Good morning. I’ve had a lie-in with absolutely no alarms set in the hope I’d wake up feeling like I could run a marathon (Well Done to my IRC pals who actually did run one yesterday!). However, i’ve woken up feeling like someone snuck into my room whilst I was sleeping and repeatedly punched my eyes. I feel fucking terrible. Mondays are dedicated to me relaxing, going to do something or whatever but I feel so terrible that it’s going to be a lesson planning day.
As you know my short term memory is terrible and it has been since I developed depression in 2013 so to remember what I’ve done in the past two weeks I’m scrolling through my camera roll to give me writing inspo.
If there’s one thing I miss from home other than friends and family it’s the sea views. Ilfracombe is a combe obviously, which means you’ve gotta get up some fuck off massive hills to get out of it and I live on top of one of those fuck off huge hills. Despite gasping for air by the time I reach the front door the real breathtaker is the views of the sea from the house. You can see the hot and cold relationship the sea has with the moon and what mood it is in, on a clear day you can see the wind turbines on top of a hill in Swansea, and when the night creeps in the sunset shines through our lounge window.
Here in Beijing there is a horizon of concrete and a cool polluted breeze and it makes me feel really claustrophobic. However, there are parks within the city that host small bodies of water so I checked one out 2 weeks ago named Beihai park. The weather wasn’t so great but the flowers were all in bloom and it smelt delightful when wandering slowly around the water. It was the perfect setting for the selfie/picture obsessed culture, camera phones were everywhere pointing in the direction of people looking into the flowers. I found one woman who was dressed so beautifully in a long sleeved lime green dress, authentically chinese of course with its dressing-gown type style and a white belt that binds it in the middle. Her hair was in two plaits and she held a dark green purse to match. She was wandering around Beihai park with her friend pausing for a shot of a stone bridge, standing by the water and waiting under flowers, so I asked politely to get a picture of her because she looked so graceful and beautiful.
After this I sat down next to the water and got out my book, I’ve began reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” (I haven’t read it since mind, I haven’t had the time) and I felt so relaxed. It isn’t quite waves crashing on the shore but it is the best thing that I’m going to get, so take it or leave it. The downside is that you have to pay to enter because it’s a historical site so I had a little look on Apple maps and found that there is a smaller park nearer to me, perhaps a 30 minute walk? I made a start for that park last Tuesday, a slow waddle at that because it was the day after I tripped, flew and landed on my knees which really fucked them up. It might have been small but it was breathtaking!! Its paths circle a large pond and as you walk through open wooden corridors and look into the water you see huge golden and black goldfish fighting for the food pellets visitors are throwing for them. There were a couple of sad sods who had met their end somehow and were just bobbing on the surface.
As I was walking back home I was trailing an old woman carrying a bag in one hand, her phone in the other and was wearing a blue summer hat. She stumbled on a loose cobble and absolutely stacked it, I retrieved her hat and said “hao bu hao?” (which means “good, not good”) whilst I offered my hand to help her gather herself. She shook her hand and declined my offer whilst saying “no problem” in Chinese. I felt a little sad that I was declined because I could see she was in pain, why she didn’t want my help I have no idea. It could be the culture because when I went flying the day before no one stopped to help me, I think it could be Beijing… it’s very much like London in the way that it can be full of ignorant busy-bodies. Or maybe it’s the age old fact that I’m a foreigner.
I’ve got a new tattoo. I really need to stop, my Mum would agree. BUT the woman is so amazing at floral work and I just had to have a design created by her. The tattoo is on my calf and beforehand I was prepared for pain but not quite as intense as it was, I can imagine that Lavi and Spencer got to witness some beautiful squirmy faces. I was lying on my side whilst getting it done and every now and then my hip got cramp and I had to stand up. I don’t know what my hips and legs were like when I was born but they’re weird as fuck… my feet turn out slightly, my knees turn in and my hips can not be in certain positions for a little while or else I get insane cramp. You can only imagine how frustrating that can be in certain situations…lol.
Last Tuesday evening I was invited by Nur and her husband Can to watch a Turkish dance performance based on the legend of Troy. The dance group are supposedly very famous in Turkey and have performed to an audience of up to 400,000 people which is absolutely crazy. The first scene blew me away and that was just 1 of 20, the dancing was very traditional to its homeland and helped me delve into a culture I’d never really seen before. I’ve visited Turkey 8 times for family holidays but my parents never really wanted to soak up the culture when we were there so I have no memory of attending a traditional Turkish night. Isn’t it really silly how some of us Brits want to go abroad for a break but do absolutely nothing to visit cultural sites, expect everyone to understand English and don’t intend on trying the cuisine?
There were so many costume changes throughout the performance and each costume was just amazing, I had to sit forward in my seat though because we were sat on the higher tier right at the back. What could we expect these seats were free after all? The end scene was of course when the Trojan horses were taken into Troy. The music changed, and the lights dimmed a little and then this fuck off huge white horse emerged from the wings, I was expecting it to be big but not floor to ceiling in a theatre kind of big. It was a truly mesmerising show and I never would have made it if Can didn’t remind me the day before.
I’ve said it so many times and i’ll say it again… China doesn’t understand and fails to recognise what a child with special needs is like or what mental health issues are. Amongst the 75 children I teach a week there a handful of autistic children, some of whom are very energetic and lack understanding of rules, others who merely can not sit still or focus properly in class. One of these children is called Jonathan, a 6 year old boy who is very quiet, introverted but bloody clever. He always says “hello Jodie” and it melts me when the kids say my name, it’s like when English people or adults call me Jodes. During class he cannot keep his eyes from wandering around the classroom, he tilts his head back and stares gormlessly into space or he slides slowly off his chair and ends up on the floor whilst staring gormlessly into space. His fidgeting became incredibly apparent last lesson to the point where I had to catch his attention several times, thus for the second half of the lesson I decided I’d give him a ball of blue-tack to fiddle with.
The second half of the lesson was like looking at a different boy. He sat up straight, his eyes on me and answering/repeating everything I required the class to. I was absolutely astonished and almost reduced to tears because FINALLY his cleverness broke out of his autistic boundary and shone through for everyone to see. His mother told me that he cannot sit still in his public school class or even when eating at home, it’s a real problem. I’ve purchased a fidget cube for him to use in my class and I bloody hope it works.
The other moment that screamed “CHINA DOESN’T GET IT” in my face was when I was in the cinema with Tian (Douggy, the tattooed chinese guy… he prefers Tian). We were watching a film called “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” with Alan from the Hangover and the girl from Wild Child in. It’s about a kid was wanted to commit suicide and admitted himself into a psych ward before actually going to the bridge. His life isn’t unusually bad but the little pesky things in his life just get him down and he suffers with depression… a lot like me I guess. Tian was like “what the?? what’s wrong with these people?” (in the hospital), I explained about mental health issues and that lots of people suffer with lots of different things and it is actually pretty common. I gave a couple of my kids as an example and then told him that this guy in the film suffers with depression and he looked so confused. He asked “why?” and I said that it can be many different things and then told him that I’ve felt that way for 5 years. This shocked him. He was like “What?! No, really? But you are so happy all the time!!”… Man if I had £1 for every time someone has said that to me. Despite the awareness of mental health growing it is still taboo and misunderstood by some, it’s like they expect people with depression to have scars up their arms, look sad all the time and not want human contact.
Speaking of Tian, we’ve met a few times now. He’s kindly offered to pick me up from work and drive me home when I’ve felt really tired, we’ve been for dinner a couple of times and have gone to the pictures too. The second time we went to the pictures was at a 24/7 cinema where you could choose a themed room for 2 and choose your film, that’s when we chose the film about mental health, it was a really cool experience bloody expensive though. I’ve been told that Chinese guys don’t beat about the bush when it comes to relationships and my lord were these people not wrong. It has been around 2 weeks and a couple days since we first met and during that Wednesday at the cool cinema he asked me out, so incredibly super soon right?!?! We had only met 4 times. After a moment’s pause I said yes, he kinda freaked out a little saying ‘is this real?’ which was cringe in a cute way. Immediately after I thought oh no… it isn’t him that made me think that, not at all, he’s really great and I like him a lot. It’s the concept of a relationship. I really thought that’s all I wanted right now, but now that there is a label tied to me, to him, to us I’m freaking out a little. I feel a little sick when I say the words ‘girlfriend, boyfriend, relationship” in my head, the little person in my stomach gets a little crazy and attacks my insides.
It’s okay though, I’m going with the flow. He’s really good to me and his determination to better his English is so endearing. So yeah I kinda sorta have a boyfriend… *vom*.