Sep 15, 2011

accumulating chapters.

I have many words today.

Bear with me.

I'm still upset by my Prof asking me to sleep with him a week into our 3 year academic relationship. I'm not sure how to go forward. There are so many cultural assumptions at play, and I need to respond in the best way that would preserve our academic ties and maintain my own self-dignity.

I got a 6am text yesterday morning from him saying, "do not worry. I just want to give you books for an open chinese mind."

Um, ya. Homeboy sobered up and thought, "shit."

He asked me to go to his office yesterday afternoon. I cried on the bus there. Just felt so dirty and unsure of how to proceed. And also like no one takes me seriously. (thanks, Devil, for planting these thoughts in my head.)

We met. He touched my upper leg and asked me why I'm nervous. He leaned against me and asked me to delete my text messages. I looked him in the eye and said, "no."

We had a moment stare-off where we both knew what the other meant. He wants the evidence gone. I'm keeping those texts for the next three years.

He's clever, charming, and manipulative.

But so am I.

I left his office and went to my first day of class at the hospital. It went well. After work I asked Michael and May to stay and chat with me because I needed Ch.inese culture guidance.

Let me just say that I have been provided for in every situation. There is someone to help me in every situation I have encountered. This is so wonderful to acknowledge.

We went to Pizza Hut and I cried and told them the story. Michael fumed. May hung her head. Apparently students sleeping with their professors is very common at my school and May has been through the same experience.

They gave me good cultural advice. Apparently, I handled it the wrong way but I know how to go forward now. Michael also told me to be careful of my phone because my Prof. might try to steal it. I think this is dramatic, but I'm glad to be made aware of the "maybe's".

It's really sad, but knowing that this is "normal" made me feel better - like I didn't do anything to bring it on. Michael thinks it won't happen again, but that I need to tell him to stop touching me and I need to not be alone with him in case he gets angry.

Also at work are many cultural stereotypes. As a white female, I face these often. I haven't mentioned much on the blog, but have an idea for a future post. The short version is this: Chin.ese men watch Western porn. And also, Western media does not help with the portrayal of women and morals (Gossip Girl? Desp. Housewives? - all widely watched in Chin.a).

So they meet a white girl and think "porn star, big boobs, crazy in bed, loose morals." I've encountered this idea many times in my years here. But never this in my face.

According to Michael because I was, "too nice," my Prof thought he had a chance. Having an outgoing personality translates to open sexuality. Well whooopdeedooooo. I'm glad I know this now. No more smiling. No more nice Jessica.

I can't believe this happened to me. My academic bubble was violated and I don't feel "safe" anymore in our academic relationship. But there's no other choice but to move forward, be very serious about my studies, and pray for people who intentionally violate and hurt others.

Anywho...moving on...here's some pics from my gloriously random and difficult Chi.na school experience:

the school store on the campus where I live, loving the sign, "Come on, You're Welcome!" The Chi.nese says, "We welcome you."

I took this pic in my "educational research methods" class. I can't read the notes on the board. ahhhhhhhhh. I had a few moments of, "I can't believe my life has come to this. I am sitting in a Chin.ese class, listening to Chi.nese, reading notes in Chin.ese, just chillin. How did life go from - Masters, teaching English, learning Ch.inese...to this." My first day in Chi.na I knew 3 words. Three years later I'm in a Chi.nese program. It's all very surreal sometimes.

This is my stealth pic from my class every Wednesday. I sit, listen, take deep breaths, draw hearts in my notebook, check my dictionary now and then, and sometimes make faces at people around me.

Some of the girls in class have taken a liking to me (thank God) and take pity on me. When the professor says to read a certain book, they grab my notebook and write it down for me (since I can't write well, haha).

One girl leaned over during class and told me her dorm number and told me to come visit her sometime. "I don't know where that is." I told her, "Can you give me your number?" - really happy to make a friend in class. She took my notebook, wrote her number, then wrote "Snail". "My English name," she said. hahaha. So yesterday I made a friend named Snail. haha.

The guy standing in black clothes at the top of this photo is my teacher. He chain smokes during class and I don't think he's washed his hair since 1982. But my classmates seem to like him, they laugh sometimes in class, so apparently he's funny. I would laugh too, if I knew what the heck he was saying. :/

a beautiful, rare blue sky day...this building is where the education department is...

This photo is from a dinner with my Professor and his other PhD students. It was a nice time. He drove me and his secretary (the is pre-creepyness) and we met everyone else there. The students were 3rd years, 2nd years, and then there are 3 of us who started this year.

It was great to meet people in the program because I have felt very alone in this for a while. I got to observe everyone and try to figure everything out. A few of the students were very eager to know me because they need English/Chin.ese translation help. Heck ya, I'll help them. Because then in 2 years they will be helping me!

One part of Chi.nese culture that just kills me is the drinking at formal dinners. It's so strange. They have to fill their cups and cheers each other in "respect" and then drink the whole glass in one gulp to "show respect."

I do not drink at these dinners for many reasons, 1. I'm trying to lose weight and gulping beer is not going to help me, 2. I do not trust my mouth if I drink too much I might start telling people what I really think, and boy is that not a good idea, and 3. I have a much higher tolerance than Asians, so I don't want them to think I drink a lot just because I don't get drunk as fast as them. They'll make assumptions off of this about my character and I don't want that.

This backfired on me a bit though, when my professor told me I will never fuly understand Chines.e culture if I don't drink. He told me I have "two choices: drink, or go home." I told him to buy me a ticket.

And then wondered for the ga-billionth time, "what is my liiiiiiife???"

All in all, the dinner was great because I got to meet other students in years above me, and the two students in my year. These people will have big roles in my life. They seem like really smart, really good people.


About an hour after returning home from the dinner was when the text messages started. So I know my teacher was trashed when he sent them.

Michael told me last night after I explained everything to him, "you are having a true, real Chi.nese experience."

And ya know what? He's right. With the good, comes the bad. With the ups, come the downs. I'm in a maze of culture and language and trying to find my way through.

These are the things that will make chapters in my future book. So thanks, creepy Professor.
One day I will slander you in my best seller.





walk slow. xoxo.

3 comments:

agapelife said...

oh girl.
thanks for being so honest (that way I know how to pray).
and seriously, that book will be a good best seller.

Miss Lynda and Mr. Al said...

Oh Jessica.... What an uncomfortable situation for you. You are a smart girl for working through it and talking it out. (A mental poke in the nose is okay too :-) We know that you will be okay, because it's not you that is the problem. It is the "world" and it can happen anywhere. But don't let it destroy you, or your beautiful countenance. You are too much of a great gift to many. Surround yourself with the good friends he has placed in your path, and always remember.... Greater is he who is within you than he who is in the world. Love you sweetheart, and holding you extremely close!!!

ellie. said...

hey get your Aretha on and dont feel guilty for demanding r-e-s-p-e-c-t. Plus he probably doesnt have a tonnnn of experience with strong western women so he should learn this is not okay, and you are protecting the many girls who will come after you who may not be as strong. hold your groud. Michael sounds like a smart guy and I'm so happy you have him in your life. You are fantastic and I respect you so much for not drinking. This is a perfect example of humans making horrific mistakes while intoxicated. Besides, you're looking skinnier than ever so you better keep it up, role-model! I'm loving you right now... can you feel me hugging you? How bout now?