Why Am In China?- Telling My Odyssey


Editor’s note: Below is a guest post from one of my friends and college buddy Jo. Jo knows how to live life outside the box. She’s the same Jo I wrote about in my article, What’s the Rush? Why We’re Missing the Important Things In Life. She’s an actress, singer, call center agent and fellow teacher in China. You can know more about her in her new blog SPRECAN.SPECAN.SPECEN. I seldom see her now because we don’t live in the same city anymore but life always becomes a musical every time she comes to visit. Only because she insists that we go through the entire soundtrack of Mama Mia! with her.

If you want me to write guest posts for you or want to have guest posts in this blog, you can contact me at ksirine.yu [at] gmail.

For the nth time and expectantly the last – though I know this question will always be raised – I retell my odyssey. I came to China because my college buddies invited me to stay with them for three months… At that time, there were no problems securing for a multiple-entry visa. You could easily get it in a week’s time and enter China whenever you want. Unfortunately now, with the succeeding cases of Filipinos being caught on illegal visas, drug trafficking, and other cases, it is very hard for the many of us to come to China without being scrutinized and harassed by immigration officers. I cannot be mad anymore. I cannot blame them. If my other fellowmen were only thoughtful and mindful enough of their actions, then these degrading intrusions would never have happened in the first place.

It is here in Shenzhen that I started real living. In a span of one year, I’ve learned a great deal about myself. It’s hard to imagine how I survived as opposed to the easy lifestyle I had back in the Philippines. When I left the Philippines for Hong Kong, I thought I was going back in four months time. It never occurred to me that it was going to take nine months before I could throw hugs and kisses to my family again. It was very hard to even think about it now. The next big hug came when I went back to my country earlier this year in February. I had a fever. Mom hugged me. I started trembling with tears rolling on my cheeks…and that was not because I felt hot but because I realized how much I missed them. At that time, I could hardly say anything as I was too short of words and breath and because in our family, crying is not a tradition. I just felt like crumbling in her arms. I remember all those nights when I needed a pat, a massage, or simply the feeling of being around a mother. I guess the best description for that emotion if I were to put into words would be…OVERWHELMING. Although, I have won several awards in my life, I must say that the best reward I have ever received so far was simply —that long-awaited hug from mom and my sister, Dianne. Perhaps, in the future, hugs too from my own children and husband. (who knows…HUGE EXCITED SMILE!)


Vegging out for the last couple of minutes heightened my new friend’s anxiety. I straightened myself, took a tissue paper, and pretended my eyes were itchy. I started stuffing and rubbing them with it.

“Are you okay?” he asked. I nodded feeling nostalgic than ever.

Will you stay longer?
…who knows.
I hope you will.
…that we don’t know.
Do you want to?
I bobbed my head though there was that longing to be united with my family.
How old are you?
….I’m fine, thank you. I joked. He laughed almost falling off his chair.
Be careful! I warned as he continued laughing and hitting the coffee table with his palms.

I have to explain though that this question if asked to the Chinese is commonly mistaken for the very basic “how are you?” question. Thus, they usually answer this with the “I’m fine, thank you…and you?”

I grin at him.
I’m 24.
I was not surprised at his immediate awe. Very young!
Why China?

I thought hard again. Although, I have answered this question too many times, I still cannot hide from that fact that it was simply because of some wounds that my mom thought would be better treated in a new environment.

I was not too tough or as wise as I am now. I was simply a wounded child then. I needed healing, change, and GROWTH. I needed an awakening. I needed LIFE. As a young adult, the hardest realization was not knowing myself and what I desperately wanted. I simply couldn’t suck the marrow out of life! I couldn’t seize and cry CARPE DIEM!!!

By now, he, too, is obviously spacing out, apparently bored with how this coffee break is turning out. Silence. Perhaps, he isn’t used to it and so came the long list of questions to entertain the time. This should be a sufficient awkward moment for him. Dropping my hypothesis of his thoughts, I assume that he feels awkward and embarrassed at how extremely neutral I seemed.

He raised his cup towards me, aiming to cheer me up and in a jolly voice, cried, “Kambe!”. It means bottoms up. We laughed, raised our cups and cheered!

Parting ways was the easiest and presumably a relief for him. We gave each other that sheer nod and all I could utter was Kambe!. For a 10-minute coffee break, that was productive! But then again, that thought apparently insinuated sarcasm still.

I entered the office thinking about Kevin and discovered I know nothing of the man. To console him in my thoughts, I decided to agree to his most probable impression of me.

How boring could I be to Kevin now?

Photo by: mambo1935

Other guest post:

Top Ten Global Events Rockin’  Our World

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  • What’s the Rush? Why We’re Missing the Important Things In Life
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  • Meeting Master Wu- The Lost Art of Kung-fu
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    3 thoughts on “Why Am In China?- Telling My Odyssey

    1. matthewdryden says:

      I often worry that I won’t feel anything when I go home to my family. I hardly miss them. I wish I did more – but I’ve always been an independent being.

      I’m only now starting to reconnect with my family…making an effort, at least.

    2. Kate says:

      Hey Matt!! I sometimes feel that way as well. I only feel an intense pull towards them when I’m about to leave them in the airport (the cheesy movies depicting these scenes are all too real!). Jo is more of a family person than me and we’ve got different takes on this.

    3. Jo (actually) says:

      Yeah, we’re like a team. We grew up doing everything together. Mom drives us all in the morning and we have this really crazy conversation wherever we are so I do miss that a lot because I know I can’t be that way with other people.

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