Thursday, February 16, 2012

Photo of the Day--February 17, 2012

So I was speaking a couple of weeks ago with my friend John about why we were in China. That is, what the hell had motivated us to, unlike 99.9999% of our friends, colleagues, etc., just pick up and move to China? It's an interesting question--I would say the simple answer is "well it's a nice combination of adventure, resume building, and having a good deal of disposable income", but I think I came up with a more accurate and insightful answer during our conversation.

Basically, if I wanted to live an easy life, I would have stayed in the US, taken a job with Allstate for around $50,000 per year, and just hung out around Chicago saving money for a few years. It would have been good, I would have had close friends and family nearby, been in a familiar environment, and would have just blended in with everyone else.

None of these are the case in China. Therefore, why am I here? I believe that I am here not because life is easy here (though really, it's not bad at all), not because it's a good resume builder, not even really to learn Chinese. I am here precisely because living in a place like China allows you to really appreciate life. I put it this way to John--living in China, there are many, many instances per day where I am inconvenienced in some way. Whether that means I have trouble because I speak horrible Chinese, get stared at by people on the subway for being a big white guy, or just buy something that I assume is some sort of known food, only to have it be some feral concoction of fish, red bean, or something similar, there are a lot of inconveniences about living in China. And the pollution kind of sucks. None of this would be an issue living in the US.

HOWEVER! It should be noted that in China, every single day, generally several times per day, I see something that just makes me say "wow, I love living in this country". Whether that means I see 4 people balancing on a single motorbike going down the highway, a guy doing heavy-duty road construction wearing like a full suit, or the subtly beautiful architecture of this bizarrely well-planned city, not a day goes by in my life without something about this place truly amazing me. And that, friends, would not be happening if I were living in the US.

So in summation, yes, living abroad (particularly in a developing/really freaking foreign country) does have inconveniences. But I believe that facing these inconveniences and taking them with the unbelievable and incredible things you tend to see, allows you to get a better understanding of yourself and the world in which you live. And so therefore, I guess I am living in China not because it is easy, but because it's just so much more intense, polarizing, and generally fuller. And so for those of you who are thinking about relocating abroad, consider that--odds are you'll have to take a lot of bad with the good, but I sincerely believe that it's well worth it.

Anyway, so without further ado, the photo of the day!

Kind of a weird/random/terrible photo, but I was intrigued/amused by a few things about this, most notably the fact that there is a box next to the truck's front-right tire just labeled "TROUT". This was taken just outside my office, in one of the nicer parts of town, and apparently these mad-dogs had just set up a vegetable/trout stand on the sidewalk.

Looks like tomorrow I'll be heading to Macau with Jeff and a few others, staying Saturday night and coming back Sunday afternoon. Plan at the moment is to gamble through the night and do some sightseeing Sunday. Having been there twice before, I suppose I'm the de facto tour guide. Presumably the photo of the day(s) from Macau will be substantially more interesting than the above one.

Showed Scutt the most insane and mind-blowing TedTalk I've ever seen last night--Richard Dawkins on the Queerness of our Universe. Would absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in not being a complete philistine in regard to human evolution, subatomic particles, and a host of other topics covered by this brilliantly atheist man in a 20 minute span. So yeah.

That's about all for now, another photo to come tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, etc., until I either get bored of it or end up on an airplane for a 24 hour period (which will be occurring on February 27th, so there's a chance I won't be putting up a photo that day. Just so you can all plan in advance on how else to take up 7 minutes during your work/school/unemployed and have nothing to do day).

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