Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Hunchun, China: Week 4, Pt 1 (Improvements)

After a cathartic talk with Clay on Monday, I press hard on Tony to find volunteers. I learn that when in doubt, throw money at a problem. In this case, my Doris Duke stipend will pay for train tickets for 4 volunteers from Beijing to come up and help us finish our surveys. If they arrive on Saturday, we can train them and leave on Sunday for the field. One week out there, and we'll be done. And I can go to Beijing myself.

Finally, progress.

I have a bank account now too. Although it turns out I'll have to close it before I go to Beijing and open another one there to avoid ATM fees.

Last night I ballroom danced in the night market square. It was an odd experience. I forgot that Chinese people are very demure. I was the only one smiling, and I believe others found me quite strange.I also found a unique brand of macho-ism. Rarely have I danced consecutively with so many men who bellowed every next move at me, while manhandling. There were a couple of exceptions, but by and large I was put off by their decision to tell me how to do everything. Granted, I clearly didn't know some of the dances. But this hasn't gotten much in my way before.

What I did love was the sheer number of people dancing, and the loveliness of dancing outdoors. Crazy Chinese hustle, and Chinese "merengue" (ie walk to the beat while your arms do cool stuff), and waltz with figures I've never seen before. All to the lengthiest, most catchy Chinese songs I've ever heard. Even now I can't stop humming them.

Will I go back? I think so, if only because it's the best method of practicing my Chinese that I have right now.

One of my goals here has been to recover all the strength and flexibility I lost during my spring terms at Fuqua. I've been alternating every day between pilates and running, and stretching for almost an hour every night. Surprisingly, the biggest effect has been on my appetite. When I got here I was a food vacuum, but now I feel much more centered and balanced. I hope when I go to Beijing, I can focus on being in the studio, and just train hard.

This evening has flown and Updike's "Rabbit, Run" awaits me!
Tags: ballroom, fitness
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