Feb 22, 2012

Living in a different part of the world

Sometimes it’s the same!

For the most part, living in Luzhou doesn’t feel that different from living in New York. People dress the same here (jeans and Chucks are standard), they participate in global pop culture (one of my kids asked me this week if I had heard about Whitney Houston; we had a good chat about why drugs are bad), and while our neighbors keep chickens, so do these guys in Brooklyn.

And over the past five months, we’ve adjusted to the fact that there’s no indoor heating anywhere, and that we boil our drinking water and throw our toilet tissue in a waste basket instead of the toilet. That’s just the way life is.

But we do live in a developing nation. And the most jolting reminder comes every so often in the form of a power or water outage. Sometimes we get advanced warning and sometimes we don’t, but about every other month, one or the other will go out. (Thankfully they haven’t yet both gone out at once.) And because it happens so frequently, we just work around it. We’ve learned that tomorrow the power will be out, so we have to prepare lessons that we can teach without the use of the computer and projector. (At our school, all information is imparted via Power Point.) It’s not a terrible hardship; it’s more annoying that we spent hours making these beautiful slides that now we can’t use. But it’s still kind of amazing that even without power, everyone will get up and go to school. The kids will sit in darkened classrooms and behave as well as they normally do - which in some cases is excellent and in others, not that great - and the teachers will give the best lesson they can. There will be no slacking off just because the power is out.

That’s just the way life is.