Sabbatical

9 09 2009

So I have a blog – at least in the sense that there’s a wordpress page to which I know the log-in and I could, at least theoretically, write here.  I don’t much (stating the obvious again).  I can never quite work out what I’d write, or who I’m writing for.  But I told St Johns when I applied for a study-leave scholarship that I would blog in ordshangrilaer to share my experience.  So here I am in Week 3 of 8 and the pressure to actually write something is building.  Here goes…

A summary to date: 5 or so weeks ago – acute appendicits, wee op and sabbatical plans up in the air.  Three weeks ago: take my week’s annual leace as planned and go to Beijing to stay with the lovely Lisa, doing a Red Gate residency.  An amazing week of seeing some sights, spending lots of time talking to artists and practicing proactive self-care as at only two weeks post-surgery I wasn’t my most robust or dynamic!

Being in Beijing, in the heat and still a bit impacted by the general anaesthetic/surgery experience meant letting go of a lot of my tourist agenda – no Great Wall for me, no late night whooping it up.  Letting go of my expectations and the pressure to be a “good tourist” proved a good sabbatical discipline.  Instead of striving, working, the week became a practice of receiving the many experiences that were there for me and receiving the generous hospitality and care of my friend and the community of artists in which she’d made a temporary home. 

rooftop summer palaceTainanmen PS  my apologies about the pictures: where I was staying, a rooftop at the Summer Palace and Tainanmen.  I’ve spent ages trying to position them properly and if I don’t admit defeat and press publish then there will have been no blogging progress!!

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