Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Early Retirement

Some people ask why I've stayed in China as long as I have. While being married to a Chinese man is the obvious answer, there is certainly more to it than that. After all, Ming, Ping, and I could pick up and move to America. So why don't we?

First and probably most importantly, the life of a foreigner in China is generally much easier and more glamorous than that of a foreigner in America. In the States, Ming would most likely face unemployment and years in school trying to get a firm handle on English. He'd also have to learn how to deal with driving, credit cards, income tax returns, junk mail, health insurance, cell phone bills, and dentist appointments--all things, for better or worse, we don't really have to think about here in China.

My second reason, which closely relates to my first, is simply and selfishly this: my free time. Life in China often proves to be a life of leisure for foreigners. For some, this can lead to late night bar fights, womanizing, and a downward spiral into alcoholism and chain smoking. I, however, have taken up the innocuous activities of cooking and baking. While experimenting in the kitchen has proved satisfying and often quite time consuming (you try making tortillas and bagels from scratch), I feel it is time to take up a new hobby or project. Furthermore, I am hoping for a project that can be blogged about. Since Julie Powell has already done cooking, that is clearly out.

Of the many things I've considered, one at the top of my list is training for a half marathon. The Great Wall Marathon sounds like an idyllic and worthy goal, but it's a little out of my price range at $1100. Furthermore, I'm a bit put-off by the idea of running outside in China. Normally I enjoy exercising outdoors, but unless I wake up at dawn (in these parts, 4am) I will have to cope with crowded sidewalks and countless gawking locals. Besides, the thought of writing about running makes me want to take a snooze.

My next idea is to go through AFI's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies. Though I think this may be enjoyable for me, it may bore my ten or so blog readers. There is also that little issue of me knowing next to nothing about film or film critique. Which leads me to a more literary endeavor--reading Time's list of top modern novels. While I am rather clueless about film, I do have some knowledge of literature. But since I've only read 14% of the list in my life thus far, I still have a lot to learn. The question is, how do I get my hands on all these books in China? I currently only have six of them in my possession. Would this pursuit even be interesting? I am pretty bookish but can I really make it through The Sound and the Fury and The Sun Also Rises??

I'm not sure what hobby might be both fun to do and write about--I am open to any and almost all suggestions. Although many people may covet my (lack of) schedule, I am desperately in need of filling the hours with something other than youtube and facebook, thanks.

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