Saturday, November 21

Blogger and Youtube are now unblocked in China

After realizing that my VPN wasn't working this morning I've been grappling with the idea that I might have to deal with restricted internet for the next 3 weeks. But today's great surprise is that China has unblocked youtube and blogger. Hopefully this will be inspiration to do some more blogging before I'm back in the states. I guess we'll see.

Sunday, November 15

Nothing is Free-flowing in China

From democracy to trade to toilet water, nothing flows freely in China.

They shut down the water in the dorm. And it is one thing to shut it down, but with out any 通知 lining the walls to inform us of this, they do it randomly in the middle of a Sunday, preventing me from taking a shower and taking away the ability of one of my suite-mates to flush down whatever is festering in the toilet right now.

Enjoy that image, for now I'm going to hunt down the crazy ai-yi and bitch her out until I can drown my sorrows in a 15 minute shower (the longest shower you can take before the hot water heater is completely drained.

Wednesday, November 11

Single Person Festival

Today is 光棍儿节 in China. 光棍儿节, pronounced "gwang gur ge-ay" is the official anti-valentine's-day day in China. Literally translated it means "bachelor's day" btu it isn't restricted to the millions of men that will not find a wife due to the millions of baby girls being killed off each year in a very 21st century 重男清女 ("strong man, light woman") fashion. Chinese society manages to reconcile this 男女不平等的问题 ("the problem of inequality between men and women") by allowing the millions of women that some how manage not to find a husband in this bachelor-dominated society nor escape into the arms of a blond-haired blue-eyed foreigner to celebrate as well.

Naturally the Chinese have found a way to trivialize dates. They first point out that on November Eleventh the date happens to be 11/11, and then they have to take it that much further by being like, oh four ones in a row imply that on this day the single people must gather together and support each other in their loneliness.

And so, in an authentically Chinese manner, they manage to ruin something that I didn't think they had the capacity to ruin: a random date in the middle of November.

Future Posts to look out for:

How I Told the Dorm Aid to Take my Temperature by "[Doing] my Milk House"
Bromance and Girl-on-Girl: The Evolution of Friendship in China
Lao Wai: How to go from Being Judged to Being the Judge

Tuesday, November 3

37 Days, 39 days, 41 days - Doesn't Matter Which One As Long as I'm Counting Down

37 days until the start of finals. 39 days until the end of finals. 41 days until I fly out of Beijing and into Chicago/Newark. (Thank you time zones for allowing me to fly out of China and Land in the US on, technically, the same day.) These numbers, which thankfully get smaller with each passing day, are the bulk of the conversations that I have with people nowadays.

It seems sad that at this point what is characterizing my experience in China is the extreme desire to be home. Every day it feels like a struggle to get out the door each day and deal with the things that make me not like this place. And the fact that as a foreigner it is entirely impossible to assimilate into the culture and way of life here, not just because it is completely foreign but because the people have the inability to allow non-Chinese people to fully experience China, it makes it hard to adjust to life in China. The fact is I don't really like Harbin and I'm completely unapologetic about it.

I feel as though if I were in a different city in China and in a different capacity it would be a very different experience. Of course I chose my first China experience to be that of a Chinese student deep in dongbei (northeast/ghetto) China at an intensive language program. And that has scarred my experience here. But I try to keep an open mind and recognize that when I come back to China it will be a good experience. But at this point I just want to be home.


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