Tuesday, June 24, 2008

China has made me sentimental.

Tonight Brian and I went to a Xinjiang restaurant. It's been here for as long as we have probably, but today was the first time I went. They served kabobs and noodles unlike any you will find in Han restaurants. The first bite of that lamb kabob took me right back to last August when Brian and I finally reached our resting point in Xinjiang. A lot of things have happened since last August. New friends. New family. New directions. I love the fact that we can't predict where our lives will be in ten short months.

Later this evening I was writing grades when my trusty Harding pen ran out of ink. It was given to me just over a year ago by some sweet friends who visited Shiyan for several days last June. It was supposed to be a "gift" to give to a random Chinese person. We're told to bring little gifts that are very "American" to hand out to people who have touched us while we're here. These gifts range from American coins to American flags to American pins and pens. I don't know too many people who actually give them as gifts once they arrive to China. This particular Harding pen, intended as a gift for some Chinese person who has an affinity for writing utensils, was pawned off on me, and I loved it immediately. It served me for a full year. I trashed it about an hour ago. On to new things...

I'm about the only foreign English teacher left in China still teaching. Or at least that's how it feels. I have class till Friday, and then I'll be finished. I'm just about caught up on grading, a feat which still impresses me. I am becoming better at giving fair grades. When I started I had a difficult time even giving 'C's to the bad students. I guess I forgot that there are a lot of students, generally the ones who deserve them, who don't get upset when they receive 'C's and even rejoice a bit that it's not worse.

I spent the weekend in Wuhan. There are a lot of stereotypes in China. Sichuan Province is known for its beautiful girls and spicy food. Beijing is such a "cultural" city. Xi'an is very beautiful. Shanghai is so modern. And Wuhan? Well, Wuhan is one of the Three Furnaces of China because it is blazing hot. Generally, I enjoy demolishing as many stereotypes as I possibly can (or to at least encourage original and/or personal opinions to surface), but I have to agree that Wuhan is a furnace. Maybe I've been away too long from those hot and muggy August summers in Oklahoma, but I'm no longer accustomed to such humidity. I don't know how people function in such heat. Regardless of this nearly suffocating experience in the Wuhan death trap, we had a great time there. I am consistently blessed by the beauty I see in other people, and there are some beautiful people working in Wuhan.

Jessica's home now. She left on Sunday. John and Megan, William and Andrew and Jaime leave this week. Darla left last week. Priscilla leaves next. Brian's leaving me for Beijing before returning to leave for the States with me. Several of our Chinese Family are about to or have already left for various reasons (or are just incredibly busy). I guess I returned home early enough last year to not be the one left behind. Note to self: it's easier to leave first...

Today was a good China day. There are some days when the very things that annoy you most of the time are humorous or quaint or even adorable. Today was one of those days.

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