Saturday, March 28, 2009

7 month inch

NOW I know why I've been in a China rut recently! I glanced at my calendar today and realized I had missed my 7 Monthiversary with China on the 26th of this month (I don't know how I manage to forget it each month, as it also happens to coincide with pay day).

I know it's usually the "seven year itch" but this is China, everything here is on hyper-drive. It's like the concept of dog years, except it's China years. So, in this example, one month is equal to one year. Which, when you consider the amount of changes that happen in China in a span of 30 days compared to other nations, is pretty accurate.

So, yes, after seven months with China, I'm feeling a little...lackluster in our relationship. China just isn't the same China it was when we first met, y'know? China has changed, and admittedly, so have I. I'm not going to go so far as to say China and I need to part ways, but we definitely need to freshen things up a bit if this relationship is going to last. Hopefully, Rod's visit will be just what China and I need to rekindle our romance. I'll be seeing the same China I saw seven months ago, from the eyes of a newcomer, and that will be refreshing since I've gotten into a bit of routine here. Plus, I'm also going to be traveling to Xi'an, Huangzhou, and Beijing in the next month.

China and I might have a chance of making it work after all.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

pimp that snack!

This post has nothing to do with China as China has been very boring recently. A lot of the same ol' Shanghai scene: rain, cold, lots of men hawking loogies on the ground. I'm in a China rut.

But that's okay, because I found this amazingly cool website called Pimp That Snack. The premise is people choose a snack food to "pimp" i.e. make HUGE and then post it on the site with step-by-step instructions for how to pimp that snack. Don't you just love it already?

Here are some of my favorite snack pimpages:
Reese's peanut butter cups. Holy crap, I would eat this entire thing in one sitting and never look back.

Sour patch kids. Wouldn't this be SO FUN to bring to the movies and share with a large group of friends? I love it!

Kit kat bar. So much wafer, chocolate goodness! AHHHH!

Cheese wedge. I've never heard of this brand, but can you imagine a giant Laughing Cow Cheese wedge? It would be perfect for a giant piece of toast.

Oreo cookie. I need this in my life. Immediately.

Nutrigrain bar. This is healthy, right?

The site is British so some of their snacks are weird, but it's still cool to see things giant sized even if you don't know what a "vovo" treat is (some kind of cake thing from what I could surmise from the photograph).

This was simultaneously the grossest and funniest entry I found:

It's supposed to be a pimped out hot dog, but I don't really think stuffing a loaf of bread with two package of hots dog qualifies for legitimate pimpage. But maybe that's just me.

ciao, bella


Epic news.

I am officially a citizen of Italy!!!

My mother is Italian and about 5 years ago she got the brilliant idea of applying for dual citizenship in Italy. It's a very long and complicated process, which is probably why dual citizenship isn't as common as one would think in such a culturally diverse country where pretty much everyone's grandparents are from somewhere else. It took my mom about two years just gathering all the necessary documents, which included birth, marriage, and death certificates of a crazy amount of her family line. Then she had to get all those documents translated into English.

Finally, when she had everything prepared, we went to the Italian consulate in San Francisco where we were told, much to our dismay, that they didn't even have a person on staff at the moment to review dual citizenship applications.

Three years have since passed and occasionally one of us would mention how we "really need to see how that dual citizenship thing is working out", but of course no one ever volunteered to spend their day at the consulate office so it never happened.

Then, out of the blue, this arrived in the mail two days ago:

Isn't my mom's maiden name so pretty? This is my official document:

I have no idea what it says. Thank gawd there's no language requirement. My middle name is Elizabeth, as you can tell from the letter. My first name is "Strawberry" and my last name is "The Bomb", which you all know, so I didn't think it was necessary to reveal them here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

wtf wednesday: china is such a cock block

It's official. Access to anything on the internet is pretty touch and go here in China, but The New York Times is reporting, as of today, that Youtube is officially blocked.

WTF?! Now how am I going to watch SNL digital shorts and videos of cute animals falling asleep?!?! This is a crisis, people, a CRISIS.

I should protest, but uh, I'm a little too scared. I kid you not, a white van rolled up right next to me on my way home from the gym and opened the door slowly and my heart felt like it was going to beat straight out of my chest. They didn't kidnap me or even notice me, but hey, it could have been a possibility.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

i won something!!

There have been tons of giveaways in the Blogosphere recently (I'm considering hosting one myself soon) and of course I have been entering them left and right.

Well, my hard work paid off, because I won something! I won this cupcake cookbook from the blog Iron Cupcake. I'm so excited, I can't wait to try out the recipes when I get home. I know Twin will put it to good use in my absence.

How did I win, you ask? The contest required entrants to share a story of their worst baking blunder, and I immediately thought of my peach cupcake fail from last spring. To recap for those of you not keeping a log of my life experiences, I wanted to make peach cupcakes with vanilla frosting and a peach on the top to look like mock sunny side up eggs. Instead of looking for a peach cupcake recipe, or simply using a vanilla cupcake, I attempted to create my own version and ended up with a huge mess. The cupcakes were disgusting and when I tossed them in the trash one fell on the floor. Tater Tot nabbed it before I could get to it and ate the whole thing, wrapper and all. Later, he puked all over my mom's silk bedspread which I proceeded to wash in the washing machine and ruin.

Hence, baking blunder.

pay back...doesn't really bother me

Today four of my senior essay writing course bothered to show up to class. Four out of fifteen, so, what's that? Just over 25%? Nice.

I feel as if this is pay back for my senior year in which I may or may not have skipped many, many classes. Truth be told, I don't really care if they come to class or not. Half of them are so apathetic towards school I actually feel the class is more productive when they aren't around.

I have to admit, though, it is sort of annoying planning a lesson based on a certain number of students, then coming to class and having FOUR kids there. Then I take a deep breath and remember that I get paid the same amount no matter how many students show up, and all is right in the world.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

sneaking out like it's 1999

When I was 15 and a freshman in high school, sneaking out was pretty much the coolest thing to do. My boyfriend lived only about 5 blocks away and of course it wasn't enough that we spent all day at school together, all of our time after school together, and every meal together. We needed to see each other TWENTY FOUR / SEVEN, PEOPLE! Luckily for me, the layout of my childhood home was perfect for sneaking out. I lived on one end of the house (past the kitchen, living room, and laundry room) and my parents, Twin, and Meimei lived on the opposite end. It took a while for me to build up the courage to sneak out, but after that first time I was addicted. I spent nearly every night away from home, setting my alarm for 5 AM so I could jog back to my room before dawn.

My room was part of an addition my father made to the house when I was around 11 or so. He converted our huge garage into a smaller two-car garage and a laundry room and den (which he foolishly thought would be his place to relax instead of my future living quarters). The addition was blocked off from the rest of the house by a door which led into the kitchen. There was also a door in the laundry room which led to the garage and one leading into the backyard.

The first time I snuck out I stereotypically climbed out my window, which was both totally unnecessary and totally painful. I landed on one of my mom's garden statues and scraped myself up pretty badly. But sneaking out was supposed to be like this, right? That's how it is in all the movies, you have to climb out your window. That's like, Sneaking Out 101.

When sneaking out became a more regular thing rather than just once in a while, I got tired of wearing bandages from all the scrapes and scratches I got from leaping from my window and it was annoying to take the screen to my window on and off every night. I smartened up, enrolled in a graduate course in Sneaking Out, and realized, duh, I can just use the door.

That was nearly 9 years ago and after I got caught (inevitable, really) I never thought I would have to sneak out again.

Until this past Saturday night.

It was 4 AM, I was not sleeping as per usual recently, and suddenly I had a desperate need for a beverage to quench my thirst. I was all out of bottled water, my mini-Alhambra-ish dispenser was completely empty. I panicked. What was I going to do?! Drinking Chinese tap water is not an option. I felt like people stranded at sea must feel, surrounded by so much water but unable to drink even a sip of it. Just knowing that I had nothing to drink made my thirst more intense.

If I lived in an apartment the solution would be easy. I'd get out of bed, stroll to the nearest 24hour market, and buy some water. I don't live in an apartment, though, I live on campus, and on campus we're surrounded by a huge gate and can only enter and exit by passing by the gate guards, who lock the gate at around midnight and don't open it until around 7 or 8 in the morning.

I had three options at this point:
1. Wait three hours for the gate guards to wake up.
2. Go and knock on the guard shack to wake up the guards and have them grumpily unlock the door for me.
3. Sneak out.

The answer was so obvious. I would sneak out.

I've learned a lot since I was a wee 15 year old. Most importantly for this situation is never do more work than you have to. I began an attempt to scale the fence when my memory flashed back to that high school freshman covered in scrapes from jumping out her window and I thought, What the heck am I doing?

Then I saw my escape: a large hole between the gate and the ground.

I have to admit, I was excited to sneak out. It gave me an adrenaline rush thinking I was doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing, even though technically I had every right to be off-campus at 4 in the morning. It didn't matter. I was being bad. And it felt so good.

What's the baddest thing you've done recently?