I Think About You in Black and White

Black reminds me of you.

Not in a Gothic sense, but because there seems to be a secret hidden in your every move. The way your eyes shutter close when I look too closely, your quiet half-smile that you don’t feel the need to explain, the wrinkle between your brows when your thoughts drift far away…

I want to know what they mean. What drives you? What goes through your mind?

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Black enshrouds you, keeping you away from me. It follows you around, its invisible hands pushing me back whenever I try to move closer to you.

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Black is your armor. It protects you from even from those you say you love. Yet, it is also what makes you vulnerable. In the dark, when my body is pressed against yours, I hear your heart beat steadily as you open yourself to me, one painful layer at a time. I cling to you to offer comfort. You welcome me into your private space.

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White is the soft light that filters through your windows every morning. I like to watch you sleep while white light moves slowly across your skin. First it touches the tips of your lashes,  it creeps its way down to your lips, slightly parted in sleep, then teasingly skims down your body banishing with it the dark.

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I carry this picture of you throughout the day. You bathed in white is when I most feel that you are mine.

I often think about you in black and white: black is the self that you are yet to reveal, white are the moments that tie me to you.

 

Hi, China! It’s Been A Year and Counting…

June last year, I went on a solo trip to China in search of an adventure. It was my first trip abroad alone and though I did not know exactly what waited for me when I reach my destination, I went ahead anyway. I’ve always believed that it’s only when you take risks that you are able to make a difference that actually counts. And what a difference this trip has made!

A YEAR AGO: The start of my China adventure with only this book as my guide.

A YEAR AGO: The start of my China adventure with only this book as my guide.

Life here hasn’t been always easy. Aside from the language barrier, life away from the familiar comforts of home, away from family and friends, can get A LOT lonely. Many times, I have questioned my decision to move here. Many times, I’ve cried because I missed home. Unlike when we were young kids, it’s not so easy making lasting friendships as adults. Often, we encounter people who already have their own sets of friends. Here, the people I often meet, fellow expats, are usually also just passing by – here one year, gone the next. This is not to say that I have not found any good friends. In fact, I have made quite a few that in spite of the short time we’ve spent together, are now deeply rooted in my heart.

UCWEB INTERNS AND KAREN: I was lucky to have been part of this group of interns who are like family to me.

TWINHEARTS: My dear friend Rico who I miss everyday. We shared a lot of common interests and became fast friends. Miss the days when we just sing at the top of our lungs.

TWINHEARTS: My dear friend Rico who I miss everyday. We shared a lot of common interests and became fast friends. Miss the days when we just sing at the top of our lungs.

BIG BROTHER: Nick is the big brother I've always wanted. Thank you for taking care of me and for all your good advice.

BIG BROTHER: Nick is the big brother I’ve always wanted. Thank you for taking care of me and for all your good advice.

ROMA: My best friend. I enjoyed getting lost with you. You taught me to simply enjoy life and not to worry too much. You're always there to listen to me.

ROMA: My best friend. I enjoyed getting lost with you. You taught me to simply enjoy life and not to worry too much. You’re always there to listen to me.

I’ve even found my “walking buddy.” Yes, we have walked a long way, Tosha. IMG_0544

Everyday since I first arrived in Guangzhou, I’ve fallen in love with the city one day at a time. I love how it makes me feel safe, even while I’m walking alone at night. I love how honest people here are. I’ve lost my phone, wallet, and even my bag, but I’ve always managed to get them back. I love how people are so friendly even though they don’t understand me: The guards at my apartment building who always smile when I pass by. The shopkeeper at my favorite fruit shop who gave me extra portions that are way beyond what I paid for.

More than these, I love how China has taught me so many things about myself that I would never have learned had I not ventured out of my comfort zone. For example, I discovered the joys of walking. I who used to take a cab to get from SM Mega Mall to Podium! I also learned that I enjoy cooking and cleaning – chores that I was too lazy to do back home because someone was always there to do these things for me.

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Coming here has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. The journey doesn’t end here though. I plan to spend more years in China and perhaps continue my journey in another country, to learn and discover more.

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