I realized that I’ve committed a heinous crime during this program so far. Obsessed with doing for the sake of doing, I’ve not given myself time to think about what I’m experiencing. Not admitting exhaustion when I should have actually hurt me even though it’s a principle I’ve followed most of my life.
For example, my host family took me on two very long excursions during the weekend. On Saturday, we ate lunch with a family who was friends with my host mother. The family had a daughter who was my age, and she had just graduated from high school. We ambled around a newly built mall with them for a few hours, and then went back home, where I explained to the girl my age the meanings of all her favorite English songs. On Sunday, we visited the Zhuhai Opera House again, which involved lots of walking and posing for photos and history lessons. The weekend trips were interesting at times, boring at others, and, all in all, enriching and I should have had a lot to think about when I finally got some alone time. But I didn’t.
Before I got to Zhuhai, I wanted to have as many new experiences as possible after arriving. However, when it comes to things like experience, I now realize a single, careful experience can outweigh hundreds of lengthy excursions in value. Having a meaningful experience constitutes much more than simply doing it. I’m upset that for most of the trip I been going through the motions when it came to new experiences. And we’re on the back half of the program now.
If anything, I’ve learned that it’s acceptable to be tired, that it’s even a good thing. On a related note, I was looking over a student’s script in my film class. The script was in English but seemed like it had been written originally in Chinese because some parts didn’t translate so well. Eventually, I came across the word “waiver” used completely out of context. I was baffled, so I asked Caroline to ask the students what they intended that word to mean. Originally, it was supposed to mean something along the lines of “giving up with dignity.” I need to try harder when needed, not waste effort on fruitless projects, and “waiver” more.