Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh China (Guest post by Justin Yi)

So while Justin was here, we offered to let him 'spill the beans' with a tell-all guest post about the Beans in Beijing. Here it is.

Oh China

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And for every crazy moment in China, there is an equal and opposite utterance in reaction. Everyone seems to have their own special way of coping with the craziness, and while in the past I have succumbed to more colorful verbal protests against the way things are here, I have decided to adopt the exclamation employed most frequently by Marilyn. Whenever something strange or nutty happens, she wistfully exclaims, “oh China,” as if China were some errant, but loveable child, that has yet again gone astray. You know you can’t really blame it; it’s just the way it is…

So this is my second/third time in “China.” I lived in Taipei during the summer of ’05, and that was a crazy trip that included, amongst other things, scaling dorm walls at 11pm after the gates were locked but not being to get into the building so sleeping in the garden but getting eaten alive by mosquitoes so hanging out at the 7Eleven until 6am the next morning. That’s Oh “China” for you. Then, last summer I traveled to Suzhou for 3 weeks as part of a summer study abroad program. That too was a crazy experience. Going to an Australian bar to play foosball and eat lamb skewers after finishing finals but witnessing a Chinese guy getting jumped by 20 or so Chinese gang-bangers who knocked over the lamb cart so we didn’t get any lamb and then a Chinese stalker girl kept following my friend around so we had to escape in a cab back to the Hotel. Oh China.

After these experiences, I vowed to never come to China again. Not necessarily because I didn’t like it here, but more because I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to handle the full-on China experience for at least another 15 to 20 years. But here I am again. Like many people who end up here, I suppose there are some things that are certain, and other things that are definitely uncertain. I remember when I was on my DTS in 2003, I felt like God was giving me a heart for China. The idea of that scares me a bit now. But the other day Josh said something that was very poignant – “just because you have a heart for a place doesn’t mean you have to live there.” While that provides some comfort for me as to the future, I am here now and must therefore struggle with divining the purpose of this particular visit. But in the meanwhile, I am left with a sense of awe and respect for those (like Josh and Marilyn) who are willing to live here for a prolonged period of time. It is no easy task, being transplanted to a place like this, with no family or community to fall back on. Thank God M&J are here to help ease my transition to Oh China.

Married Life
(Ah the married life . . . Josh stares longingly in Marilyn’s direction – because they only have one bowl that they must share to eat cereal in the mornings! Marilyn stares longingly at the computer, because that’s her portal to life in America. And Totoro? Totoro stares longingly at Josh, because … well, we all know why.)


Abnormality said...

hahaha that is a classic marilyn expression, and you used it so perfectly in this post. it's good to hear you're alive, well and still steadily following the Lord, Justin!

Abnormality said...

lol. my gmail nickname changed. or i changed it accidentally. this is tawny.

Amy said... bowl...cute. =P

J.Dou said...

hehe, we only have one bowl because we inherited the bowl from a friend who was in Marilyn's summer course. She, of course, only had one bowl for herself. And we keep forgetting (or are too cheap) to buy that second bowl!