Cathy was right - this place is so different from Hong Kong. On my first day I realized I was scared of leaving my apartment. I'm not used to that feeling. I think I'm scared because there's so much I am unable to define, so much I can't categorize.
It is a truly unique city. I could love it here, if I could speak and if I could work I could be happy. On my second day things changed and I began to remember how travel alone. So I rode my bike to the station and caught a train to the Summer Palace and it was beautiful and sacred and tacky and vile all at once. What a difference it makes to catch a train, the city opens up and you begin to find your rhythm. The beginnings of a rhythm only for you, between yourself and the city.
This is like nowhere I've ever been, people seldom smile and I suck at Chinese. I live in a dusty village with tiny shops, convenience stores and wet markets, I ride my bike around and I love being scared on the road, learning to adapt. I love the Chinese music carried on a breeze from tinny shop-side speakers and I love the shop that plays Backstreet Boys back-to-back.
I have never been in a new place without a fellow explorer. That scares me more than I thought it would. I miss my companion so much.
But I will find my bearings. I will make the work. I know I can do it - now all that's left to do is do it.