rcintheprc

Somehow, I just don’t believe you

March 31, 2013
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Read the label carefully.

Turley pure yogurt


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高二春游

March 31, 2013
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During conference, we went on the Second Year students’ spring trip.  Like last year, we went to an amusement park, but this park was much more boring than the one last year.  Fewer roller coasters, more movies and kiddie rides.  Not that kiddie rides aren’t fun too:

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After my second ride, I felt about ready to hurl, so I spent a lot of time sitting around eating all the fruit and tea eggs I’d brought.  The afternoon was much better because I didn’t go on anything else that spins and I met up with some students.  See below for a picture of me posing with other fellows and students in front of a Qing Dynasty inspired statue.  The best part of the day is definitely seeing the kids having fun.  This is their last spring trip.  Next year they can’t take any breaks from preparing for the college entrance test.

posing at the park


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Xiuning Seder Year 2

March 31, 2013
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Once again, I hosted a seder here for Passover, but this year Passover happened to fall during Spring Conference when all our friends from other sites were visiting.  Thus, it was a pretty big production.  We brought homemade matzah and charoset, etc to a local restaurant and really amused the family who owns the place.

Seder table

 

I had a lot of fun writing a haggadah that I thought compiled all the most important and classic passages, the best songs for those who can’t read Hebrew, and the most information.

It was a fun meal.  Plus, I found the Afikomen.  Alex hid it in a box in the storage room in the restaurant.  Maybe I should have let one of the three children find it, but I gave them a head start, and then I finally started looking and got so excited when I saw it I shouted out “I found it!”  Oops.


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Just another part of the real rural China experience

March 29, 2013
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Just got back from the annual “Spring Outing,” and last night I hosted a big seder!  I have a lot of fun updates, but this ridiculous one first:

In my last post, I mentioned that I was dating someone.  Well, when you live in a small village where everybody knows everybody else, and everybody has loud opinions about everybody else’s business, it doesn’t take long for your Chinese employer to make up rules about whether you’re allowed to date.  So, it turns out we’re not allowed to date people who we will have no future opportunity to marry, end of story.  This is not the local opinion among those under 35, but as it turns out all the people in power are over 35.

There will certainly be perks to returning to a country where my employer doesn’t get to dictate my personal life.


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On my disappearance from blogging

March 27, 2013
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There are two reasons I haven’t been writing much lately.

1. This is about to happen.  We’ve been busy planning and coordinating.

2. But to be honest, the bigger reason is that I have been spending less time sitting around my house typing, and more time out in Tunxi going on dates with a great guy!  I need to start bringing my camera so I can post the cool parts of Tunxi I’ve been seeing.  Dates range from going to a steak restaurant and me pointing out all that’s wrong with the menu (e.g. steak is not usually served with spaghetti and tomato sauce) to him quizzing me on writing Chinese characters while we have tea on the Old Street.


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Not much of a choreographer

March 21, 2013
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I didn’t realize how much choreography my job and life in China would entail.

Rehearsal

Here’s a picture from a dance rehearsal this week.  That’s our lead actor.  He knows the dance, but something about his timing makes him look nervous.

For the musical: a dance for one, a dance for three, a dance for eighteen, and maybe some other small bits of choreography if timing permits

For life: in China’s performance-focused social culture, whatever ability one has must be scraped together as much as possible.  You never know when you’ll be asked to perform at a wedding, at a dinner, in front of new friends.  “Wow, you play guitar really well!  That was great.”  “Next time I play guitar, you dance.  好不好?“  “uh…sure…”  Mom, dad, all those years of ballet are being put to use.  Thanks!

In America, the general public’s performing arts skills usually only come in handy when you pass by one of those dance video games in a Walmart.  Not so in China.  Not so.


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Bring your foreigner to work day

March 18, 2013
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Yesterday, we were invited to the Police Station (known as the “Public Safety Office” in Chinese) to hang out with our new friends.  Of course, we were asked to sing and play music, and then we led them in a the game “Celebrity” (a modified version of charades, where there are three rounds, first words only, next one word only, and the last round with gestures only).  They were very nice to us and all wrote really simple words to ensure we’d understand (things like cat, cow, police, friend, Yellow Mountain, Bruce Lee, etc).  It was a great time, and I feel accomplished for having successfully played this game in Chinese, even if we did have some pretty easy words.


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Blender

March 18, 2013
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Meet my new blender.  It says it’s Philips.  Is it really Philips?  What connection is there exactly between American Philips and Chinese Philips?  Who’s to say.  It does look pretty legit, though.

Blender


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Es Double-u Ay Tee

March 16, 2013
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Before I fall asleep and wonder if this actually happened, I need to write it down.  Our neighbor’s daughter is married to a SWAT cop.  Today, our neighbor borrowed Sabrina’s classroom to have a party with her daughter’s husband’s team.  We walked past the room, and were immediately pulled in by some rather tipsy off-duty cops.  They told us proudly that the were all SWAT.  They’re all quite familiar with that English acronym, but they never read it as “swat.”  Rather, they haltingly say “es double-u ay tee.”

Sabrina was required to sing a song.  This led to us being invited into the city to 玩 (our students always directly translate this as “play,” though I guess we don’t usually apply that word to our activities post-elementary school in America).  We ended up having dinner and then raucously singing karaoke. With a SWAT team.  In China.

Their boss, who was also there, instructed them to become our friends, and we are now invited to hang out with them at the police station tomorrow while they wait for any kind of emergency calls.


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Great timing…

March 16, 2013
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When I live in America, things like this won’t happen.  This morning, I wanted to take a shower very badly, but there was only a trickle of water running from my faucet.  I waited an hour, but still, no water.  Finally, I slowly collected water from my trickling sink, and I heated it.  I then washed my hair in a basin.  It took me exactly four liters of water to feel decently clean, which is only a small fraction of the water showers normally use.  So, at least I can be proud of that.  As soon as I’d finished, I heard a sputter from the tap, and the water was back.  The timing could not have been more perfect.  China has a cruel sense of humor.


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