Published: May 11th 2012May 11th 2012
R. Draeger Jr
Never mind the white socks…
When I was a kid my parents would often say, “We’ll get going after we see the weather report.” For good reason, because we lived in many places and the weather could have gone from good to bad in a matter of seconds. This is especially true in the State ofWisconsinwhere I lived for 9 years before coming toChina. It was said that if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change. Since I am no meteorologist I cannot verify if that last statement is scientifically accurate. Much like Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam my ability to forecast the weather is much like, “Today it is hot and sticky. Tomorrow it will be also hot and sticky.” Well, in Dawukou it is slowly going from warm to hot day-by-day.
You may be wondering at this point what white socks have to do with the weather here in Dawukou. Read on, I’ll tell you. When I was in college pursing my degree in International Studies one of the major requirements was that I had to study in a foreign country. I had no problem in meeting this request because it gave me an excuse to go toGermany. Before actually going toGermanyI had to attend an orientation meeting. At this meeting we guys were advised, “Don’t wear white socks if you want to hide the fact that you’re American.” While I did question the wisdom of that proverb, nevertheless I did not bring white socks toGermany. I figure only then my lack of German would give me away.
Well, here in Dawukou, day number two (because I slept most of day one) people were looking at this foreigner. I was told to expect this, especially in light of the fact that there are five Americans in this town. White socks or not, I would stick out like a soar thumb for about 10 months. At first I did not mind being looked at, I merely continued on my way to where I was going. After a good deal of months, people started to say, “Hello” to me waiting for a response. I normally say “Hello” or “Ni Hao” back to them.
During the cold months of winter, people pretty much ignored me because they were more concerned with going to their destinations as quickly as possible. I was grateful for the break of several months, even though the weather was very, very cold. At this point in my travels here I had to wear allot of clothes in order to keep warm. So wearing white socks did not mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. This was because I was wearing two pair of socks to keep my feet warm. Although, according to my fellow teachers when I wore my blue jeans and jean jacket with hat, scarf and mittens I looked like a Midwest Farmer.
I have been able to officially put my winter coat away, Spring has arrived and it is here to stay. As I’m living in a desert region, it is rather hot during the day time. Last week I was brave enough to wear short sleeve shirts outside and I was comfortable. Although my Chinese friends told me that the people would think I was crazy for wearing short sleeve shirts in the month of April. They were right. Yesterday, April 10th
of the year 2007 I was asked three times, by random strangers, if I was cold. I merely pointed to my short sleeve shirt and said, “Bu lung” or “Not Cold” Just try to imagine the heads I turn when I wear shorts outside.
2 weeks until Xian!