I have seen the sun on two occasions since arriving in Chengdu; both occasions have been brutally hot, so despite my elation, there has been some level of unavoidable discomfort. However, on one of those days, I made a most joyous discovery, which lead to a realisation that has since helped me truly appreciate the little, fleeting joys life presents to us.
But before I get to all that, allow me to set the scene and explain some things...
I am completing my training on the campus of Sichuan Normal University. Training can mostly be defined by two words—demanding and exhausting. During a cherished moment of free time, I was exploring campus and made the discovery: a teashop beyond my wildest dreams.
The place is small, but the menu is large; if only I could read hanzi to adequately appreciate it. Since discovering it, I’ve tried to go every day. I am ordering by pointing to things on their menu.
One the day of discovery, I was tantalised by anything made with ice. Not only was I incredibly hot, but I’ve found that most people in China could not care less about the temperature of their beverages, and some even believe drinking cold liquid is bad for your health, so rarely is anything served cold. Enjoying a choco-mocha-heaven iced drink (I assume that is its name in Chinese), while my friend drinks a mango smoothie, the joy is overwhelming. However, in that moment, I have an awakening:
The tragedy of a cold drink is the longer you try to enjoy it, the warmer it gets.
In the next two years, I assume I’m going to have many moments of simple, small, unadulterated joy, but these moments are just that—moments. I will need to always remember to appreciate the ephemeral bliss of them, then keep going, living from one evanescent rapture to the next.
I wrote this on 14 July, two weeks into my service. I could not have been more right. Last week, I received a care package from my parents. I relived similar moments where I could do nothing but enjoy the taste of a small Ghirardelli square. It’s the little things…