May 14, 1999
I want to thank all of you who have written to me this week, worried about Lara and me a little, or wondered how we are doing here in China, with all of this angst and excitement.
Well, I'll admit, I was pretty bummed out on Sunday. We had had a tremendous day last Saturday, spending the entire day out in the countryside touring one of the local sights. Then, I was stuck home all day on Sunday, worrying about whether all of my new friends were now going to hate us forever, and wondering when we'd feel comfortable going out again.
Well, in fact, a few folks have treated us a little more coldly, but not my students or friends. In fact, they've gone out of their way to be especially kind and caring to us. When I walked into my first Oral English class on Tuesday morning, many of the students even clapped a little bit to show their support and affection.
And the week has continued to get better and better. The stress is still in the background a little. The TV is filled with images and news related to the bombing, and folks are still very angry about it. But the raw surge of emotion and grief is settling, and this afternoon when Lara and I walked to the market for a little shopping, folks were smiling at us again, and calling out, "Hello!" So, I definitely think that the worst of the stress is over for us.
In fact, I'd be very surprised if any of you will even notice anything unusual or strained when you travel to China. In fact, if I hadn't known before how incredibly warm and friendly the Chinese people are, I wouldn't have noticed that they were much more restrained and quiet with us the past few days. (just like back home, eh?)
But as I said, things felt almost completely normal to me this afternoon, and I'm looking forward to another sightseeing outing this upcoming Saturday with my first year students.... the first of many, I hope!
I also received word from my boss that the summer school Intensive English class I want to teach has been approved, and I am now submitting resumes of American and Canadian college students that want to help out as teaching assistants for this course. I have received two already, and would like a few more. So, if any of you know of college aged students who are interested in the idea of some hands on ESL experience in Jinzhou, please have them write to me ASAP. We're going to have a great summer!
And to those of you waiting to travel, all I can advise is that you stop watching TV. All it's going to do is depress you. But I know that you'll have a wonderful trip to China, and you will meet some of the warmest, friendliest people in the world!
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