Thursday, November 6, 2008

sort of like flag football

Whenever I'm thrown into a new social situation, I always try my best to really put myself out there and get to know as many people as I can in a truly genuine way. This isn't always possible of course, and when it's not possible, I like to come up with little games I play in my head. Not like "tic tac toe" or "hide and seek"....more experiments. But even that doesn't describe it really.

Let me give an example. My sophomore year of college I was taking a general ed Western Civ course with a sorority sister and there was this dude in there that totally intrigued us. Usually he came to class clad in a full-on business suit, but other days he wore pajamas. No matter the outfit, he always skateboarded. This guy was a mystery. He was so much of a mystery that we didn't even know his name.

So we made it our little semester project to get to know him, and since I was the ballsy-er of the two of us, I made the first move by asking him if he wanted to work on a group term paper together. He did. We learned his name (Gary), found out that he was a 9th year senior or something, was married to a waitress at Applebee's, and basically was a total douche. He brought us chocolates in the shape of nipples for our first meeting on the term paper. He insisted his wife made them, which made the whole thing even more bizarre. There was a lot of laughing that evening, and not the "with you" kind, it was more the "at you" kind, but he was so clueless I'm sure he just thought we found him hilariously entertaining and fun to be around.

Flash forward four years to 2008 to Shanghai. The location and people may have changed, but the game is still the same. Red flags? Bring 'em on. I'll completely ignore them then make it my personal goal to change them. Perhaps I'll eventually learn that people don't change, but for now it's still slightly amusing to me to meet kooky people and try to figure them out. We'll see how long the amusement lasts until it becomes complete annoyance, with Gary it lasted two weeks. He was much more interesting when he was a mystery.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

you win some, you lose some

Won: Obama for presidency (can I get a "hell, yes!"?).

Lost: My favorite non-student (he's in Romy's class) MOVED TO SOUTH KOREA. I'm so sad. I didn't even get to say goodbye.


Silver lining.

Romy and I are going to South Korea on Monday for six days! And the student e-mailed her asking our travel details so he could meet us and show us around! Score. I'm still sad, though. Romy and I used to play doubles with him and his BFF in Romy's table tennis class, now who will we play? Le sigh, this sucks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

vote OR DIE

To date, that is my favorite voting slogan ever. It totally powns "rock the vote". Who cares about rocking the vote when there is the possibility of DEATH?

Anyway, all you American peeps that read StrawberrySays better go vote today because I'm all the way in BFChina and I voted. So you have no excuse.


Ok, I like that slogan the best.

at least it's imported

Can you overdose on colby jack cheese? I feel like my body is having a serious reaction to eating cheese for the first time in 10 weeks.

Also, what is the deal with this melamine thing? The news here is horrible so ya'll probably know more about it than I do. I just know that I don't drink soy milk anymore and now I hear that it's in egg and poultry products, too! Which is just perfect since the one Chinese dish I don't hate is fried eggs and tomatoes on rice. Lame.

Friday night I'm spending the night at a student's house with Romy. It's for one of our grad school assignments (an ethnographic research course, the assignment being to spend the night with a Chinese family) and it should be pretty interesting. My student e-mailed me earlier asking me if Chinese dinner and breakfast were okay because her mom wanted to know what to cook...then she told me her mom was going to make us homemade baozi balls! Total score. Too bad the student is already a straight A overachiever, or I would totally give her some extra credit for this.

I still haven't figured out how to post pictures ever since my internet started acting shady. Perhaps Big Brother has his eye on me. I need to stroll over to Coffee Bean and steal their wireless internet and check out the sitch soon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

moments in teaching

I think I'm going to have a new "segment" on StrawberrySays called Moments in Teaching where I will share funny moments from my teaching experiences, whenever something strikes me enough to remember it (the days go by so fast I have a hard time remembering much).

For my 12th grade essay writing class I have my students keep a journal which I have them write in every class period from a prompt of my choosing. Usually I try to do fun stuff like "If you could invent anything new what would it be and why?" but sometimes I aim for entries that are a little more serious and revealing like "What is the greatest lesson you have learned in life?".

I collect their journals every 10 entries or so and read them over for spelling and grammar errors, and also just to get a sense of their writing style and the things they write about.

Well, it's been super fun reading them (though time consuming) and so far my favorite spelling mistake is "relationchip". How cute is that? Relationchip. I want one of those, it sounds wonderful.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

dolla dolla bills, ya'll

Man, I think I'm coming down with a case of the Shanghai Cough. Damn this air pollution and my sensitive lungs.

Today on the subway I saw a young Chinese man vomit violently into a trash can, it was pretty awesome. I almost felt sorry for the fella, but you KNOW he had a friggin' awesome night, so why feel sorry? I have yet to get that out of control here, but hey, I still have another 9 months at least. It could definitely happen.

Before coming to China I was in a very zen place in my life. Things just seemed to be working in my favor and I was very much at peace with...well, pretty much everything. I was also going through a big cleansing period, getting rid of a ton of stuff that I had been holding on to for years without really having a reason why. The blog Unclutterer played a pivotal role in this period of my life, and I felt more and more empowered with each garbage bag full of old classroom notebooks to recycle and each tub of clothing to give away. I wanted to simplify my life, get rid of all the junk, strip away the layers of uselessness and get down to the real deal.

And then I moved to arguably the most capitalist country in the world, err, excuse me, the most "socialist with Chinese characteristics" country in the world. Those characteristics of course including buying as much stuff as you can and slapping some kind of name brand logo on it.

I made a conscious effort to not bring a lot of clothes here because I wanted to minimize my wardrobe to a few essential pieces. Then, I got here and realized "Hey, this is Shanghai, the Paris of Asia, not some rural farm town". So after about one week with my minimalist wardrobe, I had my mom ship me a few things from home and went on a shopping spree at H&M. And had 3 coats and 6 dresses hand-tailored at the fabric market.

What have I learned from this? I don't know. Perhaps the Chinese proverb "Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness" explains it. The Chinese are a very materialistic people, so why fight against that and distance myself from the culture when I can keep doing what I do best, which is spending money? Ya, I couldn't think of any reasons, either.