Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
~ Marcus Aurelius
My fourth week here in Zhengzhou, China has been full and beautiful and falling into a simple and every day routine of discovery! I have felt the support and interest and love from my new community and from friends back home as I got over the creepy crud… I’ve begun to get the process at my school and teaching the students… I’ve made some connections outside of my school colleagues… and I realize I’m enjoying the heck out of this new experience here in ZZ!
I’d been dealing with tummy troubles for a couple of weeks and then I was also hit with a respiratory ailment as well. None of this is unusual as my mom reminded me, my whole body and person is adjusting to everything new! I also learned that this time here in ZZ is a cold and flu season with the change in the weather, etc., it is common this time of year for people to suffer these flu-like symptoms (I am becoming apart of the whole here in ZZ). My colleague Crystal’s uncle, lovingly made me a special tea that included Eucalyptus which as an expectorant helped to clear-up my respitory grumblings and the antibacterial benefits positively helped my belly, along with the ginger/cinnamon/honey tea I also drank. The uglies ran their course and I have now rejoined the land of the living!
During these two weeks I realized eating fresh veg/no oil/no salt was a good thing for my belly and my pocket-book! I’ve had two daughters telling me this for years and they’re right! I’m blessed to live in a city with a fresh produce market on literally every corner. The choices of fruit and veg are astounding, from the familiar to the totally-and-completely-what-the-heck-is-that?! I can stop each night at the market pick-up the most interesting and freshest vegetables along with my yogurt and sparkling water and prepare it in my cozy kitchen with the view of the city through that big picture window of mine!
I also enjoyed the generosity of a couple of local people showing me a bit of ZZ. I was hosted for a morning at the Henan Provincial Museum! The main museum/observatory is closed for renovations, so we were only able to visit the Annex. The entrance is free by showing your identification/passport. The museum has docents with bluetooth devices for groups to hear details about the exhibits. And the relics, in a word, WOW! One cannot imagine the detail of the bronze and copper metal works on display! The exhibited works were displayed by dynasty which in itself was an interesting history lesson! The artisans of the time did such intricate and detailed work, I was blown away! Beside a very large metal vessel, was a video depicting how the detailed designs were created… the designs were created in stone, the shape of the vessel and the scrolling and creation of the dragons and other motifs, and then a mold of sorts was fashioned with the molten metal then being poured in between the stone mold. The intricate design work meant that the stone carving, etching, etc., was quite detailed. I also believe that each mold could be used just once! In the Annex there were just two musical instruments, one was a flute made from the femur of a Crane! And a hanging assortment of bells that was used for specific rituals. There weren’t any textiles displayed at this time at the Annex. I am excited and anxious to visit the completed main museum, which I’m told should re-open sometime in 2017.
I visited the Flower/Antique/Pet Mart in the northern part of ZZ. I’d been wanting to visit here and plan to return to purchase a few plants for my flat! I was amazed at the number of citrus trees there are available for rooftop or patio gardening here in the City! The sheer variety of plants was astounding, any sort of palm one could imagine, to vines, to cacti and succulents, to bamboo, and amazing trees. Pots and baskets galore and I didn’t even make it to the cut flower area! The pet area showed dogs, cats, birds, mice, hamsters, nearly every sort of pet imaginable for sale. The breeders did keep the larger breeders in cages, which was heart breaking to see. I do have to say, I haven’t seen stray cats or dogs on the streets only pampered pets being carted around and catered to. The Mart also had a large area for calligraphy art and included matting and framing shops with other various medium for sale, too.
On the same morning I visited the Mart, I also was introduced to the second-hand store here in ZZ which is really a place to commission a savvy techy to make the computer of your dreams! There is a plethora of computer hardware and plenty of stalls of techs to hobble together any sort of PC you can imagine! I’m a Mac user, and though I didn’t see used Macs for sale, I did see plenty of Apple accessories available, new and used. The six-story building also played host to electric bicycle stalls, jewelry (jade and gold) stalls, camping/picnicking/hiking stalls (picnicing is huge here in China), there were stringed intruments stalls, and various clothing stalls, as well. It was an interesting place and I saved its location and the Mart’s to my favorites so I could return.
As I made my way on my e-bike to connect with my hosts for these outings, I explored a bit on my own. I found the over one hundred year old campus of Henan University. The entrance is grand and brings on into an open quad shaded by beautiful trees. The hustle and bustle was the same as any university campus in the States. I’d like to visit the campus and attend some talks or the like, I’m looking into some possibilities here. I also visited a boarding school for high schoolers. Boarding school for middle and high school is common here in ZZ. This particular campus was quite large and at first I thought it was a university.
I keep making my way round the city and my circle of familiarity with streets and buildings, etc., is improving the more I get out n’ about. I continue to be amazed at the way the people move on the streets and in traffic together… it is an organized chaos that inevitable works pretty successfully every day. I think it’s a testament to matter-of-factly moving about one’s business everyday with the intent of arriving safely and successfully, and so this ripples out to everyone, all intent on the same keeping each other whole as well.
Broadening my connections and interests here in ZZ, I’ll be joining an international public speaking group, I’ll begin a fitness and mediation routine, and I’ll begin exchange English language tutoring for Chinese language tutoring! I have always been intrigued by the formality of presentation and the art of public speaking so I thought I would explore Toastmasters here in ZZ. Low and behold there are like over half a dozen clubs throughout the city! I made the connection with Alice at a local club which meets on one of my off days, so I will begin attending these meetings. I also have had an interest in Tai Chi and I have found a connection to a group that meets in the park each morning from nine to eleven… so I’m totally going to explore the Ying version of Tai Chi beginning this week!
Life is beginning in earnest for me here in Zhengzhou! Stay tuned…