Leave-taking

This evening we had our last meal with Zheng Liwei, the person without whom we would never have made it here in Guangzhou. Liwei came to meet us in Beijing and escorted us back to Guangzhou. He was the one responsible for shepherding us through the substantial paperwork requirements, he took us to IKEA, accompanied me on visits to and registration at the kindergarten, made sure that we had regular delivery of bottled water, etc. etc.

It was just the 5 of us for dinner and the conversation flowed easily. Several times I reflected that the meal was quite possibly my last with Liwei. I tried to commit the scene to memory – the food, the decor, the conversation. I know that in no time at all, the scene I studied this evening will seem like something from a dream – an insufficient record in which the distinction between mythology and history is not discernable. Sitting there and responding to Liwei’s questions about our homecoming, however, I realized that right now it is the Vermont life that is a remembrance bordering on fantasy.

I feel the disjuncture in worlds and I also anticipate jumping the chasm from one side to the other. What strikes me as so strange about it, though, is that there is no bringing these two worlds together in a way that allows me to feel completely present in either.

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