The World Is Shrinking

Yesterday I stumbled across the blog of a young woman who’s been living in Qingdao since August. After some profile snooping I realized that she’s a California native whose hometown is two towns over from where I used to live in the Golden State. Not only that, but she mentioned in a few of her posts the (hyphenated, idiosyncratic) name of a woman I met a month or so back in a Starbucks, one of three foreigners outside my school with whom I’ve ever had a conversation. Reading through her experiences here I was once again struck by how different my life would be if I’d been hired at a different school. Most people who come abroad to teach English have to do just that – teach English. They make lesson plans and have large classrooms full of students, not kids who’ve been forced out of bed on the weekend to be read at by whitey. I’m not bitter about the situation I’m in as I might be, as I really love working with little kids, but it’s hard not to wonder while scanning through pages of someone else’s online diary in what ways this experience could be different. In a city of eight million there are bound to be thousands of foreigners and I know maybe six. I admittedly don’t go out of my way to make friends as I much prefer maintaining the illusion that I’m an invisible observer in a distant land, but that can be hard to do when, out at dinner, you sometimes sit one table over from a 40-something Westerner talking loudly about Japanese porn. Reading about this woman’s life was like retroactively cyberstalking someone in a parallel universe, a universe moving at warp speed. She signed a six-month contract and is already off exploring half of China, apparently. I’ve been here four months and have seen a third of Qingdao…

***
Which leads me to my next topic, traveling! Chinese New Year is quickly approaching (February 14th) and to celebrate, we teachers have a week off. My friend Allen has a month off. Not bitter, not bitter…
I’m headed North to take in the sights and sounds of modern Beijing. It will be freezing, but according to a Chinese penpal of mine it will be less crowded than normal as migrant workers leave the city to rejoin their families for the holiday. My plan is to make two trips of the city and enjoy, this time around, a sense of contemporary Beijing – modern art, architecture, cuisine, a little shopping. In Spring I’ll go back and take in the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden Palace et. al. If there is a freak heat wave in the middle of February I will of course haul my butt to these un-missable attractions, but as it is I am preparing to spend my days expanding my mind indoors. More details to come!
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4 thoughts on “The World Is Shrinking

  1. shes probs not as cool as you so it doesn’t really matter. also although it would be cool to meet other foreigners in quindao the idea of exploring and learning for yourself for a bit is awesome because then when you do meet people and expand your circle you will have lots of cool things theyd otherwise never know to share with them.

  2. haha what if i just made a blog about my extremely entertaining life. awful. arent you glad you told me to comment more!

  3. It would be great, you could write like, “today I accidentally touched dry poop while digging for tyrannosaurus rex bones!” and yeah I’m so glad you just told the internet that I told you to comment more, but it was only because you were already checking this every day :p <- haha, emoticon

  4. omfg no joke but as soon as i wrote that i was like seans going to comment on me writing that i told everyone that you etc. haha i did it anyways. suckka but really only bc after i thought that i forgot it again and said post

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