Seven weekends. Really?
Yup. Unlike the last time I faced expulsion from China, I'm ready to leave now. (I've really got to stop wanting to add "... and continuing my life" on the end there, as if this trip in Shanghai was somehow an interruption, a blip, in my life.) I'm pretty excited about going back to Austin. Just now I happened upon the flickr group for said city, and I had to stop myself from looking at it, because I would just get overcome with homesickness at a time when that's already increasing.
Don't think I dislike Shanghai or China -- far far FAR from it. If I knew I was staying another year or two, I would be thrilled. But since I've known for six months now that I'd be coming back in January, the excitement and anxiousness over returning has grown. It's just that, you know -- the US and Austin feels like HOME. (At least it does from over here.) And you can't replace that feeling, no matter how hard you try.
At the same time, I'm really sad about leaving. To say this experience has been amazing would be a understatement of the grossest proportions. To say I've learned new things about myself and others would not even be a fraction of the story. To say ... well, honestly, there's just no way to put it into words. There just isn't. Even if you have read all my blog posts and looked at all my pictures and talked to me on the phone billions of times ... and even if you've visited me ... there's just no way to transmit that experience. I could try, but I could never get it perfectly, and that would be frustrating, so I won't even try. Actually I'm worried about this feeling affecting me when I return.
I hope I don't sound too elitist here. Each person's life is like this, I suppose -- unable to be perfectly conveyed to others. Chalk that up among the lessons I've learned here ;-)
Ah, I get very meta and grandiose at times like these, so I'm sure that before I leave I'll post one long super rambling post of that nature. But now's not the time :-)
Onto more mundane matters: I got home Saturday night (ok, really, Sunday morning) and realized I'd lost my ATM card!! This was a little disturbing, as it's not like I can go to the bank and withdraw money without it. (I am dependent on CCB ATMs.) But I was pretty sure that I'd left it in the ATM earlier that night when I went to withdraw funds for the night's activities. The bank was closed Sunday, but I called their help line and spoke to a nice woman who said she would alert the bank branch about it. She suggested I alert my own bank for safety reasons -- but I didn't, because I'm lazy and because I was pretty sure that my card was tucked safely inside the ATM. (Unless some unscrupulous ATM tech happened upon it, I suppose.) Probably not the smartest decision (or lack-of-decision) I've ever made, and to be fair, I did check my online balance numerous times to make sure no one had withdrawn my life savings out from under me. But, as I mentioned before, I'm lazy and didn't want to cancel a card that has funds automatically withdrawn from it (for bill-paying purposes) and have to deal with the hassle of asking my bank to, like, overnight me a new card because otherwise I'd have to eat at KFC 3 times a day because they take my Sodexho card that has buttloads of money on it and borrow money from the other Americans here and feel like a doofus.
So this morning I waltzed in the bank at 9 AM and walked over to the nearest person I saw. She was busy with someone else and told me to wait for a moment while she went in the back room to talk to someone about something else. When she came out, I told her my problem and -- glory of all glories -- she already had my ATM card in her hand!! Lucky me. After a quick inspection of my passport, she handed it over, and I was on my merry way.
Lesson learned? I dunno :-)