Friends tell me about doing drugs. They say the first time you get really truly high, it's special. Recalling your first high is thinking of an old friend. Your memories of it filter through that rose camera lens they use to film Barbara Walter specials.
Most junkie's careers consist of trying to find that moment again.
Tokyo, I miss you. But I know the you I miss never existed anyway. I couldn't go there tomorrow and find you.
Every day in Beijing I fuck up, then adapt. I stopped counting what to or why. I don't analyze this process, not now. I just do it.
I haven't learned Chinese culture, as much as you can, yet. I have learned something else though. How to encounter cultural differences, note them, and respond to them. I've mostly internalized this, it's not something I think much about.
It still ain't easy, but now that I have a system, understanding another culture is not as much of a struggle as it used to be.
But I miss the struggle. Tokyo was my first high. I'm sorry Tokyo, you could have been anyone: Paris, Seoul, Moscow. Because I had no system to start understanding you, because you forced me develop a system to comprehend your reality, that's what made you special. That's what made you so exciting, like anything was possible.
So I left the United States again looking for that feeling. But my system now serves me too well. Living abroad is an endless procession of retarded lessons that I love dearly, it's rewarding in ways I don't even understand yet. But I still haven't found that old friend, my first time, and I guess I never will.