Apr 27, 2011

racism, high fives, body image, and pride.


Some funny stuff happened today.

Wanna hear about it? Sure, ya do.

Stories in numbered order because I am too exhausted from jetlag to do anything else but number my thoughts...

1. In class today my teacher announced that there would be a 3 hour "climbing mountain ceremony" this Friday (mountain climbing not included - for real). The city will be paying foreigners to show up and flash their pretty foreign faces. The catch - you can't be an Asian foriegner, you must be white or black only. Therefore, my Nepalese, Japanese, Korean, and Burmese classmates are not invited. Racism is so rampant/commonplace here that my teacher could just announce this in class - hey you white and black people, come get paid to be a foreigner, you yellow people...not allowed. My teacher asked me if I would go and I told her I, "do not support racist activities and do not like being paid to be white."

2. I went to the gym for my daily 5k and when I was done, the guy on the treadmill next to me reached over for a high-five. People in Ch.ina don't usually know how to high-five, so I was surprised. I reached out my sweaty arm and slapped his hand, did a fist pump and walked away. That was fun.

3. Things are not going so well on the school front. I'm still unsure of my fate involving me not taking my midterms. In a culture where nothing is black or white, going to school and wanting answers can be very frustrating. Students like me have no idea who to talk to or what to believe when given different answers from different people. As of this afternoon - I have been told that my huge test that I have been freaking out over is now optional and all that matters is my grades. Uh-oh. Going to another office tomorrow to get a second/third/fourth opinion. I have also purposefully missed the deadline for the May test. I wil be taking the test in June in Shanghai, (giving me another 4 weeks to prepare). I know everything will work out in the end - but it's a little bit scary for the time being.

4. As I was on the bus to work tonight, my boss texted me telling me that her boss would be sitting in on my class tonight. Ugh, automatic freak out. All I was planning to do was teach a few words that pertained to my trip (round-trip, jetlag, graduation ceremony, cap and gown), show pictures, and do some worksheets. (cue: I am exhausted and was lazy in my planning). Well, wouldn't you know, the monkies loved looking at pictures and asked amazing questions. We never even got to the worksheet and class went swimmingly. Thanks, Big Man Upstairs!

5. Also pertaining to work...my boss's boss decided to announce that I "look sexual today." Explaining the difference in meaning and usage of "sexual" and "sexy" to a hospital director = why I get paid the big bucks.

6. Speaking of big bucks, one of my fave students, the 40 year old head nurse asked me if would tutor her 1-1 after classes on Wednesday nights. I'm stoked for the chance to get to know her even better. Her English is suuuuper low (she's my lowest student by far) but she is a fierce learner and wants to interview to go to California on the doctor exchange program. It's gonna be a tough road, we have 6 weeks til the interview, but in those 6 weeks I think she can make a lot of progress, and I'll get some extra pocket money because she's gonna pay me! I gave her half of my going rate because I just love her, and it feels weird to charge friends money, but every little bit helps! Another small financial and personal blessing rolled into one.

7. While I was showing my pictures to my students, a new student (as of today) told me that I looked thinner in the picture and need to not eat so much. The picture was taken literally 3 days ago. Chin.ese people are crazy with their weight talk. Good thing I've run 6 miles in the past 2 days or I might of gone nuts on her, I just smiled and thanked her for her suggestion. The constant body nit-picking of my Chi.nese peers wears me down emotionally, but my new found love of the gym is helping with these self-destructive feelings. It's hard to be called fat to your face every day of your life. I heard what she said, but didn't process it because I know that I ran 3 miles today and did something good for my body.

8. I had a nice chat with my friend Hannah about pride and how easy it is to think we are better than this, (the system, school, teaching styles, everything in Ch.ina). It was a great chat and is now something I want to mindfully work on. I need to change that part of my character. I am not better than this place because I am an American, teacher, or PhD student. I need to do the best of my ability no matter what the outside entities (teachers, classes, expectations) are doing. Just because I think my classes are not high quality does not mean I shouldn't do my best work - I am a representation of my family, country, and faith and lately I haven't been acting like it. Food for thought.

So, there you have it. The numerical listing of a day's encounters. Welcome back to Chinaville, land of the crazy, illogical, nonsensical, meaningful, and amusing daily interactions.

Til we meet again.

walk slow. xoxo.


Mary said...

hey you. I love your blog. You're so much better at it than CERTAIN other friends of mine. You can tell them I said that should you so choose.

But again - your blog is great. Thanks.

Mom said...

You should go on Saturday just to get paid! Ha! I sure hope you work this out with school. I know that it is extra pressure just thinking about it. I love that you are going to the gym and that it makes you feel better.

Jeffrey said...

Great! Amazing insight! Stay positive!