This week has been Grade A nutso.
I am finishing up my student observations this week which means a lot of travel added onto my normal life of school, online work, and teaching.
Tuesday I headed out to a city an hour away to observe some students who live in Nowheresville, Chi.na. (poor souls).
I left my home at 7am, went to the wrong bus station because there are 2 bus stations with the same name, missed the right bus, and got to the city with 10 minutes before the class I was observing was supposed to start.
I asked the bus driver where the campus was (my student said it was close), and took off running in my heels, grasping my laptop case, and getting awesome looks from the natives.
Because it takes asking 800 people to get proper directions in this country, I ended up turned around and lost, calling out to shop keepers, street-side tailors, and old people on walks to get directions.
Finally an old man grabbed my elbow and looked at me very intently. "You want to go to *name of campus*?" "yes, can you tell me where it is?" I responded, shocked that an old person understood me and was helping me (so not normal). He pointed me in the direction and followed me down the road (me running, him briskly walking meters behind me) yelling out, "I talked to the foreigner!" I smiled to myself, wiped the sweat from my brow, and continued to panic about what a horrible professional I am.
I made it to the class 13 minutes late and apologized profusely.
I pulled myself together for the 6 hours of observations, and took about 2 horus to get home because of traffic and bus changes.
Once home I crashed for about 30 minutes and played with Mao Mao. (kitty is turning out to be such a presh-head and great life addition, btw).
Then I was off to the campus I study at to get a copied book from my class monitor. I was emotionally drained and easily perturbed when he gave me wrong directions to where he was waiting for me.
When I finally found him, he handed me a 300 page Chi.nese book and informed me that I was to give a presentation on 3 chapters of it the next day (yesterday). He then added, "But I don't think you can read it, haha."
I lost it.
I walked away from him. Got on my bike. And made it out of the campus gate and 100 meters down the road before I broke into uncontrollable sobs.
Break Down 2k12 commenced.
I actually thought about videotaping myself because in the moment it was so funny to me. Stopped in the bike lane. Asians biking by staring. A huge redhead on a pink bike sobbing and snotting like a maniac.
My mom called at one point in the break down. I love my mom. She listened to my illogical, though understandable, rant.
Basically, all the little stuff added up. When I am in an emotional lull, I tend to feel trapped and this makes me hysterical. In that moment I was thinking,
"I was late to work, I am a failure. I can't read the books, why am I even here? I can't talk to my advisor because he wants to sleep with me. I am scared of him and how he makes me feel. I can't leave this major because he will never agree. The only choice I have is to leave or stay adn be miserable. If I quit my PhD program how will I explain this stint to a future employer? What will my life become if I leave? Is this worth it? I am alone and have nothing to go back to, (job-wise). Why can't I just stay here and work? But if I just stay here and work my long-term goals that require a PhD will never come to fruition. I have this amazing gift that sounds great but sucks to live out. God - why?"
Blah Blah Blah.
It took a good night's rest and a morning-after-break down call from my mom for me to feel more balanced. I know where it all came from, I was overwhelmed by the Chin.ese assignment that was thrown on me, was over-tired, and hadn't had adequate quiet/down time in that day. I feel much better now. I did not go to that class yesterday, only my night class that is a 50 min bike ride away.
I rode along the river with my friend to class. Along the way I ran into 2 of my favorite students from 2 years ago, and 30 minutes later ran into another student from 3 years ago. I had a giddy smile on my face after those encounters. Quite the opposite bike ride as the night before. I forever will have a corner of my heart dedicated to my past Chin.ese university students.
While we were biking, I expressed to my friend some thoughts I had earlier in the day while at the gym. I realize that life is not about making me happy or comfortable. That my happiness is not the number one priority or reason for me living. But in being faithful, in perseverance, we find a deeper joy. It's a weird feeling. While I do not (lately - this week) have an exterior happiness, I do have an unexplainable deep contentment that my life is ordained. I am completely unhappy with my school, with (most of) the Chi.nese people around me, I bump heads with this culture, and hate my living situation...but I am aware that it is my calling and that no one else can live my life but me. (and no one else can live your life but you.)
Just some thoughts.
Today I have been home reading and am about to head off to work at the hospital. I feel balanced, rested, and almost-ok with the state of the union. :)
Here's some pics from student observations
"Welcome to the School of Foreign Languages"
Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University, gorgeous...
the bus stop to head back to Hangzhou, where I was running like a maniac...
my Wednesday night class at the far, far away campus. "Chi.na Survey." It is mandatory for all students studying for a degree. I have to take the Chi.ese-taught one because I work during the English-taught class. Notice the entire class is Koreans. There are maybe 5 non-Asian students. It is 3 hours of blah blah blah about how great Chi.na is.
walk slow. xoxo.