|Picture taken from hot air balloon in Yangshuo, China|
This week I was asked to give a 5-6 minute presentation on China for a women's group activity at church. I was reluctant, and realized almost immediately that it was because I didn't know if I could talk about China for even 5 minutes without sounding bitter.
It's been four years now. Four years ago this week, I was experiencing all my China "firsts." Going to China was a dream I'd had for years, and it had finally come true--though it quickly became so unlike my dreams, or any of the stories I'd heard. Maybe this is why I'm so bitter, this comparison between the stories of others that inspired my own dreams and the actual experience I was given.
But after four years, if I'm still bitter, it's not China's problem. It's mine.
As I prepared for my presentation, I read back through all our blog posts from that time period (anything written in 2008), and I was a little surprised by the types of things we'd written. I had forgotten some of the funny stories. With some posts, I was amazed by how we had skimmed over what was really happening, telling pieces of what we thought people would want to hear, or what we thought they should hear. We told the truth--but generally just the smallest or most pleasant parts of the truth.
I also went back and looked through our pictures from China, pulling some together for my presentation. There were gorgeous pictures of Yangshuo like the one above--the two weekends we spent there were the best in our China adventure. There were pictures we'd taken in excitement when we'd first arrived. There was one picture Ryan had taken of me after we'd been there a couple months where I could see the deadness in my own eyes.
Perhaps I'm being overly dramatic. The immediacy of my negative reaction whenever China is mentioned, however, has convinced me that I have some working-through to do. Since writing is one of the ways I work through things, don't be surprised if you see several posts on China in the near future. I hope to go back through and write about both the good (there were moments of it, which I have to remind myself) and the bad, and hopefully find some peace. The posts will hopefully be scattered in with some other posts that I've had spinning in my head; looking at my post count from this year, I've been pretty consistent with one post per month--not impressive. I'm recommitting to write. (I'm sure I've said that same thing at least a couple times a year for the last couple years, but at least I'm trying, right?)