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"YingHua in Beijing" Honors Program Journal

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2/26/2006


by Bonnie on 2003-10-20

Dear Rachel, Carl, and Laila,
Thank you all for posting!!! So glad to read about your current state of mind.
Carl and Laila, I know what you meant by saying this place is a dump. When I went back to Beijing in 1992 to visit my parents in their five-year-new apartment building, I could not believe my eyes! It looked like a DUMP from the outside!!!
Now you should know, if you were an architect designing a building in Beijing, you would know what it¡¯s likely to look like in 10 years if no special protection is designed properly!!! You won¡¯t learn about this in a U.S. college either. There actually was an international competition for a design for the Beijing Opera House a few years ago. Who knows what project you might end up with someday! You might think what I say is crazy now. Just remember what you see and ask why.
Have you thought about why a building could look so unattractive in such a short time? If you know the answer, have you thought about what if you were to build a manufacturing factory in Beijing someday? What about building a hospital? What about having a car dealership? What about a dance studio?? China is the largest market for so many future projects and products. If you pay attention, you will be able to learn so much about China and be able to use that information in the future without realizing it.
Laila, I know you won¡¯t like Limai the first week. That¡¯s why I¡¯ve told all parents to give you guys a month to get used to the new environment. You will be impressed by your own ability to adapt. You may not love your environment, but you will be able to go about doing your daily activities without having to think about it as much.
Smart people know three ways to keep themselves happy when they don¡¯t like the way things work. 1) They make direct influence. For instance, if you see something bad going on, you can go up to stop it. 2) They make indirect influence. For instance, Carl didn¡¯t like that some teacher smoked in the dorm. He went to Wang laoshi and asked her to do something about it. Wang laoshi did and the problem solved. 3) They influence themselves to accept the reality when they cannot change it. This will be a test for you guys to see if you would be able to ¡°suck it up happily!!!¡± In Chinese this is called ¡°yue4 na4¡± (happily accepting). It¡¯s the higher state of one¡¯s mindset. Many people can never get to it so they are forever bitter and pessimistic as they dwell on the thought that life is unfair or that they hate their environment so much, etc.
You guys are young. You will be able to shake off the negative thoughts in a couple of weeks. Remember, there is a saying, ¡°You see what you want to see.¡±
Even in the same school, people see different things and they have different experience. Usually whining about the difficulties could send a signal to your brain and reinforce the negative feelings. It is your choice whether you want to focus on the positive side of things or you want to focus on the negative side of things.
Laila, you are facing a lot of challenges. It really depends on how your mindset is. If you want to think, ¡°Hey, this sucks!¡± Then it will appear to be depressing. If you want to think, ¡°Hey, is this what many people do all their life in the other countries??? I bet none of my friends could imagine what I¡¯m doing!¡± Then you may have a sense of adventure for being so different ¨C or at least you would not make it a big deal.
Just take a breath and march on. Laila, I¡¯ve heard about your progress in Chinese. Set a goal for your life at Limai and you will be able to endure a LOT! Think about why Harry Porter could endure so much. It¡¯s because he had a goal in him mind. He went through incredible pain and suffering just to be able to reach his goal. That¡¯s an adventure!
Now live your own adventure! And have fun with it!! (Laila, ¡°fun¡± is not something someone presents to us; that would be too shallow.)
All my best wishes,
Bonnie
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