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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good Times and Being Content

So, it's been a while since I posted something, and a lot has happened in the past few days. I'll do a post tomorrow or the day after about the other stuff.

One thing that has been the highlight of my recent life was my trip to Bai Ta Shan, or White Pagoda (Tower) Mountain Park in Lanzhou.

It's located just north of Zhongshan Bridge near downtown Lanzhou.

Along with the bridge itself, it is a central landmark of the city. If you say, "Oh, it's by Bai Ta Shan," people will know exactly where you mean. 

Yeah, you can see from the pictures here, it's a pretty cool place - there's a lot of trees and shade, and it's pretty "new." 

Last year, it was being remodeled, so I didn't get to go to the park itself. I just got to go to another peak of the mountain range. 

I went with a bunch of Chinese friends and another foreign teacher. It was a great afternoon - a lot of laughs and a lot of new sights.  

The part is facing directly south. If you look at the picture here, you can see the gate to the park is directly across the street from the north-south running Zhongshan Bridge. Pretty much every important building, historical site, park, etc. has a gate somewhere, if not the main gate, facing north or south. 

That makes living in a city like Lanzhou easy. The river runs east-west, so you always can figure out where you are.

I had seen this exact picture so many times on the internet, but the pictures just aren't the same as actually being there. You just think to yourself, "Wow, I can't believe that I live here. This is such a crazy, amazing, polluted, wonderful, dirty, loud, and unique city. How did I end up here?" I did another post about "Seeing The Elephant," which talked about how it's impossible to understand these kind of feelings without actually being there. I hope someday you can come here and experience these things for yourself. It's great here.

You know, I came from a very small city of about 100,000 people, and to be in a city like this is a very interesting and wonderful experience.

It's so different from my hometown - Lanzhou has a long history and has a lot of special food and culture. I'm not saying that my hometown doesn't have these things, it's just a different kind of special.

Just look at this place - do you live in a place like this?? If you do, that's great! If you don't, try it! If you live in a big city, try going out to the countryside for a little while - find something different. It's been great for me, and I can't wait to try even more new things. It gives you this little rush - a little endorphin buzz every time you do something. It's something that can't be replicated.

Going to Bai Ta Shan may have just been a fun afternoon for my friends, but for me, it was a time to just be in the moment and reflect about where I'm at in my life right now.

I remember, just before I left for China, I was at church, and the preacher did a sermon about being content and not being restless in your life. For some people, they can find it in their job, some people can find it in religion, some people can find it with their friends, or any number of places.

For me, I am truly content in being here and continually learning new stuff and learning new things. I really wish I was my sister sometimes so I could pull out some crazy word from the Oxford English Dictionary to express myself, but I'm not, so I can't. I definitely miss home sometimes - my family, my friends, and the food, but I'm having a good time right now being a teacher and doing my China thing.


Well, that's all I have for tonight - I'll put up another post about some other stuff  this weekend!

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