Monday, March 9, 2009

language salad

i sometimes forget how incredible the people i work with really are. most of them are learning their third language in 6 years. and most of them read and write as well as an average kindergartner/first grader in the states. that blows my mind.

today was one of those days that makes me really appreciate and love my job. i was joking with my student from hong kong that she could teach us chinese today, since our chinese teacher was gone. somehow our joke evolved into a 20 minute counting session in 6 different languages. i realized that almost all of my students speak a different language, usually in addition to english and chinese. between the 8 kids and myself, we represent 8 different languages. i find that incredible.

(it's so random, too. we've got the expected asian mix: mandarin, cantonese, japanese and korean, but then there's also polish, german and a touch of spanish. seriously, how many people do you know that speak english, chinese and polish?)

and they are so excited to share and learn from each other. i've started having one star student each week, who gets to bring a special show and tell, etc. one of the things i want them to do now is teach us how to count to five and say hello and goodbye in whatever other language they know. as they weren't awesome enough already.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

things i will forever integrate into my life

everywhere you go you learn new things and pick up new habits. here are some things i expect to integrate into my life after i leave china:
  • chopsticks
  • cooking with a wok
  • eggplant
  • sesame oil
  • butternut squash
  • kumkwats
  • family style eating
  • openness about everything
  • microwave baking
  • Chinese New Year celebration
  • seafood
  • boudzah if i can learn how to make it
  • tomato and egg
  • "no problem, no problem"
  • "ai-yo!"
apparently food is a very important aspect of my life...

we shall see if this list comes true...

things i will miss

these are the things i will miss about china when i go back home:
  • constant amazement
  • baodzuh
  • eggplant
  • constantly meeting people from all over the world
  • fun taxi drivers
  • asian-style/family style eating
  • chopsticks
  • dumplings
  • my kids
  • my coworkers
  • life with my roommates
  • my friends
  • liquid yogurt
  • dancing at zapata's
  • constant challenge
  • cheap produce
  • kumkwats
  • mandarin oranges
  • raisins - i know they have these at home, but they are so much better here
  • dried kiwi
  • body wash with whitening
  • constant attention due to my white white face
  • being able to claim cultural ignorance when i do things i shouldn't
  • having strangers ask to take pictures with me
  • awesome fireworks and their utter disregard for public safety
  • constant activity
  • street vendors
  • my bus
i'm sure this list will grow and change over time (it's actually much longer than i thought it would be already). it will be interesting to see what i actually miss once i have been gone for awhile. i'm sure there will be things i can't even imagine right now.

things i miss

6 months in, 4 more to go, these are the things i miss from home:

  • the blaze (oh, rock and roll!)
  • spaghetti sauce
  • cotija cheese
  • driving
  • wide open spaces
  • relative calm when i step outside my door
  • conversations with my friends
  • my mommy
  • all of my friends and family, of course
  • an oven
  • a clothes dryer
  • being able to be barefoot outside
  • wal-mart, target, old navy
  • cereal
  • swing night
  • the ability to read signs and converse with anyone at will
  • a natural understanding of my environment
  • central heat
  • whole wheat products
  • cookies
  • quality art supplies
  • efficiency
  • tortillas
  • quality merchandise
  • bayou goo and swirl
  • ivannacone
  • american gum
  • apple skins
  • Jimmy John's
  • swings
  • thrift store shopping
  • water fountains
  • Baha'is

i don't intend for this list to be negative. i think it is interesting to pay attention to the things you miss. they say something about you and your home culture. i had no idea how much i appreciated some of these things until i couldn't have them. i also find it notable that so many of these items are food. it makes sense to me that these are the things i would miss the most, since eating is such a basic need that i am reminded at least three times a day of how drastically different the cuisine is here. i'm not sure if food is the thing i actually miss the most, but it is definitely the thing i notice missing the most. i think people would rank right up there, as well, which makes sense since these are my two main sources of comfort.