Update: I am sick again;(, a cold this time and the pollution is now quite noticeable so I have to be careful and wear a mask. Despite these hurdles I am still so very happy to be here. I love the teaching gig, the kids are completely adorable, even when they are being little stinkers. Despite what you may think about Chinese students, they do not act perfectly, they can be off task too, especially since the program I work for is an English class in addition to other classes these students already take. One of my students recently decided to respond “Gay” to every question asked in the class, whether the question was directed at him or not. “That’s gay, he’s gay, because gay,” and then just randomly he’d say “gay, gay, gay”….and so on. He must have seen this meme:
To which I respond:
A few of them have thrown out these other words, “fock” and “sheeT” a few times too, I try to focus on the students who are on task, but if they are too demanding of attention with their attempts at using poorly pronounced expletives, I just point out the fact that they are not saying it correctly and if they were to pay attention they would learn how to pronounce things more accurately. I may just have to educate them on how inappropriate it is as well, it is difficult to express the principles of prejudices associated with derogatory language when culture and language are so different or limited, but I will try. I am not even sure if being gay is against the law in China. It is difficult to tell, this culture is a very hands on culture, as I walk down the street I see women holding hands with arms linked and men with their arm around each other, everywhere. There definitely is a smaller personal space quota here, I was on a train the other day during rush hour and it was beyond my understanding why 40 people would shove themselves onto an already full train, all I could do was laugh maniacally at the top of my lungs at the discomfort, absurdity and inability to do anything about it. Chinese people don’t care and a lot of them are tiny so any personal space you leave for yourself they will fill it. I have been surprised though to see so many tall Chinese people, this would be another example of a stereotype that has been defused since being here. Not everyone is short and not all Chinese students are perfect and it is NOT as extreme to be a Christian here as I had thought, I actually had an Asian man come up behind me singing “Hallelujah” the other night and then he proceeded to tell me about Jesus and love and some other Chinese stuff I couldn’t understand, he was so filled with joy, it was kind of endearing ….Anyway, I do know that the government blocks a lot of websites here, so it is difficult to imagine where the kids pick up this stuff/language, many of them have been to America, perhaps this is a factor. I do recall working with an African man back in the day, he had moved to Minnesota in America for college. He told me that when he arrived he was very disappointed to find only snow and frigid temperatures and no women dancing outside of his airplane like they do in some music videos he watched before arriving. He had this idea that America was like one big music video, no clothes on anyone, disgusting (Home Alone quote intended). Television tends to highlight the less admirable parts of American culture. Anyway, I am an educator now and I will enjoy finding creative ways to educate the kids about my culture as well as the language. Teaching is a nice refresher too. I am looking forward to learning some more Chinese. I really enjoy the accents, they make me smile, it is like listening to a game of MAD GAB, which is just about the funniest game I have ever played. Let’s try:
Fur Chin Ollie Foil
Wand Doll Iran Dense Hence
Or this one, that we saw at the train station on our vacation?!
I do have to share also that I am in a new stage of “culture shock, ” I have only recently learned about these stages and I feel my good friend who connected me with this job will be happy to know that I did look at the material :). My neurological and endocrine systems are debilitated, over stimulation has me worn out and run down! Hence my current cold and recent illness, but I am doing a lot of self-care here and taking it easy most of the time. The pace here is nice and I am enjoying the personal journey into my soul as well as this cultural experience!! I am in a defensive stage of culture shock, I think. I am quite embittered by some of the filth here and people are so pushy. It is common to see little children pooping and peeing in public, which is an unfortunate practice in my opinion, especially when public toilets are very easy to come by. My friend pointed out that under no circumstance should you put your purse in the front of a shopping cart, you know, the child seat part, because kids here, while being potty trained run around with slits in their pants so they can just go wherever and whenever needed. I really hate this, it is so absurd and unhygienic. I watched a grandma help her little granddaughter diaherrea poop all over the sidewalk behind an unknowing crowed of people, while I was sight seeing in Shanghai. After seeing this beautiful skyline I am sure these tourists just ended up trampling through the mess. It is no wonder why these people take their shoes off at the door and are in the habit of wearing ‘house shoes.’ I miss the Minnesota nice right now and personal space. This culture has me in a position where I need to assert myself beyond what feels natural, but I view it as a growing experience. You have to get used to people staring here too, they don’t even avert their eyes when caught, it is so absurd to me, haha. When I catch someone staring now, I stare back and then I find myself in staring contests with Chinese people throughout the day, it is a little amusing. I’ve even had a request to be in a photo with a Chinese woman while touring the Summer Palace..haha. (The other woman pictured is my roommate, not that aforementioned). I also went to the Beijing Zoo which was quite disappointing actually, the animals all seemed so sad and people were feeding them human food, despite the signs that clearly said not to and this was really irritating. If people could have a voice in China I am sure there would be an animal activist group picketing for better care. The cages for the animals were so fake, filled with plastic trees. Fake, plastic anything is just depressing. So here are some photos, anyway: Summer Palace Photos: