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Lei Feng on Rainy days

March 5, 2012

People are cutting hair for free to emulate "Lei Feng", a supposed upright soldier (who burned to death)

Sadly, I could not copy over the Weibo special Lei Feng gif.
Yesterday was a commemoration day for Lei Feng, a soldier in the PLA army (1940-1962); after his death, the CCP called on people to learn from him or “向雷锋同志学习”. Unfortunately, it seems that at least some of the numerous good deeds that Lei Feng supposedly did were fabricated. Nevertheless, I saw many PLA soldiers and a red banner signifying free haircuts (all in the purpose of emulating Lei Feng, of course).

The countdown for the Nanjing Youth Olympics has begun! (Btw, it is also rainy in Nanjing)

It has been as rainy as Yale weather and thankfully I brought my rainboots- Nanjing is preparing for another big event in China that will be globally visible- the Youth Olympics in 2014. Apparently several bridges will be demolished and an entire highway will be rebuilt. I am sure that more measures to improve society will be revealed soon.

The influx of foreign firms into China- Korea's largest bakery chain (with over 3000 stores in Korea), honestly not very Parisian but it seems to have higher standards for baked goods than other places, better than Skyways

Finally, I am so happy that Paris Baguette opened on 2/29…I like to eat pastries and somehow the Chinese bakeries don’t get it quite right. I’ve spent a good amount of money here so far (though for a free mug). I know that behind its cute blue exterior lies a moneymaking machine. Will be budgeting!


On birthdays…

February 26, 2012

So, I celebrated my birthday this weekend. I do not feel very happy about growing one year older, but perhaps I can accept becoming wiser. Sharing goals publicly is a great way to increase the likelihood of finishing them, so I will let readers in on what I am thinking:
By the ways, I am wearing a scarf in the photos- one of the master’s students has the same birthday (she is Korean and my unnie, or elder sister) and so we celebrated together!

– I would like to earn respect through hard work, be it from the Chinese or the US side. The cultural differences definitely make different actions and personality aspects more important than others for each society. I would like to understand and be able to move even more fluidly between my two cultures.
– Eating better and exercising more. I think this is definitely one of the top priorities for any person, regardless of culture. Surprisingly, Chinese are utilizing gyms more frequently than they did five years ago when I first visited China. For me, the food here is not bad, but it still takes some getting used to. I would like to be able to find healthy choices among both the local Chinese food (which does have a problem of excess food additives), and the limited foreign food (which is expensive and often limited to not so healthy baked goods). As for exercise, I am taking on dance, which is a new pastime I started after graduating, as well as my college staple of yoga and my high school love of running. I would also like to spend some time each day playing the piano 😉
– Stop procrastinating. I have come to realize that I often put off things because I fear them. But as FDR said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I need to break through the barrier of fear and just do it!
I have no plans to step behind, and I promise to do my best and learn as much as I can in my remaining time abroad (thank you again Light Fellowship)!

To respond to the blog prompt- I think that the ideals for beauty in China are extremely different from that of the US: whiteness is valued, and women buy all kinds of creams and even take shots (?!) to become ‘whiter/paler’; almost every person here would be considered underweight or below average by US standards (weight loss advice generally says not to eat dinner), and my roommate advocated putting saran wrap on my legs while exercising to make them ‘shrink’. I never realized how much I appreciated not having my looks commented on by strangers in the US.

On another level, I do feel that the Center provides a somewhat Westernized environment, and the Chinese professors have learned to teach in an American fashion- even the Socratic method is employed, which makes for interesting discussions.
We just picked classes this week, and I can tell that I will enjoy them, especially my Ethnic Minorities class (I am actually partly an ethnic minority), who has the crazy lovable type of professor that is a bit tangential but very knowledgeable.

I still can’t get over my birthday. Alas, I shall be forever 21 in my heart, whatever my real age may be.

On a side note, I visited Yuhuatai, a historic place in Nanjing with a depressing history

Park that was Guomintang place for killing Communist party members in the 1950s

Temple at Yuhuatai<a

I’ve come a long way…

November 7, 2011

I’ve graduated for almost 6 months, and I’ve been in China for 3 months already. I’ve really felt my entire world view shift during this time. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has changed, but I’ve become a lot stronger after undergoing various hardships in Taiwan and Nanjing. It’s made me a better person- so I am thankful that Light has given me this opportunity to study abroad here.

By the ways, as I was walking around Xinjiekou yesterday, I noticed something strange:

It's funny they have such a huge plaque for this...

Robbed in front of the HNC center, IPhone taken from me, found approximate location through MobileMe

October 31, 2011

I had the most horrible experience in Nanjing last night. I was on my way to the gym, around 6 pm, listening to my Iphone on the main street in front of the HNC center. Suddenly, the music stopped. I thought for a moment that I had dropped the phone or something, because my earphones were still there. I saw the shadows of some people dart into a small side street in front of me.
I called the police, and my friends at the center were extremely helpful. We made a report and there seemed to be no clue as to what had happened. Then, something quite dramatic happened- I was able to locate my Iphone using MobileMe (like Google Maps). It was near the Nanjing train station, near the train tracks! The Nanjing police were actually quite awesome- this was 11 pm, and they took me to the place and we searched the area. The place was behind a grand hotel’s parking lot. There were several warehouses, as well as shacks for living. It was ramshackle for sure and quite scary. We found a guy laying low in a truck, but there wasn’t enough evidence to search him or his truck. There was no way to go from door to door to find my phone, but at least there is a start. The police believed it was “Xinjiang Ren” – who tend to live in that area. I will update on my experiences- at least psychologically, it felt good to know where my Iphone was stolen to, and for me to go on the scene was gratifying to say the least. I am actually quite grateful that the Nanjing police acted so quickly on this- and that one of my Chinese classmates (not my roommate though) accompanied me all the way there and back so late at night.

Horrible Food Poisoning!

October 25, 2011

I have not really had any cases of food poisoning while traveling abroad yet, so this is my first experience. Not only that, it happened to occur right before a certain Yale Law webinar I was hoping to watch (luckily I caught onto the last 15 minutes). Hopefully I will be able to rest and recover in time for class tomorrow morning!

Finally figured out how to post photos! YAY!

October 15, 2011

Hi everyone,

I thought I would update a bit about life in Nanjing. Classes at HNC are more challenging than I expected. Just last Wednesday, I already had an early midterm for a class I’m auditing (International Criminal Law).
I’ve also started to feel like life in China is pretty different and difficult. This is nothing like my summer, where I did not have that much to adjust to. Here, just going out of the door, you can see traffic going every which way because no one obeys the rules. Bicycles, motorbikes, and people all compete for the same small space (small pathway near the main road); the sidewalk is ironically not conducive to walking, because large trees (planted to beautify the city, apparently), block every few segments of the road so that one must step off and on again every two feet (no pun intended).
There’s a lot more, but my speech feels limited here. I’m not even sure if I can write anything critical on this blog lest I get criticized.

My photos are not showing up to me, but I found a hilarious company that sells Yale locks (R). And another photo, the one of the soldier shooting while crawling on his belly, carrying a Chinese flag in his backpack.

Need I say more?

at Fuzimiao, Nanjing

This pair of storefront advertisements are just too cute!

Cup of green tea at Sculpting in Time

Post-National Day week

October 13, 2011

Hi everyone!
Sorry, I have not updated for a week- it was National Day Holiday, but in reality, I was taking a difficult standardized test in a different region entirely. Those of you who know me will know what I mean…it was much longer than I expected and my flight to the test center was one of the worst nightmares ever:
1. Everyone had already boarded the 8 AM flight, when we received a notice that we had to all disembark, because one passenger left his luggage on and then did not get on the plane- a potential terrorist threat.
2. Three hours later, our plane was getting ready to land when suddenly it pulled back up. Then, the intercom crackled and the pilot said something like: “Apologies, because we cannot connect to the landing terminal due to the Typhoon (Nesat?) we have to fly to a different airport”.
3. An hour or so later we landed in a different airport far far away from my destination. The flight attendants had no idea if we were going to launch again, and so passengers started getting antsy, including me (air sick too). Then, some people decided to take a three and a half hour bus to a place nearer to my destination. But…my luggage was still on the plane. Because most people had gotten on the plane (but a few people still remained), they had to pick out the luggage of everyone who left.
4. Yet another hour later, my luggage arrived. I finally got on the bus…three and a half hours later, we arrived near the border. I still had to take a taxi to the actual border entry place though. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily and I had no umbrella. So…soaked and cold, I walked around with my luggage until I finally saw a taxi. Going through the border was relatively easy.
But, I also had no currency in that denomination. Luckily, I found some money changers and exchanged for a bit of cash to get onto the subway to my hotel. Along the way, I must have hallucinated because some guy who looked like a Korean pop star (Rain) came up and asked me for directions in Chinese (he didn’t understand my English though…so it probably wasn’t him).
5. After 13-14 hours of traveling, I finally made it to my awesome room overlooking the harbor. It was a very difficult day.

Luckily, I was not taking the test until a few days afterwards. But that was definitely one flight to remember.

Also…for the life of me I cannot figure out how to add photos to this blog! I hope they are coming up! Due to the National Day holiday, there are strange toys selling on the streets- specifically ones of moving toy soldiers with a Chinese flag and miniature gun firing and crawling on their belly. It is quite scary.