Yesterday I was not a fan of China. Grey skies and the type of stagnant air that makes you long for rain painted an oppressive canvas. As I walked out of the gates if Jimei University I stepped on a fish head. As it is not an ideal place for cooking I might have surmised it was some sort of voodoo hex, but I have been sagely instructed one is not to question why in China. When I had just about reached my destination of the dragon boat pond I passed a dead rat in the middle of the sidewalk. Actually what I should say is it was an ENORMOUS dead rat. The sinister looking kind, like the ones who were the bad guys in Watership Down.
Today the air is clear and the skies are bluer than I have seen them since arriving. Mountains I did not know existed have sprung up all around the city. New flowers seemed to have bloomed over night and the freshly manicured bushes are adorned in tiny white butterflies.
Here I sit at my Chinese pool. Actually I should call this Sharon's pool, like every great idea, I felt it needed to be copied. The blue tiles and crystal cool water make me feel certain the entire world is at peace. For the most part I have it to myself, the chinese are looking to whitten their skin. One of my students asked if my air conditioning was working when he noticed my bronze glow.
Every once in a while a Chinese man will come and do laps, but they leave. For a couple days I shared it with Sarah, an 8year old spitfire who was visiting from Shanghai. At this very ripe age she is fluent in her father's Lebanese Arabic, her Venezuelan mother's Spanish, French from school, Chinese because she has lived here for 4 years and English just because. For 2 delightful days she kept me, her parents and our two pool boys entertained. Without her the caretakers of the blue water and I can only muddle through brief conversations. I suspect they miss Sarah the most. My grading papers and writing is not so exciting, but at least I give Chen and Jack a purpose.
To that purpose they are true. This morning they are in swim trunks. Jack with a scrub brush making sure the nuances between the tiny blue tiles are white. Chen is diving through the deep end picking up leaves and rocks the vacum did not get... Every once in a while they call over to me "Teacher, do you need water?" or "Madam, ok?" I have made clear my name is Julie, but there they are, happy in their reverence. Today I am a fan of China....