sometimes do you just become overwhelmed with all the things there are to do in the world? this is something i have been thinking about lately- i have this deep fear in me that somehow i will miss out on something important, and i think that dictates how i live my life, and gives it this almost frenzied quality, like i'm constantly whiplashing trying to check things out. i am working more and more on being completely satisfied and content- excited even- with what is in my life right now. i keep being reminded of how amazing my life is.
i have been speaking more chinese lately- it isn't coming easy, but i am having more conversations, and i feel like i'm pushing myself more. rather than just sitting in the taxi, i try talking to the driver the whole time. at the internet store, i ask questions (and somehow i won 20 RMB in the lottery!), and i try out my hand at teasing my doormen(i'm not sure if they laughed because i was funny, or because i seemed crazy).
the past few weeks:
Part one: corban.
about a week or so ago, the muslim community celebrated corban- which is a traditional remembrance of god providing a sacrifice for abraham because of abraham's faith and trust. here, they celebrate this by praying at the mosque and then going home with sheep to sacrifice. i slept in a bit too late to see the praying at the mosque (picture thousands and thousands of white hats moving in unison), but i woke up in time to spend the whole afternoon watching the sheep process. and i even made some friends!
they had the fattest sheep
after spending about an hour outside of the mosque watching people haggle over sheep, weigh them, tie them up, and so on, i kind of wanted to see how they took care of the rest of the business.
so i bided my time, waiting for the perfect moment to swoop in and discover the mysteries of at-home animal sacrifice.
super kind old man
i helped this man and his grandson pull their three sheep home from the fat sheep truck. they were supremely stubborn sheep- i guess i would be, too, if i were about to die. luckily, their stubbornness gave me a way to get into the party by seeming helpful, instead of nosey. also, his grandson spoke pretty good english, and was impressed that i knew about the holiday's meaning.
leading the sheep
it's kind of fun, leading sheep around. all of the boys were smiling, and the sheep were lively and moving. heading away from the mosque there were tons of guys with sheep, and trails of little sheep droppings.
calm the sheep down and smile.
this old guy was totally cool. at one point, his sheep carcass fell off a tree, and i caught it by the leg tendon. i don't know which was more unclean- me, a non muslim, touching the sheep, or the sheep's body falling into the dirt. either way, he seemed thankful.
i was really impressed that everyone was okay with me walking around and taking photos. i probably saw like 40 sheep get slaughtered that day, so i'm really familiar with the process now.
this is how it goes:
this butcher owned the place.
a. pull the sheep home.
b. tie the sheep to a tree.
c. the sheep will lay down (at this point, i think the sheep is in shock, because it has been led past a ton of it's comrades who have been killed) near the tree.
d. put a cloth over the sheep's eyes.
e. have the imam pray over the sheep.
f. slit the throat, and hold the head back while it bleeds out. (slip the imam some cash).
g. have the butcher come over, remove the skin, hang the sheep in a tree and remove the guts.
h. clean out all the intestines with hot water, hack apart the animal, and share it with your friends and family.
the cool thing is that they definitely use all of the animal in this tradition. i got invited to this man's house, and i ate intestines, liver and heart of sheep. i think. they were really kind and hospitable, and, as my friend told me "when you come into a muslim's house, don't plan on doing much beyond eating".
part two: chinglish.
this is the menu at my new favorite korean restaurant. beyond being amazingly cozy and providing delicious food, i can never stop searching the menu, laughing and dancing at the translations. really.
my favorite? south korea is grim. i also like firing and employee.
part three: open mic night
this is my project. i miss open mic nights (namely poetry night) in america, so my friends let me use their coffee shop to have one here. at the first open mic night, a boy came and street danced. AWESOME!
this is carrianne. the green house is her coffee shop. she is fantastic.
so far, we are having open mic nights once a month, on tuesdays. the first two have been really quite fun.
part four: christmas party food decorations
if i could take a cooking class, i would learn how to do this.
to conclude, i have been quite busy. i have been having a grand time. i have been making new friends. today was my last day of teaching for a few weeks, and tomorrow i am getting on the train to go on vacation in south china. i am hoping for warm weather on the beach and delicious seafood, preceded by a fantastic cocoon of a train ride. you will hear from me in a few weeks.
i hope you all had a marvelous christmas and that your new year will shape up in a fancy fun way. i love you.