Shenzhen Diaries #7? There And Back Again… Again…

Yeah, so I’m not dead.

I just really fell of hard writing the blog about this time last year.  I went on break to Beijing, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.  Sorry that I got a little distracted.  Then again, it’s not distraction when you come back to school and you don’t continue writing to your friends and family.  Last summer was really crazy:  getting lost in Asia by myself.  The whole thing really put me up close and personal with who I am.  Honestly, I didn’t like a lot of what I saw, but most of it is salvageable.

Anyway, in anti-climactic fashion, I’m going to wrap up the rest of the getting to China story.  Maybe if a book deal comes down the line at some point, I’ll flush it out in dramatic detail like before, but just to get you up to speed, here you are:

So I was set to go on my next interview.  My adviser put me on a cab by myself so he could go try and take care of Quiet Guy’s case.  He ended working at the alternate school that my adviser threatened me with on the previous day.  My cab driver was the first guy I had seen my whole time out here with Taoist iconography in his cab.  It was really the first bit of comfort I found on any of these trips.  The guy was also super nice.  It took me 15 minutes to figure out that he was an NBA fan and ‘Hei-Ar-Deen’ meant James Hardin from the Houston Rockets.

After having a moment, in a third grade office and some desperate prayers to a God that I wasn’t even sure was allowed in China, I ended up crushing the demo with the fourth graders and finally got hired at a fucking school out here.  I literally cried so hard I freaked out my cab driver on the way back.

Hours later, I found out however that I was actually sniping a job from the Nasty Piece of Work South African girl that I was stuck with.  They wanted to move me into the apartment she already moved into.  Despite how much of an empty, hapless, stubborn, cold, bullying, bossy trash person she may have been, it didn’t feel right just to move into someone’s spot like that.  I made a big stink about it to the school and my school became the first in the area to host 4 foreign teachers at once.  South African girl never forgave me for it, and it just stood that even successes were failures out here in the Wild, Wild East.

So the school is great. I really love the teachers.  Like, really love the teachers.  Over summer I finally got closure with my ex when I drank too much Johnny Walker and texted her “Hey, I’m still alive.  Thanks for caring.”  A very short email exchange thereafter, resulted in me being blocked from all her social media, and I guess that finally forced me to move on.  I fell in love with a British girl in Cambodia, and that never went anywhere. I met a cute, funny girl in Vietnam known only as “Papaya” who claims that I can come an marry her anytime.  But all this only left me with a still gaping hole where my ex used to be.  I fell deeply in love with one of the teachers in my school.  She goes through extensive efforts daily to stay as far away from me as humanly possible.

I fell in love again really fast with probably the sweetest person I know.  (She’s probably reading this:  你好宝宝, 我还爱你起爱的).  We’re currently broken up, but she’s still super supportive and we talk almost every day.  I don’t know if I’m ever going to meet someone like her again, even though she lives on the other side of the Earth from where I apparently belong.  I tell her all the time she doesn’t deserve a man without a future.  She tells me to get my shit together and make one for myself and her.

All that being said, last January I really couldn’t get my shit together enough to come back to the States and start my life over AGAIN. I just ended up staying in China for another year.  I felt like I put so much effort into getting the hang of it in the first year, it was a waste not to take it around for a victory lap.  I know that this is a complete turn around from the guy who was writing last year, but I assure you:  a lot has happened.  I’ve been broken down and rebuilt a couple of times.

Honestly, It’s a lot of fun out here and I’m picking up Chinese.  Life is super easy and everything is super cheap.  Never again in my life am I going to walk down a hallway with seven year olds yelling your name for high-fives like you’re a rock star.  I’m never going to be ‘the foreign guy’ at home.  I’m just going to be normal.  I’m going to have to compete for girls with guys who are just like me, and I have to have some real merit.  I’m going to meet new people and just be another American guy.  My ego is resistant to the idea.  But all in all, something about it does feel terribly impermanent.  Maybe it’s because a new skyscraper pops up every week.  Or because everyone wants to know how I feel about Trump and Xi and the trade war.  I can’t see a future where I become a Chinese citizen.  On the other hand, I couldn’t see a future  when I was back in America.  At least I feel better about it here, even though I still don’t belong anywhere.

I guess this is the part where I pick up my shovel and start digging a place for myself somewhere.  The trouble seems to be finding a place to start.  So that’s what brings us back on here.  Writing is like going to the gym for me.  It’s terrible to go, and usually you hate being there, but you’re always glad after the fact that you went.

Another big reason that I stopped writing is that I started to work on a novel.  I actually got through almost 40,000 words of it, but it wasn’t showing any signs of coming to an end last year and I haven’t touched it since.  Then there’s always the arm-chair-entrepreneur’s problem of ‘all these great ideas; how do I pick one?’.  That’s where this blog comes back into the picture.

I want to keep you guys posted on some China stuff every once and a while, but I don’t want to standardize myself.  I have a really bad problem where I pressure myself to get things done, but then the pressure makes me go limp, which in turn makes me put more pressure on myself.  Guys, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s a real shitty place to be.

So we’re going to change up the formatting a little bit.  I have a new project that I’m working on, as well as China stories, and the old novel stuff.  What I want to do is start serializing some of this work and publishing it on here (Ready?:… ) BI-WEEKLY! I know, such a shocker, but I want to give myself some breathing room so no every Saturday I’m bashing my head against a keyboard to poop out how uncomfortable I am in a foreign country.

I actually have something already in the hopper now, but I do want to give myself breathing room, so I’m going to wait the full two weeks for it.  I’m going to be traveling again this summer, so keep an eye on my Instagram (@cornfuciussay).  You might get disjointed old stuff for a couple months, but the consistency without the suicidal tenancies would really be that Goldilocks zone for me.  The less pressure I force on myself, the better.

So all in all, glad to be back.  The more you guys ask about it and engage with me, the more motivated I’m going to be to get this stuff done, so please email or message me.  It really keeps the gears turning on this stuff.  Thank you for sticking around after a year long hiatus, but I don’t think I can ever not be a writer, no matter how fast and how hard I run from it.  Thank you all for the free therapy.

Talk to you in two weeks.  Cheers.

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