Monday, April 29, 2013

Lame? Broken?

I worry a lot. I think too much. I know these are problems. There was a time in my life that I longed to fix these problems. But, at some point you just have to embrace who you are and deal with it.
So. I'm dealing with it by admitting that I worry a lot and I think too much.

Got it?

Good.

Here is what I think too much about and worry a lot about lately:

I read reviews and blogs from other teachers that have come to China. I read about other experiences. And I'm starting to think something is wrong with me.
Is it possible that I'm just totally missing the magic of all of this? Am I in the wrong city? Is it the wrong school? IS IT ME? AM I BROKEN? Do I not know how to have fun anymore? Do I not know how to roll with the punches?

I've been thinking about this a lot this month. I don't know what is wrong, but I'm not having anywhere near the kind of experience that I read about.
So. I've gone lame....or something. I don't know. Is this country making me crazy beyond my normal level of crazy?
I don't know.
So, I think about it. I worry about it. I stew over it. And now I blog about it........

*sigh* *cough*



Monday, April 22, 2013

My Birthday

So........another year older. That happened. I don't feel older. Should I?




Nah.

This was my second birthday in China. The first birthday in China was quite a party. I had moved to Kunming around February 1st. I started hanging out with a group of teachers......and I thought we were pretty tight. Things were going okay. So, for my birthday, I invited my group of "friends" to celebrate with me. We went to a Western restaurant for dinner and then went to a KTV for hour and hours of karaoke. It was fun.
Side Note: In China, you pay for your own birthday. If you want to have a party...you invite all your friends and you foot the bill for the whole thing. This was new to me!
So. Last year was fun. Last year got a little expensive. HAHAHAHA.

In December of last year.......that group of friends was no more. No explanation. They just stopped talking to Jessica and I. One day we were all hanging out.....and then it was gone. Now they only talk to me if they have a question. No explanation. It is weird and it drives me crazy. I want communication! WHAT HAPPENED!?!

But, whatever. So. This year my birthday was small. Me. Jessica. I got a text from two other teachers, but..............
This year was was so much better than last year.
The day before my birthday, I mentioned to Jessica how different this year was going to be. I made a comment about all my friends disappearing. She said something like, "last year you had only been in China a few months before your birthday. How could you have known in that short time who was real and who was fake? This isn't your fault. They were fake and they were not true. This year we both know better."
She was right. And I loved the way she said it. So, I decided to put away my sad feeling about the "friends" I lost..........even though I still want to know why.

The birthday came. I woke up and had some bread and bananas for breakfast. Then I did some laundry. BECAUSE IT WAS LAUNDRY DAY! I doesn't matter what other day it happens to be.........laundry must be done.
Jessica and I had decided not to have lunch. Because we knew that face stuffing would be happening.
We met downstairs at 2pm and took the bus to the mall area of downtown. We did a bit of birthday shopping. Jessica bought THE CUTEST summer dress. I don't usually like summer dresses, but this was.......I told her I would be mad at her if she didn't buy it.
Then we went to pick up my tiny Tiramisu cake. It was so cute! It was my present from Jessica! THANK YOU, JESSICA!!!!!!
Then we went to Pizza Hut.
That may sound weird to you, but you have to understand two things:
1. China does not make good cheese. You have to go to foreign restaurants to get good cheese. And pizza is covered in cheese, so it seemed like an obvious choice for me.
2. I really like Pizza Hut in China. It is a nicer place than the Pizza Huts I remember in America. And the menu is HUGE!
We were there for quite a while. We did a lot of talking after all the eating was done. We had: Chicken Kabobs, Chicken Wings, soup, Peach Tea (for me), Milk Tea (for Jessica), and pizza. The pizza had cherry tomatoes, corn, onions, ham, and bacon wrapped shrimp. The shrimp didn't have legs or heads. It was perfect!
And there were two kinds of cheese upon it.................it was perfect.
We then went home to rest. I watched an episode of The Voice UK (TOM JONES) online and then went down to Jessica's apartment for the cake.
Then, we watched "My Best Friend's Wedding."
Random. I know. But, at dinner, Jessica had been telling me about a Chinese movie she saw in the Theatre last week. I said, "so much of what you just said sounds like it was stolen from an American movie." I told her a bit about the movie and she said she wanted to watch it.......so we did. She hated the ending.

So. That was my birthday. It was just what I needed. YAY! GO ME! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Origins...

You may or may not have noticed.....I tend to wear all black a lot.

It's okay. You can point it out if you want to. People do it all the time. I don't mind.

But, most of you have the reason all wrong. I don't do it because "black is slimming." I don't wear all black because I'm goth or depressed.
To be honest, I do get sad sometimes. In fact, I cry quite a bit in China. I mean, if you want to get super real and honest. REAL TALK! (Don't leave! I think that is the only time this will be awkward.)

But, I don't dress to match my mood.
And I actually don't know if I'm goth. Honestly, I never really paid much attention to what that meant. So, I may be goth. I don't know. But, that isn't why I wear all black.

So, now I shall tell you why...............and we can move on to more interesting conversations.

Do you know how much I love Theatre? Do you know how much of my life was spent involved in Theatre? Do you know where I'm going with this?

I did a lot of Theatre Tech in my life. (I long to do it again.....Theatre in general.....) I tried to act just as much. But, there was something about being backstage that was equally as powerful to me (most of the time). I love being part of a production.
And to be a techie.........all black clothing.
So, it started long, LONG ago. Wearing all black all day because I wanted to be ready for the show.
Here's why:
I hate changing my clothes.

That simple.

I'm not one of those girls that can wear a few different outfits a day. Because I loathe changing. Once I'm in clothes......the next clothes I want to be in are pajamas.
So, wearing blacks all day became a habit. It's just an old Theatre habit that I can't/don't want to shake.

That's all.

So, what is our more interesting conversation? Lay it on me.........

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beware!

I've been living in China for almost a year and a half now. Isn't that crazy face? I feel like that is crazy face.

One of the many things I've learned here: Sharing food isn't really optional. Everything is family style.

This took me a while to get used to........except in the restaurants. I mean, when you are eating out and it is served family style, it makes sense. Sharing makes sense.
But, when you order your own dish, people still eat off your plate. Or, if you bring your dinner to the office and someone comes into the office......they will start eating your dinner. Because they want to see what you cooked and what it tastes like.
That is the part that took a while. It took me a while to catch on and now the sharing is old hat. I don't even really notice anymore.

But, something happened today that made me think about it again.

This morning, I bought a pineapple at the outdoor market. It was a small pineapple. But, I cut it up and put it in a thing to take with me to school. I wanted something different for dinner. I wanted something refreshing and different.

So, I'm in my office eating my pineapple when someone comes in to talk to me. He wanted to tell me something about a game we were playing last week. And while he is talking to me, he just starts eating my pineapple. He ate about half of my pineapple!
But, I've been here for over a year. So, instead of thinking, "HEY! RUDE! BACK UP OFF MY PINEAPPLE....."
I thought, "this was a tiny pineapple. I guess I should go get more food."

Then I realized it didn't bother me. It almost didn't bother me at all. And that made me wonder........am I going to be a food stealer when I get back to America? Is this part of the culture inside me now? Will I eat off people's plates like it ain't no thang?

I don't know.

But, just in case........................you have been warned.

BEWARE!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Good Deed?

Backstory #1 - Here in China, you don't really have to recycle. People just throw everything away in the same bags.
But, there are people who will go through the trash and collect all the plastic bottles. They take it to some place to get cash. You see a lot of homeless people digging through trash for the plastic.
Backstory #2 - I live in an apartment community. It's a nice place. I like it. Because it is clean......unlike the majority of the city.
It is clean because every building in the community has a woman that comes every morning and takes care of the building. These women will mop all the hallways, empty the ashtrays, and then go out and mop the sidewalks that go through the community.
Backstory #3 - The woman that works in our building has picked up the habit of following me to the trash bins. When she sees me get off the elevator, she drops her mop and follows me. I put my trash in the big bin and then she digs into the bin, rips open my trash and takes out all of my plastic bottles.
I drink a LOT of water. So, maybe I'm the plastic bottle jackpot? I don't know. But, I'm a germaphobe........so, I REALLY hate watching her dig through the garbage.


So, today I decided to do something about it. I gathered up all of my plastic bottles and took the elevator downstairs. The whole time I was thinking, "you really shouldn't dig around in trash. So gross. And creepy. Following me to look through my trash is slightly creepy."
The elevator door opened. The woman saw me and leaned her mop against the wall, but I just walked right up to her and handed her the bottles.
Me: Here. (I know she doesn't speak English, but I didn't know what else to say.....)
Her: Hao. Xie xie. Hao. Hao. (Good. Thank you. Good. Good. The accents are missing from the words, but you get the idea........)

And then she gave me two little bows and walked away. So, I walked outside to wait for Jessica (we go walking on most mornings).
Her reaction surprised me. Because, suddenly, I felt like I had done a really good deed. I mean, I came downstairs on a mission to stop her from digging through my trash. But, now I feel good cause I obviously made her happy.

I guess I'm going to start separating my trash again. Plastic bottles go to the woman.....everything else goes to the bin.
Good deed? It kind of feels like it..............