I just went an entire month and only spent 169 yuan. That's $24 and some change. That's crazy. I have never been in true need in my life, and it seems likely that I never will. Trying to live on the budget of someone on welfare has broadened my view immensely. When I explain the concept of Meager March to my students, they all claim it's impossible, but I tell them that it's NOT impossible. Here are some things that happened this month.
1) We cooked more. Vegetables in China are extremely cheap and usually fresh out of the ground. We can buy one dish in a restaurant for 5 yuan or we can buy enough vegetables to cook 5 dishes and cook them ourselves for the same price. I cooked a few dishes that got better each time I tried, and Angelyn and Jessica provided a plethora of dishes, fried rice, and soups. Of course, dirty dishes are from the devil.
2) I lost weight. I didn't know I'd lost weight until a week ago, but apparently I lost about 8 pounds. Probably due to the fact that I only drank 3 cokes the whole month, we walked 90% of the time instead of taking the bus, and I pretty much only ate meat once a week at most. I feel good, though!
3) I had a birthday. I don't know how I didn't blog about this earlier, but I turned 27 back on the 11th. It was a pretty great day. Angelyn and Jessica got some of my students to dress up as the Olympic Mascots and recite a poem for me. Then they brought out a spice cake with cream cheese icing! It was the most amazing experience of my life. Apparently I got the cake mix and icing in the mail from my mom (thanks, mom!) back in October and Angelyn stashed it away secretly after she heard me exclaim that it's my favorite. I totally forgot about it and had no idea where she had acquired the cake nor how she knew it's my favorite. Praise God for good friends! It's hard to beat a birthday with great friends and great icing on your cake.
4) I meditated. No, I wasn't sitting in some weird position in my living room, hovering over the floor. I just spent a lot of time thinking about... well, just about everything there is to think about. For one thing, I often thought about the poor who we were trying to imitate. Almost every day people would offer to pay for me to do something so that I wouldn't go without, so that I would be able to have fun with them, or because they thought it was crazy for me to walk an hour and a half across town when I could just ride the bus. I would always ask myself if people who are actually on welfare in China get this kind of treatment. I imagine many of them might beg and receive money from strangers, but they don't usually seem to have a band of friends about them offering to pay for everything. I think this past month was made much easier due to the support and assistance of many friends, and that seriously makes me want to know more about others and whether they have this same type of support. I have a much different view of how much a small bit of money can help a poor person on the street. Or a large amount. I also meditated about many many other things that I'll have to address later.
This list is far from all-inclusive of the things I learned and did this past month, but it's all I can think to write at the moment. April is being billed as Active April, so we're doing different activities and actively pursuing certain goals that we have set for ourselves this month. It should be a fun month. I'll write more tomorrow, especially since one of my goals is to actively blog. Thanks for being patient, I hope you enjoy my return to blogging!