Jul 20, 2012

Yup, this is happening.

It's been two days where I keep repeating to myself, "Yup, this is happening." Said in a I'm giving into the moment and acknowledging this is my life kind of a tone. 

Yesterday I signed the contract for another year as an adjunct professor. I'll have two sections of the same education class I taught last year (about 25 students total) and four thesis advisees from the past co-hort (one of whom is almost done!) I emailed my contract in with a melancholy spirit (my job still overwhelms me), but after telling myself, "This is happening, suck it up and be thankful you have a contract to sign when so many people need jobs," I was ok. I stood in the print shop for over 30 minutes for 4 prints and scans because things just take awhile sometimes. 

At least I had Mao and Karl Marx looking over me from the print shop walls.

In Karl Marx we trust? 

Then, last night I received a disturbing text from my Chi.nese friend in Ningxia, Caroline. She asked me, "When are you arriving in Yinchuan?" I had thought that her wedding was next weekend and had been warring with the decision to go or not since plane tickets to that barren part of Chi.na are expensive and I do not have time for the 36 hour train because of my tutoring gig. I immediately knew that something had gone wrong in planning/translation/my brain because she would not be asking me that question over a week early.

After some texts, I realized I had mixed up her wedding date and she is getting married THIS weekend!  Dang. Some quick decision making and tripadvisor'ing happened and I now have a million zillion dollar round trip flight to Yinchuan leaving Saturday morning. I still don't have a hotel though since most hotels there don't have online booking (It's literally the middle of no-where). There's only one hostel in the whole province but it hasn't had a review since 2008, doesn't have a website or phone number, and is not on hostelworld so I'm thinking it doesn't exist anymore.

I can't believe I am going to Ningxia this weekend! It is where I first discovered Ch.ina, Caroline is the first Chi.nese person I had a meaningful relationship with (we met 5 years ago this month!) and I am excited to be in the Muslim autonomous region during Ramadan. I can't believe I ever contemplated not going. Money comes and goes, but relationships like this one have to be worked for and sometimes even sacrificed for. Loving Caroline as a friend has been painful our whole relationship, and so it makes sense that going to her wedding should cost me. If it was easy/affordable it would seem out of place according to our history. ha.

I fly up Saturday morning, the wedding is Sunday, and I fly back Monday afternoon. Another, "Yup, this is happening," moment. Mushu was a very attentive and helpful trip planner.

sleepy baby.

This morning when I arrived at tutoring, the mom asked me to add on another week with the kid, so that is great news and a financial blessing.

I was all happy about that until the kiddo and I sat down to begin our lesson. I was wearing a new costume-type ring that is very large. He pointed to it and went, "I know why you like big rings. Because you are fat, fat, fat."

I just stared at him.

Due to less than 8 hours of sleep, I was not in the mood to deal with a comment like that, even from a child.

"I am not fat," I said.

He looked at me like I had told him I was purple.

"Yes, you are fat, sooooo fat," he said and then wrote, "FAT," on his notebook. As if writing it made him get his point across better.

"Let's read a book," I said, ending the conversation that I could not believe I was having with a 7 year old. I know it's petty, but his comments really did hurt. It's like no matter how much weight I lose I will still be called fat to my face. I wish it was easier to disregard those things, but they still sting. Especially on a coffee-less morning such as today.

Almost two hours later, Eason and I were finishing the lesson with his handwriting book. I have not used this book yet in our lessons and so was flipping through it while he finished another task. I landed on this page...

Yup, that's real life Chin.ese education. It felt like vindication and helped me to let go of my anger at the kid. Don't hate the player, hate the game. It's not his fault he lives in a culture where his handwriting book calls a metaphorical Billy fat.

Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive. Maybe Billy and I need to start a support group.

After the lesson, I had the taxi drop me off in a different part of town where I went to the Xtian bookstore to get Caroline her wedding gift.

Wedding gift...

the character means, "love."

I'm off to Ningxia in two days. The kid I tutor thinks I'm a fat lard. And I am officially a professor for a second time around.

Yup, it's all happening.

walk slow. xoxo.


agapelife said...

Yup this is happening. Of course those words hurt , Jess, I don't think it's petty, I feel I woulda been a bumbling mess, I'm impressed with how well you handled it. Miss youxoxo

Great Wall of China said...

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Anonymous said...

Ughhhhh. That would make me feel like I was punched in the gut. You are not alone in thinking that. I agree with Rae, I probably would've been bumbling, then probably would've teared up a bit. I know you know that you've got to keep in mind how different things are over there versus here... because you are BEAUUUU-TEEEE-FULLLL. And uber skinny these days... SIZZLEEEEEE!!!

xoxox, ellie.b.