Sunday, April 22, 2007

I'm horrible at blogging

It's been over a month since I've written anything on this thing. There's just not a terrible amount of stuff that happens here. I'll try to catch you up on the last month's goings-on, though. Last weekend we went on a faculty field trip to a place called Zhujiajiao. It's about two hours west of Shanghai and is billed as the "Venice of China". The school paid for us to go, so everything was free besides our lunches. I also have not been to any of the little towns around Shanghai, and some of these are supposed to be beautiful. Plus, my friend Fawn was in town from Wuhan with some other girls, and I thought she might enjoy it as well. So we all piled on the bus at 8:00 on a Saturday morning. We got there around 10:00 and started walking around this little town. It didn't take us long to realize that we were going to have trouble finding things to do to keep us busy until the 3:00 departure time. There's just not a lot to see in Zhujiajiao. We shot balloons with pellet guns, watched a little bit of Chinese opera, ate at KFC, and looked at tons of souvenir junk. All in all, however, it was pretty fun. We kind of stuck together with our group of friends, which made the day rather enjoyable. I'm going to try to add a link to my two friends' blogsites so you can look at their pictures if you want. I still can't get my page to put any pictures up. I'm not ver computer savvy.
I've been sick this weekend. It could be a slight touch of the flu, or it could be a little food poisoning from the sushi Friday night. I'm not sure. I have parent-teacher conferences tomorrow, though, and that's not going to be very fun if I feel like this. We have to stay at school from 3:30 to 8:00 tomorrow and Tuesday. We have a break coming up next week, and if we want to have those days off, we have to make it up on these two nights. It makes for a very long day, but at least we have a whole week off. This time I'm just going to sit around Shanghai. I don't have any extra money to spend since I'm having to buy a ticket home for the summer. So instead of traveling I'm just going to relax and maybe go on a daytrip or two. I think it will be nice to be able to rest and read instead of trying to cram in a trip. Speaking of my ticket home, I only have two more months until I come home for the summer. I am looking forward to being home and seeing all of you and eating some Baja Burrito. I hope you are all doing well. Have a great day.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Poor planning or population control?

I'm sitting on my back porch right now. It's forty-five degrees and raining outside, but this is the most content I've been in a long time. There are several reasons for this contented state. First, it's Thursday, and Thursday is our guys night. My two best friends here are married, so they don't have the freedom to just come over whenever they want. Thursday is our time to play ping pong (I bought a table for my apartment), listen to music, and just talk. It's always good to be around these guys. Second, I'm sitting by a "campfire." This is one of the biggest things I've missed since I came to China. I've been lamenting the lack of a campfire for a long time. So, the other night I decided to remedy the situation. I bought a cheap little grill that only stands a foot off the ground, and right now I'm using it as a fire pit. I'm sure security here in the living quarters wouldn't like it very much if they knew I was having a campfire on my back porch, but I don't really care at this point. It feels really good to just sit and relax.
Like I said, it's raining out, and that brings me to the title of this post. For some reason, where ever you go in the grand country of theirs, the city planners have chosen to place under the feet of its billion pedestrians the absolute slickest surfaces known to man. A few months ago I was coming out of a crowded restaurant and slipped on the front step. I fell on my tail bone, my leg hit an incredibly noisy piece of sheet metal, and the entire population of patrons turned and looked in my direction. That's just one of many instances. This is one of the little things that makes a relaxing evening by a tiny contraband fire essential. I have been discussing this with some friends, and we believe that this might be a new approach population control. The "one-child" policy is not a popular one here in China, and this could be a subtle, yet effective, alternative. At any rate, it's one of the most annoying things I've encountered here. Our school hallways are floored with slick tile, which the janitor women insist on mopping at odd hours of the day. The subway stations and public buildings are paved with polished marble or granite tiles which become like an ice-skating rink with the even the slightest bit of moisture. Anyway, I'm done complaining. I just thought I would warn you that if you come to China, make sure you bring some good shoes. Otherwise you may go home with a cracked skull.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hair Cut

Weel, folks, you'll be happy to know that I've finally gotten to the stage in my life where I think long hair might be too young for me. I was sitting in one of my favorite restaurants near the school this afternoon when I decided to get it chopped off. First let me tell you about this eating establishment. It's called Story Cafe, and they serve mediocre Italian cuisine. The food is fairly cheap, and is a big reason I go there. They have some really good minestrone and a few other good-for-the-price pasta dishes. The other reason I go is for the ambiance. It is perhaps one of the gaudiest places I've ever seen. It looks like a 1980s prom. There are black granite tables accompanied by purple armchairs and couches and white wicker chairs. On the ceiling is some sort of purple metallic floral wallpapering that is accentuated by pink lights. My words do no justice to the place, to be honest.
It was in these surroundings that I came to the realization that 25 is too old to be looking like a frat boy. Half the time, I feel like all I need is a red dixie cup in my hand to complete the image. So, this evening after our house church I went to the "salon" down the street. For three dollars you can get a shampoo where they massage your head, a back massage, and a haircut. It's a pretty good deal, and you don't need an appointment. Just like everywhere else in China, the place is extremely overstaffed. Although you might think so, the language barrier isn't that big of a problem. You just have to show them a picture or you'll end up with some weird Chinese mullet.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I've joined the ranks of the presumptuous.

Hello everyone. I've been in China now for eight months, and I'm just now getting around to doing this. I'm sure some people have been anxiously awaiting the day that I would decide to do this, but I've always thought that blogs were kind of arrogant. It bothers me when people with incredibly boring lives think that other people are dying to read about them. I understand that this is an incredibly cynical attitude, but that's just the way I feel. Now, I seem to be going against my better judgment and starting one of these things myself. I hope that I will actually have something interesting to write about so that I will not fall into the aforementioned category. Like I said, I've been away for eight months now, and a lot has happened in the mean time. I've traveled a bit through China and also through Lao and Thailand. Work has been great, yet tiring at times. I've settled in and made some great friends, although I still miss the ones I left behind. I'm not sure how often I'm going to be posting on this. I just thought I would try it out since it's a free opportunity to show off my incredible wordsmanship. Feel free to visit and comment as much as you would like. Have a wonderful day.