I’ve thought a lot lately about “emotional baggage” (see earlier post). Part of my new life involves cutting the invisible strings that tie me to my past one – even memories of hurt, humiliation, or pain are things to cling to that are familiar. My experience in AA also taught me to constantly identify things that tie me to my old, harmful ways of thinking. Maybe what I’ve been through in the past few weeks has been a new “inventory” of the past, to be reconciled and then discarded for good.
Yesterday I went to a foreign language bookstore and bought a couple of Chinese language textbooks. I’m now studying on my own in the warmth of my apartment. Eventually I want to try individual tutoring; for now, I’m kind of enjoying the solitude. Last night I tagged along on a trip to the Metro store, a German-owned wholesale “warehouse” store that carries a good selection of imported foods. I got some rather high-price items that I’ve been craving for months: real Italian olive oil, strong Italian coffee, Brie cheese, and some wonderful whole-wheat bread. I pigged out on cheese and bread last night, and today I polished off the rest of the bread, soaking each bite in olive oil. Delish.
My two-month paid holiday is a luxury that I don’t quite know what to do with. My fear of free time has led me to establish a schedule for my language study and guitar practice, and I have my letter-typing volunteer work for Kham Aid Foundation. At the end of January I’ll start an online course through UCLA, one of my two remaining classes for my TESOL certification. The word “relax” has never really been in my vocabulary. This Friday a couple of my students are helping me with personal stuff, like joining the university gym, and the dreaded international money transfer to my bank in Los Angeles.
Qintai Street: a new “old” street in Chengdu; it’s mostly jewelry shops.
Telecommunications Tower, viewed from the river walk along the Funan River