I only have a month left of teaching and two months left of being in China. Every day I’m in shock of how fast time is going and probably should stop writing that in every post I write. There is something bittersweet in periods of transitions, when you realize how much you appreciate the things and the people around you and how much you will miss them, and you’re also bursting with excitment for the next thing.
I’m a big believer is trying to live in the present moment but unfortunately not amazing at practicing that belief. My mind keeps racing to whether I’ll be able to get train tickets to from Guilin to Xian and what if I don’t make any friends while I’m travelling, and what if I get back to America and really miss Sichuan and a million other anxieties that come before big change. So I’m trying to keep myself focused on appreciating my daily life here before my year in Sichuan is just a rainy, spicy memory
Point of interest, I’ve always counted my months in china from the 12th of the month since I arrive here on March 12th and I’ll be leaving mid march… In case these posts have confused anyone
I spend a lot of time last month prepping for the schools Christmas party. It was nice to see my students perform but the actual thing was frustrating. It wasn’t organized the way western things are organized and I ended up standing for hours while watching everyone else eat. It was pure tragedy. Also, I brilliantly ran 6 miles before I went and forgot to bring water with me. I was dying for water and was begging the staff there for water… and they kept brining me these tiny shot glasses of hot water. I was desperate for water and I’m not entirely proud of how I eventually got one.
After that I was off to shanghai which was amazing. I think 3 days was the perfect amount of time to see things at a leisurely pace.
I like to sum up the month with the Good, the Bad, and the Weird.
I had an awesome time in Shanghai. Probably my favorite thing was the aquarium since I’m just a big nerd and the fish were pretty. I also really loved walking along Nanjing Road, I wouldn’t have expected to get all wowed over a shopping street but there was a lot of interesting things to see. I also bought another silk scarf and I think this one is really going to be the last one (its so pretty!).
So many people tried to scam me in shanghai. It made me sad, because they would come up and be really friendly and then invite me to go to a tea ceremony, which is Shanghai’s famous scam- they’ll make you pay for it and its crazy expensive. It was a little fishy though because these groups kept asking me for directions and lets be serious, no real normal Chinese citizen is going to ask a laowai (foreigner) for directions. It just seemed sad because people are often so friendly that I really do invited to go places with them, so its sad to see the scammers try to capitalize off that friendliness by tricking people.
I mentioned before I’ve had issues with my students cheating and I have lectured and threatened them endlessly over it. I finally found a threat that works. I told them if I saw them cheating then I was just going to post a picture of them online saying they are cheaters. I was acutally being quite sarcastic about the picture thing, but they were all so scared that I never amended that statement and NO ONE CHEATED. So that’s one way to do it I guess
I saw some strange animal meat being sold in the market and I was trying to figure out what it was, the guys started laughing and making barking sounds…. oh dear god I really hope it wasn’t dog. I LOVE walking around the market and finding some new delicious snack (that is not dog). The other day with a friend I was looking at the rice paper and the vendor asked her if I could eat it. That’s a fairly common question my friends get asked (not me). “Can she eat spicy” “Can she eat tofu” and my friend totally got the guy to give us some free rice paper because he wanted to see me eat it. Besides the slightly awkwardness of it, I love rice paper now
This new Australian store opened in Nanchong and for their opening cermoney they wanted a foreigner. THey asked our school if one of use would be willing to come and talk about Australia and friendship between Oz and China. Since none of us are Australian, it didn’t seem to make any sense but they somehow mananged to convince one of my co-workers to do it. When he arrived at the place they had a “translator” who didn’t speak English, and he just said some stuff about Oz being beautiful and China being awesome and got off the stage. THe place was THRILLED and took all of us out to eat to a super nice meal. I guess one white foreigner is basically the same as any other…?
I’m just going to share some other interesting links I’ve found lately that I wanted to share, other people do it on their blogs so I’m going to do it too.
This video about things Chinese people say to foreigner’s videos “You western girls are so open” is such a favorite of mine.
This article from the Atlantic about Chinese students going to college in America and the pressure to cheat on the process. Its really interesting how Chinese students going to America is one of the biggest migrations of talent that history has seen. I’m not entirely sure I agree that the American universities are responsible for changing the process, but it is still a good read about a complicated subject.
So that’s been month 10 of China. I’m going to slowly start the process of packing up and saying goodbye and start making plans for my trip. More then anything my goal is to just soak up the last bits of my life here. So I’m back to taking long walks around the city and eating way too many dumplings.