I can hardly believe we only have one month left in Weinan! I am excited about going back to America this summer (though not eager for the baby + 13hr flight and baby + jetlag). But I am reluctant to leave Weinan for several reasons.
First of all, it has become our home over the past three years. It's been a while since I've lived in the same place for three years without once having to move, and I rather like it. I like staying in the same place. I like familiarity. I like walking past the same buildings and trees and unlocking the same door day after day. I probably like it all the more since I realize it won't last. Even if I don't really know most of our neighbors, I recognize them and we greet each other on the elevator. I recognize the little old grannies who sit outside and know which ones will scowl and scold and which ones will smile (while scolding).
I can run out to the little vegetable shop across the street and be back in ten minutes. I know where to find everything I need at the supermarket. We have our favorite restaurants and know which dishes are best at each place. The waitresses know us well enough to not get all flustered by our foreignness, and they know which dishes we are likely to order. We know which little crooked, washed-out path leads up to the old railroad tracks that give easy access to the countryside.
We have been here long enough to watch an entire apartment complex be built and settled, several other apartment complexes rise from the ground, new roads built, several fields plowed down and turned into a driving school, the parking spots outside our apartment fill up with cars...and granted these things can happen virtually overnight in China, but we really have seen the city change over the past three years.
And besides all that, we have students who know us and like us. They come to visit. They help us with whenever we need. They are terribly sad to see us go, and we will miss them as well.
Those are the sentimental reasons I am sad to go. I am also sad because moving means packing - lots of packing. Every time I move I wonder, “Where did all this stuff come from?” I came to China with two suitcases. Two suitcases! And now...well, we already have 12 boxes filled and there is still a lot left to pack. While I feel good that we have finally gotten some packing done, it is still overwhelming. And we don't even have to move furniture!
One tiny issue which makes packing difficult is that Juliana is afraid of packing tape. Or more specifically, she is disturbed by the sound of the tape. She cries whenever she hears it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of packing tape in our future.
We are also still working on how we will get our things from here to our new home in Yinchuan. I'd like to just load everything into a U-Haul, but it's not quite that simple. We are planning to ship things via railway, we just have to figure out little details like how to get it to the railway station and how to get it delivered on the other end. Fortunately our helpful student, the same one whose uncle gave us a bunch of boxes, is helping us find out how it will work.
Still, I am trying to look on the positive side of things. Every thing that we ship means one less thing we will need to buy in Yinchuan. And the cost of shipping is low enough it is more cost-effective to keep what we have. Also, packing and moving is a good opportunity to purge, and I do appreciate a good purge. I can't imagine how much stuff would accumulate if we lived somewhere for say four or five years!
Fortunately,(and not so fortunately) that will probably never happen.