Thursday, September 18, 2008

happy every day!

Chinese companies love using winks in their logos. I have no idea what the significance of this is (if any) or why it's so popular, but of course I love it.

Whenever my sorority took "silly" pictures during Bid Day, I usually rocked the wink. Totally silly of me. And, good practice for my time in China it seems.

Happy Lemon is a mini bubble tea shop in the plaza near my school. It's logo is this little lemon looking girl head that's winking. Obviously, I'm all over it.

My NEW goal for my time in China? Forget trying to learn Chinese or making Chinese friends. My newest ambition is to try everything on Happy Lemon's menu once. Reach for the stars, right?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

what doesn't kill us

I do this thing when I travel or take trips places. This very annoying, inconvenient thing.

I don't know what comes over me, but I suddenly want to be this chic-er, better dressed version of myself when I think of spending an extended period of time abroad. So, to expedite the process, I only bring chic, uncomfortable clothing.

Beggars can't be choosers, right?

So if I only bring one t-shirt and more than a dozen fashionable work blouses, I'll be forced to wear the fashionable work blouses, right?

Wrong. I'll just wear the one t-shirt every day and curse myself for being so lame and not packing more.

Of course, when I was packing to move to a country where it used to be common practice to bind women's feet, my size 10 self thought "Yeah, I'll only bring pumps and heels because then I'll be sure to always be cute! All the time! No matter what!"

Ya, well, walking for hours in black leather pumps in weather that is 78 degrees but "feels like 107" according to because of the humidity is not a combination that automatically brings "cute" to mind. It does, however, bring to mind the words "blister" and "backache".

Needless to say, I have been relying way too heavily on the two pairs of three dollar Old Navy flip flops I thankfully had the presence of mind to pack. I brought 10 pairs of shoes and all of them are heels, save the no-traction death-trap flip flops.

The thing that bugs me the most is that I literally had several pairs of sturdy Reef sandals in my hands ready to be put in my suitcase, but I put them away, deluding myself into believing that in China I would become that girl that wears heels everywhere.

Y'know, that girl that doesn't exist in real life. Like Carrie Bradshaw. Or a happy French woman (yeah, they wear heels everywhere, but have you ever seen one of them smile?).

So I've been surviving so far with my cheap-o shower sandals. But barely. All the flooring here is made out of cheap wanna-be marble, my guess is because it is cheaper than concrete. Well, slippery tiling and rain pretty much mean that I have to waddle everywhere for fear of falling on my ass. That is, when I'm not actually falling on my ass. Behold, my bruise (and the one t-shirt I brought to China):

It is actually much worse than it looks, I assure you. The entire right side of my body is still sore from my total full-body fall two days ago. I probably broke something, who knows. But so far it's not life threatening, hence not worth a trip to the scary Chinese doctor.

Monday, September 15, 2008

move over mid-autumn festival

Forget mooncake! It's all about the "American Food Fair"!

I walked into Carrefour today to do a little Monday morning grocery shopping, and what did my stars-and-stripes deprived eyes behold but a fabulous American Food Fair display filled with such American treats as Jello pudding, pancake mix, and vanilla frosting! Hellz. Yes.

I didn't actually buy anything, but it felt good to see lots of American products that I could buy if I really wanted to. I did give in and buy some frozen American entrees, but they were super on sale (6RMB each!) so I didn't feel as guilty as I would if I had purchased that delicious looking box of Corn Flakes for 35RMB.

I bought a DVD off the street for the first time yesterday. Everyone has always told me you can find any DVD ever made on the streets of China. I'm not sure if that's true, but I bought Wall-E for less than 1 US dollar. I've already watched it twice.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

a nation of bobs

Romy and I were walking around Puxi the other day, just checking out the sights and doing a little shopping (for some cute chopsticks, mostly). Despite what everyone told me, there aren't that many white people in Shanghai. Sure, they're around somewhere, but it's pretty much like looking for a white needle in a haystack full of Asians. I feel like Romy and I stand out wherever we go, if not because we're very clearly white chicks, then because we very clearly do not speak Chinese.

Sometimes I hear an American speaking English in a crowd and I think "Sweet! Someone I can have a conversation with" other times I think "Gawd, I hope that dude doesn't try to talk to us". My reaction to hearing native-speaking English is based on a lot of factors, but for guys it mostly comes down to the Frat Factor. If you're that douche bag who everyone tried to avoid at your fraternity house, then I do not want to talk to you. Guys like that get to China and suddenly they become someone people not only don't avoid, but actually make an effort to talk to!

Why? Because, as Romy would say, they're a "Bob". Best of the bunch. Ex-pat circumstances eventually lead to a lowering of standards. You can't have the same expectations for friends or significant others as you would at home, because there is simply not a big enough population to choose from. There aren't many Americans here, so if a Bob is even remotely entertaining or fun to be around, they will find acceptance with pretty much any ex-pat community because it's slim pickins out there, so "I guess you'll do".

Romy and I were wandering around the streets of East Nanjing road, when suddenly I overheard some American dude say to another American dude "I'm totally falling in love with China." I stopped to glance in a nearby shop, and to let the Dude Crew pass so I could see the person who said such a tool-y thing. He was wearing a polo with the collar popped, of course.

You're not falling in love with China, you're falling in love with the fact that in China people actually think you're cool.