File this under: re-connection, self-care, and falling in love.
I keep falling in love, even though my eyes are tired and I’ve given up collecting superlatives. Sorry I’ve been gone, but as of April 10th I haven’t slept in the same bed for more than four nights. This has only been made tolerable by:
How comfortable many (but certainly not all) of these beds have been, and
Letting myself be with people I have already loved many days out of this past month of travel.
You could consider this a confession. While running errands around Asia, and also just taking a week to be with a man who has been Too Patient, I ended up on the road for three weeks. I spent so much of this year in relative isolation from anything known, and don’t like the word ‘indulged’ to describe how many old friends I cavorted with. Is the Watson about new connections or restrospection if we’re all asked to return to US? Consider this a seven-eighths Watson report before I dive deep into telling you why I was where I was in upcoming posts, as well as where I will be.
April 10th: I twiddle my thumbs in the Hainan Nature Conservancy office, waiting to catch a train, then a plane, to Beijing. I presented at the TNC National Office in Beijing, putting the work we did in Sanya in context for staff working in other fields. I explained a variety of artificial reefs they might find relevant in their work, and the assessment framework I like to use. I also got to see my childhood friend Julia (how strange to know someone for two decades!) and her whip-smart crew, and they gave me the eating tour of Beijing. Peking Duck was my farewell to meat, and to China, and it was glorious.
I booked my flight to Spain in…was it December? to nab a flight that somehow only cast $420 to ship me halfway around the world. It left from Tokyo, which at the time I thought would be ideal. In some ways it was, as it gave me time in Japan to tie up loose ends from my earlier months there, finish edits on my manuscript for Resilience, and play around with some new ideas. I got to nibble on early morning fish in Tsukiji with lovely friends Joe and Dieter, both on a long layover, and refresh my Japanese.
Better yet, it gave my boyfriend an excuse to explore Japan with me before I left Asia. Short version: it was excellent, and I was exposed to things that made me think about artificial reefs in a very different way by happy accident. All the same, I needed someone to force me to slow down and live at a normal pace. I’m running low on the self-enforced cognizance it takes to make that sort of space for myself. We both needed a break from it, and it’s taken me a Watson to realize you need other people to create space for kindness.
Now I write from Barcelona, where I wait for another, cheaper, flight to the Canary Islands. I’m there for a little over a month, writing about islands transformed into entire art sites, catching up the blog, setting up projects, and trying to assess the impact of the Museo Atlantico on this tiny island. Then a little time with family, and a long flight back to where I started. Fifty-eight days. That’s enough.
p.s. A logistic note: to keep the blog narrative vaguely sensical, I’ll be working my way forward in terms of describing events. This will take us all the way back to mid-March, when The Nature Conservancy began its coral nursery installation.