Friday, July 22, 2005

You've Lost That Chinese Feeling that Now is Gone, Gone, Gone...

[Edited for Privacy. E-mail me if you have any questions.]

Today, on my way to a friend's house in New Jersey, while approaching Canal Street, I remembered that I would be driving through China Town, where there would certainly be Chinese people to talk with and to bargain with. I was feeling sad and nostalgic that I was no longer in China, and that my busy life had taken me over again. There was no rest; I was again on a tight schedule. I stopped the car, I found a parking spot, I parked and paid the meter, and I walked towards the main market. It was refreshing being back among the Chinese; however, it didn't feel the same.

Although I spoke in Chinese to each vendor I passed, they weren't interested in hearing me or to do business with me. Nobody would bargain, and nobody would negotiate. They were actually horrified and insulted by the thought that I was negotiating with them for something with a price tag on it, while in China, they would have gotten out their calculator and engaged me in bidding warfare, trying to get every dollar they could out of me. In the end in China, everything I showed an interest in, I ended up purchasing because the vendors were so interested in selling the products to me at any cost. I was so disappointed that here they didn't even try.

This afternoon, I decided to go to the kosher Chinese food store in Fair Lawn, New Jersey to get take-out lunch. I wanted to someone to talk to in Chinese. The guy that was helping me order was very gracious that I was talking to him in his language. I didn't feel though like I was in China anymore.


ToddV said...

Interesting. Your attempt to "revisit" of China by going to Chinatown is so very human. By the way, I saw your post on Hassid and Heretic and I don't think you have to post stories about "sex and hassids" to get readers. Ask the other hasidic "rebel" bloggers to link your page just like they do the others. Of course you can provide links to them.

You seem more balanced than the others...I prefer to encourage you...although I am increasingly convinced that the hasidic rebel type critiques of hasidic life are based on realities...I am hoping that somehow there would be a way for those like yourself to retain a chassidus-type Torah way of life in some fashion....I guess an internal reform is needed but who can actually make it happen in the community? By the way, I am just an interested and sympathetic goy. I have always been struck by the apparent joy/enthusiasm of the Lubavitch who also tend to interact with other types of Jews not to mention Gentiles.

Zoe Strickman said...

I wanted to thank you for your post. All this shtus (garbage) you are reading by my non-observances are metaphorically holes in my boat which is sinking. These need to be fixed and the holes need to be filled in and repaired. I am just at a stage where I am trying to find out where the holes are. I have been sinking and I couldn't figure out why for some time. It is only recently that I have noticed these various holes in my observance. So I am bringing out these problems with the intention that one day soon I am strong enough to fix them.

Rowan said...

wow, Zoe, you are sounding very melancholy today. Are you alright? Wish I'd read it sooner. I've been so busy this weekend. Life does catch up with one, doesn't it? Shame!

Zoe Strickman said...

It's okay. I was trying one of those psychic experiences, trying to influence fate in the most basic of ways. I sent a message in my head to her that I would be doing this and I hoped that she got the message and would meet up with me at the grocery store. She wasn't there.

Maybe she got the message, but she's back home in the U.K. now. It's okay. I was just trying to tempt fate.

nm said...

very well written piece!
thank you!