The China Blues

I’ve recently been dealing with the China blues. I don’t want this update to feel too one-sided, so I will attempt neutrality as much as possible.

I’m still not sleeping well or exercising. However, this should change as I have resumed a somewhat regular sleeping schedule and started going to the gym on Saturday. I’ve only been three times so it will take some additional trips to really feel the cathartic effect.

I have 60 translation students on Tuesday afternoon. I still cannot figure out what I am supposed to do with these students beyond improving their accuracy of expressions. My first thought is, well, doesn’t this require them to do some writing? If anyone can assist, guide me, or even point me in the right direction about writing skills for translators, I would be forever indebted to you!

It’s still difficult for me to say no. Even after getting feedback from John to do this, I will be reviewing translation work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website yet again. The department has also been hounding me to give a two hour lecture this Sunday, a working Sunday as Thursday and Friday are Mid-Autumn Festival. I’ve taken the suggested route of just ignoring my supervisors’ emails. Although I’m only in the classroom for 10 hours, I have several additional hours of marking papers, updating the class websites, as well as scouring the World Wide Web for additional resources and materials to appease my students. My main problem is that I’m not the kind of person who likes to do my job halfway. I feel as though many of my colleagues, foreign or Chinese, have no problem letting most things fall to the wayside.

I still don’t know what to do when I receive an email like the one below. I know many of my counterparts will just ignore any emails from students or Chinese, but that just isn’t in my nature. Email, to me, is an authoritative means of getting in touch with someone, and I feel equally saddened when no one replies to my mail. China hands, any suggestion?


The essay correction service isn’t what it seemed. People here are really good at advertising part-time work; they know exactly how to hook you. Business people are particularly slimy and will maneuver themselves in any position just to make a buck, steamrolling individuals in the process.

Overall, I’m just feeling flustered, floundered, stressed, under qualified and inadequate. I do think homesickness has something to do with it as I didn’t go home this summer.

I’ll be making additional attempts to keep it at bay. I went to Green Molly for dinner two nights ago; dining for one. Jason had decided to use his two days off to go home and visit his folks. As I had classes until four, and rearranging is 太麻烦, I will get in more gym time, a dinner date with Sara and Sandro at Delhi Darbar, and some Marissa time.

How do you deal with these concerns, or better yet how do you cope with homesickness?

3 thoughts on “The China Blues

  1. Jocelyn Eikenburg says:

    I’m really sorry to hear you’re feeling a little down and overwhelmed. I can understand how you feel — I know how hard it is to say no, because I’m really the same way myself at times.

    I am glad you’re going to make time for yourself as you referenced at the end — that’s really important. In fact just squeezing out those simple moments for you will go a long way to making you feel better.

    You might even figure out creative ways to integrate exercise into your day without having to go to the gym; for example, even just walking is fantastic exercise and you can do that if you walk more blocks. Or you could ride a bicycle to some of your destinations.

    Just hang in there, Marissa.

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