…that’s how I’ve been describing China lately. There are peaks that are exhilarating, fun, and wonderful. And valleys filled with anxiety, fear, and sadness. And we move between these at a rapid pace.
I’d describe this week as the best AND worst week we’ve had in China.
The highlights: My older daughter loves Chinese Kindergarten especially morning exercise, and a few days ago I got to see morning exercise live. It was great. Imagine a entire elementary school doing a morning dance routine on the playground with music blaring in the background. And her sister is now asking to start at the same school next month. I’m also developing some wonderful relationships with my students, and just had a fascinating and candid private conversation with some students about Chinese politics, religion, and culture. My students even invited me to play basketball with them next week. We have/had some exciting upcoming trips planned for Wuhan and Guilin. We’ve started language lessons (and are making progress), and we have installed Western-grade kids seats on our bikes. Finally, Thursday’s highlight was that I successfully found a restaurant outside of campus, and successfully ordered carryout vegetarian dumplings.
The lowlights: Our kitchen became a home for bugs when we found pasta from the local grocery store had been infested with some small bugs. Lots of cleaning happened, but at least the bugs were from an outside source. But the worst news is that my younger daughter got viral pneumonia and a serious stomach ailment. Then we all got the stomach bug. Everyone is improving now, but it’s difficult/emotional/irritating/troubling for your kids to get sick at time when you think that you’re finally getting settled in a foreign country.
(And, as a result, we’re still in GZ and missed our trip to Wuhan and the IUCN Academy for Environmental Law Conference.)
(On a related note, it’s clear my environmental law interests about China move increasing towards regulation of environmental issues that focus on both individual behavior and effects on individual health. Air pollution is not just an natural resource degradation issue, but a serious public health concern. The same holds true for pesticides, water pollution, etc.)
Oh…and I just killed a roach.