I was feeling pretty disheartened this week about my women’s group. I was trying to get them to provide some ideas about the topic for our meeting this week (to promote shared ownership of the group, and sustainability, so it’s not just me yammering and shoving my feminist agenda down their throats…) and all I got out of them in our qq group was: “hair…you know, hairstyles…and different kinds of colors…” I gently told them it might be hard to have a conversation about hair for an hour, and said we’d talk again the next day.
So I came back and this time they said things about “career and family”, which is always a rich topic so I got excited and jumped on that and sent them an article I had pulled from another PCV’s women’s group info called “Do not marry before you’re 30”, advice from a Chinese woman about finding your passion, starting your career, and choosing a partner wisely. In case you didn’t know, there is the idea in China that a woman has to marry before she’s 27 lest she become “leftover” and no one will want to marry her and she’ll die alone and a disgrace to her family. Heavy stuff that girls hear all over the media and from their families. So what’s a girl to do if she wants to pursue a career or an advanced degree? Or if she hasn’t met the right person and instead marries the man in front of her because he has a house and a car, but will treat her badly, cheat on her, and the like?
There’s a lot more to the issue and the girls in the meeting opened up right away about what they hear on the issue from their families and friends- they all said they had friends from home who had married right after high school and already had families. These 20 year olds worry way more about marriage than me and my friends ever did when we were 20 (we were too busy planning our next tequila party…), but they’ve been given the chance to go to university and should have all the choices in the world in front of them.
So we had a really good talk during the meeting, but the thing that sent me over the edge with warm fuzzies was that after the meeting, I got a series of texts from one of the students: “lindsay, i call you to say thanks to u. today the discussion is meaning to me. it gives me a chance to think again…i am glad to get out of my narrow world to think more. it helps me cheer up. forget my so called trouble. so thank u. that’s awesome, what you did and what you are trying to do for us…you are making your students lives difference…yes, i would like to know more about the world. i will. thank u, lindsy, u are so sweet. you are a Real teacher. not only the English, also the life”
HOLY MOLY (not sure how qualified I am to be a “teacher of life” but I guess I can shine it on). That was the most meaningful thing I’ve heard in a while, and was just what I needed to get motivated again. Then I went to participate in a student performance tonight and saw a bunch of my old students from last year being adorable and hilarious and the warm fuzzies just kept growing.
So it was a dance around in my underwear kind of night when I got home And ohmygoshilovethisIJUSTWANNADANCE: http://24hoursofhappy.com/