Girl’s Night and a Chinese Dream

Technically it’s Monday right now, but I’m just staying up really late. On Saturday night all of the girls had a sleepover and it was really, really fun. We’re all so close now it’s just crazy to think we’ve known each other for such a short amount of time! Really, I feel like we’ve all been friends our whole lives. Though really, being here has been a life in and of itself, so I guess we have.

The theory of our sleepover was one that apparently Pauline and Giulia’s friends had done before–basically buy a bunch of junk food and stuff yourself. I know, what I’ve been doing while I’m here! But no, everyone else was going to too, but we didn’t really buy enough food. And plus at a certain level of tiredness two people kept talking about how “fat” they were…which is basically my least favorite conversation topic of all time. Because lo and behold every time that said conversation takes place in front of me, I get ‘accused’ of being skinny. Now, to anyone who has never been unhealthily or almost unhealthily skinny at some point in their lives, this is not going to sound like a bad thing. But really, often ‘skinny’ is used with negative connotations, especially in todays society. Some will still argue that it’s better to be ‘too skinny’ than ‘too fat’ but really both are equally bad and I think they’ll both get you bad looks. Anyways.

We played UNO for almost two hours. Well, one hand was almost two hours…I won in the first seven minutes of that particular hand and then was just bored for a while, eventually taking over for Karina so she could dye Midori’s hair. The hair dye wasn’t a success like it had been with me though, since she was trying to dye it lighter. Oh well, we all told her it would be more obvious in the sun, and it’ll be overcast for a while. We’re good.

Since I just remembered now, I feel like I should tell you all because it’s exciting–at the sleepover I had my first ever dream (that I remember) in Chinese! I was with all my friends at some old woman’s house and she kept trying to give us tea but we didn’t want it. And I dreamt that Sangmin was really drunk and so was Midori and she kept wanting more beer so we all went to KFC. And at KFC, I ordered in Chinese! And then the guy was trying to give me really small drumsticks so I told him I didn’t want them, I just wanted cookies, and I was expecting Subway-esque cookies but no, there were Oreos. We eat so many Oreos in China! Pauline even gave them to me for Christmas. But anyways.

Tomorrow, or today technically I suppose, all the foreign teachers and students are getting together for a going away party for me. I think that’s what it is? I think there’s going to be a surprise element of some sort because I know for sure Karina’s mom was physically hiding something in her room that I couldn’t see at the sleepover last night. I guess I’ll find out!

Comparing China and the USA

Today was my last at Tongshenghu. It was definitely bittersweet–though I hate that school, I’ve had some great memories there and I can’t imagine not going there anymore. Who knows how many years it will be till I walk those campus grounds again? I truly have met some amazing people here. I got pretty teary-eyed at the end of the day cause it’s me and I cry at everything, but I managed to hold myself together.
I’d like to tell you all about some random things I’ve seen in China, such as a traffic light on top of a car. About three feet of pole was between the car itself and the light but there it was, sticking straight up. I just saw that going across an intersection once and thought it was so strange…I couldn’t help but stare. Once a taxi driver had his cell phone wedged into the wheel and proceeded to yell into the receiver while driving. It was annoying to say the least. Usually taxi drivers talk to me here though and I’ve had some good conversations with them in Chinese. I mostly speak in Chinese to my mom and taxi drivers. When I have to talk in front of Vala or someone usually I get nervous that I’ll mess up (which isn’t typical for me) and then I won’t want to speak Chinese at all.
Speaking of Vala, today she “fought back” against our complaints about Tongshenghu by interviewing a bunch of our International Department teachers and classmates…she told us all the bad things first collectively and then afterwards had a one-on-one conversation with each of us about the positive things. During the negative part I of course put up a fight because some of it was ridiculous or just a difference of cultures so not really anyone’s fault and it was quite a heated argument…it ended with all of the foreign students being pissed and Vala being..I don’t know, Vala. She tried to be nicer to us this time though, which was a good change. During the one-on-one part I started crying too (I just made a small river in the library today haha) not really cause I was super upset or sad but because she asked me to describe the main differences between China and the US and it just all became very clear to me why I’ve been having so many issues with the Chinese system and with Vala etc. I felt sort of bad after my realizations because it’s not Vala’s fault (entirely) nor is it mine, my American values and the way I was raised is just so much the opposite of China. Really, I don’t think there are two countries more opposite.
China focuses on the group, USA on the individual. This is both apparent on a large general scale and in little things you wouldn’t notice at first–in a Chinese classroom, the teacher lectures and the students never raise their hands to ask questions, there is never time to ask questions, the teacher never asks if there are any. They just teach. In America the teachers try to make sure every person gets their questions answered and in some classes, you’re FORCED to write a question just to make sure you’re asking one if you’ve got it.
In the US, you’re graded by yourself. You’re not constantly being compared to your peers, your performance is nothing but your own. Here you’re graded compared to your classmates, and ranked publicly. If you fail a test, everyone will know about it. You have to compete to get into higher level classes, and then within those classes to be the best. It’s…it’s…it’s China.
I don’t know, there were just certain things I remembered about the US that made me…I don’t know what. Like I remember that in the US when you’re walking down the sidewalk in your neighborhood people say things like “Good Morning” and “Hello”. People only say hello to me here because I’m white. If I wasn’t, there would be no recognition.
It’s little things like that that I’ll be looking forward to in the US. Really though, I don’t know how much I want to go back or how much I want to stay here. Most of us feel like we’re in some sort of in-between–we don’t want to be here but we don’t want to go home either. Oh well, I’ve got two weeks left. We’ll see what happens.

What I’ll Be Saying

Well Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you all had a fun time ringing in 2011, I know I did! We (Karina, Pauline, Sangmin, Moritz, Giulia and I) all went clubbing and it turned out to be really fun, a night I definitely will never forget.

It’s January Sixth today, and you know what that means? Two weeks until I leave Changsha. Pretty crazy, huh? For those of you who have been reading since the very beginning, it’s been a very long road to get here. It’s hard to believe it’s all going to be over. In some ways I really don’t want to go home but in others I’m very excited…it’ll be hard to adjust once I’m back and I’m not looking forward to that at all. I’ll probably be repeating myself over and over, and everyone will think I’m crazy. Some of my to-be-most-commonly-used-phrases will include:

1. “It’s so CLEAN here!!”–I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before (though I don’t know how I could not have), but Changsha is incredibly dirty. Like I really cannot describe to you how dirty…I always want to say the ground is dirty but that seems obvious, doesn’t it? Dirt is most commonly found on the ground. But no, the ground is especially dirty, the streets and sidewalk are, the cars are covered in mud, the streetlights, the seats in taxis, peoples hands and bodies…even the plants near my school are caked in a layer of mud. Even saying all this, I don’t think you can imagine the level of dirt here. So California will seem so so clean I tell you. So so clean.

2. “Look at all the foreigners!”–even here when I went to Guangzhou over the weekend I would say this, though there weren’t many. Whenever I see a non-Asian person here I stare. It’s pretty sad, when we first came here we’d all complain about people staring at us but now I can totally understand why…I saw a blond girl whilst in Guangzhou and I seriously was like almost yelling out of excitement, “Look Michelle! It’s a blond girl! Do you see her? Look at her hair! Oh she just went behind that tree, but I swear, I just saw a girl with blond hair!”

3. “Everyone’s English is so good!”–now this may sound a bit racist but it’s true–I’m going to be utterly shocked when I speak to Asian people who don’t have thick accents. Actually, I’m just going to be shocked that anyone doesn’t have an accent and speaks perfect English..there are so few people here that have English as their first language..I can’t imagine meeting someone new who is fluent in English. I can barely remember what that’s like. I’m also going to have to refrain from speaking Midori-English, which is the extremely simplified version I use when I need to communicate something that she doesn’t know all the words for. This would be extremely embarrassing to use, let’s hope it doesn’t happen.

4. “They’re all wearing…normal clothes?”–Chinese fashion is very different from other countries, and when we all came here most of us were generally appalled by it. A outfit composed of entirely cheetah print? No thank you! But now we’ve been here so long and seen the craziest of clothing, I’ve become pretty immune to seeing people wear sheep print pajamas that appear to be made out of quilts when out and about. I honestly can barely remember what people in America wear normally..we were watching Youtube videos (on a proxy) today from each other’s home schools and Giulia was showing one and I was amazed at the students all wearing different clothing. And jeans! Did you know people wear jeans every day to school? I can’t even imagine! Ugh when I go back home I’ll have to care about what I look like again, I can’t wear ugly sweats everyday. Poor me.

5. “In China they…”–be prepared, friends. I will either talk about this experience non-stop or none at all, I’d prefer the latter but knowing me it will probably end up being the former. So get ready, because all those questions you may or may not have about China? Oh baby, I’ll answer them.

Recap of December

Damn I haven’t posted in a while. Sorry you guys! Every week something fun and/or exciting happened that I planned on blogging about but it simply didn’t get done. So here you go, I’ll write a nice (hopefully long) blog post for all of your enjoyment, seeing that I have little else to do at the moment. Sort of.
Merry Belated Christmas! and Happy Belated Hannukah! and if you had a birthday, then Happy Belated Birthday as well! (just wanted to get that all out of the way)
Okay.
Let’s see what I can remember.
The night of the tenth was great, definitely one of the highlights of China for me. After school I went to Sangmin’s for dinner, wasn’t in the mood for Chinese food, and we sat around for a bit not really knowing what to do. He kept saying he wanted to go out and do something since it was a Friday night but honestly we both looked pretty crappy. I insisted we should eat spaghetti but he didn’t want to make any so before I really knew what was happening we were in a van (which is what all the black cabs are in Changsha) heading to South Bus Station. Of course after about a minute in the van Sangmin turns to me and says “oh, I’m tired..” with his eyes half-closed but on we go anyways, despite our general feel/look of tiredness.
At South Bus Station we get on the 123 bus which is packed, as always. We’re standing there next to this guy who is spitting very noisily (many, many people do this in China) and complaining about how gross it is when who do we spot getting on the bus? Moritz! He’d stayed after school to hang out with his girlfriend (oooooooh! you have to make preteen girl noises here) and was heading home. Sangmin invited him to dinner with us and he agreed. Apparently we were heading to Golden Han’s, which is a semi-German restaurant. I say semi-German because the meat and beer is German (apparently) but the buffet is an odd mix of what other countries consider Chinese food and what Chinese people consider Chinese food. Also, the deserts have neon colored frosting. But that’s besides the point.
Dinner was good. I hadn’t been to Golden Han’s before but I really enjoyed it..I didn’t drink, of course (I’m one of the only people I know here who doesn’t drink, not exaggerating) but the meat was epic. Well, maybe not quite epic but it was very foreign-tasting, which is a welcome change of pace here in Changsha. The boys enjoy their manly drinks and I enjoyed my apple soda (which I had to drink out of a teacup). Needless to say, cheers was pretty funny looking. At one point this huge group of twenty-somethings came up to us, obviously a little drunk, and this guy said “we are playing a drinking game and I lost so I have to sing to you” and he sang this Chinese kid’s song about tigers that are mutilated. After dinner the boys were really, really entertaining. They don’t drink as much as they’re used to (Sangmin because it makes him sick a lot, Moritz because he’s not allowed to) and so they got tipsy much easier. Sangmin told me about how once he couldn’t pee cause he was on a boat and Moritz started singing when we went outside “it’s raining a little!” and sort of did a mini skip-jump. Before Moritz had to go home (his host mom is super strict) he and Sangmin did the ‘man hug’ equivalents from Korea and Germany and then I taught them the American one. We all laughed, and Sangmin and I headed on our way.
I can’t remember the whole night in chronological order really, highlights just stick out in my mind–going to No Sunset Play Game, this arcade, where I got a bunch of #1 scores on this Wac-A-Mole type game and Sangmin dominated at the basketball-throwing one. Getting over four-hundred tickets from the games in said arcade, but only being able to afford a pen in the ticket-shop. Going into a fancy bar, only to order a Sprite that we shared. Watching people at a rollerskating rink act as if they were at a night club. Eating McDonald’s past midnight. Watching people wash the street. Having a banana split with watermelon in it and only strawberry ice cream. It really was just a perfect night out, and I got to see walking street deserted for the first time ever, which was odd. But yeah, a really great experience.
The day after that we all went shopping for eachother’s Christmas presents on Walking Street. I managed to get almost all the presents I needed (I did a little bit of shopping over the following weeks but got most of it done then) and scored an awesome pair of boxers for myself! They have an elastic band that says “The Amazing Spiderman” on it but then, get this–there are dragons on them! Lots and lots of dragons!
The Seventeenth we didn’t have school, got Moritz’s present from Metro with Sangmin (we bought it together). After that went out to dinner and ate hot-pot, which is something everyone should have when they go to China because as far as I know it’s a Chinese-only thing. Hot-pot is basically when there’s a hole in the center of your table and you’ve got a pot that is hot (hence the name, hurr hurr) with boiling or almost-boiling water. You get a bunch of uncooked meat/veggies and put them into the pot, cooking them at your will, and eat them straight out of it. Our hotpot was divided into two sides, one with peppers in it and one without. We had…mushrooms, beef, tofu, shrimp (Sangmin had been talking about shrimp for over a week) and something else which I cannot remember. Needless to say it was quite delicious. I got sort of emotional over dinner because I realized how little time I have left in China. Sangmin teased me cause he went to go order more food and he came back to find me teary-eyed and staring intently at my tofu.
The next day was our AFS Christmas party, which was composed of three parts. The first was climbing a mountain. Now, when advertised, this does not sound like a party, let alone a Christmas one. We all reluctantly agreed to go, despite our general negative outlook on the proposed day. We’d gotten a text from one of the AFS ‘volunteers’ reading (in caps) “HELLO,GUYS! THIS IS MACEY FROM HUNAN ASSOCIATION. WE’RE PLANNING TO CLIMB YUELU MOUNT AT 1:30PM THEN HAVE A BUFFET DINNER AND CHRISTMAS PARTY AT 7PM ON 18TH THIS MONTH. WE INVITE YOU AND YOUR HOST FAMILY TO TAKE PART IN OUR ACTIVITY. PLEASE REPLY ME BEFORE 11TH SO WE COULD PREPARE IN ADVANCE. THANKS :)”
So yes, we climbed ‘Yuelu Mount’, which was more fun than we expected. Near the top there was a Buddhist temple we went to, where Moritz’s mom (who was leading our tour for some unknown reason) told us that one of the trees was one-thousand seven-hundred and fifty years old. Now my friends I’ve stood on one of the largest tree stumps in the world and I can tell you right now this little tiny tree she pointed out was not that old at all. There’s a smaller tree next to it, and they’re both in front of a temple. When asked how old the smaller tree is, she says it’s only seventy-five because “during the second world war it was hit with a bomb and they had to plant a new one”. So… this bomb hit one tree. And didn’t damage the temple or neighboring tree, eight feet away, at all. Yup.
The party part itself was thrown by the government and wasn’t about us at all, it was mostly foreign teachers we’d never met before. It was sort of fun, I don’t know.
On Christmas Eve Eve we had the Art Festival. I spent four hours getting makeup put on my face, two hours commuting and eating, an hour and a half waiting, five minutes preforming, three minutes changing out of my clothes, twenty minutes at an after party, a half hour ride back home and then forty-five minutes taking all that lovely makeup off my face. The performance itself was okay I guess, my backup singer’s mics didn’t work though which was really a shame. I got some people to record it so hopefully I can put it up on Youku in the near-ish future.
Christmas itself was great. We took school off Christmas eve and congregated at Karina’s house. It was raining. We then went back to walking street (we’re all really sick of going there but there’s nowhere else to go!) ate at Golden Han’s for lunch and then got food to cook for Christmas dinner. Giulia ended up making pasta which was delicious of course. I had met this German guy at KFC the week before and he’d told me he was opening up a German bakery on the twenty-third so we went and checked it out, the food was great! We had a small gathering on Christmas eve, then stayed up until midnight because Moritz’s birthday is on Christmas. We sang him Happy Birthday and he opened all his presents, then we all exchanged our gifts. We all gave/recieved small items, and it was a lot of fun… the funniest thing was Sangmin getting a different colored shirt from everyone, though (Moritz’s idea). With the first shirt he was just “oh haha very funny…” but then as they went on he was like “wow did you guys all get me a different color? Wow.” A lot of the shirts were small on him, but I’m proud to say mine fit! We’re basically the same size (I borrow his clothes sometimes… as weird as that is) and so yeah, I was proud I didn’t get him an extremely tight shirt like everyone else. I got him a red South Korean soccer jersey which he says he’ll wear to work out in, cool. Sangmin and I gave Moritz a pack of his favorite German beer. May and I gave Pauline this incense-holding elephant that’s really pretty and three different incense scents. I got Giulia a heating pack, Midori pictures of her favorite singer as well as a stuffed..animal? Corn. Karina got a ton of stuff from me because she’s simply too easy to shop for!
Christmas day we were all exhausted because no one slept very well. Pauline, Giulia and I lounged around Karina’s house until like one. I got to use the ‘Magic Jac’ that Karina’s mom has to attempt to call people in the US. Didn’t get ahold of too many people, but the people I did get to talk to made me happy. Took a taxi home, lounged around, was on Subeta a lot, then went out to Karaoke. Which was, like a lot of things in this blog post, really surprisingly fun.
I had invited everyone to come (my host mom had reserved a room) but only Karina and Moritz were willing, so it ended up being my host family, a few of my aunts, uncles and cousins, some of my parents’ friends, Karina and her mom Grisell, Moritz, me, Vala and her boyfriend. Karina was an hour and a half late which made me and Moritz really worried because there’s a murderer on the loose in Changsha (no joke, he’s killed.. five? people?) but then finally she and her mom showed up. I used this as proof that she needs to get a cell phone, or Grisell at least, so that I don’t think they’re dead or kidnapped! Karaoke itself was really entertaining, watching a bunch of Chinese people get drunk off of their self-fermented-wine that I was told barely had alcohol in it. I’m not going to disclose the full details of this evening, but…well… Grisell got some really really funny pictures. Vala’s boyfriend passed out after two drinks. Vala was…well. She was out of character. Very amusing. My host family was cute and, well, overall it was an extremely strange but great Christmas.

Food, Family and Secrets

Well, this post is just going to have whatever I feel like writing, not exactly in chronological order. Sorry. I know I should post more, but I just waited too long, and to tell you every single thing that’s happened would not do. It would simply be too long, and I’ve attempted it three times since I last posted and I just…gave up. So.
I’ve started doing the thing where you eat whenever you’re upset. It’s bad, I know, I’m very lucky I have a high metabolism…cause man, when I have a bad day I go buy Pocky or a roll of Oreos and just shove them in my mouth…I’m not even hungry, nor do I enjoy the taste, I just..do it. It’s something for me to do. I figure it’s better than self-mutilation or something, so… yeah. I just conciously noticed it a few days ago, but I’ve been doing it for a while…it’s pretty sad, my whole life I’ve eaten junk food whenever I’m given the chance but now…I’m given so much junk that I don’t really enjoy eating it anymore. Sometimes I enjoy eating…but not really. I don’t know.
Last week we were transferred into the Senior Department, where all the classes are in Chinese. Originally we were all feeling optimistic about this change, but alas, now we all just sit in class and can’t understand anything or participate. Sometimes I read, or draw, or attempt math, but mostly I just sit and think. I participate in English by correcting the book we use, which is a British-English book written by a Chinese person who is obviously not fluent in English at all. On one of their homework sheets, they had a fill in the blank, and the sentence went a little like “he wasn’t special, he was a ____ person” and the options were ordinary, normal, usual, and average. I informed the teacher that these words all had the same meaning and were synonyms and she said “yes, but they have to choose the best answer” and I said “…but they all are fine” and she laughed and walked away. They also all pronounce advertisement ad-ver-tis-ment, and thought ad-ver-tise-ment sounded super weird… I don’t know. At least I can participate.
My iTouch shattered last week. Someone sat on it during PE (long story) and the screen is completely wrecked. It still turns on and stuff, but the screen has pieces almost falling off…I supposedly (maybe?) have a warranty for the first month from the store, which is up today but the store is remodeling and doesn’t re-open until Wednesday, so I’m going then after school. Hopefully it all works out. If not, well, then I won’t buy another (obviously). Sad though that my other iPod still works just fine (it’s full though) and I’ve had it five years, and then I get the new fancy one and it lasts less than a month. My other iPod has been sat on, dropped, hit with rocks (cause it’s been five years!) and it’s just fine…
With Christmas around the corner, I attempted to go buy presents for my friends over the weekend and ended up buying a few things, along with seventeen notebooks, some for people here, some for friends at home and a few for me. The notebooks here are truly adorable. None of them are just one color or plain or ugly–they’re all beautiful and/or cute. I like it a lot.
On Saturday I was told by my mom and dad we were going out to lunch, I should get dressed. I was already dressed, so I waited for them a bit, and we were off. They had been putting more effort than usual into their appearance so I was confused, but when I asked again they repeated–“we’re going to lunch!” And so I find that we’re driving to Grandma’s house, and I think maybe we’re eating at her place but no, she gets into the car and we drive for forty-five minutes and we get to the place where the other wedding was and there’s a lot of cars there. I think “oh, we’re going to a nice brunch! cool!” and then as we walk in I see wedding signs.
….so I was surprised with a wedding, wearing my plain black shirt and jeans. People commonly wear jeans to weddings here, but still, I was embarrassed. Oh well. The wedding wasn’t as nice as the one I was in and I’m not altogether sure who got married, I had never met anyone there before. Someone on my dad’s side of the family, that’s all I knew. The groom was sort of awkward looking but the bride looked nice.
Oh great, I’m doing the eating thing now…I seriously need to stop…
I just went on this week’s PostSecrets (if you don’t know what these are, you should really go check them out– http://www.postsecret.com) and one made me feel better, “My best friend lives on the other side of the world, I hope she sees this and knows I love her”
probably wasn’t directed to me, but thanks anyways, it did.

a taste of Thanksgiving

Well I returned to China all safe and sound, the plane ride by myself was fine and actually moderately enjoyable, I found myself studying for my Chinese test by talking to myself in Chinese whilst looking at my vocab sheet. Ooh look, I changed the header so it’s a picture of a giant line of pocky! It really was a stack but I turned the image sideways so that it would fit. My host mom bought all that a really long time ago…I don’t remember when I took that picture, I’m thinking early September. It’s crazy to believe I’ve been here for three and a half months. Friday was the official eight-weeks-left-to-go mark, which is…hard to believe in some ways, but seems right in others.
Oh deary me, it seems that I forgot to write about Thanksgiving because the last time I posted it had not happened yet. Well, my readers, you’re in for quite a treat because I’m procrastinating studying for my test and will instead recount to you the oh-so-interesting details of my life in China.
Thanksgiving was…unique, to say the least. I doubt I’ll have another like it again any time soon. It was basically ten, eleven? American exchange kids (plus one German guy, he came cause he’s cool haha) at a dinner table in the restaurant that had the amazing quesadillas. We sat waiting and waiting for food and then…out came the ‘salad’ of sorts, mine looked like a face. There were three strips of rolled grilled salmon not-so-drizzled with a green sauce that I later found out (to my dismay) to be wasabi. There was a bushel/furrow/plume/explosion of cabbage and the like, which these three little salmon babies were making a semi-circle around. On top of that lovely wasabi sauce were two onion rings (not fried, but literally rings of an onion) and then on each side cherry tomato halves. It seriously looked like a face. The wasabi ruined it for me, without a doubt.
Second course was either Pumpkin or Butternut Squash soup (sorry mom, I haven’t had either in so long I wasn’t entirely sure!) I think it was pumpkin but Lisa thought butternut..anyhow…
oh man you guys. That soup was one of the best soups of my life. And I am not exagerating. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had our kind of soup for so long, but I donno…it was just delicious.

and now I’m not in a blogging mood, sorry! so I’ll either edit this post later tonight or write an additional one tomorrow at school.

Songs I just found that I think you should check out:
Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine
In For the Kill by La Roux (Skrillix Remix)
Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
Alligator (Toro y Moi Remix) by Tegan and Sara
Dead Cities in Your Heart by Thank You and Goodbye

Real Food and Facebook

Well, I must continue my Harry Potter epic, mustn’t I?

Since it’s been a while now, sadly, this will be much shorter than was originally intended. Basically, we were watching it with subtitles (SPOILER ALERT sort of) and then at the point where Ron comes back the subs went off, making the 99% (everyone but Karina, Lorena and I) Chinese-speaking audience very angry. This made them talk loudly and whistle, one woman shouted (in Chinese) “If anyone can understand, please translate!”. The theatre was total chaos, and of course the three of us were pretty pissed at everyone for talking so much since we could understand just fine. The movie kept playing ,despite the angry audience…then some people who worked at the theatre came in and yelled over everything that if people wanted to see the movie with subs from the point where they went off, they could go to the theatre next door and if anyone wanted to stay they could. We of course chose to stay, relishing the thought of the theatre to ourselves at a midnight premiere. When does that ever happen? Never. So pretty cool, right?

No. Because after maybe fifteen minutes the movie stopped completely in the middle of a scene (don’t remember which), the lights came on, and the cleaning crew came in. Thankfully, there was a VERY angry Chinese man who had refused to leave his assigned seat, and he well…he made a point, though he sort of scared everyone in the process. He yelled at one of the women who worked there very loudly, and even pushed her at one point…but they started playing the movie again, at first from the beginning but then (after we protested) from where the subtitles had stopped, which was fine. We then watched the rest of the movie uninterrupted..but still. Pretty crazy Harry Potter experience, but the movie was worth it, it was definitely my favorite of the Harry Potter movies. You should see it if you haven’t yet!

Anyhow, I told you all I dyed my hair on Thursday, right? Honestly can’t remember, look on flickr or facebook if you haven’t already seen. I liked it initially, then didn’t like it, but now I like it again. Sure, I look a little paler, but this is definitely an improvement from my gross fading-brown-from-being-bleached-before and huge roots. I feel prettier. Not all of my hair was covered with the dye because I only bought one box but Karina did great considering how much hair I have! So there’s still a little blond tint to some of it, and I like it. I’m in Nanjing now with my American AFS friend Lisa, and she and the other people we’ve met here all say it looks natural and they were surprised when I said I just dyed my hair. So there! Approval from my peers, as a teenage girl what more can I ask for?

So I flew to Nanjing on Friday night, got there around ten-thirty, and upon arrival my phone wouldn’t stop pretending not to have service. On my flight I sat between a Chinese man and woman, the woman on my left slept the whole time, the man looked like he was in extreme pain for the first half of the flight. Flight attendants kept coming to him and trying to help him, giving him water and a pillow, I asked if he was okay in Chinese and he waved me away so I just listened to my ipod. Then, at a seemingly random time, he took out his iPad and started reading the news, acting completely normal. I don’t know, readers, I don’t know. Sometimes I really just don’t understand China.

Back to my phone not working—it’s still like that right now, no idea what’s wrong with it, all I did was turn it off. So for the week I have no phone, using Lisa’s when I need one, which isn’t often. Saturday night Lisa and I went out to dinner with a bunch of other AFS kids at this nice Western resturaunt, real Western food not weird Chinese imitation stuff. The place is owned by a German guy apparently (I Googled it) and the food was delicious! I got a quesadilla and oh man, it…it was amazing. I didn’t realize how much I miss Mexican food. Soooo amazing, I’m glad I got it. Originally I was going to get a pizza because they were cheap but this guy Kale from Montana told me that the pizzas were just so-so and that the quesadillas were amazing, so we both got them and…wow. I really cannot stress how fantastic it was. All the Americans in Nanjing are getting together for Thanksgiving, and we were originally going to eat at the Sheraton but that was going to be expensive…and Lisa saw a poster outside of the Western restaurant we went to, so now that will be where we eat our Thanksgiving meal! It promises to be delicious and really a fun event. I’m looking forward to it a lot.

Let’s see, what have I done in Nanjing…today we went to the former Presidential Palace, it was really beautiful, I think we’re going back Thursday? for part of the day, because the place was just so damn huge. It was seriously gorgeous, though, and the architecture/overall feel made me remember why I had wanted to come here so bad in the first place. I felt like  I was walking through a painting or a dream… and since I know you’re going to get all excited and ask where the pictures are, I still meiyou (don’t have) an adaptor, so I don’t have my real camera. Have to try to remember to charge my battery using Lisa’s…or I could risk plugging it into a normal plug. Hm. I’m considering that now, since it worked for my computer. I’ll get back to you on how that goes. But yeah, I took some pictures on my iTouch but the quality isn’t very good. Lisa took some on her camera as well but I’m not sure when/if I’ll be getting those. My hair also looks pretty crazy right now because I forgot to bring a brush, and combs simply don’t work when my hair gets tangled, as you can probably imagine if you’ve ever seen my hair, which I hope you have if you’re reading my blog. But hey, if you’re some random person I don’t know reading this, Hi there! Go look at my flickr, maybe this will all be easier to imagine then! Haha.

If I’m friends with you on facebook, you’ve probably noticed my sudden presence and posting frenzy. This is because Lisa has a VPN (Google or Wikipedia it if you don’t know what that is, same with a proxy. Please.) on her computer, so I’ve been taking full advantage of that. I know that’s not exactly great to be doing, but it’s so hard to resist. It’s not that I want to really go on facebook per se, but I like seeing my friends’ faces. There are a lot of people who don’t email me (I’m talking to you, Cal people, cough cough) and so I never know what’s going on in their lives…one of my best friends from last year moved to the Philippines! I had no idea! Anyhow, though, going on facebook today, I had a nice little realization. Last year, a lot of my time on it made me sad because, though I have many friends on facebook, many of them are old friends or simply acquaintances. I would get sad because I wanted to really be friends with them, to be tagged in the same picture, to know more about their lives not because it showed up on my newsfeed but because they told me so themselves. Today, though, I looked at some people who had made me feel like this in particular and…all I felt was indifference. For the ones I used to be close with—there was a fork and we each took separate paths. We’re not ‘best friends’ anymore because, to be blunt, we don’t talk, I don’t know you anymore nor do you know me. I don’t mean this in a cruel way, more of just a matter-of-fact one. We used to be close, now we’re not. Life moves on.

And to those who I wanted to be friends with—well, you don’t become friends with someone, like, real friends with someone, by just wanting to be. I mean sure, you can see someone and think they’re cool and decide you want to try to get to know them, but that won’t always work. Sometimes personalities are just awkward with eachother, you’ll never get past the pretend-we’re-good-friends, the small talk, the kind wall posts when really you don’t know eachother from anyone else. There are people that I’ve wanted to be friends with and haven’t…and that’s okay. I don’t have to be friends with every single person I know, sometimes just knowing who they are is okay.

Sorry if that seems really stupid or obvious, but, I just feel much more free. There are people I don’t like, too, but I don’t have to go and tell them all the reasons I don’t like them. I can just hate them peacefully, that’s fine too.