Maria Holland

Happy Mothers’ Day!

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 at 2:01 am

After a second late night of goodbyes (and a little bit of football), I slept in deliciously late today.  Kristina came over in the afternoon (which, I’m not gonna lie, was actually as soon as I called her) to do some more work on the graphs for her thesis.  Today’s task wasn’t quite as fun as the original analysis.  Basically, we had to redo all the graphs in Slovenian, which was pretty tedious.  The good news is, my computer can now type Slovenian.  I, on the other hand, still can’t.

She left and like an hour later it was time to go to church.  That was weird.  Bishop Cai was there (I hadn’t seen him in about a month), which meant I felt really bad when I fell asleep during his homily.  I’m so spoiled here because almost everything has subtitles – but homilies unfortunately don’t.  I find them challenging, but not in the I’m-going-to-conquer-this sort of way.  It’s more of a this-is-hard-I-think-I’ll-just-give-up sort of way, so I often fall asleep.

Despite being quite tired and ravenously hungry (because I basically slept through breakfast and lunch), I stayed for the youth group Bible sharing activity.  I would estimate that I understood approximately 30% of what was said.  This was due to a variety of factors: a Bible that was written vertically from right to left, a bunch of college kids speaking at normal conversational speeds . . . and, oh yeah! the construction crew that was chop-sawing steel and goodness knows what else, in the back of the room.  No one else found this ridiculous, which I found ridiculous.

I walked to the bus stop with 哲明, a guy friend from church.  We talked about the World Cup on the way – obvi – and again later on QQ.  I’m learning a lot of country names this way!  There’s something demonically fun about sounding out proper nouns in Chinese, something delightfully stupid about a bunch of foreigners sounding things out, character by character and syllable by syllable, then saying it faster a few times until they realize what word it somewhat resembles.  We sound like little kids working on phonics.  I learned Argentina (阿根廷, or “āgēntíng”) and Slovenia (斯洛文尼亚, or “sīluòwénníyà) and Cote d’Ivoire (科特迪瓦, “kētèdíwǎ”) that way, along with half of the Spanish starting line up.  Not advised for the Slovenian or Swiss teams, by the way, with names like Handanovic, Radosavljevic, Ljubijankic, and Lichsteiner. 

I made it back to West Gate to catch the last 10 minutes of the Dutch game.  Perfect timing, because apparently it was a pretty boring game, and I was just in time to join friends for street food.  I had the closest thing resembling a chicken burrito (with cucumber slivers, of course) that I’ve seen in several months, and a mango smoothie that was, as always, mind-bogglingly delicious. 

There was a stiff breeze and a clear sky and for a few minutes there the weather was even pleasant.  The last few days (I mean weeks.  Or months?), with the insane humidity and constant rain, have really made me reevaluate the emphasis I’ve placed on Xiamen’s tropical islandhood.  It’s really the only expectation I came here with, and I think it’s hurt me.  I was expecting a miserably hot summer and a pleasant fall/winter/spring, which is not how it’s gone at all.  While we have gorgeous days occasionally, the majority of the year has been weeks of deadly heat, short cold snaps, months of monsoon, and constantly insane humidity.  It would have been okay if I had just resigned myself to this, but instead I feel like I’ve spent the year waiting for those rare beautiful days.  How many times did we all agree that “when the weather is this [hot/cold/rainy/humid], I just want to stay in bed/watch TV?”  It’s a pity. 

Back at home, I called my parents to wish my mom a happy birthday and my dad a happy Father’s Day.  (Well, actually I greeted my mom with an exuberant “Happy Mother’s Day!”, but I think the general idea got across.)  We’re starting to plan the menu for my arrival :)

But while the date of my joyful return to Texas Roadhouse approaches on the calendar, there remains one significant hurdle to cross.  Yeah, I still have to buy tickets.  Tomorrow – one month out from my scheduled departure – is my self-imposed deadline.  But every time I go to the website, I just don’t feel like it.  I think part of it is because the idea I’ve had all along of the end of my time here – finals and a final weekend of partying and goodbyes – is quite different from the reality that’s taking place – a prolonged farewell to my friends one-by-one over this last month plus.  Finals week is always my favorite time at Tulsa, but this year is definitely not going to be the same.  I want to go home on the 20th so I’ll be here for that imaginary last weekend, but at the same time it seems a little silly in the face of reality.  But I also don’t like being rushed in packing and things like that, and I do have Chinese friends.  So we’ll see what I end up with – tomorrow!


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