Saturday, March 20, 2004

I feel like these entries have become less and less interesting. Before in my daily life here lots of things would happen that I'd want to write about, but it's not the same now, maybe because I'm just getting used to living here. Tonight something pretty interesting happened, in the grand scheme of china it's really not too unusual, but it's fresh in my mind right now. Across the street from my dorm is a convenience store, conveniently called "Educational Market." I go to this store almost every day to buy bottled water, ice cream bars, candy, toiletries, and any other neccessities. They also strangely have a decent selection of underwear, luggage, sports equipment, expensive pens, and chinese board games. Anyway, today I went with a couple friends after dinner for some ice cream...we walk in and there is a guy with a box of live turtles selling them to customers. Now, they have all kinds of strange food in this market (think dried squid and octopus in bags), but there is nothing living. So it was quite a site to see 4 or five people buying live turtles by the pound. More so, because they were selling them in plastic bags, like the kind you get at the supermarket, and the turtles, while gasping for air, kept clawing through the bags and escaping. We just stood there and watched as these women chased turtles around on the floor, and other women started screaming. Their solution to the turtles getting through the bag? Double bag it of course...this worked for about 30 seconds, and they clawed through again. It was great entertainment. Then our thoughts went back to the fact that there were live turtles being sold at our little educational supermarket. This place, in my mind, was a bastion of western convenience, not a place for turtle farmers to peddle their insipid wares. This is a place where if you buy $10 worth of Snickers you get a free skateboard, not a salmonella infested back-alley turtle market. Plus, what were these people thinking buying turtles at 730 on a saturday night? The whole thing just doesn't quite register in my mind...did they just have a craving for some hardshell salmonella at 7, and remember that the turtle guy is due to be at the educational supermarket at 730? All of these questions are currently unresolved, but I will be investigating them further...

Well, the semester is almost half over already, and the time has really flown by. I've been thinking lately whether China is or isn't a place where i'd want to live for a long period of time. It's a hard question to answer because i've still only been to one city in China. So far the hardest part about living here has been that I am instantly recognizable as a foreigner, and definitely treated differently from Chinese people everywhere I go. The treatment is sometimes better, sometimes worse, but it is almost never the same. At the least, almost everywhere I go I get an above average amount of attention from people staring, pointing, or obviously talking about me. This isn't all bad, for instance, it makes it easier to get into random conversations with people, but some days it's a little annoying to deal with. It's also pretty easy here to almost completely surround yourself with foreigners most of the time and not really come into much contact with Chinese people. This is kind of how my life has been the last couple weeks...mostly hanging out with foreigners and mostly speaking english. My chinese hasn't really been improving, same with a lot of the other people on the program, because after the initial excitement of being in china, talking to chinese people, and practicing chinese, it's now just part of life. Most of my day is in english and it's hard to find a way out of this cycle.

Overall, life is pretty good though having a fun time, especially this past week because we didn't have class in the afternoon...played some sports and took a lot of naps. tomorrow i have to teach the little runts again...going to try to think up something interesting for them to do...

Runt Alert

Those are a couple of my runts, don't they look so runt-like? Probably the runtiest runts in China. Even in America, I've seen few runtier runts than these runty runts. Even the non-runt runts in my class are all either borderline runts, or extremely in the near future they'll probably become true runts, with all the usual runt attributes (or as I like to call them, runtributes). I can't put my finger on exactly what these runtributes are, but they are all bad...all of them. And the runtribute sub-attributes (the runtributes' runts) are even much worse...shouldn't have even mentioned it. Alright, got all the fucking runts out of my system...or not...just had an idea for tomorrow's class, maybe i'll just unceasingly assail them with runtisms...runt runt runt runt runt


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