Tuesday, April 9, 2013

White People Don't Go To China

I really knew it all along. That this would be impossible. It was just me and my wishful thinking. White people don't go to China.

I knew it when I signed up for Chinese classes. And I was ashamed to tell people. Like, I'm really gonna learn Chinese? That's crazy. White people don't speak Chinese, and white people don't go to China.

I knew it night after night as I researched airline prices. What if I flew on a Tuesday? What if I flew into Shanghai? (What if I bought a one-way ticket? That would be cheaper.) So expensive. You can't just buy a ticket. White people don't go to China.

I knew it that day in December I practiced Chinese with one of my friends, and he said he would be getting on a plane and going home to Beijing for Christmas break. Like it was so easy for him. But not for me. White people don't go to China.

And I knew it every time in Beijing when complete strangers talked to me in broken English. I know they were doing it to be nice to me, but it felt like they were saying, "You're different. You don't belong here." No, white people don't belong in China.

But wait. I know that's not true. I know a lot of white people who have moved to China.

Okay, so white people can go to China- but not you, Perfect Number.

Not me.

It's impossible, and didn't I always know it was impossible? Wasn't I always keeping up this act, like, oh, I had a great time in China, I want to go live there! Awww look at her cute youthful enthusiasm. So cute! And we're all waiting for the day I wake up to reality and face the fact that it's impossible, that white people don't go to China, well maybe they do, but not me.

Even after all this work I've done to learn Chinese. Fighting an uphill battle. Even after day after day of watching tv shows on Tudou. And listening to Jay Chou's songs. And using Ren Ren and QQ. And picking a Chinese name for myself. All these fun little diversions- but Perfect Number, you didn't think that was real, did you? You didn't think you could really go live there, right?

I set myself up with a bet against the universe- that I'm unwilling to look for jobs in the US. Only China. The universe thought I was bluffing. And here I am, with no job, living with my parents. I was serious. I will not get a job in the US. And the universe has punished me for it. Health problems and no friends and so many things going wrong.

Because this is where you end up when you want something impossible.

edit: Might wanna see this post for an update.


  1. *hugs*
    This isn't the time to give up, but to reassess. Maybe there's a different way you haven't found yet. Or maybe you can go, but not yet, because there's something you need to learn here first. But you WILL get there.

  2. As someone who's also hoping to move to Asia, I can relate. It seems to impossible at times--and health problems and lack of friends pretty much characterize a lot of my life too. I very well may wind up living with my parents for a little while when I finish my degree next fall, before/if I move overseas... And many times that looks like a far away/impossible hope (I mean, currently I'm without a language tutor!) But I've been reading your blog a lot, and you seem to have such a love for China that I really do believe you'll get there eventually. While this may sound really, really like a Christian cliche, in my life sometimes it almost seems like Jesus likes to work most when things seem impossible. And I know I don't know you, but I'll be praying for you. :)

  3. Thanks so much- you are always so smart and encouraging. <3

  4. Thanks so much! It seems impossible right now. Thanks for praying for me. :)

  5. I want you to be happy and live your dream of going to China. :( You seem like an intelligent, passionate, reasonable person from your blog writing, and you can totally do it! *internet hug*