I noticed that I haven't blogged in quite some time. I used to try and blog every Wednesday, on my day off, so I began to think about why this change had occurred. I suppose the answer is that I am finally (after three and a half months) beginning to settle into Qufu. We have developed a comfortable daily routine and certain things that I once would normally have blogged about, don't startle or shock me anymore. This isn't to say that China doesn't challenge and surprise me anymore. Quite the contrary; it does so everyday. I think the difference is that I am learning to roll with the punches and learning to expect the unexpected. When unusual or confusing occurrences happen, I think to myself "just another day in Qufu..."
I haven't yet mentioned the fact that I went home to the U.S. for a month due to a serious and urgent family matter. Having been back in China for about two weeks, I have felt some element of culture shock that I almost didn't feel the first time I came here in August. Similarly, I didn't feel homesick when I came in August, but I did feel homesick coming to China this time around. I think the difference was that the first time I came to China, I didn't know what lay ahead of me. It was a mysterious adventure that I could not envision in my mind. This time, I knew exactly what I was coming back to. I was excited to go back, but not like the first time around. I also thought I would have some profound realizations about China during my time home, but I didn't; sorry to disappoint. I felt like two months in China was not a sufficient amount of time for me to have been able to make sense of my time there. Right now I almost feel as if I am not cognisant of what I am really experiencing. It won't be until after I get home and look back upon my time here that I will really say "wow" and begin to start understanding all the complexities that it held. For now, I am on what we like to call here "sensory overload." At all times in Qufu, our five senses are constantly being stimulated by the vibrant and nonstop world around us. It will take a serious calm from the storm for me to regain a steady sense of understanding of my life in China.