Communicate

Today I went to the post office. I said two words from the time I left campus to the time I came back. I found the office on my own. I didn’t have to ask for directions. Sometimes people get frustrated with my limited vocabulary. Sometimes they don’t say anything at all. Which is fine by me I suppose. I wish I could have asked what the stamp he showed me when he took my letters was. I should have tried to ask. Instead I nodded. It said something in French, I suppose it meant air mail. He didn’t have me put stamps on them. . . . I guess he did that. I hope they get back home. Though, I’ll be home possibly before they get there. It’s alright I suppose.

It cost 24 块 to send. 6 per card. There are lots of kuais. The one for money literally means “chunk.” Another Kuai is for chopsticks, and another is for quickness. 快 块 筷。 Fast, Chunk, Chopstick. You have to pay attention to the details. The first kuai as a dot then a line then a dot and then the radical. 2 dots. One stroke. The second has 3 strokes. The third looks like the first but it has another radical on the top. 你不明白?Did you understand that?

You have to really focus. Sometimes instead of saying nothing to me, people say too much. They talk so fast, they have weird accents I’m not used to, they don’t understand my northern Chinese, southern American accent. It’s hard to put your whole mind into what they say.

Classes last 4 hours. I’m not even sure my teacher speaks English. It’s hard to focus that long on each word, to consciously translate it every time. I forget I am there. I wander off. . . .

I wonder if my post-cards will make it to the US. Communication back home is frustrating. Sometimes things don’t work like they should. Sometimes my internet shuts down, sometimes my vpn won’t work, sometimes it takes 2-3 weeks to send a letter.

I can’t believe people used to do this before phones and internet. I can use facebook during breaks in class (usually) via my iPhone. So many people whose travels I read did it all without anything but a letter, maybe not even that. I doubt Mary Slessor could mail letters from central Africa in the Jungle. I am not that brave.

In fact I am not very brave at all. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. I get scared that I won’t learn enough, that the weeks won’t go by fast enough, that I’ll spend so much time worrying that I won’t learn enough, that I’ll spend too much money, and what about after I leave, will I forget everything I learned? Will I spend months more learning Chinese with no avail? I wonder why I am so blessed to do this? I’m scared that I’ll abuse the purpose. I wish I knew what God was doing sometimes.

Some days I’m pretty sure I’ve got it all together.

Other days I don’t think I can.

Those are hard days.

Days in need of faith.

My throat hurts and I don’t know whether I’m holding back tears or I have a cold.

谢谢呀。 The only words I said to the post man.

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