Talk about a small world! I thought it was weird enough that I sat next to a Brit on the Frankfurt/China plane, but I think I’ve also got some Chinese New Year luck! I have 60 TV stations and several in English – but its still bizarre Chinese television. Well I was flicking through today and saw a familiar face – A fellow cockney and ex-Arsenal player Ian Wright in my Chinese bedroom! (Photo courtesy of the BBC phoo gallery.) In the start of my culture shock I really needed that recognisable face. And then – as if someone up there was somehow trying to help – Ian goes on location…to my Home Town!!! I absorb the sight of a parade of shops that I have visited since my school days – and I am now on the other side of the world! I’m living in isolation that I have never experienced before – but familiarities of home somehow manage to join me. Amazing.
When I was later settled in my trip, any reminder of the world I came from would completely make my day. Throughout my entire time in China I never found such a close reference to home as this one from my first full day in China. As you see from the poem below, this coincidence came at just the right time to help me overcome my transition into Chinese life.
The bed is hard – its almost just wood
I lie there often, though I don’t think I should.
Here is a tip: Don’t sleep on your side–
There’s bruising on my hips and my thigh!
It’s simple poetry – but a way to escape:
To focus and enjoy the attempt to create.
Wind with teeth means walks face a chill
You don’t really notice it …until you get ill.
With uneven pavements you watch or you fall
Some kiosks and beggars, and closed market stalls
Remnants of red firecrackers strewn the street
And no one to greet