Arrival in Zhuhai 珠海
by Tatiana Luna
I am thinking of giving my blog a face-lift. And I am struggling with the name Domestic in China.Perform a search on google for “define domestic.” I don’t think any of the definitions that come up describe my experience or what I wish to write about, or only a sliver of them.
I am in Zhuhai 珠海 now. I have been here for two weeks without Christopher already, taking care of Isabelle by myself. What an adventure. The first week I was exhilarated by the constant movement, satisfyingly exhausted carrying Isabelle around and still miraculously getting everything done. I had to come here early to ensure there would be no gap in our time in China where we are without a residence permit. And in order to have a resident permit, we had to have an apartment in Zhuhai. And that requires dozens of documents. And so on, and so forth.
This second week, I let the weariness settle in a little, became a little irritable, and struggled in my age-old battle with a depressive mood. Suddenly being in a new place, meeting new people, seemed to turn back into being (damnit!) domestic! I have an apartment, I have a baby, now a little girl really, and going to the grocery store becomes the main event of my morning or afternoon.
When you move around so fast and so much, bits of you flake off and stay everywhere you stop, and if you go too fast you get thin and confused and it’s hard to remember who you are or where you’re from because you’re so many people in so many places at once, all of them blending into each other and all of them blurring into nostalgia, and to get yourself back you need to stop moving and wait for the pieces to wander back into your town and your head and your body, and then you begin to remember and once you remember then you can get back to moving.
Moving fast makes me feel alive, even the exhaustion it brings reminds me I am real, flexible, and capable. But when I settle down to rest, I end up on the opposite pole. I can barely appreciate the rest, because soon I get too much of it. I become infused with anxious energy, while at the same time I feel sleepy and lazy. Then my depressed mood settles in and I suddenly feel insecure and incompetent after feeling like a queen of the world a week before. My husband remarked to me that now that he is done with his horribly soul-sucking 40+ hours a week job in Fuzhou, he does not know what to do with downtime. He didn’t feel like slowing down at first, and then he seemed to just stop, unwilling to do anything at all. I realized just yesterday this pattern in myself, and it has been repeating more or less for the past year, and more recently the depressed downfall has reached a pitch that I no longer care to bear.
I want to find a steadier rhythm. I want to strive for a life of balance. I want to know how to appreciate speed and appreciate slowing down, and I want to know when it is the right time to do either one. I want a faster-paced life than the one I used to live, but if I am constantly bringing myself to exhaustion, perhaps this cycle will continue. Then again, after a day or two of rest, I need to jump-start myself instead of letting the slow pace of relaxation take over.
I am excited by prospects in Zhuhai. I have already seen the edges of a community that interests me. Whether or not I will become an influential part of it seems to be up to me.