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Adventures of a Traveler

Melancholy and far from home

By Frances Leah BrownPublished 4 months ago 4 min read
Adventures of a Traveler
Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash
  • I have been an empathic, emotional person all my life. Those qualities didn't blend well with my pragmatic, get it done, stiff upper lip farm family, and I learned to hold it inside, or hide and let it out in private. I've spent most of my adult life trying to accept the feelings without judging myself, and it's still a challenge. I usually apologize when I cry in front of people.
  • This week I've had an incredibly melancholy time of it. I am away from friends and family and home and creature comforts. I am in need of some dog, cat, daughter and husband couch time. I miss digging in the dirt and planting veggies and flowers and pruning my roses. But I am living in a city with 21 million people and a long way from the couch, or garden or friends or family.
  • The things that have been bright spots this week have been walking home one night and watching little fruit bats zipping around. Hearing what might have been foxes in the fields around us. The people with whom I work being kind and funny and accepting. Guests who respond with joy and affection for being chosen. Basic kindness.
  • Yesterday a few of us gathered for coffee. Foreign and Chinese performers, finding ways of connecting and chatting with one another in broken Chinese and English. We are all so curious and want to get to know one another, but the barrier of language is a big one. But we tried. We were introduced to one another and began to make our way to conversations. I met someone that is a dancer and I look forward to getting to learn more about him. He is not a local, and has just moved to a giant city, like me.
  • This weekend I'm going to the Highland Games in Beijing. That's right, you heard me right...a group of Scottish residents are having Highland Games. The thought of being outside and watching the games sounds very entertaining to me. Last weekend they had a taco festival, but I didn't go to that. I come from California, the land where some of the best tacos can be found, and though I have craved Mexican food, I didn't think the Beijing taco fest would fit the bill. Cooking is limited where I live, and I would have to outfit my room with a lot of appliances and things for which I have no room, so...I don't cook. If I had an oven?! Oh great googly moogly, I'd been baking.
  • I got a haircut last weekend. Um.... My hair is thin, and so I keep it short and try to give it the illusion of body. I had an acceptable haircut in March, but it was time to get it taken care of again, so I went into Beijing with pictures for reference. First, the stylist lifted the hair on top of my head and looked concerned. "Are you here for a perm?" He asked. "No. No perm." He lifted my hair again. I said, "Yes, I know it's thin. I just need a hair cut." and I showed him the pictures. Shorter on the sides and lower back, messy short on top. The salon was busy. I got my hair washed, he cut it, I got it washed again, he cut a bit more and styled it. I received what I call "The boys on the bus" haircut. It seems to be the style of the moment, because a lot of the young men I see on the bus have this haircut. VERY short on the sides, with a V shape of longer hair down the back of the head to the bottom of the hair line. No fade, no transitional length. VERY short to floppy. The stylist did a good job. He gave me the perfect boys on the bus haircut. I went home and got out my scissors and gave myself a fade into the floppy stuff. It'll grow, and I'll try again. Adventures in hair. It's one of the curious things of working in a place that has a requirement for maintaining a haircut, but doesn't offer to help maintain it....go out into the wild and find a stylist.
  • I am going to begin studying HSK 1 this evening. The first level of Mandarin taught here in China. Not only pinyin, but characters too. I want to be able to answer simple questions, and I would really like to be able to read some characters too. I have no expectations of how I'll do on this language adventure, but it feels good to hold a text book and work book in my hands.


About the Creator

Frances Leah Brown

I am a singer, a story teller on stage and in print, and a lover of family and nature.

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