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One Taxi Window

rain 72 °F

I asked my family's driver if I could borrow his Linkin Park CD...IN CHINESE. He understood me the first time. It wasa semi-complicated sentence, so it was sort of an accomplishment. Hooray! And now I have the CD on my laptop. Win. So I basically lazed around on Sunday. I really don't even remember what went down until my sister randomly called me (I was home alone all day again) and asked if I wanted to go shopping with her and my host mom. I just wanted to leave the house, so I agreed, and I asked if I could bring Alexis. She took a separate cab and met us there, so when my sister, host mom, and I got to the mall, they got out of the car and told me I could wait in the car for my friend...okay...? I'm glad that they went off on their own though because the mall mostly had American designer brands, and it would make no sense for me to purchase such clothing in China especially since it costs more here than in the States. We basically bought random food and sat around and talked. Because it's the American (teenage) way! My host mom bought me a shirt. It was weird. You're never going to see it because I wore it once to please her, and I'm going to give it to my friend once we're out of Harbin. The shirt says "dance dance dance w/ me" in black letters against a white background and has a vest thing that only exists on the front of the shirt, and it's brown/pink plaid. It sounds uglier in description than in real life. It's not horrible just not my style.

Okay, so a lot of you have probably heard that once you dream in a language, you have probably grasped it pretty well. What about dreaming in Chinglish? Does that count? Because I definitely had a dream in Chinglish in which I asked my sister if people said "He ping" (peace) in the same way that people in the States say Peace Out. It was so random. I'm pretty sure the rest of the dream was in English. But then I had a dream the next night, and it definitely had Chinese in it. I woke up and realize that the Chinese in my dream was used incorrectly. It was pretty weird. I'm still a little confused. So on Monday, school was a waste of time. We didn't do much of anything in class, and then we went to lunch early to learn to make jiao zi (again for me). Everyone was snapping at each other especially a lot on Monday. I don't know why. I think we're all (not so slowly) going crazy. I have to laugh sometimes just because everything is a little bit ridiculous. OH. and Friday morning I came back from my run, and I couldn't take a shower because my host mom was using the bathroom...TO WASH CLOTHES. She said she would be done soon. And then she combed her eyebrows(?) and was doing all this random stuff while I was standing in the doorway waiting for her to finish while probably reeking of sweat. Oh. I was so irritated. Also, I've noticed that my host mom often showers in the dark (at night) with the door unlocked. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm supposed to know when not to open the bathroom door. Another random fact about Chinese culture: apparently menstruation is a big deal. My friend told her parents that she had cramps, and they took her to a hospital (they don't have doctors' offices here) just to get Ibuprofen. And she's not allowed to play sports or have drink cold drinks(?) this week because she's a woman. LOL...so glad my family was not informed when I was having my period. I borrowed the book 1984 from my friend Alexis. The dystopic (not a real form of the word dystopia) government chillingly parallels that of China. If you haven't read 1984, stop reading my blog, and go read some Orwell!! It's excellent. I went to Alexis' house after school on Monday. First, we went to a coffeeshop, and I got ACTUAL GOOD COFFEE. Somewhat of a miracle. Wow I love all of my sentence fragments. Um yeah and this shop had environmentally friendly light bulbs, and that was pretty ku (cool). Then we chilled at Alexis' house till 8:30 when I took a taxi home. Hanging out was refreshingly normal. We went online and ate ice cream and chatted about life. It was very...American. Random side note: there's a Chinese show that we all have to participate in next Wednesday. It's basically a talent show. I don't want to do it. I wonder if I can claim to be talent-less. I really dislike talent shows :(. And I don't like being a zoo animal for random Chinese people. It's weird. Just to confused you further, I'm going to tell you about more things out of order! I had history class on Monday and Tuesday! It was really cool and educational and almost entirely in Chinese (Maggie had to translate a lot. She's really good at Chinese). We learned about the Japanese doctors who performed horrible medical experiements on Chinese locals and POWs during WWII. I had never heard about it before, and it was really interesting yet horrible. I asked my host family if we could go to a museum in Harbin about it (there's one in this city bc it happened here), and they said we can go this weekend.

Nothing much has happened. Hanging out. Shopping. Random time-wasters in class that scream "we are disorganized and didn't plan a detailed curriculum. We don't know what to teach you, so we're going to show you pictures of a cartoon dog from a Chinese TV show, and read poorly translated wise sayings and puns from this show that make absolutely no sense." Yes. It's a long scream. Nothing else is happening I guess. I can't wait to get to Bejijng. Being in such a small group so class to the end is making everyone go a little bit mad. And it's pretty funny.

About the title of this post: halfway through my taxi ride home from Alexis' house, I realized I had been looking out of one taxi window the entire time. I do this often, but this particular time I stopped and thought about it. Purple elephants could be tap dancing on the other side of the cab, and I would would never know because I was so fixated on looking in one direction--the same direction in which I always look. Metaphorically speaking, this applies to how so many people look at things in life: single-mindedly. I'm sure I'm as guilty of anyone. So today, I challenge you: look outside the other taxi window for a while.

Posted by saralovett 14:25

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The literal translation for asking to borrow something amuses me :) Nice of your host mom to buy you a shirt, but strange that you didn't shop with her for it. While you are looking out multiple windows, you may find a hula hoop. One of many possible talents for the freaky American kid show.

by mlovett

Sara that is good lesson "looking outside the taxi", here we call it tunnel vision.
Glad to hear that you are going to the Chinese WW II, museum. China suffered many atrocities during WW II, especially those against women and children. The massacre of Nanking is the one I am most aware of.
Please tell your host father and mother that I have always had the upmost respect for Chinese people and the People Republic of China.
Love You

by PaPainTPA

Mom, what is the literal translation? Yeah, you would probably not randomly pick a shirt out for me unless it was pretty plain, and you know my taste a lot better than she. We're supposed to do something Chinese for the show. I don't know if hula hooping counts.

Papa, you would love talking to the history teacher we had the other day (if you spoke the same language). He told us a bit about Nanjing, but the unit 731 stuff was more interesting/appalling because I had never heard of it.

by saralovett

Sara, you have certainly looked out of the other side of the taxi. Just being in China forces you to see another point of view. I will miss reading your perspective on life when you return home. I look several times a day to find something you might have written.

by Painter68

If you want, you can just call me, Grammy :)

by saralovett

Thanks Sara. I will. In regard to your performance: people all over the world seem to want young people to share their talent. When i went to Belgium, at 20, I went to a social event and they wanted me to sing. Most of the people ther spoke French so I felt under pressure, but I did it. I think people in other cultures just love to see what young people around the world can do. You are multitalented. Good luck.

by Painter68

Sarraa! I'm about to email you back, but I just bought 1984 here! I only read Animal Farm by him so far, but 1984 is pretty good :D
Also, you were writing this post in the taxi?

by jennhuynh

yes! 1984 is so much better than animal farm...although, i read animal farm when I was 12 and didn't have a full grasp on all of the symbolism. ahhh text me about 1984 when you can. I just finished it today. No, I was not writing this in the taxi.

by saralovett

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