September 17, 2014Duck heart. It’s what’s for dinner!

September 17, 2014

Duck heart. It’s what’s for dinner!

September 16, 2014

Looking around at bikes and shopping at Ikea, Chongqing. Just another day in the life as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Interesting comparison, don’t ya think?

September 14, 2014

Waiting to take the train…..
On the train to Chongqing and my new apartment!

Oh time.. you keep marching onward even if you’re not ready..

September 13, 2014

After nearly 8 weeks of Chinese language class I’m happy to say that I received a grade of novice high. I was a little bummed that I didn’t hit intermediate low but I’m still happy that I had the opportunity to be around a great group of classmates. Our teachers were awesome and they might teach us Chinese language again when we go back to the Peace Corps winter IST (middle of service training).

What does Novice High mean? It means that I know a fair amount about how to communicate and take part in daily conversations but that I’m not quite up to the level of partaking in completely fresh and unique dialogues or asking about something above the level of an intermediate speaker. It’s not bad, and it means that I have a lot of room to grow with the language over the next 2 years. It’s time to make language goals and look ahead!

My goal: To achieve intermediate high proficiency by the end of my time in China. I think that I can do it! Now, it’s time to practice.

September 12, 2014

Recently I became a fully fledged member of the Peace Corps. I just started teaching in my school last week and I am excited for the 2 years ahead. Hopefully I’ll be able to update my blog more regularly as well. It’s a shame that I’m not taking more pictures because I know that my blog entries would be more interesting as well.

September 11, 2014

A few weekends ago Jingqiu came back from America. It was pretty hectic and things were a little unorganized but one of the great things to come out of the experience was our trip to Du Jiang Yan. It’s known as a touristy place and is also advertised that way. It’s a place that I enjoyed spending time in and was nice in garnering a well deserved respite from language and TESOL classes.

A large project that was important to China was the dam system that was put in place while General Mao was in power. He oversaw some of the building and he also deemed that it was a necessary if China wanted to move forward as a country. We also ended up seeing a little scenic ancient town that took around 2 hours by bus to reach. While traveling there the terrain was filled with hills and bumps in the road and also a fair amount of construction. The village was nice but it felt like it was on the borders of Chinese civilization. It was designed with tourists in mind and at the same time I could tell it was hoping to gain a greater foothold on tourism in the area so that more people will come over time and check out their little ancient city. It was a decent place to travel but I wouldn’t say you have to go there or you’re missing out.

The rest of the weekend was filled with singing at KTV and quickly moving around from place to place. It was busy but it was great to see JQ.

September 10, 2014

September 8th is mid Autumn festival in China. It’s about being with family among other things but for the most part the only commercialized part that I’ve seen is the idea that you should purchase and eat moon cakes.

Moon cakes are similar to fig newtons but most of them don’t have fruit flavors inside. I had a blueberry flavored moon cake and it was pretty delicious but I’m still hesitant about eating my pepper, and barbeque flavored moon cakes. I’m hoping for the best but just in case I got a little American style backup in the form of donuts. Clearly it’s a rough life for me here in China…..

Honestly the hardship has been nearly non-existent in the form of material goods and I can’t complain about that living situation either. So far China has been treating me exceptionally well! I can’t find peanut butter anywhere but life goes on!

September 9, 2014

Climbing mountains in China is something that seems fairly common practice among many people. My Chengdu host family grandmother and grandfather, who I refer to as my aunt and uncle, come from a hometown that is very mountainous and they had very little trouble climbing with us several weekends ago. It’s interesting because I often see Chinese people climbing mountains with very little effort or at least the endurance to make it up eventually. In my mind when I juxtapose this with an average 65 year old Americans climbing I start to worry about how well they might fare on the same upward trek. I’m not trying to poke fun or say that Americans are incapable of climbing mountains, but to me it’s interesting that in both Korea and China it appears that people really like climbing mountains whereas in America most people I know would much rather sit at home and relax, watch a movie, etc..

Anyhow, some background information. We hiked up a small mountain and then climbed back down the Jinli Chang Chang (Small Great Wall - Literally translated Gold Dragon Great Wall). I really enjoyed the trip because I got to practice some Chinese. On the way down the wall some people looked a little tired and I gave them encouragement by saying in Chinese, “bu yuan, ni keyi!” Translated - “It’s not far. You can do it!” Some of them just smiled and looked at me and others were surprised that I could speak Chinese. It was a nice feeling and also a good way to practice Chinese. When we finished climbing down the wall we got the chance to eat some delicious rabbit - sadly not pictured - and enjoy some drinks with my host dad. It was a nice way to end the day and relax with my host family.

September 8, 2014

Lots to catch up on…

Over the past month I spend some really good times with my host family exploring different areas of China and studying Chinese. The pictures above are of me cooking traditional Chinese food, traveling to a secluded village in the mountains to play cards/drink tea, and watching a Chinese opera aimed at Children.
So far the experiences in China, even the small ones, have been wonderful. Teaching younger Chinese children American card games hasn’t always been easy and even “Slap Jack” can entangle some of them in a whirlwind of confusion but it’s always amusing to discuss the rules and figure out what to do in Chinese.

That’s all for now. I’ll update again soon.

August 23, 2014

Wide and Narrow Street in Chengdu has the name because it consists of two streets. It doesn’t take a Nobel Laurette to figure out that one street is wide and the other street is narrow. The wide street was home to more affluent people and the narrow street was home to people of a less well off socioeconomic status.

The streets today are largely present because they tell a story about the past. Additionally, the people living and working there have done a good job or turning that history into profit. The streets are littered with delicious street food, bars, expensive tea, street performers, street art, and cute coffee houses. It’s not a cheap place if you want to enjoy the food and sit down for coffee but it’s a nice place to walk around and explore alone or with friends.