Ping Tracker

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Almost Home/Two Souls

Hey guys, I'm coming home in a few days! Today is September 1st!

Lately I've been sick and lonely - I was out in the rain about a week ago and got bronchitis or something, but it's almost gone, so hooray!

Not much to say about my time in Beijing other than that it's had it's ups and downs. I've been to see some cool places like the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, among others, I've eaten some great food (and some American food!!), and had some laughs with Guang Lin, the guy who I've been staying with.

I've also been lonely, homesick, and sick. It sucks being in a city where you don't know anybody and your only friend is at work all day 5 days a week and you've got nothing to do. Just gotta remember to keep it in perspective. There are a lot worse places than Beijing to be stuck for a couple of weeks.

The French have a phrase, "The man who possesses two languages possesses two souls."

I've had a lot of time to just sit back and think - maybe too much. I've been in China for 6 months and 9 days (I think), but it feels like I've been here forever. I've really made so much progress in my language and because of my language, I've really been able to fit into the Chinese culture and environment with few difficulties. When I think about home, I can remember every place with photographic clarity, but I can't remember the feelings I had - I can't remember a lot of the more personal stuff, the everyday activities. I've been really disconnected from America and I feel like I've sort of lost touch with my American side, my American 'soul'.

Until I heard that phrase, I never really thought about that before. Also because I never really pursued a language before until now. I just learned enough Spanish to pass Spanish classes. And speak bad Spanish on purpose to make my Spanish-loving sister angry.

But when you're in another language environment and you need to speak a different language all the time, the way you think changes. You stop thinking about translation and all idea of your native language goes out the window. You enter the mindset of another language, which is impossible to really articulate. The way you think about the way words are put together changes. The way you view words in your own language changes. The way you define words in your own language changes. You start to define English words using Chinese because it just makes more sense. The two languages and mindsets swirl together and, in some way, live in harmony with each other.

All the time, I am, in some way, thinking in that way. Even when I watch the English language CCTV channel or watching one of my American DVDs, I am thinking about how strange a language English is and why we say things the way we do and why are English and Chinese so different. How would the Chinese say these things and other questions are always on my mind. It makes my brain super tired....

I don't know if it makes any sense to anyone else, but to me it's very real and it's every single day's reality.

See you guys soon,


Don't worry about me - although things get rough sometimes, I'm trying to stay positive.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stuck in Beijing

Hey everyone!
So, in case you haven't heard, I am NOT back in the States yet. Right now I am stuck in Beijing, courtesy of Air China.

I booked a ticket for an 11:30am flight from Lanzhou to Beijing, but when I arrived at the airport in Lanzhou at 10am, I was told that the flight time had been changed to 10:35am and was boarding and that I could not get on the plane! So I got a free flight change to Beijing, and I had to do some negotiating with Asiana Airlines to arrange another flight, but the first available wasn't until September 6th, so that is my new homecoming date.

I am staying in a place called Yong Tai Xiao Qu 永泰小区, which is very nice, and pretty convenient. There are lots of restaurants and an internet bar and markets, but the catch is no foreigners and no English speakers. I guess it's a good thing, because I'm studying Chinese here and it's the perfect opportunity, but I really miss speaking English. I've been speaking Chinese all day every day since I got here on August 20th.

It's nice, though, to be back here. I can go to the rest of the tourist sites I didn't get to visit last time I was here. I still have to go to the Summer Palace and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum (did I spell it right?), then I'll be done with the major sites! It's also a good time to sit down and reflect about my trip in China - I've decided I want to write a kind of cultural guide book or something like that based on my experiences here. I've got like 40 something pages done, so I'm on my way!

Chairman Mao's Mausoleum - click to enlarge:

Anyway, the money on this netbar computer is almost out, so I gotta go, bye!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Sorry, I know it's been a really long time! I've been using my paper journal instead of my blog lately.
The signs that I'm going home are popping up everyday - people inviting me to their homes, but I won't be able to have time, saying goodbye to friends, people going home for the summer holiday. I've started buying a few souvenirs as well, which is something that I never really do. I'm more of a pictures kind of guy, I don't like trinkets.
I went to Guangzhou about a week ago or so. Guangzhou (historically known as Canton) is a cool city with a lot of history and cool places to go. I went to the BaiYun Mountain, the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, and some other places. The city itself is cool and very developed, but the people are pretty rude. I keep calling it the NYC of China because the people just weren't cool. 
I've been stuck in Lanzhou because I can't get train tickets to anywhere else - now is the peak travel time. I've gone to the train station the past 4 days in a row and still haven't been able to buy train tickets to Chongqing. I guess Chongqing isn't ready for me. I might go to Qinghai Lake instead. I've seen pictures and it looks pretty legit!
I've gotta go now, but I'll post a longer and better post tomorrow because now I'm using a friend's computer in his dorm.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...