Maria Holland

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

You Know You’ve Been in America Too Long When . . .

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I’ve been doing some digital cleaning up and came across a list of “You Know You’ve Been In China Too Long When” that I apparently never posted.  It’s a little bit of a tired list, but a few of my favorites are:

    1. Putting leftovers directly into a plastic bag seems normal
    2. You can’t access your own blog
    3. Steak with rice sounds just fine.
    4. You start referring to yourself as ‘laowai’ or ‘foreigner’
    5. You have to pause and translate your phone number into English before telling it to someone.
    6. Someone ‘draws’ a character on their hand and you understand.
    7. You see nothing wrong with standing on a white stripe in the middle of a highway while cars whiz past you at 90kph
    8. You know words in Chinese for which you don’t know the translation in English.
    9. You convince yourself that it doesn’t matter how dirty the cooks’ hands are, cooking will fix it
    10. You start to buy an XXXL T-shirt in a store when you returned home

But then that made me curious . . . are there equivalent lists for foreigners who live in the States for a while?  A quick googling yielded this: You Know You’ve Been in the U.S. Too Long When . . . (translated from Japanese)

  • You wear a T-shirt even in winter
  • You blow your nose in public
  • You feel you’re lucky when the train has arrived 5 minutes late
  • You think it’s natural to say thank you to a cashier in a supermarket
  • You use paper napkins like water
  • You are not surprised when you see a very fat person, and you feel you are slim
  • You don’t mind using a dowdy umbrella
  • You don’t even carry an umbrella
  • You feel uncomfortable when a shop staff bows to you
  • You go across a street when the light is red but there are no cars
  • You’re able to drink blue or green colored soft drinks without hesitating at all
  • The fact that your waitress is wearing shocking pick nail polish doesn’t surprise you one bit
  • You receive compliments from others you’re not humble at all and just say “thanks”
  • You’re not excited or impressed at all when you see a real gun
  • You’re amazed at the cleanliness of the toilets in Narita Airport
  • You don’t think anything of young girls wearing camisoles that completely reveal their bra straps. To the contrary, when you let your guard down you find yourself doing the same as well
  • You see a size 30 cm women’s shoe in the shoe store and you don’t even respond, “Geez that’s huge!”
  • You leave a space of about 50 cm between you and the person lining up in front of you at the supermarket
  • Your “skirt to pants” ratio becomes 1:4 (meaning you own 4 times as many pants as you do skirts, for girls of course)
  • You you have completely lost the habit of dividing up your trash

Isn’t that interesting?? 

Adventuring Towards Stanford!

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I didn’t write at all last semester, probably because it was absolutely insane.  It was unequivocally the hardest semester of college (all 5 years), in every way, both academically and emotionally. 

There were also many moments of shining wonderfulness.  Sometimes the bad and good came together, like when I had a horrible day and my friends threw me an awesome pity party.

Speaking of friends, remember how worried I was about going away to China for a year and losing all of my friends?  I do.  But with a whole year of perspective, I’m going to have to agree with those people (generally oldsters) who told me that it was all going to be okay.  I’m reminded of a song (Caledonia): “Lost the friends that I needed losing, found others on the way”.  Not only did I meet so many amazing people during my year in China, but this year has been far above and beyond my expectations.  Many of my old friends are still very much in my life, the freshman and sophomores have been a joy to get to know, and my new classmates (the ME class of 2011) have gotten me through this year. 

So that’s been great.  Another thing that was great was the results of my graduate school search.  Apparently no one else was surprised, but I was blown away to be accepted to all of my schools, and, as one of the top applicants at the top three, to be offered fellowships.  As the letters came in, it quickly narrowed down to those top three: MIT, Princeton, and Stanford.  After an epic Spring Break roadtrip in a rented car with a guy I barely knew, I realized that Princeton was gross.  It was a close race between MIT and Stanford but Stanford won . . .

And so I’m moving to California!  Why is this so much more surprising to me than when I moved to China?

I graduated two weeks ago and started my four-and-a-half month vacation – my last summer for a long time!  I just completed my last major southern road trip, visiting Oklahoma City and three major Texas cities, catching a college graduation, retirement, and three birthdays among my family.  I also caught up with some friends from China and met Brother Yun, the famous Chinese house church leader.  We prayed together . . . in Chinese, my first time praying extemporaneously in a foreign language. 

This is the most free time I’ve had in a loooong time – even more unstructured and uncommitted than my time in China!  It’s a little weird but I’m enjoying it!  I have to live it up – grad school starts on September 26th and everything will change . . .