Heavy Rain and Indelible Dreams

Lately, the weather here has been all over the place. It's like mother nature can't make up her mind. Sticky, dry, sticky again…mostly hot, occasionally chilly (like today)… foggy, hazy… misty, pouring… sunny? Just a weekend or two ago, we had the heaviest rain in six decades. That's what everyone's been saying. I learned later that some people died that day and that some places have remained flooded. I pray for the families. For virtually a week after that day, the weather report on my phone has consistently shown rain-- even though half of those days have proven to be sunny, though often muggy. It's likely a precaution so that people can stay vigilant.

As usual, the days have been passing like a whirlwind.  I've been eating and sleeping research, foreign legal concepts, Chinese language, dishes of pork and cabbage, fluctuating temperatures, unreliable WIFI, red mansions and temples. I've slowed a little on exploring central Beijing and have knuckled down in other aspects. I've also been dreaming a lot and remembering my dreams. My roommate commented a little while back that she thought she heard me speaking Chinese in my sleep. I also attempted to tell someone in my office about one of my dreams. As I started, my supervisor laughed and boldly said "我有一个梦想."

I have a dream.

Since I've been here, I've toyed around with these dreams of my present, my future, and just life in general. A few weeks ago, Zhicheng took a group of the international interns (including myself) to visit the Ford Foundation.  It was kind of funny because when we went around and introduced ourselves to our host, one of the interns bluntly said, "My name is [name], I'm from [city/school here], and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my life." The man that was hosting us, who was middle-aged, chuckled and responded, "I feel like I'm still doing that." Later, he went on to talk emphatically about the work he's been able to do at Ford and the projects in which he was most proud of. Through listening to the trajectory of his dynamic career, there was something about his journey that held a common thread. It seemed guided by his love for the Chinese language, wanting to work in China (even for just a few years) using the skills he had obtained as a lawyer and the skills he had acquired simply because he knew how to communicate well with people, and wanting a career that was public-oriented and always evolving. That's all that it seemed to take for him to navigate his exciting journey. To live a life I'm sure he would be happy to even dream about.

Not too long after that visit which got me thinking even more about post-grad plans and the kinds of crazy dreams that young people in my generation tend to have these days, I presented my research to the center about juveniles and how they are impacted by the law in places on the other side of the globe. During the presentation, I applied the laws of these countries to a case that is currently transpiring in our district and being handled by my supervisor. I prepared the presentation in English and translated it into Chinese in the Powerpoint so that it could be easier for audience members to follow. While I said a few key phrases in Chinese, I presented it mostly in English-- my comfort-- and quite the opposite of my dream where I had spoken only in Chinese (yes, I had actually remembered parts of the dream my roommate had heard!) I think the presentation went pretty well and I can only hope that the work I've been doing is useful for future cases. I hope that the work I do in the future, both here in Beijing and after, can also do some good.

So I could tell you about how I too have a dream… But maybe next time.