I'm back. Back from a 16 day extravaganza of China. Sadly blogspot is censored/blocked in the People's Republic of China as is livejournal and the majority of news articles. Go figure. Live in a Communist nation and not have a clue what's going on in the world. I read the People's Daily, the English speaking news paper, which was about...20 pages long, filled with ads. Reminded me of the Reno Gazette. China's doing this to help the world, it's doing this to reduce carbon emissions, it's taking great leaps and bounds to protect it's people--Bullshit. It isn't doing shit.
My tour of China was one for American tourists. We ate at restaurants filled with white people, eating mandarin food that I would never order in the states. Every meal was at least 13 courses (finished with watermelon) and I'm pretty sure I'm dieting after today. Today I needed a double double with real ketchup, pizza with real pizza sauce, and chicken wings. So good. Anyway, we saw all of the tourist things of China, avoided any part that was "dirty" and all of my questions were avoided.
Makes sense since there are so many undercover communists.
Well, as you may know, the Olympics will be in Beijing in 2008. The birds nest stadium...while it is ugly...is quite innovative. Until you realize how many thousands of people were displaced to God knows where to build it. Oh, and all of the slums of Beijing will be bulldozed by the games. In a city of over 17 million people, how can they POSSIBLY hold the Olympics? And how the fuck can they do this to their people. The shove them into these ghetto ass high rises, elevators not included. You have 80 year olds who now have to learn how to climb stairs. Any gardens are gone, so their already limited (if any) salaries are going to be wasted on food they once grew. A lifetime of memories is swept away with a bulldozer...for what? For a couple thousand tourists to come, desecrate the country, and leave it full of waste and problems? And the water..you have to drink bottled. Think about the number of plastic bottles that will be entering our environment! It disgusts me, it really does. "Civilized" is just a cloak over what is actually happening in that country. I mean, Jesus, the country can't even provide for it's own population. Why the HELL would you want to add more?
Money. Everything's about money.
But, rumor has it they will be lifting their adoption regulations for the influx of tourists into the country. The hotel we stayed at in Beijing was the pick up point for the little girls. So cute. SO cute. I have wanted to adopt a baby girl from China for as long as I can remember...this just made me want one even more. Christ, I'm 20 and I want a child. That's so not normal...but the orphanages...are...awful. Just awful. The innocence the girls are born with leaves with the separation...and don't try to give me any bullshit about them not remembering, because they do. Just talk to them. Well, with the current regulations, you have to be married 5 years and be less than 35. And on the bus we worked it out. I have to be married by at least 30, so I'd have to meet my husband to be in the next ten years. Eight to be safe. And not just meet...that's meet, date, pursue. Blah blah blah blah blah. All of that shit that I have absolutely no time for. I actually have to think about someone other than myself...factor in another person's commitments into my daily life? I don't know about this. Tyler and the boys are convinced I'm going to be taken by complete surprise one day...I'm convinced that I'll end up the lady with the birds (I'm allergic to cats.) Life.
My jetlag is ridiculous. I actually think it's the worst. Our seats from China were incredible--exit row. I got the window, so it was perfect for me to curl up in my little ball...but i wasn't tired. At all. The plane of little asian kids didn't help at all. I got up at the end of the flight to do my routine refreshing (face wash, teeth brush, sometimes makeup (not this time), shave, lotion, clothes change etc.) to make sure I don't smell and four kids SHOVED me out of the way without saying a word and cut in line to the bathroom. I was furious. And the little shit behind me kept kicking my seat. 10 hours of kicking...it's just too much. I watched 2 movies (the last mimzy and lookout) and had wild hogs in the background while I read. Wild hogs played on the way from New York and on the way to China. It's a terrible movie, although people over the age of 40 love it....anyway, I got to America and immediatley got coffee. YUM.
China's Starbucks. Oh. Right. My whole moral stance on not going to Starbucks in a foreign country shattered in Shanghai...I had the headache and i just wanted iced coffee. They don't have the venti size. I wanted to cry. They didn't have the white chocolate mocha my cousin wanted and their frappacino flavour was Red Bean. Um. Hello asia. But well, it was worth it. They actually fill their cups to the top, despite the lack of a Venti. The man working their was named Cocaine. The lady's was Congee (which is boiled rice). The names these Chinese people have is just awful.
I've grown attached to my Chinese name. It's Jun Mei, meaning Beautiful Pearl. Like all Chinese names, it has meaning. The perfect pearl is produced after much hard work and effort, taking risks and risking life. It's sort of become my life motto, and i never actually realized it until I talked to a Chinese lady on the boat about her name which meant Beautiful Rainbow. After the rain, there is the rainbow, a sense of hope during troubles. Way better than Jaimie.
On this trip, I learned a lot about myself, my family, and the world. I found out what my dad was actually doing in China--when he worked for IGT Sydney, he traveled to China a lot, I never knew why. Well, coming here I see it. Gambling is illegal, but it is everywhere. He was attempting to regulate gaming. This was also the beginning of the end of his career at IGT as he began to see how corrupt the people were. They could have succeeded had they not only wanted a personal profit. So they failed as you can't try to have personal gain with a Communist nation. My dad's meetings were top secret--no talking in public, only in the hotel room with the phone debugged and the radio on. My dad's life that I never knew was like the movies.
My family is amazing. My dad is the best brother/son/father in law. He and my mom fought at the beginning, which sucked. But my dad constantly helped his mother and mother in law up and down stairs. When my aunt fell down the stairs in Wuhan, he held her shoulder together as he tried to take her down the rest of the stairs. He then carried her everywhere, up stairs to the planes, around places, etc...sounds simple, but my aunt is bigger than my dad. He's a trooper.
The old man on my trip was racist and his wife a rich whore. She had had too much plastic surgery and complained non stop. He called every asian woman Suzie (even my grandmother) and spoke in Spanish to them. Slap in the face when one said Muy bien, y tu. Fucker. He also said that he goes to every black funeral he can because the more he goes to the less of them there are. The old man, Toby, and his wife, Jean were really named Werner and Eva. We called them Faggot Fuck and Kankle Cunt. They were bad people...inside. I don't know how people can be that way! I just don't see how....
Every white man in China has Yellow Fever. Especially if they speak Chinese. And they're all cute! It's ridiculous. There were a lot of yellow fever white boys. I loved it. I think it's so funny when they speak Chinese...to see a big muscled white guy speaking chinese is sort of hot, not gonna lie.
There are a lot of creeps in China. I've decided I'm just a mutant, which is why they stared and took pictures. My dad almost beat a couple of them up. One for following me around the Terracotta soldiers taking pictures of me, another for stalking me on the boat. My dad got a lot of looks from the asian ladies. A white guy speaking english. WHAT?! Yea....
I did learn a bit of Chinese. There are key phrases I did not know though (at least in Mandarin)--our Cantonese was useless there. But the day I ordered bubble tea with no milk and she understood me was one of my best days ever. Zheng Zhu Nai Cha, bu yao nai. Bing. Bing! :)
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Hao.
My cousin and brother were convinced our tour guide wanted to rape me. He only acknowledged my presence, never theirs, and constantly asked how I was. When I hugge him good bye, he said OH WOWWWWWWWW. But it sounded like Ooohhh Waaaaaooooow! It's hard to type out. his accent was funny. he was strange.
Altogether China was great. It was a family trip, and probably my last. When my mom and dad started talking about taking trips together I finally turned to them and said, I'm not invited any more, am I. It makes me really sad to think about...we've traveled all over the world together. But my parents are getting old. As much as I hate to admit it...they aren't invincible. A HUGE eye opener was when I outhiked my dad up the Great Wall of China. For the first time in my life, I had more energy. When I saw how tired he was when I pushed him to go to the top of the Wall, I realized that he no longer had the same fire within him. All of the long days at the office, battles with the IRS, battles with IGT, battles with IGo, battles with the French and American government, battles with the gypsies, battles with a man who disappeared with all of his money in France...since I left to college, he's gotten old. Really, really old. And it's probably the saddest thing. I feel so guilty, leaving him to deal with all of this, to pay for my college, to deal with all of my little stupid bullshit problems. It actually is bringing a flood of tears to my eyes. Maybe it's the lack of sleep. But he's always there for my petty shit. It's time to get my shit together.
I love my family. I miss my family. But I am no longer part of this foursome. They keep pushing me to find someone, to get my life in order, to start a life because they want to be around to see every aspect of it. That just depresses me even more, because I am still too selfish to let it happen. After my aunt fell and we continued the tour of Wuhan, we saw this statue. There are tons of them as China is filled with symbolism, but this was different. It's the body of the dragon, with the head of a unicorn, a baby one intertwined. The creature doesn't have an anus. It symbolizes taking everything in as a dragon would and experiencing all of the magic, but never letting anything out. She said it's the motto of businessmen. It's the motto of my life. I spend so much of my life building up this shield, not letting anything out, not letting myself feel anything, but absorbing everyone else's feelings emotions pain...I am there for everyone, but won't let anyone near me. It scared me. A lot.
I wish I could be more carefree, but the life I have had prevents that. Sure, I can blame my parents, but it has also led me to my independence and desire to give. Catch-22. Give happiness to others without letting yourself experience it.
When I talked to tour guides and Cindy and Bill, the couple from Florida who met 4 years ago on match.com (still honeymooners, so cute), I realized that I don't know if I'll end up in Africa or India or South America or even China, but I'm needed. John, the guide, said that I would be so helpful in China. Take some classes, learn the language...and I saw it. They do need help. The world needs help. I can't wait.
Maybe someday I'll end up like the asian couple behind us in Shanghai. They were so cute. They fed each other carrots with toothpicks, helped each other wheel the bags, and tried to figure out what was going on without speaking a word of English. With my more than limited chinese I attempted using gestures and nods and shehsheh's to help them out. They showed their gratitude by speaking chinese, even though they knew I didn't understand it, and waving. They would come up to the area we were sitting (emergency exit) and talk to us. In Chinese. Pointing, smiling all the while. We helped them figure out how to open the door to the bathroom, fill out the customs forms, and they just smiled, spoke and waved. The old man came and did his exercises as all elderly chinese do in the morning. Getting off the plane, the look they gave me was worth more than anything. The gratitude at the mere attempt to help them...and then further when the frustrated American customs officers couldn't explain to them where to go and I guided them. They were amazing people. Truly inspirational.
Life's journey's. You never realize how much you actually grow up with every new place, every new adventure. I went from acting 20 years old being 20 years old. I change as a person, I see others changing, and I catch brief glimpses of a future so unknown to me, it terrifies me. But somehow I know I'll be ok.