Dec 31, 2010


I never really liked New Year's Resolutionss.

I have this idea that people should be healthy/build character/and try new things without having the pressure of a year's timeline.

This year, though, I'm having a lot of fun with them. I was lazy and didn't want to plan a class for this week so I thought what better way to use up 1.5 hours than to have students make New Year's Resolutions and do various discussions.


It was a perfect class. I got to ask them about how they view this New Year (Jan. 1) and the Chinese New Year (according to lunar whatever). They told me these long stories about how "modern" changed the name of the first day of the Spring Festival to this "Western celebration" to make China more "worldly." But they view "both" as the beginning of the year.

How can you view both as the beginning of the year? The year starts twice? I asked them.


Um....ok. Chin.ese logic.

None of my students had ever written New Year's Resolutions down before and most told me they never even thought about it. It was like a revolutionary experience to think about how you have the power to choose to be different or do something new and different. And if you write it down, it might happen. You are choosing purposefully to do something. That was like a whoahthing for some of them.

So, I shared with them my New Year's Resolutions. I thought it was only fair to give them some examples before I made them write a list and share it. Here's my NYR...keeping in mind that I do not out any deep stuff on the list because, duh, character stuff and personal growth stuff should be ongoing.

Jessica's NYR in no particular order:
1. send more postcards
2. enroll in a dance class or yoga class (any kind of class)
3. learn to cook some chinese dishes (i only know dumplings and easy stuff)
4. be more kind to strangers
5. create an orphan donation website
6. grow herbs in my dorm
7. learn to knit
8. read more for pleasure (I haven't read one non-school book since beginning my PhD program)
9. become better friends with the people in my dorm (I keep to myself a lot around here)
10. remain alcohol free and low on caffeine, no more Diet Coke ever (I've not had alcohol in 6 months, caffeine of any liquid form (including diet coke) in 4 months, when my medicine is up I want to remain alc free and low caffeine/no DC)
11. train for and run another 1/2 marathon (this one was a bust this year...)
12. manage time better, less computer, go outside more
13. take more/better pictures (my "nice" camera died a year ago and since then my picture taking has decreased in quantity and quality...sad since I live in such a beautiful place)
14. learn more Chi.nese pop songs
15. save 1/6 of my total income (on target the last 4 months)

Topics I want to learn more about in 2011:
-ESL teaching methodology
-american and chi.nese history (some people were asking me about the early american colonies the other day and I had no idea about dates, ugh, embarrassing. and chinese history because, well, that's obvious)
-public health initiatives in Hangzhou - what can I do personally to help with a grassroots effort to spread the awareness of germs/infectious diseases, etc? There must be something.
-jokes, I need to know more jokes in english and one joke about "european" in the bathroom is getting old...

So there they are. My resolutions.

My students came up with some very different resolutions of their own which I think are a nice little glimpse into Chin.ese society.

They said (keep in mind these are 25-55 year old doctors and nurses, mostly female):

-buy an air conditioner for my parents in the countryside
-have a baby
-get permanent eyebrows
-more time away from the computer
-be more patient with my husband
-learn to bake a cake
-learn to swim
-learn more songs (chin.ese)
-buy a better phone
-buy a bigger tv for my parents
-teach my son to be a good man
-make more money
-get a boyfriend/girlfriend
-keep in touch better with my parents

I enjoyed this with them and wondered why I hadn't been doing resolutions all this time with my classes! Live and learn!

My students were uber presh and brought me New Year's flowers. They know they way to my heart! I felt so special (and a little bad for everyone else) when I was riding the bus home with a bajillion flowers on my lap. It was also the first time the bus has ever smelled good. ;) I love my studes.

In other news, today after classes I met up with an old friend, Penny.

I met Penny my first year in and we hung out several times. She is an amazing human. She's been living in Texas the past 1.5 years studying at Abilene Chrstan University. It was so amazing to catch up with her. I love hearing about America from her perspective (we have so many bands, not just singers, we sing more richly, there is Chrstn music, we are too shallow, the sky is so blue, the stars are gorgeous at night, we plan our lives so far in advance that it's overwhelming, and we don't eat enough vegetables).

She told me that when she first got here to HZ a few days ago she was overwhelmed by the traffic and didn't know how to cross the road! She can't believe how many people are everywhere and how loud it is and she is so happy to have food again.

Our time together was precious because we can really connect on a deeper level. I really wish that girl the best! She's studying something very adversive to her own culture, yet she loves her own culture very much. I will never understand what it's like to be in that position, and I admire her all the more for it.

I'm off to shower, nap, and get some last minute homework in before the festivities begin!

Me and Penny!
my students and my New Year's flowers! :)

I tried loading videos and it didn't work. I'll try again later.

I hope you are getting some reflection as the year comes to a close!

walk slow. xoxo.

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