Take our Cookies. . .Please

Back to blogging again. For a while, anyway. I used to have grand ambitions for the things I wrote, but time has taught me to temper my ambitions a little bit. Last fall, for example, I decided to start swimming again. A fine thing to do, to be sure, but not when you start off by swimming two or three… (more…)

Share

Interlude 2: The Chinese Dream, Whatever That Is

I just saw a propaganda poster on campus that said the following (in translation): “The Chinese dream, the student dream.  Let the students in the Architecture Department strive morning and night to achieve their dream!” This is, of course, an affirmation of Premier Xi Jinping’s much-touted “Chinese dream,” which no one can articulate, but everyone can believe, thus making it… (more…)

Share

Weird Guy With Bell, or: You Need Some Distance

You know what’s hard? Trying to summarize your experiences in a place you’ve lived for 10 years. It’s just about impossible. So I’m taking a quick break in my proposed Good, Bad, Whatever cycle to offer up some random observations from my last few weeks in China. This morning I was walking to the market to get some vegetables for… (more…)

Share

The Good, the Bad, and the Survival Tips (Part 4)

The Good: Lao Bai Xing For those who don’t speak Chinese, lao bai xing is translated “old 100 names,” and basically means “everyday people.” Put more clearly it refers to anyone who doesn’t have enough money or prestige to get ahead. People who work and probably won’t rise above their jobs. And when I say I’m going to miss them,… (more…)

Share

The Good, the Bad, and the Survival Tips (Part 3)

The Good: People dressing however they want When you think about it, on a fundamental, really-who-cares level, what’s the point of clothes? To cover your body and protect it from the elements? Yep. To display color and individuality? Less important, since we’re not peacocks, but fine. To show our affiliation with a designer brand name? Not so much. My late… (more…)

Share

The Good, the Bad, and the Survival Tips (Part 2)

The Good: Random Exercises I was going to simply write, under the heading of things that I’ll miss, “Random encounters,” but really, if you live in China longer than about an hour, “random encounters” will make up 95% of your time. Far easier to just break down the highlights. So. . .we pretty much have to begin with the chain… (more…)

Share

Beginning of the End: The Good, the Bad, and the Survival Tips

You know, I really did have grand ideas for this blog this semester, but time defeated me. I even started writing a few intriguing, penetrating cultural studies, but then other things popped up. Like a trip south to Guangzhou for my wife’s visa interview, numerous  errands related to that, and, well, you get the idea. And the truth is, I… (more…)

Share

You Only Think You Hate Waiting

Again: something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. Recently I’ve had to go to one of the local notary publics to get some documents translated and notarized. It was quite an experience, and I would say if you want to understand anything about China or Chinese people, you pretty much have to have spent several hours sitting… (more…)

Share

Spring Festival Reflection 1: Goin’ to the Country

A disclaimer: I meant to post this several weeks ago, so my apologies if it’s now a bit dated. Also, I keep promising I’ll post pictures, and I will, but I need to go someplace to scan them first. So for now: text only. Ah, the Spring Festival, that wonderful time each year in China when you can expect to… (more…)

Share

Why I Like Chinese Students

Today was the first day of class for the new semester, and after introducing myself and the class (The latter took about five minutes because a speaking and listening class with no textbook and no required exam is a self-contained phenomenon; if you know what speaking and listening are, then you know what to do in class. Expanding on that… (more…)

Share