(This Is China-38) February 17, 2019 – Chapter 37 from THIS IS CHINA


PERSONAL NOTE: I decided to share my book with friends and students in mainland China because it is too expensive to order one from USA. Enjoy it and share it with people you care and love. Peace, Steve, feb 17   stephenehling@hotmail.com    blog – https://getting2knowyou-china.com

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Chapter 37

So why did I want to be Eric’s godfather? The answer is simple: I want him to have an American connection. It is my dream he will someday have a chance to study in America, my adopted country. I want him to feel good that he knows someone in America. Surveys have shown the United States of America is the first choice, the number one country—not England, Canada or Australia—for majority of the Chinese parents to send their child for further education, and a better life and a better future. Stay there and don’t come home, that is what they would instruct and advise their adult children. I want Eric to have the same opportunity to pursue an American education

A headline in South China Morning Post July 11, 2017 says it all: “Overseas study tours for preschoolers: China’s latest parenting trend. Chinese parents are sending young children abroad to the US and other destinations for kindergarten programmes that can last months”. It tells a story about Zhang Feiyu, about to be five years old who flew for more than fifteen hours from Shanghai to Austin, Texas, to attend a local kindergarten in the Texas capital, for a couple of months. Why? In the words of his mother, Jamie Chen: “I want him to go out and see the world…I wonder how he will play with others in an English-speaking environment.”

The article continues: “In a growing trend, one catching on quickly in the US as hundreds of thousands of Chinese students flock to study overseas each year, kids Feiyu’s age are making short-term study tours abroad.”

I hope Eric will have this chance to study in America when he grows up.

Eric and I have something in common: we are both March children. He was born March 25, and I, March 31. So we are both Aries, according to the Western zodiac signs. And we are both Snakes, according to the Chinese zodiac.

As an Aries, I am a very independent person. Being the first of the zodiac signs, I consider myself an adventurous person and a go-getter, often leading the way. My magnetic personality entices others to follow me because my personality brings excitement into others lives. As a good friend, I always look out for my friends with caring and generosity. I will protect them should the need arise. I encourage them with my natural optimism. I can be quite childish and will fight back with my aggressive nature. I do have temper tantrums if I do not get things my way. Yes, I am willing to take a gamble and follow my dreams and aspirations.

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But I disagree that I would give up easily if success is not immediate. I also disagree that I do not finish what I have begun. I agree I have low tolerance for boredom and lack patience.

So who am I? As the first of the zodiac signs, and as someone born under this sign, I do strongly project my personality onto others and can be very self-oriented. I tend to venture out into the world and try to leave impressions on others that I am exciting, vibrant and articulate. I do live an adventurous life and like to be the center of attention and rightly so since I am a natural, confident leader. I am enthusiastic about my goals and enjoy the thrill of the hunt. “Wanting is always better then getting”. I can be impulsive and do not think, at times, before I act or speak. Too often I will say whatever pops into my head and usually end up regretting it later.

In a nutshell, here are my strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: independent, optimistic, enthusiastic, generous and courageous. Weaknesses: impatience, impulsive, short-tempered, moody and self-involved.

As a Snake, I am number six in the Chinese Zodiac (twelve animals). I am supposed to be intelligent, graceful and materialistic. When it comes to decision-making, I do not easily jump into situations. I am effective at getting the things I want, even if it means I have to scheme and plot along the way. I am materialistic, preferring to surround myself with the finest that life has to offer. This is true in my home, where luxurious furnishings and surroundings help me seek the peace I need in order to thrive. I prefer living a life of calmness, preferring quietness over noise. I consider myself a very creative and extremely diligent person. I am an excellent problem-solver. And I thrive under deadlines. I am an excellent seducer so I never have trouble attracting others. I prefer to keep my feelings to myself. It is important to never betray my trust because if you do, I will make it a goal to get even some day. I am supposed to be physically striking and often have a wonderful sense of personal style. I am a very independent and a private person who follows my own path, no matter what others think. I am a sophisticated person who is most at home with the best books, films, music, gourmet foods and anything of fine quality. Money is never an issue and I can be very generous. I am often psychic and I am attracted to philosophy and spiritual themes. I do not easily release anything that is dear to me. I am not above seeking revenge. I will plot and wait for the right opportunity. Try not to break your promises with me.

The positives of a Snake: sensual, creative, subtle, insightful, shrewd, discreet, wise, compassionate. The negatives of a Snake: distrustful, mendacious, manipulative, vain, malicious, possessive.

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I did some serious research about Aries people and Snake people and they do provide a good window into who I am as a person, and I believe almost every word I wrote about myself. Maybe this is the best window for me, at the moment, to also understand Eric. Because we are both Aries (American zodiac) and Snake (Chinese zodiac).

We will have plenty of opportunities to learn about each other. I was not worried the next morning, that Eric did not behave very friendly towards me. To him I was a total stranger even though he had heard my voice in America via the telephone when I talked to his father, Jady.

Actually we had met at least twice since his birth on March 25, 2013. My second visit to Nanchang was on November 15, 2013, when I stopped at Nanchang train station on my way to Jinggang Mountains, located on the boundary of Jiangxi Province and Hunan Province, about 352 milometers (219 miles) southwest from the capital city of Nanchang. I was one of the foreign teachers selected in 2013 by the Fujian Province Bureau of Education as a reward for our outstanding service to the institutions of higher education. Along with Chairman Mao Zedong’s hometown, Shaoshan, Hunan Province, the Jinggang Mountains, Jiangxi Province, is one of the most important sites of the Communist Revolution. It is of special interest to those interested in the revolutionary history of China: the mint of the Red Army, the Revolution Museum, and the Martyrs Cemetery. Jady and his wife and Tom, now a postgraduate student in computer science, came with the baby in a stroller to say hello to me at the train station. “We waited for 2 hours because of some delay and now Eric is tired and sleeping,” Jady told me. We did wake him up for me to say hello to him.

I paid a third visit to Nanchang, April 26-30, 2014, this time to spend some time with him and getting to know Jady’s in-laws: his father in-law was a distinguished math teacher who had just retired and his mother in-law, also retired from nursing. Eric is lucky to be surrounded by people who have a good education and love him. He was just over a year old and they were living with the grandparents. I stayed in a hotel nearby, just a walking distance from their residence. I had lunch with Graham and his parents, both have significant positions working for the local government. Graham was a former student of mine, who had since gone to study for a master’s degree in Canada and now returned to teach in one of the universities in Nanchang. Tom was busy getting ready to do postgraduate studies. Yes, Eric was too young to recognize me.

Eric is very fortunate to have an American godfather, and I will make sure he has some savings in the bank for him to come to see me in USA one day. He will.

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