|Hubei University of Economics Library|
|Asia... Well, most of it.|
|Across the "river" from the Our Hotel|
A man made river curls in circular fashion around the back side of the library. It twists and meanders a bit like all good rivers do and in the process it creates the appearance if not the reality of a couple of small islands. There is forest here. Weeping willows line the shore of the river. Pines and other trees cover the small hills. Stone or brick paths lead into these small forests. Some of the entrances to the forest areas have arches covered with vines but most of them don’t. Inside you’ll find the usual cement picnic tables scattered around along with a park bench or two. Each of these of course will be surrounded with litter just to remind you that you are in fact still in China.
Several bridges cross the river. Beyond the river and behind the library there are the teaching buildings. There is a wide street here. On either side of the street there are statues of famous people. Most of these statues are of economists. Milton Friedman, John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx are all here by the river. Marx stands by the river and looks across the road at the school building that I teach in. All of my classes are in the same building.
I haven’t actually seen the whole campus. There is a large portion that I've never had a reason or an opportunity to explore. Perhaps one day when I've nothing better to do I’ll pass through that area just to see what is there. A lot of people here have asked me why I left New Dynamic to come to this University. Many of my former co-workers including some of the people in the head office believe that I left because New Dynamic couldn't give me the pay raise that I asked for. This makes sense until you know that the University is paying me less than New Dynamic was. In the end it came down to trees.
There is construction here. New stuff is being built outside the campus. But it seems like there is less construction here than in the rest of the city. Months ago, after I’d interviewed here I’d walked around the campus a bit. Mr. Li doesn't know this but none of the things we’d talked about in the interview had any bearing on my decision. The decision had been made sitting on a park bench thirty minutes later. In front of me there was nothing but the woods. I just sat there looking at the trees. I was close enough to the water that I could hear it. I could also hear some people talking far away and sometimes laughing. There were no other sounds. There were no car horns or ringing bicycle bells. There were no passing buses rolling by pouring out exhaust fumes for everyone to choke on. There was only green and brown and a sliver of blue and there was silence. I remember Adam Stein, who taught my certification course, telling us that windows in a classroom where very important. I remember thinking then that this was a strange thing to care about but now I think I get it. Sometimes between classes or while the students are busy with some group work I've given them I’ll stand by the window and look out for a moment. From some of the windows I can see a small pond encircled with stones and cattails and covered with lily pads. Around this there are trees.
Once they do finally understand and they realize that I'm not joking some of the people here feel this whole thing about the trees and all is a bit silly. There is an Australian couple here who get it though. They came to this school from their old one because this university has a pool.
I think trees are nice.
But to each his own...