Finding the way

I can’t remember where I left off in Shanghai. The internet service here is slow. It’s supposed to be broadband but it’s more like dialup. I can forget playing spades; it would take to long to refresh itself. So, on my full day in Shanghai, I decided to venture over to the Jewish quarters to see the synagogue called the Ohsel Moshie synagogue. Trying to get there by cab was a no-go; the taxi driver didn’t know how to get there, so basically he kicked me out. Luckily I didn’t have to pay him. So, I decided to use the bus. While trying to figure out, how to take the bus, I met a really nice brother from Baltimore. We sat for a moment and swapped stories on how living overseas has been for both of us. Of course, we had a crowd gather around us because we were black, and their aren’t many blacks in China. Or maybe because we are just foreigners and that’s different for them. I didn’t really care given that I deal with that everyday in Taiwan. In fact, I expected the Chinese to stare at me more, but they look and then go on their business. Unlike the Taiwanese where they stare as if they are going to be able to tell your whole life story by your actions. I have had soo many staring contests in Taiwan. They always end in a hello, but its fun to see who will smile first. Here in China, it’s like they don’t give a damm. I have yet to encounter any xenophobia, unlike the Taiwanese at times, but give it time, it will show it’s asre. So, the brother and I are yapping away and some guy actually wanted to take a picture with us. Since we both speak a decent amount of Chinese, we tried to get him to pay us. That was a no go. But fun to see his reaction. The brother and I talked about being black in a foreign country, and both agreed that it’s not that big of a problem or hurdle to over come. In fact, we both agreed that being black in America, and having to deal with its racism and such actually prepared us to be able to handle the aspects of living overseas. In fact, I believe that the second class mentality and slave mentality that we tend to have and pass on, has enabled me to be able to live a very good and blessed life and have great experiences in China, Japan, and Taiwan. I have no illusions about how they are to treat me, and no expectation. It also helps that I have been the only black in many of my educational experiences, and life experiences. It has enabled me to be able to see people as people and not have an expectation of them as to how we should interact. It’s a bit of irony because you see many whites, especially males, struggle with this when they come over. The little everyday things you would even encounter at home become blown out of proportion. And I am not talking about attitudes they have because they are living outside their culture. Some of those are warranted, but I am talking about attitude about their views on the culture they live in and the illusions they harbor. This is one good thing about living overseas. Your illusions about life, the longer you live overseas become nothing as you begin to see how life is the same anywhere you go. It’s a Buddhist belief that life is just an illusion, given that everything changes.
Once I got on the bus. Beware there are two buses to take. One has a star-meaning aircon and the other doesn’t. Take the air con bus. Keeping with current Chinese tradition-it’s loud on the bus also. You’d think that these people are hard of hearing, Nope they just like noise, lots of it. So, it’s good to get a CD player with some dj-like headphones and play lots of classical music to drown out the noise. Eventually you get used to it, but I still crave peace. In fact, I value it more after having my senses assaulted on a daily basis. All that noise really can jar the nervous system. But I have also, learned to turn it all out, and keep my mind on nothing. Gotta have lots of white noise in your head on some days or else you will go cookoo for coco puffs.


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This entry was posted on June 11, 2004 by in Uncategorized.
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