One of my fellow teachers at EF is leaving in about a week. He's been here for a year, and has by all accounts enjoyed himself tremendously. He will be returning to his native UK for a few months before getting a job in Istanbul (not Constantinople). He loves Xi'an, and he loves China. Talking to him about his choice to leave has been quite interesting.
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I sat down this evening to write one of the Funny Ones for the blog, about my first laundry experience last week. I was uploading some pictures of my laundry room when I ended up looking at all my photographs.
I have been a very fortunate man. To say any less would be impossible. I have been materially fortunate, certainly, but I refer to the friends I've made and kept over the years. "Clayton Moore," sir, I came across the pictures I took when you and Mrs. "Moore" stayed over in my apartment, and when we celebrated the twilight of your bachelorhood. Miss Knap, I looked at the pictures from our Ikea and Mitsuwa adventure. Mr. Varney and Miss Day; three separate sets of sterling memories which all brought smiles to my face. And I miss Disney World, and I miss everyone I met and grew to love there. I've never missed anything in quite the same way, really. It is the closest I think I've ever come to an addiction; I can feel the desire to do it again pulling at me constantly. That it was the closest I've ever come to a perfect experience is no coincidence.
That is, of course, why I can't go back; it was a perfect four month experience. To go back could do nothing but ruin it in the end. So I have moved on to other adventures. You can't go back to the ideal memories. No good can come of it. As individuals, the only way to survive is to move forward and find the next great adventure. The only other choice seems to be stagnation.
I say all this to convince myself as much as anything, I'm sure.
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Realizing this is quite a ways off, talking to my peer has made me more conscious of my concern that I will decide to stay in Xi'an for the long run; there's nothing wrong if that ends up happening for a good reason, but it borders on the tragic if it is simply out of comfort. It is not the duty of the young to settle. I'm not done exploring yet. There's a lot more I want to do before I pick a place. Disney was the first step. China is the next. After that? We'll see in a year or two.