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I've been trying for almost

I've been trying for almost a week now to write something meaningful about the growing tensions between China and Japan, but everything I write comes out sounding trite and naive. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I don't live there, and even when I did live there, I didn't understand the racial tension, the seeming hatred for other countries. I regularily heard Lily and even Bao Ying talk about "dirty American dogs", and I remember typing up tests for the teachers that included long paragraphs showing how evil Japan and America are. I spent some time this week talking to a co-worker from that area about the tensions, and his passion about how evil Japan is was something I had never really experienced here, and I find it disconcerting.

I'm really quite glad I'm not in China right now. One thing I distinctly hated was hearing just hints of what was going on through the various news sources I could access behind the Great Firewall, and having to jump between people's blogs to find out what was really going on. And even then, a lot of it was rumour and conjecture. Sometimes you'd get lucky (and I probably would today, if I wanted to look for it) and read a first hand account. There are a lot of ex-pat bloggers in Shanghai and Beijing, I could find the stuff if I wanted to. But I like being in my cocoon, I think, and I'd rather not know for certain how bad it is right now.

I never mentioned to my students that I wanted to go to Japan. I didn't really want to deal with the fallout.


It's been a busy weekend, such as these things are, trying to get things prepared for going away.

I did end up getting a pair of "trial contacts" that I'm to test for a week. My face feels strange and light. They can't get an inexpensive lens for my right eye. As the doctor said, it's not worth the effort of getting the vision in that eye up to even 20/40 unless I lose it in my left eye. So, everything's just slightly off while I get used to having this lens in. For those of you unaware, I can't drive, so the world is still safe. I'm really glad I can't drive - the first few hours with these lenses I was a mess, trying to figure out how to focus again and dealing with the fact that my face felt so strange. I looked at myself straight on in the mirror without glasses for the first time in a very long time, and didn't even recongize myself.

Today, which is Tuesday, a friend of mine and I are dropping various of my boxes off at various places. I'm quite excited to get them out of my house. We're also taking a few things that are broken beyond repair to the dump. I just want to wiggle all over with bliss. Some of the stupid walls of boxes in my house will be gone, and I'll be able to seriously reclaim the space. For what it's worth, since I'm leaving so soon. I wish I had done this decluttering thing much sooner. Ever time I get rid of something that I didn't really want anyway, I feel so much better. Of course, since I'm *such* a packrat, and feel deep inside that if I get rid of something I'll somehow be betraying the person who gave it to me, or the person I was when I bought it, it's hard to say if I would have done anything of the sort without the push of wanting to leave Edmonton.

Speaking of Edmonton, I recently joined something called World66. Basically, it's a user-created Travel site. I submitted a couple of things to the Edmonton page (most notably a mention of the Princess Theatre, which is one of 5 independent theatres in Edmonton, none of which were on the page), and have perused the Scotland page with much glee, excitedly pointing out everything I could to my friend. I get a little strange about such things. But then, I did entertain myself for several days by reading key sections of my guidebook outloud to people. Anyway, one feature I enjoy is the option of making a map of every place in the world that you've been. There's nothing quite so simultaneously daunting and encouraging as seeing a map indicating that you've only been to 2% of the world's countries. Here's to at least doubling that by the end of 2005.

And just to add to my geek factor, I made another recipe from my big bread book. Blueberry muffins. I won't go into too much detail, except to say that the entire dozen was eaten quite quickly, and that lemon zest is my new best friend. I made the big yummy loaf again, too, and I have to admit that I could happy spend every day of my life smelling fresh bread. It's such a relaxing scent.


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