Published: October 14th 2011October 14th 2011
I have been struggling to write my next blog. I'm nearing my three month mark here and there has been alot that has happened. I still love it but difficulties and unexpected smiles are still popping up. I am beginning to develop a routine and slowly losing my connections with how i felt at the beginning of this trip. I think thats just part of traveling. It's a differrent life you begin to live.
As soon as you step off the plane into a new country you can't help but be starry eyed. The novelty and excitment of adventure takes you over and even the worst situations dont seem so bad. You forget that you are far away from home and you ride the euphoria of adventure. This is definatly unrealistic when living in a foriegn country for a long period of time. There are just some things that begin to smack you in the face and humble you. You are completely a stranger in a strange land.
Lets start with relationships. In china, the number one most important thing is family. The individual is not the most important unit. A close second to family is your significant other. I have begun to try and date girls here and, to be honest, every girl is more beautiful then the next. The only problem is, within one date, things are serious. On two occasions i went out on casual dinner dates with girls, unknowing that they had already made plans for me to meet there parents as there boyfriend. I was having dinner with a girl named vicky, when half way threw she put a phone to my face and told me to say hello. I used the little mandarin i knew and listened to a lady and man yammer on. They would pause and i would say 'dooay' which is the equivilant to ''ok'' or ''correct''. I had no idea what the hell was going on till vicky explained that i had agreed to a family dinner at a park the following weekend. I had just met vickey that night. She then began to tell me that it was good that i was going to stay in changchun because we could live together. Screw that shit. I am in no way looking to get locked down this soon. I've already burned some bridges with these girls but I'm sure there is a good one out there who does not want to settle down...and that speaks perfect english.
Getting sick. You realize your in another country when you are viciously ill. There is a National holiday here, aptly named "National day'' where you get 5 days off to do what ever the hell your heart desires. I made a plan to get on a bus and go to a small village a couple hours outside of Chang chun called Yi tong. I chose this destination due to the fact that it aperantly has the best kebabs in china. How could i pass something like that up? The night before I went to a hot pot restuarant with a couple friends. I had been feeling off since about noon that day but had thought nothing of it. As a sat down infront of a boiling pot of water which you stick raw meet into to cook, i started feeling strange. Sweat started to roll down my face. I pushed through and ate way to much strange things. By the end of the night i felt as if i was getting a bit drunk though i hadn't had anything to drink. I told my friend i was going home and as i walked up the hellish stairs to my appartment i began to shake. Whatever it was, it made me loose everything my body had in it, and when there was nothing left, it kept trying to get it out. I thought it must of been the hot pot and that i just needed to get it all out. I began to shake like it was the middle of winter while i sweated more then i thought i could. I layed down and my body temp went up. Looking back i definatly should have called someone, but i had no idea how gnarley it would get. That night was a blur of fever dreams. At one point i thought my apartment was full of spiders, and at another all i could see was shapes, like squares and rectangles. Fever dreams are a hell of a trip. I remember it getting light out and i heard a knock at the door. My chinese friends had come to take me to Yi tong and i was in my boxers standing at the door. With the language gap it is really hard to explain yourself expecially when you are hallucinating from a vicious illness. I told them i was sick but they assumed i was drunk. I put on clothes and was quickly shoved on a rural bus rocking into the countryside.
My senses started coming back to me on the bus. I turned to my friend and explained through gestures that i needed to go home (and quickly cause i was about to shit myself infront of 40 chinese people). He told me '' No stop. Yi tong'' That sucked. Me and quivering anus somehow made it to yi tong. I booked a hotel and layed in bed moaning.
I ended up still going out that night and eating some kababs between my bouts of sickness. It was as good as they said. And with my friends help i downed half a bottle of bijou (a local alchohol that can peel paint of walls and cost less then a dollar for a 2/6 ) and went out for kereoke. The next day i payed for it ten fold. I woke up with the ability only to feel pain. Life sucked the big one. I got on the first bus a could and hobbled back to chang chun. The next 4 days i stayed in bed.During those four days i thought alot about how at home, when you are sick, you surround yourself with comfort. Getting the things to make you feel better are easily accessible. Not so in china. Chinese medicine is abundant but asprin is a bitch to find as all medicene is in chinese. I have to go on a 15 min walk to get any supplies i need and in my condition that was not easy. Your desire to comunicate with people gets thrown out the window, and you just want what you want without trying to mime out your symptoms. At the end of the day I survived but it really made me realize that i was a long way from home.
Enough complaining. Some good stuff. It was Canadian thanksgiving here in china and a local restuarant put on a dinner for any lost canadians without a family, to gather and give thanks over a proper meal. As most things that state ''authentic foriegn food'' i was doubtful that this meal would be good but me, my buddy jesse and his parents who were visting from ontario, headed down to check it out. It was bloody excellent. Everything from a full turkey to pumkin pie. I ate more yams a mashed potatoes then i have ever in my life. I've tried to stay away from western food out here. I like the chinese food, with it jellyfish and cow ears, but that was to much like a good home cooked meal to pass up.
Work has been going well. Teaching can be hard and draining but its also challenging and exciting. Some kids are little bastards who make me want to encourage china's limitations on child birth, while others are some of the best kids I've ever met. Each day some kid will surprise, and each day some kid might bring ya down. Its worth it.
There are lots of other things that have been going but i think thats enough for now. I'll try and write something soon. Halloween is on its way and im so stoked.