Archive for January 6th, 2011
I am getting close to being finished with exam marking and doing all the administrivia that comes with wrapping up a term of teaching at the university. Most of the work should get finished today leaving another day of work for next week. Even though it means a good number of hours at the desk, I still take time out for a good walk when the weather is decent. I found this park-like setting along one of the canals that wend through the XinBei district of Changzhou, about two kilometres from my apartment. What is different about this park is the fact that it has almost no one in it. It will be about two years before this side of the river is developed enough for people to move in. The work has begun on a large number of new residential areas with the old residential areas finally removed save for a handful of older buildings that have somehow resisted the fall of the sledgehammers. A few are still holding out – holding the tension, trusting that in doing so, a new way will emerge, one that is not quite there yet.
I have walked through this park about a half dozen times already noticing how it suffers from waiting for people to be present. Already the park is looking worn on the edges, frayed and faded. It’s strange how something can be both new and old at the same time. Waiting does that to a park, and to a person.
Yes, I am waiting, but not quite sure what I am waiting for at the moment. There are some things that are on the surface such as a four week journey through IndoChina that begins in a little more than a week. There is tension in waiting for that trip to begin. There is also the smaller waiting for the last exam to be given to signal the end of another university term. A similar small tension is found in waiting for the next term to begin and the students who will become my extended family for the term. Each day is much the same; filled with the small tensions of waiting, of wondering what is coming.
Somehow, all these bits of tension seem to be insignificant now for me as compared to the past when these things would fill my life, keeping me on edge. I guess that comes with age. An old French expression comes to mind, “que sera, sera.” Now, there are bigger tensions that I hold: ”Will I begin the PhD program that I have often talked about? Will I really finish the photo book about Changzhou and get it published in China as a dual language book? Will I return to teach another year? Will I find a “home” in Mexico for winter months if I don’t return?” But, even these are not really all that significant in the big picture.
The biggest tension that I hold is hard to put into words. If anything, I guess I could say that it is about the will to authenticity. When? Where? How? I am searching for words to frame the questions that will mark who I am, and the purpose of my being here at this time and place. Until I find these words, I am waiting . . .