Friday, October 3, 2008

example of why i hate most surveys

If your lover betrayed you with someone of their own sex, what would your reaction be?
"I totally knew it."

What would you do with a billion dollars?
Two chicks at the same time. Er, wait.

Will you fall in love with your best friend?
My best friend is a girl, so no. But, I am a firm believer that men and women can have platonic relationships, even if When Harry Met Sally insists otherwise.

Which is more exciting while already in a relationship: coveting someone else or being coveted by someone?
It's always exciting to get compliments.

How long do you intend to wait for someone you love?
5 minutes.

If the person you secretly like is gay, what will you do?
Gay boyfriend, gay boyfriend, I don't really mind that you are queer. Gay boyfriend, gay boyfriend, I never feel lonely when you are near.

If you could root for one useless cause, what would it be?
For Delta Gamma to adopt a fraternity animal, and for that animal to be the pomeranian.

What takes you down the fastest?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Interesting question. Hopefully I'm on my way to becoming the next Martha Stewart by then.

What’s your fear?
Falling down stairs.

If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?
Dave Matthews.

Would you give all in a relationship?
Define "all".

Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?
There's pros and cons to both. But if I'm in love with someone, I'd prefer to be in a relationship. As Chris Rock says, "married and bored, single and lonely".

an exercise in vanity

I've always really like those blogs of people who take one picture of themselves every day and show their progression through the seasons and temperatures and fashion styles.

I'm thinking about doing that here on Strawberry Says, but I want your opinion. Should I go the traditional mug-shot route of most personal photographers, or should I have a picture of China not me? Or is this idea too stupid to even do at all? Vote until next week!

captain obvious to the rescue!

I do appreciate my friends and family back home being concerned for my safety here in China. I do. Really.


Well, this New York Times article has sparked a noticeable flux in my inbox and Facebook wall posts. Apparently the Chinese government monitors Skype conversations for politically sensitive words.

Is this really news to anyone?

Wouldn't this kind of be like some "investigators" in the United States writing an expose on airlines using racial profiling during security searches. Isn't that just common knowledge? I wouldn't call this Skype article anything mindblowing, except in the sense that it is mindblowingly obvious.

And anyway, I hate politics so I'm not at risk for any hardcore Chinese snooping.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

whisk me away

There's a chocolate cafe here in Shanghai called Whisk. I've never been there, but some friends brought me and Romy some chocolate chip cookies from there a few weeks ago and they were seriously the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. Even better than my grammy's chocolate chip cookies (though I will deny ever saying this if anyone ever tells her).

Today was just one of those days. Y'know, those days when you just need a damn chocolate chip cookie.

So I decided to take a little solo adventure through Shanghai in search of Whisk and it's to die for pastries.

I should have written down the address, or maybe even looked it up. But instead, I relied on my memory of a vague conversation Romy had with a mutual friend discussing where it was. How difficult could it be to find? I thought to myself as I exited the subway in the middle of nowhere.

After several texts to my friends who had been there before and a frantic call to Romy, I still had no clue where I was or where Whisk could be so I decided just to walk around and look for it. For an hour.

Long story short, I couldn't find it. Actually, that's the entire story. So I guess it's not really as long as it is stupid.

When Steven Speilberg's film ET came out in 1982 my father was living in Alaska working on the pipeline in Prudhoe Bay while my mother stayed back in California. He really wanted to see the movie and asked my mom to wait for him to visit until she saw it so they could see it together for the first time. I guess my mom didn't think he really cared that much, so she saw it with some friends anyway and when he found out he told her he would never see ET ever. He was that mad about it.

The movie was re-released in 2002 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, and having been told this story by my mother I asked my dad if he would go see it with me (he was unaware that I knew his history with the movie). I'll never see that movie, he curtly replied. And he hasn't.

In much the same way, I'll never go to Whisk. My friends absolutely love it and I know they will try to get me to go some time in the next year that I'm going to be here, but nope, it's not going to happen. I tried too hard to find it and was left hungry, empty handed, and with 15RMB less in my wallet from the cost of transportation.

And to think, I was actually going to risk my health and buy a carton of milk to go with the friggin' cookies.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

forget beating around the bush

I should create some sort of running list of "Things I Was Told About China Before Moving Here That Are Not True". Included on this list would be: 1. you can find anything in China (you cannot find berries of any kind, sunscreen without bleach, halloween costumes, sliced lunch meat, authentic anything, or tampons) 2. practically everyone knows English (negative on that one) and 3. the Chinese are a very indirect people (a vendor grabbing me by the arm and saying "lady, that's crazy price!" seems pretty direct to me).

My favorite thing so far that has proved all those advice-givers wrong are the beggars on the street. I understand that if someone is a beggar, they probably aren't following the same set of social rules that other Chinese follow, but I have still been pretty surprised by the directness of people on the street. Yesterday in front of Carrefour a beggar woman approached me and Romy and demanded, "Give me money." We didn't, but I sorta admired her for getting straight to the point.

puppies can be surprisingly not cute

Today is National Day in China. The PRC was founded on October 1st in 1949, so every year the Chinese people get a whole week off (at least us teachers do) to celebrate the glory that is Communism.

Celebrations for me usually include eating cake and spending money. Cake is hard to find here (good cake, at least), so I just settled for spending money and went shopping in the fabric district. I bought a few scarves and ordered some custom-tailored clothes and then headed over to Ikea to look around and relax.

Well, turns out it's impossible to relax when everyone else in Shanghai also decides to go to Ikea at the same time. I'm not sure if it was the feeling of being crammed in a relatively small space with a ton of people or something I ate earlier in the day, but my stomach started killing me so I made a bee-line for the metro to head back to my apartment.

As I was hurrying across the street, trying to navigate the sea of bikes, cars, and people, an old Chinese man threw a box right in front of me. The top popped off from the force of the fall and revealed two dozen small puppies crawling on top of each other.

Normally, there isn't anything I'd rather have thrown in front of me than a little puppy. In this case, though, the sight was absolutely horrifying. Even assuming that the old man was selling them as pets, it was so sad to see a bunch of puppies stuffed together in a tiny box. Who knows how long they had been like that or were going to have to stay in the box together.

I guess I shouldn't expect much in terms of animal rights from a country that doesn't even believe in human rights.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

life lesson #2

If someone asks you, "Not to put you on the spot or anything, but what did you think of my art?" they are both putting you on the spot and expect your answer to include one of the following words: "impressive", "life-changing", "amazing", or "awe-inspiring."

The people that ask this question, however, never produce art of that caliber.

working my magic

My La Lohan peace sign flashin' tactics worked! I totally won over the ladies at the Korean market with my Celeb-like "I don't need your bullshit...but make sure you check out my gorgeous hair as I walk away in a huff" attitude the other night.

Last night Romy and I made the short trip (1/2 a block) to the Korean market to buy some beverages. Sure, they might have burned me with the phone card thing, but I'm not a girl to hold grudges and we also really wanted to drink, so we went there.

Well, talk about celebrity treatment! We were there with our friend Fox, who is also American and teaches at the same high school as we do, and the three of us bought 2 drinks each. Before we took our drinks from the counter, though, the women insisted on giving me and Romy some Sunchips for free!

Fox didn't get anything. Boo hoo.

Free chips? I mean, come on, how legit is that? They tasted more like Top Ramen than Sunchips, but I am all about getting free stuff even if it's not 100% delicious. After they opened our bottles for us, they also gave Romy their bottle opener that has the Korean market logo on it and stuff. They're going to be our new BFFs, just wait.