Thursday December 20
Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas in China Land and thank goodness I have a few days to go to Hong Kong, because the China Police have ordered me here for my third visa since my disastrous robbery of three months ago. So now I get to say a few cheerful words about my ongoing love affair with the Hong Kong peole, their city, and Chinese culture in general.
The good Mainlanders, of which there are tens of millions, are also wonderful, with an unparalleled generosity of home and hearth. Yet here in Hong Kong I am never stared at, pointed at, gawked at, as I am in Shenzhen, so feel more relaxed and free.
Now if I can just scrub out the critical side of my mind, which has brought me zero dollars, I may one day be suitable for some type of Canada - China goodwill posting. Especially as I plan to start Mandarin lessons after Spring Break.
I have had a roller coaster year in Asia, though I put on a cheerful and stoicial face, and am becoming more and more Chinese, hah.
I have Chinese music, Chinese art, a Chinese home, and start the Chinese day with grass jelly and freshly made soy bean milk. I actually watch the women squeeze my milk through a strainer, that is how fresh the food gets in China, and if you are a meat-eater, your lunch will practically sit up and talk to you.
The roller coaster ride has included so many downs that any one of them would be enough for a normal year in the life of a normal person, which the fates have decreed some time ago that I am not. I was born with a caul, a sign of destiny.
I truly want to minimize the problems I have had here, and future plans include one home, one job, and meeting more people from my own culture because the psychological gap between East and West is too hard for me to grasp at time, I have empathy for Chinese that go to other countries, yet I need nurturance from my own people.
I began this website in August and noticed immediately how slow it was to register a website with major search engines. Because I was using a shared computer, I wanted to store all my records elsewhere, so threw a lot of rough, unedited writing onto the site. What a nightmare, because the browser in China blocked my access in late September, before I could edit the sour grapes tone, and spring forth with a China Beautiful attitude, more suitable to a brilliant career in Asiatic ESL teaching.
For three months due to the passport and paychecks robbery, I have been unable to get to Hong Kong to edit my journal, and in this interim my website Telemarketing Victims Talk! has become tops at Yahoo out of THOUSANDS OF WEBSITES, and me not making a plugged nickel out of all this Web Queen popularity. Cannot even get guestbooks and hit counters to operate.
So here I sit, late afternoon, at the Business Centre in Hong Kong, trying to re-cap three months at once, link the websites together, and edit and create at the same time.
It is Thursday, and I am happy to be here in Hong Kong. Two people who bumped into me have said Sorry, and I have had excellent service in English throughout the day. the weather is like springtime in Canada.
I have two new American friends, and with only several dozen teachers in all of Shenzhen, that should be noticed somewhere. Jonathan is a bright young American who is with a Chinese girlfriend, he has travelled into China family life. Elizabeth is a real teacher of quality and excellence, the most teacherly person I have met all year in working here. We may be spending Christmas together.
I am still studying Chinese music, the zheng, and am not progressing too quickly, I am now using both hands on my exercises, and the sound I make definitely has a Chinese twang to it.
More interestingly, since I was first a visual artist, I have discovered Chinese art galleries in Shenzhen, where the owners are not snotty snobs like so many art dealers in Western demorcracies, and love to sit and gab with me and tell me the stories behind all the paintings and works of arts.
The tone of this website will more towards the problems a woman faces alone in Asia, and also celebration of Chinese culture, Beautiful China, as well as detailing projected travels to places such as Xian, Xiamen, Old Shanghai, etc.
I definitely do not wish to be a poster girl for ESL teaching in China, as I feel the lack of support Western women receive here is a huge minus, and this can hardly be blamed on the Chinese, but on the sad fact that almost all white men here come here in search of a young, docile Chinese woman, and that factor is left out of our ESL courses.
Friday December 21
Last night I wqrked three hours on my websites after teaching in the morning, crossing the border, and travelling on the KCR, the subway, and the Star Ferry.
Then I had dinner at Delifrance, a salmon sandwich, a madeline, and two coffees, and bought seven pieces of clothing for twenty dollars Canadian in the discount stores of Wan Chai. Like a Chinese, I can squeeze a dollar till it screams. I bought a full length beige linen skirt, a grey long skirt, a beige cashmere sweater, an apricot silk shirt, a blue cotton sweater, a beige cotton sweater, and a green cotton top just because I liked the colour.
I then was happy at my hotel to meet a woman from London, her parents come from India, and a computer expert from Holland who was in Beijing to advise oil corporation executives. We talked about what fun it was to meet people from different countries in Hong Kong and are going to Cheng Chau tomorrow. I want to gather sea shells, sand, and ocean water for my new turtle pets who live in China.
I may not have a family here yet I do have three turtles.
Today was visa day and I had breakfast at Delifrance with the woman from Holland who is lovely to look, her colouring is dark yet so unAsian. Her hair is an unusual dark brown I suspected was dyed, yet it matches her eye brows perfectly. She is a handsome woman yet the Chinese would think she is big, a slender waistline, and tall, and well proportioned.
We think we will influence China and they will influence us, yet agreed it is large gap.
I expounded my new theory, that the Chinese do everything in groups, and have no emphasis on the dyad, yet we value the love between two people strongly; they have large families, and large work groups, and value security, the relationships that go on and on, whereas we value the one to one relationship that builds trust between two people.
Then I met Jonathan and we ran about finding the visa place near Hung Hom station.
We made it just in time and then went to see the new Harry Potter movie, my first movie since the spring when I saw a Julia Roberts film set in Mexico. I told him he was in the travel diary and he told me to give him another name.
Now I have to edit all this writing so am limited in expressing my joyfulness just at being in Hong Kong where the lure of the ocean air seems stronger. I feel so free here and yet the housing situation is untenable, and for the average Chinese family raising young children, a pleasant neighbourhood in my home city is preferable. Housing is very important in one's life.
Will be having a woman's night out doing something mild, like going for wonton soup or rice and vegetables, with the new travel friends at the hotel. Also met a young Brit who asked me if I was a poet. I told him that I was, and did not ask for further psychic information, as we both agreed how confusing it was to h ave this of gift, and how it is sometimes quite unreliable, how our own hopes and fear colour the talent. I told him I had lost my psychic ability.
For example, I had a beautiful dream last night of my own father, I was a young child, and he was tossing me into the air. I am so cynical that this could mean something awful has happened. He has been ill with cancer, and I have no money saved to go home to see him, and on top of that, Lesley and George who store all my writing and all my art, wrote me an urgent letter a month or two ago that my possessions should be moved. I am unable to do anything since I am in Asia.
The double time change factor in a short trip to Canada is ruination to my health, yet I have to do this. I have over 250 children between the ages of 3 and 5 that I must be healthy and cheerful for.