Friday, May 8, 2009

i think i'm turning chinese

Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I did 1. Order vegetarian baozi (Chinese steamed bun) in Chinese and had the person actually understand me. Normally when I order baozi I just say "Bu yao rou" which is literally "I don't want meat" and a very childish way of saying it. My 8th graders tried to teach me how to say vegetable in Chinese (shucai), but since I'm self-diagnosed tone deaf, I thought it would be impossible for me to ever get it right.

But I did it! And it wasn't even at my regular bao zi place so I know for sure that they understood me (that and they actually gave me the vegetable baozi I asked for). Having a visitor was definitely eye opening in terms of how much Chinese I actually know. By no means am I conversational, but I was able to order from street vendors, give taxi drivers directions, and shoo away people selling knock-off merchandise all in mandarin!

Me with my victory vegetable baozi:

I know it's not much, but it's exciting to me that I know a little bit of Chinese, plus, I can understand a lot of what people are saying, I just can't respond back. This summer I'm considering taking a mandarin course when all my graduate courses are over and my teaching internship is done, that way I can concentrate on it 100%.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

i hope they're hiring

While showing Rod around the West Nanjing/People's Square area of Shanghai (Chairman Mao used to live on that side of town, by the way), we came upon the most glorious store I have seen in Asia so far:

Like, wtf?! How can such a heavenly place be real??? I seriously thought I was dreaming when I saw this store, it's that unbelievably amazing. I wonder if they're looking for any non-Chinese speaking white girls to work the cash register/roll around on their displays and play with all those fabulous stuffed animals.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

shooting for the stars

After coming up with my top ten list for Rod's visit last month I decided to skim through my archives and refresh my memory on all the crazy/fun/horrible/hilarious experiences I've had in Shanghai. It was fun and I had forgotten several things that I blogged about, which made me realize I really need to document all the stories I have written down. You see, I keep a list of things to blog about...but usually don't blog about most of what's on the list.

Anyway, I'll be writing in more detail about my April 2009 Top Ten list over the next few days, but one thing I noticed, err, rather, did not notice while I was browsing past StrawberrySays entries was any type of "Goals for China" entry. How lame is that? I should have made some sort of record of things I wanted to accomplish or see or eat or WHATEVER while I was here, but now it's a little late considering my 10-month teaching contract is almost up.


I do have one final goal for my remaining time in China.

Learn Chinese? Nah.
Make some business contacts? I wouldn't even know where to start.
Finally contact the magazine that keeps publishing my online food reviews about getting a REAL column in their publication? Too much work.

My goal is to get a minimum of two massages every week until I leave here. Friggin' awesome goal, right? Some naysayers out there might be thinking "But that doesn't even have anything to do with being in China!" to which I would reply "Au contraire! A one hour massage at a top-notch salon is only 10 bucks in China, something impossible to come by in America. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it while I go get my bi-weekly rub down."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the month of april, in a nutshell

April was a crazy month for me. Rod came to visit, I had a ton of grad school work to finish, midterms to proctor and grade, and lots of traveling/sight seeing/tour guiding to do around China.

I tried to get as much stuff done before Rod's arrival as I could, but the 3.5 weeks he was here were still jam packed from morning until night with constant go-go-going. It was a fantastic vacation and I'm so glad he came to visit, but I definitely need a few more days to recuperate and catch up on some much needed sleep. I haven't walked so many miles, hiked so many mountains, or slept on so many uncomfortably small and hard beds in the 8 months I've lived in China as I did in the 24 days Rod was here.

I have a lot of stories to share with everyone about my travels with Rod around Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xi'an, and Beijing. The top ten most memorable moments of the past 3.5 weeks (in chronological order of occurrence) are:
1. Ordering vegetarian bao zi (Chinese steamed bun) in Chinese and having the person actually understand me.
2. Accidentally scoring a free night in a hostel.
3. Taking pictures with the stars of The Mummy III.
4. Getting pick-pocketed in Xi'an.
5. Unrecycling at the airport.
6. Walking in Michael Phelps' footsteps. Sorta.
7. Eating a Clif Bar at the top of the Great Wall.
8. Using Magic Chinese medicine.
9. Celebrating my 8 monthiversary with China.
10. Being a celebrity for a day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

um, what?

Is it seriously May or is this all just a dream? What happened to January, February, March, and April?