This statement came after one of our times at a Starbucks in Tulsa. We'd gone just to enjoy coffee and talk. He'd made the mistake of choosing the table right by the window and I'd chosen the seat that faced it directly while he chose a side chair. We sipped our drinks and sort of shared a dessert, it was actually his piece of cake, not mine. I think he intended on us talking more than we did, but like I said, he made the mistake of choosing the table by the window. Maybe you're wondering, what was going on outside of that window that could have distracted her so much to make her a poor conversationalist--of which most of the time, I think I am a very good one. The answer isn't very exciting, there was nothing more than a parking lot outside of the window, just a large, spacious lot with a few cars dotting the land and a couple other shops and restaurants far enough spaced from our Starbucks to not seem crowded. But, oh, how I love sitting by windows. I don't know, something just speaks to me, even if the best the view can be is a parking lot. I lose myself in the endless possibilities or just in my own thoughts. If I can see beyond the shop or room that we're in, then my mind can travel anywhere beyond as well. That particular day, after watching me for what I'm sure was a good seven minutes or so, he asked just what it was that I was thinking...that I cannot reveal since it has become a private joke oft repeated between the two of us...what I can tell you is what happened or rather what I was thinking today.
Even though all of my 36 hours of teaching are held in the same five or six rooms located on the third floor of the teaching building, every classroom holds a different color for me--even if it's the same--depending on the class that is inhabiting it for those two hours. The class I saw today, which is the second half of an Applied English 604 class, there is a distinct color I feel when I look around in that room, but when I try to explain this coherently, I'm not yet at a place that I can...so suffice it to say, perhaps it's not a visible color, just one that my other senses perceive when I'm in the room with them. While they were talking with each other, in English of course, about their Ideal University--the one they wished they could create for themselves and other classmates, I saw something, or someone out of the huge windows on the one side of the classroom. I saw a faceless boy walk out into what I call the "Wasteland" on our campus. There is really nothing there...just flat dirt, a lot of dirt/sand and nothing...this comprises the area of land that covers the dining hall to the teaching building, save the basketball courts right outside of the classrooms. The unknown boy was carrying something--a kite. If you've ever heard me speak of QinHuangDao, or seen a couple of my facebook statuses, you know the wind here is absolutely ridiculous, so I guess it seemed a quite normal thing for the youth to want to use it to his advantage. The weather here this week has been so fine and perhaps he'd been waiting a while, perhaps had the kite stowed away in the corner of his dorm, or under his bed...and after going to his morning classes, decided this was the day he would bring it out...he would fly it today. I watched the colorful butterfly kite (odd choice for a boy, no?) go air born, and jostle about in the sky, not very high. I smiled and my thoughts went in many directions:
1. My history with the word butterfly, some of you who know me will appreciate this. And just why today of all days did I see this colorful butterfly swimming in the air outside of my window...
2. The movie, Kite Runner, which I quickly pushed out of my thoughts, too intense for me to handle given the environment.
3. Back to my history with the word Butterfly and how it has been a pet name bestowed on me by a couple of people who really know and love me, one being my mother and another being one of my closest and oldest :) friends Q. Both, of course, had different reasons for christening me with such a symbol, but I still hold the name dearly when they use it.
Seeing it today made something inside of me, a part that I'd not acknowledged for months on end, made it shake the dust off of itself. It is a part of me that has always dreamed of flying--not literally--but the adventurous, longing to travel, to be independent, to be ever on the move, wings quickly fluttering...yes this is what the kite spoke to. What I just wrote did not come to me while I was watching it, all that did come to me was this "sense of self" I'd not recognized for a long time since I've been here. For some reason while I watched it, something inside of me said, "I like me, I like growing older, I like who I'm becoming." I think living in a community like I have been for over seven months now, learning how to serve, how to love, how to forgive, how to get along with people who you don't naturally, how to give grace, how to respect, and all the things it takes to live and work and cooperate and share with people who used to be strangers to you has made me forget myself. I explained it to another friend the other day that I lost myself, that I had to during this season in order to survive...but somehow just seeing the butterfly kite out of the window today assured me that I am not lost, but merely forgotten for a moment so that something else in me could grow larger--perhaps HIM. Of course I am more than willing, even an agreeing partner in that forgetfulness and hope it continues to happen from time to time, but today it was like a resurgence of some passions, some pieces, some colors that had not shone for awhile.
4. As I watched the kite, the holder of the string no longer in my view, it soared higher, and higher. Honestly, I was surprised the kite's string was so long. I was also surprised that the boy holding the end was letting it go up so far, the vicious wind could surely take control of the butterfly and tear it from his hands, or at least it looked like it could. I thought of the boy, probably excited or proud of himself that his kite was flying so high. I thought of relationships, how the further some got away from me the more I wished I had had the security of a kite string, some promise, some magic incantation, some hold over it all to be able to reel the object of my affection back in if they got too far away. People being out of my reach is one of the worst feelings, especially when I had been accustomed to holding them in my arms and knowing their loveliness and flaws in all their minute detail. Seeing someone from the ground while they're flapping, perhaps hopelessly, in the wind with no string to bet on, it's usually easier to just look away, less painful anyway.
5. I continued to watch (their project had a lot of questions to answer amongst themselves before they would present it to me), and finally the moment I had waited for, the reeling in of the butterfly or perhaps its crash. The latter seemed more likely when I realized it was the second time my student, Wing (see previous post), had called my name to ask a question. I turned to them and it was obvious to me that it was obvious to them that I was somewhere else. They sort of giggled and I shook my head a little as if trying to tell all of my thoughts to go to their corners until I could find a place when I could release them all again.
My day continued to run on from there, another class, barbecue with a student, the supermarket (again), the Internet bar, the laundry, the cleaning of my room, the slight try at regular journaling, and the beginnings of a birthday card...so I guess I did not find a place to release this specific train of thought until now...and here I am with no necessary point, just a rant on the kite I was distracted by today. To my "followers", Hannah and Kara, you wanted me to make a blog and this is what happens...