Bored, playing around on my computer the other day, I started looking through old bookmarks on my browser. Since I have been an Apple user for a long time, whenever I get a new device or computer, it copies everything over automatically and I have bookmarked websites I haven’t looked at in more than a decade.
One folder labeled “Blogs-China” was one I forgot I had. It had a massive list of blogs with names I had basically forgotten about. Some were personal friends or some people I found when I was thinking of coming to China long ago and some that I had found in my first few years before WeChat and text groups started.
As I started going through them, eager to see where these people were now, I was met again and again with error messages. “This site no longer exists.” or “Buy this domain name for $4000.” Or just ads for tumblr and wordpress.
Some sites that did work were last updates some time around 2014 or even 2012. The only sites that I managed to find that were up, running and recently updated had changed from China blogs to some other topic. The writer had left China years ago and started writing different topics, their former life archived under a tab.
Then I thought about my site. While it is still active in my mind, I haven’t written any new posts in almost a year and people might think my site is dead too. Actually that’s not true. I haven’t published any new posts. I’ve written close to a dozen, I just never actually got around to posting them.
Part of it is logistics. I don’t like the look of my website and I don’t like the process it takes to update a post. I know wordpress is highly popular and customizable, but with such an old blog I have a lot of old problems that are clogging it up and making it difficult. I could figure it out but I really don’t care enough to do a deep dive to find where all my problems come from.
Second a lot of my posts seemed a bit braggy. Now you know I do love me some bragging, but for the past two years as Covid revenged the world, my life didn’t change that much. Yes, I’m kinda stuck here in China (as in, if I leave the country there is no guarantee I can come back so I don’t dare leave) but that’s really my only major problem. Aside from an initial few scary months when the virus was discovered, things here have been…well…normal.
We’ve had a few little outbreaks but Xiamen never experienced a serious lock down where I couldn’t leave my apartment. But I know how much my friends in America and Europe were suffering, especially in 2020, and I thought pictures me and my friends at afternoon tea at the Xiamen Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, or my trip to Shanghai Disney would just be pouring salt in their wounds so I never published those blog posts.
I also wrote a few blogs about updates of living in China during the pandemic, to counteract the misinformation I was seeing on the internet. Like I wrote one long post about the vaccine and how people assumed that “Communist China” (said in angry tone) would have a vaccine mandate. But they don’t. And not only that but the government has even stopped private companies from issuing vaccine mandates for their workers or visitors. No one in China can force you to get the vaccine and no one even tries to strong arm you into it. I know that from personal experience of friends, both Chinese and western, who haven’t gotten the vaccine. They have gotten no pressure from anyone and have had zero restrictions in movement without it. Restaurants, concerts, jobs, places where lots of people gather are not allowed to ask for your vaccine status. Something I know is hard for Americans and Europeans to believe. But I felt it would be politicized or people would say I’m lying, or whatever. And I just don’t want to deal. So I didn’t publish those.
And then there were some personal posts. I’ve mentioned my genetic health condition on here a few times, and I’ve had some pretty major issues over the past 3+ years that I’ve written about, but they felt too personal and things I probably shouldn’t put on the internet for anyone to see for years and years. So those I never published either.
But finding all those dead or long ago blogs made me miss writing and sharing my life on the blog. So, while I’m not making any promises I will be making my best effort to update this blog on a more regular basis. I have always seen myself as a go between two worlds; China and America, and I’ve felt it’s my duty to help people from both cultures understand each other a little more.
So while I have long since lost fascination with the “exotic” aspects of China (I’ve lived here 13 years people! Chinese culture seems normal to me while western culture is more exotic at this point) there are still many things I can talk about and share. I know there is still a lot of misunderstandings between the two cultures and I hope, by openly sharing my experiences, people from both sides can learn.
So, welcome back! And see you soon!