By Ankita Misra
To China, with love,
There’s something about looking out of an airplane window, at 30,000 feet, over the Malacca Strait, witnessing waterfalls of clouds and pirate ships- as they welcome you aboard your journey to Neverland.
Yes, indeed, I felt like I was on a flight to Neverland- grown up enough to travel safe and solo, yet young enough to experience life as the adventure it’s meant to be.
There’s something about being welcomed into a country, with ships and lights and lanterns and you tell yourself- that this, this is just a layover, silly girl.
Yet stepping afoot a new country, I felt like I finally found my true smile, like I was seeing the world for the first time.
You see, it’s been a while since I had my BOM-SIN-BEI round trip experience, but the memories are still so alive.
Its all the tiny pocket dimensions that I created that help me travel back and forth those moments of perfection, those fleeting moments of eternity.
You see, my mind- my mind refuses to stay in one place.
This isn’t just another poem or piece of prose.
This is an ode- to freedom, to wanderlust and to the word ‘foreign’,
For that is the love I shall forever get lost in,
For ‘foreign’ is home to me.
PSA: Every country has its pros and cons,
But the only thing China provided me with was warmth, magnanimity and comfort.
I felt like I was finally adorning the garb of Margo Roth Spiegelman.
I, a gypsy, caressing the faded pages of paper maps (of paper towns) that I could not read.
This was a foreign land; a foreign language and we were the foreigners.
There were pavements and roads our feet had never touched before,
Subways with station names we took a good twenty minutes to memorise,
And VPNs that did not work, effectively cutting us off from our 1500 Facebook friends, 1200+ Instagram followers, Snapchat streaks and Kanye’s tweets.
And yet somehow, we ended up feeling more light than weighed down by technology.
Fun fact: My app notifications for all aforementioned are still off.
And I’d do it again.
I’d drop everything and get away- to places where time zones are altered from my new normal,
And stars are always present-
Be it in the night sky, or the street lamps,
Or the eyes of the foreigners you’ve just met that feel like they’re…just like you.
I mean, they too feel just as foreign as you do (and just as ‘at home’),
Sipping Blueberry yogurt smoothies and eating English muffins in a French Bakery, next to an American Pizzeria in a Chinese Mall in Beijing!
Home. Let me find home again!
That beautiful feeling of being unrestrained in my skin (and my trench coats),
Beneath the glorious trees of Beihai Park, rooted with history in their leaves,
Or the hallowed halls of Forbidden City, the perfect resting place for a wandering soul.
Subways missed (not) in vain, SNOWFALL! That fell like rain!
Keycards swiped too fast, Helpful Chinese policemen in wrong sides of the past,
Are just reminders that I need to get lost again-
My heart and my mind need a place where we are not shackled by space and time,
A place where the journey of life is a journey!
Where ambrosia smells as it should,
And freedom tastes as it would.
I remember leaving Beijing a different version of myself.
It’s like- when you take off, you take off as you always have, but only this time- you’ve borrowed wings from a wind that’s unknown to you- wind that belongs to a foreign land, but feels so much like Home.
And I know this to be true-
You leave a part of yourself in a Foreign country and that way, it too shall always welcome you back as your own.
We truly are children of this world.
Here’s to forever chasing airports like I chase dreams,
And until my next adventure.
I’ll see you all on the other side of the sky.
Your friendly neighbourhood wanderlust-bitten amateur writer.
Ankita Misra is a 2nd-year medical student from Mumbai, India. She loves singing, writing poetry or blogging. Her myriad of hobbies recently took her to Harvard MUN China, as a fully sponsored Assistant Director for the event.
Email ID: [email protected]
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