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life in Beijing

Time is starting to pass quickly here for me now, since I am in a routine. I am starting to be able to relax with my classes instead of dreading them/being stressed out. But sometimes the kids get all crazy, and you know I'm not a disciplinarian by nature. Iím just a huge wuss, and I'm sure the kids can smell it from a mile away... Anyway, the culture here is very mysterious. China is in a period of great social change. Everything is focused on a "new China", a "new Beijing"...the Olympics are to be held in Beijing in 2008, and everyone sees it as the big chance to finally be 'in' with the western world. There is a national push for every one to learn 100 words of English by 2008. Private enterprises are springing up (a new thing, everything HAS been run by the government). But a lot of business/everyday life is innertwined with how much 'guanxi' (gwan-shee) (something like connections) you have. The more "guanxi" you have, the better your life is. It is like mafia control, but socially acceptable. I don't really know how to describe it, other than it is not ethical. :o) Anyway, what have I learned about myself? I'm ugly inside. Some times after a day of shopping, with endless stares, people pointing, cries of "LAOWEI!" (foreigner!), I feel totally hateful. People want to practice their English with you, too. But some people only know "HELLO!" so they say it. Over. And over. And over. Until they can't see you anymore. I feel so mean towards them. But, for what? All they want to do is practice. (even though it is super annoying). Then after I feel hateful, I feel guilty for feeling hateful. And then onetime I cried at the post office because I was mentally tired from being in public and then we got ripped off by the fruitman and ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! They don't think twice about ripping off the foreign devil... That is all I can think of right now.

Monday, Oct. 28, 2002 at 1:32 PM

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