Return to normality
It's deafeningly quiet here, except for the ticking of my alarm clock. After I open a window, I can hear birds chirping outside.
It's 7 am on a bank holiday. My neighbours are still asleep or away on holiday. This is normality.
In the past three weeks, I could not hear myself think, amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and parts of mainland China. So many conversations, so many thoughts - how will I be able to remember the highlights and share them with my readers?
Returning to my roots, I never expected the culture shock nor my ravenous appetite for the variety and sophistication of Chinese cuisine.
On my way back, I had deliberately planned a seven hour transit in Hong Kong, so that I could indulge in another salivating meal before I returned home. It was my fourth transit to Hong Kong on this trip, for there was no direct flight to Taiwan nor direct flights between the island and the mainland.
I brought back one-quarter of the five-flavour chicken my friend Agnes and my cousin Jessica and I shared yesterday evening. With the bank holiday in full swing and my refrigerator completely empty, I wish that I had brought back the entire chicken. Tonight I will remember all those fifteen course meals my tour group had in China. I will regret not emptying the dishes. Now I understand why it's so hard to leave one's homeland.
For someone who has made London home, I've sacrificed the indulgence of taste for the silence and aesthetics that please my ears and eyes. I see greenery and order instead of chaos. I hear birds instead of traffic noise and loud conversation.
4 June 2002 Tuesday, UK Bank Holiday - Queen's Silver Jubilee