Saturday, June 11, 2011

Random Thoughts on My Lack of Maturity

[Note: the following thoughts are completely random--as I believe is acceptable in typical blogging--and have nothing to do with China. This is the only time you'll read the word "China" and therefore I would warn readers that if you are uninterested in the random writings of the author of this blog which are irrelevant to her China-experience, please read no further and wait for the next post].

Sometimes I find it so hard to fathom life as an adult. Like a real adult. I just feel like such a kid all of the time. Does some kind of transformation happen on a specific birthday to change this un-adult phase? I'm not sure. I've heard it's a slow transformation, but I can't really tell. Sometimes I still feel like I'm 12 years old, so, how long does this slow transformation process go for? I mean, twenty years is a pretty good amount of time. But, on the other hand what part of those twenty years was just spent developing into a self-sufficient functioning human being, and what part was spent "maturing"? Is it possible to have done both at the same time? Maybe a little, but I don't think maturity can come without the ability to perform basic human functions. I mean, it must be hard to be a mature thinker when you can't even change your own diaper—or cut your own spaghetti. Or at least, that's what I imagine (who knows—maybe babies and toddlers are the real mature ones).

So, let's say, for argument's sake, that I started maturing at age 6. By then I should have been potty-trained and have learned enough speech to communicate and understand basically what's going on around me. Plus, I mean, come on—6 year olds are just really cool! So, that really means that I've only had 14 years to go through the adultification transformation process. I would say that's nothing in comparison to the average life of a human being—let's say 75 years. But then that leads us back to the original question—when does a person reach that desired state of "maturity"—does a person live their whole life to reach maturity right before death, or should a person live most of their life already mature?

What a puzzle!

Perhaps a person should spend half of their life becoming mature, and the other half being mature. This would make sense in calculating how much one must learn every year in order to keep-up on the maturity progression—for every year one spends learning, one can spend another year having learned. If so, this would mean a person should reach the final steps of maturation at the age of 34.5 (75-6=69; 69/2=34.5). This would mean that I have 14 years to go until I reach my state of adulthood. That doesn't seem too bad since I'm only in my 14th year of the transformative process. But, then, as I mentioned, I sometimes still feel like I'm 12 years old. Is that alright? 12 years old was only 6 years into my adultification process and I've had 8 more years since then—because I'm half-way through the transformation, shouldn't I at least start to feel a difference? Perhaps… But, with 14 more years to go, I think I still have a pretty good chance at getting some make-up work done. Of course, I'm no expert.

However, then the question of where is maturity learned comes into play. HOW is maturity developed? I suppose from our parents—they seem to teach us a lot of other things important to life, so why not that? When people are pegged as socially dysfunctional (AKA incomplete in the adultification transformation AKA unfinished adults AKA failures at life), isn't it usually the parents who take the blame? Well, if this is correct then I suppose parents must already be mature in order to teach their children to be mature—how can one teach what one does not know?

This, my friends, poses a problem for me. That cuts down my time to develop into an adult by a few years. This would mean that I must finish my transformation into a mature adult before I have a child who reaches the age of 6 (the aforementioned prescribed age for starting the process in topic). If I have my first child at age 23, then that means I MUST reach maturity by age 29. That's 5.5 years gone! Looks like I really only have maybe around 8.5 years to become mature. And yet I still feel like I'm in year 6 of my transformation!

What if I don't mature fast enough and then my kids won't even have a CHANCE to finish the process which I did not? What if I spend the rest of my life not ever being able to become mature because I'll always be stuck in year 6 maturity level? What if there's something wrong with me and I'll never be able to get past the level I've been in for the past 8 years? That means my children would never become mature and their children's children would never become mature and so forth! That means I'll have ruined generations' chances of living socially functional lives!


Jeez, you know what? Maturity is over-rated anyway.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One more month ....... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know, it's about time! This entry is just sharing some pictures of my new classes! I love all these kids, and the teaching is MUCH easier with only ten children in a class for twenty minutes at a time.

I have one month until I'm done teaching in China. Thoughts? Not too many. My half-way mark came and went pretty fast, but that's when I started feeling ready to go home and move on with life and see my family again (to, of course, come back sometime in the future). Now that a month is all I have left, I find my emotions to be mixed between joy, disappointment, and complacency. Joy for going home and visiting my family again (and having a dryer for my clothes… and for having a bathroom that doesn't reek no matter how many drains you try to cover up…), disappointment at likely not seeing any of my awesome kids again, and complacency when it comes to teaching and putting forth effort in any area besides enjoying myself. Horrible, I know! I don't actually usually know what I'm teaching until the morning of, and it's getting harder and harder to not just play with the kids and forget about teaching them as much English as possible. On top of that, with only a month left there's this kind of rush to do everything I can in Weihai, China and take in every little experience that comes my way.

One such experience, I'm proud to say, has been eating baby octopus. My friend Caitlin here and I decided while in town after shopping to have a little adventure! We decided to go to a random restaurant and try some new—hopefully delicious—food. I know that doesn't sound very adventurous, but in China where menus are hard to read, you can't understand anyone in the restaurant, and no one in the restaurant can understand you I'd say it's an alright adventure to have after a long day of walking around town and shopping :)

So, we go into this restaurant and they immediately sit us. We're not sure if we want to eat there when they pull out the menu and to our dismay—no pictures. Meaning if we just pointed to anything who knows what we would be getting! So, we thought maybe that was TOO adventuresome and we should move to somewhere with pictures. But, then they started to bring out drinks for us! It seemed awfully rude to leave after that, but what were we going to do? We kept debating and the restaurant owners kept coming out to help us… but, with the language barrier the only thing that was understood was that Caitlin and I were teachers and American and could NOT speak Chinese. I guess that's all they needed to know though, because next thing we knew they took away our menu and motioned for us to stay seated. We thought about making a run for it a few times—not knowing if they would bring out food and make us pay for it, but they kept motioning for us to stay seated and we kept going against our better judgment and staying.

Finally they bring out food. It seems as though our fears were coming true and before us were two bowls of soup. One had fish and potatoes and the other had baby octopi. Caitlin and I just laughed and decided this was a horrible decision, but it was time to be accountable for it anyway. We start to eat the fish and potato soup as they bring out more food (cooked fish, kimchi)—too scared to touch the baby octopus soup. Then, one of the owners of the restaurant (the wife) called someone on her cell phone and wanted Caitlin to talk to whoever it was. To our surprise it was the owners' daughter and she told us that the entire meal was free—her mother's treat to us. The daughter couldn't speak much English either, but enough to share that her mother was happy to cook a special meal for us.

This was wonderful news! But, with one draw-back. That means we HAD to eat the baby octopus—it would be too rude not to. After much giggling and gagging and almost being force-fed by the woman owner—we finally decided we had to just DO IT. Luckily there was good-tasting sauce we could drench the octopus in after fishing it out of the soup (really just water with onions it looked like). And then we did it! I ate three baby octopi… something I'm proud of, but would prefer to never do again. The legs aren't actually bad at all—it was the brain that made me want to gag. At any rate, we both decided that three were enough and we should stick the rest in our purses (AFTER wrapping them in as many paper napkins we were given). And, seeing how neither of us brought our cameras, it was perfect to take the octopi all the way home and take pictures with our little friends there.

So, that's the latest fun China experience I've had—a free octopus meal from a sweet Korean family who owned a random restaurant in Weihai, China. Have I mentioned that I LOVE this place and the people I find? Well, I do!