Oh How You Have Grown

Wuhan Travel Blog

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Every time I pass a mirror I stare deeply into it; not out of vanity but more out of curiosity. Every time I check for changes, for things I hadn’t noticed before or new developments come about. I know though that some changes can’t be seen; the ones that happen deep inside of me without my even knowing. These changes have taken place in the past four months of living and working in china, a place where I am just discovering my full potential and strength.

Some physical changes include the weight loss. I have lost about 35 lbs and am around 140lbs now. I could use to shed another 20lbs perhaps but that will come in time. Every night from my apartment complex Wei and I go out to exercise in the evening air; doing sit ups, rowing, walking exercises, leg weight lifts and playing badminton. This, along with a diet strictly of Chinese food and standing on the bus constantly along with all my teaching duties in a day have left me fitting into Chinese clothing. Am I proud? You’re damn right I am. I thought this day would never come when I could fit freely into smaller clothing and wear Wei’s belts.

My appearance has changed also. Wei had a hairstylist redo my hair and while similar it is layered in such a way that if I curl it, it is simply beautiful.  It’s cooler, a bit shorter and yet still ‘me’. My choice in clothing has also changed, mainly due to the temperatures here in Wuhan, but now I wear thinner, cooler tops; ones I would have thought weird or outdated in Canada. I dress more girly now with skirts and dresses; choosing to wear bracelets and necklaces.  Yes, I am coming into my own for sure.

My taste in food has shifted. I no longer crave that fattening, salty, greasy food known to the western part of the world. It can’t fill the hunger like real authentic Chinese food does.  I eat twice as much as when I did back home (more than Wei eats now too) and I am actually losing weight while enjoying the food. It’s tastier and I can even handle spicy food.  What has changed though is my ability to know good food from bad; truly know. I now know how bland western food can be and appreciate a good healthy rice dish put in front of me. I can appreciate the difference cooking meat with the bones in it can do for the meal or just how big a difference adding spice can make to a dish. Yes, my tastes have definitely changed.

But what about the deeper more permanent changes? The ones you can’t notice from a glance? Things like confidence. The confidence in myself to order food in a no English spoken restaurant. Or the confidence to hop onto a bus and get off at the right station. Confidence, that lets me try on those Asian clothes in the first place. Confidence is something I have built up, no doubt. I don’t look like a tourist here because I know where I am going; I now walk with a purpose.  I feel good in the body I am in, the appearance I give and the knowledge I have.

I feel stronger too, not physically but spiritually; strong enough to face any challenge thrown my way. I have survived possible homelessness, deportation, leaving China twice with a possibility of no return and adapting to quick changing situations. I have learned that a bad day at work doesn’t spell the end of a career nor does a fight with my partner end in bitter lonely tears; that it’s okay to change your mind but to always look before leaping. I support myself and my partner almost 100% on my own earnings and have learned the value of freedom, of time and one’s ability to think quickly.

I have grown a lot. I see this every time I stare into the mirror. It’s me looking back for sure, but not the same girl I once knew; not the same girl that boarded that plane in Canada four months ago. She is gone, replaced by someone older, wiser and more grown in the ways of being self sufficient.

So don’t cry because the person you once knew is gone, smiles because she has become something beautiful and complete. This is life, and I welcomingly embrace it.


Red Cat Firsts:
~ Seeing the changes that have taken place

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photo by: FK27