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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Tuesday: Never Never Land.
Waking up at 6:00 this morning in order to teach a
class seemed so early despite the fact that the light
from the morning sun had been shinning through my
window since 4:00 A.M. The sun rises so early here and
makes it a little difficult to sleep, somehow one
manages to roll over and ignore it if they want to
catch a few more hours of shut eye. After doing my
morning routines, the search began for the Clinical
Medicine Classroom, but after looking high and low,
there was no sign of it. Waiting in Laura's office
until she arrived thirty minutes later, my students
did not look to enthusiastic when I showed up forty
minutes later. Giving them a lecture on the proper
techniques and study habits of learning Oral English,
they were more interested in hearing about what life
was like in America. Having discussed this topic over
forty times by now, the words rolled off of my tongue
like a worn out cadence that had lost its persuasion
as a rhythmic crowd pleaser. After answering the
regular what is America like, who is my favorite
basket ball team, and why did I come to China, my
simple answers allowed me to have a fast and
unhindered get away. Coming back to the house, my
first priority was cleaning followed secondly by the
Stanley Cup finals. Hearing that the Lightning won, my
day was then allowed to proceed on a semi normal basis
if that really exists in this country. At noon, my
date for the afternoon showed up and decided to take
me to lunch. Nancy is a very beautiful young Chinese
woman who has had a crush on me all year long.
Although we have attempted to go on two trips
together, neither has managed to work out for one
reason or another. Having taken her out to dinner
several times, she wanted to repay me by taking me to
a famous dumpling restaurant. While eating our amazing
tomato and scallion dumplings, we talked and she
showed me some presents that she had been working on
for me. There was a beautiful traditional woven belt
and butterfly that she had worked on over several
days. Thanking her, we then came back to my apartment
and talked. Deciding to head outside for some
exercise, we walked around different stores and got
caught in the rain. Rushing back home, we talk some
more then I bid her adieu. Going to my four o'clock
class, frustration rolled off of my forehead in anger
as only eight people showed up and come to find out
that none of them were even in the class. Thus, none
had done the homework which had been assigned.
Slightly pissed and not wanting to answer the dog and
pony questions that these curious seekers were asking,
I called it quits a little early then headed home.
Going to the grocery store and stocking up on some
Mahwah, my second class was fantastic. We munched down
on the delectable bread and pondered the passions of
our lives. Somehow, this led to a side conversation
about their senior middle schools. Having only heard
some about early Chinese schooling, this news just
horrified me even more than what others had told me
previously. Telling there horror stories to me, there
narratives about leaving home at the age of fifteen to
go live in their high schools seemed incredible.
Sleeping in unheated rooms with forty to fifty other
girls in military style bunk bed while showering only
once a week brought back a flood of memories that both
amused and stunned their imaginations. Most primarily
remember greatly missing their parents as they were
only allowed to go home once every two weeks. Their
classes lasted from the early morning until late in
the evening. Normally from 7:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M.
Most thought of it as a prison as they were constantly
monitored and under surveillance. All had fond
memories as well. The atmosphere seemed a lot like a
Never Land, and they were all lost boys living and
playing together I order to overcome the difficult
situation in which they were place. There were many
stories of late night escapes through secret
passageways and hidden holes. Staying up late nights
and chatting with their friends and forming
unbreakable bonds. Despite all of this, looking back
on high school in America and imagining how worse it
must be in China, I am pretty sure that I would not
want to put my children through such hell more or less
pay for them to have to go through it. Could you
imagine living with the peer pressure and ridicule day
and night. What if you were the fat kid who was not
like, how awful it would seem. There is no wonder that
many students drop out of school after middle school.
Most families can not afford it and hell I imagine
that most students would not want to go through it.
Beyond the discussion, there were many moving stories
about dying parents and overcoming trials and
tribulations which sparked the students passions and
desires to makes change. The class put me in a good
mood and allowed the rest of the day disappear behind
good times and happy thoughts.


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