Snippets from China

  [gallery columns="1"]

I still haven't transferred most of the photos I took in China last week from my camera to my computer ~ yesterday was a day when I had to keep moving or fall prey to the profound lure of sleep that always accompanies jet lag ~ and I still haven't quite made my way back home either. Much of yesterday was centered around unpacking, so clothes were washed and put away, gifts sorted, and souvenirs placed in small spots throughout my studio. Today will be The Day of Errands, and maybe even the start of a new series of small paintings. Bit by bit, moment by moment, my heart and mind are catching up with my body, making their way back to Santa Monica from across the Pacific.

It is hard to know where to begin sharing my experiences in China, where I traveled with my best friend from middle school and her family. For now, rather than try to encapsulate anything in an especially lyrical way, I'll use one of the prompts I've learned from the lovely Maya Stein, whose Feral Writing workshop I'm taking, and share a few snippets...

* The pollution ~ heavy, gray, there was no sky until after a day of rain
* Staring at Carrie, my best friend from middle school, throughout the week, in awe of a friendship I've had longer than any other. Noticing how her face has changed yet also stayed exactly the same
* The stares we got everywhere we went ~ a pack full of blondes in a sea of dark hair
* The utter thrill of walking on the Great Wall of China
* A deeper disconnect from the rest of the world than I think I've ever experienced on a trip abroad
* Peking duck
* Sitting in the lounge of our hotel in Xi'An, the night before we saw the Terra Cotta Warriors, sharing stories over Tsing Tao and fried appetizers
* Laughing with Carrie, one of my favorite things in life
* Soggy scrambled eggs every morning
* Outdoor vendors selling fried scorpions and silkworm larvae on skewers
* Listening to Chinese national anthems being sung by an impromptu chorus near the Temple of Heaven
* The fantasy of doing nothing but wandering around the world
* Having Pizza Hut delivered to our hotel the night we got back to Beijing from Xi'An
* Seeing my friends in the crowds at Beijing customs ~ before they saw me ~ and feeling my heart pound so forcefully I thought it might burst out of my body
* A woman sweeping gravel off of a city road with a broom made of small tree branches
* Grateful ~ beyond grateful for every single thing

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide