Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just to get the wheels movin again...

It's been awhile... There is some good to it though -- I've been keeping myself pretty busy for the last few months.

The social life's changed a lot. I've met several expats through poker games, business dinners, and sometimes just an odd circumstance. The two guys I hang out most with are chris and johnny, because the three biggest ways I enjoy spending my free time here are also their favorite things to do -- poker, frisbee, and going to the gym. They also live very nearby.

They're both nice guys. Chris is from North Carolina, went to Haverford, and is teaching at a university like me. He's very charming and definitely a talker, but despite this, he finds himself getting people a little uncomfortable and sometimes angry at him. Johnny was born in China, moved to New York when he was seven, and came back to Wuhan after college for studying, though he still works as a teacher. Johnny is in great shape -- he goes to the gym very often and is really into frisbee and poker. He's definitely a smart guy and likes to control and set up things. Both of them have sortof been showing me the ropes of life around here.

It ain't all sunshine though. When my little sister got her first job, she was being shown around by her boss, a person whom she could immediately tell didn't respect her. She was introduced to a few of her coworkers, "Hey guys, this is Mimi. She's the new girl here, so she doesn't really know anything." Hehe. But it's kinda the same feeling when I'm with these guys. The conversations are usually more about them educating me about what impressions they have of life around here than anything else. That's fine, but the problem is that I'm not being perceived as a peer. If I try to talk about something else, it's quickly extinguished. If I try to tell a story, I get halfway through it.

I wish I was a clever writer. I'd probably try writing a book about living here and the relationships I've made. The clever part would come when I'd subtly indicate that my interactions with the Chinese people and with the Americans here are equal in the sense that a lot of what I say is falling on deaf ears. The Chinese, because they can't understand what I'm saying, and the Americans, because they don't really care. There's some strange common bond between the majority of people here that I'm still trying to figure out. Maybe it's because they're all teachers who, like me, spend the majority of their time preaching to a bunch of people who can't fully comprehend what they're saying. Or maybe it's because they're all americans, I mean I guess it used to be pretty hard to find people who listened well.

Don't worry though, there are exceptions. It's funny that the person whom I most enjoy talking to is still Ms. Han, who's command of English is, at best, basic. She still gets most of my social time, and deservedly so. She's a beam of energy, and is always smiling despite her shitty as hell job. I bring her flowers pretty regularly just to keep charming her for being such a great friend.

Other than all that drama, and teaching, the next biggest time-eater is that I'm getting tutored in Chinese. A girl, Li, comes over to my house twice a week for about 40 rmb/hour. My latest big accomplishment with Chinese -- talking with a cab driver for the entire ride to class.

Not sure what else to say. I'm still enjoying my time here very much. I guess I should say that I'll try very hard to get back to the pace of updating that I was goin at before. It's still pretty interesting to live here i guess :)

6 comments:

Garrett said...

Nice to hear from you again, Jenkins. Interesting on the communication issues - I think it would drive me crazy.

I ended up getting a new job btw. I'm working at a place that replaces old equipment for nuclear power plants. My current project is for Gorham's plant. It's going to be a 2 year project to replace a bunch of old computers that monitor safety parameters and such. It's 2 years because of all of the paper work - apparently just replacing a light bulb in a nuclear power plant requires about 5 forms to be filled out...

Tommy said...

yo dude!

Brody said...

Great stuff as always!

Evan said...

Thanks for the love, dudes. It's good to hear from you guys!

mj said...

hehe thanks for the honorable mention. i hated that job....FROSTY!!

mj said...

ps. maybe you should tell these clowns how you feel. oh sorry i forgot you're a guy and guys can't reveal their emotions. but you should.