But, I haven't been blogging much and the "why's" of that are all tied up in how I'm feeling about being over here. I've been avoiding outing myself as a person with feelings, so I've been staying away from posting. Except about Reeves. PLEASE SOMEBODY ADOPT LITTLE REEVES. He is so cute and his coat is soft now. When he gets excited he hops up and down and we call him "Bunny." I digress.
In order to keep some levity, I will do this post "Buzzfeed style" and insert an applicable gif every so often. So, if you're not into Feelings & Stuff, Inc. I'd peace out now. No hard feelings, pals.
But the air affects everything. We have a gigantic window in our bedroom, which would have a great view if not for the smog. It turns what would be beautiful fall days into hazy dystopian landscapes. It keeps me from wanting to be outside, for wearing a mask doesn't necessarily make locals stare anymore, but it takes away your ability to smile and say hello, thus leaving you the object stare at, rather than greeted. So, I haven't mustered up the motivation to see much of Jinan, and I'm having a hard time finding interest even in Beijing where the smog is just as bad and worse on some days.
The smog also keeps me from exercising. I was so excited to join a gym. I was sure they'd close their windows on bad air days. But, no. "They're only a little open," the staff says, "So, it's not bad." Exercise is crucial to being a healthy expat. The lifestyle tends to give you a lot of free time, so it's easy to sink into bad habits and/or depression.
I hear you saying, "But, Casey, everybody in society lives a similar cycle. Many people aren't satisfied! They would love to live in an exciting country!"
You're not wrong. But, my job isn't the problem. I don't feel excited about living here right now. I love travel, yes, but I'm not sure I'm where I should be right now.
When I think of the best parties I've ever been to, I picture my brother's house during our Xmas-Eve-Eve-Eve celebrations. We get a little boozy, sure, but then we hang out, play board games and Wii/ Xbox and inevitably stay up until 3am talking about life's big questions.
Again, I hear you, "But Casey, surely some other expats would enjoy that type of party, too!"
Alas, it's not the party, but the company that my thoughts fall fondly upon. It just can't be recreated. The one house party we tried to host in Korea was seemingly well received until we found out that the whole group that had come over went out for more drinks and noribang (karaoke) immediately following and did not invite us. Granted, the foreigners we've met here are cool people and weird, cliquey behavior nonexistent. Even still, I never find the energy to want to hang out. I'd rather go to a kids' soccer game than a bar. I'm tempted to say "that's just where I am right now," but if I'm being honest, that's where I've always been. And I get more comfortable with my introvertedness as I get older.
I hope to start school (online) in January, if I can find a good program. This is a pretty big change of direction, well, actually it just simply is a direction, for me. So, I'm not exactly sure what the immediate future looks like, but at least I have a grasp on the slightly more distant.