There is nothing quite like an evening snack of fresh green beans from the market to finish off the day. They are super cheap, extremely crunchy and fresh and refreshing. The boys and I are munching away.
I've been reading a lot despite limited time since we've arrived. Amidst all the studying and general crazyness I have so far finished ROOTS and Wild Swans. I am currently working on three others: a biography of Mao Zedong, The Jungle and another called The China Road. James, for some reason, seems to be irritated by the fact that I never read one book at a time. I guess I just like having a good mix of fiction/non-fiction, lighthearted/serious etc.
ROOTS was excellent despite the controversy surrounding Alex Haley's possible plagiarism.
Wild Swans is the true story of three generations of Chinese women from 1909 to 1979. It is written by the third generation woman and the story spans the overthrow of imperialism, the rise and fall of the Kuomintang, the Communist reforms, the famine, the Cultural Revolution and the death of Mao. I feel very privileged to read it while being among the people whose lives these events impacted. I find myself studying people on the bus wondering who they are. There is a an old man who regularly sits on the side walk close by. He looks like Confucious, but very, very old with dark leathery skin and a thin, wispy, white beard. He alternately plays a Chinese instrument that looks like a violin coming out of a tin can (sorry James, I'm sure you know what it is called!) or sleeps. I want to know who he is.
I haven't had any moments of hating our transition, by contrast I find myself becoming more and more fascinated by such a dynamic country. I'm looking forward to seeing more of China than just Beijing. I've read nutritional reports from rural Chinese provinces where mothers are selling their highly nutritious eggs so that they can buy chocolate for their children because they think it is better for them. I want to meet those mothers. James really wants to get out west and see the herders and the Gobi Desert.
The China Road is written by a British journalist who lived in China for many years and wrote about his experiences traveling from one end of the country to the other. His intent was to see from all angles of the country what modern China is like. So far its very interesting.
I'm sure you didn't check in for a book review, but the point is, I'm really enjoying educating myself about our home for the next three years. I've always loved history, but there is something even more fascinating about it when you are on location. I'm sure those who are more widely traveled than I am have an even greater appreciation for it.