Over the past few years, I have, on and off, immersed myself in Chinese language and culture. At one point, I seriously considered moving to Hong Kong, but that’s a story for another time.
I appreciate learning in any form, and gaining insight into things that come from different perspectives. Something that I may have heard all my life takes on a different understanding or importance when it is said with the slightest twist. It reminds me of times that I would come home and tell my mom a bit of wisdom I received from a friend or someone at church, and she would look at me dumbfounded, telling me, “Really? I’ve been telling you the same thing for years!”
The past few months have been marked with transition. Transition can be good, for sure, but it can also throw a big ol’ monkey wrench into your sense of normal. Through this transition with some regret I had to put a pause on my Mandarin lessons. The new semester brought a new teacher, a new teaching style, all while I was starting a new job (literally the same week). In addition, I was preparing for the prospect of moving. My brain couldn’t handle it all, and I felt I was going to break. However, even though I put my official lessons on pause, I have continued to learn things here and there through those I follow on social media.
Fast forward to a couple days ago. One of the people I follow on Instagram, YiQiHanzi, posted the following lesson from her flashcards:
The direction against the wind is better for flying
I wanted to focus on the lesson about the wind, but there was another lesson that was, proverbially hitting me square in the face. See, the transition I had been (have been) going through was now full swing, and I have felt like I have been blown backward – not just once, but continually. Enter this lesson: this flashcard gave me a perspective, not just to the language, but to my situation that has helped me to gain some optimism in the midst of turmoil.
I’ve written many times about turbulence on airplanes, but on my last business trip I experienced a type of turbulence I never want to feel ever again: the bottom dropped out, and for a few seconds the plane just plunged. It was as if the air that was keeping the plane aloft disappeared, and there was nothing to hold it in the air. While I will never claim to be buddy-buddy with any kind of turbulence, I definitely would have been happy to have anything other than the lack of air while sitting at 40,000ft.
As a runner, I prefer the wind at my back, as that makes for an easier run. The only time I “like” (so not the word I am really looking for 😉 ) the wind in my face is when I am trying to train harder. When I train myself and others, I have parachutes that I love bringing out on windy days, because it makes it near impossible to run, or even stand up straight once the winds fills the chute. All of this makes sense for being on the ground, but if I want to fly, it’s a different story altogether: I need the wind in my face. Reading about planes taking off, one writer put it this way:
“When taking off with a headwind it slows the plane in its acceleration respect to the ground, but increases the flow of air over the wings, allowing to take off in a shorter distance and climbing in a greater angle in order to clear any obstacle.”
So, the thing constantly hitting me in the face can actually help me to soar sooner, and to overcome real obstacles that can cause me harm.
That’s a lot to get from a flashcard.
I’m sure I have both heard and said something to this effect many times, but for now, I guess I needed to hear it in Mandarin for it to sink in. 🙂