I surprised myself with how mch I communicate in Chinese when it becomes absolsutely necessary. It s rarely necessary in Shanghai, but I can say and understand a lot more than even I thought! When I arrived, I couldn't get in contact with my friend. As I rode in the taxi, I saw a big hotel, part of a chain, which I had seen in Shanghai. I asked the driver (this conversation is all in Chinese)
"That room, how much is it? One day how much?" (pointing) "800 Yuan" He replied. "I need a room." I said. "You want to sleep?" He said making a sleeping motion. "I can't call my friend." The driver pulled out his phone, "I can call." "No. I can call, but..." and I made an X motion. 'So you need a room?" He asked. "Yes. I need a room. But I don't ike 800 a day room. I like 300 or 400 a day room" I said. So the driver drove me to a hotel, strangely, the very hotel I stayed in last time I was in this city. He went in with me and talked to the front desk people and helped me get a room for 400. The next morning, the girl picked me up and I am now in her place typing on her computer.
So why is this important? Well, you learn some things when you make moves like this. For example, the girl lives in a massive 3 bedroom apartment, with 2 roommates who went home for the holidays, and they each pay about 400 yuan ($60 USD) per month. I just paid that for one night in a hotel. That makes this place abot $180 per month and it is a very high quality room by western standards. You might be able to get a closet for that in Shanghai. Even in the Philippines one of my 2 bedroom places was about $400 per month and smaller. I had a different one, more local style, for $150 per month, but it was even smaller and of poor construction quality. Everything broke in there every month or so. What does all this mean? Well, I think of a quote I read recently on thi svery site:
The Arab wrote:In the workplace, Americans are Automatons, like soul-less hamsters on a wheel. Fake conversations, no intellectualism, no interest in other countries, peoples, or history.
I originally left America to escape these things, to live a real life. I didn't want to spend it in front of a screen, and I wanted to do what I really wanted to do with my time. Granted, for a spell I was doing that living cheaply in the Philippines, but, seeking more, I moved on to Shanghai and, I think, started to fall into old patterns. This leads me to a question:
ARE WE REALLY OUT OF THE MATRIX?
If we bring our old thought patterns and disfunctions with us, no matter how great the new country is, we rob ourselves of a great new experience. I have seen many posts on here that indicate that many, though they have physically left their country, they are still there mentally and are expecting the same things they would encounter there. So I have been watching for this in myself, and I often find this is true. I often find myself still shocked when women here don't behave as American women would or live in a manner that would be unthinkable in the U.S. I'll use another quote to illustrate:
Wuxi wrote:I worked with a arab immigrant on a joint project recently. He was very shocked at how socially disconnected families are as well as the rate of narcissism in western culture. In addition, the highly dyfunctional nature of western women(promiscuous relationships) was very obvious to him as well. I told him the men in my country only care about making money and the women only care about spending it, he agreed and he appreciated my honesty.
Of course we know it is not like this everywhere, but catch myself still looking for it! Yet it is not a part of the culture in many places. This is why we leave. SO I realize I am not mentally separated from those things I wanted to get away from. For example, in Philippines provinces and in CHina though maybe not Shanghai) a promiscous girl is looked at as being very low. Many girls are so traditional and they get a boyfriend, usually their fist boyfriend, and they plan to keep him for life. They are devastated if the guy leaves them. (It is rarely them leaving the guy) The idea of sleeping around is totally alien to them. Even though I see this, my mind is still stuck in expectations from back home, about life and work.
So I want to make 2011 a very different year. I want to stop pursuing those things that I pursued as part of a habit from my culture and indoctrination. I want to pursue more emaningful things. I want to create more meaningful things. I want to get some freedom back in life and thinking.
Here's to a great 2011!!