September 04, 2008

Scattered points along the path of life

Burning ghost money
In the vicissitudes of a long life, I have noticed that the periods of sweetest enjoyment and most intense pleasures are, nevertheless, not those whose recollection most attracts and touches me. Those short moments of delirium and passion, however intense they might be, are, even with their intensity, still only scattered points along the path of life. They are too rare and too rapid to constitute a state of being: and the happiness for which my heart longs is in no way made up of fleeting instants, but rather a simple and permanent state which has nothing intense in itself but whose duration increases its charm to the point that I finally find supreme felicity in it.
From the Fifth Walk in Rousseau's The Reveries of a Solitary Walker, p 68
Dull to add at this point, but near the end of my first week on the new routine and the charm of it's only starting to sink in, albeit unaccompanied by any kind of horror at how long I did things that I didn't really want to. Not just the three hellish months of 08:30 - 21:30 this summer, but the years of having to do what my visa-holding bosses wanted me to. So, a week or two of self-indulgence before I want to kick off more seriously with a return to studying Chinese via podcasts, a friend's excellent book, and, y'know, just living in Taiwan and spending less time in classes where I'm supposed to teach / speak English.

I'd like to be able to talk more clearly with my wife about things, and although ideally that'd be in Japanese or English, it seems Chinese is the most practical option for now. My Chinese is relatively good, but there are large gaps in my advanced vocabulary and overall it's an insanely slapdash affair, with islands of extreme competence in an ocean of ignorance.

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