A Morning Walk

Years ago, I posted about my daily walk in Shenyang. ¬†I made that walk so often¬†going to Chinese class and the gym. ¬†My view is different now that we’re back in South Carolina. ¬†I still think of that vined archway that isn’t there anymore, the guitarist playing for small bills¬†in the tunnel under Qingnian Dajie, and the way the buildings tower above. ¬†I miss it.

Within a week back in the US, my friend D told me that I would grow tired of the question, “Are you glad to be back?” ¬†Well, of course we are. ¬†We’re glad to be back in a country where we can read everything and understand. ¬†We’re more capable of navigating the politics and bullshit. ¬†But people don’t ask that question in the same way we answer it. ¬†People ask as though it’s a comparison. ¬†“Glad” to be back here rather than still in Shenyang, as though the last five and a half years were¬†tragic somehow. ¬†A hardship. ¬†And being back is better. ¬†It’s difficult to be with people who don’t think about or appreciate our life there, and that we miss it from time to time. ¬†But at least some people ask something.

This is part of culture shock. ¬†Or maybe it’s just part of every day life. ¬†Folks go on about their business. ¬†Maybe they ask questions so they can answer it themselves. ¬†Or they ask questions about only that which they know. ¬†Many just¬†live their lives in a state of comparison.

I’d rather live this life than that life. ¬†I’d rather be a country mouse than a city mouse. ¬†I’d rather be like me than be like her. ¬†Well, you know what? ¬†I’d rather Daniel Craig acknowledge that he is my secret boyfriend. ¬†I’d rather peanut M&M’s were actually good for you. ¬†I’d rather be sure¬†that Glenn is still alive.

So, yes, I am glad to be in the United States, where life in Smalltown, America is pretty darn good.  I am glad that my morning walks are highlighted by blue skies and red brick.  I am happy to drive my little car down highway 29 every morning, saying hello to the cows on my way to work.

But I would be happy there too. ¬†It isn’t a question of rather.