Ok, let’s try again. All I want to do is record what I’ve done, roughly. It’s all I can do to not spiral into being angry about everything, because I could type for several hours straight and not even be done with the tip of the iceberg.

Yesterday was Sunday. Sundays are our day off. We work from 9-5:30 six days a week. Um. Three “lesson” periods in the morning (9-9:45, 10-10:45, 11-11:45), then lunch, then the kids have enforced naptime and we sit around and use the godawfully slow internet at the college, then we entertain them from 3-5:30 with games or something. Those days are really long. Oh, and one day a week, we have to stay till 9pm and organize and run some kind of evening activity. (There were going to be 3 evenings a week, but we said “fuck no.”) Tomorrow we are doing holidays; each class will decorate their classroom in the afternoon, then in the evening we’re going to take each class to each room and talk about the holidays. Mine is Thanksgiving. I’m going to have them draw turkeys by tracing their hands.

Um. Yeah, the summer camp is held at a university, and the kids all live in dorms. There are six of us foreign teachers here (Lindsey, Paul, Vanessa, Anna, me, and Ryan), plus one more random other guy who’s been living here teaching English for 10 months named Aaron. Aaron gets paid. No no, I’m not going to spiral into my bitterness loop, I’m just going to try to talk about what I’ve been up to.

This week we’ve played Capture the Flag with our kids, we’ve gone swimming, we’ve played the “shoe game” icebreaker from Seekers with mixed success, I switched them from book 3 down to book 2 after finding out that they hadn’t learned tenses yet, making book 3 obviously too difficult for them (they all wrote “we are going to having lunch” in the workbook and that is how i found out), I taught them “there was a tree,” which we sang in 4th grade on bus rides during field trips, I taught them tongue twisters and made them sing “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck” faster and faster, I act crazy, many of the students are very very interested in me because I look Chinese and they keep asking me if I can speak and I get stressed because I don’t want to lie, and I want to speak in Chinese to them because… because… because I think it would be fun?, but I keep trying to suppress the urge to.. no no, no downward spiraling… well it’s cool to have them come up to me and for me to explain that my parents immigrated, and my siblings and parents and i all live together in the States, and I was born in America, and I speak Chinese with my parents, but we kids don’t speak Chinese to each other… one of them commented, “so it must be easier for an only child in America to be better at Chinese, because if they’re at home, they’re more likely to use Chinese because they’ll only be talking to their parents, but if they have siblings they’ll only use English” which made me think a little…

It’s cool and stressful to be a foreigner Chinese in China. The kids are fascinated and ask me lots of questions, which I don’t mind. People on the street and vendors and people in restaurants are fascinated too and ask me lots of questions, which I mind a little… I have to explain the concept of immigration all the time.

me: can you help me order something?
guy at restaurant, rudely: can’t you see the menu’s right there?
me: i can’t read.
guy: what do you mean, can’t read it?
me: i can’t read it. i’m a foreigner.
guy: but you look like a Chinese!
me: yes, but i am a foreigner.
guy: but you don’t look like a foreigner!
me: yes, that is because i am an overseas Chinese.
guy: but you don’t look like a foreigner! you look chinese!
me: yes, fucktard, that is because my parents immigrated to America. I am just like you, except I was born in America.
guy: but you don’t look like a foreigner!

I don’t understand why the concept is so difficult. People in China really think that ALL people in America are blond and blue-eyed. They really do.

Yesterday was Sunday. Oh yeah, that’s what I was going to talk about. So yeah, since that was our first day off this week, Ryan and I went to a road called “beijing lu” (er, beijing road), where there are lots of shops, and these holes in the middle covered up by glass showing the actual excavated road and the site of the gate to Guangzhou from the song and ming dynasties. pretty awesome that what was the main road then is still a pretty main road now. and you could see the different levels of the roads from the different dynasties… well, i enjoyed it. we ate at a japanese restaurant, we saw the chen jia ci (a temple made in the 1890s with money collected from any family with the last name chen in Guangdong and filled with gaudy vases and sculptures and wood carvings… it was fun), and ate at the vegetarian restaurant we found last week. oh yeah, we’ve been sampling a lot of vegetarian restaurants. turns out there are lots of them near the Guang Shi Temple that we went to in that other livejournal entry on one of our first days in Guangzhou. Vegetarian restaurants are just so much easier than going somewhere and having to explain for 10 minutes that Ryan’s a vegetarian, AFTER explaining for 10 minutes why I can’t read the menu.

me: This guy here doesn’t eat meat. Do you have anything that he can eat?
guy at restaurant: What do you mean, doesn’t eat meat?
me: He is a person who only eats vegetables.
guy: What do you mean, only eats vegetables??
me: He doesn’t want anything that has ever touched meat.
guy: Oh, only eats vegetables. Well, ok, there’s this dish here. Beef noodles.
me: Um. Beef noodles have beef. He doesn’t eat beef.
guy: what do you mean, he doesn’t eat beef?
guy: not even… mcdonald’s?????
me: NO!!!!!
guy: well, ok, this only has a little bit of meat.
guy: well, ok, we’ll make him a noodle soup with egg and tomato. he eats egg, right?
me: yes, egg is fine, but don’t use your usual soup stock that is made from meat. he doesn’t want stuff that has ever touched meat.
guy: eh, he can just not drink the soup.
me: ARRRGH!!!

It’s kind of fun. We even knew it would be like this, cuz all of Ryan’s tourbook/phrasebook thingies said so (the Chinese think that foreigners are rich and stuff themselves with meat every chance they get, the Chinese think it’s really weird to just be a vegetarian, if you say you’re vegetarian they’ll give you a meat dish and think you’ll be ok with picking the meat out…)…

You’re going to be really mad at me, but I’m going to play Warcraft now. I haven’t for a very long time (even when I was in America, because all my time was consumed with WoW). I think it’ll be relaxing for me.


  1. Hahaha… the meat-dialogue hella made me crack up. This one time my family went to Loon Wah (the place on Sunnyvale-Saratoga) and the guy my sister was dating at the time couldn’t eat pork, so my dad was trying to ask if there was pork in the fried rice. And she was like “yeah, but just a little, he can pick it out.”

    1. wilson, a guy from lynbrook class of 2000 is the son or nephew or something of the people who own loon wah. hee hee.

      at least she said “yeah, he can pick it out.” once (in america!) we (my family plus ryan) went to a sichuan restaurant and asked for VEGETARIAN mapo tofu or whatever, and it came with meat cuz… yeah, he was supposed to pick it out and make it vegetarian himself. hehe

      i have taken to telling people at restaurants that he is like a monk. at least that makes them laugh.

  2. Hi Judy! I just wanted to thank you for your updates, because I’m enjoying reading about your experience (not in the taking pleasure in your misfortunes way, though).

    1. hehe. i’m so… disorganized and scattered… i’m running around all day, and then i run into an internet cafe and type as fast as i can for several hours and my brain gets totally mired in it and i forget what reality is, and i keep complaining about the same things. but i guess it’s ok, as long as i’m telling the truth about what i’m feeling, or whatever, right? hehe. i’m glad that you’re enjoying them. thanks steve-o. =)

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