Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The story lives on

The Story of You, Part 2.

Jay K.

Ep.48 The story lives on

[At my work]

I ended the last episode of this essay almost a year ago. I ended it with saying “This is it. This is truly the end”. I lied again. It wasn’t intentional at all, because at the time I really meant to conclude there. I really didn’t foresee that I would add this little episode almost a year later. It just randomly came to my mind today that I should write something about China once again. Just for one more time.

This episode is for those whom I miss, and for those who miss me and those who miss China.

Almost eight months have passed since we left China. But it still sometimes surprises me that it hasn’t been a year yet. In other words, I can’t believe a year ago I was still in China. It seems so far away in the past, almost years and years ago. But what’s more amazing is that memories of China still loom over my life.

Whenever I eat “baozi” at the cafeteria here, or overhear someone talking in Chinese on campus, watch a Chinese movie, read news about China and so forth, I recall memories of my journey. Sometime I recall memories of people I met in China such as my tutor, EAP friends, Korean friends, local Chinese friends and even random people I just encountered on streets. Other times, I recall memories of places in China, trips that I went and stuffs I learned there. I even recall memories of thoughts I had there.


[Berkeley as usual]

I knew this at that time but denied. I knew that I would miss China once I left, but at the time I desperately wanted to get out of there so that I refused to believe the fact I would miss there. What I am missing is of course not this physical geographic location called “People’s Republic of China”. What I reminisce is the people, life, and surroundings of the past. I know one of my articles from the essay was titled “living in the present”. I’m not contradicting with myself. I am living in the present for the most part. My current life is actually caught up with the businesses of every day. It is only for short moments like on my rush to the next class or when I take a break from hours of studying that I think of my past journey.

Yet, I really did not foresee I would think of China this much when I am back. I truly underestimated the stickiness of the memory from EAP. When I just got back from China, one of my friends in Berkeley told me that I would feel nothing had changed and I would have a smooth transition to my ordinary life in Berkeley. She told me that one year of experience abroad would not change my life and how I think in any profound way. She was partially right. Yes, I made an easy transition to the hectic life in Berkeley and more importantly I don’t think I have changed that much since I left here. But that does not mean that the year-long experience in China has not changed anything.

It does have a profound impact on how I act and think. It is very strange how that’s even possible. There are some trips in your life that you think of it time to time? Let’s say your first trip with friends to Yosemite or something. My year-long experience in China is just like that. The whole year experience seems to me like one big trip and I keep thinking of it time to time. Everyday in China was like an adventure. I think because everything was so fresh and novel to me, that everything I experienced in China left unforgettable impressions (I have to admit this is a very Chinese like sentence).

I am back in Berkeley and of course there is no spectacular adventure here. The life here is dull and soundless. I am not complaining of that, but what I am saying is that because of such dullness I reflect about my past experience of China a lot.

Whenever my desktop shows the pictures I took in China as background, I start to recall my memories back. I feel like the memories of China have created inertia and formed a life of its own. It continues to live on. I don’t know if you guys can understand what I mean by this. If you guys watched the movie A Beautiful Mind, the memories of China are like those imaginary friends who keep appearing to John Nash. Of course, I am not saying I am becoming a schizophrenic. What I want to say is that even though I do not deliberately think of China, the memories just come to my mind naturally.

The story continues even if the main actors left the stage. The memories live on. However, I need to stop writing about it. There is no point of me keep holding the past. If it becomes a creature of its own, I will let it go—hence I let myself go.

I do plan to go back to China in near future. I might go on a trip, before I join the army in Korea. This is only a plan, but yet a very plausible one. However, if I do, that will be a beginning of another story, not a continuation.

Dear friends, seriously, this is it.