06 June 2008
But Where Might That Be?
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” - Nelson Mandela
Those words definitely speak the truth, though I wonder, is it really possible to find a place that remains unchanged anymore? I find myself wondering what, exactly, needs to stay the same for a place to be considered “unchanged.” Is it the people? The buildings? The general feeling? California is where I was born and raised and I will probably forever think of it as “home,” but it’s nothing like I remember it as a kid. My siblings have grown up, my parents are doing totally different things and only a few friends still live there. My brother now lives in my old room, so that place feels totally foreign.
I went to college in DC and spent five of the last six years there. Still, I left right after graduating and when I returned I tackled the city as a “real person,” which made it feel like somewhere completely different.
Then there is Shanghai. I left a year and a bit ago and just returned. There are at least a thousand new buildings. More western venues are opening (like Coldstone – WHOA). Still, the people are the same minus a few major players (those darn Canadians). The food is still divine. My lifestyle remains almost identical, including my neighborhood. The only real difference is that nothing shocks me anymore. It all just feels normal. Regular. Unchanged. So then, maybe that’s why I came back here to reflect on the last year of constant change. Maybe this is the place that remains unchanged, at least in the way it feels. Maybe that quote should now read: “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains JUST AS YOU REMEMBER IT to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”