madpen's journal

Sayonara, Beibei!

I have had much to report – about copied and pirated products/labels (for example there are 5 “Apple” stores near campus, and I bought a $120+ “Babolat” tennis racquet for around $50), about food (I’ve documented almost every meal I’ve had here), and about the state of the environment (horrifying).

However, I haven’t been able to put much of it on paper during the past few weeks because I’ve been preoccupied with something a little more pressing: what am I doing here?

Truth be told, my decision to take this cushy government scholarship was one of expedience, and was ultimately the result of my laziness in looking for other things to do last year. Upon accepting the scholarship, I did harbor hopes that the program would, at the very least, improve my Chinese. It has been doing so, but that’s about it.

I feel an acute lack of stimulation here. This may be symptomatic of my just having left the over-stimulating bosom of university life, but try as I might to read on my own, watch the news, etc., the environment here isn’t conducive to making me think critically or creatively. My classmates don’t help much: they’re wonderful and diverse, but, to me, they don’t seem particularly motivated or motivating. The location, a suburb of Chongqing, is full of people, but is a little too sleepy for my liking – normally, there isn’t much more to do in the evening than eat, drink, and sing karaoke. The weather is oppressive – perpetually grey skies hovering over a blanket of something suspiciously resembling smog (it certainly doesn’t smell clean).

Additionally, at this point in my language education, I find what they’re teaching to be less and less practical. I can already have a good conversation with almost anyone, and go where I need to go, and get done what I need to get done without a hitch. It’s time for me to put my Chinese into practice somewhere where it will be useful.

Thus, I am forfeiting my scholarship, packing my bags, saying goodbye to Beibei, and heading to the bustling streets of Beijing, where I have many contacts and will be in good hands while I figure out what to do next. I may work at an American company like Vermeer or Cummins, or volunteer for an NGO like Oxfam.

I am excited to go, but also sad to leave. I’ve made friends with some incredibly interesting people from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Siberia, Thailand, Laos, Korea, North America, Beibei and Chongqing, and saying goodbye has been hard. Luckily, as we all know, Skype and email easily help erase those miles and hours of separation.

I’ll be heading to Beijing at the next of next week, probably around October 30th. In the meantime, a teaser from a future food post:

A picture of one of the most foul potato chip flavors ever created…

Salty, artificial blueberry flavored chips. Yep, they taste just as awful as you’d imagine.

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3 comments on “Sayonara, Beibei!

  1. Dae Ro Lee
    October 21, 2011

    Haha blueberry flavored chips. epitome of failure of fake items made in China.
    Sounds like you are gonna be working for real soon. Congrats. Yea I was wondering how much longer you were going to study the language. haha I am sure you are fluent enough for anything. Good luck with you Beijing endeavors and enjoy the last part of your journey in Chongqing. As for me, the army life is going pretty well without having run into any sort of problems. I’ve been really lucky in terms of meeting nice superiors. Weekends, I’ve been coming back home and relaxing and resting. Been meeting up with Nam every now and then. He’s going to Korea University Med School. He’s set to become a doc in Korea. Let me know how work experience in Beijing goes. I am sure you will do well. Just don’t get to lazy. haha love from your brotha.

  2. Uncle Al
    October 21, 2011

    Hah! With potato chips like those, I would be able to end my chip-temptations forever. Glad to see you getting practive – as a wise person (anon) suggests: “Find what it is you love to do, then find a way to make money doing it.” May your journey lead you on that path.
    Keep up the journaling from the inside of China. I use your posts to regularly keep the adult education programs teach informed on the “other side” of the economic monster. Your voice is heard in Rochester, Minnesota!

  3. Scott Bressler
    November 7, 2011

    Wow, congrats on identifying the problem and searching for a new challenge! Best of luck in Beijing!

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2011 by in Journal and tagged , , , , , .
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