Saturday, April 12, 2008

From the plane.

I'm writing in this, the first moment I have had in the last week of frantic preparation for moving nearly 6,000 miles (I should probably change this to KM) across the earth, from a decidedly unpleasant seat in the "economy" class of my flight to Beijing.

My six foot frame isn't really...designed for economy-sized seating.

Amidst acquiring four vaccinations (yes, typhoid still exists in some parts of the world), three cavity fillings, two , and one Chinese visa, I am now over some dark mass of earth, on my way to a new life.

I moved; I danced; I basked in live Jens Lekman-brand goodness; I was whisked away to that northerly beacon of industrial urbanity called Milwaukee; I was taken to many lunches and breakfasts and dinners, in which I ate mammoth portions of Italian, French, Mexican, and American food. In the last three weeks alone, I have eaten close to two dozen different types of cake.

The pangs of "ohmygodwhatthefuckamIdoing" only started Tuesday morning, after Theo and I breakfasted at the Bongo Room in Wicker Park. It was then that, as often as I feel like I haven't grown roots into the limestone facade of my Chicago home, I realized that I do have a life that I'm leaving behind. I have lovely friends, an uncommonly perfect dog, and family who truly care about me.


If they're all really that great, they can wait for me to do this weird thing for a year.


It's odd that the Discovery Channel's specials on building and industrialization are the chosen in-flight entertainment features for US/China flights. Every other flight in the Pacific gets to enjoy some of America's most mind-numbing sitcoms, but China? Chinese travelers must learn sixteen new engineering skills on their journey, I think. The woman sitting next to me was reading a geometry-littered tome; work computers glow on the faces of others; a child no older than 10 is reading The Art of War.

Conversely, I have (in the last three hours) stared at the seat in front of me while panicking mildly, read a piece on a woman returning to Liberia in the NYT Sunday magazine, eaten an entire plate of starchy, empty-calorie filled meh-ness, and typed this little waste of e-space.

I'm going to learn some Mandarin right now, until Enchanted is broadcast and my mind can become a bit more useless.

See you on the flip side.

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