Sweet Home China

Hangzhou-066

(Hangzhou, Zheziang, China, 2009)

Dear L.,

The photo I’ve sent you yesterday reminded me of China. Seven years ago this country seemed to me so far away, like a fable, and though I studied Mandarin at that time I never planned to go there. Six years ago I came there to stay – it seemed a miracle – but after a couple of months I fled and promised myself to never set foot there again. Five years ago I was out of China but, surprisingly, I felt a strange desire to go back. Maybe something is wrong with me and not with China, I thought. Four years ago I decided to give it another try. Three years ago I was back and had some of the happiest moments of my life in China. Yet two years ago I started having a nagging feeling of being in the wrong place and in the wrong time, so one year ago I left China, without regrets. I started missing it, I cried but when, luckily, I came across more amazing places and people, in another part of the world. I started thinking of China as of a distant home. Its mere existence already warms my heart and I think about it as of a refuge every time I have this or that trouble. Sounds strange, I know. Usually there are refugees streaming out of China but that’s how it is for me. And having this kind of place, where I could go whenever I want to, gives me strength to stay where I am right now, to look around, to discover more and be happy here and now.

Hugs from Europe,

O.

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