I just introduced Ting Ting to the music of Elliott Smith. She liked him, which is definitely a good sign. She plays piano too and I’m sure that’s part of it. I also caught her listening to the Beatles on my IPod.  Looks like this may work out after all. The only problem is, now that’s she’s discovered my IPod she won’t put it down. She’s been listening to it non-stop. She also discovered my Bukowski poems on there and he’s a little rough around the edges to say the least. I just hope she doesn’t find my Dr. Dre and Wu Tang. Who’s telling what she’ll think of that. The Chinese have a level of simple pure heartedness not found in most people in the States. I don’t mean simple as in simple minded or unintelligent. I mean built into their culture they have a level of innocence. They are warmhearted and friendly to strangers. It’s a pleasure and a joy to experience this kindness firsthand. I know I will have more opportunities to experience this as my time in China stretches on. I really love it here. It’s like I’m coming home. It’s been 8 years since my last trip to China and I’m happy to be back. Some things have changed. Some things have remained the same, but overall it’s good to be back.

While on Facebook I saw an ad catered specially for me. It said, “Confused by your Chinese girlfriend, click like and we can help.” I thought it was both funny and scary. It’s funny because that’s simply a hilarious statement to make. It’s scary because it means Facebook somehow knows I have a Chinese girlfriend. The all seeing eye of Mark Zuckerberg has spoken.

I have been praying which is good. I find true comfort in a God who stretches across cultures, and leaps across and finds us at any frame of mind or geographical location and defies all human logic. Church has been an interesting experience to say the least. I can only make out every other word of the sermon and I try to follow along in the song book and I recognize characters every once in a while. I can sometimes even get the general gist of the song being sung. And the people are so warm and easy to get to know. None of them know English except for Ting Ting so my conversations with them have been limited.

The other students from Ohio have arrived here already. They came in this morning. I’ve been set up with Ben as a roommate. He’s a student from Ma Lao Shi’s Chinese 201 class that I sat in on from time to time. He’s one semester ahead of me in his studies but I think it’s possible we might end up in the same class. Also with him were Dannysha and Amber. Dannysha is from University of Akron like Ben and I. Amber is from Kent State. I knew these students from our meetings before we came to China. Dannysha was in the 202 class with Li Laoshi which I sat in on sometimes. She is two semesters ahead of me in Chinese. The students have arrived wide-eyed and hungry for new experiences which I know they will begin to face almost immediately. They seem like a good bunch, open-minded and easy going which will make them great guests of this illustrious country. I look forward to getting to know them over the next few months and sharing many adventures together.

Now I love Ting Ting. Yes, we’ve gotten to that point in our relationship. And I love spending time with her. So far we’ve seen each other the better part of everyday I’ve been here. But part of me wishes I could go out into the streets of Kaifeng alone or with my classmates and use what little Chinese we know to navigate the streets of Kaifeng. But Ting Ting always translates for me. Her English is much better than I first thought. But I know a good compromise. I can spend at least a couple of hours a day maybe while she’s taking a nap, venturing out into the unknown alleyways of Kaifeng City. Or when I do go out with her maybe I can step up and speak Chinese for myself. I know that part of a love relationship is knowing when to count the cost and press on knowing that overall the negatives are outweighed by positives. And not only that, but the positives carry more weight because they are the multiple facets that make up the one you love. You’ve got to take the bad with the good because you know the good is surpassingly good and whatever struggles you face you face them together. We have a long road ahead of us, but I believe we can traverse it together. Oh yeah, and she found my hip-hop. I caught her rocking out to Ghostface Killah.

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