“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul… whenever it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can”
Honestly this past month has been less then amazing. I had been in Nanchong for the past 6 weeks and I’m not sure I’ve ever stayed here for more then a month without taking some kind of break. I just escaped to Chengdu for the weekend to chill out a bit though- so that helps. The holidays are coming up and its depressing to think about not being home to screw up making the fudge or to be with my family. There have been some annoying stressors at work and I did something weird to my hip while running so I had to take a week off running and that usually makes me go a bit nuts anyways. Also its starting to cool off here and I forgot that not having heating means my office gets so cold.
I could probably think of more things to whine about, but I suppose that since I actually have no real problems, I should probably stop
I like to sum up each month with the Good, the Bad, and the Weird
I got a new Chinese tutor – She’s taught a lot of foreigners and is pretty good at having me speak as much Chinese as possible. In the past its been rough because people always just want to chit-chat so I think having someone keep things in Mandarin will be really good. She’s also helped explain the basic Sichuanese things I hear. Sichuan, like most provinces, has its own dialect. Kids are taught mandarin in school but the people in shops or the farmers mostly just speak sichuanese and that can complicate communicating sometimes.
I said before I didn’t have any time off coming up, but our boss was going to give us Christmas Day off and we begged our way into getting a second day off so that we can have a 4 day weekend- I scored some really cheap tickets to Shanghai and I’ve heard rumors of a big European Christmas market there. I’m so excited for that. I has said before I didn’t care about going to Shanghai but now all I want to do is find a bar on the top of some skyscraper and drink a fancy cocktail while looking down at one of the largest cities in the world. It just seems sort of exciting.
I already sort of ranted a bit about whats not been going well here. The western holidays coming up have been stressful since besides the fact I’ll be apart from my family for thanksgiving and Christmas, my school is determined to “celebrate” these holidays in the weirdest ways possible. They’ve already done a big Halloween thing which included them attempting to carve really tiny pumpkins even though I warned them tiny pumkins are very hard to carve. None of the kids were strong enough and some adults just managed to poke holes in it.
I’m not opposed to them celebrating the holidays, my issue is that they’re not including the foreign teachers in planning the events, the Chinese staff are doing it based off some tv shows. It just feels strange for them to plan an “American Thanksgiving” without even asking the resident American about it. Plus I love holidays and love planning things for it so it mostly just kills me that no one wants to hear my ideas because I have SO many.
There have been a lot of other annoying little things that have just made me feel a bit stressed and frustrated with work at the moment, but then again its still easier then working in mental health so there is that.
One of my new favorite snacks lately are duck hearts. This lady sells them near my apartment and they’re a strangely satisfying chewy snack. I haven’t really come to terms with it yet. I didn’t know they were duck hearts at first and now there’s no going back I guess.
I have been trying to teach my kindergarteners to close the door when they come back into the room. One little boy came back it and I pointed at the door to remind him. He looked confused to I pointed again. He ran out of the room and started crying in the hallway because he thought I had kicked him out. He’s totally scared of me now. I’ve also constantly harped on all my classes for being too loud, but I had this epiphany while riding on a bus full of yelling people that everyone seems to talk really loud…. so I think I’ve been yelling at my students just for being Chinese. I feel slightly guilty
Its also been brought to my attention that I say thank you too often. I say it somewhat frequently I guess, mostly to people I buy food from- just a quick Xie Xie as I get my steamed buns or spicy tofu on the go, or when someone brings my a bowl of dumplings. I’ve always noticed people smile at me when I say this but I thought they just thought my American accent was cute- but a friend told me they only say it when someone does something really helpful and not just casually. I was pretty amused to be told I say it too much. I probably won’t stop though, I’d feel like such a jerk.
So Month 8 hasn’t been my finest, but I just got back from a weekend in Chengdu where I fled to take a break from Nanchong and I drank so much good coffee there that I gave myself a twitch in my eye. Chengdu is always a fun time and I explored a new park, ate some delicious food, wandered a muslim neighborhood,, and generally enjoyed myself.
So how was you past month? Any ideas for Shanghai?