Every year, since I was about seven, I disappear during the summer for a period not exceeding two months. Unlike normal holidays, there is no build up to this event, since every year, I go to the same place, stay with the same people and do more or less the same things. When I return, I generally have a new haircut, new clothes, and a short-lived interest in Asian pop culture. People who I would nominate as my best friend, 2nd best friend, and so forth to about the 5th best friend are accustomed to this and (I hope) do not expect souvenirs because it's not as though I really went on a holiday; rather, I simply went missing.
China, is in part, responsible for such a thorough disappearing act. Especially since she has now conveniently blocked Facebook, Blogger and various-other-websites. I cannot be bothered finding illegal methods of getting around these inconveniences, so instead I cut off communication with my friends altogether.
In some ways my isolation from the rest of the world during the past two months gave me a lot of time to think. Or not think. I am not sure which. Either way, assimilating to the Chinese youth made me feel very different, and worry about things which I usually wouldn't. Having a foreign set of worries is a very eye-widening experience - like suddenly realising that you are at a life-altering disadvantage for not having had worried about those things before. Maybe I should change 'worry' to 'priority', they are somewhat symbiotic, to a pessimist like me at least.
In the photo below, my priority was taking as many photos as possible. We were in Suzhou ("Venice of the East") because I'd never been and my cousin couldn't let go of her ex-boyfriend who now went to art school there. We were all hung over from drinking too much fake whiskey with these boys who were friends of her ex, but I insisted we needed to go take some touristy photos to make the trip seem more worthwhile to my parents. My cousin felt too disheveled to be photographed so the photo is of me and a new friend who made me laugh a lot. I know I sound rather bitter, but regardless, I was really happy, and Suzhou is actually really beautiful.