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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Although today started out to be a day of rest and
recovery, it blossomed into a Credit Card Nightmare
that I think that my parents have gotten solved, but I
am not sure of this at this point. Today was actually
a nice break. I received a call last night to move my
4:00 class to Friday, so I did not have to teach until
7:00 this evening. I was so excited. I spent a good
portion of the morning reading the mail and sending
out e-mails to catch up with everyone. I thought that
I would sleep end, but several days of waking up at
5:00 A.M. left me waking up at 6:30 yesterday morning.
After emerging from the news, I took a very long and
hot shower then headed out to greet the day. The sky
was so blue, and it was so warm. This is in stark
contrast to the snow last Friday, so I was extremely
happy. I walked out and decided to head down to the
Bank to try and get some money. It took about thirty
minuets, but I got there. They told me to come back
after 1:00 because their was nothing that they could
do until that point. I agreed and headed back home. I
was really hungry at this point, so thinking that I
would be able to get out money later, I went and had a
very nice lunch. I was a little expensive. 18 Yuan or
$2.30, but it was the most amazing beef and vegetables
that I have tasted in awhile. I watched them pull the
huge beef steak out of the freezer then cut it up. I
also had a large bowl of rice which I simple felt that
I needed. I was actually craving it. I also drank up
the majority of my water trying to recover some lost
fluids from my trip. Things were going fine. I
wandered around the city and looked around. I came
back and looked up some info on some trips that I am
going to be taking in a couple of weeks. I then
decided to go back down to the bank and try and get
some money out, but the credit card company declined
me. I was a little upset as I am low on money and need
some in an effort to eat at this point. At this point,
I then came out and sent a plea to my family asking
them for help. Unfortunately, everyone was at work, so
there was no answer. On top of this, I could not call
anyone as I did not have an I.P. Card to make the
call. Therefore, I sent out many e-mails in
desperation. I then went and taught my 7:00 class
which went farley well. My students told me about
their favorite childhood memories. These stories
ranged from children’s games and playing with friends
to reminiscences of lost parents and grandparents.
Many of my students were raised by their grandparents
and actually refer to them as mom and dad. There are
several reasons for this. The first is that the
parents had to work in the field all day, so the
Grandparents were their Guardians for most of their
childhood up unto the point that they could work in
the fields themselves. Then at this point, they worked
for a good period of their childhoods after they got
out of school and before school. The other reason is
that because of China’s one-child policy many of the
children were given to their grandparents to raise, so
the parents did not loose their benefits from the
government. This of course is primarily female
children as the boys were highly prized possessions in
China. Thus, there is a large portion of the
population of children that see their grandparents as
their parents. This is many young females. One of the
girls told me a touching story about loosing her
grandfather when she was younger and going to visit
his grave site everyday and leaving him food and
flowers until she started school. The grandmother
always wondered who was leaving the fresh fruits and
flowers for her husband. There were also a couple of
stories of mothers dying after the birth of a child or
becoming physically injured or having health problems
for the remainder of their lives. Many of the births
occurring in tiny one room houses that probably lacked
sufficient sterilization methods and heating.
Interestingly, men are not allowed to see the babies
until ten days after they are born. I am not sure for
the reason of this, but I thought that it was a nice
side point to mention. There were also numerous
stories of the girl children being punished while the
boys always got away with various acts simply for
being the boy of the family. Lots of them remember not
having any electricity and reading by kerosene lamps
when they did their home work. This was not true for
all of them as some come from better families and
others are the children of doctors and lawyers. None
of them seem to have any desire to have children. If
they do, they do not want more than one child. They
believe that China is simply too crowded which I have
to agree. There are still lots of children being
raised by their grandparents. I pass the elementary
school every afternoon with the grandparents waiting
to pick up their children. I also pass by many
grandparents holding small babies. Maybe getting to
enjoy the parent hood which they did not have with
their own children. Oh well, it is time for my shower,
so I must go. Hope that all is well with everyone.

Christopher

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