keeping your shoes (and your morals)

Posted by anya on January 20th, 2008 filed in Uncategorized

this is the first post (of many more that were planned) since coming back to Vancouver. and i’m not quite sure how to start it, because I feel like there was no clear beginning anyways. There are many things I want to write about; the idea that has been tugging at my fingertips on this morning is how completely indulgent in people I have been. Undoubtedly the best thing about being back has been seeing these amazing people who are inevitably in the fibers of my very making. I loved Andrei’s idea of people, in a sense, defining part of who you are (this was a small part of the idea, at least). I though about it on the drive home, and realized perhaps that he is more right than I first cared to admit. It was wonderful waking up next to Jenya this morning, covered in layers and layers of white and softeness, and seeing her smile, laughing about the night before and talking talking talking. Jenya, with her lovely voice and brightness and character and examination of self. With her belief in me and incredible sweetness. Her intellect, and her ability to shake me up when she knows I’m not at my best. For showing me, that night in Weifang, how rude and careless I had been, and for reprimanding me for it. It was the kind of thing, that only a true friend could confront you with. It’s been so pleasant to spend mornings driving to school with Joanne. We have about twenty minutes when it’s just me and her and our words and ideas and feelings. I keep getting hit with the realization of how incredible this girl is, and how our time spent apart really hasn’t changed the way our chemistry mixes. How I tell her things, and it’s like a big ball of wool with lots of knots that just gets unraveled somehow. And the best is that Joanne will actually take the time to work through every knot, every loop, with her patience and understanding and openness. And seeing Alex, at school, even briefly. Standing outside with him and being so incredibly content that he just is. He is here. And instead of writing him a frantic e-mail and completely disarming myself in print, I can now come up to him, and he will hug me, and instantly things will be better. And he will listen, too. He will listen and he will turn everything around on its head and make me see things in a way that I hadn’t considered before. He is the reason I don’t want to settle. Because I know that somewhere, chivalry and manners and gentlemen still exist. I’m really lucky to have found this in one of my closest friends. And he will smile. Kathy, too, with her lovely smile and generosity. I know that we will spend time together, and be able to talk about things and understand and reminisce. We are bound by so little and yet so much. 8 short months during which we barely saw one another, and yet when we were together it never felt completely new. That weekend in Beijing, which will be ingrained in my memory forever by the feeling of complete sadness (when I left you and knew that it would never be the same again) and happiness (the feeling of the damp sheet against every part of me in the hot Beijing night), juxtaposed and burned forever somewhere deep down. Every time I try to relive this it seems to gnaw at my knuckles and remind me of tomaaahtoess. Knowing that she’s the only one who will understand this in quite this way. Because being that honest isn’t easy. Andrei, too, who listens and digests and lets me just talk. And my experiences with him; i feel like I’ve become closer to him in the last little while; like i know more of this mystery; it has taken me years to even begin scratching the surface. He’s incredible and brave and i know that things will be okay. The completely sweet ways he finds to let me know things, and the ways in which he surprises me with his epicurean habits and personifications of pleasure, sprinkled with bouts of sadness and self-loathing. The beautiful, wonderful, Anna. The one who knows me on so many levels, and has taught me about true friendship over the course of time. The girl who is constantly changing, becoming, reinventing, yet manages to hold this strength inside her which I envy and wish to somehow absorb. The person who has been a part of so many of my memories, and whose company I longed for in China. I wanted to take her hand and show her and make her see what I was seeing. I wanted her to see the me that existed in those eight months, and ask her what she recognizes and doesn’t. How much of an excuse is time and age and context? Context, that evil word which seems to slip into very random moments and books and statuses and text messages from Southern China. From someone who is incredibly smart and able and who I would love to search with. There is also Zach, who I try to keep up with but usually fail miserably. And he seems to be okay with that. He surprises me in myriad ways with his intellect, which he inserts loftily into his sense of humor and the many compartments of his knowledge. He educates me and pays attention to detail (in ways), and in this process is becoming someone i really appreciate. I think it’s a great indicator of character when you watch the way someone interacts with your friends when that someone meets them on random occasion and doesn’t know them well. In Zach’s case, he has been nothing but open and friendly and, well, himself, when he has met my friends. I’m trying to adopt that. I am also so happy to have what I have with my Dad. Being able to show him China, and seeing the fact that he’s honestly, truly happy for me, was really an experience. I love that I can go to class and listen to lectures and then randomly come and visit him for coffee and be able to regurgitate all that is circulating around in my head. And he will think and be attentive and cross-examine me and make me question what I am learning even further. And he’s interested in these thinks (hey, I think that that was a lofty typo!) not for the sake of being a good parent, but because he values my ideas and believes that the journey is, indeed, more important that the destination. Mom, too, in a very different way. Although her and I sometimes seem to be at a disconnect, I am constantly amazed by her consideration of me in everything that she does. This is probably what people mean when they talk about that unconditional love that a mother has for her child. I am incredibly lucky to have this love, and I know that I need to devote more time and effort and energy into us. Mmm, this has been therapeutic. I went home today from Jenya’s with the nicest feeling. My whole skytrain-bus-walk was filled with an appreciation for life and for the amount of beauty that exists in it that just makes me want to burst at the seams and cry sometimes. Even Vancouver, with its blue sky and snow-covered mountains, didn’t seem so bad. Even though the bones in my body ache to go back to China, these people I have been indulging in have made me SO HAPPY to be here. And you know what? I have more to look forward to. There are many more people to see and catch up with. Next month, Salima will be coming here and I will be seeing her for the first time in over a year. I get to indulge in one of the kindest, most loving people I know for over a week! I get to spend time over tea with her energy and smile, and I feel incredibly lucky! In May (which seems far away now, but will be here very soon!), Anna will come back from Ottawa. I long for this moment. I want to pick her up from the airport and go to a restaurant, sit on a patio, and just be in her company. I love listening to Anna, because the way she frames people and situations and feeling is so different from me. I love the things she pays attention to, and her admittance of her own idiosyncrasies and paranoias. She is fantastic, and was one of the people I looked forward to seeing most when I got back. Alas, co-op called, and she is now on her own journey in the capital of Canada. I miss her, and I can’t wait until May. On a final note, I also think about Elena a lot. I am just now realizing the impacts that she had on me. I wish I could somehow thank her for thoughtfulness and kindness during my journey, but I
can’t. I don’t know how yet, and that’s only one of the things wrong with me. In her tribute, though, I am going to wrap up this entry, make a coffee, and take pleasure in the sheer laziness of this Sunday morning. I am so privileged to have the luxury of time.

3 Responses to “keeping your shoes (and your morals)”

  1. inaequitas Says:

    and I’m grateful. honestly, so very grateful. though don’t underestimate the impact you have on any of us. were i more talented with words, i could try to express that; suffice to say: thank you :)

  2. kathy Says:

    you thing of beauty you. that was most deliciously-written and i am extremely pleased that their are memories that both of us can indulge in that are completely secret to the rest of the world. one weekend in beijing baby.

  3. Mia Says:

    I am a tad envious I must admit. After reading this blog where you mention all of the people that affect you so profoundly but I am not among them…perhaps I have erred toward you, I should hope not. In any case, love and miss you!

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