LIFE!!! It pisses me off...

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March 22nd 2010
Published: March 22nd 2010
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Today SUCKED. I am a very angry girl.

We're supposed to begin practicing our teaching this week at local places in Cambodia. I'm with a group full of orphans on the opposite side of town. I wasn't supposed to teach today, but in the end, the teacher called me up anyway and made me say a few words about myself. Problem is, I had nothing prepared so I stood there silently like an idiot for FIFTEEN MINUTES. Nobody seemed to get the clue that I didn't really need to be standing up there misunderstanding the kids' heavily accented questions.

It doesn't qualify as embarassing. It qualifies as, I don't ever want to be in this position again. I don't want to stand in front of a class, I don't want to misunderstand Khmer accents, and I sure as heck don't want to shout over the din of traffic. Even if I shout, you can't hear my voice 20 feet away under even the most silent conditions. I'm incapable of projecting my voice. The classroom is outdoors, under a corrugated metal roof, with other kids running around shouting. Cars come and go down the dusty dirt road. What the heck were they thinking making me teach in this place?

Well, it puts me in a dilemma. I don't want to go back there tomorrow, and I don't have the money to pack up and go home. What am I supposed to do?

It gets worse. I finally got my teaching location in China. Get ready for it...I'm going to JINING.

Yeah, JINING. I bet you've never heard of it. That's because it's an industrial podunk of 200 000 poor souls with karaoke bars being the sole source of culture or entertainment. I can't sing. I hate beer. I'm not big on being poked and prodded by 200 000 Chinese citizens who have never seen a Westerner either. I'm not happy about health issues resultant of living in a coal-powered, coal-mining industrial village. I'm also not happy about the health issues that Virtual Tourist assures me will arise: Don't eat any of the food in Jining. Don't drink the water. The primary exports of Jining include tetanus, ptomaine, botulism, dysentery, malaria, salmonella, black plague, nausea and vomiting. Gross.

It's a new school. Brand new, as in, it wasn't there last time I checked the company's website. New, untested, unsafe. I did not spend $329 on a Chinese visa so that I could go to Jining.

I refuse to go to Jining. I absolutely, unequivocally REFUSE.

So I ask the reader: what am I supposed to do? I'm supposed to start teaching in 24 hours, and I literally cannot do this. Even if that were not a problem, I'm not setting foot in Jining. Ever. I don't have the money to go back home. I don't have anywhere to go in Phnom Penh.

I TOLD YOU all I do is make bad choices.

Should I just go lie down in the Killing Fields and wait for the inevitable, or what???


22nd March 2010

Not only have I heard of Jining, I've been there!!! And while I was there I drank too much baizhou and got sick. But I'm sure all of that alcohol killed all the germs, but it about killed me. So take heart that many of the Jining'ers have seen a westerner and it was me puking. As to Jining itself, it is an industrial town, so it is pretty gritty. It is at the scale of Dayton roughly. I will tell you that everyone I met was very nice to me. And we found a few decent places to eat (don't ask me where). When I was there at the end of last summer, there was a massive streetscaping program going on all over town - replacing curbs, new sidewalks, trees and pavement. As we drove about there were some nicer areas. But not a lot of english on the street. Just so you know, I've been to worse places in China. With worse Karoake and worse beer.
23rd March 2010

Thanks. That's good to know...although your comment actually makes me want to go there even LESS.
23rd March 2010

Leeza, Jining is the face of much of China. There are a lot of Jinings out there that are part of the industrial make-up of the country. But, I've never failed to find something interesting in places I have traveled to. Jining has something, it's just up to you to go find it. Plus, I'm told that there are some interesting smaller villages around Jining which might be fun to visit. As to how things have been going for you lately, just remember, any bad experience can always be turned into a good story. I have lots of good stories.............. Good luck! And keep up the honest story-telling. It's cathartic, and all of the rest of us get to live our lives vicariously through your experiences.
23rd March 2010

Thank you for appreciating it when I go on a rant. The last time I tried that was in Dubai. I mentioned the somewhat disorderly process in the admissions office and discussed the gail storm that my plane flew out of in London. I wasn't even complaining; I just thought it made interesting reading. But the study abroad coordinator told me it was far too negative and that I should only be positive in my blogs. Classmates were not appreciative either of my honesty, either. I wound up lying about virtually everything that happened to me there because I was pressured to write nothing but syrupy goodness. As it is, one of my classmates here keeps giving me condescending lectures about "looking at the glass half full" since I complained about my assignment. Easy for him--he's going to Jinan. Maybe I'll go to Jining, but to me a half-full glass is knowing that I have the option to do other things.

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