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Thursday, March 17, 2011

An evolving routine

I’m finding my own balance when it comes to filling in my spare time. But to be honest, it’s not something I feel I have too much or too little of. I’m not bored outside school hours. I’m never lonely, even when I’m alone. I’m not really seeing work and spare time as separate. It’s like the teaching and everything outside of the teaching, just merge into one. But not so much in the sense that I take work home with me… however contradictive that may sound. I guess I’ve always experienced work as something I always HAD to hate doing… if that makes sense. It was always a hurdle in my days and never a time to enjoy. But now, it’s different.

I’m happy to go to work and I’m to come home to my apartment in the evenings. I don’t count down the hours to leave school. Instead, the teaching is simply one of the many things I’m here to do. Not a chore, not a burden, but something that is offering me a different life.

So I leave the apartment everyday, I walk, even with the wind blowing a gale and the temperatures still being quite icy on the occasional day…

The weather is up and down at the moment, meaning some days it can be still -3 and other days it can be +10. It’s hard to know what to expect… but there’s nearly always bright blue skies. It’s such a dry climate with a lot of wind. I like to think the sands from Mongolian dessert are being blown over the rooftops of the Jinzhou buildings, causing the sky to have a red haze and feel even drier. The sandy winds combined with the dirt from the construction and the congested traffic around the city can sometimes cause a feeling of having a cold, with stuffed sinuses and a blocked nose. But, that’s a small price to pay for what I get in return; a sample of Chinese life… as well as the urge to also start wearing a mask on my face, to prevent inhaling such dirt… (just like every person who either walks, rides a bike or drives a scooter). How lucky I am to be living in a relatively small city… Can’t imagine what the major cities would be like!

So… This is China. I’m experiencing normal living… I’m getting into the rhythm of teaching and combining work and all else around it, together. With this routine, I’ve recently been introduced to a place where I can get a 2 hour massage – without any appointment - that costs the equivalent of… 7 euros! Yes Yes Yes! I’d heard of the massage places around the city, but only 2 days ago I was brought to a traditional and homely massage place by a guy from work. Man oh man… Full-body and foot massage, followed by a traditional ‘cupping massage’… This ‘cupping’ is apparently a true Chinese experience. They have these glass bulbs and first they burn the oxygen out of the glasses, just before each bulb gets suctioned onto your back. I got 12 stuck to my back and it lasted for 20 very painful minutes. It serves the purpose of releasing the toxins from the body. These toxins are brought to the surface of the skin… and what the toxins do from there, I haven’t a clue! (don’t know enough about it just yet)

Throughout the whole process, I really felt sick. It was as if I was being drained and pressurized at the same time. I nearly threw-up… But thankfully got passed that very weak moment and continued to endure, what I only hoped was good for my health! Haha…

It’s now 2 days later and I can feel that the intensity of the massage has truly worked all of my muscles and my back is bruised like never before, with 12 perfect circles that are dark purple… hummmm… It might sound a little extreme, but it was amazing… Afterwards, apart from aching muscles, I felt so relaxed…and I’ve definitely found something I’ll be doing at least once a week from now on! Yay!!!

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