Thursday, March 25, 2004

Lately the weather has been pretty crappy here, which usually affects my mood a lot. By crappy, I mean I haven't seen the sun in 9 days now, and the temperature has hovered between a miserly 40 and a paltry 55 for those 9 days. There has also been a lot of accompanying drizzle and some pretty intense fog. Ahh but life has been going on...things have been alright aside from the weather. A couple interesting things have happened this week. First, I taught my class last sunday, and I actually enjoyed it for the first time in awhile. Maybe it was because I prepared a bit before the class and was in the mood for it that day. They still acted up a lot, there were about 10 minutes during the one class where I just stopped teaching and just stood there because literally not one kid was listening to me...paper balls were flying back and forth in an anarchic frenzy - I just stood there smiling - then one of the kids who started it all runs out and grabs some chinese teacher and she comes in and yells at everyone. It's amazing the infinite quanities of respect she commands compared to the abysmal crusty speck of respect that I command. It was fun though...i taught them how to say "I want to be..." but they only know about 5 jobs and none of them make a lot of money, so they had a hard time deciding. I also got a few really good pictures of i have a little runt gallery now.

This kid is one of the worst behaved kids, but always raises his hand to answer questions, usually getting it wrong, but at least he's he's one of the goofiest looking kids i've ever seen, and he bowed down to me for this picture...he's my new favorite.

This kid could be the coolest motherfucker alive...just look at him, he exudes coolness.

They literally fought each other to get into this picture

They look nice and docile here, but inside...inside they are evil.

Another interesting thing to happen this week, on two separate occasions fashion agents took my picture for possibly using me as a fashion model, or as an extra on a TV show. It wasn't just me, they took pics of most of the foreigners on the program, but it was still kind of cool. I would love to be the evil foreigner in some chinese movie or cheesy soap opera. Modelling clothes doesn't sound like too much fun, but i could probably make some decent money. Apparently china is in such demand for foreign (white) models that they would bother taking my picture. Though my chinese students did call me laoshuaige, which translates to something like "old handsome one"...they were joking but it was pretty cool at the same time.

And finally, the last interesting thing, was this artist we visited as a class. He is a friend of our history teacher, and a famous artist in China. His apartment is really pimped out, with two floors, a lot of art and sculpture, a studio, and some pretty cool interior design. One of his paintings sold for $20,000 in the US, so he's definitely the real deal. He talked to us in Chinese for about 3 hours and gave us a painting demonstration. I followed about 1/4 of his chinese, but I was extremely tired yesterday and drifted off a lot. He said some really interesting things about the difference between western and eastern art, and how that represents the greater differences between the west and the east. He specializes in painting mountains and streams...chinese painters all have a specialty in one of four categories: people, mountains and streams, flowers, and animals. He said how the colors in a scene are not neccessarily representative of the actual colors the artist sees in the scene, but have symbolic meaning. Ancient chinese painters wouldn't just sit in a spot and draw a scene, they would walk around a landscape all day long, then go home, drink some tea, and paint everything they saw all in one scene. In that same respect, there can be all 4 seasons in one painting with snowing in one area, raining in another, sunny in another, etc. Also, a lot of painters are deeply influenced by chinese poetry and philosophy, and supposedly you can see this in their paintings. He said how it is the ultimate goal of chinese painters/artists to unite man and nature. I always thought these kinds of paintings were just beautiful landscape drawings, but it was really interesting to hear about the depth they have to them. Here are a couple pics of him painting, and showing one of his paintings.


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