Thursday, June 4, 2009

a month since

It's June.. and I've broken my promise to myself and haven't written all month.
May passed by so quickly which means is been a month since:
I started taking Cantonese classes at a school in Wan Chai. Every morning for two hours I sit with 3 expat women, and we judiciously take notes.

"Do you like Western food?" "Are you Canadian? Are you French?" "No he doesn't like Japanese tea, he doesn't like any tea."

Our teacher is a flamboyant old woman who wears flowered dresses and barks at us whenever we get something wrong. It actually gets very competitive, and I never thought I'd feel the same annoyance I'd felt in grade school when some punk kid was showing off or trying to steal questions to answer. Except now the punk kid is a 30 something woman in a house dress.

It's still so difficult though, trying to figure out a language where a slight inflection can mean the difference between the number 9 or dog or a part of male anatomy..
It's been a month since my mother's visit. She came and left, a whirlwind. Before we got to the airport, I had a fear that because I hadn't seen her in so long she'd have changed or become older so that I wouldn't recognize her. But she was just the same, lovelier than ever, with the usual energy and constant stream of approval, disapproval.

Why do you look like that? How'd you get so... I thought Asian food is less fattening? What's this? I thought you said you'd learned how to cook.

I'd expected we were going to have a lot of things to debate but our main point of contention was about air conditioning.. she never wanted it on. "Wasteful. Haven't you heard of this glob-al warming?"
And she refused to let me turn it on when we slept. I lay awake and although it's sad... I think I cried cause it was so hot... and watched as the tears turned to steam and rose to the ceiling. haha.
I miss her.
It's been a month since I bought a pair of shorts that don't fit me anymore. I tried them on the other day and kept them on to stretch them because I thought they were just small because of being in the laundry.
But no that wasn't why.
Instead I spent the day feeling suffocated and trying to ignore the looks of suppressed horror from passerbys. For fun (and distraction) I counted the number of girls in shorts vs. the number of pregnant women. There were more pregnant women.
It's been a month since I've turned 23 (I guess this really means I have to give up on growing any taller);
a month since I found stars in Sanya, and stood with my head tilted back wondering; and it's been a month since I've decided to stay here and go to grad school.

"I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live."