Thursday, December 21, 2006

Island in a dry river

I have not written in two months. Crazy. It's not that I haven't had plenty to write about, nor have I been so utterly busy that I couldn't sit down for twenty minutes and peck out a post or two; I just haven't written. The longer I went without writing, the more I thought about how to explain why–not just to you, my clamoring readership, but to myself, too.

The answer began to coalesce around a Chinese character I learned some time ago and just came across again in a street name downtown: jhou, which friends say means an island in a dry river. A quick (ha ha, quick) perusal of my Chinese-English dictionary (ever thought about how to arrange a dictionary when you've got no alphabet?) calls jhou an islet, or a sandbar. Whichever meaning, I think jhou describes how I've been feeling–stationary yet evolving, able to see everything around me, yet at the same time a bit tired of noticing everything around me. The unexamined life is sometimes a blessing. Of course, the lie in that is that I have still been examining, just not reporting. I can't decide, though, if I identify more with the sandbar or the dry-river island. I will certainly always be a foreigner, will marvel daily at how different things are here, will continue to stand out like a blue-eyed, fair-skinned thumb (if you'll allow me that liberty), but... this is my life, and the longer I'm here the more normal it becomes. I am a little island in a rushing, pushing, pulsing river; I am also an island in the drier tedium of routine, trying to keep from being absorbed into the plainer parts of my days.

Ack, sorry to ruminate all over you. I'm not sure if the cure for that is to write more, or less. Either way, I'm blogging again and hoping you'll pop in from time to time to say hello.

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