Scratching the Surface

It’s been raining for hours. I’ve been in bed for most of the day, up early and full of the joys of spring but then suddenly blindsided by a late-onset hangover resulting from drinking too much wine and G&T’s until 1.30am. For many people today is a Monday, as it’s been the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend.

There’s this very strange thing here that when the Chinese government gives you days off during the week, you need to give something back to them. So because Thursday and Friday were off days, you need to work Sunday. Luckily for me the company I work for took a vote and decided we actually like having Sunday off, so we went into the office on Thursday instead.

My initial plan for today was to head down to the fabric market. I’ve been wanting to get a few cotton and linen shirt dresses made in preparation for the disgusting heat and humidity that everyone is warning me about. July and August are apparently the worst of it. I got a small taste of it when I first arrived here, and it was insane.

So due to the fact that it’s been raining continuously since before I opened my eyes earlier this morning, coupled with my hangover, I’m pretty happy to just be chilling at home today and finally getting some thoughts on the record.

Zongzi – Sticky Rice Dumplings traditionally eaten over Dragon Boat Festival.

I’ve been struggling to write this for weeks on end now. The combination of mental exhaustion, having nothing to say whilst having too much to say all at the same time, has been difficult. My days are extremely busy, with Mondays flying into Fridays before I feel as if I’ve had a chance to catch up. Weekends are down time. I try to sleep, I try to read, I try to explore more. Shanghai is a crazy, exhausting, fun, entertaining, challenging, over stimulating, exhilarating and inspiring city to exist in. You need to remember to stop, often, take a deep breath and screw your head back on before you lose it. Easier said than done.

When I moved here in August, which ridiculously is almost a year ago, I had dreams of possibly doing my own thing, maybe teaching English, spending my free time taking photos and blogging. To even think about and admit that now actually embarrasses me. How naive was I to think that’s how life works, right? I had absolutely no idea. None whatsoever.

I think the point I’m trying to get at here is the fact that yes, moving to another country is awesome, but my God, it’s tough. Leaving South Africa, as amazing and beautiful as it is, was one of the best, if not the bravest decisions we’ve ever made. There are many thoughts and things around this that I’d like to explore in the future, but this means that my very dreamily named (whilst viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses) Lotuses and Lanehouses is about to get a healthy dose of reality in terms of featuring some of the more challenging things about being an expat, about how much life has changed and continues to evolve. I mean I haven’t even written that much yet, so I’m simply nipping this in the bud right here and now.

Life’s not all roses.

A waterlily in the pond at the entrance of our Lane. Captioned this on Instagram as reasons why I’m late for work sometimes.

There’s only so many times I can tell you all how beautiful our neighborhood is. There are only so many times I can talk about where I buy groceries from. I can continue to tell many stories about festivals, and restaurants, bars, interesting facts. I can tell you all of these things, even include beautiful photographs to boot, but what’s been holding me back and making it difficult to really write the good stuff, create content that has depth, that’s not contrived; is not feeling like I was able to really scratch the surface.

So I suppose this particular post is just a heads up. I need to start writing again, regularly, I just needed to figure out what was holding me back and causing this terrible mental block I’ve been agonizing over. I also needed to stop freaking about about not posting often enough. Why do that to yourself if you’ve actually got nothing to say? I’m a busy person, why should I have to apologize for that?




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