Small Victories

I successfully purchased some noddles and tofu from the farmers’ market today. I say “some” because I still don’t understand the unit of measurement used for weight here, it wasn’t in pounds, that I know. Luckily, I look like a local and speak like a local, so my first solo trip to the farmer’s market went off without a hitch.

If you had seen me tonight, you might have mistaken me for a small bear. I had on my cotton pjs, my sister’s fleece pjs, an oversized jacket, and a pair of uggs. The jacket is shapeless and black with “San Francisco” stitched across the chest in a gaudy orange. I bought it for $20 a few years ago when I spent the Fourth of July at Fisherman’s Wharf watching fireworks. My hands had gone numb before I relented to buying that jacket. It turned out to be a brilliant move because that ugly jacket is possibly the warmest item of clothing I own. The uggs were given to me by my college boyfriend after we broke up. They bring me back to my Berkeley apartment where I had first discovered them lying on the floor of my room while my roommate handed me the bouquet he had left with the shoes.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how far I’ve come and where I want to go. I’ve been thinking about the meaning of life and the unit of measurement for happiness and every other question with no right answer. They say those who can’t do, teach. They are wrong. Those who can’t do, think.

I’ve come a long way from cocktail dresses and four-inch heels. In fact, I’m having two pairs of my heels brought back to California; the cobblestone sidewalks in Shanghai disagree with them. Should I follow my heels back to San Francisco, back to pencil skirts and blazers? I know there’s a reason I left that life, but some days I find it very difficult to remember that reason.

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