Tuesday, February 2, 2010



I watched “Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events” two days ago, and as always was impacted by the use of the word “Sanctuary”. In his most wonderful way, Snicket takes it upon himself to define words for his viewer/reader and defined sanctuary for the context as “a place of refuge in an otherwise cruel world” (pedro’s abridged quote...). This interpretation is always impacting to me because my other paradigm of sanctuary is usually from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and using the cathedral as a shield. Two very different mental images to me. However, rather than arguing the distinction I just want to say that I am sitting in a a semi-chic café in Zhengzhou, having just finished a decent cup of coffee ~ while staring out the window at a brightly and constantly colour-changing hotel.

This little café is becoming a bit of a sanctuary to me. They are the only place I know of (granted the language barrier has made exploration very difficult) that has a decent cup of coffee, that isn’t way too expensive. So I sit in this modern-esque ambiance having just enjoyed a nice thick cup of coffee to help me digest my tuesday and being very glad of this sanctuary. It is comfortable, and helps me feel like I have my own “hiding place.” Not a place to cower in fear from the lion whose face I just slapped, but a place where I can rest from my own ambitions.

I am fortunate.

Not everyone has this type of place, and I feel sorry for them. I think a sanctuary can be found in almost any environment ~ sometimes it must be shown, as this place was to me. However, it is important to have a place where you can feel like you do not have to be on edge. It is not that China makes me uncomfortable or that anything is really wrong with where I am or what I am doing.

The point is that I have taken a lofty goal upon myself. In no way do I regret my goal, but it is my goal and it has a great deal of importance and validity to me. It is heavy. It is my burden and I have nothing but the most fierce determination to go after my goal, but being fierce all the time is very tiring.

“Sanctuary” is very important to me right now, because a sanctuary has come to mean a place where the weight of my goals does not count. This place, or any sanctuary for that matter, is a place where you can relax without feeling like you are slacking. It is a place where you recognize the importance of rest in its turn.

That is important, and it has not been easy to find. So here I am, relaxing in this chair, and doing a little work - both on my language and on my new profession while still finding some rest for my ambitious soul.

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