Tuesday, November 15, 2011

5 ( or 6) Things (and a THANK YOU)

5 questions for me, by me, about China.

1.) Something I've never mentioned in this blog before: I've really kind of fallen in love with Cantonese culture. I am "Team Cantonese" all the way. I want to learn more about it. The language, the history of the language, the history of Hong Kong, Macau, (and yeah Guangdong province too), etc, etc.

2.) Something that scares me here: Clothes shopping. I would just rather shop alone- just browse without any assistance. But here, that's not always possible. Especially as a foreigner. I feel like the shop girls are often at my back, trying to get me to buy something no matter how often I may tell them "Wo juh shi kan kan" ( "I'm just browsing"). I just dread it and end up putting it off .. until I've washed my clothes so much that they start to rip ( or wait to go shop in Hong Kong - where it's a little easier). It's a mixed bag though- some shops are easier than others to browse in. Today I went to "ONLY" and "12-City" ... just to "kan kan". The shop girls in ONLY were all smiles and asking "Ni seehwen ma?" ( Do you like this?..) and easy. The experience in "12 City" felt more like an interrogation. An interrogation without words.  The shop girl there just seemed to be at my back at every turn. It was unnerving and made it hard for me to truly focus on what I was looking at. To block it out and continue to look around without being distracted I played a game with myself.

Do you want to hear my silly game? - I pretended that I was a celebrity. A new celebrity to the celebrity scene. Not like a "Beyonce'  or "Mariah Carey" who could shut down stores. I pretended that the shop girl was a paparazzi who had entered the store and was at my back because I was that "new story"... that "fresh meat" ... and she was intent on making a quick buck off of me.  ( silly as it may sound this "meditation/visualization" actually helped a little)

3.) Foods that I miss back in the USA: shrimp cocktail, NYC bagels, and guacamole. 3 completely random but true things. I actually don't miss much in the way of food - just those things. ( And I miss lychees here in China- because they're not in season now, won't be until next June/July. :-/)

4.) Something that has surprised me about Foshan: IT. GETS. COLD. HERE. ( at night). We are in Southern China and I guess I just assumed that it would always be hot and/or rainy ( a fair assumption because it usually is... during the day.). The spring and summer were very hot. We are in November now and the days alternate between being breezy and cool and sunny. Right now I am wearing a pair of black capri pants, a tank top with a loose t shirt over it, and flip flops. I originally left the apartment in jeans and a long sleeved shirt and sneakers but went back and changed b/c it was too hot. However, at night it feels like the sun gets swallowed by the "Frost Demon". The apartments aren't heated here and without enough layers ( and a space heater) you definitely feel it. It has not been uncommon for me to go to bed in 3 layers of clothing. One night I even wore two pair of socks to bed! I've never even done that walking in the snow in NY. I KNOOOWWWW that they sell space heaters here- saw them in the "Park and Shop" ( grocery/home goods store) near my apartment today. I'll probably buy one tomorrow.

5.) My Favorite US Holiday: Christmas. (with the 4th of July and the US Presidential Election Day tied in a close second). I never thought about it much before I left the US, but I already know that Christmas is the holiday that I will miss the most this year. My TA Dona has already invited me to spend Christmas with her and her husband and daughter and two of their friends who also came here from Russia/Uzbekistan. So I'm looking forward to that, that will be nice and it's sweet of her. I'm going to need some distractions because (we all know) there's no place like NYC at Christmas. The lights, the store windows, the skating rinks - Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, The Tree. Even going to church with my family- the rituals-  will it be midnight mass or 6pm mass? seeing the manger, seeing the poinsettias- the beautiful combinations of red and white and pink potted plants -on the alter, singing the songs....

... hmmmm and THAT would probably be #6. on this list of "5 things" here- Having a Church/Spiritual Center to go to. I miss that. Over the years, I've fallen into the habit of only going to services during the holidays. But I consider myself to be a prayerful and spiritual person in general. I pray on my own but I also enjoy being in with the community sometimes - going home to my parents church and seeing their friends and people I know there. I don't really think that I myself am "Roman Catholic" anymore - but I do like the rituals and the songs and the community at my parents church.  I like to see them interacting with their community there. I don't really know where I fall on the spectrum- and maybe that's why I never took the time to find a church in NYC. Even just a reiki/meditation/chanting/singing center that recognizes the "divine" in life without any specific dogma attached to it would be nice to find here...

*** (speaking of prayers- I know that some people sent some out into the universe and so I just want to THANK YOU for your prayers regarding my safe travels to and from Macau, as you can see from this post, I made it back to Foshan safely and without having to pay any extra fines/fees. Also, THANK YOU for your prayers for Lisa. She sent me a QQ message the other day and it turns out that she has found a job working for Land Rover here in Guangzhou ( a bigger city that's just few subway stops away from me here). It looks like a promising move, with more opportunities to make some international connections. She's helping out at an International Auto Show going on in Guangzhou this month. So I'm ... hopeful that this move will lead to more...international moves. (and I'm very happy for her and so proud of her. She works hard.) ***

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