My view on China is in the news paper, here and abroad.
17.04.2012 17 °C
As I wrote in my previous entry, I am asked to write about China several times. The articles have been published in China Daily, and Aftenposten (Norwegian newspaper). Also my testimonial has been send to TTC China. If you are interested follow the links below, and check out the news letters from here and abroad!
Aftenposten, 15th of April 2012: http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/sid/Fra-lille-Norge-til-store-Kina-6803699.html?fb_ref=.T4t_hc94Be1.like&fb_source=timeline#.T4449bOr9uK
China Daily, 17th of April 2012: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/mychinastory/2012-04/17/content_15065946.htm
TTC – Testimonial.
Lost on the planet China.
I spotted the buzz of the city beneath us. A brown, dirty smog covered the buildings. Some skyscrapers however towered above the smog. As far as my eye could see there were buildings. Buildings and people... “We are about to arrive in the biggest country in the world. China is about to get a few more citizens. We are about to make our first foot prints as aliens. It sounds scary, and believe me, scary it was. But more than scary, it was exciting! My life got changes up – side down.
While the bus drove us to the accommodation, I got absorbed in the world of little dots and strokes. Every single building was decorated with screaming red characters, which looked like crypts to me. All these single dots and lines makes sense to twenty present of the world population, but to me it remains a secret language, which I’m not able to identify. Later on, when we got mandarin lessons, the different combination of sounds, started making sense to me as well. I was astonished how a language consisting of four tones, and various sounds actually can be learned and spoken by even an alien.
After spending four amazing weeks in Beijing with around eighty other foreigners, to learn about different teaching methods, it was time for departure. During the last months we had come to know people from all corners of the world, and made friends for a lifetime. Suitcases were packed, hugs were given and tears were shed. Before we knew it, we sat on the train to Changsha. An unknown city, containing more people than the whole of Norway was about to be explored. The train drove out of Beijing station, passed grey buildings and screaming signs, and drove into the open fields. Slowly the brown smog changed into a less heavy cover.
Upon arrival we were met by our new colleagues, had a typical Chinese noodle breakfast, were introduced to the staff and were shown to our apartment. Soon after we had to introduce ourselves to the teachers, and make a performance. Within half an hour we were on stage, and performed the unprepared. If you are not flexible, you’ll become flexible in China before you even know it.
Our first lessons started straight away. In China you don’t waste time. The first weeks as a teacher are still fresh in my mind, and I can still feel how my knees were trembling and my heart bouncing every time before entering the classroom. I remember really well one sentence the students repeated again and again: “I have three people in my family, my mother, my father and me.” Even though I knew that China had a one child policy, I never really realized that the majority of the population were only children. And more than once I thought to myself “despite the differences in our lives, such as family relations, school system, expectations, we are still so similar.” You might think the world is big, but to me the world shrinks for every new country I visit. The sun and the moon, and even Orion is the same everywhere. Despite cultural differences, despite language and religion, peoples actions and reactions have the same source, and is universally bound to every single person walking around on this earth.
It is a wonderful experience to teach all those happy children every day. In China you will come across classes of seventy students, and you might think “this is madness”, but as strange as it might sound; it is possible. The discipline that can be seen in all areas of the society, also exist in the schools, and the Chinese students are well behaved and have an eager to learn. In a billion country as China is, it is essential to have competition, and this starts already in early primary school. The pressure to do well is huge among Chinese students in order to not lose face. As China is a “fresh” developed country, with an incredibly quick growing economy, the children’s opportunities become more and various. As many of their parents grew up in developing China, they never got a chance to shine. The wish to become a something big is transferred to their children, and the pressure surrounds them from all sides, in order to become a twinkling star.
The life of a teacher is hectic at times, but small breaks and holidays give you a perfect opportunity to explore the country. During Qing Ming, we went on a spontaneous trip to Yangshuo, were we met up with around ten other interns. Life in the city makes me long for the nature, and in Yangshuo I could fill my lungs, eyes and ears with green soil, stunning mountains, and fresh water. Steady mountains reflected themselves in the Yu long river, and formed the perfect balance between heaven and earth, between masculine and feminine, between Yin and Yang. I don’t have any difficulties understanding how yin yang was discovered in China – Yin yang was shown in front of my eyes.
While I try to structure my thoughts, and go through my life in China from the beginning to the end, and while I draw the conclusion that I can write pages and pages and pages upon China, I continue breathing in the heavy polluted air surrounding me. And while I do so, I have made up my mind; it is worth harking like an old lady in order to be able to teach happy faces every day. It is worth getting black lungs in order to get to know people from all over the globe. It is worth breathing in polluted air to learn about the screaming red signs decorating the buildings. It is worth suffering pollution in order to cycle through rice fields and swim in rivers, to eat Chinese street food, and go shopping at the silk market for a good bargain. Even though China is very different from the west, it taught me something universal: It is worth risking life in order to experience life.
- by Emma Gerritsen.