Saturday, May 9, 2009
The upside down world
When I was a little kid one of my favorite activities was so play in my sandbox. Most of the playtime was spent digging holes. My parents used to joke with me and say: “Don’t dig too deep, then you’ll end up at the other side of earth, in China!” (I think a lot of people recognize that little ‘saying’) Of course that only triggered me to dig deeper as I was extremely curious about what China would be like. My best friend Emma told me that since China was on the other side of earth (this was before we looked at an earth globe, maps and stuff… I am talking about a time when I was 5 years old) everything over there was upside down. And then we dug together, keen to enter a more exciting environment than the backside of my house.
“Unfortunately” it would take another 19 years or so before I ended up in China. Although now when I am here I can tell you one thing, sometimes I feel like this place really IS upside-down!
The other day I was having lunch with a Chinese friend. Since summer has hit Suzhou I was wearing a singlet and a skirt. We were eating a spicy pot mix of chicken and veggies and ordered a large jug of suan mei tang (a sweet plum juice) to balance the chili. The jug came (quite huge) and I reached for it to pour some juice into my friend’s glass. While I was holding the (heavy) jug, I caught my friend staring at my arms:
-Jonna… your arm…it's so…. Big!
-Big? Oh you mean this? I said, jokingly, and flexed my arm, showing a modest biceps muscle. I’ve been doing weights since the beginning of this year and finally the results are starting to show!
-Oh my god! She said. You have like… muscles. Visible muscles.
-Oh poor you! How did that happen? What are you going to do to get rid of them?
-Eh…. Nothing. I’ve worked out for 4 months to even get them!
-But… it’s muscles. Your arms look bigger. Not like mine. She pointed at her stick thin arm, even flexed it to show that there was no sign, what-so-ever from a biceps muscle.
-Well, ehum… you know… I didn’t really know what to say. I mean, in my world, toned arms are quite nice looking. But in her world, obviously, toned arms is a big no-no.
-So you think my arms look too big?! I finally asked, already knowing the answer.
-Yes. Too big. But just stop training and it will be better.
(That’s something you don’t often hear).
I don’t know. Arms are too big? Hips are too big? Nose it too large? Ahhhh, how do you actually manage to live here and feel good about yourself?!
Well there's no way actually. Better to just laugh about it. And remind myself that in China, some things really are ‘upside down!’
And am I going to stop toning my arms? (Before you all start telling me that ‘muscle women aren’t hot’ let me reveal something: my new arm muscles are quite tiny…. My boyfriend laughed out loud when I told him about this). No way. In my (according to my friend: 'quite upside down') world, toned arms rock!
We are not talking body builder arms as you see... like this and with a tiny little muscle (this pic is from last summer).