It’s been over a month since I have been in China, and I haven’t posted the last few days.
I was too busy stressing and feeling bad for myself. That’s the honest answer.
When you stress, you don’t feel inspired to write, let alone take pictures to go with it.
To clarify, this was my second week of teaching and it did not go very well. The lessons in-and-of themselves were not horrible, however my confidence was lacking greatly. Expecting some sympathy I eventually called my mom. Her wisdom was to lower my expectations read them “See Spot Run.” -insert facepalm-
Nevertheless there was something to be gleaned from her all-too-blunt response. I have such a problem taking things way too seriously and trying to act like I’m a pro at things I’ve just started. So I can either focus all of my attention on being the perfect teacher and completely miss out on the fact that I’m living in China, or I can acknowledge that I’m still learning how to teach while simultaneously enjoying where I am. I’ll take the latter, thank you.
Whew…okay now that the sob-story is done: HAPPY MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL!
We have 10 whole days off for this celebration. People get together with their families to have huge celebrations in which they eat elaborate desserts called moon cakes. Be impressed. This particular one wasn’t really sweet, but they are incredibly dense. The red bags below are actually full of moon cakes, and it occurred to me this evening that if you need to do bicep curls, bags full of moon cakes would actually be perfect.
One of my students told me that the myth behind the festival is that once there was a very good and brave man who lived with his wife. One day while he was out a robber broke into their home. The robber was after the family’s prized bow and arrow. Now his wife, also being very brave person, sacrificed herself. When she died she ascended to become a moon fairy. The husband, upon his return vowed to have revenge. I think he got it. The story became less clear at this point…considering language barriers. At any rate, the mid-autumn festival marks the only time that the husband and wife could be together again. The cakes are round…for a reason, but that was also unclear. I’m sure the internet could explain better, but I personally like hearing it from people I know. The myth itself is about 3,000 years old, and now I am apart of its telling tradition.
Aside from surviving lessons this week, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more Chinese, Konrad was successfully sorted into Slytherin (which means that among us are now two Slytherins, a Gryffindor, and a Ravenclaw), and I achieved my goal of finding something new. Here are the results of the latter:
The mysterious Roman maiden of Xindu.
A new view from the library building, which makes for perfect people watching, and also features the completely useless bridge that has been closed for as long as students can remember.
The tangle of bikes that constantly decorates most sidewalks.
And finally, the picture I feel sums up China quite well (not the first, and probably not the last).
In this picture is a bright orange fish swimming in clear, glass-still water. However in the water are nasty pipes covered in sludge, but it is that very sludge that the fish seems to eat. There is a bridging of old and new constantly at play. Of the beautiful and the ugly, respectively. It is a dance. They learn how to move and flow with each other, not just tolerate each other’s presence. Oftentimes one side may benefit greatly from the other. It is not always pretty on the outside, but it works. That is something worth pondering, and perhaps even admiring. Oftentimes, the outside is not pretty here, with the exception of moon cakes, but once you take a step inside it is a whole other world.
Until next time!
P.S. I finally got to go hammocking today 😉