Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Awake

Sometimes I don't realize just how much time I spend alone.  It seems the interactions I do have with people are of the type that take a lot of social energy--teaching, trying to make myself understood in Chinese to shopkeepers and waitresses, lesson-planning and strategizing, trying to find the right words to talk with someone about the most important things, in occasional meetings with colleagues.  It seems like I'm tired after all these interactions, so I don't notice that really each is not too long.  

I've been in a bit of a weird mood these past few weeks; probably just the normal culture shock period kicking in, as it started just over a month in.  I was tired of Chinese food, tired of learning the language ( I don't think I learned a single word in the last three weeks), tired of answering the phone, tired of lesson planning, even tired of traveling, or planning to travel.  Just tired. So, as I usually do, I escaped into the world of stories; it all started with Star Trek on a rainy evening, then wandered into the Narnia series, then on into Harry Potter (still trying to dig my way out--I love it, but goodness, you get pulled into that world, and it's hard to get out again), then into a "How I Met Your Mother" marathon.  I did my work, but in any gaps of time, I didn't think; I tuned out.  I was just living for the next chance to tune out again.  

Anyhow, over the last few days I feel like I've woken up.  Suddenly learning Chinese seems like a worthwhile, nay, necessary pursuit--I'm really tired of the same three dishes I know how to read on the menu.  I've figured out two more just today.  I'm looking forward to next week's lesson; I've got several ideas I can't wait to try.  I want to spend time with people.  I want to get busy figuring out a trip to take during the winter holiday.  I want to let myself think again.  

Culture shock and adjustment is an odd thing.  

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