It’s been too long since my last update. I should have more to say about winter but I can’t seem to make it sound right.
All I saw were frozen rocks and wind and snow and ice. I never knew where I’d sleep or find my next meal. For two months it was the same, and in that time I had only three conversations.
I struggled every day, with myself as much as the miles. Neither make much sense right now.
There is reason in self-denial. I see none in deprivation. One gives me strength, the other made me an animal. I’m not as proud as I thought, not nearly as kind or tolerant. I’m tough and stubborn and this time I think I went too far.
It wasn’t worth it because I can’t let it go.
Southern China is a different world entirely, all lush mountains and sunny skies.
I’ve seen things I could never imagine: hundreds of paper lanterns floating into the night on Chinese New Year, pandas snacking lazily on bamboo, a sitting Buddha, carved from the side of a red-rock cliff.
The welcome here has been with open arms. Villagers invite me into their homes, to their tables. I sit with them as dozens of tiny faces press against the window, jostling for a better look at the laowei.
It all deserves a tone I can’t give it right now. I see it, but all I think is Xinjiang.
I guess I still need more distance between me and the cold. Today I leave for Vietnam, and I think that will help.
It’s time to start a new chapter.