I'm having one of those, "I'm freaking obsessed with my life" weeks. Don't you just love those?
Nothing on my thesis is getting done (cue minor panic attack) because there is just too much life to be lived! I am holing myself up in this apartment and tying myself to this desk (thankfully, with a window view) so that I will hopefully finish before this Wednesday. But first, I feel like paying attention to you, little blog.
Yesterday was the inauguration of my new woman's poetry group. My dear friend and I have been talking about wanting some kind of book club or poetry group since last year and well, it was always one of those things that gets talked about, swooshed around in the air, but never actually comes to pass.
In the past two months we have become good friends with some of my friend's co-workers at her university she teaches at. They are English Professors and can talk about even the most abstract ideas in clear English. We have been getting together to share life experience and stories with these women, talking about the greater meanings in life. They have so much incite and so many questions/comments about love, divorce, faytth, commitment, and the future. So we get together to talk, prey, and encourage each other as best as we can.
We finally decided to be proactive and start meeting, just us four, as a book/poetry club and gave ourselves the first assignment to bring 2 poems each, not quite knowing what to expect.
Yesterday we spent 3 hours dissecting the likes of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, EE Cummings, Whittier, and Anabelle Leigh. It was amazing. We just went around the table and read one of our poems and then discussed it, allowing each person's viewpoints to soak in and be respected.
While we were waiting for the last of us to arrive, I sat with my large macchiato, trying to navigate my way around the massive mountain of foam on the top of my cup. The 3 of us early birds were discussing how we chose our poems when low and behold a familiar sound began to play over the coffee shop speakers...the N'Sync Christmas album.
I, true to form, grabbed my pen and sang along, serenading my friends until their ears threatened to bleed. My American friend and I sat taking in the moment...October 23rd, sitting in a coffee shop in Chi.na, with Chi.nese friends, talking about EE Cummings and listening to Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass serenade us with, "Under My Tree." I got a little teary eyed at the lines for, "I'll be home for Christmas," then blamed it on the caffeine spike, :). It was a perfect Chi.na moment. A cautious blend of wacky, entertaining, and meaningful.
We have decided to meet 2x a month, since we see each other outside of the poetry group and don't want to meet so often that it becomes a burden or a routine, we want to be fresh.
I am really thankful that so many relationships that I have here have been becoming more meaningful. I am so glad that I stayed here another year because it is easier to integrate into society and really become a part of things once the daily grind is more manageable. I used to have panic attacks going to the grocery store or trying to find the right bus stop (still do, sometimes), but it is all more manageable because I have so many people I can depend on. I have so many more purposeful relationships now that life in Chi.na is not so exotic. I just hang out with my pengyou's (friends) at coffee shops and read poetry.
Here's the poetry fab 4...Hannah, Francis, Aviva, Me.
Aviva brought in a poem that really resonated with me and the other women...I want to share it with you. We tried to dissect it, pulling apart the lines hoping for answers. But in the end we decided to let it be, allow it to just exist as a piece of encouragement and not something to chew to bits. Here it is:
Keep Things Whole by Mark Strand
In a field
I am the absence of field
always the case.
Wherever I am
I'm what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
the air moves in to fill the spaces
where my body's been.
We all have reasons
to keep things whole.