November 26th, 2009 | Published in China - Life
I am getting the feeling that I am in an in between places at the moment.
I have been in Chinese lessons for about a month now. I am still waiting for certain paperwork to pass here so that I can be fully legit to teach. I have met a lot of students here, got to know them a bit, and have even made a couple of friends off campus.
I am getting the feeling that I am now putting some of the initial troubles of life in China behind me, like figuring out how to order food, how to communicate about basic things like the bathroom and money, how to answer some yes or no quesetions. How to sleep at night. How to balance my own time with the time demands of others. How to accept things as they come.
But still I am growing an awareness of how little I really know–about the people, about the language, about the country, about the food, about everything. I’m starting to think the smidge of security I have attained is really just blithe ignorance of what this place is really about, and that understanding a little of that will be the next big challenge.
But it is actually a challenge I am OK with. They say that the initial phase of coming to a place like China is the “honeymoon phase”, where you love everything and everyone. After that wears off, you start to get an idea of what you will really think of the place.
With that wearing away of the honeymoon phase, I am starting to wonder what the hell comes next, life-wise, after a thing like this. What does anybody do with themselves. But then I think of this person that I knew several years back who was living with cystic fibrosis, a girl my age who was really beautiful and great but who knew that her chances of living to 30 were slim to nonexistent. She didn’t waste any time doing anything that she didn’t love or didn’t have an interest in. From what I understand she worked her ass off to try to get a master’s degree back in her home (somewhere in England) and she died about a month ago.
We are all going to die eventually, and that isn’t necessarily the greatest foundation to draw life-governing axioms on but it’s a start. She wasn’t wasting her time, and I’m trying not to waste my time too. I don’t know what I’m going to do after I leave China, or decide to start some other career, or whatever. But I don’t feel like a day here is a waste of anything.