I lived in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, from 2006 to 2014, teaching English at two universities there. I arrived as the city was demolishing the last of its ancient neighborhoods in its rush to “progress;” to waste so much valuable architectural and cultural heritage seemed criminal. I wandered the city and documented what remained with my camera. Learn more about the transformation of one historic area here:
Local workers stare through layers of history: a new residential tower, the restored Dacisi monastery, the rubble of a demolished ancient neighborhood, and a broken wall.
See more photos of the Dacisi Monastery area here.
decorative panel, restored building, Dacisi area
restored buildings in the center of the new “ancient” shopping complex.
To the immediate south of Dacisi is a new “ancient” tourist/retail area, arranged around two authentic temple or public buildings that have been conserved. I don’t know yet about their history, but it looks as if they will be used as a theater, with a traditional raised stage facing an open courtyard, for opera performances.
Interior courtyard in process of restoration
exterior of courtyard house, east of Dacisi monastery complex.
brick entrance gateway, courtyard house
Finally, one narrow residential lane survives in the midst of the surrounding construction; above is an example of both woodcarving and traditional architecture that is un-restored and as yet un-demolished. All in all, what is being done with the area seems to have been handled with a degree of sensitivity.
Fragments, Dacisi Temple area
Actually, the title of this photo also fits well with today’s post. Or tonight’s, rather. It’s been an interesting and frustrating day. I just had my first problem with my new Acer notebook computer. It got stuck somewhere between “off” and “on” and wouldn’t go either way. I finally removed the battery to shut it down. Tomorrow I’ll go to a computer doctor – probably one of my students who can help their technologically-challenged teacher to solve what hopefully is a simple software problem.
I ran this morning – 4 entire circuits of the running track. Without dying. It actually felt good. Then I walked 4 more circuits and adjourned to the cafeteria for guo ba rou pian for lunch.
Tired from the workout and lunch, I had a delicious afternoon nap, followed by rushing about madly to pull together a teaching plan for tonite’s business English class. I berated myself for being unprepared, waiting till the last minute, and many other defects of moral character. In the end I told myself: “Self, CHILL.” And I did. I had put together a good homework assignment requiring students to look up 2 words each using an online English dictionary, then reporting on their salient facts at the next class: pronunciation, meaning, syllabic division, stress, etc.
Then I picked 2 pages from a textbook about conversations involving complaints, problems, and solutions; I photocopied them, and then built a whole class around them. Not bad. I could have saved myself all the mental anguish. My new resolution is to simply “do it:” go to class with a simple plan, let the students make something of it, and then come home feeling satisfied. No more self-judgment, criticism, or agonizing over perceived mistakes. Just do it, and be satisfied with having done my best. The end.