Lost in translation

Dominique, BE

This could have been the beginning of a novel, or a short story or even a letter, as a bottle in the sea, as a “do not forget, always remember.”

An amazing story …. for a second , you realize that everything could change.

Very ironically, you feel as being nobody but your selfconsciousness is at it’s maximum, all senses awoken. You feel immersed in the unknown , on your own, alone, nothing seems familiar anymore except your stuff. One of the most appreciated treasures is my iPad and it’s French songs in a loop , as Salome or nuit magique, ne me quitte pas, je chante un baiser… and the beach of Knokke Zoute, the schrimps, the waffles of Moeder Siska, the sunset, a taste of childhood … .. too much emotions, ……

I am at a motel, stranded between two motorway junctions, somewhere in Shanghai, without any point of reference, I feel as in another China, … .. Non sense, the nihao, xie xie, only sometimes my smile seems to save me. I feel lost in this «  yellow » world  unable to communicate… .. When you leave the China 5 stars, you enter another reality. No more compatriots, no more french speaking TV. Even the smells are different and … breakfast has a strange taste ….

Upon arrivial, I thought by myself, I run away, I don’t want to stay here , I go back to « my » real Shanghai and its French Quarter that I really love, with its European style houses, streets lined with plane trees …. Or I head to Tchichendi, a little snob and showing off …. but so familiar

But I no longer have the energy to move, I want to go through this experience, and know how I ‘m going to react secluded, cut off the world … .and survivre in this quite creepy, noisy place with my iPad, a novel and my mobile as only communication tool with friends and family …..

I feel like in the middle of nowhere, concentrated on myself, trying to feel home in this unknown and hostile environment. First action, delimit my territory. one part room where I put my stuff, my bag, my suitcase with its treasures, clothes, books, a toilet bag. Ridiculous in fact ……

I suddenly realize that the really important cannot be stored anywhere, it’s somewhere hidden in my head, …..my memories, exchanged confidences, smiles, dreams and all these words I can not say because it is too late, or not the right moment yet , or because you cannot say such things in real life. The messages sent to friends and relatives are of utmost importance, yes I want to be connected, yes I want to exist through these messages. My phone, my life…. And from far away…these lovely words : take care, we miss you, … we love you.

And I said to myself t, in fact I ‘m like a stone thrown into the water. At first, it bounces on the surface of the water but at once it disappears with only a few ripples left on the surface. After a while, nobody even knows that something was thrown into the water.

The same for me, I could disappear from the face of earth, who will know where to look for me, nobody has the address of the hotel, …and what will happen if the phone is out of power… quite a strange feeling. At the same time, I did not even had the need to think about the meaning of my life. Before, sometimes I did so, but I understand today that it’s useless, it’s better to act, to be able to move on. Just do it ! I do not bother anymore about what will happen in my life, it will be positive, of course. So, « keep calm and carry on» .

Finally, some news from Belgium, and at least I understand what happens in China. Why couldn’t we reach Beijing? Here they never explained the reasons of the delay. My plane was due to take off at 1pm, but it has already been delayed three times, due to the intense air traffic, the staff pretends.

In fact, Beijing has been struck by the largest floods in China for 60 years, 500 aircrafts are on the ground, and already more than 10 people died.

Since this morning, I’m at Starbucks, in a confortable armchair sipping a cappuccino. In front of me the Emporio Armani store, ….what a contrast with previous night. Same city, another reality, that’s China. I’m still in a no man’s land and today it feels a bit uncomfortable, but never mind. I’m on my way, home… I miss you, all of you, CU

Shanghai Airport 22 July 2012

Dominique ANDRE

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