“How ya doin’, babe?”

*Side glare*

“You’ve got this! We’re nearly there!”

*A more intense side glare*

“Seriously! Just a bit farther to the subway station!”

If I could have, I’d have snapped.

I’m well aware the station’s out there somewhere and that home is just a bit farther from there. But do you think I give a genuine flying fuck about that faraway place? I can’t see it, so it doesn’t matter!

That’s what I would have said, had I been able to catch my breath. But as a completely inept and unfit jogger, it was all I could do to keep my feet moving.

I know, dear readers. First I join a gym, and now I’m jogging? What gives, former Beer Girl?

Trust me, I have my reasons.

Let’s start with a to-do list so stupidly long, it’s all I can do to stay afloat. My life revolves around the school year, and with the end of the semester comes the end of my sanity. Administering final exams is only slightly less torturous than taking them. Near-daily yoga and regular fitness has helped me feel a little more calm.

There’s also that upcoming trip back home, lying in wait, all booked and beautiful for early August. And while I wish I could say seeing my friends and family for the first time in a year isn’t at all affecting my desire to look lean and bright, I can’t. I’m human. Folks already think I’m batty for staying in China this long. At least I can look all slim and fit while I explain why I’ve (yet again) re-signed my lease in Asia.

It’s that trip that’s got me wheezing along Beijing’s crowded streets at night. Why I’m filling my days, guzzling coffee and drowning in Excel sheets.

I’m too damn excited.

Living abroad has gotten easier, of course. I feel comfortable here, like I know what I’m doing … sometimes. But there are still days — even weeks — of intense sadness. I miss my people and know they miss me. And while I love knowing I have a trip home approaching, it’s almost torture to think too much about it.

As I run, drenched in sweat and gasping for air, I refuse to think about that far-off end point. If I can’t see it, I don’t want to think about it. It’s too far away. All I’m thinking about is that next light post or street corner.

And while I’m practically pissing myself at the thought of going home for a month, I can’t think about that. It makes the day-to-day too hard. So it’s regular fitness and stupidly long days for me until I’m at the airport — Manfriend in tow — about to board my flight home.

Read more Sieh: Stalk her:

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