December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)
Living in a developing country has taught me how blessed I am to be able to call Australia my home. To think that just by being born in Australia, I immediately have so many more opportunities & luxuries that others won’t ever have is such an eye-opening realization.
A lot of people here in Daqing have never even left the city, & overseas travel is so expensive that only the very wealthy can afford it. The Chinese teachers that work with Mike have to be at the school all day, 6 days a week, & a lot of them live together in small apartments. All they do is work & sleep. Keep in mind, this is one of the better jobs to have, I’ve seen old women out in -20°C sweeping the busy roads with a brooms made out of sticks, & guys selling corn out of a cart pulled by a donkey.
Being a communist country, conformity is pretty popular here. Everyone does what they’re told, no questions asked – even if it’s ridiculous; when girls reach a certain age at school, they all have to get the same short, bobbed haircut. If they don’t, they are given lower grades. I’ve never been more grateful for the opportunity to explore & create my own style, & the encouragement to be an individual.
The health services here also leave much to be desired. The cure for anything is hot water & an IV. A friend of ours even went to the hospital with a ruptured eardrum, that was causing her ear to bleed, & the doctor told her it was because she ate too much spicey food. Oh, & shaving your armpits causes cancer.
Another thing I have come to appreciate about Australia is the general values of the people, especially when it comes to equality & animal cruelty. Women don’t get treated with much respect here, I started to realise that whenever our boss would shake Mike’s hand & ignore me, even when he was firing me he was talking to Mike instead of me. Animals have it much worse, though.
At the theme park here, there’s a ring toss ‘game’ that uses caged puppies & kittens as prizes – if you can land a ring around the cage, you get to keep the animal inside. Those poor things are so drugged up they don’t even move. And since winter started, all the fur coats are coming out; I’ve never seen so much fur in my life.
In Harbin, there’s a tiger park that allows you to throw a live chicken into a tiger pen. I recently watched a video of this that was filmed by a friend here, the chicken is tied to a stick, which is then poked through the cage & the people laugh as the tigers jump up & eat the poor chicken. I’ve heard that, if you pay enough money, they will push a live cow in there to be devoured for your entertainment. It’s disgusting & horrible. I just don’t understand how people can think any of this is okay, there’s absolutely no excuse for any of it.
To sum up, I’ve never been more appreciative & grateful to be Australian. When I go home, I will be appreciative of everything, from decent plumbing & drinkable tap water to the values of the people.
December 15 – 5 Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)
There are three things from 2010 that I will always remember; my first art exhibit; the night Mike proposed to me; & coming to China & everything I’ve learned since being here.
December 16 – Friendship How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)
One of my best friends in the whole world, Pip, has really inspired me this year. She has overcome a hell of a lot this year & has completely turned her life around for the better.
Even though she is on the other side of the world, she was there for me during my hardest moments this year, & the strength & positvity she has shown in facing her own troubles really inspired me to do the same.
Knowing that she was there to support me & love me no matter what gave me the extra strength I needed to get through my darkest moments & turn my life into something positive. This year, Pip was more than just a friend to me, she is my teacher, my role model, & my sister.
Watching her transform her life proved to me that it was possible to turn ruins into rainbows.
December 17 – Lesson Learned What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)
The best thing I have learned about myself this year is that I really can handle anything that comes my way. I am much stronger than I ever thought possible, & I don’t need to be afraid of challenges because I will always be able to overcome them.
I’ve also learnt that most people will accept me for who I am, not despite my flaws & mistakes, but because of them. Being authentic & imperfectly me is what I do best, & people can relate to & feel comfortable with someone who doesn’t pretend to be perfect.
Perfection is boring. Authenticity is AWESOME.
December 18 – Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)
I think I tried everything I wanted to this year, with no regrets. In 2011, I want to try to live in the moment more, but at the same time be more outgoing & express myself more.
December 19 – Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)
Ruin healed me this year. It was extremely sudden, but I still haven’t stopped growing from it. Ruin forced me to re-evaluate every aspect of my life, from who I am to what I eat, & helped me to heal the parts of myself that weren’t serving me, & start developing new parts of myself that will lead me to live a better life.
In 2011, I think this healing process will continue, & there will be more experiences in my life that will cause even more healing. I think traveling will be a very healing experience, as will going home for the first time in a year, & getting married to the love of my life.
See you again tomorrow for more reverbs!
Keep Smiling 🙂