This time we are getting a bit philosphical and dive into some cultural perceptions and subjective experiences from yours truly!
Life is ups and downs and kris and kross (sometimes it’s so confusing we forget which way the clothes are supposed to fit) but some things seem to expand constantly and this can be the world or your universe.
Let me explain. On my old blog I might have mentioned that in detail some years ago, so it’s an old hat, but I haven’t put that into writing for a broader audience. Coming from a tiny village, before you hit puberty a trip to the neighbor village is a serious undertaking and if your parents have to drive you there or you take the bus, this broadens your world a substantial amount. You become a serious traveller, a wanderer that just left White Orchard (the fist playable area in the Witcher 3 and a tutorial, the link goes to a page describing the experience of playing that part before the full game came out – like a demo of life) and discovers the world and you are happy with it. You know may have friends from a 2km radius, because you can walk that or you see them daily even when they come from realms way outside, but that could be a different star for all you know.
Then at maybe around 14 to 16 if you get reallty good at sports or decide to pursue higher education or learn a craft you might have to travel to the next ‘big city’ – we are talking 10000 people here, seriously big. This is when things go crazy, you might have to permanently move, you will make friends that come from a 30km radius or more.
By this time, not only the area around your house and that of your neighbors and friends is yours, no, it’s like all the woods in your village are yours. This is where you build tree houses, caves, bunkers and fight off other friends. It’s all yours, you bring stuff from home into the woods to leave in your buildings. You chase your friends through said woods and again, that is your area, you name things there, like that one ‘Lion King Rock’ and every day you go there you find that there is more and what feels like yours is even bigger.
Now, that you are 17-18 it is the most exciting, because now, you can either ride a moped around already (nowadays even drive a car, but that would not be the same with a ‘grown-up-copilot’, but of course that is the right way to go about it) or you can already vividly imagine how it is to drive a car and explore new streets like you did new corners of the woods. It’s most exciting because not only are the woods yours and the area around your house and your friend’s houses and huge parts of the village, now also a random parking lot and bus stops in the bigger cities are yours and you discover more of these on a weekly basis. Again you do leave stuff there, from your heart now: memories, maybe kisses, maybe stories that you share over a beer or many and maybe a couple of bruises. You can almost smell the driving license’s ink and the freedom that comes with it.
Then you move out at 18, or you did so at age 16, like I did and you will have your own flat, in a big city, you owned before, where you remember the bus stops and the beers, but now your world shrinks a bit. Now the four walls you live in are clearly yours, maybe the car and what is inside and maybe your parents keep some of your stuff and a room where you maybe sleep over once in a blue moon, but the woods seem to be not yours anymore, because who would do all the stuff you did there, now that you have responsibilities. Being an adult you don’t bring stuff there anymore, being an adult the parking lots become a bit weird and you might not feel as free having that one beer before you can drive an hour later when you leave it with your car.
From then on, a lot of things you don’t dare anymore, because they don’t feel right. Moving flats you don’t really dare to let things stay on the pavement in front of the house, because people probably own this and it’s definitely not yours. You might go back to your village, have a walk on the paths through the woods and a talk with your friends, but you don’t build stuff there anymore or leave the pathway much apart from watering a tree after a couple of beers.
Some of your friends now life hundreds of kilometres away and while you cover the whole the distance in your car, that is yours, with your stuff and music and heart, only the room or flat of your friend there is yours where you are free, maybe the whole dance floor while you are at a metal show where you leave sweat condenses at the ceiling and rips down. Then you cover a couple of blocks walking with your friends reminiscing the concert and for those minutes, it seems the whole world, from the village you came from to city your friend lives in is yours. You wake up the net day and drive home to your four walls and the world is small again.
Some day, for me that day is a bit in the past already, but it might be in your future. You leave your country, the village, a lot of friends and take a lot of memories and you might live, maybe, in a different country. You might have had some holidays in different countries before, but that is more like a dream, not so much a part of your world. So some of your wold just shifts, it doesn’t grow, it might even shrink, because things are different, no one roamed the woods there with you, they don’t even look like your woods. You have no memories of the bus stops there or seen a parking lot where the youth hangs out. You build part of your new world and make it grow again, but you do not dare much to make parts of it yours.
Living in a different country changes you, but I think the world you are responsible for shrinks to whatever you feel, in any given situation to what you believe you should and can take care off or for. So it might grow actually. You might grow a family or add new friends or old friends into that part of your world and there can be days, when it feels like every tree bending in the wind, every little story from years back makes you smirk and all the world can be yours again.
Hope you enjoyed this wall of text, I certainly did enjoy writing it and coming full circle, sometimes things here in China have a certain magic to the chaos. So, as angry as it makes me, that the people in the complex I live, seemingly own all of the compound, especially the bicycle parking space that is taken over on a monthly basis by a neighbor renovating his flat with piles of rubbish where bicycles are thrown on piles. And the sidewalk that can be parked at however you want or the red light you wait for to turn green while you throw out two trash bags, that a rude foreigner on a bicycle throws back (has a bicycle – that peasant!, it’s me), there is a moment when you are out and about, with friends, while you are having beers and even through the first park didn’t allow you to sit on the grass (it’s not our or anyone’s part of the world, I guess) you move to a park, where people leave you alone. A park and a place where people are curious and let you do silly and weird things, where after a few beers, ideas are thrown around and your friends involve you in the making of this video and suddenly that whole park is your part of the world, in full and you rest your chin and greatness, that you can keep up with Baopals: