While I won’t be posting regularly from this point forward, I thought I’d share some initial thoughts about my return home from Guangzhou, China to Montpelier, Vermont.
Environment: What is most striking about coming home is our natural and physical environment. While northern New England and central Vermont are normally quite beautiful, the blue skies, fresh air, green trees, white clouds, and mountains are now breathtaking. We can see far into the distance, lines and depth are crisp, colors are vibrant…the haze, grey and pollution of China seem to mask such natural beauty. In addition, our house and yard seem huge. And town seems desserted with no cars, and unbelievably quiet—Montpelier has 8,000 people; Guangzhou has 12-14 million.
Stuff: It seems we have more stuff than anyone could ever want or need. After being in China, I am slightly embarrasesed by the material goods which we possess. I can’t imagine the need to ever buy another durable good again. Andrea and I are already embarking upon a “nothing new” philosophy that makes even more use of thrift stores, vintage and consignment shops, craigslist, libraries, bartering and borrowing.
China: I’ve found myself needing to let everyone know that we’ve just returned from China, and most people are interested and friends are welcoming us home. The walkable nature of the Sun Yat-en University campus has been replaced nicely by walks to downtown Montpelier. I do miss Chinese food. I was able to get a vegetarian baozi from the Chinese-American women from Beijing who sells food at the Montpelier Farmers’ Market, and I hope to go to a Chinese restaurant to Burlington this week. I think we’re already struggling to maintain the kids’ language skills, and I’m constantly reflecting on the sudden end to so many relationships made in China.
Easy: Finally, when you speak the local language and live in a small community, it makes everything in life easy. I feel there is no task, errand, chore, or duty that cannot be easily accomplished.