Wednesday, September 26, 2007

my school

Wow, I have been really delinquent about blogging! The days are flying are some pictures of my university, Nanjing Shifan Daxue (Nanjing Normal University). It has a reputation for having one of the most beautiful campuses in Asia. These are some of the main teaching buildings, and also the front gate, where I buy my warm soy milk in the morning on my way to class. Classes start at eight o'clock sharp every morning, and go until 12. After four hours of learning Chinese, my head is usually swimming. But it's cool, I'm starting to think and dream in a bizarre bastardized Chinglish!
I'm going to try to be better about blogging, but I probably won't be as active as I was in Hunan...I miss having time to take pictures and write about my days...there's a vacation coming up next week, and my mom is coming out to travel around with me. I'm taking her to Hunan to see my old stomping grounds, so stay tuned for Xintang: The Return.

Friday, September 7, 2007

You don't work, you don't eat

Lately I feel like one of those depression-era guys who go down to the docks every morning, hoping that there will be some work available that day so I can bring some cabbage home for supper...
No, it's not that bad, but this period of waiting for classes to start has been full of various odd jobs that I've picked up as a result of meeting random people in the city. So far, I've done the voice recording for an answering service at a translation company (if you call this company, you'll hear my mellifluous voice saying, "If you know your party's extension, please press 800," etc.), proof-reading a long term paper on venture capitalism in China, and writing an upcoming restaurant review for a website targeting foreign students in Nanjing. In addition to all that, I've been working every week at an English club for adults, facilitating discussions. That job is my favorite. The club members specifically request controversial discussion topics, so I think I'm going to learn a lot from them in the coming months. I asked what kind of topics they want to discuss, and one guy said, "We want to talk about things that will make our hearts run fast." I am SO going to get in trouble for this. I swore when I came to China that I would avoid getting into dangerous waters (I assiduously avoid such topics in this blog, in case you haven't noticed--believe me, there is a lot that I wish I could say in these pages...) Last night we talked about gay marriage. I'm still trying to shy away from the Big D and the Three T's (you can guess what those are).
My classes start on Monday, so I won't be seeking out as many odd jobs, because there's a lot on my plate right now: my Chinese classes, VIA work, GRE preparations, grad school applications, and part-time jobs to put cabbage on the table. Aiyo...

Monday, September 3, 2007

As compensation, the goats' family members will receive a complimentary upgrade to business class on their next flight

This just in from our news desk in Nepal:
Those who read last year's blog might recall that back in May I got stranded in Kathmandu for 3 extra days, missing work (but was I really "missing" it?) because Nepal Airline's fleet of two vintage 757's was grounded by technical problems. Apparently the airline has finally, after several months, discovered the solution to these enduring mechanical mishaps...

NAC sacrifices goats to fix technical snag

KATHMANDU, Sept 3 - Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) failed to rid itself of the recurring technical problem in its Boeing-757 aircraft, despite its engineering department's untiring efforts.

But believe it or not, Chief of NAC engineering department, PBS Kansakar found the root cause of the problem in his dream last night: God was angry as the corporation had not appeased him by sacrificing goats.

Then, the corporation Sunday decided to worship Lord Bhairavnath, and sacrificed two goats-- one black and another white-so that all would be well with its aircraft.

The sacrifice was offered at NAC's hanger at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) at around 3:45 pm. NAC top bosses, including Managing Director Gautam Das Shrestha were present to offer worship and goat blood to the deity, said an NAC official. "The decision to sacrifice was made after Kansakar consulted with the top management this morning."

The NAC aircraft whose flights had often been cancelled was again grounded last night after its two attempted flights to Hong Kong failed due to repetition of the problem in the anti-ice device.