Here we are again. Leaving one place, starting fresh in another. I wish I could say that I’ve developed a habit, a coping mechanism for dealing with uprooting myself in this way, but I really haven’t. Each one is different, each goodbye. The circumstances of my leaving, my emotional state, the people I leave behind are never the same.
But two things never change: the promises that I will return one day, and that I will stay in touch. Now I won’t sugar-coat it and say that I’ve kept every single one of these promises, that I’ve stayed in touch with every single person. But I have returned, even if it’s only for a couple days, and I have kept in touch, even if it’s only to Like something you’ve posted on Facebook. So in that respect, goodbye is never goodbye, it’s merely a shift in our relation to each other. The end of one era is always the beginning of the next, and in the Information Age, we can be close even if we are miles apart.
So this isn’t goodbye, Manchester. This is me celebrating an amazing three years in a charismatic city, full of fascinating people and unforgettable events. It was not easy, studying for a degree in a foreign country, far from both my familiar, comfortable past in the US and the compelling future I wanted for myself in China. At times it seemed impossible, and I would find myself asking why I had chosen this for myself, when perhaps I could have taken an easier path. But here I am, alive and (hopefully) wiser than when I started, brimming with memories, feeling a little sad, a little happy, but mostly proud. Thanks for a great run everybody, and I’ll catch you on the other side of all these airplanes!
I hope more of you will follow this blog. I’ll try to flog it a little more, linking to it on Facebook, Tumblr when I can. I will be moving to China, so my presence on a lot of sites will depend on my internet access. I’m going over for an internship, and while I don’t know all that much about my exact role, as far as I can tell it will involve teaching and general intern slave-work. After having done a degree in Chinese, I worry a little about the accuracy of my own English when I teach, but the confidence lacking there is supplemented by my assuredness that I will be able to navigate my way around China without much difficulty. I will be located in China’s heartland, either Chengdu or Chongqing. I’m hoping this means I’ll have ample opportunity to participate in Hongmeigui caving expeditions, and/or travel to more of western China. See, I’m already talking about the future. I can’t wait to share all of my new adventures with you, Manchester!