Sunday, January 29, 2006

gung hoy fat choy!

I met this little boy ten years ago in China. That's a bunny he's got there.

Nice for once to have explosions in the neighborhood that don't drive me straight to the phone (how many gunshots, miss? Rapid or spread out?), although it took me a minute to remember what they were. Funny that I remember sitting in exactly the same spot at this time last year; strange that I've been in this apartment for at least that long. I grabbed my marketing bag, coincidentally a totebag from a women's conference I attended in Beijing in '95, and headed down the street to buy dried nectarines and chili-lemon almonds before all the stands at the farmer's market had shut down.

Outside, the sun was bright and the air tangy with gunpowder. A mass of flattened brick-red paper on the sidewalk testified that a bunch of firecrackers had indeed gone off right outside my building, and there were several Chinese families walking down the street. Civic boosters, fooling nobody, have tried to rename my neighborhood "Little Saigon" in honor of all the Vietnamese restaurants, but we all know it's the Tenderloin. And that there are more varieties of people than "Little Saigon" would indicate.

In front of me, a little boy, maybe two feet fall, was chasing the pigeons, arms spread wide. They barely broke a sweat avoiding him (do birds sweat? Anyone?), just bobbed away a little faster than they might have ordinarily. He kept trying, though, with the tenacity of the very young.

Something that has been troubling me lately is that MonkeyScientist, about whom I still have conflicted feelings, is seeing someone new to Berlin. Through his offices I have access to her blog, where she describes (circumspectly, but at length) the wonders of her new home and life. Regardless of whether he and I will be able to maintain the kind of friendship we would like--a question with which I have been struggling for weeks--I get to follow along with the bouncing ball as she has the adventures I so badly wanted to have with him. Some of you may remember that last year at this time, I was making noises about making a big change in my life; how many figured out that the change I was considering was a transcontinental move? I applied for a job with a German animation company, I bought German-language instruction materials, I bookmarked the Goethe-Institut's Web site and those of various expatriate bulletin boards. Not only because I missed him so fiercely, but because I was getting bored, and needed to change something after fourteen years in San Francisco, the longest I have spent in any one place. And he is a very good person to have adventures with; we have similar tastes in amusement. I don't know that many men who will go to puppet shows under their own steam, for example.

Obviously, that move didn't happen. He's there, I'm here, and it's Chinese New Year again. After what has seemed like an unusually long and emotionally difficult year, too much of which I have spent wishing I were doing things with him. So lately, I have been working overtime at having adventures here, and remembering what drew me to the Bay Area in the first place. All of the recent posts about the running around I'm doing? I'm trying to see my city with the new eyes I would have brought to Berlin (or Paris, or Barcelona... still, incidentally, in the running), and the old heart that is connected to so many wonderful people here. New friends and old, artist clients who honor my spirit through their work, some great editors I've finally gotten nicely broken-in (KIDDING, Wry, kidding. But only just), the whole wide network of people who like and care about me and their interesting friends and family and lovers, the folks I would miss more than I probably realize were I to leave.

It is not always easy because I tend to both introversion and the kind of schedule that makes most people throw up their hands in despair. But I'm trying, and it's getting easier. And I'm enjoying myself immensely, sometimes too much to capture in a blog post when I crawl home at four in the morning, bits of Russian hors d'oeuvres in my teeth or my feet protesting three hours of dancing at the GlasKat in boots with four-inch heels.

In other words, Indri, stop moping around already, it's gotten old.

Happy new year.