Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Me: Thinking

To start off with, jumping back into writing after a long break, is hard to do. I feel an intangible pressure to create something remarkable and lasting. On top of that, I’m finally becoming comfortable in thinking Chinese sentences so to worry about English punctuations, and tenses, is a bit worrisome.

 Nevertheless I've missed writing! To be able to speak freely, and without interruption, you have to admit is a bit ideal. All the scenario’s and situations running through my head finally have a vent, and if I can just take the time to catch them before they runaway it’s a burden off my shoulders.

As of late I've had a lot to chew on since I am on break from University and have filled my time by traveling and reading books. I was finally jarred from my reality (or self-made reality) by reading of all things essay’s by Ralph Emerson. I was particularly grabbed by his famous speech The American Scholar. What I like best is how he warns that “Man Thinking must not be subdued by his instruments”. There are varied ways to interpret this, but for me I was struck by how too much of a good thing can be an impediment, and in turn your strength can become your greatness weakness. As I mulled this thought over and began to mentally beat myself up, I was saved by his next few lines which are so beautiful put:
“But when the intervals of darkness come, as come they must, — when the sun is hid, and the stars withdraw their shining, — we repair to the lamps which were kindled by their ray, to guide our steps to the East again, where the dawn is.”
 Being literally in the East at this time, you can understand why I might get a bit sentimental. I was suddenly jolted from my mental stupor and decided that now is the best time for action. My self-isolation was starting to play a number with my head, and seeing as the only person I had regular contact was my roommate, which of whom I can only communicate with on a very basic level, I was slowly going insane.

This you see, preferences my sudden desire to go to Harbin; a frozen wasteland in the corner of China.
Wasteland is a bit harsh of a word to use but I’ve been reading a lot of Dostoyevsky and it’s the closest I can get to Siberia without crossing the border. Interestingly enough, Harbin has a lot of Russian influence since it was used as a shortcut to complete the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1898, and at one point 20,000 Russian Jews lived there.

I decided to join a school 4-Day trip to Harbin where 24 of those hours would be on an overnight sleeper train. Little did I know that when I went on a sleeper train last year in China I went first class, so my assumptions of what it would be like where more spacious and airy. I ended up having a great experience, but to do the journey justice it needs a whole story of its own.  It suffices me now to say that what they declare of Harbin weather is true, and what they don’t of the Siberian Tiger Park is even truer.