China Philosophy

In Urumqi

What can I write about my experiences in Urumqi? Her family received me well. There is a lot going on. The family is going through a 7-day period of mourning (embedded in longer periods as well) according to the Uyghur/Muslim custom, and every day there are ceremonies and events taking place. I’ve only been able to watch as a dumb observer, and only on a couple of occasions.

Her brother graciously put me up in a hotel owned by the company he works for. I spend most of my time here, alone, waiting to be summoned by the family, silently supporting my Tchou Tchou from a closer distance than Beijing. Twice, now, she’s been able to take a break from the family obligations to come see me.

She really struggles with the endless procession of visitors, the formalities and ceremonies the custom requires. It is not her way to be so formal and extroverted all the time. The three weeks in the hospital were tiring, demanding 24-hour care of her mother, taken in shifts by her and members of her family. Now she just wants to rest and be quiet together as a family. But this is not possible. So I provide the rest, quiet, and emotional support that she so desperately needs. That is why I’m here.

3 replies on “In Urumqi”


you have my deepest sympathies – my Pilar’s mother died during the year too. It is a tough time and will take a long time for her to get over.

Some things are universal, aren’t they?


It’s sometimes so unfair, isn’t it? Not just that life comes and goes whether we like it or not, but that some of our customs don’t allow us to grieve the way we need to. I know this must be so difficult for you, my sympathies are with you.

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