I’m walking to work everyday. I cross the bridge that feels to lead me from one time-zone to another. It’s like I’m constantly time-travelling! Why so? Because the part of the city where I live is new, clean and pretty wealthy on the eye. But as I walk to work, I cross the bridge to enter the part of the city that’s pure, authentic and ‘real’ – or so it feels to me anyhow. I love to leave the modern apartment and walk and I love that the landscape of the city changes constantly.
Everyday, I see the same man with his donkey, selling apples on the same street corner. I greet the same elderly men and women that stand along the streets selling their vegetables, from 8 in the morning, until sundown. On Saturdays and Sundays I greet the street cleaners at 7 am, who are sorting out the rubbish with their bare hands, in the exact same spot, just before the fruit sellers arrive. I then am delighted to see the deliveryman whose doing the rounds, bringing fresh dairy to all the little stores I pop into to pick-up some one of the gorgeous bottles of nutty milk, that I’ve only every seen and tasted in this part of Asia. It’s the same routine, each day. But it’s one I love. It’s never boring, but everyday is new. The world outside my apartment, always tells me exactly how I’m doing and how I’m experiencing this job, my colleagues, the Chinese people in general and this life on a whole.
People will always stare. But mostly I’m unaffected. This tells me I’m on top of life and on top of the world. But once the stares get to me, then I know I’m either stressed about work or temporarily not loving the fact that I’m always a spectacle that others will love to gaze or stare at. The same goes for the language barrier. On days when I can deal with hearing mainly Chinese around me, I know I’m good. But on days when I really want to tell the taxi driver to shut-up, when he knows I’m not understanding because I’m only replying in English, then I know it’s time to step away from China, because either the job is tiring me out or I’m simply out of focus, not on top of language barrier and needing some distance from this sometimes hectic world.
But the fact that this world feels to be speaking to me everyday, is something I love the most… In the literal sense, the Chinese people will always speak Chinese to me, whether I reply or not, whether I understand or not. They’ll never understand that I don’t understand. For some reason it’s beyond their comprehension. But I DO understand what it means, when hearing Chinese rambling and my ability to stay SANE when NOT understanding any of it. If I’m hating the sound of the language or if it’s doing my head… it’s time for me to stand back and temporarily ‘leave’ China… If I’m loving the sounds and not feeling misunderstood, even WITH the language barrier – I’m on the ball and everything is brilliant.
It’s only happened on 2 occasions where I really felt I CANNOT DEAL WITH CHINA TODAY! And luckily those moments were on my day-off! I have my apartment where I’m able to only hear and see things that give me temporary ease.
So, China speaks and I listen; whether I understand the literal Chinese language or not. And I’m taking the first steps towards MAKING MYSELF UNDERSTOOD… So soon the day will come and I’ll be starting lessons!!!! Yes! To be precise, it’s going to be happening from next week Monday. I’ve got a private teacher, a gorgeous lady by the name of Jessie. She’s from Jinzhou and has been teaching many of the Western teachers, over the past years. I’m excited to get started, even though I’ve realized that Chinese is the most challenging language in the world to learn… And it can take years to become fluent… Maybe I can be an exception… Hummmm. I’ll see how it goes. Don’t want to get too far ahead of myself!
So, as everything continues to fall into place and I work on creating whatever kind of life I feel comfortable with, the lessons I’m giving in school, are also the best they can be, at this moment in time. I love what I’m learning and I’m pleasantly surprised by the ease I find in this teaching. The kids are slowly warming to me, the planning of lessons (which is something I’ve always struggled with in the past) is getting easier and easier and so it’s taking up less time and less stress and freeing-up my energy to focus on other things… Such as: Publishing a book!
Wouw… Yes… the agents are still being sought and the internet is still being surfed on a regular basis and it’s still going to happen. The more settled I feel here in my space, the more focus I can give to the book publishing process. I haven’t neglected my baby throughout this whole adjustment! I still nourish her, I still give her attention and she’s still being introduced to the world. As I ‘speak’ I’m posting off a sample of the script to an agent in New York, who requested a review… So, it’s still unfolding and the book is still very much a part of my life… it always will be…