Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Backdoor Culinary Tour of Modern China

Hey, good to see you! It's been awhile. Are you hungry? I'm starving. Let's see what there is to eat. Here's some old friend you'll probably recognize:

Chocolate Oreos

Peanut Butter

Even though I don't get up for it very often, my favorite meal is breakfast. These are steamed dumplings filled with pork sausage...


...but these are my favorite! They're dumplings filled with pork sausage and pan-fried. I go to the same place for breakfast almost every day.

Dumplings 2

I just went to the grocery store, let's see what's in the fridge. Oh, take a look at this. Yep, that's right, yougurt is a beverage in China. This one is strawberry, and it toally beats strawberry milk.

Drinkable Yoghurt 1

Oooh! This is the best ice cream bar in China.

Magnum Bar

I like these cookies. They're covered in black sesame seeds, and inside is a kind of sweet bean paste. Sounds gross, but they kinda taste like peanut butter.

Black Seseme Cookies

My favorite thing here by far is all the fresh produce. Look at these tiny mandarin oranges!

Tropical Fruit 1

These are called li in China, and nashi in Japan. In the US they are known as Asian Pears. They are crisp like apples and taste like lovely, fresh ripe pears.

Pears 5

This is xiao bai cai, Chinese cabbage. It's similar, but not quite the same as what I've seen in the US labelled as bok choy.This is a staple vegetable here.

Xiao Bai Cai

Sounds good? Okay, let's cook some up. Lot's of garlic, of course, a quick trip in a wok...

Xiao Bai Cai 2

So, now who gets the ice cream for dessert?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Chinese Independence

It's National Holday week here in China, which also coincides with the Moon Festival, a time to spend time with your family and enjoy the harvest moon. That's cause enough for a week off from school! Sunday night a friend got us some tickets to a fireworks display on the Yangtze. If there was ever any doubt that the Chinese invented fireworks, I can personally testify that it is true. For the finale there were fireworks exploding right out of the surface of the water! There was one set that exploded in traditional Chinese red paper lanterns that floated down with glowing streamers. I didn't get a very good picture of it, unfortuantely. Still, on the whole, they were...

Fireworks 1

"The finest rockets ever seen..."

Fireworks 8

"They burst in stars of blue and green..."

Fireworks 4

"And after thunder, golden showers..."

Fireworks 14

"Came falling like a rain of flowers."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chinese Scenery

Let's go shopping! We'll need some cash. Chinese money is called yuan, and the coins (equivalent to dimes, but worth less) are called jiao. Jiao also come as bills. In slang yuan are called kwai and jiao are called ma.

Kwai 1

This is outside a middle school near my college. Bicycles are a major form of transportation here in China. We aren't going very far, though, its just a couple minutes' walk.

Bicycle Infinity

Look, here's my favorite sign. "Keep off the grass" seems so heartless, by comparison.

Slender Grass

Here's the fruit market, just a few steps from school.

Fruit Market

What should we buy? Keep in touch to see...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Chinese Essay Excerpts

Last Friday I helped my postgraduate class choose English names and look up their meanings. Here are some quotes from my students' essays on "Does the meaning of your English name suit you?"
"I had read a paper on Alphabetism. I still remember some sentences from the paper. That is: the list for job interview, election ballot, conference speakers and attendees, all tend to be drawn up alphabetically, and the recipients loose interest as they plough through them. Consequently, I chose Austin."
"In the same time, I think beauty is not just the outlook, it includes the inner too. If you have more knowledge and behave gracefully, you will be more attractive."
"There is an old saying "People can't do anything without money, but money is not everything." In fact, happiness, true love, friendship, time, health are all valuable things and can never be bought with money...if you want money just for your own needs, you'll never be satisfied or happy."
"Bright eyes are a bridge to make the world and ourselves to know eachother."
"In my opinion, my Chinese name fits me means the Changjiang River. My given name means "miss the lover." So my Chinese name means a person standing by the Changjiang river missing his lover. I think it is a very poetry name."
"In all, I think everyone loves his name as he loves his children. I love my name as well."
"Jasmine...contributes to many aspects of our daily life. I hope that when I walk up to you, I smell like a fragrant scent...I hope that I can also play an important role in peoples' daily life, as Jasmine."
"I consistently believe that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
"As the old saying goes "the whole year's depends on a good start in spring." Farmers sow seeds in April, they also sow their hope. So April, a sowing season, is also a season filled with expectation. That just fits my character."
"In other words, setback is the mother of the brave."
"Learning is the eye of the mind and food for the soul, so "forever young" also means keep learning in our whole life."
"Do you think God who is the creator and ruler of the universe exists in real life? Frankly speaking, I don't believe in it. I think it's just a superstition. When you are in trouble, yourself is the only one who can help you, and sucess comes from hard work, instead of God's blessing."
"I have lots of friends. they all like me because whatever they do, I'll back them up. When they are in trouble, I'll give a hand and do whatever I can do. I like to help my friends because when I am helping them, I know that I am useful."
"Another reason I chose David as my English name is as follows: I'm a football (soccer) fan...among all the football stars, I like Beckham best. His football skills are not perfect, but useful. Always he helps another player to get a goal...the cause of England's team will feel pity in the future."
It sounds like I have a group of very intelligent students.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

...and I can't get up.

Here's what it would look like if I fell out of my window...

Falling 1

Falling 2

Falling 3

Falling 4

Falling 5


Monday, September 18, 2006

Meet the Gang

Oh, hey! I wasn't expecting you! But I'm glad you stopped by. I'm goining to visit some friends, and I'd like to introduce you.

Dustin Breakfast

This is Dustin, the other new English teacher at our university this year. He's a Texan. He's eating dopi (dopey) here, a common breakfast food: egg, sticky rice, chicken and mushrooms.

Group 9-7-06
Geoff and Mary have been at WPU for one year. Here we are at their apartment with some of their Chinese friends.

Postgraduate 1 pic 1

This is my class of postgraduates taking elective English. They're my only class so far.

Yoyo and Katie

I only have one class currently because my other two class groups are freshmen. All freshmen in China start out college with a month of military training. I won't see my freshmen until the second week in October, after fall holiday.

Good to see you again!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


By the way, sports fans, I changed my settings so now anyone can leave a comment. In a former life I had only allowed members of blogger to comment because I was getting spam comments. For the blog novices, to leave a comment, click on "comments" at the end of an entry. There you can see what other people have written. In the window on the right you can leave your own comment. I love to get feedback. Thanks!

Campus Walkabout

Hey! Glad you're here. Are you ready? Where would you like to go?

Not in Kansas 2

Alright, I'll just show you around. Just over here, not too far from my apartment is building #1, the Foreign Languages Department (woo hoo, we're #1!). This is where I teach all but one of my classes.

WPU English Dept

Okay, let's cut through the park. This is a nice little scenic area in the middle of campus.

WPU Walkway

Yep, there's the pagoda. That's the stereotypical image of China, but it's a form of arcitecture that isn't used much anymore, except in a decorative sense. There's seats inside, kind of like a gazebo, and it's surrounded by a pond with lilypads. At night, the pagoda lights up like a christmas tree.

WPU Pagoda

This is the campus statue. It's name is something like "morning dew" or "dew and sunrise." My name for it is "It's so hot in Wuhan even the statue sweats."

WPU Statue

Behind it is building #2, where I have just one class. This is the sight you see when you come in the front gates.

WPU Building 2

You have to go? Okay. Thanks for walking with me! I'll see you again soon.

Double-0 Coffee!

Mr Bond

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Outside the Cocoon

As requested, here are some photos of my balcony and the outside of buildings. These are not pictures of the outside of my building, but the outside of buildings you can see from my window. They are very similar in appearance to my building. I took these a couple days ago when it was raining and I had to stay in. What? An Oregonian refusing to go out in the rain? Well, brother, when you have to go everywhere on foot you're a whole lot less apt to go out in the rain if you don't have to. Wet clothes take a long time to dry when this is your only dryer...

Chinese Building 4

These are cables on the roof over my balcony. They are for drying clothes. Electric clothes dryers are unheard of here since both appliances and electricity are expensive. In this next picture you can see the blue stick I use to hang the clothes on hangers from the wires. The clothes lines are too high up to reach...that way you can stand out on the balcony and not have to dodge wet clothes. Clothes hanging t odry on a balcony or outside a window is a very common sight here in China.

Chinese Building 3

Not a fabulous picture, but it's hard to take a good one in a small space. Here's the view outside my living room window. Yes, there are bars on it. But remember, I'm on the fifth floor. I am not sure why these bars are there, but I think they are more to prevent people from falling out than for keeping people from getting in.

Chinese Building 6

Here's the same view from the kitchen bay window (the one with the fans from my last post) which has no bars. You can see the hanging laundry here. I know at least some of the Chinese faculty is housed in this building.

Chinese Building 7
Here's the same building again from the other living room window. It looks like several buildings, but it's all one. My building is similarly staggered like stairsteps. Each front has it's own door, so in getting directions to my (and most Chinese) apartment, it is essential to get the door number as well as the apartment number. My building has several apartments with the same number as mine, but mine is the only one behind door four. At the bottom of this picture the long pipes you see running suspended in the air are for hot water...not for use in the shower, but for the radiators that heat the campus in winter.

Chinese Building 2

"Yes, yes, Christense, it's all very well and good with the buildings, but how about some people?" Well, I'm working on it. This is reflective of my experience here, first I have to acclimate myself to my surroundings before I can begin building relationships with people. Soon!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Grand Tour

Welcome to my place! Let me show you around. We're in China, though, so first you need to take off your shoes and put on some house shoes, like this...

Here we are in the main room. There's the dining area. Sorry it's a bit messy. I just moved in, you know.

Here's that English language magazine I bought when I took a walk and got caught in the rainstorm. It's interesting reading.

Here's the living room area. The refrigerator is out here because there's not enough room in the kitchen.

And here's my's also a futon.

Okay, back here's the kitchen. On the counter there is my oven. It's smaller than at home, but I'm told the last english teachers baked cookies and everything in it. On the counter beneath is my microwave.

Chinese kitchen 1

Here's my cooktop. It's set in a bay window. It's gas-powered and those two fans are for ventilation.

Chinese kitchen 2

Okay, back here on the other side of the living room is my spare bedroom. Outside is the balcony where I dry my laundry.

Chinese spare bedroom

And finally, here's my bedroom!

Chinese bedroom

Not bad, huh? That's it. Thanks for stopping by. Would you like something to drink before you go? I have some apple fanta!

apple fanta

all right then. I'll see you later. Bye!