The apartment is empty; the movers have taken our shipment to the port. There is nothing now but to relax, enjoy the last moments of this chapter of our lives, and prepare to start the next.
The sun is brilliant against a crackling blue sky this morning. But the surf is still big and pounding after two days of summer storms. I wake to the sound of the waves punishing the sea wall, the same morning sound I have heard for the past three years, a sound completely foreign to my ears before we started our lives overseas.
Yesterday we had news that an old friend and compatriot of Bruce's died in a mountaineering accident. It was dark and raining when Bruce told me, and we stood for a long moment savoring the shelter of each other's embrace. Then, as it always does, life carried on and I hustled Vivian off to get ready for school, even as the lives of our friend's wife and children stood still.
Bruce and I have been there before, suspended in that moment when the world crashes down, and watched in silent agony as the world carried on as before. And now, each moment as we prepare to leave this home for another back across that vast ocean, I hear the pounding of the surf and know that although we will be missed by some who remain in China, China will not miss us. In China, all will be as it ever was.
But that's one of the lessons of being an expat, and of life, and of maturity: knowing that regardless of the time spent or hearts touched or marks made, the world carries on as always as we slip from one place to the next.