Its been a solid 4 months. The newness has worn off a bit of being here. I’m no longer walking around the streets wide-eyed at the bustling chaos of a Chinese alleyway. I’ve found places around the city I’ve become comfortable with, I’ve found ways to cope with my limited communication skills.
I knew that I would have moments in China where I didn’t love it, moments where I got frustrated with the culture and the foreigness. I do have those moments, as well as the moments where I’m charmed and in love with China. Experiencing both those feelings is a part of being an expat, but I go back and forth between the two extremes so fast that my emotions feel like they’re being slammed back and forth like a pingpongball.
Seriously, in a single walk across the street I can have a tiny little 4ft tall woman with a teeny mop of gray hair and face full of wrinkles grab my pants pockets to “help” me get across the street ok, then some dudes will scream hello at me, but then I pass all the street strands with their delicious fresh fruits and veggies, but then I almost step in a pile of baby poo on the ground… its chaotic and a sensory overload. I experience such a range of highs and lows here that I’ve learned to enjoy the highs and to wait the lows out. Even when something annoying happens, like almost getting run over, I know in like 30 seconds something amazing will happen and I’ll have all lovey feeling towards China again. Visas should come with mood stabilizers.
I’m happily planning out August. I’ve never had a month to travel before. I’ll be in Beijing in the beginning and then heading out to see some of my much dreamt about Sichuan spots. More then anything this month I’ve been settling into a calm. I’m learning to love the slow pace my life has now. Letting go of the need to be productive is nice, I’m now learning to love long afternoons in tea shops and long bike rides around the countryside. Though to be fair, I can spend about two hours in a tea shop before I’m antsy… I’m nowhere near the Chinese who can spend 5 hours there.
I like to sum up every month with the Good, the Bad, and the Weird.
This month has been peaceful. Granted that may be what people say when they mean boring, but I feel next month will be interesting enough so I’m enjoying the slow pace. I got a blender, which doesn’t sound super exciting but now I’m blending up yoghurt, fruit, and spinach and its making me feel healthier. Lately I’ve been really into using Instagram and have been having fun with that.
I’m still struggling with my health. I’m not super sick but I never seem to be 100% healthy. I don’t overly love coughing. My teaching schedule is not ideal at the moment as I’m often gone for long parts of the day. The heat is ridiculous here right now and I’m learning to adjust that I just always seem to be damp from sweating so much.
China never seems to be lacking in weirdness for me. I saw one of my kindergarten students at the grocery store the other day. She went nuts. This tiny little 4yo girl with pigtails, loaded into the grocery cart next to sack of rice and the chicken feet, started screaming “WEBEKAH WEBEKAH” like some sort of foreigner alarm system. The WHOLE store stopped and her family looked in shock. Finally they got her out of the cart and she came running over to get a hug. I said hi to her parents while a small crowd gathered to ask her family questions about me. They don’t speak English and I don’t know what they know about me other that I teach at the school but I could tell the crowd was interested. It was just so bizarre to have this group of people asking questions about me. Except for little Nicole. She was showing off. She was bellowing “Imma Fine-A! Imma Five yearsa old! CatA! DogA! BlueA!” (To emphasive things in Chinese you add a A to the end of a word. My kindergarteners like to emphasive every single word they say) Needless to say it was a strange experience and I left the group to their discussion.
So that’s my 4 months of life in the land of dragons. 19 days until I board my 26 hour long ride train to Beijing…. I’ve seriously considered flying but I’m trying to save money/ be eco friendly and how often in life will I take a train across China? In my case I’ll be doing it again like 12 days later but it will be an adventure…. right?
Am I crazy to plan on taking 2 26 hour train rides in a month? Any good ideas of what to make with my blender?