Friday, June 19, 2009

Two months later....

Well, you see, it's like this. China has this thing with the internet, see. They have all this control and they like to block information. From time to time they go a little nuts. Back around March, they blocked YouTube. I didn't realize this would affect me until I found out how much stuff is on YouTube. So it was frustrating, but what are you gonna do? Just go with the flow.


They blocked Blogger!

Yep, the host of my blog. Could not open my blog or any other blog hosted on Blogger.

Curse you, Communism!!!!

So, if you were wondering if I gave up on this blog thing, the answer is, no. I just couldn't do anything while I was in China. But right now, I am in America! I came home for a visit, so now I can update the blog and figure out how to proceed from here. I have no clue whether they will lift the block on Blogger, so I'm just going to assume they won't. I haven't decided whether to set up email posting or to move the blog to another site or get a proxy server or what. But I'll let you know asap. I go back to China after the 4th of July, so I need to figure it out before then.

Which brings me to the other chunk of news I haven't been able to share until now. David and I have moved to Jining. It's a small city of 3 million in the province of Shandong about halfway between Shanghai and Beijing. David's work wanted him closer. Despite a long, drawn out process of trying to work out a compromise that would allow us to continue living in Shanghai, moving there was our only real option in the end. We're trying to be open and positive about it, but we both know it's going to be a bit tough. At the very least, an adjustment.

I'm thankful we had a year in Shanghai to get acclimated to China a little bit before being thrown into a much more "Chinese" city. There is less English there and people are much more surprised to see foreigners. So that should be interesting. People seem very friendly, a bit like the comparison between Southerners and New Yorkers: city people are just a bit too cool, too "been there, done that, who are you?" and "small town" people are much more open and actually smile when you speak to them. Of course, they also know EVERYTHING about you and your life, but oh well.

I have not blogged about this until now because, well, the situation has been tough, on both of us. It's frustrating to feel like you don't understand what's going on or why certain things seem so much more important to other people. David will now be working most Saturdays, but he'll be coming home earlier on weeknights, so the notion that they are going to be getting more work out of him now is simply poor mathematics on their part. But it seems to be all about face time. When he's there in the office, he's working, but if they can't see him, he must be on vacation. (They refered to his weekends as vacation, crazy workaholics.) Of course, there are few people I know who work harder than David, so it's all just silly. But there you go. Culture clash, to be sure.

So, we moved. I have not seen the new place yet though. We packed up the moving van on a Sunday night and the next morning I boarded the plane for the States. So, watch for a post on my first impressions. Like I said, this will all be very interesting at least.

I had a hard time with this move because my life in China was established in Shanghai. My new friends are there, my writing groups are there, my tutor kids are there. And let's not forget, I can actually get real cheese there. I was also sad to leave our apartment there. It was lovely, with good neighbors and a nice garden. It was my refuge, my oasis in the huge, noisy, dirty city. So, I was sad to leave, but it's okay. It's not the first time I've left an apartment I loved, and I always turn out okay in the end.

In moving to Jining, I have had to think hard about what I will do with my time there. I plan to study Chinese again. I will be needing it much more now. I'm anxious about this, as I am just really bad about learning languages, but it should be a little easier now that I won't be hearing Shanghainese in the mix. I am also planning on working seriously on my novel. I already have a head start and my writing group members are on board to help me with revsions and drafts. No, it's not my memoirs about China. ;) That will have to come later, once I've had time to reflect. So anyway, if anyone asks, I'm a writer. That will now be my job title, because I said so.

I could also get a job teaching English, but I'm not sure about that yet. I would rather teach little kids, just because I think it would be more fun teaching colors and animals than to feel intimidated at the huge portions of the English dictionary that the adults have committed to memory. You wouldn't believe how many English words I have learned in China. Seriously.

So, long story short, my China story is about to shift. Hopefully it will bring a new light on the whole experience. Who knows, maybe I will like it better. All I can do is try it out. But I assure you, I will be looking forward to our monthly trips to the big city to visit friends and speak regular English. Oh, and also to stock up on cheese.

Stay tuned...


  1. Wow, Sarah! I didn't know you were in China. I was in Shanghai about a year ago. Loved it. Good for you--it looks like such a cool adventure! Glad to be connected to you.

    Go OC!

    Oh, and the censoring stuff sucks. I remember that. Big black boxes over certain words in Google search results. Ha!


  2. Hey Libby!

    I was glad to have found your blog. It's really good! When were you in Shanghai? Just for a visit or lived there? Shoot, if I had known..

    The censoring got so bad by this summer that I bought a VPN. Problem solved!

    Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your future posts as well. :)