Feb 26, 2012


I quit my second job last week.

I was on the treadmill cranking away, sweating like a beast, and had a realization.

I can't do all this. I can't work 2 jobs, tutor a Chin.ese high-schooler, go to school full time in my second language, follow a running program, spend quality time with friends, keep my cat alive, and keep sane living in a foreign country when I have to bike everywhere in the rain.

Just not possible.

I'm focusing on school now and there is a lot to do. Doing a PhD in a foreign language is no joke. Luckily, my advisor is willing to meet me in the middle and has realistic expectations of my language barrier/limited literacy. (he basically calls me illiterate to my face and I have no problem with that if it gets me out of assignments - which it has).

Besides language barriers, there are also cultural issues at play in my educational experience.

Case and point:

I showed up on time for my Wednesday afternoon class and 30 minutes after our class was supposed to start there were only 3 students in the class. ALl were reading books and noone would respond to my, "hello? nihao?"'s....

I texted a Chi.nese friend who is in the class and asked what was up with our class. Turns out, the class was moved to Thursdays but noone bothered to tell me. My classmate Gaoyang told me he just found out from other students as well.

This was class on Thursday, full of students like class should be....

I had no idea what was going on. This class is called, "Readings in Chin.ese and Western Philosophy," but it seems like we do no reading. It is our teacher introducing "readings" to us from ancient Chi.nese thought. What I could understand was that we were discussing some old dudes and these old dudes built some pagodas in Beijing? I don't know. ha. Gotta do some research.

After class I got a text from my friend Leo. "I haven't heard from you in a week, is everything ok?" What a dear, precious friend.

I replied that actually, I needed to find a Chi.nese book for my Monday night class and asked if he would help me. Minutes later we were running all over the library looking for the, "Six Brush Strokes" - a Chi.nese philosophical article from 8 billion trillion years ago. (or 1996, not sure).

He showed me where the philosophy books are in the library (NEVER would have found them on my own) and told me to check one side while he checked the other for my required reading.

I quickly realized that I didn't feel like slowly reading/deciphering the spine of hundreds of Chi.nese texts, so I took his picture while waiting for him to do the dirty work for me...

haha. He then handed me a few other books in English and Chi.nese that should help me get a firmer grasp on the foundations of Chi.nese philosophy as I enter this major with absolutely zero background and will be expected to give a dissertation in Chin.ese in 2 years. Yikes. Good thing I don't cower from challenges, because this might be my biggest hurdle yet...but at least there is a support system of precious souls who text me when they haven't heard from me in awhile.

Since I last wrote 3 days ago - I have quit my part-time job at the hospital (so sad), read 2 entire books on Chin.ese philosophy, taken a 4 hour harrassment prevention course online since I am employed in the state of California (and realized that 50% of what I say could be harrassment..?), edited a thesis survey for my masters student (part of my big girl job), threatened my students via email to get their crap done, made a schedule for student visits, cleaned the kitty litter box, run 10 miles (not at once), gone to yoga, not washed my hair (my new thing), celebrated my little sister's new job in LA via skype, biked through snow flurries, had a "girls night" complete with brandy slushies, discussed Jeremy Lin's testimony with several Chin.ese people, been invited to an English corner - but declined, and gone on 2 dates with an African.

And found my future employer once I crash and burn...


walk slow. xoxo.

1 comment:

agapelife said...

oh your life is so full of craziness. It's like mine but in a super foreign country. I miss you, glad you have wonderful support system!