December 7, 2006

So much has happened and is happening, and I really need to write it down. After I quit graduate school, I travelled the world a bit, looking for a "safer" place to live. Unfortunately, I did not find one. It seems that most or all governments seem to actually be run by small corrupt groups of people. These oligarchies seem to "scratch each other's backs," so to speak, so that if the corrupt group actually running America asks the corrupt group in China or Finland to do it a favor by attacking me, they will do it. This is the tragedy of this world. I had read on the Internet that what was happening to me was also happening to other unlucky individuals around the world, but I had to see for myself. Now I know.

This is not to say that I had a completely bad experience in these countries. Just like in America--just like everywhere--there are good people and bad people. The vast majority of people in Finland and China are kind and generous and good-hearted people. I cannot recount the number of times that people in Finland and China were kind to me. I remember in Finland, when I went to a burger stand and didn't have any cash (any my American credit card didn't work), they simply gave me the food and told me to bring the money another day. Everyone was *extremely* kind, helping me with directions, the Finnish language, and many other necesssary tasks.

Likewise, the people of China have been very good to me. I am living now in Beijing, in fact. I teach English to wonderful Chinese students who really want to learn. My degree in linguistics has really come in handy. Well, I am sorry to report that the same corruption is here too, and that I am attacked with this weapon while I sleep from people in the apartment above mine where I am currently living, and possibly also from the apartment below. Lately I have been experiencing chest pains and difficulty breathing.

Enough with the bad news. Now the good news: The vast majority of people here in Beijing are wonderful, kind people. Since coming here, I have made so many wonderful, kind friends: people who have opened their homes and hearts to me. I never have to worry about getting lost, because people here *really* and *truly* want to help you; kindness to others is the rule here rather than the exception. I think that if I was broke a stranger might give me his last yuan (Chinese dollar) just to help me. I am indebted to both my friends and strangers who have helped me, for instance, catch the last train to Bejing, including both ordering the ticket, showing me the right train and even helping to carry my luggage! People here are very friendly and always want to talk, even when they don't speak much English and I don't speak much Chinese. It makes me want to learn Chinese very badly, and every time when I'm not teaching someone English, I try to learn a little more Chinese.

You often see people in Bejing walking arm-in-arm, and it is very wonderful to see such a sight. Many people here do not have a lot of money compared to Western standards, and yet there is a lot of love here. We in the West could learn a lot from the people here. It is for these reasons that I feel grateful and lucky to be here in Bejing.

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