Saturday, 16 November 2013

Under the Weather



It’s 4:30am China time.
I’ve been laid up in bed with the stomach flu and haven’t been able to get a decent sleep since midnight. It’s not a severe enough pain to make me want to curse life, but then again it’s irritating enough to stop me from enjoying it. 


I figure it’s akin to having a baby elephant lightly treading on your abdomen -or being pregnant at 6 months.
Seeing as I won’t be getting the nine hours of sleep I crave on the weekends, I thought I might as well do something useful with my time like writing, and truth be told I’m in a very comfortable place to be sick.
My dorm room is very cozy thanks to the turning on of heating by the dorm administration to combat Beijing’s bitter winter winds. And for those who’ve lived here, you know that there is an exact day when this begins and not hell or high waters can convince them to turn on the heat a day sooner. As well I have medicine, tea and a washroom and shower nearby. No matter what my stomach decides to throw out at me I’m pretty sure I can handle it; unless it’s appendicitis, and in that case I just have to remember that 9-1-1 is actually 119, 110, or 120 depending on the situation, easy as pie!

As for other topics of conversation, since I’ve realized all I’ve talked about is illness, I have succeeded in making new friends ( won’t my mother be so proud of me!) I joined a roller-skating club which is basically skating on anything but ice for you Canadians reading this.
We meet twice a week and suspiciously late at night. Turns out that’s the only time Chinese students have for doing extracurricular activities so I roll with the flow. I’ve learned some pretty cool tricks and thanks to past experience can hold my own. The best part is I’m basically the only foreigner that regularly attends. I get to bask in the glow of being a minority which, oddly enough, is not a new experience for me. Though I do lose a few acquaintances when I stubbornly refuse to speak English, overall they’ve been great in being accepting. 

Joining this club has also been a great opportunity to see these students in a casual setting. As soon as guys and girls mix you’re sure to see sparks fly-yes, I partially quoted Taylor Swift-and its fun to see how they jest with each other. I get the feeling that in front of foreigners Chinese students either act pretentious or bashful. But when it’s just them together, it’s easier to tell the personalities apart from stereotypes. I met one girl from Tianjin who is especially great. I told her I prefer only speaking Chinese and she was fine with it. Turns out we both are book lovers and prefer listening to the oldies, so we talked for most of the night, and spend the rest of it trying not to fall over learning new moves.

It’s really a fun sport and a good alternative to being cooped up in the dorm all day.

Well my stomach is starting to feel better, so I think I’ll try and get some shut eye. You know winter has arrived when everyone starts getting sick and sniffling in class. I’m sure I’ll be alright in a day or two and luckily it’s the weekend so I can take it easy; there’s nothing like spending your two precious days of freedom with a box of Kleenex and watching repeats of 小爸爸 ( Little Father).