Mundanities

Mundanities

 

Here I am, making up words again.

 

I’m not sure what to do with the collection I have of these. But since my time here in China I’ve written a few things about my life. Some of them are in the form of personal essays, some of them have turned into stories with a life of their own and others are really just the day-to- day mundane things that make up a life.

 

So this will be a series entitled, “Mundanities,” for some of the day-to-day things that make up my life here in China.

 

 

As always, I hope these find you well,

 

–M

Greetings From Beyond the Firewall

So apparently China doesn’t like WordPress too much and I have difficulty accessing the site, hence my lack of posting.

I’ve been in China for roughly about 7 months and have opted to stay for another year.

So far my time here has been a mass of confusion, delicious food, social faux pas, indescribable joy, and me speaking terrible Chinese. It’s a work in progress.

Hopefully I can start telling you all about it soon.

Until then,

-M

Life Update

I’ve been in China for about 3 weeks now. So much is different. The sights, the smells, the sounds. It’s been an adjustment, which I’ll write about more in depth later. But for now life is good. I am content.

A ramble on transitioning and catnaps

My visa will be available to pick up tomorrow (in theory, shit happens). On the 31st I will be boarding a plane where I will be for 15 hours until arriving in the Far East. I am nervous, but very much looking forward to the experience. (The plane ride however, not so much).

Since I am leaving soon I quit my job here in the States. Ever since, I have descended into what I call, “the vortex of sloth.” My job was a big part of my routine, or rather, it was my routine. Everything I did revolved around my job; from planning free time, to meal prep, to running errands. Now that I have an abundance of free time, I find myself accomplishing far less. And by accomplishing less I mean that I spend a great deal of time not leaving the house. And napping. Lots of cat naps.

On a positive note, I have managed to implement an exercise regime. And while my writing progress has been slow goings, it is no longer stagnant. It’s so easy to get caught up in checking things off your to-do list everyday, instead of living from day to day. That’s not to say that having goals and checking them off your list isn’t completely healthy or necessary. But sometimes it’s okay to float a little. To consider. To weigh your options. From working two jobs and managing to cram in school work I’ve had little time to really spend with myself. I was always moving. Now that I have a bit of stillness in my life, it can feel like a lack of progress.

But for right now I’m transitioning. I have to remind myself that’s it’s okay to be in transition. That although I may not constantly moving the way I was, it does not mean I am not in motion. I am making strides. I am making a life for myself. I am navigating my future one day at a time.

–M

Book Stash: Book Recs

As evidenced by the scarcity of posts on this humble blog, I have not done much writing lately. However, I have been doing a lot of reading. Here are a few things I’ve read recently that I quite enjoyed.

Snow, by Orhan Pamuk

This novel takes place in the city of Kars and follows the journey of the poet, Ka, who has returned to his native Turkey after being a political exile in Germany for twelve years. While his stated purpose in returning is to write about the suicides of several Muslim teenage girls referred to as “the head scarf girls,” he hopes to also become reacquainted with the beautiful–and recently divorced–Ipek.

The heavy snow in Kars temporarily cuts off transportation to and and from the city and as a result the city is isolated. During this period of isolation Ka meets a cast of characters; from Ipek’s ex-husband, to alleged Muslim extremists, would-be-writers, and a curiously dangerous acting troupe.

Snow deals with the conflicts of Eastern versus Western, secularism versus religion, and tradition versus the modern through the lens of Ka in his quest to find love, god, and poetry.

4.5/5

 

Dr. Mutter’s Marvels, by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

Marvels is a look at the development of modern surgery through the life and practice of Dr. Thomas Mutter. While the Mutter Museum is still around today, a collection of medical oddities to educate–and fascinate–all who view them, little is known about Dr. Mutter. The man kept no diary (neither did his wife), there is little left of his correspondence, and he had no children. What is known of Mutter is what endeared him to his students, his patients, and the medical world. His style, passion, flair, compassion, and cutting-edge ideas continue to be put to use in surgery today.

4/5

Musings on Moving, Missing and the Mundane

An update.

If everything goes according to plan, two weeks from now I will be on Chinese soil.

Two weeks is a short amount of time, but China still feels like such a distant thing. The realities of packing and moving haven’t set in yet. Or more accurately, the panic of packing and moving hasn’t set in yet. The most I’ve done is make a tentative list of things to take with me. What do you put on a list of things to take with you across the world?

I keep trying to imagine what my days will be like there. There is a jogging path close to my flat that overlooks a river and mountains. I wonder what kinds of sounds I’ll hear, what kinds of flowers and birds I’ll see. I wonder what the view will be like from my bedroom window, if I can see my neighbors or the distant mountains. Of course there will be temples and the Great Wall, and markets but I wonder about these small, mundane things.

I’m preparing to say goodbye to this place. I don’t know that I’ll ever be back. I’ll have no one here to come back to. For a while I really loathed this place, and while it is not on my list of favorites now, there are some things about it that I’ll miss.

I’ll miss my morning walks. Trying to find the locations of woodpeckers by following their sounds through the woods. The random deer sightings, particularly a mother and child pair, shying peeking through trees, nibbling on the neighbor’s bushes.

I’ll miss these woods. I’ll miss the sweet musk of late spring. My blackberry brambles. The little wild rabbits.

I’ll miss my car. I’ll miss the long drives on winding, wooded roads, singing at the top of my lungs with no one on the road but me.

I’ll miss my dog, who sadly, I cannot take with me.

I will miss the man who looks at me with stars in his eyes. Who opened up an entire universe with his smile.

And of course my mother. My mother who drives me crazy. My mother who interrupts. Constantly. My mother who will buy me sweets on the days I am sad. My mother who does not understand me, but always tries.

 

–M

A-Poem-A-Day

I’ve been neglecting this little blog. A lot has changed which I will talk about in a later update post. For now, this post will be an announcement of A-Poem-A-Day challenge. There are probably various challenges going on (as April is National Poetry Month) but currently I’m doing the one from Writer’s Digest. Each morning in April they will be uploading a prompt for a poem and I will write a poem and post it here. If you’d like to take part in the challenge with me, you can do so at writersdigest.com. Or you could do prompts of your own and write a poem a day as well. Happy National Poetry Month!

Thanksgiving for Two

The past few days leading up to today I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media and the like about Thanksgiving. Among the most popular has been the Black Families Thanksgiving hash tag on Facebook and Twitter. And while these are meant to be more humorous than anything, they are rooted in being relatable to black families across the board. But it’s things like these that remind me that I don’t much relate to the people’s depictions of the holidays. I never grew up in a house packed with relatives during the holidays. I (thankfully) never had to deal with insensitive aunts or uncles questioning me about my life choices, or my parents embarrassing me the way some of my friends’ parents have.

Up until very recently, Thanksgivings at my house have always been quiet. Thanksgiving was my mother who once worked three jobs in order to provide and averaged maybe four hours of sleep, waking up at six in the morning to cook. It was the smell of her second cup of coffee drifting its way upstairs to my bedroom, its smoky scent coloring the edge of my dreams.

Thanksgiving was my mother and I eating on TV trays in the living room. It was my mother falling asleep on the couch at odd hours of the day while I read or watched recorded reruns of The Jeff Corwin Experience on VHS.

It was putting up our rather scrawny Charlie Brown-looking Christmas tree overloaded with ceramic angels, handmade ornaments I made in elementary school, wooden apples, and tinsel. (Oh god the tinsel. Our tree was practically metallic with tinsel. We would find tinsel around the house in odd places for months afterward.

My Thanksgivings may not have consisted of a full house, but they were full nonetheless. So here’s to the quiet Thanksgivings. The Thanksgivings where the table is set only for two (or maybe there’s no table at all). Here’s to the Thanksgivings of the overworked and underpaid. Here’s to the Thanksgivings in single parent households.

I hadn’t intended on writing a post today, but here I am.

I tend to schedule out my days and weeks accordingly, but today did not go as planned. It was a bad day. I should have known it was coming this morning but I neglected the signs—my sudden flashes of anger and being more irritable than usual.

I managed to make it through my (thankfully) short workday before falling apart, sobs wracking my entire body, sitting alone in a dark closet. (I like to feel contained when I feel out of control like this). In hindsight, it all sounds so melodramatic. I have a mood disorder that occasionally likes to rear its ugly head. Today was one of the more minor episodes, but nonetheless it was a pretty discouraging and unproductive day. I lost an entire day of writing and my kitchen is a mess.

For now, I’m floating along in that strange feeling of calm that settles in after a good cry. It’s days like this that I try to remember to be kind and patient to myself. There will be other days to write. I can wash the dishes in the morning. Tomorrow guarantees nothing but there is a realm of possibilities in store.

I suppose there isn’t much of a point to this post. And it certainly isn’t the most eloquent thing I’ve ever written. But if anything, I hope it serves as a reminder to be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, and that it’s okay sometimes to take a sick day when you need it most.

Take care,

–M