Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Absence of Christmas

It's getting interesting here in Beijing now that it's nearing the winter time and the pollution days are becoming ever more frequent. Waking up to ashy grays looming on the horizon on a regular basis, its making me try to remember what green looks like. I'm not complaining really, just stating fact. I knew it would be like this, so I'm not surprised in the least. It was inevitable, Mr. Anderson. Add the fact that Christmas is rapidly approaching, and I couldn't be more oblivious to the fact. The stark absence of holiday cheer is quite interesting. While it would probably be a bummer to most, I find the existence in a society in which Christmas is just the faintest murmur among the few foreigners peppered throughout Beijing just one of those life-enriching moments.

Classes are going just fine, and it's weird to actually see kids growing. There are alot of things that have really surprised me about spending all this time with kids, that being one of them. But memories of myself being that age are actually coming back pretty strong. When I see a kid in class sort of talking to himself and speaking gibberish (not Chinese, I swear) it reminds me of myself when I was that age. And some other things, like I don't remember loose teeth in my own jaw freaking me out as a kid, but seeing another kid with a tooth that's about to fall out really makes me cringe for some reason. It's pretty shocking to me that I reacted that way. Either way, it's staggeringly impressive to see just how far the kids have come with English. They're geniuses. I dote, I dote. But here, not only are they smart little tykes, but they're staggeringly cute. Just take a look at these two pictures.

That's Rain, wearing Annie's glasses, and Kaylee, daydreaming about something. They've set the bar pretty high in terms of how cute kids can be. The worst part is that they know it, so they can work an angle to get away with being little bastards sometimes. Us softy teachers are so easily manipulated.

This, contrasted with the shocking spectacle of the bizarrely (yet aptly) named "Beijing Acrobat Macrocosm" show that Laura Kavazanjian, Lauren, and Laura's friend from home went to. I thought about that whilst watching little kids bend around in shocking ways and flip around like... I don't know, like some sort of supernatural flippy creatures. I mean, these kids are going to have some serious bone, muscle, and body issues. When you are able to bend over backward and balance yourself with the sole power of your jaw muscles, I'm pretty sure that's one thing that wasn't really intended for the human body to do. Just take a gander

Yeah. Ouch. Not alot of room for error there.

I've been spending alot of time away from home. Everything is pretty surreal because of it, I'm used to copius "me" time, and I'm being more of a socialite than I've ever been ever ever. It's all fun and good, especially since recently some of this quality hang out time has been at the absolutely beautiful location known as The Bookworm that lets you play the absolutely divine piano there and is one of the very few places that has Guiness and Bass. The only problem is that all this action is making me really exhausted. But I'm becoming accustomed to it relatively quickly, and it's great to have such a variety of things to do now in my life. Plus, when you go out, you can come across such awe-inspiring moments as these:

"The policeman remind," I will ruin your life if you commit all sorts of crime. He's so jovial looking. He derives much pleasure in punishing you severely. Now you see how they work here in China!

Well, I'll end this rather anticlimatic e-chron with a picture of me chilling with my homie Santa:

Yo yo yo! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I know, I know. Not a lot of updating going on recently. I'm a slacker. Mainly it's the difficulty inherent in apparently doing anything internet related in China. And I don't care how much guff I give them now, they must understand that the over censoring is pointless. The people you probably don't want finding things out on the internet know how to circumvent it, so it's a losing battle in my opinion. Just let the free love of the internet flow. That's what I always say. And by 'always' I mean, you know, just in that last sentence.

I've been doing some serious socializing as of late. Whether its via the new part-time style jobs or just going out more, I've been exposing myself to some seriously high consecutive hours of intense, social activity. Almost like the Ironman of hangin' out. It's intense. For me at least.

During one such marathon social occasions, Annie, Lauren, and I discussed the idea of originality and how it feels to have some things of your own copied or outright stolen (such as piano songs and such). And how much I don't really care. In the midst of this, I mentioned my desire of what I call an "Aerial Burial". That is, that I would very much enjoy this method of burial post-mortem (definitely not pre-mortem though). Much to my chagrin, I've learned that the name "Aerial Burial" was not wholly original. What I thought was a clever and original title to something that didn't exist, I find that they do indeed offer similar services to those who wish to go out in a blaze of glamor. Although I think I might still have dibs on the concept of my aerial burial, in that your remains are fired out of a canon in a spectacular display of extravagance and grandeur. I can think of no more an apt, 21st century American tradition than to be blasted out of something upon death. I'd even be keen on donning my body with an American-flag helmet.

I bought a smashing new camera. I spent too many hours being wishy-washy, but laying down that kinda kuai makes me jittery. So I had to be absolutely sure that I was buying something that I was happy. Though in the process of such, I'm a little ashamed to admit that I gave in to the cute. I purchased not a super zoomy camera with all kinds of bells and whistles, but a small James Bond style camera more suited for looking awesome. Ultimately, I was won over by the fact that the camera had not one, but two, lenses built right into it. One is for normal picture taking, the other is for wide-style. It makes for some easy framing, I have to say. And like I said, its small and cute. Like Dad's camera. And cute things drive the ladies crazy here in Chinaland from what I understand (or from what's going on in my mind at least).

With said camera, I've been seizing the opportunity to make many such photos. All of which I can assure you are of the highest quality. And there are some videos as well of the classes that we teach at Carden. In the near future, you will see just how impossibly cute the kids are capable of being. I mean, there's regular cute, and then there's the dangerous cute. Cute that transcends any preconceived notion one might have about the definition of cute. Cute that redefines the term in an intangible way, one of those "you don't know it until you see it" kind of ways. It's that cute.

But, and there's always a but in China, uploading at this point is painfully slow. So I'm going to try again tomorrow when the planets are aligned, the temperature is just right outside, and when the bell tower chimes at half past 3 o'clock, because that's what it freaking seems to take to get the ever-elusive "fast-internet" connection that has only been spoken of in old wives' tales.