Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve left China.
Item 97: Clean ashtray. Cost of returning ashtray to original cigarette stub-encrusted ash-filled condition: 488 yuan
Item 98: Clean refrigerator. Cost of regrowing black mold: 488 yuan
The girls started school on January 29th, 2013, a date that had for several years seemed so unlikely to find us still in China that it came as something of an affront when it did, looming out of the start of this year like a bad omen.
The initial weeks here have been rugged and quite difficult, which explains my silence for the last two weeks. A frenzy of unpacking, of starting school, of the tail end of a tropical cyclone that brought power cuts and flooding, of me starting work again at my old hospital. Of tears and unexpected homesickness for Shanghai (the children) and very expected homesickness for Shanghai (me). We’ve all hit the ground with an audible thud.
I knew I would feel bereft when I left Shanghai, but I also knew the one thing that would keep me connected to China was this – writing about it. Life on Nanchang Lu will continue to bring you great stories of food, people and travel in China with lovely pictures. Posting will be weekly rather than twice weekly from now on (yes, I know it’s been two weeks since my last post, but moving house is kind of frantic, not to mention moving countries too).
I already have big plans to make 2013 my official Year of Fermentation and Curdling where I learn to make traditional Chinese pickles and my own tofu. Those amazing pickles in twenty-five varieties you can buy in every market in China? Can’t get those in Australia, so I’m going to have to make my own. Should be interesting to see how that turns out.
I’ll continue visiting Shanghai regularly, now a place I regard as my ‘other’ home, to stock up on essential food items and eat my body weight in dumplings. I’ve just confirmed my first trip back to Shanghai in only seven weeks’ time, which will help a lot with the homesickness I’m suffering.
But a blog, and for that matter a book, is nothing without readers. So again, thanks each and every one of you for following our travels, our adventures, and our disasters. I love hearing from you and have loved getting to know you all through the last three years.
I hope you’ll continue to love reading about China, a place that is truly amazing. And also how my pickles are going.