Sunday, February 23, 2014

Kunming is Kool

Dear Friends,

Since I've gotten here and gotten settled in, I've fallen in love with the place. Things are just excellent. I have my own little apartment, which is smack in the same building as my work! Let me tell you, it really cuts down on commute time ;) Also, Kunming is located in southwest China(<---look at it on the map!), very very far from the watchful eye of Beijing and the super-rich commercial centers of Jiangsu province and Nanjing and Shanghai and all of that, so things seem much more relaxed. Women wear less fur, there are less high heels, people don't look at me as frequently or as suspiciously. And it's much cleaner, with flowers everywhere, people spit less, or at least try to keep it in the gutters. I've got to say, this place is much more "civilized" than Nanjing ever was, and it's out in the middle of nowhere basically (signs everywhere remind you to be 文明, civilized, in the metro, in cabs, in the restaurants...).

Work is going really well also. I know have the pretentious title of being "an intern" which I think is funny and laugh about. I am working at the Yunnan Province Health and Development Research Association, which does grassroots research in rural areas of Yunnan Province to help increase public health conditions. I feel really lucky to have landed a spot here, and I feel like my education and training and personal thoughts really go well with this organization. They are going to keep me really busy though, I will definitely be on my toes for the next four months.

My social life has diminished greatly since I've left Nanjing. All my friends are dispersed all over the place, as I have lamented about at great frequency... Its okay though. I'm doing my best to stay open and friendly, and to hopefully make some new friends here. I went to Salvador's last night, which is an international coffee house on the main drag here to try and meet some new people (go there if you're in the area, they have organic milk and Santa Cruz Juices haha!). Turns out it was mostly drunken foreign students from the local Yunnan University, and Chinese couples snuggled up together, but I did manage to meet a traveler from Shanghai who was just on her way out. We did have a fun chat though, we talked about China and America and Ireland, where she'd traveled before...

I've been tired lately. Chinese company's don't really do "weekends" or "overtime." You just sort of, work. You work at a company, and then they tell you to do things. And they text you and call you and send you messages on your QQ at any old time. Lord how I miss good old American work culture where, when you're off the clock, you're off the clock. My work had made plans for me on both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend...!!! I just about died when they casually mentioned that, by the way, we are having a meeting tomorrow, Saturday, at 8:30am, and make sure to leave early because it's an hour away by bus. Now, I didn't actually end up attending for other reasons, having to do with my ATM card being mysteriously swallowed up in the ATM machine, but that story, that is something for a whole other blog post.

Anyways, love to my friends everywhere, be safe, eat good food, drink clean water, get some rest, because tomorrow, we got some work to do...! Love, R.