*The owners of our favorite cafe in Chengdu, really the ONLY good cafe in Chengdu, are leaving us to go back to France. On one hand, I’m so happy for them. They are so good at what they do and they work sooo hard and they deserve the chance to spend more time with their young son. I’m glad they were so profitable that they were able to sell so quickly, but can I just be selfish and say it? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Please don’t go!!! We need you! For our sanity! For our coffee! For the only eatery in Chengdu with REAL atmosphere! For the best salads and pastries in the whole of Western China! I feel like its the end of an era. I never knew I could care about one little tiny cafe so much.
*I’ve done some nominal research on bike safety in China. Shockingly, they don’t really publish those sorts of statistics widely. 🙂 But I did find out that China has 7 times the bike fatalities annually of either Europe or America. Granted, I don’t know whether this is per capita or just overall, but I’m going to assume its the former until someone tells me otherwise.
*I also found out that, in NYC, if you wear a helmet, you’re actually more likely to be hit by a car. I’ll buy that, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are still more likely to get hit by a car in China than in NYC, whether you wear a helmet or not. Since I can’t magically enforce traffic laws or teach everyone how to drive, promoting helmets seems like a more manageable goal.
*In 3 weeks we are getting on a plane to go visit…America!!!!! It’s going to be a whirlwind trip-2 weeks, 4 cities, 12 flights total. Are we nuts?? Yes, but we’ve got a long list of food to eat, people to see, and freedom and democracy to enjoy and we are thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis excited. Plus, we get to see a dentist!!!!! I never thought I’d be so excited to see a dentist.
*We haven’t been back to America since we arrived in Chengdu last April. While I’m super excited, I’m also worried that I’ll find a lot changed. It’s weird to read the news of recession and struggle and political bickering and be so far away and a little removed from it all. We know it’s not a good or easy time for a lot of people right now.
*On the other hand, I live in China and when I read all of the reports of people being afraid of China becoming more powerful than the U.S., when I read absolute nonsense about how “Chinese mothers” parent (Hey lady, last time I checked with the Chinese parents I know, your methods are not so much Chinese as they are…umm a little scary??), when I read about how we should all eat a mythical “Chinese diet” that doesn’t exist in modern China anymore, I feel a little sad.
Sad because I wish people knew what China is really like. Because I don’t think America has anything to worry about. I’m not saying this to knock China, China is definitely a powerhouse and its definitely going to get bigger and better, but that’s ok. Because what makes America great-our people, our melting pot-ness, our emphasis on innovation and ingenuity and creation, our deep-seeded belief in the power of the individual and freedom of expression-those are all things that China doesn’t have and more importantly, really doesn’t want to have either.
And sometimes wanting it more is what matters.
*I wasn’t intending to get so serious for this collection of random thoughts. Sorry! Back to the mundane:
*I just realized that all but one of our towels have Chris’ name on them in permanent marker…from when he went to summer camp…25 years ago. China may be making minimalists of us, but perhaps a bit more consumerism wouldn’t be a bad thing either.
*In America, I can go on any website I want without a VPN or proxy server. Woahhhh.
*America has brunch and salads, and delis and bagels from a store-not scratch, and Lebanese food and giant grocery stores and real organic produce and Junior Frosty’s from Wendy’s. All of which I plan on consuming in just 3 short weeks. I love America.