Tuesday, June 8, 2010

life at ludicrous speed

My time in China is quickly draining, and my friends here are realizing it. My neighbors tried to book me, Ryan, and Bethany for dinner and the date I had to tell them was Friday, June 18. My meals are quickly being booked up and all the guys I have told I'd like to play basketball with are cashing in their rain checks. On Saturday, I played baseball with Koreans in the morning (I batted .1000, by the way) and played basketball with Chinese students at night. Two times in the last four days I've been set up with boys to play basketball with by mutual acquaintances. Today a Finance professor named Mr. Wong asked me to play with some of his students. On Friday my student, Sunny, asked me to meet her at the playground so her classmates, who I'd never met, could play with me. It will be a rude awakening playing basketball in the States; I won't be able to just park in the paint and own it. But now at least I know what it's like to be Yao Ming... by living in China, I mean. I'll never know what it's like to be 7'6".

The Saturday basketball game was after a going-away party my students threw for me. I have taught these 2 classes for 3 semesters now and I'll probably miss them more than any of my other classes. So, to celebrate our friendship, my students reserved a corner of the cafeteria, brought a laptop, a microphone, an amp, a slew of wooden rollers and dough, so that we could all make dumplings together while doing KTV (karaoke, Chinese style) in the background. I opened the party by singing the only Chinese song I know, 朋友 (pengyou-friend). The classes are 95% girls and the 10 boys all sat by themselves near the computer, eating nuts and drinking beer, which they bought at the cafeteria. So, I forced them to let the girls teach them how to make dumplings, something I love to do and hope to take back home with me. Inevitably, the party turned into a flour-fight.

Things are just as busy in the classroom. Since we are leaving a couple weeks early in the semester, we are having to make those weeks up now, meaning that during these last couple weeks, I have double the classes. Not to mention, I'll be giving all my exams the week before I leave, and for one class, the day before. Accelerated grading will be a theme starting this week.

But through all this there is immense purpose. After the English Week it hit me that if there can be this amount of impact in one week from students getting to know some teachers that they had never met, how much more can I have an impact in a few weeks with friends I've known for 2 years. Deep, life-hinging conversations are being had all over Baoding. Two girls have become true daughters of their Maker in the last two days. My buddy, Robert, is asking the Father for the gift of the holy ghost. My tutor and I just had a long conversation about the meaning of life yesterday. I was able to share the whole story with her. Things are happening and it's exciting to be a part of it. I'm just trying to keep up.


By the way, if you've ever wondered what my classes are like, this should give you a pretty good idea.


ruthie said...

You're invited to come over and teach Tommy and I how to make dumplings whenever you want! We (Ana included) are excited for your homecoming!

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