Monday, November 23, 2009

A Few Tidbits...

Okay, you probably are skeptical at this point that I'm actually posting something on my blog since I haven't in 4 months but I figure now is as good a time as any to get back on the wagon.

Newsflash! Pizza Hut has come to Panzhihua and that is where I'll be having Thanksgiving dinner next Friday (Thursday doesn't work well for me because I have class 8-12 on Friday and M has class until 10 pm on Thursday). Very exciting though!

The bane of my existence this semester has been grading homework for my English Business Communications course that I am teaching to a class of mostly disgruntled senior International Economics and Trade majors. Although it's a task that I avoid doing, I think a few good laughs always come out of it. Number one thing that makes me mad/makes me laugh is the rampant plagiarism that I come across (two students even managed to plagiarize incorrectly - they were supposed to write a dialogue where two people are negotiating the price for a product and they just happened to copy the same part of the dialogue and then hand it in thinking that they had each copied the opposite parts and then had no idea why I gave them a "low" but generous 70%). The second thing is the use of the translator. Oh boy. I don't even know where to get started with this one but I definitely enjoyed how the word "gourmet" kept on popping up in papers that had nothing to do with food or drink.

Here's some excerpts for your enjoyment (I think the people on mymomisafob should start a "mystudentisafob" website...although that doesn't work because they've never gotten on the boat but I say this stuff is just as good as the mymom and mydad stuff):

In a writing assignment to answer job interview questions:
Question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
Answer: Imagine 5 years later you will see a successful trader. 10 years later, not only a successful trader but also a successful housewife you will see. I can do it.

I had asked students to answer the question "why should we hire you for this job?" and numerous (5+) students wrote on their paper "why should we fire you for this job." Ah yes, you have to understand the common Sichuan error of mixing up "h" and "f" (a la Claire - "I thought it was fupiqingjiao (for 2 years)!" in reference to "hupiqingjiao" aka tiger-skinned green pepper, a dish she would eat at least once a week). This time is was particularly clever and comical though. Also the "n" and "l" mistake..."oh lo! what fappened!" is a common chorus that M and I like to use.

A few more from job interviews...

Q: "Why should we hire you?"
A: "If you hire me you will get a machine rather than an employee." (I fail to see how that helps her case???)

Q: “What is one weakness you have?”
A: "Maybe I’m a little careless. But I will pay attention to that." (Ha, that one was a little clever humor that I don't think they intended that I got a kick out of)

Q: “Tell me about yourself.”
A: My motto is “never say die.” (I am having trouble imagining someone saying that seriously in a job interview yet that was one boy's response)

In resumes that the students wrote, I found their responses in the "Interests" section particularly enlightening and creative:

“I like to do many manual things very much.”
"My done the stars is very delicate" ($10 if someone can interpret that for me)
"Attending parties" (just what an employer wants to hear)

And in the "Interesting" section (apparently "Interests" were too plain-vanilla for this student): "playing the ping pong ball" :D

Under "Work Experience" and under the position of teacher a student noted “have tasted of teacher’s hard” (stop thinking those bad thoughts now!)

Under "Qualifications": "Have a passion for the Internet and an abundance of common sense." (what does that make you qualified for?)

I also had some fun with scripts that my sophomores turned in for their midterm plays so I will share a few excerpts from those as well:

"Such a good-shaped girl. I love your long hair, big eyes, and sex make-up. Give me reasons to conquer me." (If you can make sense of that $10 for you, I believe it was part of a play where someone was interviewing for an airline stewardess job)

"This story talks about some nature members want to have a party one day. But the party becomes a condem." (Hmm...this one was from a convoluted play about bunnies, trees, rivers and pollution)

Alrighty, hope that tides you guys over until I am inspired again in 4 months...or sooner perhaps. Happy Thanksgiving All! Gobble Gobble!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Personal Update

So I finished up my first semester of teaching a few weeks ago, handed in my grades, and sat back ready to relax and enjoy my summer. After a few weeks of saying goodbye to C., C. and L, a bit of lesson planning and relaxation, I will head to Leshan tomorrow for two weeks to teach teachers in Peace Corps’ summer project and then continue on to Beijing via Chengdu where I’ll take a TEFL certification course during the month of August (visitors welcome in Beijing anytime during the month of August!). Also, as summer progresses, deadlines for grad school (particularly MBA) applications are rapidly approaching so I’ll also be spending every spare moment filling out forms, pondering the meaning of life and how an MBA relates to that, and writing essays (suggestions welcome for tricky topics like “what matters most to you and why?”). Next semester I’ll be busy finishing up apps (hopefully followed by some interviews), teaching 4 classes of sophomore oral English and one class of English business communications for the international trade and economics department. Alright…that’s all I got for now, until more exciting things happen to me…chau!

A Rat’s Tale: Part Deux

Unfortunately this account comes months after it happened…but still amusing nonetheless. By this point both C. and C. (other PCVs in town) have finished their services and are either back in the US or traveling before returning home. It will be exciting to see who PC sends down here as my new BFF.

So C. thought that her rat was gone, squished underfoot by her sullen college student neighbor; the hole in her bathroom where she thought the rat came from was plugged with cement and she was living a blissfully simple life…until one night. C. was innocently washing some dishes when she suddenly dropped the sponge. She felt something on her foot and assumed the sponge had just hit her foot and then bounced off but when she looked down the sponge had fallen into a bucket by her foot. She glanced to her right just in time to see RJ (let’s call him RJ for Rat Junior, not that it was any smaller than the first one) scurry towards the study next to her bedroom. Yes, the sensation on her bare foot was RJ scurrying over her foot as an obstacle in his path.

With her experience in dealing with rats, C. quickly sprung into action and slammed the door to trap RJ in the study. Since it was late at night (maybe 10 or 11), C. figured she would just contain RJ in the room and then get a manly man (such as M or PM) to deal with RJ the next day. But little did she know, RJ was not just any rat, he turned out to be a world-class acrobat that displayed oddly human characteristics. C’s apartment has extremely odd architecture…her bedroom is separated from her study by a wall…but a wall with a large window in the middle of it. Thus, began a sleepless evening of rat watching for C. At first, C. tried to go to sleep but just as she thought she was going to get some rest…RJ started his crazy antics. RJ started climbing up the window and hanging on the window frame like some high-flying trapeze artist -- C. would counter-attack by banging on the window – only to have RJ run down the window and then later on run back up to repeat the routine. RJ’s other tactics included periodically (on the hour) running full force and slamming his body into the window, picking up a small set of keys with his mouth and scraping them against the window, and staring C. down like she was some worthy opponent. During the course of the night, she had texted us to update us on the events, 3 am, 4 am, 5 am…and so on. Finally, the next afternoon M made it over to C’s apartment to take care of the problem, armed with courage…and of course…a broom. The plan of attack involved M and C darting into the study and closing the door behind them, C assuming her perch on a stool (similar to last time) as M began the search around the room for RJ. Interestingly, a preliminary search of the room turned up nothing so M and C decided to do a more thorough search which involved going to the big closet in the room and taking everything out to see if RJ was hiding among the things in the closet. During their search through the closet, M lifted up a suitcase that was on a shelf…and lo and behold…there was RJ lying there….natural reaction: M screams, C screams…then they think about what to do next. With broom in hand, they formulate a plan to get RJ to come down from the shelf so that they can get rid of him. With a leap of faith in M’s baseball skills…they open the window and miraculously get RJ to jump down from the shelf and in mid-air M bats RJ out the window! RJ flies out the window (of the 4th floor) and lands with a thud…but not 4 stories down as M and C had hoped. They look out the window and see RJ lying on the awning of the 3rd floor, one floor below C’s apartment. RJ is lying motionless and M and C thing that he is a goner…but a few pokes with the trusty broom and they realize that RJ is stunned but still quite alive! So they decide to push RJ with the broom off the awning and he lands with a thud on the 2nd floor awning and out of view. The end of the story is up to your imagination…all that is known is that RJ was building a nest in C’s closet (evidenced by paper scraps and an enormous quantity of rat poo) and that he has since moved on to a new place of residence or an untimely death.


So even though I signed up for a Freedur account so I could access blogspot (still not accessible in my apartment), I’ve had an inexcusable absence from blogging. I believe the problem here is that 1) my English writing skills are in decline so anything I write just sounds awkward and 2) if I don’t write something down immediately after it happens, the vividness of the memory tends to fade and then I don’t feel a burning desire to write about it anymore and share about it with you loyal readers.

I promise I'll try to update more often, but I can't promise I will take pictures (China doesn't seem that exotic to me compared to Bolivia so I don't feel the need to document it in pictures). Moving on...

Here is some feedback that I received in my semester-end teaching evaluations. I asked students to answer the following questions and hand it in anonymously to help me improve my teaching and the classes for next semester. 1) What activities did you find helpful? Enjoyable? 2) What activities did you think were not helpful? Not enjoyable? 3) Do you have any other suggestions or ideas for the class?

Yes, I am aware that some of these things are completely random and do not answer my questions.

“Climb mountains is most helpful. It tell me don’t give up till you reach the top of the mountains.”
“One thing I enjoy most is communicating with you. Discussing with somethings. Joy is a knowledgeable person!”
“I think you had done well in this semester. I love you!”
“Joy is a very good teacher. You have done more for us. Thank you. Thank you very much! And, I like your smile very much!”
“To by honesty, you are really very kind. I have no suggestion because you are perfect.”
“You teach very good. (apparently not good enough to use well) Perfect! And you are beautiful. Treating us very kind. No activities are not helpful. And I strangely hope you won’t leave us next term. Sincerely! Good! Good! Good!”
“I think you are a cute girl. In my eyes. You’re perfect. I advise you to have a boyfriend. Maybe in this way you will work better.”
“The only advise I’ll give you is that please smile more. Smile makes you be young.”
“You can smile more and make students feel more relax. Also, you can be more beautiful!”

The bad and the ugly: “Lack of activity. Class is very boring. “We are not interested in your class.” *Ouch* And that's a student I'm going to have next semester. I will get my best song and dance ready for that class. Perhaps a rendition of the butt floss followed by a few coffee grinders is in order...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Breaking Through the Chinese Firewall!

I'm alive!

Yes, in Bolivia I had to deal with all sorts of nonsense. Such as when they tapar-ed a BRICK WALL in front of the door to prevent anyone from getting in the Alcaldia's (mayor's office) but never did I have to deal with censorship (the virtual brick wall that is built up around the Internet in China). I will explain my absence of the past few months from the fact that the Chinese government decided that blogspot hosted too many controversial blogs so they had to block the entire website. Along with youtube (lakjdflaskafj!).

But now I'm back. Props to Adam Bender for his bit of computer saavy and Freedur and I will once again be posting blog entries (once I write something meaningful) :D Plus I am happy to say that I can continue reading all other PCV blogs and other meaningful blogs that are hosted on blogspot such as FUPenguin and Hungry in Taipei! Wheee!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Running Everyday is Bad For You

Finally getting around to updating. I think it actually takes me about a month to collect an adequate number newsworthy stories (or those that I deem newsworthy) in order to post an entry. Anyways, I find that living outside of the US is the best way to realize how American you really are. I recently was talking with a student who told me about her plans to start running again soon but that she needed to limit her running because running everyday is "bad" for you. When I asked her why, she pointed to her calves and said that it was because if you run everyday then your calf muscles get bigger. Oh my. That would be horrible to have toned muscular legs. Good thing I've been lazy in China so I only run once or twice a week which must keep my calf muscles in a semi-atrophied state. Ha, apparently this comment goes along with the Chinese mentality that the more waif-like you look (as in I could break some of these girls over my knee with one hand tied behind my back), the more beautiful you are. Another thing...Chinese women are fanatical about hiding from the sun. Yes, it is true that the sun can cause skin damage and give you wrinkles, especially in a place where it is so strong like Panzhihua...but I saw a woman taking this too far the other day. She was riding on the back of a motorcycle carrying an umbrella...that was open in order to hide from the sun. Hmm...somehow I think the risks of obstructing the view of the driver outweigh the benefits from 5 minutes of sun exposure. Isn't a bit of daily sunlight good for you anyways? How about that vitamin D? That wasn't the first time that I saw parasol/umbrella carrying to the extreme though...I've also seen people open their umbrellas while sitting on the bus in order to block the sun coming in the window. I'm just waiting for the day when I see someone carrying an umbrella while engaged in basketball or soccer. Oh wait, girls here don't play those sports. Ha, they already find volleyball too painful for their arms. What delicate creatures they are!

In other news, I said goodbye to the GMAT after I took the exam in Chengdu. I surprised myself with a good score so no more studying for me...which actually makes me feel empty in a way. Looking back I spent almost a year studying on and off for the exam so now that I don't have to study I need to find something else to focus my attention on...Chinese?

Also, I have been having major western food cravings lately. I am not sure why since I just came back from Chengdu less than two weeks ago where I had lots of Pete's and Bookworm but I have been thinking about barbeques lately. Something along the lines of a grilled chili dog and some potato salad would be good right about now. Add in some corn on the cob smothered in butter and salt and a nice kebab and I would be a happy camper. Also some sandwiches! Reuben or Cuban? Mmm... I haven't been too hungry lately because it's been too hot and the food around here isn't appetizing when it's so hot so I think I've actually lost a few pounds since the pants that I bought when I was in the US are actually a bit loose now. I have discovered that wide leg dress pants are the best thing for a summer teaching wardrobe, especially when worn with Chacos. And I think my students must have thought I was dressed well during class this week because during the break of one of my classes they wanted to have a photo shoot with me. This means they took random pictures of me by myself and then photos of me with them also. Plus I caught a girl taking a photo of me when we went outside for our Earth Day activity and I put on my "100% paper hat" (made in China, bought in Bolivia, brought to China). That hat has evoked responses of laughter (workers at the noodle shop) and comments from others that it is either a farmer's hat or an old man's hat but I refuse to give it up! Mark my words, I am a trendsetter and soon you will see everyone with floppy straw hats on!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Rat's Tale (har har)

Oh you know you love the puns. Here's something extra for you if you do! My favorite line -- 'I asked a friend of mine, an inveterate punster, whether he punned while on dates. “Sure, I pun on dates,” he replied. “On prunes and figs, too.”'

Anyways, moving on to the rat's tale. So recently C. was doing battle with a rat that decided to occupy her home. She noticed that bites of apples that she would leave out were missing so she called up the Waiban and had the maintenance people come in and plug up a hole in her bathroom that she thought the rat was coming in through. She was avoiding taking any major action (aka getting a cat or rat poison) because she was afraid of coming home with a dead rat body lying on her floor and was trying to avoid a bloody scuffle between a cat and her rat. BTW, you would normally think that it was a mouse occupying her home, but it was a confirmed rat because although its body was the size of a plump mouse, there was a "telltail" sign of a long rat tail! One day she came home and was going about her business making oatmeal in the kitchen when she turned around and was face to face with Mr. Rat. He was perched on her shelf where she keeps her food and just stared back at her. C. began to freak out so she called M. who took about 40 minutes to get there, the whole time C. stayed there staring at the rat, perched on a little stool (afraid that if the rat came down it would...uhh...bite her feet?), trying to scare the rat into staying put temporarily so that when M. finally got there they could catch him. C. managed to keep the rat in place and when M. finally arrived they managed to scare the rat into coming off of the shelf. M. then proceeded to sweep it (yes with a broom) towards the door to get it out of the apartment while Mr. Rat ran frantically in all directions bumping into things. So eventually M. swept him out the door...but this is the kicker...Mr. Rat attempted to run back INTO the apartment! Apparently Mr. Rat had been living there for quite awhile and decided that it was his home, not theirs and that M. and C. should leave. So M. continued to sweep Mr. Rat down the stairs (from the 4th floor that C. lives on I believe)as Mr. Rat kept on trying to run up the stairs to get back "home." Finally M. was sweeping Mr. Rat down the last set of stairs and landing to get him out and a student comes walking up. This student apparently had an expressionless face (I am picturing someone like Frankenstein that is not smiling) and was just stomping up the stairs. So M. is there with his broom and rat and is about ready to sweep the rat down and out of the apartment and decides to warn the student with some yells of "lao3shu3! lao3shu3!". The student completely ignores this and keeps on stomping up to the first landing where M. is there with the broom and rat. And then...the student keeps on stomping and with one big stomp squashes Mr. Rat under his foot! As a result, M. and C. (who was following the action) shriek and scream and run back upstairs to C.'s apartment without looking back for the dead squashed rat. And the student Frankenstein follows them and apparently is C.'s next door neighbor! So the day I heard that story, I discovered another cultural difference. When it comes to mice or rats, they are like any other vermin (e.g. cockroaches, spiders, etc.) just squash them under your foot to get rid of them. But I'm going to say one thing, that I was as grossed out as C. and M. by this because I can imagine squashing a fat mouse under your foot getting very messy...ewwwww. I guess Mr. Rat is no longer going to be bothering C. anymore due to the fact that he met an untimely death under the foot of a student.

Side note: the other night at dinner we (L., C., M. and I) were laughing about farting. Yes, I wonder if we will reach an age when bathroom humor fails to amuse. Anyways, the idea was that in Oral English class or at English Corner we always do impromptu speaking (basically draw a topic on a slip of paper from a hat and speak about it for 1-2 minutes) and that how hilarious it would be if we did crazy impromptu topics. Such as "My Biggest Fart"...oh we just got a kick out of imagining our students receiving that topic. Because there is definitely a culture here in China that farting in public is generally fine (M. told us a story of a man in the bookstore right here in our own Panzhihua that demonstrated this) so maybe the amusing part is all in the American mentality (but then again, L. who thought our discussion was amusing is Chinese). And as a final note, today's Chinese lesson. If you wanted to call someone a "Fart King" or "Fart Queen" (aka someone who farts a lot) you can use the term "Pi4 Wang2" (yes, as in fang4pi4 de pi4!).

Monday, March 30, 2009

You caught me!

Yes Evie, I know I did. My life is not exciting as of late though! Let's just post some random stuff why don't we.

I had my Chinese class today with Wang Laoshi and she warned me to use an umbrella when I go outside because the sun in Panzhihua is especially strong and I will get very dark if I don't. She followed it up by saying that Claire and Colleen are not required to do so because they are white, and white people actually become whiter when they are in the sun. Now how's that for a little known fact?

T-10 days until the GMAT! I compare it to the last 200m in an 800m race (my personal favorite) so I think it's time to buckle down and study hard. This upcoming weekend is a holiday (we have the day off on Monday) but I will be cooping myself up in my apartment to study study study.

Jelly Belly! I am working on finishing off the canister of these that Kelley gave me when I was in Chengdu. So delicious. I especially like them when they are all mixed together like this and you get yucky flavors intermittently...I have always found buttered popcorn a bit odd and I still do and I'm not a fan of the banana flavor (I think that's the dark yellow with brown spots) but the juicy pear flavor is really growing on me and I also enjoy the vanilla ones (white with black dots, not the brown spots which I believe is smores flavor or something like that).

Chunk of beef in vacuum sealed package or a full package of "Salt & Crisp: cheerful Gangdong good taste for you" cookies? Those are your choices when it comes to airline snacks in China. I flew to Chengdu this past weekend for a meeting and got some beef chunks on the way there and cookies on the way back. I was quite surprised by the cookies since I am used to receiving a miniature package of pretzels or peanuts or whatever on the plane, but apparently China Airlines goes all out and lets you have a large pack of cookies to yourself. I am not complaining, although I do prefer the beef chunks.

Today, I had students in my class do movie scene role plays in groups where I gave them a genre and they had to create a story and then perform it for the class. Oddly enough, the "martial arts" film had people using guns to catch the bad guys (no martial arts involved) and then the "mystery" film...well...I'm still trying to figure out what it was. More like a brainteaser I guess. They had one student go up there and explain how there was a woman (40 yrs old) and her daughter (20 years old) and then a man (42 years old) and his son (22 years old) and the woman marries the son and the man marries the daughter and something about their convoluted relationship and what you were supposed to call the father (grandfather) and the mother (grandmother) and how they would be brother and sister to the son/daughter. Or something weird like that. I still don't have it straight and clearly I should have explained "mystery" film better. I was thinking we were going to get a whodunit type scene where someone is dead and they try to figure who did it...but yeah.

Okay, that's all I got. More to come when interesting things actually happen in my life!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Virus...The Perfect Gift

I love the freshmen Class 2 girls. Today during our break they came to find me (I don't teach their class) and gave me a gift. I opened it, and lo and behold, a compact! It is adorned with a bear dressed up in a peacoat drinking some kind of cocktail and the phrase "Happy Virus" on it. Very sparkly and very fashion. It is the perfect gift because the other day at dinner they were asking me what I eat for breakfast and I said that I eat oatmeal sometimes and junk food other times. I said I didn't buy baozi (steamed bun stuffed with meat) or man tou (steamed bun) on the way to class because I was afraid of having it stuck in my teeth and teaching that way and I didn't have a mirror. But now I do! So I can eat baozi and mantou everyday on the way to class and be fat and happy.

Chinese lesson of the Day: Fat is not an insult here. Fat has a positive connotation of being pleasantly plump and cute. If you want to insult someone about his or her weight you need to call them 肥 (fei2) - which I believe translates more to "fatty."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gender: Male, Female, or Handsome Man?

So I gave my sophomore students an assignment to fill out a biography card with general data and the answers to a few questions. There were a few choice jewels hidden among mostly generic answers. My favorite had to be the card of a student where he put his gender as "Handsome Man" and went on to say that the one thing that makes him different from others is the following re: everyone's fave football star. "Most of us hope themselves have Beckham's face. However, for me, I don't want to have this kind of hope because everyone says to me: 'Beckham looks like you.' This is me." Yes, ladies and gentlemen, somewhere along the line Beckham became Asian. A few other notes of what makes a student different from others: "I think I'm a beautiful and fair maiden," "I'm fat and quiet," and "I'm good at thinking!" Classic.

I also went to a lunch today (something related to Women's Day and the teacher's union) where there were the usual rounds of toasts with beer. Of course, the men like trying to get you to chug a glass of beer with them, but what I realize is that as much as they like testing you to see if you drink, I like throwing it back in their faces and taking a sip and refusing the demands of "gan bei" until they give up. Headstrong independent American women, don't mess with us. We know that you think all Americans can drink a lot of beer and that we enjoy it, but if we don't want to, we won't. Muahaha. I win. I don't mind drinking some beer every now and again, but I don't particularly like doing it at lunchtime, especially when I have an afternoon of studying for the GMAT ahead of me. I particularly enjoyed one man's faulty logic that said I was obligated finish my glass of beer because China gave Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan (the pandas) to Taiwan. Right.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Week 1...Check!

"Hi, my name is Joy, I am 19 years old and from Singapore and I will be your teacher for the semester." Yup, the good old Panzhihua U. rumor mill was at it again. One student told me she heard I was from Singapore and another student told me she heard I was born in 1989 (making me the same age as half of my students). Completely illogical, but then again does it ever make any sense?

So far, so good though. I had all four of my classes and although some went off better than others, all in all I think I made a decent first impression. Even the class that I felt went the worst of all of them (evidence was the clueless expression on about half of the students' faces throughout class), a student that was Michael's student last semester that was in that class told him that I was "funny" and I "speak loudly." Hey, you hear that one? Man, I never thought that day would come but I guess my slow yelling technique for presenting in class is working! My classes have anywhere from 35-45 students so I have to be a little loud to get the attention of the people in the back of the classroom :)

I was thrilled to have a big group of girls from one of my classes come to English Corner, rearing to get to know me better and hang out with me (although the Class 2 girls that I met last semester will always be my best buds). It's a good feeling to finally have my own students though, and as tiring as teaching may be (yes, we do need that hour-long nap if you teach from 8-12 in the morning), it's definitely rewarding. I can already tell it's also going to be a challenge though, keeping the students interested throughout the semester as well as finding ways to let them have fun, but improve their English at the same time. That's tricky.

Ok, I'm tired now! English Corner is an energy-drainer. Apparently Women's Day in China is coming up though so that means we have a volleyball thing and lunch (hopefully a tasty banquet) with our WaiBan and then Sunday we're headed to Xi1Chang1 for a daytrip. Woohoo. Now if I could just find time to study for the GMAT...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


So things sometimes...or should I say frequently...don't work the way you expect them to in China. Last night I was going in and out of my kitchen and when I turned on the light I heard a crackling type sound. I looked up at the light and didn't see anything odd so I ignored it. But this morning when I woke up I looked up at the kitchen light and discovered that the lightbulb had melted through the plastic covering/light fixture thing. Whaaaat. Literally the lightbulb is half in and half out of the light fixture with melted plastic on it. Not sure exactly how that happened (I wasn't using the light for any abnormally long period of time yesterday that I know of)...but I think I'd better replace it. Time to call the Waiban!

Monday, February 23, 2009

And I'm Back!

So I’ve been inexcusably MIA for a few months now with no blog updates. But my belated new year’s resolution (along with many others) will be to write once a week something, anything, so you have something to read when you’re bored. Ha, most likely everyone has stopped looking at this blog so I’ll be writing in vain…but anyways. I actually have internet in my apartment so I should be updating quite frequently…but in reality I am spending a lot of internet time stalking people on Facebook and that just doesn’t leave me enough time to blog I guess. Somehow being in China seems like less of an adventure than Bolivia. Maybe to others China is a very foreign place, but to me it kind of feels like home being that I spent a summer in Shanghai and have been to Taiwan numerous times in the past couple of years (hmm…yes, that last point…well let’s just say based on the vicinity to China it seems not as out there).

I have to warn you though that these blog entries will probably be less well-thought out (you’re thinking…as if they were deeply insightful before?) since I’ll just post as I go instead of spending hours on my laptop without internet connection re-reading to make sure I got most of the grammar correct and didn’t reveal too many obscene details of my boring life :) Strangely enough, the reason I was inspired to write now, after all these months, is that last night I had a scary bug incident and it made me think of my time in Bolivia in my first house when I got acquainted with a few scorpions and the big scary bug that when it splattered it made a big mess. I saw a cockroach last night and so I got out the trusty Raid and sprayed it. And sprayed the area around the kitchen and bathroom. And then came back a few hours later and saw a bunch of semi-dead cockroaches squirming around. And then woke up this morning to 5 cockroaches of different sizes scattered around my apartment in the dying stages. Two of them were even encroaching on my bedroom territory (I think they were disoriented and got lost in their search for food). I did some research online and they said to flush them down the toilet so that’s what I did. But I wonder if spraying that spray and the scent of dead cockroaches attracted more to my apartment. Hopefully not or I’ll have to figure out how to say boric acid in Chinese to really deal with them (supp the most effective way to deal with them). Anyways, I think that cockroaches are really gross…definitely worse than the other bugs I encountered in Bolivia…I’d actually take scorpions over cockroaches. I think my fear of them is how fast they scurry around and they could scurry right up and onto me. But I guess if it came down to mice or cockroaches I’d have to think about it a little more. The annoying thing is that I don’t really keep food in my apartment so I’m wondering why they come here (maybe just to get a drink when they are thirsty). Everything I have is pretty much in plastic packages, I never leave dirty dishes in the sink, and the only things I “cook” in my apartment are ramen and oatmeal. Oh well. I think I need to get over my fear of cockroaches…I literally could not fall asleep last night because I pictured them coming into my room and crawling all over the place. Ick ick ick. Wah mommy wah.

Since I last posted I have gotten well-adjusted (习惯了!) to Panzhihua and celebrated my first Chinese Christmas, New Year’s with shaokao and a bunch of students, went to Chengdu for IST (3 days of training with other volunteers), went to Taiwan for 3 weeks for Spring Festival to hang out with the relatives and my mommy, and most recently gone up to Chengdu to see Kelley who flew in from London. Yup, that was my last two months. Now I have one week before classes start up so I’m busy planning and syllabus writing, etc. along with studying for the GMAT daily since I registered to take the exam in Chengdu on April 9th.

I also became extremely lazy in the past few months and stopped running completely…but then just tried to start a few days ago. 2 miles on the track and I’m sore! Lame. And if you ever didn’t know what muscles you use when you run, I have to say the most sore are the abductors and adductors (weird, you would think quads, hamstrings or calves, but no). Anyways, that’s another one of my things for this semester. So I’m working on being a good teacher of English, learning Chinese, studying for the GMAT, and not being a 胖子 (pang zi – aka fatty!). Which reminds me…one of the tastiest meals in Taiwan was at a little fast food joint called 周胖子饺子…some sesame noodles, dumplings, 凉菜 (a 1000 yr old egg that was actually tasty!).

Okay, that should whet your apetite (har har, no pun intended) for posts to come. Apologies if you wanted to hear about TEFL in China…I haven’t started working yet so I have nothing to talk about…maybe next week :)