Thursday, June 14, 2012


Goodbyes are strange
Many said in a lifetime
Poof gone forever?

I am off for a new adventure in Yunnan Province, Kunming first, Lincang, then Yunxian.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Night Before Goodbye: Haiku 11

all day at office
subway, bus, and paperwork
banquet with college

Today I went back and forth from home to the PC office twice, each leg of the trip from 30-60 minutes.  I didn't bring my bike helmet coz I had thought that if the bike helmet was raggedy we didn't have to return it to the office.  Unfortunately I was wrong, so I had to return home, grab the helmet and go back to the office. 

Dinner was a delicious feast of expensive Sichuan dishes, lots of fatty pork then ice cream and coffee at Ikea to say goodbye to my host sister, counterpart, and sitemate.

Today I've been in a sour mood, trying to protect my heart from feeling which resulted in a stoic, blank gal who had a distracted aura about her unable to concentrate on the people surrounding her trying to keep her company one last time. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Countdown to Goodbye: Haiku 10

Waiting till home leave
to buy a new computer
Job provides PC

I have almost checked off everything from the list of things to do before I COS on Thursday except for one big anxiety of should I purchase a computer that costs at least 200 USD more than in China.  Today I learned three wonderful things:

1.  Teach for China is working to get their staff all on PCs which means they might purchase me a work computer.
2.  I will start work this Saturday.
3.  This summer I will probably be staying in a job provided hotel which means I won't have to spend my new salary on housing.

Today was a good day.  I went to a museum and looked at vintage photographs by famous photographers.  Even though my bike is broken, I still got a lot of exercise walking in the sun from the subway to tea houses, a museum of Chinese paintings and hot pot restaurants.  I have finally been contacted by Teach for China and learned some great things.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Countdown to Goodbye: Haiku 9

Bike rear brake box died
After 5 noes by 5 shops
I have given up

I got an ancient looking used clunker last summer for 100 RMB ($16) and it has slowly been falling apart.  The chain falls off at least once every day.  The chain guard fell off several months ago and now the back wheel is extremely stuck.  It won't move unless the chain is off the gear wheel, and I am assuming it has something to do with the contraption that is attached to the back wheel which might be a band brake. 

Anyways, I don't want to waste time wandering the city looking for someone to repair my bike getting fed up with no after no.  I'd rather sit, read, write, and relax this last week as a Peace Corps volunteer.  I'm trying to treat these days as vacation before starting my new job next Monday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Countdown to Goodbye: Haiku 8

Yogurt granola
Tea for hours among friends
Sunshine heating peace

Sunday brunch followed by hanging out.  Twas a good day.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Countdown to Goodbye: Haiku 7

Loved the 1 hour run
And whole day biking in sun
but two goodbye meals?

Today was an awesome day browning in the sun biking from 8 to 8 around the city stopping for gifts for and meals with friends, but little things seem to keep falling apart.  First it was my flat's electrical sockets, then it was my school loaned computer, and now it is my bike.  The back wheel is stuck tight and will not turn.  It was a long walk back home when my bike broke down.  I also feel my personality, heart, or mood is somehow breaking down too.  Not exactly sure how to explain what's going on.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Countdown to Goodbye: Haiku 6

Goodbye to students
Hugs, Kisses and I love You
Emotional times

I am not sure if it is because they have watched so much western TV or listened to so many English songs or if it just the Chinese way, but for some reason my students as a goodbye would say, "I love you," followed by hugs and kisses and tears in the eyes.

The students hosted a 2 hour goodbye party with entertaining dances, songs, and games.  Without prior notification, I had to do a performance on the spot.  Thank goodness for my kungfu.  There were eating contests both oranges and watermelons and balloon games.  They even had a 2 tier cake.

Gifts:  A T-shirt had a huge group photo of the students and I.  A second gift was lovely black Chinese traditional shoes with a peacock embroidered on them.  The third environmentally friendly gift from the class I taught about trash was a video, a 10 minute creative production of students using English to give me their goodbye messages.

For the last class of the term, we went to an open and un-gated golf course where we were chased off by guards.  We then went to a grassy hill beside a river alongside a castle to have a picnic, little Germany.
I think the biggest difference between my Gansu students and my Chengdu students when it comes to goodbye parties is singing versus dancing.  My Gansu students sang while my Chengdu students danced.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Countdown to Goodbye: Haiku 5

Haiku 5
Electric is back but
virus killed the computer
with a reboot loop

In the past 4 years, I have witnessed six computers killed by viruses.  The last time I bought a computer was in 1999 and now i need one for my new job.  Maybe it is the lessons of fate and experience that are whispering, "Do you really want to turn a blind eye to the content control software in many mainland computers that are being sold?  Bite the dust and pay the extra cost of buying one in China.  A Golden Apple may be your only choice."

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Countdown to Goodbye: Haiku 2-4

12 Haiku to Goodbye
Haiku 2
volunteer no more
CONSUMERISM takes over
books will be first
I've started browsing on-line bookstores searching for new books my favorite authors may have published in the past 6 years.  I am excited about the idea of reading books that I want to read and not just forcing through whatever I can find.  Michelle Tea has a new one as does Alison Bechdel, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Murakami.
Haiku 3
Finals done and graded
But sockets keep shorting
Excel inputs wait
I can't find the breaker box.  Every time I turn on my computer it blows a fuse and the night is spent reading instead of surfing.  The next morning a repair man comes while I'm out and upon returning home, the computer is switched on and a fuse is blown.  I feel like I'm in a cycle that is preventing me from leaving Chengdu with a peaceful flow of finishing school responsibilities, packing, and goodbye parties.
Haiku 4
Jog turns into 1 hr
Passing shufflers at 6 am
When will I be slower?

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Countdown to Goodbye: Haiku 1

Haiku 1

Rain postpones long jog
Racial safety, cultural maintenance
Brewing in cafes

Today I read an article by Lynet Uttal called "Racial Safety and Cultural Maintenance, The Child Care Concerns of Employed Mothers of Color."  There were two main ideas addressed.  The first idea was about how mothers seek out child care providers who consciously develop a multicultural curriculum that would aid in keeping their children safe from racism.  The second idea was a concern of how to retain and/or retrieve traditional cultural practices and values.

I wonder if maybe one of the reasons why it is easy for me to remain in China year after year is because there is comfort in being around racially similar people even though we are culturally different?  Maybe there is a sense of racial safety here.  Maybe there is a sense of cultural maintenance too where by living in China satisfies some subconscious desire to retrieve traditional cultural practices that are dictated by my physical features?

Or maybe, I just like the lifestyle of being able to walk and bike everywhere and live on $250/month, rejecting consumerism.