Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hong Kong Future Summit

All this traveling has a way of filling one's passport to overflowing, so Eric and I paid a visit to the embassy in Hong Kong to add pages. Mine is set to expire next year and I'm feeling shockingly sentimental about it. I was sixteen when I got it for my first trip to Paris. Now it is crammed full of immigration stamps from border crossings all over this giant planet. Once you begin traveling, you realize how vast the world really is, and how much of it always remains unknown to you, even after you have visiied. We have a long way to go before we've seen enough. (I suspect we'll never be through.)

Our visit to Hong Kong became a summit of sorts. We rode the tram to the Peak, high in the steep, green hills to look down at the bay. The towering apartment complexes and office buildings looked to me like teetering stacks of paperwork on a very crowded desk. We had a wonderful meal of caprese salad, prosciutto pizza and Italian beer at a fancy restaurant, and as we watched the sun go down we couldn't help but talk about our little mini tour through China, our year in Shenzhen and what we want next.

We've spent the last two years looking around at the wide, wide world, learning something about how it functions, and all it has to offer. We've been swept up in the current of possibilities. The list of jobs we've considered is endless and quite amusing. But they've always been means to an end.

That end is a quiet, secluded, deliberate life- most likely in the country, "away from the things of man". It involves lots of books, gardening and the sound of wind rushing through leaves. It will be full of what David James Duncan refers to as "sacred leisure" and what E.B White described this way;

“Just to live is a full time job; you don’t have to “do” anything. In the country, the idle pursuit of making a living is pushed to one side, where it belongs, in favor of living itself, a task of such immediacy, variety, beauty, and excitement that one is powerless to its wild embrace”

Or as Miss Emily Dickinson put it;

“To live is so startling that it leaves little time for anything else.”

There seems to be a moment where you can choose to build something permanent and lasting and I think that time has come for Eric and me. We are tired of rented apartments and open ended commitments. We need something that belongs to us, and only to us so that we can put down roots and bloom. I can't wait to get started.

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