Home > Uncategorized > Wo zai pao Friday 9/25/09

Wo zai pao Friday 9/25/09

You know the drill–living in mainland China.  This is what I do when I’m not eating:

I met with both clubs, one meeting Wednesday at noon and including the rowdy back-of-the-room crowd from my EEP class, who dutifully volunteered for the tenor and soprano sections and one stranger and less relaxed group meeting on Friday. I wasn’t as relaxed either, as I had locked myself out of my office and was three or so minutes late, arriving to a room full of twitchy 17 year olds looking skeptical and expectant. In that situation, I decided the best course of action was to talk and smile a lot, even though I was shaken and mortified. The tactic did the job again, and pretty soon I had them up and singing (loudly, brashly on the men’s side, and mousily on the girls’ side).

On Wednesday, it took 10 minutes to persuade the Wednesday group to sing a chord all together, even when I was giving them the notes with a pitch pipe. After that though, I got them all to move up a half step together, which was slightly discordant—some people clearly didn’t get what was going on—but satisfying nonetheless. The Friday group didn’t get nearly as far, but livened up when I had them sing the round that we learned at PCPA camp when I was in high school.

“My friend and I were walking to our next class singing ‘Chum-chum chum—doobeedoobeedoo!” my EEP turned club member and self-proclaimed ‘Fan-ze’ (a pun on the Chinese word for rice, but also a bit of a tribute), Linda, said in front of my co-workers. They looked at me a little oddly. Apparently they thought the untrained musicians would be performing ‘Billie Jean‘ the first week.

H.P. Lovecraft got mixed with a DVD collection of eight Japanese horror movies, and I burnt myself out. So I switched back to memoir and biography—Stephen lent me Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains. It’s about Paul Farmer, a Doctor who works (worked? I don’t know, I’m not done) in one of the poorest areas of Haiti and spent a lot of time on ways to cure drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases and raising money for clinics in impoverished areas all over the world. I really like those Three Cups of Tea type books—a man (it’s always a man…) goes to a place in need and finds improbable ways to fill those needs, enlisting the help of a lot of crazies/caring people, both local and otherwise. Reading them helps me be able to put a finger on my dissatisfaction and remind me that this isn’t my final step. What a relief that is. When I first moved to Europe two years ago it was with a promise to myself that the places I went would grow more and more challenging until I was finally equipped to reach the furthest stretch of what I could offer and where I can exist. Zhuhai isn’t the last step, and neither is teaching privileged (albeit extremely fun and sweet) Chinese kids how to sing in rounds.

My co-workers and I have started training for the Macau half-marathon that’s happening in December, and I decided to buck up and go for a run into the village behind the University dorms through which our bus drives every morning and evening. Though I only ran for six minutes in and six minutes back out, it was a pretty big deal for me. The roads were paved, with concrete restaurants lining the road blaring techno from big black speakers behind barbeque grills. The telephone poles were maypole wrapped in green vines and flowers, peeking out from bright green grassy patches—the shag carpet of a giant—but they were still full of electricity. There was garbage, but swept from the road, and most of it had been reduced to ash loops.

That’s so bad for the environment!” One of my coworkers had gasped from the bus window. But I didn’t see any trash trucks. It might be bad for the air, but it was probably healthier for the people in the meantime than ever-growing garbage piles near their food and water and where their children are playing.

I’d gotten some stares, but mostly a lot of “hello-hello!”’s and some grins from the uniformed janitorial staff workers who were biking home from work into the village and probably knew exactly where I’d come from.

On the stairs back to my office I ran into Ryan from Whole Person Education. Despite my invade-his-office-expressed interest in WPE, Michelle the aspiring Chinese-English interpreter somehow got in after me and got invited to give a power-point presentation this Sunday. It’s in English though. I think it’s because she went to the village to look at his place when we were in apartment-panicsville (I’d given her the tip, granted), and he saw that clearly, she is braver and more hard core than I. I’ve never really been the jealous type, though. I really admire Michelle’s persistence and her ability to operate on her own without dragging the group of TA’s around with her wherever she goes.

Hey, I just ran through your village!” I said, to Ryan.

Beautiful, isn’t it?” He said.

I said yes, and asked him if he was on his way there. He said no, leaning back against the bars, lamenting the weekend of work he was going to have to put in for WPE training—8 hours Saturday and 8 hours Sunday. I told him I was going to attend the presentation Michelle was giving on Sunday.

Oh no, now you’re giving me the crazy look?” He laughed, asking me which look. “The ‘why are you doing boring work you don’t have to’ look?”

No I’m not!” he laughed again. “But yeah, why are you?”

I find it best when I really really want to get involved in something to go to everything even when I’m not invited,” I said. Jealous type maybe not. Brazen-sunnofagun-type, absolutely and always. My sting seems to have gotten me attention anyway. My default away message on g-mail is “Emily Einolander—and the spiders from Mars” and I opened my mailbox last night to a one-liner from Ryan that said “I like David Bowie :).”

Maybe not the attention I am after, but at least now I’m on the map.
Keep in touch everybody!  I’m going to Vietnam next week, getting out of the country for the national holiday.  Cars are already driving up and down my street shooting fireworks out of the windows.  So my update will be a few days late but hopefully very awesome!
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