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Onwards!

June 21, 2012
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I took the MCAT this morning, and now I’m ready for the next thing in my life: New Mexico.  For years now, I’ve been saying that I want to live in New Mexico.  Not that I really know what it would be like to live there.

There’s a Chinese chengyu (saying) that goes like this: 叶公好龙.  It means, “Lord Ye loves dragons.”  The story, in brief, is that this Chinese guy was obsessed with dragons.  He had them painted on everything in his house.  One day, a real dragon came down from the sky, and Lord Ye ran away really fast.

I’m excited to finally go to New Mexico.  I think I’ll love it.  Five weeks from now, hopefully I’ll be able to say with certainty that it’s not just a 叶公好龙 kind of situation.

As for this blog, if I come across more China-related thoughts and things, I might still write occasionally during the summer.  But more likely, I’ll just take a vacation or Tumbl back to the days of “I don’t have a blog.”

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America

June 17, 2012
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Good morning!

Right now, it’s  5:15 pm in China, but here in Indianapolis, It’s 5:15 am.  So, yeah, I guess I’m a little jet lagged.  But hey, I’m jet lagged in the best way possible. The way that makes me wake up and feel great at 5am.  I like being a morning person, so I’ll see how long I can make this jet lag last.

When I arrived in America yesterday, I was once again struck by just how amazingly easy it is to speak and understand one’s native language.  Wow.  I don’t have to think at all.  I was also struck by how non-internationally minded we are here.  Waiting in line for at customs, I heard a person behind me ask the TSA lady, “hey, where’s the normal line?”  Being a US citizen is “normal.”  Everything else?  Abnormal.

Welcome back to America.

 


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When kids misbehave…

June 16, 2012
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There’s a joke (started by Aaron), that if students misbehave in class, we should give them a trial by fate.  Like what they used to do in ancient Rome or Greece, where, rather than using logic or reasoning or trial by a jury to find out if a person is guilty, you just throw them in with a lion, and if it doesn’t eat them, you can presume they’re innocent.

We don’t have any lions around Xiuzhong, but we do have plenty of birds…

There’s one particular bench just below a tree that is just coated, COATED, in bird poop.  See below.

We like to joke, that a fair punishment for kids who speak Chinese in class would be to make them sit on the bench for five minutes.  If no birds poop on them, well, good for them.  But if some does, hey, that’s just nature.  We’re not responsible.  Fate punishes them, not us.

But seriously, nobody’s that mean.

 


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Shanghai again

June 16, 2012
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I’m sitting in the Burger King at the Shanghai Pudong Airport, waiting to be allowed to check my bag.  Oh hey, they just started playing some music from the Amélie soundtrack!  Cool!

Anyways, I left home about 18 hours ago.  So far, so good.  I love taking overnight trains.  Especially when I get a bottom bunk.  On the train, I had my longest-yet Chinese conversation.  About 2 and a half hours!  Granted, the guy I was talking to said some things that went over my head, to which I nodded and smiled, but I think I got the point of most of it.  Then, I slept a good 9 hours.

When I got to Shanghai, I found the subway and went to the underground pearl market.  I say underground because it’s literally underground, not for other reasons.  I shopped around, and got some reasonable prices (I think… but who knows) for stuff.  Silk skinny ties, a fancy chopstick set for my sister for when she moves to her new apartment (I can say that here cuz I know she’ll never read this), and a pearl necklace.  When I couldn’t find anything else that I or anybody I know could possibly, remotely need, I decided to look for a place with free Internet.  But when I emerged from the subway station, this is what I saw.  It’s a cool place, but not a cafe in sight.

 

Definitely a “we’re not in Kansas anymore” kind of moment.  The rural part of my trip is over.

So, I decided to just go to the airport and get rid of my bag.  So, here I am.  At the airport.  But they won’t take my bag for another half hour at least.  Alas.

Soon enough, I’ll be leaving Shanghai, on my way to Chicago!  Woohooo!  So close.  And yet soooooo far away.


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Packing up

June 15, 2012
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Well, this is it.  One year in China down, one to go.  My bag is packed.

I’m cleaning up a few final things, taking deep breaths, and trying to stay calm.  Packing things and going to the airport always makes me emotional.  It’s been a great year, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

As for this blog, I’ve got one more thing I want to post before I leave.  And I’m sure I’ll have something to say when I arrive in Indiana.  I won’t even need VPN to log on.  Imagine that!  So… stay tuned.


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Two phones a-chargin’

June 14, 2012
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This can only mean one thing.  In about 30 hours, my 1.5-day-long journey to America begins.


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Pizza party!

June 13, 2012
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Doug and I threw a pizza party for the kids who were in the play.  Well, mostly Doug threw the party.  I just attended and helped with small things since I’ve been so wrapped up in wrapping up here.

It was the kids’ first ever pizza party.  Brought back memories of when we used to get pizza parties as rewards in elementary and middle school.  But this one was different and better because the kids got to make the pizza for themselves.

Check out the joy of some of these kids’ first pizza experience:

And, of course, it ended in a flour-fight.


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Out of town guests

June 13, 2012
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This past week, for two days, I had the pleasure of hosting none other than my wonderful friend and number 1 commenter!  And her dad!  Here they are on 万安老街 (The Wan’An Old Street).

Love you CLin!


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Moldy laundry

June 13, 2012
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I learned more about the nature of mold this year than I did in the intensive summer I spent purposefully culturing it in a laboratory.  The main thing I learned: do not underestimate it’s ability to grow on just about anything.

I pulled some supposedly clean clothes out of my closet to find them covered in splotches of mold.  The suitcases I brought to China are moldy.  And my shoes.  Man.  Shoes grow mold like none other.

This is why I’m so frustrated with the laundry situation.  Washing things is not enough.  In a warm and humid environment, clean things still grow mold.  So, I’ve been washing everything. Everything.  Then, I dry it in the wonderful UV rays of the sun.  I follow that with stuffing the washed and radiated clothes into garbage bags.  Then, I kneel on the garbage bags to push the air out and I tape them shut with packing tape.  This is my best approximation of vacuum wrapping.  Will it work?  Will this actually save my clothes from decomposing this summer?  Only time can tell.  Until then, I’ve got a heap of garbage bags of clothes in my room.


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Outta here

June 12, 2012
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I’ve got three full days left in Xiuning.  Oh man.  Only three days.  Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic.

There’s a lot to be done with wrapping everything up.  The laundry situation is awful.  I’ll explain why in a later post.

This one’s just to say, hey, look, I got a ticket!  The lady almost didn’t let me buy one cuz I forgot to bring my passport (I was about to put it in my bag, and then I got distracted by laundry…).  Luckily, I was able to talk my way out of needing a passport.  In Chinese.  Heck yeah.

That there’s for an overnight train to Shanghai on Friday.  Saturday, I fly to 美国。That’s right, ‘merica.  Here I come.


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