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Published: August 6th 2007
A room with view
On Tuesday, they decided to build a room on the roof across from my apartment. Who knows why? But I was lucky to have a bunch of workers staring into my room for a week :)
Life in between the trips and parties and parades is what my time in china is all about. The inbetween is my frustration, satisfaction, education and what consumes me. Frustration
The staring....we all know I'm not Angelina Jolie....I mean I'm close in looks, but not in achievements. I have no adopted children, no People's sexiest man 2004 boyfriend, and after June 2007 no future prospect for a job. But regardless, I am stared at too no end. I have taken to wearing sunglasses in buildings! Which has led to a few almost falls. How do the stars see those sneaky little one or two steps that position themselves inconspicuously in front of you. There was almost a nasty incident today at the train station when I missed a step....but luckily, I have grace to catch myself. All too often I will be walking down the street and two others will be across the way. One person will see and the quickly tell the other, "hey look....its the alien" or whatever they may say.....I just want to scream, "I'm not that interesting!" Satisfaction
I am living in China. Saying that is satisfying in the sense that I have learned more in
My morning routine
How I love to take a shower in china. There is hot water pressure from 6:35am to 7:45am and then after 5pm in the evening....That doesn't work with my schedule
this one year about this country and its culture than any other place I have been. I sometimes walk down the street and see 3 or 4 generations of Chinese and think, they have each had such a different life. In the past 100 years, China has seen every aspect of change (the good, the profitable, the bad, the deadly and ugly) China has such a long history, but it's most recent history had been complex and compelling. From emperor to revolutionary to occupation to communism to famine and persecution to becoming the fasting growing economy in the world. I read somewhere that at one point China's economy was growing at 30%. As I walk down the street and see these generation its as if I see people who have lived in 3 or 4 different Chinas. To say that "it was different when I was young" here means that you have food on the table and your parents weren't killed because they were framed as capitalists or that you can go to school because there are schools, where as when i was young there were no teachers left (after they were all tortured during the cultural revolution) to teach.
Ahh! makes you want to get a hamock and crack open a beer
Root beer that is....and just watch the sunset fall over the construction site
The knowledge is what is satisfying.
A few other satisfying moments....getting a class of 50 students who speak little english to understand and enjoy a game of jeopardy....understanding someone when they speak chinese....finding your way home.....finding a good meal.....75cent DVD's....an afternoon at starbucks education
I have learned much about china, but also much about myself. What I like. (sweet steamed bread) what I don't like. (rice, but i'm getting better at it) I have learned what I need. (starbucks, good books, laughter) I learned to be stronger. (mostly mentally, physical activity is kept to a minimum) I have learned what makes me happy. (my 5th graders, camping trips, watching endless episodes of nip/tuck with mary) I have learned that keeping and making friendships work is hard. (both home and abroad) I have learned which of my friends would travel the entire world over to see me and I have learned that 15+ of friendship does not mean a remembered birthday or a even monthly email. Be in China makes me wonder more about what I have learned about myself and about those i love. Do I expect too much from my friends and my family. Do I
In china this is fat! If you can't tell either, you know how i feel.
expect them to miss me more than I miss them. I am the one that left. Is it because I am so far away that at times I feel, at times, forgotten or is it just because our friendship has faded as friendships tend to do. But then I think back to friends in my life who have moved away, geographically. I have never been the best at keeping in touch and am the first to "forget a birthday". I am always the first to say, "keep in touch" and the last to respond the email. So in a way I learned what it means to be a friend.....now I have to just become better at actually being one. what consumes me
In my first year of teaching in chicago, many people would ask me "how's it going?" and my best response was....it is consuming. I thought about teaching at the gym, driving, brushing my teeth, eating, showering....it was all I could do. It consumed me. Being consumed can be suffocating, But here, the teaching is not consuming......in fact, for the first time, I don't feel consumed. Even with the smog, I breathe easier. Living in china has been
The Peace sign is taught early and often
relatively simple. I can always turn to another teacher for help with planning my next holiday, there are plenty of good restaurants and there is always rice, there is always some to make a trip to hong kong or to linger at starbucks, there is always someone who knows the way, there is never a void of a good book, and there is always laughter. I was worrying about finding a job and making a new life for myself in Cleveland and mary said the best thing....."If you are where you are supposed to be, than everything will fall into place" That is good advice.
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