It dawned on me today that I'm a grown-up.
It's really been hitting hard lately, but today as I sat at my computer after a full day of work and replied to emails of people thinking I have answers or connections it hit me: holy crap I grew up. I have a lot of responsibility.
It's kind of exciting. I talked on the phone for an hour today with my boss/co-worker/mentor person. We discussed lesson plans, the future of our program, transportation issues, student issues, and our relationships with our Chin.ese counterparts. When I hung up I was high on life. I really love this stuff. Thank the good Lord for provision and direction.
So, another round of student observations has started. I thought I would be a great idea to leave at 6:30 with my student for her 8am class so that I could attend her class, meet for 4 seconds with her administrators, then head back downtown and get on with my life.
Of course, things never go as planned. I went to visit the administrators and they asked me to stay for lunch, 2 hours later. It's my job to keep good relations with these people, so I had to say yes. And I found myself on a 1.5 hour "walk" around the campus with one of the student assistants whose job it was to keep me company until lunch time.
At first my attitude was not good inside, I was disappointed in not having my plan to get back by the afternoon pan out. But then, I got to spend 1.5 hours chatting with Xu Xue, the student assistant, and absolutely loved this kid by the end of our walk. He was hilariously quotable and we had some good chats.
Everything works out for good. There is good in every situation.
Observing my student's class:
The campus is located on a former government park. When I asked Xu Xue why, he said because, "the land was cheap."
There are tea fields behind the classroom buildings. Gorgeous.
Xu Xue in front a sign proclaiming to, "embrace the world." He is a 20 year old international trade major. I expected to have to talk Chin.ese most of the time, but to my surprise homeboy's english is genius. He had a lot of cultural observances and questions for me. He was refreshing and interesting to talk to. It's through these chats that I really learn about the ideas of this generation of Chin.ese people.
His quotes during our walk include:
-"What's with this Justin Beiber fever? He is just a boy who can sing and dance."
-when I asked him what his favorite tv shows were, "Don't judge me, but I like Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. The BBC version because it is more exquisite."
-"What's with all the screaming in reality tv?"
-"Philosophy is dangerous why do you study that? If people become philosophers they can change the way people think and that is dangerous. Very dangerous. I do not go deep to philosophy because I am comfortable and do not want to think different things. I think we are all like that."
-"Studying abroad is a waste of time. Going abroad for work is better."
-"There is a kid in my class with no friends. He is always alone and studies. And his math score is perfect." My response, "Ya, but when you die do you want to be remembered for being a good person or being good at math?" Him, "Maybe both."
-"I want a job where I can go on planes here and there and everywhere all the time."
-"When I was a freshman I used to go in the mountains with my roommates and do crazy things." Me: "What kind of crazy things?" Him: "Pick the baby bamboos and go back to our dorm and cook them!"
- "Over the mountains there is a small village. We would have never known if we did not dare to climb over the mountains."
What a great unexpected hour with a new little friend. This is how I will learn Chin.ese philosophy.
The lake on campus, just trying to waste time til lunch. "Take a picture so I can show my mom," is my usual quote:
The international department of Zhejiang Science and Technology University, one of my students, me:
Then I came home, napped, had a conference call, answered a million emails, hit the gym, and thought about my life.
My grown up life.
And why is there so much screaming in reality tv? Hmmmm...good question, Xu Xue. Good question.
walk slow. xoxo.