征文17 ▏Marytha: A college trip sparked my love for China

家外之家 2021
征文17 ▏Marytha: A college trip sparked my love for China


Name : Marytha Johnson

姓名:Marytha Johnson

Country of Origin : USA (United States of America)


Occupation : Teacher


Years in China : About four in total


Hey Everyone! Welcome to my story. Be prepared for wonder, miracles, and unnecessary flamboyance. So, how did I get to China ehhh? Well, I came two different times for two very different reasons.



The first time I came to China, I was in college. Ohhh, young me was so cute! She had a big adorable smile, eyes unfettered by the world’s woes, practical step-by-step dreams, and a goofy uncontrollable laugh. Got to love her! Anyway, I went to a really small, middle of nowhere, liberal arts college – so naturally, it was full of students from all over the world. You should know my college really loves to gloat about two things: its commitment to “mentored undergraduate research” and its noble mission to develop “independent minds within a global community.” All that first gloat means is that your senior year is a non-stop library reel with an occasional cut scene of your bed.


Marytha doing some rooftop studying in Tibet

The second gloat, though, is the magic carpet I flew to China on. You see, my school encourages every student to travel abroad, and they really lay it on thick. At first, I was nonchalant about the whole thing – too at home to see my blessings. Luckily by the lure of free food and those tiny little cakes, I got suckered into the barrage of travel fairs. Convinced by the finger foods and cool stories – I planted my Wooster flag and finally decided to TRAVEL THE WORLD!


Marytha dancing with sculptures at the Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin

Those unfettered eyes wanted to see everything and go everywhere, shiny things over here, yummy food over there, history, splendor, you name it! I was all in now, and I wanted it ALL, but I only had one semester worth of don’t get stranded in a foreign country because you are broke money. The utilitarian in me wanted to make the most of this chance, so I thought, “what would be the hardest place, if I didn’t go right now, to go to later in life?” At the time, my college self thought: I only have a couple of friends from China, it’s so far away, they speak another language, they didn’t even use letters, all of those digits for that plane ticket, and it’s probably crazy crowded with all those people. Yep, I definitely will not go there later. And TADA that’s how I decided to go to China!


Marytha’s first KTV experience in Beijing

And that’s it! I was in Beijing the following semester studying Chinese language and history. Oh yeah, the second time was much more straightforward. I knew I was ending a 10-year long unhealthy and codependent relationship. In this process, I asked myself, “if you could be doing anything in the world, what would you be doing?”. Guess what I said… “teaching English in China.” My inner skeptic came out with a “hmmm really.” I was serious, and now I am here in Xiamen teaching English. It’s a Spring Festival miracle!

就是这样!接下来的一学期我在北京学习汉语和中国历史。没错,第二次要直截了当的多。我知道我将要结束一段长达 10 年的不正常而且相互依赖的关系。在这个过程中,我问自己,“如果你可以随心所欲,你会做什么?”猜猜我说了什么……“在中国教英语。”内心带着些许怀疑,我最终觉得“嗯,这个选择没错”。我是认真的,现在我在厦门教英语。一个全新的开始!

Marytha’s first bike ride along HuanDao Road in Xiamen

I am from Louisville, Kentucky. You can find fast horses, mint juleps, and big hats at the Annual Kentucky Derby. Louisville is also home to the Muhammad Ali Center and Louisville Sluggers – the world’s most popular bat for breaking car windows.


作者:Marytha 翻译:潘泽彬

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