Shedding Shanghai

I tell you; it’s a weird psychological process to begin to think about going back to my home country after 3 years abroad.

If Helene and I had decided we wanted to stay in Shanghai, I’m sure we’d be fine with it right now; but since we know for sure there’s little time left for us before a homecoming, it seems that we’re emotionally disengaging ourselves from our current city of residence.

Now, here’s something puzzling; I wouldn’t mention it if, in an MSN conversation with Helene today (she’s “busy” resting in Thailand while I toil away here), she didn’t observe exactly the same effect on herself.

Since I’ve started thinking of a life in Montreal again, I’ve begun to re-acquire a taste for philosophical debates, discussions, and other intellectual pursuits. Now, it probably sounds crass, but hear me out; it’s not that I didn’t feel this way in Shanghai, or that Montreal is a capital of intellectualism… (Really not, as a matter of fact.) But it seems like the ‘expat life’ somehow pushes you in a mood that is much more contemplative and adaptive. Living in a country which you are struggling to understand, it seems you become a master of relativism, and you acquire a certain Zen about the weirdness of daily life.

But now that I’m thinking of friends back in Montreal, I feel something awakening in me that was pushed aside for a while. I want to read more books, to talk about them, to write scenarios for comicbooks, to write short stories, to watch obscure movies and discuss them. I used to do that a hell of a lot more before my own life became a movie. Maybe it’s good, or maybe it means I’m going back to a spectator’s life. Who knows for now?

And so, mentally, I’m shedding Shanghai, it seems. I just know I’m gonna go back to Montreal and start gaining a deep appreciation for my time here. I even know I’m gonna miss it all so terribly. I know all this… And yet I need to go back home if only for a while.

There’s a French expression that goes, Partir pour mieux revenir. Going away to better come back. I think in my case, it will be Revenir pour mieux partir.

About Daniel Roy

Daniel is a writer, backpack foodie, slow traveler, and endurance runner. He is the author of the upcoming book, "The Way of Slow Travel: A Hands-On Guide to the Best Travel of Your Life."


  1. *
    to write scenarii for comicbooks*

    Maybe you should team-up with “Eagle” 😉

    • ^^^^
      Ce message contient des insides au site web Le Webzine!. Si vous ne l’avez jamais visité, ça explique probablement que vous trouvez cet article plate. Mais pas nécessairement.

  2. Stop torturing yourself already. Think about all the fresh air you’ll be able to breathe, and all the Santos you’ll now be able to enjoy. Or maybe not, it seems…

    Either way, life is still good on this side of our little earth. And don’t forget that no matter how much you look for it in Shanghaï, you’ll never find our now-famous Pork Chop All-Dressed from Van Roy’s.


  3. Finally, the Philo HAS COME BACK TO MONTRÉAL!!!

  4. Thanks for your support, guys. 🙂 And you’re right, Spiker… There’s NOTHING in China that is quite like the Van Roy’s deep-fried salt and pepper pork chops (all dressed). I did try, and I did find the ‘original’ dish, but it’s just not as juicy and so goddamn unhealthy as the delicious pork chops of Van Roy… Can’t wait to go back!

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