2013 June 30 Sunday

Musings from 二〇一三年六月三十号星期天。上个月我是开始学中文的。现在我的中文不很好,可是每天九个或是十个小时我学习中文,所以我可能快可以说话汉语。对不起,我的中文还不好!

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is how infectious and poisonous negativity is. I’ve noticed that if I’m too often in contact with someone who’s more negative than positive, or with someone who bitches and moans about every little thing, then I start to take on that persona, that negativity starts to grow within me like a cancer. It’s difficult to remain positive, or to retain a good perspective. Especially now, it’s easy for me to lose perspective and become fixated on the bad things, e.g., having to clean up the dorm everyday instead of 3 times a week because we can’t keep it clean enough, or having practically zero free time during the week, or all the small annoying little annoying rules that keep me restricted. It’s easy to lose perspective that I’m given three squares a day (albeit shitty food, it’s still hot food), a clean, warm, dry place to live, totally comprehensive medical and dental insurance at about 27 dollars a month, getting paid money to learn a foreign language, not to mention all the bags of swag that I’ll get if I make it through training. It’s easy to forget that thousands of people want to be where I’m at. It’s easy to forget that there are hundreds of millions of people in the world who struggle to put food and clothes in and on their bodies. I’ve been trying to remind myself that for all the gifts that I’ve been given these past few months, wading through a little bullshit is an acceptable price to pay. Nothing in life is free.

I also recently realized that I place a high value on food. More specifically, I was watching a video on how to make a small dish, and I realized that I missed good food. 因为The food here sucks 所以 I am sad. Oh well.

普通话不太sexy的,but I am learning to enjoy its sounds regardless.

One thing I do enjoy about my class is that quietness isn’t seen as a bad thing by the teachers. Sometimes they come in and ask us why we’re so quiet (as a class), but I think it’s partially due to experience with talkative american students. I speak more often, but speaking is part of a language and can’t be overlooked. That I understand. But so far, being extroverted and gregarious hasn’t been expected, and being otherwise hasn’t been seen as being wrong, which is something that often can occur in american classrooms.

I think once I have a strong grasp of chinese (in, say, a few years), I’ll start to learn a new language. As much as I’d like to tackle cantonese, I think I want to take it easy, maybe something with an alphabet…perhaps korean? or french or german?

Everybody wants to be heard, validated, wanted, valued. Some people go about it the wrong way. I feel that the dylan song My Back Pages (“oh but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”) is pretty applicable to me right now; about 7-8 months ago seemed to be my peak of maturity, self-realization and -awareness, and motivation for self-progress and all that jazz. I feel like I’ve slightly reverted. I look back at what I wrote anywhere from 2 years to 6 months ago and wonder if the feeling of becoming less mature in my ways of thinking is real or imagined. I can’t think of concrete examples of what I mean, so this is all just jibber jabber.

I’ve noticed that now that I’m not reading books or watching movies as often, I find it harder to read between the lines and analyze them. My ability to critically view books and films is now pedestrian at best. Oh well. Ain’t no body got time to think like some professor anyway.

“Hydrate today to perform tomorrow.”

4 thoughts on “2013 June 30 Sunday

  1. Hey….Kick back, have a PB&J with chips and sweet tea (yup…old school), and enjoy the ride. Your in a good place right now. Nothing but blue skys. Good stuff. GF.

  2. 1. Read just for fun and escaping….you don’t have to analyze everything you read, your brain needs a break now and again and reading or watching a movie just for its sole enjoyment is what is required and needed….
    2. Enjoy where you are: there are things around you which can continually lift you up if you look for them and look at them….
    3. Go out to eat once in a while away from the provided food and treat yourself…
    4. Go out with people :0)
    5. Find a fun church to go to while you are there….the benefits will be huge :0)

    Love ya Caleb :0)

  3. Caleb, I made Quinoa today, and It actually turned out really well. I have a book of Selected Poems by Boris Pasternak that aren’t too long, short sind-bits (sp?). Would you be interested to read it? I can send it to you.


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