31.1.13

Temporary Everythings


Well, what do you think? It's was my first. I was 18 and I picked it off the wall of a tattoo parlor in Hampton Beach. It's two characters supposedly, life and be present....a Carpe diem a of sorts--I don't know, that's what the artist said, and that's what others have told me. I can't read Chinese. It might as well be Korean.
In my more radical days, when everyone had half their head shaved and we'd all walk around in shorts patched with dental floss,  I would tell anybody who asked that  it was Kanji for "cultural appropriation."  They would laugh indulgently at the imprudence of youth and go back to their kale and quinoa burritos. It seems to me now that our our towers were much more ivory than we imagined because regular people don't know what cultural appropriation is and Kanji isn't even a form of Chinese.
Flippancy  has long been my way of saying I don't walk to talk about it.And I don't either. I was so impetuous I nearly got the character for rain written on my body.
It's tribal, so whatever.
For awhile I  felt guilty because I wasted a great tattoo location for a language I don't speak from a culture with whom my familiarity extends only as far as the understanding that their New Year is different than my own.  And for a long time this was a sufficiently humorous punishment. But I'm too busy mispronouncing every French word I know to think too long on it, these days. 

Yet even here in France I've remained in pretty fair contact with the United States. Obama or one of his minions sent me an email ever three or four days up until his second inauguration. Apparently they need a lot of help or money, or maybe just something for the interns to do--so they send me emails. It isn't the life I would have chosen for them, but it's the cards they were dealt
I've been dealt a new hand myself- DHL delivered a package yesterday with a letter from Obama and he wanted to talk about Kennedy's legacy and commitment and, the Peace Corps. It was signed with the fattest permanent market possible or had been photocopied to the point where his signature no longer resembles the original. Very exciting stuff.
Yes, mis amigos, we've finally got our destination and it's finally time to tell you that we expect to be moving to China to teach English at a University. We'll not know where exactly or when exactly until they feel like telling us. We've got visas and vaccinations to attend to, miles to go before we sleep and a whole lot of promises to keep.  I think we could not have done better in terms of comfort and as some of you may recall I planned to live in China at some point in my life anyway. I'm excited for a fresh chance at adventure.  Best of all, we will be trained in Mandarin--so I may learn what my tattoo says after all.  


Anything could still go wrong and knock us out of the running--it's been quite a process. But that's life for you. Carpe Diem, indeed.
Post a Comment