Dec 9, 2010

exhaustion, idealism, and reality.

Today:

6:00 am: wake-up, shower, study, make oats for breakfast
9:30 am: bike to class, take a test
10:42 am: try not to cry because I left an entire page blank
11:00 am: test ends, facilitate class field trip
12:05 pm: the bus isn't coming, get 20 people in taxis going the right direction
12:30 wait with class for teacher to meet us, tell dumb stories to entertain them
12:45 pm: teacher arrives, we go eat lunch
1:30 pm: lunch ends, go to museum together
4:00 pm: class leaves, a friend and I barter for some Christmas gifts, then I am off to work
5:00 pm: arrive to work early to finish preparing, my USB is with a friend, so have to do it all without technology
5:28 pm: my boss calls me 2 minutes before my class begins to tell me she is too busy to pay me
5:30 pm: class begins
5:45 pm: boss knocks on door and calls me outside, I get paid
7:00 pm: class ends, clean up, walk to bus stop
7:30 pm: bus to another campus of Zhe Da, hungry
7:50 pm: remember there is a Subway nearby, sub of the day is Turkey! Angels sing
8:20 pm: wait in the freezing cold for my friends, answer 100 text messages
8:45 pm: meeting with student leaders and other people about orphan work
10:30 pm: ride Hannah's bike to the closest intersection to my home, she rides on the back of Nate's bike, we sing Christmas carols
11:00 pm: arrive home, crash

oh crap, I have homework. And a package to mail. And a jacket to get buttons sewn on. No sympathy allowed, I need to re-prioritize and manage my time better.

On another note:

I had a sobering and sad conversation with a student/doctor today at work.

Every week I give them phrases and a proverb to begin class. Today's proverb was one of my favorites that is hanging up in my room.

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito." -African Proverb

This quote is so inspirational for me and I wanted to share it with my students. We read the quote and then I ask for their ideas about what it means. I got some close stuff like, "mosquitos are small, but can bother you a lot," and some not so close stuff like, "if you go through trouble it makes you stronger." I explained that it means that if even a tiny thing like a mosquito can make a big difference, than certainly a human can make a big difference. Then we moved on.

One hour later towards the end of class I heard some students talking during an oral excercise.

"Mosquitos are powerful and I am not powerful so maybe I cannot make a difference."

I marched right over there. "Um, I don't think you understand the meaning of the quote. Tell me about this."

We talked and he told me that he understands my meaning but that not everywhere can this be true. He feels that the mosquito has more power than him. He doesn't compare the mosquitos size to a humans and then deduce that a human can make a difference.

"There are 1.3 billion people..." he started to say, claiming Chi.na's population as a reason why he feels powerless.

I've heard all that before, so I negated it right away and told him that a country with 1.3 billion people means that it is a country with 1.3 billion people who are bigger than mosquitos and can make a difference in their world.

Then, this 25 year old doctor broke my heart...

"Everyone is smaller than a mosquito in Chi.na."

I just looked at him. Took a deep breath. And accepted his opinion.

"I'm sorry," I said. Then turned to the class.

"Now, let's move on to review this week's vocabulary. Word 1: dehydration..."

This is something that I struggle with here a lot as a teacher. When does idealism counterract with reality. Are people really ever powerless? Should I encourage people to dream even if they might never be given an opportunity to even voice that dream?

There's 1.3 billion people here who could change the world. If only they believed it.




walk slow. xoxo.




1 comment:

agapelife said...

seriously profound.