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Reading ‘Foreign Babes in Beijing’ in Whitebrook

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The Book: Foreign Babes in Beijing, Rachel deWoskin

The place: my parents’ place in Whitebrook

Perfect demonstration of why you should judge books neither by their cover nor their title: I doubt I ever would have picked up Foreign Babes if I’d seen it in a bookshop – it was another one of the charity-shop purchases Clare foisted on me while we were in Liechtenstein – but it turned out to be excellent, a thoughtful and affectionate and erudite depiction of China’s view of the west, the west’s view of China, and China’s view of the west’s view of China (did you know that Chinese people believe that western people believe that Chinese people are lazy and uncultured? Neither did I! Also, apparently Chinese people think western people smell of milk, which is pretty unappealing).

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Here is another thing that I did today: I ran a 10k. I mean, in broad terms: I covered the ground of a 10k race, and I ran part of it! And I wasn’t lapped by all the half-marathoners who were doing two circuits of the route that I was doing! (Only some of them.) I am truly, comically terrible at running in almost every way, and yet I am sticking to it in grim determination, in the possibly-misguided belief that it is character building for me to persist in something I neither am good at nor enjoy.

That said, I enjoyed the 10k far, far more than I had been expecting to. The utter lack of expectations (either to enjoy it, or to make any sort of half-decent time) helped, but I think the main highlights were both my sheer amazement at myself actually doing it (my brain, all the way through: “look at this! I am running a 10k! I said I was going to do it and I am doing it!”), and the course itself, which runs through woods and over stiles and through mud and requires leaping and staggering and slipping and sliding. That is the sort of 10k for me! I don’t think I would enjoy a city 10k nearly as much – though I do intend to try one, as I would like to actually run all of a 10k at some point, and I have the (again, possibly misguided) feeling that city-based races are less likely to be beset with hills than rural ones.

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Written by Jess

June 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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