My Obsession With Germany

I always thought it was weird to be obsessed with a country. But after a big struggle to avoid going to Germany, a weird enthusiasm for that country grew in me.


I find myself getting overexcited every time I encounter any kind of German connection, including people’s German last names, WW2 in history class, and even Sauerkraut from lunch. I almost forgot the reason that made me so afraid of going there. Instead of an inevitable reality, it turned into an attraction to a foreign culture.

Sadly, the same obsession didn’t happen with learning German. I have only opened my German books only once since this school year started.


As of today, this obsession is slowly fading away like my German skills, but one day I will pick both of them up and go to Germany.

www.politico.eu

Living away from home

When I was 4 years old, I lived away from my parents for the first time as I went to a boarding school for kindergarten. At the age of 11, I moved even further away, to a foreign country on the other side of the earth. Through living independently (not completely independent, I had to live with a host family or in a boarding school) at a relatively young age, I’ve experienced both positive and negative sides to it. 

I can have a lot more freedom since my parents are far away, and I can do whatever I want in my free time. But this also brings the major downside— the loss of self-control. I always had a hard time with time management, and after I started to study abroad, the situation became worse. I didn’t know a lot of English, so I didn’t understand anything in class, I tried to take notes without knowing even what they meant, but it didn’t work, and I still can’t keep up with my class.  Being the only Chinese student, the overwhelming foreign language and environment smacked me. I gave up doing any school work, resulting in a row of Fs on my transcript.

Although I don’t regret anything about my experience, my suggestion to parents who are considering sending their kids to another country is: to make sure their child knows what they are doing before sending them off to a place full of strangers. 

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In a house, trapped.

I can’t live in the same house for 10 years, I can’t even imagine it.

The longest time that I have lived in the same place was 5 years. The five years from when I was born to when I was 5 years old. Thereafter, I move to a different place at a frequency of about every 1 to 3 years. As a result, I can quickly adapt to a new environment, but at the same time, I get bored of the same environment easily. 

I imagine in the future— if I could,  I will sojourn in different places around the world until I can’t anymore. 

If I am trapped in a place for long enough, I will first be tired of the daily routine; waking up in the same bed, eating at the same table, and shitting on the same toilet. Then, my eyes will be irritated by my unchanging surroundings; seeing the same trees out the window and opening the same door every time I go out. It would be the most terrifying torture in the world to me.

In order to prevent me from developing mental issues, I will constantly alter the house and explore different ways to do things. For instance, if I grew tired of sleeping in bed, I can go camping in the yard(if there is one). Or if I can’t stand the trees outside, I will plant new ones. 

After all, I’m still not sure how long it will last until I just can’t do it anymore.

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Not Artistic

http://www.artsy.net

I feel guilty for the grades I get in art class. I feel the pieces I do shouldn’t be called art, they are just drawings, sketches, and paintings. In other words, they are not artistic.

But what is considered artistic? Is there a standard to measure how artistic art is?

If we evaluate art on its aesthetics, many pieces will be disqualified. Because for pieces like Duchamp’s toilet and Maurizio Cattelan’s banana duct-taped to a wall, you can’t really tell if it’s atheistic. Especially in modern art, a lot of artworks don’t even have a concrete representation. With these cases, the value of art can’t be determined by if it looks pretty. Many artists also purposefully create art that is “disturbing” or “unpleasant” to the public, which is not “pretty” in the eyes of most viewers. But they are considered art.

Feminism on Simplified Chinese Internet

The recently revised Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests caused many arguments. Several famous male social media influencers posted comments against this revision which ignited more disputes than ever. 

From my personal experience on the Chinese internet, especially an online social platform called Zhihu, the tension between feminists and anti-feminists has grown stronger and stronger in recent years. A weird phenomenon is you can find feminists and anti-feminists fighting in the comments of almost any social media post.

Many anti-feminists believe that the word feminism means privilege for women because it includes the word women. In other words, they think it means the feminists want to put women in a higher position than men. Because of these voices, some feminists choose to use the phrase equalism when referring to women’s rights.

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Girls‘ Last Tour

At that time, the earth’s surface is not suitable for living anymore, so people built new cities on top of old cities and they kept stacking higher and higher. Two girls left their family and started a journey on their German half-track motorcycle, with the goal of survival and trying to reach “the top”. But they travel up to higher levels, they only found war machines and other leftovers of human activities.

Even though their findings were depressing, they did not hold the girls back. They kept looking for resources and moving forward. They even gave up their most valuable things such as the dairy and books to keep themselves alive. The girls’ desire for survival in a world full of despair is admirable.

Lastly, this is a poem by Hermann Hesse that was cited in this manga.

Out Wandering

Don’t be sad, soon comes the night,
When we watch over the faint countryside,
As the cool moon secretly laughs
And we rest hand in hand.

Don’t be sad, soon comes the time,
When we rest. Our small crosses will stand
On the bright roadside together,
And it rains and snows,
And the winds come and go.

Auf Wanderung

Sei nicht traurig, bald ist es Nacht,
Da sehn wir über dem bleichen Land
Den kühlen Mond, wie er heimlich lacht,
Und ruhen Hand in Hand.

Sei night trauig, bald kommt die Zeit,
Da haben wir Ruh. Unsre Kreuzlein stehen
Am hellen Strassenrande zu zweit,
Und es regnet un schneit,
Und die Winde kommen und gehen.

photo credit: aminoapps.com

Avoiding Politics

Photo Credit: http://www.khou.com

I was shocked when my friend told me that she thought I was really into politics because I never considered myself a political person.

She also said she has always been told by her parents never to mention politics with friends.

Why is politics such a taboo?

We all have come from different backgrounds, received different education, and read different books. Even within the same country, there are left-wing and right-wing, communist and green parties. Of course, people will have disagreements.

While it is true that many people don’t care about politics at all, we are given the right to believe in what we believe.

Another friend of mine met her ex-boyfriend online, my friend is from China and the ex-boyfriend is German. They argue constantly over political issues. Eventually, they broke up, and neither side changed their beliefs.

Does that mean we should try to not mention it in daily conversation? I, at least, believe that gives us more reason to talk openly about it and learn from different perspectives.

Homesick

“Do you miss home?” “Do you miss your parents?” As an international student, these are the questions that I receive most often from people. My answer has always been no, and inexplicably, I’ve never missed home while I’m in a foreign country.

But that answer has changed recently.

During Christmas break, I lived near the LA area, where large Chinese community exists. There, you can find almost anything from China and other places in Asia. I never knew that there could be such a place in the US.

When I had authentic Chinese food in one of the restaurants, I suddenly realized that I do miss home. Or more precisely, the two years of my life in China before I came here. I miss my old school, my friends, and my hometown Nanking. I had a sudden urge to book a flight and go back at that moment. But after 5 seconds, I remembered that my friends are not in China either, they are in Germany, Ireland, Canada… just the same as me.

The feeling of nostalgia was something that I never experienced, and I now I finally understood how other people felt when they say they missed home.

Photo Credit: https://www.welikela.com/

Philosophy For Children

http://www.peopleinneed.net

Philosophy seems distant from young children, but early exposure to philosophy and philosophical thinking can benefit children’s future development.

A lot of times, kids can come up with questions that are hard to answer, like “What is space?” “What is right and wrong?”.

Obviously, we can’t explain Einstein’s theory of time relativity to them when they ask what is the meaning of time. These questions are mostly either involving too many different concepts, or there is simply no absolutely right answer. This is when philosophical thinking comes into play, children can learn and develop their own answers.

By learning various concepts, children can improve in academic learning and form a more organized understanding of the world.


Some people may argue that it is too early for children to start “thinking about thinking” or it could be overwhelming. And yes, it is a possibility. Philosophy for children doesn’t need to include obscure terminology or deep philosophical history. Basic themes like Logicism and elementary ethics are enough and comprehensible for elementary or middle school students.


French students are required to learn philosophy in the last year of secondary school. Educational systems around the world should consider adding philosophy to the curriculum.