posted in: words 3

so our party ended around 4 am and there is some dude on our couch, but I just can’t tear myself away from my computer to sleep.

while browsing antipixel, I came across this description of Kundera, well, actually of using kundera as a dating tactic:

Like an early physicist studying the atom, you will hurl little bits of culture at your new love and collect valuable data about her inner life by observing the way they bounce off.

deliciously rutherfordesque. this summer in Beijing I met G, a former UN speechwriter, who in between his poring over writing a magazine piece and my dissection of a chinese music mag, heartily recommended that I read kundera (which I still have not had a chance to do). has not met a woman who did not love this one particular book, he says, which he could not reconcile, avowing kundera’s misogynist writing. I wonder if this could have been The Unbearable Lightness of Being? Anyone know?

beijing seems so far away, in time and in life, I could almost imagine it was just the stuff of dreams… and yet it was so soul-altering that it could not be. every day as it slowly seeps away and “real life” (wtf does that mean anyway) takes over, I wonder if it’s something that is lost to me forever, a flighty intermezzo irretrievable because of some special alignment of time and circumstance…

at least one thing is reassuring: I’ve spoken to others who also have a chinese background yet have spent most of their lives in canada — and their experiences in asia have brought similar reactions. it’s a whole and utterly different world that feels scary and comfortable and exciting all at once, and it’s exceedingly difficult to leave and readjust to life back in north america. something that possibly you just never get over completely.

I talked about it a lot, yet I feel as if I didn’t really talk about it.

worded by smurfmatic, and I feel the same way.

3 Responses

  1. Ced

    I would suggest Immortality, but only b/c it was the only book I read from Kundera. A story on a woman in mid-life crisis (or a story that jumps around, I was going to say – b/c I can’t recall whether it was just on *that*) in a style where the narrator anticipates, criticizes the actions of the characters.

    Hmm, you don’t say it better. The first time came as a shock to me. But already the second time I was more familiar with the surroundings – maybe more mature to just go out and try things out. So much more to explore. I should look over to Europe, but Asia seems to be the thing. Did you return to your ancestral village? – I did, and it was very “special” (whatever that means – perhaps the summum of feeling so far and so close to home *at the same time*).

  2. xanawu

    only if you can consider shanghai as an ancestral village (one of my grandmother’s is from there), since my whole family “moved” to taiwan… 🙂

    can’t quite put my finger on what made this trip so spectacular, how I fell for the chinese… maybe it was because it was my first trip to the mainland, or again, just the right time of my life where I am particularly receptive? I’m not sure. there’s definitely that element of it being both familiar and strange at the same time.

    my mom once said that after a few weeks in china, she’s tired and wants to come home. after almost 4 months, I wasn’t anywhere near ready to return. but I guess it’s not all that new to her as it is to me.

    anyway, by coincidence I’m going to taiwan this winter (the last time was 10 years ago), so it will be in interesting comparison…

    I can’t wait to go back though (uh oh, I can feel this post getting longer and longer, so I’ll quit soon) it has totally sidelined any future plans to return to europe, or… anywhere else. 🙂 for now anyway.

    out of curiosity, where is the village that you were referring to?

  3. Ced

    Don’t know how to write the name of my “village” properly, but I know it’s on the outskirts of a (much) bigger town called “Shunde” ¶¶¼w), for my father’s side, and also near another town called Foshan (¦ò¤s), which my mom says is her ancestral village (I feel it must be something more specific than that). Both cities are in the infamous Pearl River delta region, just south of Guangzhou (maybe 1/4 the distance to Macau/Zhuhai) and have grown exponentially with the development of the area in the past 15 years or so.

    But our ancestral village proper has stayed a “village”, in the small country houses (a highway just 5 mins drive out, and the bigger Foshan/Shunde just 15 mins away, sans traffic).

    It was my second trip to Asia/HK, but instead of staying 6 weeks only, this time I stayed for a bit over 5 months (March to August?), but recently I have felt that I had enough of it for some time. Would definitely want to go back, but maybe not next year. (But the poor state of the yen versus our dollar might twist my arm into financing a re-trip to Japan, and why not, HK…)

    I’ve never been to Taiwan, but was close to going, with air tickets ranging in the 150-200 CAD from HK (where I was based during most of my trip). My mother stayed in Taiwan for a month, in waiting for a visa to come to Canada.