So, remember last week when I was all like, “I’m in love with China!”
And you were all like, “You’ve only been there a week and a half. You don’t even know China. Give it more time.”
And I was like, “Listen, just because you had that little problem with Bali a couple years ago, doesn’t mean you need to rain on my love-parade. China and I are made for each other!”
And you were like, “Why do you always have to bring up Bali? Really? I made a mistake. It’s not like you’ve never made a mistake. You need to let me heal already!”
Anyway, remember that?
Well, my feelings have changed.
Wait, wait. You can hold your “I told you so”s.
It’s not that I’m not in love with China anymore. We’re just kind of going through a rough patch this week.
Maybe we just moved too fast. Maybe we need to slow things down a bit. Maybe China is just scared of love and is trying to push me away. (Is that it, China? You don’t need to be scared! Hasn’t anyone told you that you deserve love?)
Since China and I are having such a challenging week this week, I’m borrowing today’s blog post theme from the fabulous Megan over at Bangkok Reality Smackdown. (Note, Megan, I said “borrowing” not “stealing.” It’s only stealing if I forget to mention your name and then forget to say nice things about you, right?)
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Megan’s blog, you really should. In her posts, she presents a challenge that she has faced while living as an expat in Bangkok, and then at the end of the post she awards points to herself and whatever she was “smacking down” (as the kids say). Usually her challenges involve potato chips of some kind, so that should be reason enough to read, right? Plus, she’s super hilarious. And she seems like a really, really nice person who wouldn’t mind my stealing… err… borrowing her ideas one bit. (Right, Megan? You’re welcome to borrow my ideas anytime! Want to write a post about your couch, knock yourself out! Don’t have a couch and want to borrow mine? Ummm… let me think about that and get back to you.)
So, here goes, people. I bring you: Sally’s China Reality Smackdown!
Sally vs. Cooties
Not to brag or anything (okay, maybe to brag a little) but my immune system has kicked some major virus butt this past year. Other than a run-in with some bad fish while I was in Luang Prabang and a few reoccurring allergies, I was hardly sick at all while traveling.
In fact, I was so healthy I started to get worried. I mean, who spends two months wading through muddy rice paddies and doesn’t come down with something?
Maybe, I had contracted some kind of super-mud-parasite and my body was slowly morphing into some half-woman, half-undead-muddy-Golem-like-creature.
Or maybe I had been bitten by a radioactive cockroach in my sleep, which had made me impervious to human ailments… and the apocalypse.
Or, quite possibly (and logically), I am a vampire! After all, I do have pasty white skin and find it hard to get out of bed anytime before noon. Sure, I haven’t had a hankering for human blood – but maybe only because blood doesn’t come in cookie-form. (And, if I am a vampire, I’d like to know where my book deal and HBO television series is, already).
Unfortunately, my superhero immune system was no match for the sixty sniffly, cold-ridden college students that I’ve had to come in contact with since starting work. Teaching is great and all, but walking into classroom each day is like walking into a huge, human Petri dish.
On Monday, I woke up with a sore throat. By mid-week, my head was all swirly — either from my illness or from the expired cold medicine I kept popping. (Sure, judge me. But I don’t know where to buy stuff in this country, yet!) Plus, I was all phlegmy and coughing and starting to become concerned. Does black lung still exist and what are the symptoms? What about tuberculosis? Can you get that from chalk dust? Or how about whooping cough? I’m pretty sure I have one of those three diseases… or maybe a combination of all three… or possibly some other disease that hasn’t been heard of since the Eighteenth Century.
Surely, it couldn’t be a common cold making me so miserable. I mean, this is me and my Robocop immune system here! We are impervious! We are not common.
Sally = 0
Cooties = 945
Vampires = 8 (They would have gotten more, but, frankly, I don’t really understand that whole Twilight thing.)
Sally vs. Work
Remember last week when I was all like, “Wheee, my job is easy!” And you were like, “I want your job!” And I was like, “Tough, you can’t have it! Or maybe you can… but not until after I leave in June.” And you were like, “But, why would I want to work there, if you aren’t there?” And I was like, “Oh, good point.”
Well, I take it all back, people.
My job is hard.
I mean, work is work. First of all, I have to plan all these lessons. Then I have to show up to class… on time… and in pants. And, in order to keep the students’ attention, I have to pretend to be all excited about fragment sentences or proper comma placement. (Okay, admittedly, I’m pretty excited about commas; I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a few well-placed commas? But trying to be excited about these things while battling black lung is, like, not easy, okay.)
Plus, this week my students spent half of the week writing papers, which would have been super awesome if the students didn’t then expect me to actually grade these papers. (What has our educational system come to? Why can’t students just be satisfied with the writing process. I mean, I was pretty satisfied with their writing process – mostly because it allowed me to spend forty-five minutes of class time staring numbly at the ceiling while trying to figure out why the fluorescent light bulbs kept swirling around like that. And were those unicorns up there, too? Yikes, when did the classroom become filled with flying monkeys? Umm… did I just black out?)
It’s now Sunday evening, and I’ve managed to get less than halfway through all of the papers I was hoping to grade this weekend. I’ve tried to be productive; I really have! But being sick and swirly-headed hasn’t made grading easy. (Plus, the flying monkeys got a hold of my red pen and it was just a mess, okay.)
It doesn’t help that almost all the students wrote ten times as much as they should have – I asked them to write a paragraph, and most of them handed in an essay. (Where do they learn that from? Surely, not me! Conciseness is key, kids!)
And, I probably shouldn’t have started drinking red wine somewhere around Paper Number Four yesterday. (I did it for the antioxidants, people! The copious amounts of chicken soup, green tea and Vitamin C drops that I’ve been ingesting for the past week haven’t helped a bit. It’s time to call in the big guns – red wine and chocolate! And, potato chips have antioxidants, too, right?).
Oh, yeah, and, this weekend, I learned I can get Hulu on my computer, which means I spent more time catching up on episodes of 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation than catching up on work. (Hey, I did it for my immune system! Isn’t laughter supposed to be one of those proven immune system boosters? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that one laugh is the equivalent five oranges’ worth of Vitamin C.)
Sally = 0
Work = 45 (which is the approximate number of essay-length paragraphs I still need to grade)
Red Wine = 16 oz
Liz Lemon = 25 oranges
Sally vs. Snack Food
I can never remember if you should starve a cold and feed a fever or vice versa. Plus, who the heck knows what you do with whooping cough? (Feed it? Starve it? Take it out for a nice dinner? Or is a whooping cough more of a potluck party kind of thing?)
Anyway, since I’ve been feeling pretty yucky, I haven’t been up to eating much. In fact, I haven’t eaten a single cookie all week. That’s seven days of no cookies! It’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore.
Instead, I bought lettuce this week.
And ate it.
This evening I went out to find dinner, and came back with a snack-size bag of potato chips, bananas and a bottle of Vitamin Water. Really, people, it’s like I’m on a diet, here — I mean, a snack size bag? What? Have I become a bird or something?
Nothing good can come from this. Okay, so it would be nice to lose some weight, but what if I lose too much weight and then my pants become too loose. I’m too swirly-headed to catch them if they suddenly fall! Then, I’ll be walking around pants-less in China. Great… just great. As if China wasn’t scared of loving me already!
Sally = 0
Snack food = 0 (those snack sized bags don’t count)
My pants = in need of a belt
Sally vs. the Chinese Language
Luckily, it hasn’t all been a huge loss for me this week. I did learn some Chinese!
Okay, don’t get too excited. I didn’t learn any actual words or anything.
My students taught me the hand signals used for the numbers one to ten. You can use these signals, like sign language, with vendors and people in restaurants to figure out how much things cost — that is, as long as everything costs under ten RMB, which is about one dollar and fifty cents. (Luckily, my tastes run pretty cheap.)
When I ate at one of the street stalls this weekend, I didn’t have to throw a whole wad of money at the woman in order to pay. Instead, she signaled how much I owed her, and I handed it over. How civilized of me!
Now, I just need to find out the hand symbols used for “Where’s the restroom?” and “Who wants to buy me a drink?” and I’ll be all ready for my new life in China!
Sally = 10
The Chinese Language = 10
Whoever wants to buy me a drink = 500
Sally vs. Her Couch
Wait, why am I fighting my couch? I love my couch.
Obviously, I’ve become too sick and swirly and disoriented to make any sense anymore. (I was making sense before, right? Right?! Great. The monkeys are back again. Dangit.)
On that note, I’ll leave you with my final score and a promise that next week I’ll hopefully be back to having my own blog post ideas. (Thanks for letting me “borrow” yours, Megan! Seriously, I owe you some potato chips. But I think it’s illegal to send potato chips from China to Thailand, so how about if I just eat a lot of potato chips once I feel better and tell you about them? Fair?)
China = 428
Sally = 251
Love = Conquers all. As do unicorns. (You can see the unicorns, right? Why is the ceiling swirling around like that?)