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Things I Learnt in Mandarin Season

By Dakota Warren, October 22, 2019

Read time: 3 Mins

Things I Learnt in Mandarin Season Image

I don’t think in days, or months, or years. I think in seasons.

Not weather seasons, like you normally would – things didn’t happen last Summer. They happened in Mango Season. I guess I could attribute my alternative timeframes to dedicating majority of my late teens to the art of monotonously stacking fruits and vegetables at a supermarket.

When fruit and vegetables are the only thing on your mind, for 9 hours of your day, 5 days a week, they tend to blend with every other thought tangent crammed in your brain. Like time. A big fruity existential smoothie. I’m lucky I haven’t gone insane. Or rather, I am already on the slow descent to inevitable insanity. Perhaps I was simply born insane.

Mandarin season began in April, and is now facing its demise, in mid October. So when I am recalling an event in that timeframe, it did not happen in wintertime, or July, or even last week. It happened in Mandarin Season.

This Mandarin Season, I have been born again. I learnt the distinct difference between alone and lonely. I learnt what (and who) drives me insane, and I learnt how to bring myself back from the brink of insanity. I learnt to write in cursive. I learnt how to cry silently in the work bathrooms. I learnt that I feel most at home and safe when immersed in nature.

I learnt that I am small, and mortal, and so incredibly defenceless in the grand scheme of things. I learnt to embrace the impermanence of life. I learnt to relish in the fleeting moments that fly past our eyes so quickly you might mistake them for a dream. Or a dragonfly.

I learnt to be grateful. Really grateful, not just saying thanks because you’re meant to, because you’re meant to be polite. I learnt to look at the clouds and draw pictures of them. I learnt to let go of all preconceived notions of where I thought I would be. I learnt what the word preconceived meant. I learnt that that feeling was not love, and it was not lust. That feeling was called lost. I learnt that I was lost. Or rather, reminded.

I learnt that memories cannot be made while resting my eyes with my head on a pillow. I learnt how sheltered and small I have really lived my life, when it once felt so exponential. I learnt how infinite the world really is. I learnt people like me because I am strange. Different. ‘Myself’. I learnt that people think it’s strange and different if you are just ‘yourself’. I also learnt how easy it is to convince others that you’re really just ‘yourself’, and not a version of ‘yourself’ you curated specifically for them.

I learnt to lay in the sun, and I learnt to ride a bike, in the sun. I also learnt how to ride a bike in the rain. And how to ride a bike in eight different countries, with infinite different road rules. I learnt how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank-you’ in eight different languages. I learnt how to successfully navigate airports and planes while blackout drunk (or recovering from being blackout drunk). I learnt to stand still, and stop running. Just for a moment, though. And I didn’t learn what, or who, or where I am running from. Maybe I will learn in Peach Season. 

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