Happy International Women’s Day! 三八妇女快乐! This post goes out to all of the women in my life who are beautiful, inside and out.
I’ve been blessed enough to have had some great women come in and out of my life in my short 22 years. My mother is perhaps the greatest of them all, who has at different points in my life taken the role of mother, father, enemy and friend. I couldn’t be more thankful to have such a strong person as my number one role model. She doesn’t take shit from anyone, she loves with all of her heart, and she has the loudest and most beautiful laugh. She has a knack for tackling challenges and obstacles whole-heartedly and gives them everything she has, putting her heart and soul into jobs, people, and saves herself for last. Mom, since I know you’re reading this, take more time for yourself. Especially on Women’s Day.
I’m also blessed be surrounded by wonderful women in China, too. There is a famous quote from Mao Zedong, who said, “women hold up half the sky.” In China, men are still perceived as superior to women, but the women I’ve seen here are strong, and they hold up things far heavier than the sky. The majority of the people I interact with and work with are women. The dean of our English teachers at our school, Liu Nian, is a strong and fiery woman, and about 10 times spicier than the food in Chongqing. She always has my back, letting me know what’s going on in our school, inviting me out to take part in cool cultural experiences, putting absurd amounts of food in my bowl, and explaining to the locals why I’m here when they give me questions and stares. On top of taking care of this lonely little foreigner, she takes care of her 15 year old daughter, her husband, her father, her students, and the other teachers at our school.
Liu Nian is just one example of the kind of women who I often encounter here. They are strong and hard working. On their backs they carry babies in baskets and walk up moutains with inclines of 90 degrees. They are lively and loving and their eyes shine with a brilliance unmatched by anything money could buy. “You are so beautiful,” says the woman working at the Dico’s where I’m writing this post. I grab her hand, laugh, and in my rough Chinese say “YOU are beautiful. Happy Women’s Day.” They are far underappreciated by so many, but so appreciated by me.