An Interesting International Day in China: January 19, 2011.


James P. Zaworski (An American in China)

It’s January 19, 2011, and I woke up this morning with a taste for kimchi.  Last night, my Chinese girlfriend and future wife talked to me about kimchi, so it stuck.  In my night’s sleep, and dream’s eye, I thought of Poland and Korea, and wrote a little about the parallels of their histories.  Then, I thought about food; lately, I have been missing non-Chinese food.  In particular, I miss the variety of European foods, particularly Polish food (varieties of sausage, sauerkraut, rye bread, etc.), which is nigh impossible to obtain here in China. 

My girlfriend, who simply adores traditional Chinese opera and culture, played both Shao Xing Opera and Beijing Opera after having Chinese green tea and Twinnings Earl Grey Tea for our morning breakfast. After some exercise, a shower, and some fiddling with my increasingly troublesome Japanese computer (Toshiba, which shuts down inexplicably), this American (half Polish ancestry, one quarter Dutch ancestry and one quarter British ancestry) set off to one of the local Korean restaurants.   We had the usual bul go gi ( marinated Korean beef), and kimchi.  It was so good that we bought some to go (da bao, take away). 

After coming home, we went out to Carrefour (the French Wal-mart), to buy Si Chuan Ma La sausage (black pepper and chili pepper), American wine (Berringer Zinfandel), German beer (Apostle’s Brau), Jiangsu “Glutinous Rice Wine” (very reminiscent of Sherry), cheddar cheese (from New Zealand, really excellent aged extra sharp cheddar), Thai rice, and Coca-cola.

We stopped at KFC on the way home, pondered buying some Uyghar flat bread, and finally came home to work on my computer, scan some photos that I did not have on digital format, play a bit of video game, prepare some lessons for tomorrow, and listen to my iPod.  I set it to random (shuffle), and my 60 Gigabyte iPod played for me a wonderful array of tunes while I played my game (I will give the most interesting combination, which prompted this entry):  Mozart, Shakti (an Indian-British jazz group), Gaelic music, Little Feat, Paul Simon, Jethro Tull, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp; Jean luc Ponty, Louis Armstrong, and some BB King. 

So, here I am: a 45 year old American English teacher, anthropologist, and archaeologist in China.  Today, I enjoyed a very international day here in China.  Everything from the food, drink, company, music and ambience, it was Chinese and international.  I suppose that is why I like Shenzhen, and why I like China.

Postscript:  I also downloaded two documentary films that I will watch this weekend:  one on Marilyn Monroe and the other on Jimi Hendrix.  Only in China.

The Rat in the Stairway; A Poem


James Zaworski
A rat last night we saw,

Sneaky and bold,

In the stairway we walked,

To go into the cold

From the ninth to the eighth floor,

By the garbage and the door,

A large,black rat,

As big as a cat

He ran around the corner,

And snuggled down the first step,

Soon I was upon the former,

And he bounded down the steps

Never letting us get a good look or picture,

The rat was always ahead one flight,

Into the dark,

And out of the light

Finally to the first floor we came,

And he was gone,

To the basement or outside,

It was all the same

The rat as big as a cat,

In my stairway,

In China,

Where the people are many,

The garbage is great,

And the rats are more,

By my stairway door