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I wish I could

Garden in Nanjing
I wish I could remember which garden in Nanjing this was. I remember it was the first one I went to, and if I had my guidebook to hand, I could find it easily enough, but I can't find my guidebook right now. (More on that later.) The thing I remember most about this picture, though, was how different this garden was from the area surrounding it.
This garden is in the middle of Nanjing, and the city is noisy and insane. I'm not a big fan of noisy and insane cities. They make me uncomfortable. (And I went to China, where "noisy and insane" is kinda the norm.) I remember feeling much more claustrophobic and very alone. This trip was during Spring Festival, or maybe just before, and it was one of the first overnight trips I went on without Paul.
Anyway, my point. There was the noise of the ciy, and the feeling of being lost, and the constant feeling out of place... then there was this place. Just walking inside the walled garden, and there's this sudden silence. It's like the city is a million miles away.
Unlike a lot of the other places in Nanjing, this place had very few people in it. I don't think I saw more than one person the entire time I spent in the garden, and I was there for two hours. The paths are very windy, and there was the sense that I was walking right next to a part of the path I'd already gone through, but I couldn't quite see it, so it felt a lot bigger than it could be.
A lot of China's gardens are like that. They seem so huge, so peaceful (even with a million tourists all taking pictures), and there's this overwhelming sense of history in the whole thing.
I really miss that when I'm here. I love Canada, don't ever think I don't, but I miss that sense of history when I look at things here. Alberta is proudly celebrating 100 years of being a province. China has 5000 years of history.
I think pictures like this are a lot of what people think about when they think of China. They think of those 5000 years of history, they think of stereotypical Asian stuff, and this garden is what they come up with. They think of families with gardens like this in the back yard. They think of the movies we've seen of China, where this is typical. But when I think of China, I think of the crushing mass of people and how there's no sense of privacy. I wonder at why places like this are so... empty, really. But then, that's a cultural thing, isn't it? My need for privacy and personal space, versus the Chinese need for people around them. I remember talking to someone when I was there about that, about how Chinese students who do overseas trips go crazy from the quiet, while we go crazy from the noise.
See Also: A quiet place to rest {click to enlarge}
I think every garden I went to had a setup like this in some quiet shady corner. It was very pleasant.

So, the missing guide book thingy.

I'm talking to a friend of mine about how I'm updating my blog again, but I don't just want to put "And I was in China, and that was the only exciting thing I ever did in my life, and now I can die." Which, really, I'm certain it wasn't the only exciting thing I did in my life, but some days, I'm telling ya.

Anyway. My friend says, "Well, write about those little projects you're doing."

Me: What little projects. {This is me, looking innocent.}

Him: You know, the de-cluttering of all of your stuff.

Me: Oh.

Him: And the getting back into running.

Me: Right.

Him: And that stuff with those games.

Me: Okay, I see your point.

Him: So, you could write about that.

Me: But that means I actually have to do them.

Him: ...

Me: I suppose I could lie...

Him: No, no you can't.

Me: You suck.

So, yeah. I'm doing these little projects, you see, and the big one, the one that will take me the rest of my natural life, is the decluttering. Anyone who has ever met me, talked with me, or seen me in the street carrying the portable hole that is my purse can tell you that I need to declutter. I have way too much stuff for any three people, and I live alone with my cat. I have an entire room that just has *stuff* in it, and I don't know what to do with it all.

I read this little article some place about this one woman who, when she died, everything she owned could fit in her car. I want to be able to do that, not because I have some desire to run away from home, but because all of this *stuff* is ruling my life in a really nasty way. I don't have people over, because I don't want them to see the amount of *stuff* I have. It's insane.

So, yeah. I'm going through it all with this goal in mind. I'm never going to achieve it, but it's a nice goal to work towards. The problem is, my apartment is in a constant state of uproar while I try to determine what to do with all this *stuff*. Right now, my big goal is to gather together whatever is donatable and give it to Edmonton's WinHouse, which probably has a better use for 16 plates than I do.

Just to give you some idea, last night I finally threw out my history notes. From Grade 11. My ten year high school reunion was last year.

But yes, that's why I can't currently find my guide book. It may be on the overcrowded book shelf in the living room, one of the 4 overcrowded bookshelves in the bedroom, on the cluttered desk behind me, or on the cluttered desk I'm sitting at, or under a couch, or eaten by the cat. Who knows?

So, yeah, whatever encouragement or advice anyone can send my way would be appreciated. Any offers of help in carting all this stuff out of my damned apartment would be nice, too. If anyone wants any of this junk... well, you're welcome to it, although a few people have called dibs on some of it. (Hi Crash!). Hell, any advice on what to do with 7 years of back issues of magazines would be nice. Or a bunch of craft stuff that I never use, but I spent money on, so I don't want to get rid of. Just, gah.

Anyway, the other projects are for another day. But I'll try to write about the decluttering stuff, because it would be nice to get some encouragement there. It's harder to get through that every day then going running again. And that's saying something, because I am very very lazy.