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Pijo and Pinatas

The antics begin with a fiery glass cup attached to my heel during a lovely afternoon foot massage. We left relaxed, and centred, our chi circulating through our bodies much like the shooters that were going to be consumed later. A quick change. I need an outfit that can last ... read more

Shelley Bragg

ChinaChina

That's right everyone, I am still in Shanghai

 I read a very interesting blog today topping up which reminded me as to what I do, and why I decided to come back to China to do it. The "American dream" is fast becoming the "China dream" and people are looking to make their millions, form their careers and live ... read more

Shelley Bragg

ChinaChina

Life tidbits in Lanzhou.

Same old same old? Well, a new school year has started and it seems I know what is going to happen, so it's slightly less exciting. I have my classes, I know most of the kids, I know the colleagues, they know me, they still think I'm the French teacher, ... read more

Mathilde Verillaud

ChinaChina

After the Terracotta Warriors

 We were in Xi'an, at the heart of China's vast interior, one of its most ancient capitals and now most famous for being home to the Terracotta Army. And we were feeling flat. We'd been to see the army in a painfully hungover state then returned to get the sleep ... read more

Leah Eades

ChinaChina

A Short Guide to Xi'an

 Xi’an, China, is best known for being the epicentre from which one visits the famous Terracotta Army... but in fact it’s so much more than that. One of the Four Great Ancient Capitals, the walled city offers enough delights on its own to satisfy the budget traveller needing a break ... read more

Leah Eades

ChinaChina

occupational hazard #593,823,494: teaching on weekends

i fully realize how seriously the chinese take their education system, i really do. furthermore, i fully understand how missing classes due to holidays can be detrimental to the learning process. HOWEVER, school on a sunday?!? no. let me explain: the mid-autumn festival is next week, wednesday i believe, and ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

what is your name? kalf. kef? kalf. kev? kalf. like calf? okay then.

as this was a smoky, pukey, karaoke-filled kind of weekend, and certainly an exhausting day of teaching, i figure recent events warrant a blog post. the pukey friday night is not really an interesting story other than my friend molly felt a lot better after regurgitating the fried rice she ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

the longing after something's lost

i will give proper due to the random 6th grade chinese student who gave me a teacher's day card with this quote in it. besides some chinese, there was only this written in it, thus i surmise this is a bastardized translation. broken english? perhaps. oddly profound? that's a yes. ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

teaching update

yes, this is a rather immediate update about my morning teaching, but i figure there's already a bit to be said. i made the mistake of going to sleep at about 3:30 a.m. this morning, preparing my powerpoint for class and getting myself mentally stable. bad idea, particularly when coupled ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

'twas the night before teaching . . .

so i just lost my post that i was nearly finished with. bleh. i think i'll start with what i was closing with in the post i was working on. my friends have encountered some very amusing english names of their students' choosing, some of which i will share. just ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

shenzhen thus far

first, let's get the pronunciation of my new home right: it's pronounced shen (as it looks)-zhen (dj-en). actually, probably more like shndjn as they're not really fans of prolonging the 'e' sound between the consonants. so, we've been in shenzhen for a week (right? i've lost all track of time), ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

"they actually wear the shorts here!"

(quote is in reference to the fact that the chinese actually wear the full basketball jersey/shorts combo rather than the jersey as a top with normal shorts.) today is the big train trip down to shenzhen, a (potentially) 30 hour haul from beijing to guangdong province. whew aren't we all ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

chang cheng/yihe yuan

once again it's been a bit of a while since i posted an entry for which i must apologize (to all my loyal readers, of course haha). it's been pretty nuts here in beijing and i'm doing the best i can to e-mail people and keep everyone apprised of my ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

shawshank, narnia, middle earth . . . oh the mystical places you'll go in beijing . . .

i apologize for how belated this update might be, but i have been extremely busy from 8:30-6 p.m. pretty much every day since arriving in beijing. here is what my daily schedule looks like, for 'tis a mash-up of learning how to teach/learning chinese/teaching/lesson planning: 8:30-10:20: chinese class (no one ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

Border of unlimited freedom

Well what should I say, I've never thought it would happen to me. Once I've visited Tibet I can't get over it. Maybe I fell in love with this place, maybe its just so different from anything I've ever seen before. It's deep blue sky lieing right on your head ... read more

Maria Vdovkina

ChinaChina

arrival/preliminary china info

now that i'm in china and (kind of) getting settled, i figured it's about time to write up just a few of the experiences i've had so far (mom, don't freak out!) flight: i will never fly anything but korean air ever again. the flight attendants were so great and ... read more

Jessica Weaver

ChinaChina

The Chinese Massage

It is an absolute must to get a massage in China. It is cheap, it is good, and it's available on basically any street corner. Last night I found a nice place whislt walking. It took up 4 stories and was decorated with oranges and reds, with similarly coloured carpets ... read more

Shelley Bragg

ChinaChina

The spirits of Shanghai

This morning I woke up with a headache and a vague memory of drinking too much, talking too much, and sleeping too little. Essentiale is a wonder drug that supports your liver...today it just might save my life. No food + shanghai spirits + Shelley's spirit = hangover Shanghai....for sober ... read more

Shelley Bragg

ChinaChina

Traffic lights and translations

I am baffled by the traffic light ('robot' for my South African readers) system in China. I was taking a stroll down the busy streets, and when I reached the roadside I saw the little red man on the traffic light, so I stopped. I waited patiently and then when ... read more

Shelley Bragg

ChinaChina

Sex in the City

So, this week I have the fantastic task of moving a full apartment, which is not mine, to another apartment, which is not mine, and in between this I am feeding cats at an apartment, which is also not mine. I went to the latter said apartment that is not ... read more

Shelley Bragg

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Books

Dive into "River Town"

Amy Adoyzie Lam

11 Mar 2009

China

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Amy Adoyzie Lam

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Peter Hessler's account of his two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in central China is a good introduction for a fresh-faced Western perspective on the rapidly developing superpower. He writes about the cultural nuances of one of the oldest civilizations of the world and its fascination with the West. This book is even more fitting for younger folks, as Hessler was in his mid-20s when was there and offers a recent college grad perspective about who he is and how he's perceived as an American living in a small town by the Yangtze River. He also touches on all the myriad of frustrations and miscommunications that stems from the complexity of culture and language. He still resides in China, so he must have done something right!

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Getting Around

Hong Kong: Buy an Octopus card

Nadia Sheng

05 May 2009

China

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Nadia  Sheng

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Invest in an Octopus card. It's a rechargeable value card that can be used on most public transportation systems and at most convenience stores. Pickpocketing is a big problem in Hong Kong, and losing an Octopus card is a lot better than losing a wad of cash or a credit card.

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Festivals & Events

A day to NOT go to temples

Katrina Klett

24 Jun 2009

China

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Katrina Klett

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There is a time to stay away from China's many beautiful temples: Spring Festival. There are so many people there that you can barely walk. My first week in China, I was taken to a festival and was in no way ready for the sheer volume of beings fighting for a place in line to get to the small snack stands they set up all around the temple grounds. It may sound tempting to see the Chinese population in full force, but trust me--it is a bit overwhelming!

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Culture Shock

In Hong Kong, parasols are still in fashion

Nadia Sheng

15 Apr 2010

China

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Nadia  Sheng

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It's a hot, sunny, not to mention humid day. You, in your cut-offs, sipping cool, refreshing water suddenly notice that the young women zooming by you are either holding umbrellas or wearing cardigans. At this point, you wipe your brow and think you are hallucinating though in actual fact had just happened to inadvertently experience culture shock. Sun is plentiful, and so umbrellas - used as parasols - are used to keep the sunshine at bay. Cardigans, that aren't as good or comfortable an idea, are worn for the same purpose - to avoid sun intake.

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Must Do

Paperclips for Passport

Melissa Sconyers

05 Mar 2010

China

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Melissa Sconyers

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Always have two paperclips in your passport: one large one and one small one. Use them to mark the relevant pages (e.g. latest exist/entry stamp, country visa, work visa, etc.). You can also use them to keep an extra passport photo in your passport.

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Etiquette

It isn't rude to spit

Tricia Reville

22 Sep 2009

China

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Tricia Reville

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The Chinese spit -- everywhere! It's a pretty common practice in China and Southeast Asia. Despite any initial disgust, you will no doubt get used to it.

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Food

Dinner at 6 -- no exceptions!

Huma Sheikh

26 Aug 2009

China

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Huma Sheikh

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I found that the Chinese were fairly strict about when they ate their lunch and dinner. Lunch was at 11 a.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. I had a hard time finding a restaurant that served dinner after 8 p.m., and I missed dinner a couple of times. Similarly, there was no lunch available after 12:30 p.m. If you don't want to go hungry, set your eating schedule accordingly.

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Film

The World in Beijing

Amy Adoyzie Lam

05 Mar 2009

China

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Amy Adoyzie Lam

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"The World" (Chinese title: "Shijie"), directed and written by Zhang Ke Jia, revolves around the lives of ordinary Chinese folks who work at a theme park that is a miniaturized version of the world with famous international landmark attractions. This films provides a good view into modern China, especially the plight of its common people who migrate to the bustling cities from the countryside to find work and wealth and are usually summarily disappointed. The juxtaposition of the wealth of Beijing and the lifestyle of the working class who keep it up is an amazing contrast to take in. Watch this film before visiting to appreciate the complexity of contemporary life in China.

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Packing

Scraps of paper

Melissa Sconyers

05 Mar 2010

China

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Melissa Sconyers

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I find it very useful to carry around scraps of paper (usually a stack of Post-it Notes or a tiny Moleskine with tear-out pages) and a pen. These tools come in handy when you can't communicate in the local language, and need to draw a picture. They also come in handy when you need someone to write down directions, or when you want to exchange contact information.

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Fashion

T-shirts with English phrases that make no sense

Katrina Klett

08 Jun 2009

China

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Katrina Klett

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It's common to find Western sayings, phrases, and characters stitched across Chinese t-shirts. And it's also common for these slogans to make absolutely no sense. There are endless examples of funny and misused English phrases; here is one from a shop in XishuangBana.

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Slang

Math in modern Chinese slang

Dan Kallman

21 Mar 2009

China

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Dan Kallman

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The letter "n," used in math summations, has found its way into the Chinese language to mean "a lot." An example of a common use would be, "wo yi jing da le N ci dian hua! ni gan me bu jie?“ Literally, "I called N times! Why didn't you pick up? Another one commonly used when chatting online is 88 to mean bye bye. The number 8 is pronounced "ba," so double eights is, "ba ba," which is a close approximation of "bye bye." "Bye bye," by the way, seems to have surpassed the Chinese word for goodbye (zai jian) as the default farewell in China. Sometimes I hear people on the metro chatting for half an hour entirely in Chinese, and they typically close with a "bye bye."

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Being an American

Why can't I just look it up?

Anna Schwaber

20 Nov 2009

China

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Anna Schwaber

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When in China, don't freak out when you find websites like Wikipedia blocked. The Golden Shield Project is essentially an Internet firewall using proxy servers that block access to certain websites and content. If you're really stuck, you can always email someone to do the research for you.

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