Winter in China

12/23/2014 The Charmer 0 Comments

Hello, it is I, the Charmer. I just wanted to assure you that yes, I AM alive. There have been a few inquiries as to whether or not I'm dead....okay, mostly from my mother, as I haven't been the best at Skyping home regularly. (Although with this nasty cold I've had for the last 6+ weeks, I could very well be on the brink of death without knowing it) in China. Currently I am sitting alone in my apartment, surrounded by piles of exams and papers to be graded, eating red bean rice balls. On the one hand, that is a fairly accurate portrayal of the average day in the life of the Charmer for the last 4 months. I grade a lot of papers (who knew being a teacher was so much work?!?!), I am frequently alone in my apartment, and I eat a lot of Chinese food. Especially rice.

But that's kind of a miserable portrayal of my life. Actually, life in China is fabulous...aside from the part where I'm freezing 24/7. I really have never been so cold in my entire life. Apparently, this province of China doesn't believe in indoor heating. I literally wear my coat and gloves while teaching. In fact, the only classroom I spend time in that actually has a heater is my Chinese class, which gives me quite the incentive to attend regularly. Besides the cold part, however, life has been great. I love my students, who continue to delight me with their preciousness (even though they are in college). I love teaching them about the REAL reason for Christmas...although without getting too religious, of course (cue the Pentatonix songs). I love Taobao, which is basically the Chinese version of Amazon, on which I buy way too many clothes for way too cheap that arrive at my doorstep 2 day later. Even though I still crave American food occasionally, I'm starting to get to the point where most days, I'm actually hungry for Chinese food. And, luckily, my Chinese is improving line upon line and I can now decipher whether I'm ordering chicken or pork at a restaurant.

Honestly, though, living alone is strange. I hadn't ever lived on my own before; I'd always had siblings or roommates or mission companions. But I feel like living alone does strange things to a person. At least it has to me.
Number one, I talk to myself....a LOT. I think that's also partially due to the fact that I live in a country where I can't talk to everyone I meet. I noticed when I got home from my mission that I was talking a lot to myself, especially when I was driving alone. After all, I was used to having a companion who couldn't escape from the conversation. Coming to China has only made the monologue-ing worse.
Number two, my personal hygiene habits have....erm...slipped....a little bit? Taking a shower nowadays is a big commitment since it's so cold. Sure, the shower part is warm, but I know that the getting in and out of the shower parts are going to turn my entire body into ice. So, umm....yeah. I shower less frequently.
Number three, I've discovered I'm a little bit of a messy person. Well, it's not so much that I'm messy, it's just that I kind of spread out and don't ever really bring it all back in again. I feel like you can see my thought process throughout the day by looking at my living room and where I've deposited various objects.

Yes. I'm learning a lot about myself from being here.

Anyway, hopefully those habits haven't made me too socially unacceptable because in only four days, Ammon...aka my long-distance BOYFRIEND... will be here. AHHHH! Am I excited? Of course! Am I also like super duper out of my mind freaking out nervous? Umm....kind of. Even though we have skyped regularly for the last four months, I only actually spent time around him for a week. And we weren't dating then. And I haven't touched a boy in four months and now I feel like I've regressed back into my "I'm an RM and I'm awkward around boys" mode.

But, it's fine, right? Besides, the first couple of days we're going to be hanging out with a bunch of other YSA teachers in my branch so even if I am completely awkward, it hopefully won't be too noticeable in a group setting. Right?!

Well, wish me luck! And of course, Merry Christmas! (圣诞节快乐!)

迷人的女孩 (the charmer)

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