Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
It's just a mistake. You start thinking about home--and before you know it, you're crying in a McDonalds as you order a Big Mac (hasn't happened to me yet--but could). Instead, you focus on life NOW, here, in China. And life here is fabulous. It's magical. It's new. It's vibrant. It's thrilling!
And then Thanksgiving comes and smacks you in the face. Everyone at home is preparing for time with family, great food and the comfort of yearly/generational traditions. And suddenly it's a little harder to remember how much I love it here. And suddenly I feel that maybe my family needs me to be home. And suddenly I miss turkey--and my family doesn't even EAT turkey on Thanksgiving--we don't like it that much, so we grill steaks instead!
So--I'm practicing the age old avoidance tactic of denial! Fawn and I are leaving tomorrow afternoon for Yangshuo, where we will spend 4 days among the stunning limestone karst peaks and rice fields along the Li River. Yangshuo is an international backpacking colony near Guilin (it's in the South of China--so it should be fairly warmish). We will live fabulous lives in China and completely forget all that we are missing at home. There are plenty of foreigners gathering in Wuhan to celebrate Thanksgiving together, but I think that since nothing can compare to real home, we might as well make use of the time off from teaching (our schools give us Tgiving and Friday off in deference to our culture).
I'll be sure to take plenty of pics to share when I return! If you want to get an idea of what we'll be seeing, type "yangshuo" into Google Image Search and feel incredibly jealous of me while you eat turkey and watch the Cowboys. I love you all! Happy Thanksgiving!
Until my next post, here are some pics from the past month or so for your enjoyment!
Just kidding--the backpack is filled with all those sweet potatoes for the mashed sweet potatoes that Fawn and I made for our last Wuhani gathering.
Me and the D's (one of my PhD classes--we spent a Saturday afternoon touring a bunch of empty buildings--it was when I got to know many of them)
Ok--these pics will need an explanation! One afternoon, Adam, Jeremy and I were invited to go to a National Day Celebration with the Governor of the Hubei Province. On the way--I was informed that I'd be receiving an award! A former teacher of our university was being honored, but since she had already left the country, I accepted the award on her behalf.
"I'd like to thank the Academy..."
From Honors to Lizards:
This darling creature was IN MY APARTMENT! I'm not even going to try to be cool about this--I freaked out. I live on the 5th floor! How did a lizard/newt/salamander get into my apartment??? I screamed when I saw it and Adam, man that he is, stomped on the thing. It was awful--his first stomp didn't do the job (man that he is)--so he had to keep stomping to put it out of its misery. Hopefully, no animal rights activists are reading right now! To be fair, I may have yelled for Adam to kill it---but seriously, a girl can't be held responsible for her shrieks when there are lizards in her apartment.
Monday, November 19, 2007
These didn't really follow the directions, but I thought they were beautiful anyway. I have a few poets in my class--it's a shame that our activities have nothing to do with creative writing. I'm supposed to prepare them to write academic/professional articles for publication in scientific/agricultural journals. But still, the poets work their way into the class, it seems. Here you go (typed in original grammar):
As we know, monkey should live in the forests, but I saw it in the street. It was a small ,brown and ferocious monkey. There was a rope tied around its neck. Many people were playing with it . They gave it a bottle of water but the bottle’s cap was shut tightly . The monkey wanted to drink, however couldn’t get. So he shouted and jumped , and the around people were laughing aloud.
Saw it. I think the monkey is lovely but pitiful. It’s only a toy of the people and a tool of making monkey. They had lost their natural personality. That says the monkeys are no longer monkeys.
A landscape painting
There was a landscape painting in my bedroom and it was a beautiful picture. Mountains, sea and sky made up into a fresh scene. The painting was full of blue and green colour. Of course, that’s the colour of life. So many sea gulls circled in the air, and it looked as if they were enjoyed liberty.
If I was the gull, good feeling would come out soon. As opened my eyes slowly and looked around, I had noticed where the light come into my room. After then listened carfully to see if there were any new sounds surroundding me. Suddently, I filled with my body and sensed the freshess in the air. Yes, it’s a bright day ,and also it’s a new beginning for my life.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
So here's what's been happening lately:
Halloween--This was a fun holiday to share with my students. I dressed up like a witch for each class and handed out candy--we watched It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and looked at pics of Halloweens past that my mom was gracious enough to email me. Sometimes you forget how charmed American life is--and then you explain that as a child you dressed up as princesses and angels (and all the other stuff) and went to every house in your neighborhood til you had a bag bulging full of candy. I think my students had fun.
Yichang Girls Retreat--Sisters from all over Hubei gathered in Yichang (5 hours from here by bus) last weekend for a few days of fellowship, conversation and Celebration. We focused on "Becoming Virtuous Women" like the one in Prov 31. I was the guest speaker Friday night and shared a lesson on "The Ideal Woman"--which I am OBVIOUSLY more than qualified to discuss! Hahaha! Seriously, there were about 50 girls in all from Enshi, Shiyan, Wuhan, Yichang, Danjankou etc...and I am amazed at the organization, creativity and patience of Beth and Amy in Yichang--who hosted the weekend. I think everyone had a really uplifting time. Many Thanks to Him for that!
Living History--As I've been getting closer to my students, I'm beginning to hear fascinating stories of their lives during the past decades. My PhD's are a treasure chest of information--one student shared his story of living for 3 years as a child in caves in the mountains--his family had been rich landowners and his grandfather fought on the wrong side of the civil war--so when the government changed, they were in danger. They hid out for 3 years and then lived in a shack for 10 years after. Another student had a grandfather who was a teacher during the CR, so when the students rose up against the authorities--he was attacked. He had a mental breakdown during that time (common for many during the CR), and he never quite recovered. He passed away a few weeks ago.
This is all very cryptic, I know....I can only share bits and pieces online. All this is just to say, read up on Chinese History of the past 60 years or so. It blows my mind--and now that I have people who are sharing with me their stories, I can't get it out of my head. I'll tell you all the rest when I come home to visit or something!
Celebrating Single Men--tomorrow China celebrates National Single Men Festival (this is how my students translated it--not sure if that's the actual title). It's every Nov. 11--so it's on 11/11, get it! It is the day when all of China's single men join together for a big meal and lots of alcohol to celebrate their bachelorhood. Why would this be a national holiday? Hmmm....maybe it's to make up for the fact that due to a certain period of history, there is an age bracket of youngish people with 50 million more men than women! (Again, these are my students numbers, Lonely Planet says 23 million) It's called the "bachelor bomb." Guess they should have thought that through before they drowned all those baby girls, huh. So I guess this is China's way of saying, "oh, we're sorry we killed off all your potential wives as babies. Have a drink, on us....not really, it's on you." I've been warned not to eat alone tomorrow night--all that alcohol and machismo could be a little taxing.
Sooo...that's everything for now. Things continue to be generally wonderful...sure, there are days when all I want is a Jersey Mike's sub sandwich and days when I wonder how Effective I'm being at my Purpose...but as a whole, this is all just a good fit for me. I love my new friends, I love the Connections that keep happening, I love seeing how BIG my Father is. I can't imagine anything better.
That said, I love and miss all of you at home like crazy. I am Lifting you Up all the time. Have a Happy Bachelor's Day!