The computer clock in the corner of this screen reads 1:34 AM when it's actually closer to 13:30 on what feels like a Friday, but is not. It's disconcerting how betrayed I feel by this machine for insisting on the wrong time. Especially considering I've set it to the proper time on at least three occasions, previously. Yet, here we are again, wrong time being checked and reaffirmed as the wrong time every couple of edits. I'm sipping a mug of hot water, a predilection that sounds far less eccentric to any persons who've lived in China, as I type on the ancient desktop that came with the apartment.
Sebastien's computer is sitting on the kitchen table, guts turned out, in the pile of rice intended to soak up the coffee he spilled inside it this afternoon.
You really have to feel for him--he has been working tremendously hard on prepping his two sections of Sophomore English writing and his Oral French and French Listening course, respectively. He was just putting the finishing touches on his latest presentation with twenty or so minutes to spare before class when his hand slipped and the coffee and cup made contact with the track pad and his slacks.
My phone is also broken and our hotplate just crapped out on us last night--on top of the two puters in two months that met their death by liquid! Death, I say! Liquidy death, of dooooooom. Technology has been pissing in my Cheerios lately, man.
But I can envision worse fates...
Globally things are really swaying along. I feel on top of my work load and am getting to practice my small talk around campus.
Being a white woman in China is kind of like being a D list celebrity....
People are like, "hey, weren't you in that ...thing...yeah, totally, can you pose for this picture?"
I may have just gotten off the train I've been riding for 24 hours. I'm likely sweaty, caring most of what I own on my back--all while smelling like second hand smoke and other people's instant noodles.
But sure, I'll pose for your picture. This is flattering! (Even if it will never make the front page of Reddit)
Some of my other white colleagues are less than enchanted by their rise from obscurity. When I ask them why, they say they don't like being valued for being exotic. They don't like getting invited out to dinner because it makes their Chinese host look good. They're not interested in what this will mean to your QQ or Weibo friends if you take a picture with them.
For me, like them, tokenization is something I'm renting. As soon as my stint is up, I go back to being regular boringly-named-Erin of no cultural significance anywhere in the western world. That doesn't mean that I don't regret not being able to kiss my husband in public or dress as provocatively as my Chinese coworkers without out it being news. I too have my, "stop staring at me" moments. Sometimes, I truly would rather just just enjoy a beer with my friend then practice English with a stranger. And should I feel like crying, I'd prefer be a true nobody than even a D list version of me. But I am borrowing these feelings from people of color and or actual celebrities.
It's good for me. I'm learning.
Kick-Starter project for a gluttonous amount of miniatures to paint and I get a bit of a tummy swirl anytime I think about it. I'm also beginning to enjoy instant coffee. I've had to work at it, but the adjustment was swifter than beginning to enjoy actual coffee. I love Chinese food. I love it. I may even enjoy it more than French food, if we're not talking apéro...
But seriously, the better I get at preparing the more and more I want to eat it.
And don't even get me started on our favorite Baozi/Jiaozi joint!
On Friday we're planing to host our first program for the community. My excitement is considerable. Halloween has never been a high stress holiday and so I'm always happy it's happening again. True, as a blood sport goes, it doesn't have the best candy--but candy it does have in droves. Seb and I are going to do a short presentation on the festivities, pass out some candy and screen a scary film.
On Saturday we'll head into town to try and appease the Techpriests with money and hope to retrieve data or more from both our paper weights. We've also got a dinner and KTV date with some PCV folks living over in Anning, should be memorable..
I guess all this ammonia byproduct in my breakfast bowl has really got me considering the transient nature of technology as apposed to how permanent it always feels. When so much of what I like to do by myself requires music, or a computer, or taking pictures or making music, how by myself am I really being? The fake time is now 4:22 AM.
So now, if you'll excuse me--Sebastien really needs a hug.