Monday, March 26, 2012

...fresh air (not the NPR variety)...

Several people, both Chinese and those who have visited here, had informed us that the pollution is very bad in Xi’an. They were not exaggerating.  I am thankful I do not have asthma or any serious pulmonary problems.  I’m sure the Industrial Revolution in the early part of last century America produced some very similar situations.  I hope China’s air will be cleaner in the future as well. 

Perhaps we can thank last Thursday’s light rain and evening winds for Friday’s less grey/more blue skies.  They were not Crayola’s Sky Blue by any stretch of the imagination, but everything is relative.  When we looked out the window of the apartment, we saw buildings in the not too far distance that had been completely invisible for the previous 10 days.  Here is a snapshot of this clear day. 

Taken from our living room window at 1101.

The view behind our apartment. The people in this neighborhood are very friendly. 
I was observing a class Ben and Kevin were co-teaching.  The English conversation topic was regarding long distance travel.  The students were to discuss where they wanted to go and why.  I circulated throughout the classroom to visit with students about their plans.  The first student I spoke to said, “I want to go to Finland.  There are many lakes there and the air is fresh.”  This was actually a very typical answer.  The students here are aware that the smog is a huge problem. 

When I think of the vast distances we could see from Huron Mountain Club in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan or atop Pack Monadnock in New Hampshire, I hope these kids are able to travel to places with clear blue skies and no shortage of fresh air.

The view we see on the other side of our apartment.  These students make good use of the soccer field. 
I suppose one of the secrets to living anywhere is to accept what you can’t change and figure out what you can.  These ladies are cleaning the patio near the large China Tobacco establishment just a few streets away from our school.  Municipal workers are everywhere in the Gaoxin High Tech district—cleaning public rest rooms, removing debris from shrubbery, collecting trash from the multitude of conveniently placed trash receptacles along the streets and sweeping, sweeping, sweeping…

The dust finds its way in every crack, so even keeping things livable in this quite new apartment is a constant effort.  I’m glad Ben likes to mop J !!!

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