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When Peppers Attack

Heya readers! I have made a few valuable discoveries in these past few days.

  1. Freshmen classes are awesome. When I walked in to my first freshmen English class on Monday, everyone yelled “HELLLLLOOOOO TEACHER!!!” at the top of their lungs. Talk about a warm welcome. They were clearly fascinated by my not-Chinese-ness, and I had to tell them multiple times to put their stupid camera phones away. Silly kids, thinking I’m special. (Special-ed, baha!)
  2. Imposter vegetables are evil. Take, for example, the “green peppers” I bought the other day. I chopped them up and put them in my morning egg/sausage scramble (dericious), but I noticed later that my nose was rather on fire. Luckily no smoke or open flames, but the burning sensation was unmistakable. I just thought I was getting sick… until I rubbed my eyes and my EYES WERE ON FIRE. I couldn’t even keep them open. I rushed to the bathroom and took an emergency shower to get rid of whatever contaminants were causing this. Clearly, I had gotten something on my hands… That’s when I looked at the “green pepper” package. Yup, it said “hot peppers,” clear as day (if you can read Chinese.) Damn. If only I bothered to read the package before I bought it. But they tasted just like normal green peppers, so how was I supposed to know that rubbing my nose and eyes would lead to such devastation? Note to self: learn how to read good.
  3. Chinese students don’t think the “HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA ” video on Youtube is nearly as funny as I do… or any other video that I’ve shown them, for that matter.
  4. Riding a bike in the rain sucks. Getting splashed by buses, fording great rivers caused by poor drainage, and having gym sweat run into your eyes just don’t make for a fun time. This led me to realize my dream of wearing really sexy outfits on my equally-sexy bike. Add a silver raincoat to the image below, and you get the idea. BRING IT, THUNDERSTORMS! I knew those combat boots and XXXL pants would come in handy.
  5. Belly dancing class was… enlightening. All the students were women, and the teacher was a very free, very liberated (gay) man wearing capris and a midriff-revealing shirt . His jiggly belly was less than desirable, but he had some MOVES! Some of the women had noisy belly-dancing belts, and they were all in the front row to show off. I was in the middle row, and all the also completely incompetent dancers were behind me. I must say, they were at least as bad as me. And I think I was having way more fun than they were, so win. While they looked mortified to make fools of themselves in class, I embraced the opportunity to embarrass myself. My ill-timed spins and body convulsions dance moves were truly a thing of legend. Maybe I can sneak a few pictures next time (oh, there will be a next time! And I think I’ll bring a dude with me for laughs.)
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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New things!

So in the shady, can’t-possibly-be-legit contract that I signed for my teaching job (I realize that I still haven’t written a post about my classes… one day soon!), it explicitly states that the school “will provide cooking utensils for free.” Up until yesterday, this statement meant that I had to be creative and cook with a rusted-out wok, some plastic utensils I brought from home, and a children’s bowl I bought for less than a dollar. So every other day I would talk to my building manager, who said that no one told him to buy me anything, and then I would talk to the foreign affairs guy, who told me to talk to the building manager again. Oh, the run-around, how I love thee.

It looked as if I would have to drag these guys to the store and threaten to embarrass them with spontaneous dancing, before they would honor their part of the contract. But wait! I came home one day from a busy morning of classes, and the adorable old lady downstairs showered me with all kinds of kitchen gear. New wok! Bowls! Plates!! ZOMG A NEW HOT PLATE THAT DOESN’T TURN ITSELF OFF EVERY FIVE SECONDS!!!!

All the new things! And they’re all mine! … Until June 30th 2013.

The thing I’m most excited about is the blender. I bought it with my own monies though, because evidently the school doesn’t respect my insatiable need for growing muscles. Here’s the joy of my first China Smoothie.

So there will be many smoothies in future. And pancakes??? I think this hotplate can support pancakes, assuming I can find all of the ingredients. Activate: new shopping quest!

One more new thing that has made me ridiculous happy: a new pimpin’ ride. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. I bought myself a marvelous, 100% authentic, ancient Chinese relic, rusty-as-hell bicycle, complete with front basket for groceries and back rack in case someone wants to hop on. Now, the 30 minute walk to the gym? 10 minutes. The 15 minute walk for groceries? Instantaneous teleport. Or close to it. Check it out.

It has one gear, and it doesn’t take long before my legs are spinning faster than the bike can go. But I’m going to clean her up a bit, apply some TLC in the form of bike grease, and we’ll see if we can’t turn this humble, $12 commuter bike into something go-go Speed Racer himself would envy.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in University

 

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Kirstenham Palace

With yesterday being a boring and rather depressing day (one where you realize your friends are all very far away and you wait all day for someone to text you back), I have no crazy adventures to speak of. So I will finally share some photographic evidence of my Crib, known henceforth as Kirstenham Palace, or just The Palace for short.

The Palace is located in a dorm building specifically for foreign teacher types and a few lucky students as well. All the other students on campus live in quarters that sound reminiscent of a cattle barn (six to a room and communal “showers” that are actually just sinks. We provide the water, you provide the wash basin!) So while I initially was quite underwhelmed by The Palace, I now know that I should be quite grateful. And besides, this sure beats living in a tiny room with 5 other girls, with our beds separated by a sheet hanging from the ceiling, a la Afghanistan. So with that healthy dose of perspective, here goes!

Here is the amazing combined parlor and sleeping quarters, complete with twin bed and some lovely patterned chairs.

Check out my pillow! I’m pretty sure it’s a buckwheat oriental pillow… which I quickly replaced with a Normal Person pillow.

Here is the TV that I never use and the sensational lesson-planning/watching-cat-videos desk, with a chair perfectly-shaped to dry out work-out clothes and clean laundry. They really have thought of everything, haven’t they? Also take note of the ancient, virus-infested desktop computer sitting unused in the corner.

Next up, we have the food preparation area! Microwave, hotplate, sink, and washing machine. All the necessities of life.

Here’s a nice cozy place to freshen up. Having everything so close together really simplifies the cleansing process. What a time-saver!

And to top it all off, I have a view of Water Lily Pond! Do the wonders never end? This photo came on a day with remarkably little air pollution. Insert a low grey haze for my typical Tianjin weather thus far.

And here we go, the last photo of the day. My resident cook (me) made an exceptional egg scramble this morning. Maybe one day, once she has accumulated enough hotplate skill, she will attempt some western-style pancakes! Can’t wait.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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