Tonight I had the cutest date! I went to a silent auction and dinner banquet at Fellowship Bible Church benefiting the Jade Tree Project. My date worked the room, frequently schmoozing with all the people there and occasionally leaving my side to work his charm on the room. He had trouble staying still to eat dinner, he’s a mover and a shaker and all. Although uninterested in the silent auction itself, he was very interested in all the rugs in the other rooms that were for sale, frequently jubilantly exclaiming his praises of the beautiful colors and designs used. At one point I found him alone with two of the caterer staff, smiling and laughing like old friends. I wondered how he got there and was a little jealous he didn’t miss me, but then once he saw me, he was back at my side! He can be rather flirtatious, but I’ve learned to live with the way he’ll leave my side for a pretty face because in the end, he just wants me. Over and over people came up to me to exclaim his amazingness, to praise his outgoing demeanor and remark on his ability to get along with anyone. I had brought picture of him (he is rather handsome and his portrait is requested often) to share with someone and other people saw them and other than feeling rather silly like I intentionally meant for everyone to see them, (what must people think?) I was very proud. Almost a dozen people came up to meet him in person after seeing his picture on the front table and so because of that I was able to meet many more people than my learned extrovert self would have made an effort to meet in the first place. He stayed up late partying with everyone and didn’t want to go, especially before doing all his tricks and having dessert. I had to force him to leave and he wouldn’t say good by because he didn’t really want to go. He looked adorable too. My heart is overflowing, my head is full and I’m one proud mamma.
I have a conversation club I do with my Dad on Wednesdays at the U of A comprised of international students wanting to learn English better. It’s really fun, I look forward to the time every week. In it we go over all sorts of topics to help them better understand our culture as well as slang and all the random sayings we have. There are different levels of skill and last year I was in a group that barely spoke any English at all. “Hi, my name is… ” was the extent of some of their knowledge at that point. I really loved helping them understand more and communicating with them any way possible. (The guy from Colombia had it the easiest b/c I was able to explain some stuff in Spanish!!!) This year, most of the students are girls from China and one from S. Korea. It has been so great to better understand their culture! As always when you sign up to do this kind of thing, you are thinking… “wow, I’m going to really help them” and then you end up learning more from them than they do from you.
My Dad and I were talking before class and were wondering what their opinion of all that is going on in Tibet was, but weren’t going to bring it up for obvious reasons. Fortunately I overheard them talking about it amongst themselves and I tactfully asked them what they were saying. Without any hesitation they launched into it. Bing* is very opinionated so I was especially wanting to hear her thoughts. She felt that western media is extremely negative towards China and brought up several instances where things have been (allegedly) reported incorrectly. Wow, western media that reports things inaccurately and negatively towards China?? No way! (in case you didn’t pick up on it, I am being extremely sarcastic.) She went on to say that there are pictures of the Buddhist followers throwing rocks and killing the Chinese police, but the way the pictures have been cropped it looks the police are killing innocent people. She thinks that the local people are very supportive of China’s help and the way they have brought infrastructure to Tibet and the only reason people are uprising is because the Dali Lama is paying them to. Bing said we believe everything we hear on the news, but we are not getting the whole side of things like she is b/c she is hearing it from family back home. (Like China’s media always reports things 100% accurately either…) Anyways, Kim* jumped in here to add that the Dali Lama is apparently planting BOMBS on the buses! Because of all the world looking at China right now b/c of the Beijing Olympics, there has been increased uprisings “just to get attention”. Her husband has actually lived in Tibet for awhile helping the Government set up some educational programs so she does have more of an insiders view on it. The whole Dali Lama conspiracy theory they had was kind of far fetched for me, but it could be true. They both don’t have any problem with the way China took over Tibet and don’t see China ever giving it up. They said for thousands of years Tibet was a part of China so just because it was separated for awhile doesn’t make it an independent country. Both of them hoped the struggles would be over soon and Bing actually said she wished that the government would use more force to squash the rebellions. I may have made a face subconsciously at this point b/c she asked me how this was different from the way we took over our continent the last 200 years? Coming from a culture that is thousands of years old, 200 years is nothing to them. Bing made a good point here. I said it was sad how mis-treated the Native Americans were. The fact that Alaska and Hawaii chose to join almost 60 years ago- I mean, am I right here in saying that?- is a little different from the way China “re-acquired” Tibet but I didn’t say that either. When my Dad said he thought that this kind of thing would go on until the Olympics, they both disagreed. It is so amazing how differently people can see the same issue!! I know people that live there that have a completely different view of all this than Kim and Bing. I wonder how this will end? That’s it, I hope you enjoyed hearing their views on things, I have more to follow…
*not their real names