I’ve said before that I grow attached to places.
I don’t have any particular affinity for State Street in Chicago, but I saw a picture of the Chicago theater sign and felt a rush of nostalgia for the brief four weeks I spent taking a class in that area.
When I close my eyes I can map in my mind my old neighborhood in Urbana. I can live every step of my Saturday morning routine, from my regular run route to the gym to the bakery to the library. I left Urbana after five years, tired of seeing the same old thing every day. But I miss it all the same. I even find myself fondly remembering catching the 6:45 am bus to work.
My new city is beautiful.
There’s greenery, palm trees, tropical flowers year round. I see mountains from my window. While my old Urbana run took me on a loop through residential neighborhoods and the odd cornfield, my new daily run is around a gorgeous reservoir surrounded by trees and mountains (or mountains-from -a-Midwesterner’s-point-of-view).
Shenzhen is less cool than Shanghai or Beijing, but it’s less crowded, with better pollution levels (although the pollution hasn’t been so great recently.)
With it’s close proximity to Hong Kong, I thought that I could just visit Hong Kong all the time, and then when I move away I shouldn’t ever feel the need to go back to Hong Kong or Shenzhen since it’ll be checked off my list, been there done that. Missing a central Illinois town or a touristy street in Chicago is easily assuaged, but missing Southern China when you no longer live in Southern China is going to be a nuisance.
But I know myself.
I know I’m going to miss the old people doing tai chi in the park. I’m going to miss 1 kuai dumplings and mango cream bread and mango cheese tea and egg tarts. I’ll miss people cutting hair on the sidewalk in the mornings. I’m not sure if I’ll miss almost getting flattened by scooters and bikes every five seconds, but you never know.
I’m not tired of Shenzhen by any means. But I’m already dreading missing it.