My jade bracelet has shattered.
It’s funny, the bracelet had been on my mind for weeks and I had just spent over a month trying (quite unsuccessfully) to get it back (back from where? well, that’s a more complicated story). And the very night my bracelet and I were reunited, the string that had somehow stayed completely un-frayed for almost a year snapped (is this the place where I insert an “I’m a frayed knot” joke?), and the bracelet shattered – the pale-green beads scattering across T’s floor at 4am in the morning.
I won’t lie, I really wanted to cry, but by that time, I was a little too tipsy, a little too tired to pick up the remains, and just a tad too exhausted from the seven-day workweek (and honestly, also quite exasperated that it took more than a month of pestering to return it). And yes, perhaps I’m being dramatic about the whole thing (well yeah, but in my defense it’s largely because WordPress deleted the backup of this entry that was meant to be posted three weeks ago), but a part of me feels like there’s some significance to the jade bracelet shattering that very night. Perhaps, we just weren’t meant to be reunited.
And maybe I’m growing superstitious (living in China will do that to you), but the breaking of any jade jewelry is supposed to be a good sign. Everyone’s told me that a jade bracelet is meant to protect you and the day it shatters means that the bracelet took the fall for something bad that was meant to happen instead (is that poetic? I’m not quite sure).
Up until about a month ago, I had worn it almost every day. I always thought it had to have some sort of significance, since I bought it last December from the smiling monks at Yonghegong, on my first trip to Beijing (come to think of it, I haven’t been to Beijing since). The color – green – meant to bring luck to my career, the Dzi bead – brown, not green – represented my birth year. I had held on to the bracelet since my first month in Shanghai because I thought it represented something more about my time here, my job, my future, and all the other things I’m supposed to worry about, but maybe in the end, maybe it didn’t.
I’ve changed so much since my last trip to China in 2013: I’m bolder, more fearless, unfazed by so many of the things that used to bother me. I still like things like the smell of incense in Buddhist Temples, brown rice green tea, and bright nail polish (my current shade is a deep lavender), but I’ve let go of so many of the things that held me back. I’ve let go of so many of the people that held me back. A year later, I don’t need a jade bracelet to bring me luck, I can do that on my own. Although I’ll still waft incense next time I’m in a Tibetan Temple.
So I may have lost my jade bracelet, but gained something else. A new perspective? A pair of balls? An opportunity to buy more jade jewelry? All of the above?
I’ll try not to overthink it.
My adventure with China Mobile.
At times, China can be maddening. You need your passport for the most inane things. In China, I’ve been carrying a brick (that’s really the best/only way to describe it) Motorola phone (circa 2003) with my Chinese SIM, in order to both make phone calls and to get SMS updates from my bank (but I kind of like those annoying text message that alert me every time I use my card). Last weekend, during Halloween, I dropped the phone and the battery fell out, when it hit the hard concrete. Because it’s no longer 2003 and I’m simply not used to the way the inside of the phone looks, I forgot to pick up my SIM. Getting a new one sounds like it would be easy, right?
This weekend, I stopped by China mobile to get a new one, but after 30 minutes of waiting (and not before), I was told that I needed my passport to get a new card. Now, bear in mind, a new SIM costs 10RMB, which is less then 2USD. Now, I had all of my paperwork, my phone, my phone number, et al. but without a legal document, all I could do was pout at the China Mobile clerk who just gave me a shrug of the shoulders and a “Sorry, lady”. Maddening, indeed.