I tell you; it’s a weird psychological process to begin to think about going back to my home country after 3 years abroad.
If Helene and I had decided we wanted to stay in Shanghai, I’m sure we’d be fine with it right now; but since we know for sure there’s little time left for us before a homecoming, it seems that we’re emotionally disengaging ourselves from our current city of residence.
Now, here’s something puzzling; I wouldn’t mention it if, in an MSN conversation with Helene today (she’s “busy” resting in Thailand while I toil away here), she didn’t observe exactly the same effect on herself.
Since I’ve started thinking of a life in Montreal again, I’ve begun to re-acquire a taste for philosophical debates, discussions, and other intellectual pursuits. Now, it probably sounds crass, but hear me out; it’s not that I didn’t feel this way in Shanghai, or that Montreal is a capital of intellectualism… (Really not, as a matter of fact.) But it seems like the ‘expat life’ somehow pushes you in a mood that is much more contemplative and adaptive. Living in a country which you are struggling to understand, it seems you become a master of relativism, and you acquire a certain Zen about the weirdness of daily life.
But now that I’m thinking of friends back in Montreal, I feel something awakening in me that was pushed aside for a while. I want to read more books, to talk about them, to write scenarios for comicbooks, to write short stories, to watch obscure movies and discuss them. I used to do that a hell of a lot more before my own life became a movie. Maybe it’s good, or maybe it means I’m going back to a spectator’s life. Who knows for now?
And so, mentally, I’m shedding Shanghai, it seems. I just know I’m gonna go back to Montreal and start gaining a deep appreciation for my time here. I even know I’m gonna miss it all so terribly. I know all this… And yet I need to go back home if only for a while.
There’s a French expression that goes, Partir pour mieux revenir. Going away to better come back. I think in my case, it will be Revenir pour mieux partir.