One Thing I Won’t Miss

I’m taking a quick study break (has to be really quick because the exam is in..oh, 6 hours and I’m not even done with the flash cards…yup, Queen of Procrastination)  to talk about one thing I DEFINITELY won’t miss when I go home next week…my roommate. She doesn’t say much and when we actually talk, we get along fine, but the hotter it gets, the more annoyed I get with her.  She sleeps on the side of the room that has both the window and the air conditioner. I used to let her have free reign with both items because it was never a problem before, she came in October when I wouldn’t want more cold anyways. So I have discovered too late that she has this crazy, crazy strange aversion to the AC. I don’t know if it’s her African blood giving her superpowers, but this girl sleeps under covers still in our muggy (Tianjin is humid) non-airconditioned room. While I lay there in a tank top, short short, no covers and still sweat up a storm. I felt bad about turning on the AC before becasue the wind does blow directly on her, but I think she may be a bit of a drama queen. I mean how cold can you really get from it under covers. So I have started turning it on after a few hours to make this a more give-and-take relationship. She hasn’t recieved the memo because the longest I have been able to keep it on without her reaching for the remote is 3 hours. Guys, I feel lucky when I get to two hours…my life is misery. The only thing keeping me going is the thought that I only have one more week of this crap. Thank God~~

Also, what makes it worse is that she likes to leave the window open (her version of AC I guess), and while there is a vent in place, bugs still find the cracks to get in and terrorize me while I sleep. She doesn’t understand the correlation between the window being open and the increased numbers of bugs she has to kill. I described it to her but it went in one ear…and sadly out the other. I’m feeling blissful just thinking about leaving her (she never even leaves our room so I have no respite!). Okay, I’ve bitched and moaned enough, back to studying!

Stephanie’s Reflections #2

What has been your favorite place so far in Tianjin?

I really loved the amusement park here (sorry, I don’t know its name). It was absolutely beautiful with pavilions full of breakdancing groups (the degree of talent these groups had was another question) and older people ballroom dancing. There was also the place where they put brass animals symbolizing the Chinese zodiac and I took pictures of others next to their zodiac (I couldn’t take a picture next to the dragon because it was the only one missing- BOO!). Little babies were running everywhere and people were smacking down cards during a picnic as if they were playing dominoes.   There was also a Ferris wheel and bumper cars but it cost around 50 RMB to ride them :(.  So, if you’re in Tianjin I recommend going to the amusement park that I’m sure Marsha will be kind enough to write out and the Joy City mall because of all the shopping you can do! I bought tops there and trust me, I am NOT a petite girl.

 

What do you think about my friends after reading about them and now finally meeting them? Were they what you expected?

I don’t know what I expected after hearing about your friends but I was pleasantly surprised. For some reason, when you described Moon (for those of you who don’t remember him…look back to check on the Moon Saga), I was expecting a spindly, awkward geek who sported taped glasses. Instead, I met a swearing stocky guy (my first impression was of him shouting “F**king stupid driver!” in English after our taxi got us lost trying to meet him) who can play a mean game of cards and walked like a yakuza character in an anime. I still have a mission to see what he’s like drunk before I leave because it looks like it would be hilarious.

Brandon wasn’t as buff as I expected but as I was sipping my rum and coke he got cuter and cuter. In my inebriated state, I told him he was a “hao ren” (good person) because he didn’t seem to speak a lick of English and that was one of the phrases I had in my extremely limited internal Mandarin dictionary. Even though I saw him that one time and didn’t really talk to him, he seemed alright.

Patrick seems really cool, especially since he had to chase my little sister when she tried to run out into the streets after inhaling about half a bottle of rum. He even let me pet his hair after a few drinks although he laughed when I described it as “soft and strong.” I even whispered to Marsha, admittedly tipsy, that I wouldn’t mind him as a brother-in-law while she was having the Awkward Date That Must Not Be Named with another guy.

Alex reminds me of the people who we used to hang out with in Boston – he has the dry humor thing that Northeasterners come out of the womb with down pat. He also seems into doing whatever, which is probably why him and Marsha get along so well. As a Midwestern boy, I’ve also had the pleasure to teach him some of our more…colorful…phrases such as “ratchet,” “doing the most,” “finna,” and various words in Kreyole which he was able to pick up fast since he took French. It was also hilarious to watch his expressions while showing him twerking videos. He’s cool peoples.

Avi’s hilarious with his unnecessary comments and the emotional abuse the group piles on him. Mustafa is a cool guy with an iron stomach (he drank copious amounts of sake and still wasn’t the least bit drunk). Nastya was awesome for shooing away that pervert in the club and for being another tall girl.  Overall, I think your friends look like good people…at least not psychotic haha.

Which place in China are you most looking forward to visiting?

It isn’t necessarily a place but I really want to do two things before I go: drunk KTV just because and light fireworks because I was always too much of a wuss to do it.

What do you think about Chinese food?

It’s definitely not like the Chinese food in America. If you ask for “fried rice” in most restaurants, you’ll get white rice mixed with fried eggs. The food here is more refreshing than the fare offered in America. I know that isn’t the correct term, but I can’t think of a better word to describe it. What I mean is that it doesn’t create the stick-to-your-stomach fullness that the other food gives you. But there are great dishes here that I wish they had in more American Chinese restaurants. One of my favorite things to eat was the hotpot, which you boil whatever you want and dip it in this yummy sesame sauce: beef, cabbage, chicken, eggs, anything. You even get a cute red apron to wear so you don’t stain your clothes. The only thing I miss about America is the salty snacks because there is no way of cooking in the hotel. The snacks in China seem to be on point when it comes to sweets but when it comes to salty ones there’s always something…off. Either I don’t like the flavor or there is a twinge of sweetness that I was trying to avoid. So, as long you pack up on the Cheezits and Doritos, you’re good to go!

This is Marsha again: About that “awkward date” that my sister brought up, i think it deserves a post of it’s own…look out for it! lol

Stephanie’s Reflections

Hey, lovely blog readers! This is Stephanie, Marsha’s older sister and, in my unbiased opinion, the prettiest of us all. Since I’ve been here in China for over a month, Marsha wanted me to answer questions she prepared.  Even though I could use this time to recount horribly embarrassing stories about her from our childhood, I’ll just answer these questions as honestly as I can as a black woman travelling through China with absolutely NO knowledge of Mandarin (I just learned the proper tones for “ni hao” 2 weeks ago).

What was your first impression of China?

I’ll break this into two parts because I first landed in Hong Kong five hours before heading to Tianjin. When my plane landed in Hong Kong and I saw the pretty green mountains and clear blue skies, all I could think is: This is it? Where is the beastly, ghetto fabulous China that my sisters told me about with smog and streets that would make you regret wearing open-toed shoes? When I landed, there it was, the China-beastly-ghetto-fabulousness that I was seeking. There were people pushing in lines…a lot of people and I had to choke back my anger when more than a handful of them wedged in front of me in line.  At 5’6”, I know that some of them thought that they could squeeze past the Amazon, but I definitely didn’t think it was cute. Then there was the fact that gate for the flight to Tianjin wasn’t announced until a half-hour before takeoff. In Tianjin, the air was smoggy and during the initial taxi ride, since my sister Diana told me it would be rude to buckle the seatbelt, I had a good time trying to hold onto the seat because apparently my taxi driver was an extra in Fast and the Furious and found it amusing to put my life in danger multiple times weaving through rush hour traffic. All in all, my first impression of China was pretty memorable.

What shocked you the most about China or Chinese people?

I was shocked at the variety of heights I saw here. I came expecting to just completely tower over people (yes, I know I’m only 5’6” but I have body dysmorphia, OK?). While this is true of a good portion of the people here, there are plenty of people my height and taller. I heard it might be because I’m in northern China, but I don’t care as long as I don’t feel like Gargamel preying on innocent Smurfs. I was also shocked at the spitting that happens here. It’s not the fact that the men here spit that shocks me but the method that Chinese men seem to have down pat. Imagine someone hocking a loogie from deep within their soul before spitting it out anywhere with impunity. Yup, the sound traumatized me when I first came but now I just keep on moving after making sure not to step on it. I was also shocked at the level of PDA I saw in the younger Chinese couples. I’m talkin’ kissing-all-over-your-face-and-rubbing-your-rump PDA. Maybe it’s specific to Tianjin but it definitely broke the stereotype I had in my head of Chinese people being conservative virgins, ha.

What DO you think about Chinese people (coming from a non-Chinese speaker’s point of view I’m curious)?

I think I summed it best the first day I was in Tianjin and I tried to make myself as small as possible in Helen’s while the waiters and patrons were rushing past: “I have never felt so in people’s way in my life.” Chinese people seem to always be in a hurry and don’t like to be inconvenienced. When I fumbled for the change in my clutch at 7-11, the person behind me already has their products laid out and their bills ready to hand to the cashier. There also seems to be a language Chinese drivers developed with their car horn that allows them to switch lanes with impunity because the taxi drivers I had did not seem to like to wait in lanes when they could just make their own by squeezing between other cars and honking to announce our presence. Another observation I made was that Chinese people seem to be TERRIFIED to speak to foreigners. Not in the xenophobic sense that one would assume but because they are afraid of exercising their limited English. I won’t be a douche and be angry about that, though, because my Mandarin is VERY limited and whenever Marsha asks me to recite a phrase I learned to one of her friends, my tongue gets twisted so fast it’s ridiculous. But it’s hilarious seeing the panic on the faces of people at a fast food restaurant when all I have to do is point out what I want and seeing a cashier literally push us onto another in Beijing while muttering “sorry” to his partner in Mandarin before rushing off with a red face. It makes me wish that I spoke Mandarin because whenever Marsha is around, they get sooo relieved when almost perfect Mandarin comes flowing out of the lips of a black girl. From what I’ve seen, though, Chinese people seem fairly friendly and I’m sure would be even more so if we could properly communicate.

I also love how girly and over-the-top accessories can be for Chinese girls. Chinese girls seem to relish in being excessively feminine. Everything is sparkly and frilly and colorful…right up my alley. If they had covers for Kindles here I would have bought it twice over because they seem to have pretty covers for everything: cellphones, IPhones, laptops, you name it. I bought nail art sparkles to paste on my nails and about seven bows to jazz up my locks and I’ve gotten compliments on my hair throughout the whole trip. I guess my locks can also look a little confusing to Chinese people and the question my sisters, cousin and I get about our natural hair is: how do you wash it? Pretty hilarious.

Chinese people also seem to live in both the past and the present. I see Chinese people riding fast cars with headlights that blink red and blue; on the other hand, I’ve seen rickshaws being peddled down streets and old women practicing traditional dances in the park. I kinda like how the Chinese embrace new developments while holding on to their culture.

Non-Fat Latte?

I am getting a serious case of second-hand embarrassment here sitting in my corner of a coffee shop! I am innocently sitting here catching up on homework (I am SO backed up), when I heard loud English being spoken at the register up front. The girl ordering a latte obviously doesn’t speak Chinese, which is fine, but the way she is screaming every syllable is enough to embarrass. But that wasn’t all, she had the audacity to ask for non-fat or skim milk. Alex and I heard this, looked at each other, and burst into silent laughter. Skim milk? In a place where regular milk is a luxury?

The workers looked at her in confusion and the girl continued to say “SKIM milk” in her face. I haven’t had a drop of milk (fake or otherwise) since I left America….as I mentioned before, milk in pouches on counters that don’t expire make me iffy…call me picky. Anyways, I just had to take a break from studying to share the hilarity. The thought of what just happened still makes me giggle.   

PS. Don’t pull out the pitchforks just yet, I know I haven’t updated in so long, but it has been a HECTIC month. My sister’s guest post is coming up in a few hours, so look forward to it 🙂

The Vampire Next Door

Don’t you love the melodramatic title?

Back on topic: Remember my good friend Alex who I mentioned in several posts so far? (He went to Nanjing with me and almost got kidnapped for looking like Edward from Twilight) Well, as promised I asked for permission to put up a picture to prove that I am not crazy or a fan girl. Here is the proof! His friend took a picture of him off of his facebook and put it side-to-side with Robert Pattinson:

Image

I think it’s hilarious, obviously he looks like a less angsty, less drugged up version..but that’s just my personal opinion.

Also, as a bonus I am going to add a “crouching” photo that makes him look very vampiric, haha

Image

Funny sidenote, three days ago in the club, the singers on stage saw him, yelled “Edward”, and pulled the both of us on stage to dance with them. He died a quiet death of embarassment on the inside, but I didn’t care (I love dancing in the spotlight, haha).

Creep Alert

Creepers and parasites have been infiltrating my life!

I’m one creep short of calling the police, haha. Let me describe…

Major Creep #1:

As I described in an earlier post, I met a black guy in the club one time when I was (stupidly) trying to make Moon jealous. I say stupidly because I never even liked Moon like that, I am just a brat like that 😛 But anyways this guy’s name is Biggy (I laughed when I heard that name too) and he calls me at random times to this day. I have refused to meet up with him (even in group settings), ignored all calls, texted back only once, and told him I have a boyfriend. His response? “That’s not a problem; I just want to be friends.” Guys ALWAYS say that when we use the “got a boyfriend” excuse, don’t they? And I always just look at them and laugh….friends my big fat bumper sticker. Anyways, I sometimes still run into him at Helen’s, but I have ignoring him down to a science. This man has no pride, though, because he called again yesterday. Who does that?!? Ewww..sorry the thought of dating him (well, let me be honest, kissing him) just sent creepy chills down my spine….

Major Creep #2:

Sara, is a 16-year-old, Korean nuisance in my life right now. I smile too much and can make small talk with anything, so people often attach themselves to me, looking for friendship. Usually, I don’t care, I mean, just because a person doesn’t know how move around in social circles or is a little bit awkward doesn’t mean I won’t be their friend.. To a certain extent, of course. Sara, is a whole other case, she was the roommate of a nice, cute, popular Japanese girl last semester. So by extent she met a lot of us foreign students, but she was always dragged around by her roommate so we never minded when she partied with us. Graduating high school in Korea (in Asia in general) is very hard, exams and studying are everything, and students usually have classes from morning to late at night, not to mention weekends as well. The fact that she completed this journey 2 years early is a testament to her intelligence, not so much a testament to her social skills. She is strange, awkward, and annoying. Whenever we got to Helen’s she is just there…lurking. And we can’t ignore her, her roommate went back to Japan, but we can’t just let her sit by herself..that would be Mean Girls mean wouldn’t it? So no one invites her, but she comes anyways. Also, I always smile, so she always tries to sit next to me, and when she does, I talk for a second and then run. During those moments of torture, she always finds a way to mention how young she is (ALL the time, whenever ANYONE says their age, she says “Oh well that makes you # years older than me!”), asks me awkward questions (“I’m considered average in Korea, what would Americans think of me?…Am I ugly there too?”, “Would my personality be appreciated in America?”… How the heck would I answer that stuff truthfully?), and sometimes she tries to hold my hand! Also, she started this new thing where she hugs and kisses me on the cheek, she’s spent time with foreigners, as I’ve mentioned, and feels cool doing it. But she does it in a SUPER creepy way. Whenever I see her now, I look busy so I can ignore the whole hugging part. Also, she pops out of nowhere, or stalks where we live, she lives in the building behind us, but finds a way to stake out the only exit in our building. Sits on the bench outside, hangs out at the front door, twice I’ve seen her sitting in the dark down there by herself. CREEP!

Major Creep #3:

Two days ago, we went to the theater to watch Titanic 3D (yeah yeah, don’t judge me). First, we got some sandwiches at Subway and then headed to the movie to buy tickets…but I was weak! We walked by a McDonalds and I decided to stop and buy an ice cream, while I told the others to go on ahead.  By the time I caught up with them, they were already in line and I decided to wait outside, listen to my audio book, and enjoy my guilty pleasure. Then a short Chinese woman in her early 20s stopped in front of me and said the infamous, “Hello.” I ignored her of course and pretended not to be aboe to hear, I even pointed to my head phones, but she kept on trying, “How are you? What is your name?” So I had to make a decision, should I pretend to only speak English (intimidate her by speaking quickly, using big words, if she only had basic English skills this would scare her off, if her English was good, this would make her want to talk to me even more) or pretend to only speak Chinese (this would make her go away if she were looking for English practice)….I went with the latter option. But this made her very happy because her English wasn’t that great anyways (FML!) She wanted to listen to my book with me, kept telling me how pretty I am, wanted to join us in watching a movie, and wanted my cell phone number. All in about a 5 minute time span…she came on strong! I dropped all pretenses of politeness and started ignoring this cray cray. After a second, she took a look at my ice cream and said, “”That looks delicious, I only brought my debit card so could you help me buy one?” I obviously told her no, but in a nice way (damn my niceness), I said that McDonalds was too far away and that I was waiting for my friends. Not a problem at all though, because she came up with a nice solution: just give her a ten. I scoffed in disgust and told her no….kind of, I said that I didn’t feel comfortable giving her money and MAYBE I would do it when my friends got back. She turned for a second and I ran to them and we scurried away to wait for the upcoming movie in a milk tea shop. I thought I was free….until 30 minutes later when I turned my head and the woman sitting right beside me was the creepy lady! I jumped and clutched my purse even tighter, a move that she noticed but I didn’t care at that point. She had a menu in her hand and asked me, “Well how about getting me a drink here instead?” I kid you not! Then I called her bluff, “No thanks, but this place takes cards so you shouldn’t have any problems (polite smile)”. She walked out a few minutes later, no drink purchased of course. I need to spend some time in the mirror practicing my bitch glare.

Major Creep #4:

You all know about the game I play with the beloved reporters, I hide, they seek…its great fun. Well I ignore all phone calls from numbers I don’t know; there was a very persistent number, after about a hundred calls she sent me a text that went something like this, “Hi my name is (something something), I’m a student in Tianjin Normal University studying media production and we were hoping to interview you for our final project.” I hesitated, but still chose to ignore them, because whenever I agree to an interview, it becomes an entire day of them pushing and prodding me. Well, two weeks later, I got a knock on my dorm room floor, guess who it was? Yes, the girl was at my door and made things SUPER awkward. Saying things like, “We tried your phone and couldn’t reach you (I had no answer for that), I know you must be busy but do you have any time, any time at all in the next upcoming month?” There was no way that I could refuse without looking like a complete bitch, which I am but only on the inside people. So I agreed, and she came back that following Sunday morning. I rolled out of bed and went down in my sweats, expecting a newspaper type of interview….I got downstairs and there were two other girls with her AND a big @$$ video camera. It annoyed me SO much; I had to change, put on makeup, etc. After an hour, it was finished and I was glad, but they wanted to get a few videos and photos from me, but forgot to bring a USB and wanted to come by later. The next week they texted, and I was ready to answer when they could swing by, but I looked further down and saw that they asked for an opportunity to also record some of my “everyday life”. I swear, you give these people an inch and they take 20 miles. So I ignored them again, meaning to answer back with a no, but got busy and forgot. Then one Saturday morning two of them kept calling me nonstop, I got so annoyed, but ignored them and started getting ready for work. Then I had a bad feeling, premonition if you will, and surely not 20 minutes later, they started knocking on my door. I quietly kept doing my hair, and they knocked for another 30 minutes asking if I was inside…what creeps, who stands outside of a seemingly empty room for that long? They went away and I meant to stay inside, but had to go to work (I didn’t even get to go out and grab breakfast), I had a feeling that they would stalk the door to my dorms, but as I mentioned above there are no other exits (what a fire hazard) so I went down and prayed. Low-and-behold the nutcases were there, I brushed them off saying I was late and allowed them to come by later ONLY for photos and videos.

All in all, we all have creeps in our lives; I just felt like writing a dedication to the people who take the term very seriously, and do the title proud. They are amazing aren’t they?

Nanjing Here I Come (Sigh, TV again)

It’s true; I’m going to Nanjing in just a few days. I’m really excited, recently, I’ve been feeling caged in, like I was stuck in a rut doing the same thing: Wake up, go to class, eat, workout, go to sleep…everyday, and on the weekends it’s Helen’s, clubbing, and work. So I’ve been feeling the travel bug for a while, and God has answered my prayers. I ignored an unnamed phone number, as I always do, and after several missed calls she texted me saying she was a producer for a famous TV show of an even more famous TV station. Called《 非常了得》. The host of the show is one of China’s most famous Xiangsheng performers, Guo DeGang (郭德刚) . He has always been my favorite performer, I’ve seen many of his shows and will be such a fan girl, even if he is old and bald. He’s the reason why I agreed for to go on this show at all. The other host of the show is another famous, bald man, Meng Fei (孟非), he is the current host of China’s most famous dating show, 《非诚勿扰》。 Back when my laptop was broken and I had nothing to console my internet deprived soul, I watched that dating show everyday~ ( I plan on dropping hints that Alex is single and get him on the show as one of the eligible bachelors, the girls will go crazy for him!) I don’t mean to babble on like a love-struck teenager, but I can’t wait to meet them….even if I have to humiliate myself on public television as millions of Chinese people watch. I don’t even really know what they want me on the show for…I can’t do my Xiangsheng performance without my partner going with me and they didn’t even ask about my clapper-storytelling. So I will definitely NOT mention it myself! Regardless, I have a free trip to Nanjing to enjoy, I will arrive Saturday afternoon and come back to Tianjin Tuesday night. God really blessed me, because that we have holiday until Wednesday, so I won’t even be missing class. And I was able to talk Alex into going to Nanjing with me. Thank goodness because I would hate to go alone, the show is willing to pay for his room so we bought him a train ticket today!! My Chinese level is definitely not good enough for this, but that’s a mistake for them to depress over, I get a free trip to a new part of China, so I don’t care…Though I know the day of I will be nervous enough to cough up a lung…meh, that’s tomorrow’s problem.

Here’s a link to one of my Xiangsheng performances, because I can’t remember if I put a link up before.

Also, here’s a link from a recent episode of the show I will be attending next week.

Both videos are in Chinese and don’t have subtitles, so watch only if you want to get a feel for the show or can speak Chinese I guess 🙂 Enjoy!

Side Note: My Chinese teacher from America (basically a father figure to all of us) wrote on his facebook wall: “Next week, my amazing student, Marsha, will appear on the popular Chinese television show 《非常了得》 with the famous comedian and host Guo Degang. At one point last year, this was the #1 rated show in China for the 10 PM time block. Not bad for an undergraduate who has only been studying Chinese since the fall of 2008. Wish I could be there in the studio audience to cheer her on and get her autograph!” He’s so embarassing and sweet all at the same time, haha…guess that’s where the whole father-figure thing comes in, right?

Previous Older Entries