Today is my last day in China. I left Wuxi two nights ago and targeted towards Beijing. And here I am, a stone’s throw away from Tiananmen Square. debating on exploring the Forbidden City or Summer Palace, which one is more spectacular? Which one can end my time here with a bow on top?
My feelings are so mixed about this country. It’s fearless, brash and busting onto the world scene, yet still harbours scars from a very recent past, one that is only alluded to in vague references.
Chinese people don’t waste time on regrets, they let themselves feel it, but rarely linger on them. They just swipe those setbacks clean and continue. I admire this strength, the kind I wish I could conjure.
Yet, I find that I can, otherwise how does one pick up again and leave? One of my goals was to live abroad for a period of time and I did it, accomplished and filed under that to-do life list.
Living here came with joys, discoveries and struggles — that rich, arching experience that I would have never gotten had I stayed inert in Canada.
To mark my time, a review of the past — these near 2 years I spent in the Land of the Dragon.
This was always my dream.
As an awkward, scarred teen trying to flee the gloom at home, I ran to the only place of refuge — my local library.
My unwrinkled hands, still soft and supple with youth, use to skim across the spines of books, touch words that led to worlds. Older books were riddled with yellowed paper, worn from thumbprints and age. They always emitted an inescapable, pungent odour of vinegar, or sometimes the pages stuck together and the sweet smell of honey was left on my fingers.
I escaped through books, unearthing romance, adventure and knowledge. Sped on magic carpets to India, England, France or Iran. Found solace through authors who wrote aching prose, digging under my skin, sometimes these writers rooted in my core, inducing the most volcanic belly laughs.
Books have always been my friend and teacher. Before independent bookstores died a slow, agonizing death, I always dreamed of opening one to share that electricity a small girl of twelve felt, a girl who could barely reach the shelves, when she pulled her first adult sized book, agog at the lengthy string of letters and numbers on the spine, marvelling at the story’s description, impressed with the cover art. That drum of anticipation as the book is cracked to chapter one, the beginning of everything.
I was recently approached by Competitours to be featured on the site. I get a fair share of these requests and often ignore them, but paused this time to ask, what’s so special about Competitours? The simple answer: The Amazing Race. You all know of my past disdain for reality shows, until I ended up on one quite by accident (one of my nightmares is after I’m dead, that I’m not remembered because of my talent for prose but for House Hunters International, etched on my tombstone: SHE WAS ON HHI. AND THAT WAS IT. Arghhhh! As I scratch my face). But I admit to having watched bits of The Amazing Race and feeling that anticipation of a new locale; a new challenge. The Amazing Race is that secret jar of candy that you hide behind the couch and bring out once in a while to indulge. Competitours centres on a holiday that involves team competition. Even though this post came to me by a sponsor, the concept of a real Amazing Race struck an adventurous chord with me. To do it in real life? Yeah, I might ‘audition’ for my next reality ‘show’ experience.
It’s so true isn’t it? Choosing the right designer is like choosing a therapist. You’ll spill all your hopes, dreams and fears onto the lap of your designer — forge some kind of bond — otherwise, how you can you create something beautiful together?
If the energy sucks, nothing happens. If their talent was a phoney sentence on their resume, your new spanking website is a dead fish, belly up.
But the moment I saw Janelle Desrosiers’s work, I knew, she was the ONE.
A bunch of you have already asked about Janelle, so I’m pleased as punch to feature her on the new site.
Janelle is a brand guru, a sharp business woman and a plus size model! (How cool is that? Very.) She’s happy to discuss how you can raise the bar of your brand and what it’s like to be a female entrepreneur. The name of her firm is Bloom & Brilliance, I can confirm, she totally brings it.
Without anymore annoying introductions, here is Janelle!
Here it is, my new site for you to feast your eyes on!
This baby has been 6 months in the making, struggling back and forth with the right designers, until I found the lovely Janelle Desrosiers of Bloom and Brilliance.
The Design Look
I wanted to still capture that essence of gypsy blood that I falsely imagine I have with subtle tones and I think Janelle captured that feel beautifully. The look extends to all my social media profiles, so take a peep at the customized buttons Janelle designed.
This is the term of office for an American President.
The length of time to complete a university degree.
How long it takes after graduation to feel like an adult.
And finally, 4 years is the expiry date on loving China.
It started happening last spring when my friend David and I met for lunch.
“You look bloody awful,” I exclaimed.