During this, China's "Golden Week" — celebrating their National Day — I give you the yields of my vacation-inspired laziness: My life overseas, summed up by quotes found in an article titled, "Did they really say that? Weird quotes attributed to celebrities."
"'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!" — Sarah Palin, American politician
Damn right, Palin. You, my students when they're stumped for a word, me when I've had too many brews — we're all just like Shakespeare.
I'll go ahead and apply the same concept to Chinese, when I'm insulting people with an incorrect tone or using the wrong pronunciation. Chinese is a living language, people. Lighten up, and accept my inadequacies!
"It isn't pollution that is hurting the environment, it's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." — Dan Quayle, former U.S. vice president
Phew. And here I thought this gross, smog-like substance I've been breathing in was detrimental to my health. Turns out, it's just air impurities. I think Mr. Quayle would appreciate my weather app's labeling of high air pollution levels as "fog." Though that fails to explain how all this fog is turning my boogers black.
"China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese." — Charles de Gaulle, former French president
... Yes. Yes on both counts, sir.
In fact, during this "Golden Week," you'd be a fool to go anywhere near major tourist sites in Beijing. Here's this big country's specs during this holiday week, courtesy of Xinhua news services:
• 104 million people hit up tourist attractions around the country in one day
• 14.4 million people hopped on the trains on Saturday
• About 478 billion yuan will be spent in a week
So yes, lots of people here, de Gaulle — and lots of them Chinese.
"Predictions are difficult, especially about the future." — Yogi Berra, former baseball player, manager and coach
Mr. Berra made an excellent point. It's a humdinger trying to predict anything, especially the future. In fact, I've written about that very conundrum in this column. If I'd put any real effort into those elusive future predictions just two years ago, I'd have been dead wrong: No one, myself included, saw my move to China coming.
And really, it taught me an important lesson. Why would I spend time mulling over what will almost certainly be an inaccuracy? Instead, why not focus on the now, or nearly now, and enjoy every bit of it I can?
"I've never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don't like eating fish. And I know that's very popular out there in Africa." — Britney Spears, singer
Interesting point, Britney, but I don't think I'll let it stop me. Out here in Africa, I'm sure I'll be able to find a grand assortment of tofu, veggies and rice that'll make up for the abundance of fish. In fact, dining in China has been one of the greater adventures I've been on. What I'd find dull or drab or unsatisfying in the states has been prepared with a real wallop of flavor here — certainly a plus for this vegetarian expat.
"Of all the things I've lost, it's my mind I miss the most." — Ozzy Osbourne, rock star
I leave this to be enough on its own. Wherever I lost it on this crazy adventure I'm on, I'm sure I'll stumble across it one day. For now, I'm content with the madness.