As the school year is done and gone, and before i split for India, now's a decent time for a bit of reflection on my 10.5 months in good ol' China.
Things i Did
- Lots of touristy things, until i started finding the non-touristy things to do.
- Made a few friends.
- rode my bike around Tiannamen Square
- Performed the Beatles, Cub, Green Day, the Pixies, and the Velvet Underground w/ my students.
- As legislated by the BC curriculum, i ranted about eco doom and gloom.
- Started a weekly language exchange w/ the camel toe music teacher.
- Hopped on some mystery buses, not knowing where they were going.
Things i Haven't Yet Done
- Lots of touristy things, but i got time.
- Learn Mandarin. Ok, i can sorta stumble through a basic conversation w/ a cabbie, but not much more
- Become a master ping pong player (only 3 min clocked so far)
- The great wall marathon. Next yr, pbly. Ok ok, i'll pbly only do 10 km. Maaaaybe 21km.
- Understood Beijing. Only scratched the surface.
Things i Didn't Expect
- That i would eventually get sick of eating chinese food for every bloody meal.
- That the pollution would hide buildings 1km away
- That there would be so many lots of clear blue skies too
- That many people would be surprisingly knowledgable and open about things that they're not supposed to be knowledge or open about.
- Car horns which are WAY louder than car horns in Canada, and used 300 time more often
- Toy whistles that double as bubble blowers. F'ing annoying
- Children's sandals that squeak with every step. Made that way. F'ing annoying.
- Terrible audio systems blaring out ads out of storefronts
- Pollution: air near the major roads can be thick, but on the side roads stupid 2-stroke engine vehicles can be ubiquitous.
But i would like to say that China has other noteworthy shortcomings but they just don't bother me. Like the inability to let people off the bus before you get on the bus, and the angry pushing and shoving which ensue; the general disregard for traffic rules. etc etc. Everything here is a touch more frenzied than in Canada (a place where people seem abnormally polite, quiet, and law-abiding).
But you can't look at China for what it is, or compare it to the western world. You have to look at China in relation to China, and it has come a LOOOOONG way in a short time. It's a bit unnerving to think about the rapid pace of progress, which many people argue is too much too soon. i could take either side.
I am stoked to have more time to get to know this country, which i still feel is a pretty crazy place, but the craziness has definitely taken on a few shades of normalcy.
The work week'll do that to you.
Ok, nxt time i blog will pbly be from India. Take care of yrselves, and thx for reading.