Thursday, August 24, 2006

Things I learned last night in China

I've never really been good at keeping a paper journal, just mostly online. And even then, barely. But I wanted to make sure I didn't forget the little lessons I learned last night. That's why I was up at 4am scribbling down as many thoughts as I could coherently complete. And so here is a nice condensed version, for all you readers back home.

Things I learned last night in China:

1. the dumpling place delivers. it also stays open very late. this will be great because now i have to learn how to order food over the phone in chinese.

2. that you can bargain for nearly anything. thru a long and complicated process of bickering, even taxi fare can be negotiated. also another reason to hurry and learn more chinese so i can get cheap rides. beat the bus!! and there's no tipping. it's win-win.

but most of all.

3. I truly got an example last night of something I've been saying but never really fully understood. I always meant it, but now I've seen it in action. We are all one.
We share the same soul. We are all humans. Thou art god. Ok, so I'm naive sometimes. this is a fact I wont deny. But if we could only live our lives "practicing what we preach" so to speak, then maybe everything wouldn't be so miserable. The world doesn't have to be a swirling vortex if we don't want it o be. We are in control of the most powerful thing in the world, ourselves. If we all excercises the power of self-control at the same time. Wow.

But I found all this out after talking to Sandy for hours and hours last night. While Michelle was hanging out with some random english bloke that helped her drag Brad home from Holiday Inn. Side note: There was Cher. It was bad.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


nice to see comments and to know that people are out there. Not exactly what I imagined that my post would provoke. Anywho...

Two more days left of classes this term with the little kids and only a two more weeks of the adults. I'm a little worried to find out about the fall schedule. All the old teachers keep emphasizing how lucky I am to have started with such a great schedule this summer... and not to be too disappointed later on. I'm not really all that worried about.

I think sometimes people that come here dont have the same goals that I do. I wanted to come to China to see the world, to learn a new language, to work, and to learn things about myself in a totally new enviroment. I mean sure, running away from a crappy life back home was a nice perk, but it wasn't the main reason. I could have ran anywhere for that.

But here I am.

Also, another thing I don't understand about lots of people I meet here. They like to complain about things. Things I think they should just suck up and shut up about. I didn't imagine that when I arrived here that I'd be staying in huge, nice, expensive quarters. I actually feel extremely lucky to have it as good as I do. I was thinking that maybe I was a spoiled American, but maybe I'm not. I don't whine if there's no ice in the resturant. I don't moan if the A/C doesn't work properly in my classroom. I don't even constantly complain about the funky smells that are constantly drifting thru our open windows. (Altho I am curious what they're cooking that makes smells like that)

I'm also not here to "hook-up", get married, or make a sexual god out of myself, like so many guys seem to be up to. My interest in Chinese friends is soley for learning more about people that were raised in a different culture and learning more about the country and the language.

Anyways, I gotta grab dinner before class tonight. And tonight Brad is celebrating leaving by Karoke at Holiday Inn. Ought to be interesting. Asuming there's no Cher involved. Only time will tell.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Too much realism?

So it's come to my attention that perhaps my blog isn't G rated. I'm still trying to determine what it is that would make this unreadable to the prim and proper crowd. Is it my descriptions of the real world that I see around me? The too casual mentions of boozing and losers. Well, I make no apologies.

So if the nature of this blog gets too graphic for you... sorry. Ok, not really. I'm just sorry that the things in my life as I honestly present them are something to be hidden and shameful and not for the whole world to see and understand.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just a post

Well, nothing of terribly note lately. I've put up some new pictures and even a quick video of my students singing over on YouTube. Nothing spectacular. The verdict is in on the new cat's name, it's MarMao. A combination of spanish and chinese that means Sea Cat. Because his eyes are two different colors... not that the sea is ever blue around here. Oh well. I can't wait to get a charger for my camera so I can start taking my own pictures. Most of the latest ones have been from Michelle's camera. I'll get it sorted out soon enough I suppose. Let's see... using my birthday money I made two important purchases here.. a cell phone, and intergral part of the social and job scene here, and a bike. Since the purchuse of my new bike I have already been out almost every night biking alongside the road that runs by the sea. It's called Lovers Rd. It's very beautiful because at night you can barely see the things floating and the buildings look nice because they're all lit up. Oh and it's cool. Always a plus. I looked at the weather today in Tallahassee, 73 I think it said. Must be nice. Of course that could have been at 7:15am. hehe. My online travel writing course didn't go as well as I hoped. It was full of a bunch of older pompous ass types who had no room for a young unexperienced person as myself. I'm starting to think that all foriegners that travel must be assholes. Does that mean I'm fated to become one as well? One of those people that's always like... "Oh well in China...." or "Did I tell you about the time in China when..." I promise that I will do my best when/if I come back :) And speaking of future plans, I still don't have any. No great revelations have come upon me as to what to do with my future. However having a birthday is rather sobering and I realize that I can't just flit about forever with no idea of what to do next. I'm sure one day I'll regret it.

Other weird thoughts: Sometimes when I'm walking down the street and people AREN'T staring at me like I have three heads, I'm starting to forget that I'm not like everyone else. I mean I dont conciously walk around thinking about how white and fat I am right? Pretty soon I'll be eating like them and talking more like them... I feel like a duck that was raised with chickens or something... Doesn't know that it's different. Maybe if you stay somewhere long enough it happens to people as well...

Also on one of my bike rides I looked up and was finally able to see the sky. It dawned on me for the first time that the stars and constellations were different. It's little things that get me.

And chinese lessons are going great! I'm learning from many different sources and I'm unashamably practicing with everyone I can! Michelle is helping me with practical things, and my school is offering a basic course which is going for phonics and reading pinyin. I also solict the help of random strangers that feel brave enough to try and talk english to me. Which is scarily common. If i'm riding on the bus, at least once a week someone strikes up a conversation in English. It's not long before they're asking me what I think of China, the food, or if I can speak Chinese, which in turn gives me a chance to say,
"Wo jiao Brandy. (Bai-lan-di is my chinese name, which means, brandy. haha) Wo shi mei guo ren. Wo shi lao shi. Wo xihaun zhong guo. Wo tan gita. Wo suo de bu hao"
I am Brandy, I am an American. I am a Teacher. I like China. I play guitar. I don't speak well.

I can also say little things like misc fruits and vegetables, here there, this that, today tommorrow yesterday, and a few colors. It's also getting easier to recognize some of the characters that I see ALL the time. But basically I'm still in the baby step phase. But it sure is a lot of fun. I dont think I'll be writing or reading anytime soon, but in 3 months I hope to be wow-ing people with my speaking skills.

Ok, time to hit the cheap-o dumpling shop for a late dinner. Don't forget, I LOVE emails and comments. Send some!! :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Help Me!

So I was walking down Flower Street the other night with Michelle. She was supposed to be showing me where to buy phone cards but we ended up buying a kitten instead!!! Note: possibly the cutest kitten in exsistance. It is a white long haired kitty with two different colored eyes.
We couldn't resist.
So now the question is, what to name him...

Suggestions appreciated.

Use the link to the left to go see the new pictures. Also privately available is the picture of my neck/back after cupping :) It's not for the squeamish...

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

My new Chinese friends

So yesterday I discovered that I really dont mind hanging out with people that barely speak my language. They're often times more interesting than the foriegners here.

So one of my adult students lives near where I live and he drives (which I think is rare unless you have lots of money, which his dad does) And he offers to drive me home after class. Which is much better than a twenty minute bus ride. So we've made quite a habit of it. Then one day he brings his friend in to visit class. A cute young guy as well... but he obviously doesn't need the class as he's better than most of my students. But afterwards Allen (my regualar student) said he had to drive his friend Gary back to Macau and go buy some shoes and asked if I wanted to come along. So I did. (Even tho I was supposed to be cooking dinner for Daniel, meh) I did try to call and let Daniel and Michelle know I was going out, but never got them. Anywho, we had a nice time chatting and shopping and eventually going out to eat. We swap numbers and go our merry ways. That was Sunday.

Then yesterday I get a phone call around lunch and it's Allen and he wants to take me out around Zhuhai because there are only a few places I've been. I meet him outside my place and he's got a cousin and a different friend in the car. Their english is even more limited than Allen's so it's difficult talking to them and so it was a little odd. So Allen took me to his father's company where they sell marble and granite and things like that for home decoration and hotels and things like that. It was neat. We had tea and I met his dad. then they showed me where they cut the stones. It was very loud, and all the workers didnt know what to make of me.

So by this time it's almost 5 o'clock, so instead of going back home I ask Allen to drop me off at the Xin Xiang Zhou branch so I didn't have to take the bus and I could work on my lesson plan. But I ran into Brian a foriegn teacher from New Jersey. He had just finished teaching one of those horrible summer camps things like I have to, so we started talking about that and bouncing around ideas. Then we decided to go to that Brazilian BBQ place next door to the school. As we were sitting there two girls came up and said that it was one of the girls bday and if there were four people they could get a cake. So we let them sit. They turned out to be pretty cool. They go to the university nearby and are not from the Guangdong provence so they dont speak cantonese. They thought it was pretty cool that I knew so much chinese for only being here a month. They also took lots of pictures. I uploaded those today, so be sure to check them out.

Today I'm going to the doctor again. Other exciting news I got a part-time job giving lectures/classes at a nearby hotel. Only 1 hour a week, but it pays 100RMB. Woo hoo! I'm also going to save up this next months paycheck so I can go to Thailand with Daniel and some friends for his birthday in late September.

As for my sickness, I'm almost over my cough. It's now that deep chest hacking bronchitis like cough. Which I think scares people on the bus :)

I saw that Kevin bought a guitar, but when I tried to give him tips I dont think he was interested, so whatever. Good luck to him.

Anyways... lunch time!

Friday, August 4, 2006

What did I get for my bday?

A typhoon washed ashore, oh yeah.. and the flu!!
I've been sick for the past few days yet the teaching goes on. I can't cancel classes because then I will make no money. Which btw, payday is coming soon! Hooray!

No, actually my birthday turned out really good. Michelle gathered a bunch of people together and we went out to this great indian resturant. There was a lady dancing every so often, and the garlic cheese naan was to die for!!

Then we ended up the evening by heading down to good ol'Bar Street. But because of all the wind and rain no one was really out. So for the first time we actually got to sit and talk and had a good time. And drinking of course. For the record, I still really don't like beer for mass quanities of drinking. Come to think of it, I don't really like drinking mass quanities anyways. Truth be told a rum and coke or two and I'm happy and warm enough for a whole evening.

Then the dancing began. Again, no one at the club. So it was basically watch the white people dance time.. which makes me really paranoid. So I just sat with the guys and drank. Did I mention the doctors went out with us?

The pictures will speak volumes :)

Anyways, between the kids being really good and making me cute little cards and things, and the cake with weird fruit on it, and then the great nap i had, and the new shoes I bought... yeah it was an interesting 23rd bday in China.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

New Pictures & Lesson Learned

I put up a few new albums todays... These were taken by Michelle. There's some pictures of a day by the pool we had for James' bday last weekend. There's also some different food here in China. Then there's the album of the neighbor kid that stops by to visit. And then there are some of Daniel, Michelle, and me at our ghetto mexican food night, and a night before we went out to bar street. Fun stuff.

And more importantly the lesson that I learned this past weekend...Michelle was right. I was thinking that maybe because she's been here so long that she didn't like people because she was the mean one or something to that effect. bUt after this past weekend... I don't like the white guys here either. At least not white guys that have been in China for any extended length of time. It's not just the fact all they want to talk about it sex with chinese women or how much they think of themselves, they also tend to be big assholes when drinking. Which is what everyone does most of the time they're not teaching, right? I think they're giving foriegners a bad name as well. Ex. We were at this resturant by the sea, nice place. Uncrowded as well, because of the sporadic rain. So there's maybe 20 foreigners there drinking and talking. I already feel out of place because I'm younger than most of them, and have been here only a month, where as most of them 6 months to several years. So our little table shared a small keg of beer (108RMB) and as we get towards the end of it, one of the guys knocks it over, spilling beer everywhere. Does he apologize and offer to buy another one? Of course not. He blames it on the poor waiter who rushed over after the fact to help clean up. Then he demands a free keg. No one did anything. (Not even me sadly, I was too angry) What I didn't realize then, was that the poor waiter probably had to pay for it, or even worse could have lost his job. I knew that it was wrong of him to do that, but I didn't know it would be that bad. I mean they were just obnoxious the entire night. And I tried to talk to different people, but they were all the same. Maybe it was me, and I just exude hatred of ignorant people. But I figure if I was drinking and I *still* had a bad time, it must have been really bad.

The best part was sitting by the sea listening to the surf and looking at the city lights and the moon reflect on the water. I will definetly go again, but hopefully not with any of the foriegners.

Anyways, off to the doctor with me! Hooray for needles!

More about the pictures...

Some of pictures in this album need a little more explanation I think :)
Also you can hover your mouse over to pause the slideshow or you can click to view them in another window at a larger size.

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1 - 4. Some really strange fruit, one you take the outer pink stuff off it kinda looks like a little onion inside, but they're sorta sweet. Sorta.

5. Is the most beautiful cat ever, newly named Snow White. Everytime I have to take the 13 bus I walk up Flower St. That's where Snow White and Garfield (the orange cat) are always tied to this tree. They're really sweet and playful. It's always a joy. People also enjoy staring at me as well.

6. A picture Michelle took. I thought it was really well done. So I included it :)

7. Michelle and one of her students.

8. Beautiful skyline.

9 - 11. So there is a Muslim noodle restaurant that we go to. The best thing to order there is "Do Jao" which is this green bean, beef and rice platter. Only 5RMB. They make the noodles right there so you can see. It's pretty nifty.

12 - 13. Ahhh the supermarket. As Michelle and I were trying to get these pictures some of the employees made us leave. I think that they thought we were inspectors or something. Either way. It's gross :)

14. Yummy eh?

15. That's the bookstore across from my building. If you notice on the top floor there are people sitting in the windows. Apparently they dont have public libraries here so people just go to the store and sit and read.

Be sure to check out the other albums as well :)