian is China for me. I arrived here about 20 months ago in the dark, cold depths of a north-eastern winter and have lived here ever since. It’s hard to say goodbye.
I owe the city a lot. I owe it for introducing me to some amazing people whom have turned into lasting friendships. I owe it for giving me a staging ground for my China edumacation. I owe it for being dirtier and uglier than most people say, but still being cleaner and more beautiful than any other Chinese city I’ve visited – which, in turn, taught me about the contradicting nature of life in China. And, of course, I owe it for Maggie.
Without Dalian, I would have moved to some other well-marketed Chinese city and had my ESL experience there. I would never have spent my first weeks here working up the courage to talk to her, the last months working up the courage to tell her how I felt, and now the rest of my foreseeable life glad I finally did both.
Looking around my semi-bare, and mostly a mess apartment, I’m not extremely sad to see it go. It’s great, but I don’t get attached to places I live as much as I used to. This was my third dwelling in China, and added to the 17 different places I’ve lived previously… I’m a bit dull to it.
You’d think with all that transientism, I’d have this moving thing down, but I don’t. I’ve been doing it my whole life, and have yet to get a system that doesn’t involve horrible amounts of rearranging to make sure every cubic centimeter of space is filled in all luggage. Also, even after that many moves (plus throw in 5 months of backpacking), I’ve still a horrible habit of collecting things. It pains me, physically pains me to throw stuff away that I KNOW I’m going to need (and repurchase) in a matter of days.
Anyway, off tonight for one last trip to Xi Xiang Bang Ma, a fantastic Nepalese/Tibetan themed bar here in town. The only thing alleviating my dread of trying to cart my roughly 75 kg of luggage onto the train tomorrow morning is the thought of Maggie struggling with this oversized bag she’s bought for all her clothes. I always chuckled at the Chinese I’ve seen lugging these massive, but cheap, polyester-weave bags over the more durable and transportable suitcases – and now I’ll be travelling with one such Chinese… and still laughing, just now it’ll have more direct consequences.
Things I’m leaving behind that I’ll miss:
My aloe plant. I love The thing was dying, and then I left it unwatered for three weeks while I was in Canada, sure that would be the final nail… nope – it’s flourishing.
My DVDs. I’ve thinned them out to one CD binder, and the rest will stay safe in storage at Maggie’s parents’ place awaiting my eventual return.
My GameCube. Played it all of twice since bringing it to China, but it symbolizes something to me. I’m not sure why.
My little oven. Though not an "oven", but a toaster oven, and though not technically "mine"… and THOUGH I also hardly use it for anything but the occasional batch of garlic bread, or more recently tuna melts… I’ll miss it, in principle.
Clothes. No no, I’m not taking the train naked – you only make that mistake once. But I’m donating (throwing away) a crapload of clothes I came to China with. Jeans, t-shirts and underwear I’ve had for years. These ‘articles’ are my friends… and I’m leaving them behind. I’d be a shite marine. The fact is they’ve just become too religious, and so, somewhat useless. (see what I did there, used religious and useless in the same sentence… clever, huh).
Maggie. Wait, I’m bringing her. Actually, she pretty much brings herself. She’s cool like that.