There were days when I thought I will never leave China…Dust, cigarette smoke, polluted air, brown and grey surroundings, uncertainty, inability to understand others, inability to be understood, no emotional support except skype calls, empty walls, disconnecting-censored internet… And yet. It is my second day at home and I can’t but feel some deep sadness inside and longing for that place – for the small alleys, friendly simple people, their smiles, my Sunday and one-on-one students…

It is strange to be home.

Once I got on the plane I realised that Europeans do have their cultural codes that I could not see before leaving the continent. There are social cues as how to start a conversation and what is acceptable and not. One awesome thing about China is the openness of the people there. Chinese are incredibly curious to learn more about the white foreign people. They are simply happy and interested to see you around. Other foreigners are easily approachable too. The foreigner community is tiny, so everyone is closely connected. It is partially because of how thick the cultural onion is. A connection with those that doesn’t require peeling the cultural layers is most of the time enjoyable.

Landing in Warsaw I realised how closed off Europeans are. There are many more steps and subtleties in approaching people in Europe.

When I wake up I still can’t comprehend that I am back home and that I don’t need any masks to wear, there is cheese around, my family, peace and home.

The last four days in China were such a gift for me. They allowed me to have a glimpse at a life I would want to have. I stayed with a lovely Lithuanian girl and her two American housemates. It all felt homely and I plainly felt as their housemate rather than a guest. I guess a community is what I am looking for. And culture. Tautvile (the girl) took me to numerous galleries and a literary festival. It was simply so so good. I hope one day to find all of that – a great community, culture and an interesting job. Hopefully one day…


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