It's funny to sit down and write this, because I definitely feel weird doing anything other than socializing or dancing. Those two (mostly the latter) have been my life for the past 2 weeks.
BUDA (Baptist Univ. Dance Assoc.) is having a performance this Wednesday, and I'm part of it! Pretty crazy, since I haven't taken dance classes for years. It's been a great experience, despite the rather large difficulty of the language barrier. BUDA is a very professional organization, and takes their performances quite seriously, so I've signed over a huge chunk of my life to rehearsal for the time being. Even so, I have to say I think it'll be worth it. We do have our steps down really well, and our leadership is excellent. The downside of this? I have gained one or two friendly acquaintances while becoming isolated from the entire international student scene.
I decided a few weeks ago to no longer allow fear to block my relationships with local and mainland China students because of possible cultural faux pas, but it's hard in practice--especially when I don't know the language and I am the obvious minority in a given group. This holds true in dance practice, and after 2 full months of practice, I am only now becoming friendly with some of the local girls. Needless to say, this is discouraging when I am spending at least half my time in this environment. Meanwhile, I see other Pepperdine students only occasionally, and hanging out with other international students has practically become a joke, it happens so seldom. I sometimes find myself asking: "Did I accidentally commit social suicide?"
I went to see Sarah this afternoon on a whim, and it was really nice to be with someone familiar for a little while. I guess all this rehearsal has left me feeling a little lonely, despite my love for dance. The whole situation makes me slightly angry. I mean, in college they tell you to follow your dreams, blah blah blah, but where has following my passion for dance gotten me during my time here? Answer: out on a limb with some compliments, a little respect, and almost no company. I even have to skip convo dinner this week for dance! I don't blame BUDA for demanding so much, but it seems unfair that I end up socially deficient when I jump enthusiastically into the life of my current university.
I am slightly comforted by the fact that a lot of people say they'll come to the performance. I'm sure that not going to church this Sunday didn't help my feeling of isolation, either. My confusion is exacerbated by the alternating abundance and lack of community I feel while here. For example: I'll have a really great time hanging out with a few friends, and then come back to my room and realize that I barely know my roommate. I think we get along okay, but we never spend time together. Our schedules seem to conflict most of the time, and my attempts at getting hang out time for the two of us seem to always fail because of complications on one end or the other.
I guess all of this just goes to show that not even relationships with others can really fill you up. That must be the reason I never fully bought into humanism. Perhaps I have a strangely large emotional appetite, but even meaningful, deep friendships--or for that matter, fame--have never fit the resounding need for engagement that I feel. Many times I've even scared people with my extreme analysis and intense emotions. A higher being seems to be the only thing that can truly accept me for who I am without telling me that my passion and my mind are unacceptable in the "real world." I don't need anyone to tell me about the way things are "out there." I am fully aware of the ugliness in the world. In fact, I've experienced some of it myself. That doesn't mean my continued hope is silly. It is defiant. I don't have to conform to cynicism and hopelessness just because others say so.
I've been feeling quite ground down lately, but I'm still holding onto my faith. I know many people feel that is naive or even cowardly, but I've made the decision to believe that my relationships are not falling apart--they're just getting warmed up.