So I will be leaving Beijing soon this month, much earlier than planned. As I mentioned previously, I was going to do some traveling in the summer but my foot started acting up badly last month. It was a really rude surprise, since for the last few months I’d been fine. I went on short trips to Jinan and Datong in the mainland, and Hong Kong, in April and May. On each trip, I did a fair bit of walking, plus a small hike on a HK island. As a result of nixing my summer travel plans, I had to return my train tickets for Shanghai plus my first intended trip to the Northeast, all 11 of them. Luckily I was able to get back 90% of the ticket costs at Beijing Rail Station, but it was a waste of a month’s planning in which I’d looked through train routes and maps for the itinerary. I was also thinking of going to the far west such as Gansu and Qinghai provinces in August. But in truth, I was not that upset or sad. Over the past year, I’d gradually realized I had lost all my support, empathy and attachment for China. Some of my blog posts about China in the past year might have provided a clue as the tone became more negative. Simply put, I have come to dislike the government and society here more and more. This might also have impacted me a couple of months ago when even as I was planning my travel, I had no enthusiasm for that or anything else in my life. I was still able to go to work and continue writing, but I felt irritable and had no joy about the fact I was leaving my job soon (I’d given notice about 6 weeks in advance and had decided on it much earlier). For these last two weeks, I’ve basically done nothing but rest at home, clean things up a bit, and do errands, yet I’ve felt better than in the previous month. It might be because I’ve had to come to grips with how I harbored stupid thoughts and misled myself for such a long time about China. It wasn’t like I suddenly realized the Chinese government does bad things or that society here is full of rudeness and frustration. I’d heard of and expected these things before I had even come to China. But somehow I had naive thoughts about China and had expected the country was progressing. Indeed it is getting better in some ways, but not as much as it should be, or at least what I thought. I also learnt to be comfortable with the idea that I am not Chinese, except ethnically, nor should I expect to be. I am a HK-born Trinidadian who is also part Taiwanese with Chinese ancestry. I mean I always knew culturally I was not Chinese, but I had cultivated this sense of an inter-Chinese identity that comprised China, Taiwan, HK while being overseas Chinese. It was a vague concept that did not have much concrete links to bind it together other than my family background, but it was also comforting and unique. I’ve slowly shed this sense of identity in the last few months and perhaps it had a huge impact on how I viewed living here. In the end, it might be a good thing that I had to cancel my summer travel plans within China. I may not have enjoyed it given the lack of enthusiasm I had had for it and I might have even risked injuring my foot more. And plus, not not being able to travel because of a bad foot is kind of tough, but if it means I can come to grips with my China disappointment, then it might even be worth it. Eight paper tickets, representing two separate trips, that I had to return at the train station. I had also bought 3 online which I refunded from the website too.