Spending the Night in Yechao

Two days ago, I taught a morning class, had lunch with a fellow TA, and spent the rest of the day in my hotel….yeah, being lazy! Actually the funny thing is, I decided to rewatch one of my favorite Real World seasons (Real World 22:Cancun)…random right? But anyways, I was being a big grandma, I starting sleeping at 8pm to be honest, but luckily one of my friends, SH, called me around 9 and told me to meet up with him and a few friends for bar-hopping fun. I debated for a second, and decided to take the plunge, I was out of bed and in a taxi within an hour. We swung by to pick up a few 2 friends first, GW and RD, then drove over to meet the rest of them. I think I need to start a money tab for this post because I ran through a lot of money this night…I took one of the classier cabs by accident, so every mile cost more than usual, I paid for our cab and it cost me 22 RMB 😦

Once we got there SH met up with us and introduced his 3 Chinese friends, a larger set man who was appropriately called Pangzi (Fatty in Chinese), a pretty skinny girl in white pants (Feifei), and another in shorts (Mengmeng). At first, I didn’t really like these people too much, they started speaking to me in English first…which leaves me with a bad impression and makes me assume you want a language partner, rather than a new friend. Luckily, as the night wore on they turned out to be really cool and it was all in Chinese. We went to a bar to pre-game for the club, everyone got a bottle of beer, but I don’t really like that stuff, the taste isn’t good and it’s a whole lot of unnecessary calories. But luckily SH and I have the same taste in alcohol so he brought a bottle of raspberry vodka in one of the girl’s purses, he’s amazing right? So we drank and socialized for a while, then SH got a call from his roommate saying that the table at the club is ready and we should head over. As you all know, I have never clubbed in China before 2 weeks ago at Feeling, so this was my first time going to this place called YeChao as well.

We stepped inside and my first thought is I really liked it, most of the songs had a techno background beat, which makes all of them good to dance to.  We got to our table and there were two bottles already brought out to our table, so the drinks were flowing, toasts were being made, and we were having a good time dancing in the VIP section (80 RMB from each of us). Of course, GW, RD, and myself felt the need to explore, so we head for the stage and start dancing around it. Next thing I know this white boy who was dancing on stage tries to pull me up, so I hand him GW. But I guess his friend beside him wanted her, so I hand RD instead (for some reason I didn’t want to go up haha), but he STILL reached for me, so I went up anyways! I danced with him for a while, usually I have this two-song rule for guys I don’t know in the club…kind of like Julia Roberts and no mouth kissing on the job haha. He was a really good dancer though so I stayed with him for a while, maybe 20-30 minutes? All of the Chinese people below were obviously fascinated but I didn’t care to be honest. He kind of reminded me why I only dance for two songs though, because he kept trying to kiss my neck and whatever, I never do anything with a guy at the club, I don’t know about other girls and I don’t care but for me it’s a personal no-no. So I left him there and GW and I went back to our section to dance, then we all decided to go to the bathroom. I had fun sitting on the couches beside the bathroom and saying “Hello/Thank you, come again” in Chinese to the passing patrons. Seeing their surprised facial expressions was priceless. It’s pretty much a blur of dancing and having fun from there, I danced by myself, with a guy, went to other tables…’twas fun indeed.

After a while, I started going outside for a breather, every time I went there I found a new group of Chinese people to talk with outside the doors. I loved having the chance to practice, and they loved the novelty of speaking with a Mandarin speaking foreigner. One of those times, I decided to talk with a few of the employees instead, they were young, nice looking men standing on guard at the door….with purple see through shirts. I am not lying! That’s how I started the conversation actually, “OMG what’s up with your shirts?” They were really nice, I picked a favorite and everything, his name is Li ZhiGuo. While talking with them, another guy came over and started talking to me as well. There was nothing surprising there, because whenever I talk to one person people usually stop, stare, then join in the conversation as well. I talked to him about the employees clothes and what I thought about the club, he was escorting me back to the table when he admitted that he was a partial owner of the club…what?! It was really surprising, but nice because he brought another bottle for our table (free of course) and I had fun dancing with him.

The night went on with some KTV fiasco, a search for GW, a crazy Australian, and so on but that’s just too much to describe haha. Anyways we left the club around 4:45 in a cab to the 24 hour McDonald’s. Somehow I ended up throwing 20 RMB to cover the cost of the cab again (I am just too happy with my money after a few drinks). McDonald’s in China is an expensive, luxurious commodity here in China, I can buy full-course meals here for about 10-16 RMB, but at McDonald’s that barely covers the cost of a sandwich. I’m pretty dure I blew 40 RMB in that joint. Gosh. And Pangzi had his grubby little hands all up in my french fries, I don’t know you like that dude, so I was silently pissed! He even moved my sandwich box for easier access….I was not a happy camper. Good food though, and all-in all a great night…let’s see how much I spent. Total: 162 RMB….Dang! I won’t spend that much next time, that converts to about 24 USD though, so not TOO bad for an awesome night. 🙂

So Lonely, All On My Owney

Well, I’m not lonely to be honest, but life in this hotel is less interesting without the kids around….to be even more honest, these students on the program aren’t “kids” in the literal sense, haha. In our school, the Chinese Language Program is like a close knit family, and every Fall semester a new shipment of “kiddies” come and start learning Mandarin and about Chinese culture. Three years ago, my classmates and I were the first class to start on the new and improved language program, so we went for the first summer semester with Dr. Shepherd, and we are technically the highest level of Chinese students in the school….so yeah we are KIND of treated as elders, and I look to the new students as younger siblings? Though most of them are my age, if not younger. Every time I mention how I am not (legally) able to drink the States still, there’s always an outburst of surprise here, I guess I’m PRETTY mature for my age 🙂

Anyways, I am at the hotel without the kids now because they left this morning at 8am on a tour bus and will be gone for the week! They will spend seven days driving through about 10 cities and hitting all of the important tourist places in Shandong Province. I can’t believe it’s already been two years since I embarked on this same exact trip. It will be hot, there are several mountains to climb, and almost no space on the bus, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. But, instead I am staying to spend this week working more closely with the second year students in Qingdao University. Good news though, Diana FINALLY changed her flight back to America from July 4th, to July 27th. So now we get to party it up in….SHANGHAI!! The pearl of the orient, the Paris of asia (well at least according to Wikipedia, which is never wrong) To be honest, I need to start looking online to find out what exactly is a “must see” in Shanghai. I mean when people talk about visiting China, it’s always about going to the Forbidden Palace, Great Wall, and Terracotta Soldiers….all of which I have already seen. I am really excited though, we are going to buy train tickets right when Diana gets back from her trip around Shandong. The price is really good too, it’s a ten-hour train ride and only going to cost around 309 RMB, living in China is amazing for my wallet. In America I feel like a pauper, but in China I get to live like a Queen!~ Anyways I will write more about plans for Shanghai and maybe about tomorrow’s exciting night out (Oh~lala), if it’s exciting enough. Until next time America.

Becoming A Big TV Star?

Probably not, but I am being packaged up here to look like I want to become one. Literally a little over 2 weeks ago, my Chinese Professor Dr. Shepherd called and told me that I passed a secret audition to be on a television show. Let me back track. Every Wednesday and Friday from 10:30-11:30am I have a Chinese performance class where I (along with 4 classmates) learn a traditional form of Chinese storytelling, called 快板书. I will just call it Kuaiban to make it easier for readers. Anyways, I have been learning this art form for a year now, and have learned 4 stories, each about 3-5 minutes long. They are really interesting to learn, but the hardest part is remembering the lines on a beat…..why do I choose to learn things that make my life more difficult? Back on track, one day three ladies came to our class and my teacher made me perform one of my stories for them, Thrice Killing the White Boned Demons. Later that same day, I got the call from Dr. Shepherd explaining too me that my dream is now to become a Chinese television station host, and luckily for me the ladies from class are from a TV station and willing to help me along the path, all being filmed of course! I was mortified, but nothing left to do but give it a shot right?

Interview

That Monday, Ms. Chen came to the school I teach to interview me. My performing teacher had written a self-introduction for me…in kuaiban storytelling form. He is so funny! Our actual interview I can’t really remember, I  guess the nerves really got to me, but she asked me basic questions such as, “Why start learning Chinese? What do you think about Qingdao? Why do you want to become a TV host? Why learn kuaiban?” etc…I hope I expressed myself alright, I don’t think I had enough self-confidence. Too bad I can’t try it again, haha.

Step Dancing

 

Then on Thursday, they came back to film me along with my American friends (students in this summer program). My little sister, Diana, and I step danced for them…they were convinced it was Haitian dancing, and I had too little energy to correct them. So to all of my black people out there, please don’t be mad that step dancing will from now on be considered Haitian dancing in this section of China, it wasn’t on purpose! haha. Then I stood at the front of a group of Americans and led them in a kuaiban story, I said one line, then the others in chorus said the next line, and so on. The funny thing is, I never realized how much work goes into filming a TV show, the camera man was at impossible angles and perspectives, and we had to start over and over again. Also we had to film awkward bits of me walking and “talking” with my sister, sitting in grass doing homework, and so on. Gosh, it’s exhausting!

Storytelling With Classmates

It doesn’t end there though, Friday I went to an elementary school here in Laoshan to teach English class. It sounds easy (yeah, you know I speak English and all) but I had to follow there common format of language class. Meaning the class was entirely in Chinese with bits and pieces of new english words to learn. After I shook the nerves off though I remembered that I love kids, and I began interacting more and more with them. I taught them the body parts with “Simon Says…” and we played animal charades as well. At the end I handed out candy, and to my suprise, all of the students ran to my desk and gave me presents. I opened some of them on the spot and I was really touched by all of the hard work that went into making them. A little girl, named 王莎莎 (Wang Shasha), cried while they were interviewing her because she thought she didn’t put enough effort into her present, but she spent weeks making it and I could tell. Of course, being the ultimate crybaby, I broke down in tears too (with a camera rolling) and said thanks even more.

Adorable Chinese Students

Luckily, my filming whirlwind ended yesterday with an actual co-hosting job at the Qingdao Olympic Center and Museum. The director emailed me my script a few days prior so I eagerly memorized those lines, but it’s so hard talking about sailing terms in a different language, I can’t even do it in English. Also my co-host did not look at the script beforehand and just went with whatever came to mind, this threw me off but I tried my best anyways. I’m glad to have gone through this experience, but I now have crossed one job off of my list…becoming a TV host is way too hard! Hosts need to be active and funny, something so hard to do in a second language, haha. Maybe I will post my episode up online if I’m not tooooo embarrased 🙂

Clubbing In Qingdao

Despite the fact that I have spent my last two summers in this very town, I have yet to go to a nightclub. A shameful act, I know….I just heard from all of my roommates how the clubs are filled with sex and drugs, I did not want to be stuck somewhere bad at the wrong time and be put in a Chinese jail cell for the rest of my life, so I stayed away. Then one day, one of the American students, Catherine, mentioned that her roommate said the same exact thing, then we began wondering….”If these girls have never stepped foot in a club their whole lives, how do they know what it’s really like?” The switch turned and I saw the light! A group of Year 1 students decided to go that weekend, but unfortunately I could not go due to a busy morning schedule. But I rectified that this past Friday. Diana, Brittany, Amelia, Erica, and I initially went searching for a strip of bars to go bar hopping and flirt drinks out of guys….of course we couldn’t find it, scrapped that plan, and headed over to Feeling Club. It sounds very skeevy, and from the outside it looked empty and not popping, but just a few flights of stairs down and I was in heaven. There was a trampoline like dance floor right in the middle, tables (500 yuan minimum purchase), and awesome techno music. After a while almost all of the American students came in, having almost 30 students we dominated the club, it was American night! A great delight for the Chinese club go-ers. We got two large tables, popped bottles and took enough shots to feel loose and good.

After that, it was time to hit the dance floor, the second we got in there though, you could feel the attention centered on the tall blonde guy, 3 black girls, and 1 Indian-Guyanese….They all were loving it, Diana and I describe the Chinese club scene as a sausage fest, probably because not that many Chinese girls are brave enough to venture into the abyss of sin (a night club). So we were not only foreigners but women as well, their joy was palpable. Literally I could tell because every time I looked up I had an entire audience of viewers, not that I cared. I love dancing, in a crowd, with a guy, alone I don’t even care. But we survived that first time only a few minutes before we scurried away in fear, those guys were grabsy like I never known…I mean no body part is too sacred apparently. Then we went to our tables and made our own dance floor. When the guys finished drinking, us girls hit the dance floor again, thank god there were so many Americans with us because the protection was necessary…I can’t even count how many times I had to be saved haha. I danced with a few Chinese guys as well though, they were not all crazy our anything, I just couldn’t dance with them long because they would start to get ideas.

Anyways, we left the club around 4:30 and we realized one of our friends was unaccounted for. Everyone started freaking out, you know alcohol makes everything such a big deal. After searching the club up & down, calling her hotel room, knocking on her door and still she wasn’t found I started getting really scared. Luckily after an hour of anxiousness a hotel worker opened her door and she was just passed out inside. Good, because I was worried and starving, so myself and 4 others went to the beach to watch the sun rise, and got breakfast at McDonald’s. I returned to my room at 7 something and was exhausted to say the least. Al and all a great first clubbing experience, I can’t wait to try out Shanghai….I have high expectations!

Update and MIA Status

So despite my vow of staying on top of this blog and posting regularly…..I fell behind (as expected!) haha. But I shall strive to better myself and act right from now on. I am going to do 2 more in-depth posts about some interesting recent experiences, like being filmed for this TV show, and also my first night clubbing in China….but those shall be for later. A quick update about me from the last post. I am now in Qingdao, China (have been here for about a month now), it was almost like coming back home. The feeling I had as I stepped off of the plane from Korea was relief and joy at being back in China. It was busy, dirty and all mine! I could understand everyone again, and I went to the hotel all participants of the USF study abroad program is staying in, the second I arrived all of the hotel staff addressed me as “Teacher Lu” a strange, but cool change. My life as the TA has been pretty busy and a bit stressful, I have to teach the english portion of one class (having students that are all 5 years older than me is hilarious), attend the Year 1 classes, and every Wednesday/Friday/Saturday attend Year 2 classes as well, AS WELL AS take a performing arts class 2 days a week for Chinese Storytelling. Needless to say, it has been hectic, the Year 1 portion of the program is going to be done in two weeks, Year 2 in five….I can live for free if stay to be the TA for the Year 2 students, but I am ready for a break, even if it means I have to spend my own money I want a vacation! I don’t know how our teacher, Dr. Shepherd, puts up with this grueling schedule…..a scary man indeed. I love getting to spend time with new friends and old friends though, they are awesome. Diana still needs to change her plane ticket to leave China later, but once she does that, we are heading on a train straight for Shanghai, then going to spend a week in Kunming (Yunnan Province). That girl is so late with everything! She should have changed her ticket a long time ago, always need reminding, drives me crazy.

Trying to get in contact with family and friends back home has been rough. The magic jack has been my communication method of choice, but the internet connection here sucks so bad that the phone calls do not even go through. Instead, I have sent so many emails to my mom stating explicit times and days to be on Skype (and to my sister Stephanie too!) but still I get stood up….by my own mother! Yes, I lead a rough and lonely life. Luckily, my friends at least go online to talk to me 😦 Anyways I will post soon~

 

Trip to SBS Inkigayo

Just yesterday (5/15), Diana, Boram, and I made our slightly nervous and excited trip on the subway to inner Seoul’s broadcasting station, SBS. Boram knows one of the ex-main producers of Inkigayo, therefore we were about to be let backstage to actually meet the Korean pop stars, I would have literally died. But unfortunately it was a bit too short notice, she could have gotten us in next week, but I’m leaving that morning and Diana’s leaving sooner than that. Regardless, we were still going to be let in “illegally”. meaning we didn’t have to line up starting at 8 am like many dedicated fans. We walked over to the crowded building around 2pm, I felt kind of bad but the VIP treatment was pretty cool, Boram just said her name to security and we were ushered in to watch the rehearsal rather than wait outside.

While walking through the lobby to the stage area, we saw these handsome Korean men with different colored hairs (blonde, red, etc) which usually means idol! But we couldn’t recognize them, recently a lot of new groups have come out so it’s hard to keep up, we later learned that they were Infinite and actually already have a pretty big following. They looked at me and I looked at them and felt bad because my expression was clearly perplexed…haven’t gained international fame yet boys! 😛 Their performance was really nice though, probably going to go big, we shall see. Anyways after rehearsal we had to go back outside, but because of VIP we were first in line and not really outside, just on the outskirts of the lobby, and then I turned and saw B1A4 standing right there, all 5 of them, looking adorable. So I shouted “B1A4!” and two of the members turned and waved at me (the tall one with glasses and another that looks a bit like Eunhyuk from Super Junior). After that, I was happy, but it didn’t stop there, because the U-Kiss leader, Soohyun, was actually standing in front of them, he waved to me first before B1A4 but I didn’t see until afterwards. I guess our blackness enthralled him lol, I am a U-Kiss fan but he was never really my favorite, but now he is because he is soo much hotter in real life. It was a little embarrassing because I forgot his name, so I called his attention back by saying, “U-Kiss leader”…..I know, I know, but it worked and he turned around, waved at us AND I made full on eye contact. When it was time for us to walk in I called his name (looked it up quickly in a magazine) and said “Fighting”, I even did it with the hand-clench, he  loved it and did it back 😀

Inside the show was starting, most of the groups were newbies, except Eru (arrogant), Brian, Heo YoungSaeng, After School, and f(X), but their effort was admirable and enjoyable. Jo Kwon from 2am is one of the hosts, so when he walked up everyone was calling his name, luckily we stick out, he definitely saw us and waved. At the end, f(X) won with their new single Danger and during the encore and Jo Kwon gave an award worthy performance of it, typical Jo Kwon. Amber is full of so much energy, she definitely had the most charisma on stage, and after winning she hugged everyone, jumped on Victoria’s back, and bopped around, so funny.

After the show we all crowded at the exit to watch the vans of the celebrities pull out, some rolled down windows to greet fans, others actually shook some hands. For some reason U-Kiss was making everyone go crazy, their van was so close to the exit, just hopping and walking around like it’s normal, haha. Below is the picture of the stage clothing in their van, we all could see them sitting as well. Soohyun taunted fans a bit, then finally rolled down the window to wave….I’m hooked.

In the end Brian, f(X),  Heo Youngsaeng, U-Kiss, UI, and one other van that I couldn’t see into waved to the fans. A very satisfying day all-in-all~