‘Dear Fabian,’ is a monthly or bi-monthly journal entry written in a letter style and addressed to an imaginary cat named Fabian, who’s as sassy and sly as they come. I don’t particularly like cats, though!
It’s been a while since I’ve written to you, Fabian, my friend. How are things going with you? I wish I had more amusing stories to regale but, alas, my life is still trudging along at a snail’s pace (atleast a snail gets somewhere at the end of the day, I can’t say the same for myself). But enough with the self-pity, let’s talk about how slow Spring has taken to reach the smog-laden, sleepy city of Beijing. Winter has long stayed its welcome, staying so long that I’ve almost forgotten that Spring without the radiator is still freakin’ cold!
Shivering temperatures aside, it’s certainly made for some pretty flower shots. I’ve included them in this correspondence for your feline eyes to feast on.
It was quite a calming experience strolling along the stone paved pathways in the ‘garden’ of our apartment complex. The mild breeze carrying with it the subtle scent of lilac. It just puts a smile on your face and makes you appreciate the opportunity given to enjoy such a sight.
Apart from my spring-induced photography session, I’ve resumed reading again! Yes, actual ink-on-paper books. I have such a backlog of books waiting to be read that it’s been a little overwhelming. I’ve been reading The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey and making slow progress, mostly because the principles mentioned in it are supposed to be put into practice and not meant to be simply read. I’ve also purchased 7 Agatha Christie novels (for $1 each!) and went back to browsing on Wattpad! It’s been so long since I read an entire book on the free books site and I have Shadow Weaver by Claire Merle to thank! Groan-worthy, cliché-ridden stories with titles void of imagination kept me off of Wattpad, but not anymore, ‘cuz I’ve found hope in the few books I’ve managed to dig out from the pile of utter rubbish that usually goes something along the lines of ‘My Roommate Is A Bad Boy…And Now I Have To Marry Him?’ or ‘The Nerd Undercover In A School For Abercrombie Models’ or ‘Kiss Me Sweetly, Seduce Me Wickedly’, you get the drift. If that doesn’t make you want to just puke a bit inside, I’m pretty sure you’re one of their fans. I’ll have you know that the titles I mentioned are my own creations, I’m not that mean. But I confess, it’s all down to the age of the readers. I, myself, *cough* enjoyed reading some similar stuff when I was in my mid-teens but atleast they weren’t this pathetic.
Anyway, I’ve recently realized just how stuckity STUCK I am with just about everything in my life. I live in a suburb of Beijing, where jobs for foreigners are scarce and the ones available are limited to teaching positions, which I do not possess the experience nor qualifications for, and not to mention the right skin color. For all its advances in the modern world, Chinese parents still think only ‘white’ people can teach their kids English. Oh, it doesn’t matter if they are, um, say Danish or from the North Pole, just as long as their skin is white. -_-
I’ll admit, I don’t have the qualifications and I’d much rather leave the work to the professionals, but I’m in a tight spot and some of the ‘English teachers’ they employ have worser grammar than a 5th-grader. So, I applied and went for a demo a few months back, only to be told that ‘Sorry, the principal prefers someone white.’ 😡 I do not know if the fact that I wear a headscarf contributed to the whole thing, too. This was the first time I recall ever experiencing a bit of racism first-hand in China.
So, with teaching jobs out the window, I have almost zilch options left in the job hunt. What with my Mandarin amazing but not fluent enough, I can’t take translation work either. Commute to the city centre takes a god-darn one and a half hours, so that’s not a practical option unless I’m willing to spend a total of THREE HOURS each day on the metro and braving the completely ridiculous, more jam-packed than air in a jar, rush-hour back home. And don’t even get me started on my motion-sickness!
And on top of all that, I’m hitting 23 this year, still sans university in sight and at the age where nosy Muslim relatives go,’Oh, but you’re not married yet??’ You see my predicament? But don’t worry, Fabian, I’m not one to blindly listen to others and be affected by their opinions. Thankfully, I’ve grown enough to be aware of people trying to pull the strings on your life.
On other topics, eventhough I’m stuck in a rut, I have to remind myself that others have it worse. Aunt Mary (remember her?) has started taking chemotherapy and her hair has fallen out entirely. Her mother’s health isn’t at her best either, her face has supposedly become swollen from eating some kind of cure-all medicine you only take when you’ve run out of other options. Not sure what it is that her mother has but they’ve definitely taken a hard fall from their past golden years. It’s saddening to see some old, familiar faces wilt or pass on, but it’s inevitable. But by all means, I’m not implying that Aunt Mary’s going to die! I’ll leave predictions and all that to God.
Man, this is getting to be a looong letter. I hope you haven’t fallen asleep already! I do fervently hope I shall have more good news to bear the next time I write to you, old friend. You know what they say, ‘This, too, shall pass‘. Till then, keep your claws sharp and your nine-lives intact!