Today was good.
But it was good.
I couldn't sleep last night because I was so worried about the class dinner that I had planned for tonight. Because I am class leader, it is my duty to plan class events. I decided that tonight would be a good night for a dinner at a local restaurant near my dorm. I wanted my classmates to experience a different part of the city and eat my favorite of China's regional food: Dongbei food. (from the northeast of China, sooooooooo good).
I called at lunch to make a reservation and they would only take us at 5:30. Because I had told everyone to meet at 5:30, I decided to go ahead of everyone and order the food and then wait for them.
This gave me so much stress.
I hate ordering food. In the past 2 years in China I have had little to no influence on what I eat at Chinese restaurants. I let others choose for me (since usually I cannot read the menu anyways). This way I always get to try new things. This hands-off approach has worked up until now...when it was my job to order dinner for 17 people.
I did the resourceful thing and posted a "HELP" message on my Chinese instant message site this morning. I asked for names of Dongbei dishes in pinyin, the chinese alphabet system that I can read. When I returned home from class today, there were 10 dishes listed by my previous students. I wrote them down, went to the restaurant, and ordered them with a few old favorites that I know of.
It turned out fabulous. Many thanks to my old students.
We are like a mini-united nations. Not all of us speak good English, so I felt kind of bad about that, but everyone laughed and had fun. The food was good and the waitresses were really nice to us after I chatted them up a bit.
The only thing I think that could have been improved is that I did all the talking. I went and got more rice, ordered more drinks, and called out when someone's chopsticks fell. I should have forced my classmates to practice, but other than that, all was well.
I was just so happy to see them all laughing and bonding.
our restaurant, one of my faves in the area:
These are the people I see every day...17 out of 23 members of our class. Introducing from left to right: David from England, Dimi from Belgium, yours truly, Makastaka from Japan, Kenneth from Hong Kong, Joe from USA, Steph from England, Evi from Germany, Monse from Chile, Kaung from Burma, Luis from Spain, Jan from Germany, Blas from Spain, Ondrej from Czech Republic, Hye Ju from Korea, Inna from Ukraine, and Isa from Ukraine.
We spend more time with each other than with anyone else. We are in class everyday together, same schedule. I'm so glad it all went well. Now that the first "event" is over, I think I'll be more relaxed at future ones. I was a little worried how everyone would gel together, but it was all magical. I don't know why I ever worry. What a waste of time. It always works out.
I have an interesting feeling when it comes to relating to these people. You see, they will all leave soon. Some in December, some in January, most by next summer. While I am here for 4 more years. Language learners will come and go while I am here studying for my PhD. This is the only time I have foreign classmates who are not Chinese. I have this feeling that it is my duty to serve them, to show them the way around here, treat them to some good times, and to help their memories of their short time here be good ones. But I don't feel like I can get too close. Because they will go. And I will stay.
It's such an eclectic crew. So many different points of view and so many different life stories. Around one table playing "never have I ever." For 2 hours. haha.
I'm so glad I'm here. But now I need to sleep.
walk slow. xoxo.