Monday, March 23, 2009

I saw a tipped over truck today.

Hello. By the by, I'm in Suining, Sichuan and have been since February and will be for another year.

Just finished eating lunch, a delicious, salty soup made out of dried mushrooms, noodles, seaweed covered in MSG and other vegetables. I made it myself, and perhaps I made it too salty...but yesterday and the day before I ended up making my food too sweet. All these added sweet and salt is in defiance of the Spice, which, every day, is being forced onto me by this city, Provence and its people. Enough with the salty and sweet though, I need to give the bare facts of today:

Woke up at 7 AM and rinsed my hair (so as to not look like a crazy person with my bed-hair sticking out every which way, but then again, that would just make me fit in).

Then got dressed, and then ate breakfast at my usual morning restaurant, and I ate my usual morning breakfast - porriage with fruit and vegetales and one lump of steamed bread. Quite tasty and quite the perfect breakfast if I do say so myself.

And then I got on the school bus to go to school. I could tell today was going to be a nice day because I could actually see part of the blue in the sky. Blue! It was actually there, not gray fog dust, but a tint of blue. It's 1 pm, and unfortunately that blue is gone now.

Yeah - so now today sucks. I just received some depressing news...not death, illness or major disaster depressing, but my-life-feelings-friends-fucked-up depressing. That's some context, but this is life and these are the things we get upset about. We get most upset about deceit and lies and things like that. Today, while riding the bus home, I saw a truck tipped over on the side of the road. I looked, just like everyone else, but then we passed the scene, and I resumed my text messages. I did not care...why should I? But now something seemingly minor has happened, and I am upset. Such is life. And I should probably just forget it.

On hungover days, I always tell myself, "Wow, just think about how lucky you are when you are in good health. If only your stomach felt like that." Well today I feel good, and I should be grateful. I am not hungover, with the flu. Nor do I have strange lesions my body. I should be grateful. But to whom? No one, just enjoy things.

Right now I should go print off about 60 more maps of America. That will cost me like 15 Yuan. Thank God for my new printer. It's just not hooked up yet.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

If I hear "just so-so" again I think I could scream!

The past 2 days have been horribly stressful, and as more and more people get my phone number, stress will only be added and multiplied. I should stop giving it out, perhaps.

It's the girls. They're on my back, wanting to carry my shit, see me to the toilet, buy me things, carry my vegetables, and walk really really terribly slow. The list goes on ad naseaum, and I am but forced to see these girls, these 20-something children, every day because they are the ones who most want to hang out with me and improve their English. Now, there are a few girls I like. The girls I like do not insist on holding my hand or on telling me to be careful when I walk down a flight of stairs. They're usual more relaxed, and chill, relaxed Chinese who aren't impressed by me.

Oh, if only I weren't so impressive. Me. With my bulky figure, fast-paced walk with my swinging arms, my big sunglasses and cleavage showing. I bring stares and smiles and smirks and Hello's from any corner of the supermarket. I attract crowds of old people, all of whom think I am Russian (modern China's closest, big-time companion, the golden age of Communism before the 1950's). No, I'm not fucking Russian. Oh, just stop already.

Anyway, but what else can I do? I like being alone. My disposition won't change, and I will never find these people endearing. I will never take joy in walking slow and holding hands and exchanging words such as, "I hope we are friends forever!" I might say such things, but I will never ever think them.

Today I fantasized about a Western girl coming to live here in Suining. Oh we would be best friends! I would cling to her like the Chinese cling to me - but only for a few minutes. We would laugh and curse the Chinese and their ways as we walk down the street, and then we would drink beer out of the bottles.

The the boys! The Chinese boys! ZERO HOT ONES. Well 2. But honestly, their hair is a bit different from what I am used to. It's either spiked up, or just sticking out every-which-way in the most undesirable fashion. The black hair looks very thinning and like it has dead ends, and you just want them to trim it short. And then, sometimes, they have this disgusting facial hair growing on a greasy, pimply face. Enough to make a girl gag.

I'm so naughty. So mean, so cynical, so rude, so wrong for coming here. Just NOT so-so. If I hear the word "just so-so" again, I think I could scream. Every response that should be "Pretty good" (according to me and my use of English) is "Just so-so." How is your day? How is your semester? How do you like college? God! It's such a depressing answer, and sooo soooo annoying. Fucking Chinglish is stuck in my head every day.

So today I met with my students, and we went to this temple. It was dreadfully hot, but actually they didnt' cater to me as much as I thought they would. They let me walk up the steps on my own, down the steps on my own, and they didn't even insist on buying me water or something to eat. Only later, when we were at the vegetable market, did I have to fend off a girl wanting to carry my potatoes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm terribly bad at yoga.

So what did I do today?

I woke up late. Around 8. And caught a cab to the new campus for my "meeting" (for what, I had no idea) with my boss "Jack." Turned out that he wanted to teach me some Chinese, which was much appreciated on my end, as I had only been trying to teach myself out of dictionaries and phrasebooks. I desperately needed the guidance of a fluent speaker. Anyway, I've been studying a great deal - any time I am doing something without using Chinese, I feel a bit bad for it. The question pops into my mind, "Where would a be a year from now or 2 years from now if every free minute I had was spent on studying Chinese?" The answer is - I would be pretty damn far along. And so, when this thought comes to mind, I instantly put down or turn off whatever English-using device I am using (iPod, AIM Chats, books even) in preference for Chinese language tapes or rummaging thought a dictionary.

So after my meeting with Jack, I went to wait for the bus to take me from the New Campus (where his office is and where all my teaching classes are) to the Old Campus (where I live). But while waiting, I ran into "Lemon," an incredibly sweet Chinese girl (aren't they all?) who desperately clings to me and talks to me in her decent English. I have started to speak Chinese more to these people who only want to speak English. I know half the people who come up to me as "good friends" just want to improve theirh English, but I'm tired of catering to people and thinking I should help them by only speaking English. Outside of class, I will do what I originally set out to do - Learn Chinese. And so I will only speak Chinese when outside of class. Too bad for all my new, dear close friends, such as Lemon. how vindictive of me. anyway, i met her and then her friend...whats her face...and they all commented on how good my chinese is (yeah, thanks, no no, thanks), how pretty i am (no no, thanks, no no), how white my skin is, whether I had eaten, and so on. Finally, I figured I had missed the bus, and they invited me to the dining hall with them. They clung to me arm-in-arm, and we three walked to the student dining hall.
Lemon said, "Oh, I think everyone wants to talk to you! You get so many stares because you are foreign and so beautiful!"
Their dining hall is nothign compared to what I am used to at VCU. Their campus is very dull and boring, lacking color or grass or anything vibrant. i feel bad when chinese people ask me what i think of their college. they ask me in a proud way, i can tell, because the campus is new and they want to show off. i always lie and say how beautiful and vast it is - in the city but right beside lovely, rolling hills. This is somewhat true, there are nice hills in the background, but, still the campus is boring, gray and ugly, and their Dining Hall has got to be one of the worst parts. I mean the food is lined up in these ugly gray bins, and piles of food are lined up - vegetables of all sorts, some meat selections, eggs, tofu, etc. The selection is not so bad, the presentation is majorly lacking. As with everything in China. I get my money's worth, but God Damn, it's ugly and ROUGH. The food was served in a small styrofoam, box. We also got rice, and ate in the dingy cafeteria, enduring stares and smirks.

After that, i came home to find my cleaning lady here. I took a nap while she cleaned, and when I woke up, she was still here cleaning. I do not know why she stayed for so long. perhaps she did not want to wake and disturb me. Anyway, when i woke up, i told her...my oh my you've been here a long time. go home! Do you want me to pay you today? She told me "Suibian, you decide how much to pay." Which pissed me off because she had been making Rod pay here 30 yuan each time. I wanted the same deal, especially because my place is smaller than his. Anyway, I offered her a 100 (see, I'm a pushover, always wanting to please other people before myself), and thankfully she turned this down and insisted 80 was all she'd take. Should have been 60, but who am I to turn down such a poor person compared to myself.

Then I went to the gym and tried to get skinny. In the shower room (where you have free reign to look at all the naked Chinese women you want), I noticed I had the best body there. but when i have clothes on, I always feel like i look so fat compared to these little Chinese people. But still, my body is strong and doesn't have fat rolls the way many of these women do. Their asses may be smaller, but they're saggy, same with their stomachs. Small frames but saggy fat rolls. Well, that isn't the case with all of them. I really wish I could be skinny to fit into Chinese dresses.

Anyway, i have so much to say, but i just don't feel like writing or typing. i am find it terribly annoying right now.

So much to do this weekend:

Tomorrow - Go to Tony's Office and WORK ON SCHOOL PLANS
5 - go to Anna's
7 - call Jack to meet me

Saturday -
Meet with students at 1:00
Hang out with Steph and Rod...whatever

Sunday -
11:00 meet with Richie.

And in my free time, I will plan classes and STUDY CHINESE.

BloggerLast night, at the gym, I went to yoga class after my mandatory 30-minute run. And I made a stink of myself. I am the least flexible person I know. The poses, the stretching, the breathing and sitting up-right were all just terribly hard on me, and I wanted to give up. But at the same time, I thought of myself as a skinny, flexible ballerina. Agile and suave and sweet and angelic. I want to be like that. I want to be able to bend and twist and sit down and meditate and be comfortable doing this. Instead, I am a strong runner who can do 5 pull-ups and 100 crunches. I can walk on my hands and run really fast. But I cannot touch my hands to my toes, which is really annoying.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So what...

我现在上网。

My computer in my apartment is unfortunately broken. What news. As shared last post, my DVD player, too, is broken. I have other interesting news to share.

Earlier today I realized I desperately needed to keep up with my posts. I cannot stop writing on this thing. I want to write about my short hair and my long fingernails. Never before have such things happen, but now here in China - here where I am an outcast, here where I stand out, here where no one knows me and I'm free to be whatever I want - I've got sharp nails and a chic hair-do (think short haired Natalie Portman and Kiera Knightly). What's more - I do not care that Chinese people think I was "more beautiful" with long hair. Those who saw me with my long here - the first week I was here - are always asking, "Why did you cut your hair? I think, in my opinion, maybe you were more beautiful before." Sod off!

Anyway, enough with beauty. The point of the prior paragraph was not only to talk about my hair but to also point out yet another cultural difference. Does it give you something to reflect on? Not really, I didn't go in depth enough. I suppose I could talk about where I got my haircut (Angel's in Central Business District Area for 10 yuan), who cut my hair (a jolly gay little Chinese boy, no taller than 5'1" with baggy pants and spiky hair), and also about how every customer and worker crowded around my salon-seat to watch the show! But I shall not.

Yes the show! Anything I do is a show, and I realized today the only crowd I like giving a show to is little kids. I do not care that they scream "Laowai laowai Hello! Hello Hello!" and laugh and giggle and get a big kick out of me. I do not care one bit, and, in fact, I am responsive and light-hearted. The same happen with someone else - some dirty old cigarette-smoking peasant - and I scoff and roll my eyes. This is something I need to deal with. Why can I not accept the way the people are?

Anyway, I was telling someone on the phone earlier today that I dislike the Chinese. Then, to the person, I spilled all the reasons I "dislike" the people here. Littering. hacking. poop in street.

Naked baby pees in street.

Smokers. Everywhere.

People which way.

Anyway, but I do not hate Chinese people. I am saying these things, but I believe my reactions are natural, and I will not hinder myself when it comes to my thoughts and feelings on the subject. I must voice my opinions fully.

Anyway, I do not talk bad about Chinese people to their faces. I am all smiles. I am always a cheery smile.

Today I have class, and I should go.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Me. Right now.

Greetings.
I have not posted in a very long time (not that you have been desperately waiting, day and night, by your computer for the next Amy-Derr-Update). I am not so arrogant as to think that.

In fact, now that I've chosen to give regular updates to my G-Blog (Yes, Amy, Dammit, You Will Post), I have happened upon a most unfortunate predicament. My computer - or rather the computer that has been loaned to me - SUCKS and WORKS HORRIBLY.

For example. No "For Example." Simply. It is Chinese. And on top of being puzzled at the character-commands on all sides of the screen, half the time the computer automatically starts typing Chinese characters. And I don't want it to! Their computers' English is just as poor as the people's.
The People's Republic of China is where I am ATM. And for the next year. Iarrived...let's see...February 14th, or almost one month ago. Wow! So much has happened. If I were a meticulous writer, keen on every detail, It would take a year to dictate just this past month.

What the people look like. So many of them! How they dress. How they act. How I am different. How we became different. How we are raised. So many people. How things look. Why are things so dirty? So many people! Endless shops. Taxis, bicycles, rickshaws. Honestly - I do not think I could come close to truly conveying this...feeling...of just being here walking around.

Anyway, and then there would be my thoughts and reflections. I'd have to write about everything I had thought about from the time getting off the plane until now. At first, there were restless nights when I cursed my decision of coming here. American life was so perfect. These people would do anything to live the life I did.  <----this a="" am="" and="" back="" became="" better.="" br="" coming="" course="" for="" friendships="" home.="" i="" it="" later="" m="" month="" my="" now.="" now="" of="" rationalization="" right="" s="" the="" then="" there="" things="" tired="" typing="" was="" way="" were="">
Anyway - but I am not a writer and not meticulous, and so I will not give in-depth descriptions of everything I have seen, every thing I have thought, or every passing feeling.

Today is Tuesday, and I have a few hours before my next class begings. My job is teaching English, and I truly feel lucky for having found this job with its benefits. Luck - that is what it is. It isn't the grace of God or being smart or planning anything well. My good fortunes are based on Luck. Beyond that, I am Lucky

Because I believe I am lucky. Anyway, this is my mindframe.

I am a superstar here! I am going to blatantly say it. I am! This is the way my life is here. Here below I will try to communicate my ascension to "stardom."

- I am the only white girl in this city, and I am American.
There! The end! Wow, that was easy to express!

This simple fact carries so much weight. I feel the weight every day in many different ways. Sometimes I feel guilty, I feel bad, I feel annoyed, overwhelmed, happy and mostly Lucky.

Once more, I am not a writer, and so I am not going to go into the different occasions that lead me to feel these different ways. Maybe eventually you will get an example or two out of me. I feel guilty getting on the school bus - the bus that takes us teachers to our college 四川职业技术学院 - and I do not have to pay the bus fee. Merely because I am a foreign teacher.

I feel guilty knowing I am paid 5 times the other teachers' salaries. Merely because I am a foreign teacher.

I feel sad when I go eat my dumplings - every day at the same hole-in-the-wall - and I see the little girl who works there and her scarred and blistered hands. Why isn't she in school! And constantly, the whole time I eat my dumplings, I am thinking the lines, "我可以教你英文." But if I told her and her family that I can teach her English, I,again, would feel guilty and like an intruding white person.

The accumulation of these feelings does not make me sad though. In fact, I am all-around happy. This poem by Emerson could convey this situation better than I every could:

Why should I keep holiday
When other men have none?
Why but because, when these are gay,
I sit and mourn alone?

And why, when mirth unseals all tongues,
Should mine alone be dumb?
Ah! late I spoke to silent throngs,
And now their hour is come.

well, I am going shopping! Hot tops!

今天我要来说是我最近学到的东西

我最近的生活和一年以前特别不一样。 我现在的生活和六个月以前也完全不一样。 对我来说,我现在的生活是有点理想的。 当然有很多方面我想变,但是我慢慢在注意到我心里真的想要的是什么样的生活。 难怪我在老家的时候我那么郁闷。 我那时郁闷的样子是因为我没有工作, 但是也是因为我那时对我...