Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Net has been Down

or so I thought... 
Tonight I learned that there is a new system.  We are suppose to delete the IP address and voila we are automatically online.  I spent several days just waiting coz the net often goes offline.  I just waited thinking the big mysterious problem with the net would be fixed by the computer people.  It never occurred to me that I could fix it myself. 
How I have changed living abroad...  Instead of feeling like I can control the things in my life, I just wait and wait and wait.  Weird.  Five years ago, I'd probably have called someone right away if my Internet wasn't working, but now? 
I waited for seven days and just by random chance learned how to fix it. 
At tonight's going away banquet, I asked the other foreign teachers, "Hey has your net been down?" 
They said, "Nah, a teacher came and deleted the IP address.  Now it works." 
I thought, "Oh."
Now that I have the net back, I'll be offline for a while.  Going on vacation.  I will be checking out Inner Mongolia.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Two Types of Relationships

I think I can categorize the types of relationships I have been in into two categories:
The first is relationships where I was the one in love.  The second is relationships where I enjoyed having the attention of someone who was in love. 
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. 
I like being in love.  It feels good and is inspiring, my creativity exploding into artwork, letters, and projects; however, even though I am in love, I've never taken the vow to be with that person wherever they go.  I tend to follow my own heart of adventure rather than theirs.  Maybe being in love with my own dreams is my priority rather than following a person I'm in love with.
I enjoy having the attention of someone who likes me.  It feels good to be liked, makes the missing holes in my self-esteem feel a little less empty.  The problem with these types of relationships is I start disliking the person and somehow have less of a tolerance for their imperfections.
There is a third category that is quite common in China, relationships based on responsibility. 
In all of my relationships as they become more serious, as the weeks turn into years, my mind does start making lists about compatibility but my relationships are never about responsibility. 
Compatibility?  Like do we challenge each other with our topics of conversation, do we learn from each other, do we spend money the same way, do we handle conflict in a positive way. 
Responsibility?  My students often debate whether or not they should marry for love or for responsibility.  They come to the conclusion that responsibility is the most important.  There is a responsibility toward their parents, having their parents' approval and making their parents happy with grandchildren.  For women there is a responsibility to choose someone who will provide a good standard of living so that their future children can have an easy life.  A woman searches for a partner with a good job and an already purchased apartment.  For a man, he has the responsibility to have a good job and an apartment before searching for a wife. 
Two people find each other, look at the stats and boom are married after knowing each other anywhere from 2 months to a year.  The people I know who are married got married fast once they determined it was a good responsible match and approved by their parents.  They probably will never get divorced because responsibility is the most important even if their mate is cheating on them.  It is better and more responsible to be married than single in the eyes of many Chinese women.
A relationship based on responsibility, on children, on having an apartment, and a good job?  I don't need these things in a relationship.  I depend on myself for my standard of living and lifestyle.  I have the freedom and education not to be dependent on a mate.  I am lucky.
If I had to choose which category of relationship I would prefer?  I think it be great to have a partner whom I am in love with and who likes me back.  An added bonus would be that we are compatible in the things we value.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Lazy Days

Last Friday, I finished with my school duties and finished all of the goodbyes with students.  This week they are in the middle of finals too busy to say goodbye so it was good to finish those before their exams.  These days though every single day I have been having goodbye lunches and dinners with teachers and leaders.   
Through this four week process of saying goodbye to various people by having dinners, picnics, and hikes, I have learned that it isn't really about the goodbye and focusing on the thoughts that we probably will never see each other again, but it is more about spending one last moment with people, cherishing a laugh and a smile, sharing stories and food.  We never say goodbye even though it lurks in the shadows.  Instead, we are just saying, I like you and want to spend time with you.  Thank you for that.
I've been enjoying these lazy days of knitting funky red and purple socks, reading books, watching movies, slapping at mosquitoes, and cooking peach covered yogurt pancakes, using yogurt and baking soda to substitute for baking powder.
What no bike rides?  Yeah yeah...  I gave my smaller bike to my new sitemate who then let a student borrow it for the summer.  Caitlin gave her bike to a teacher, but the teacher has been studying in Xi'an.  I borrowed this bike for a year, and it was time to give it back.  I am without wheels and instead walked an hour to new campus.  I really dislike buses. 
My rice bags are packed.  I don't like that I have huge bags, more stuff than what I flew with to China, but what can one do?  When I came to China three years ago, I brought one fleece.  Now I have 2 homemade sweaters and a jacket, and several heavy pants.  Plus several Peace Corps books I forgot to return to the office during COS conference.
When am I leaving?  No idea!  I wanted to leave this weekend or sooner, like I could leave right now.  I am finished with my school duties and am packed and ready to go having finished all of my goodbyes.  What am I waiting for?  The official Chinese paperwork has not been signed nor submitted for my new volunteer position, so I am waiting for that approval before I can go.  It sort of feels like standfast in Guinea where I had to bike every day to a radio to find out if we were evacuating.  You spend day to day packed and ready to go, but not sure when.  Then one day boom, you get the message and it is time to leave. 
From the very first Peace Corps country I served in, I have been the learning the lesson that you can't control the events in your life.  Instead you just wait patiently and eventually something happens.  It all works out in the end.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sock it to me, China

If you have been following my blog, then you probably know how much stress, effort, and overtime, we have been putting into moving the Tree House, re-modeling the classroom into a library, and organizing it.  Last night guess what I learned....
This summer the Tree House has to be moved again, to a new classroom.
It is unbelievable!!!!  All those volunteer hours wasted.