Monday, 26 April 2010

Lucky Draw!

This Saturday I was heading to a party at a friend's place. Since he lives about 15 subway stops away (don't worry, I brought a book) I really didn't feel like carrying some snacks and drinks for the party on such a long trip. I asked him if there was a good convenience store near him where I could pick up some stuff. He suggested the 7-11 in the subway stop I would be getting out at. I got there and grabbed a few things and went up to pay. After I paid, they told me to pick 7 of these scratch ticket things. This kind of small lottery is pretty popular in China. Some receipts have a little scratch off area where you can win small amounts of money or prizes. Apparently the government started the program to get people to ask for their receipts more often.

ANYWAY. I was in a little bit of a rush because I thought i was going to be late (I was the first one there...I think I might be obsessed with being on time), so I just went to put the cards in my pocket to look at later. The girl behind the counter looked at in exasperation and told me I needed to scratch the tickets off right then and there. So I moved my stuff to the side and scratched off the cards as fast as I could. Six of them were all the same message and although I didn't understand it, I assumed it was the equivalent of "Thanks for playing, try again". One was different, so I handed it to the cashier. She got REALLY excited.

I won two tickets to the Shanghai Expo. I can't even remember if I have mentioned the Expo in my blog. It's kind of a huge deal and most of the people here (at least the expats I have been talking to) are pretty sick of hearing about it. I personally find Haibao (the Expo mascot that looks like Gumby's shorter, bluer and more annoying cousin) the worst part. He is EVERYWHERE. I will admit thought that the Expo actually does sound pretty cool the more I hear about it and I figured it's kind of essential that I go before I leave China. The cheapest ticket that I have seen is about 160RMB for a one day pass, so even if that's what I won, it's a value of over 300RMB, which is pretty cool. Apparently the 7-11 workers thought it was a big deal. They took a picture of me and took my name down. I'm assuming it's to hang up my picture and say I won there (like they do with the lottery back in the US). EIther that or they thought I was just so darn pretty.

So now I get to go to the Expo. And for free too!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

By The Numbers

This weekend I went on a trip with some coworkers to Wuzhen. Here are some statistics about my trip.

1: The number of new cities I visited this weekend. (Wuzhen)

2: The number of new animals I ate this weekend: turtle (I felt a little guilty about eating one of my favorite animals but it was good) and sparrow (TINY but pretty tasty).

3: The number of boat rides we took on canals through Wuzhen.

4: The number of containers of tea I brought back. One was a free gift. The other three were part of a special deal for babaocha (one of my favorite teas), how could I resist?

5: The number of books in the Chinese comic set I bought about the Monkey King. I figured it would be a fun way to practice Chinese.

6: I can't think of anything for six so I will just use this place to say I bought the area's specialty: rice wine. It came in a bamboo container. I have yet to try it,

7: The floor of the hotel we stayed in. I shared a room with my boss, Luo.

8: The number of chapters I read during the trip in the book I am reading, "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. I think everyone should read this book. I am enjoying it immensely.

9x10: The amount in RMB I paid for a hand carved driftwood statue with a Buddha face.

11: The approximate amount of weeks I have before I move back to America.  I told Pinghe that I will not be coming back for a third year. I may have cried. They told me I was always welcome here and that they hoped I would come back. I may have cried again. Now I just need to find a job back in America...

Monday, 12 April 2010

An Awesome Weekend

I had a very full weekend, mostly concentrated around Saturday night.

I don't think I mentioned it in my blog but I was asked to perform as an old hollywood actress for the American Chamber of Commerce Hollywood Lights Gala charity event. I decided to be Mae West. I put a lot of effort in preparing for my role. I had a dress made, bought accessories to match (including a wig), memorized some of her famous one-liners, etc. Friday night was some last minute planning for the role. I read up a little more about her life, watched some videos so I could get my voice to sound like hers, put the whole outfit on to check to make sure it was all set, and did my nails.

Saturday I had brunch with Sarah and then we went on a hunt for some lipstick that would be the right color and wouldn't cost me a million dollars. Then Sarah was very patient and super helpful and did my makeup and helped me get on my wig (even with my new short haircut I have a LOT of hair to tuck away). I even wore false eyelashes for the first time. I really liked them. :-) Then I grabbed a cab and headed to the Shangri-la for the event, threw on my dress and made my entrance.

There were two other actors for the night and I was surprised to find I knew them both already. There is a surprisingly small community in Shanghai when it comes to foreign performers. Serious case of 6-degrees of seperation. The other girl was being Marylin Monroe and the guy was playing an old timey director (John Huston?). I was a little disapointed because hardly anyone knew who Mae West was (although the few times I was "recognized" was a LOT of fun) and I was trying to stay true to character so I couldn't really go around all bubbly like Marylin Monroe. I still enjoyed throwing out a few one-liners and throwing smoldering glances at everyone I saw. Although I wasn't wearing my glasses, so I might have been throwing smoldering glances at flower pots, walls, or the backs of people's heads.

After that was done with I had to get out of costume really quick and head to Sound Blue for an improv performance. As soon as I got there I had to de-wig, pull off my fake eyelashes (OW) and wipe off all my makeup. We warmed up and then had our performance. We played a few new games including Questions Only and Props. A few people from work came, and I was also able to see Lucy for the first time since the beginning of February. The show went really well. The place was pretty full and we got tons of laughs. I had a lot of people I didn't know coming up to me after the show to say I was really good. Yay! This time the director also mentioned that we do this for free and put out a tip jar. My cut of the tips was enough to pay for the taxi home, which was nice.

Also on Saturday I got a text comfirmation from Elizabeth that our tickets are booked for our trip to Hanoi. The holiday ended up being for 5 days instead of just a long weekend like I thought it was going to be, so I am very excited for the extra time in Vietnam. Elizabeth has been there before so she already knows a good hotel to stay at and some good places to go. This will be the fifth country I've ever been to (America, Canada, China, Japan....VIETNAM!). I can't wait. We leave on the 30th of April.

The last bit of news really isn't mine to tell. A good friend of mine got engaged and asked me to be a bridesmaid! It's the first time I have ever been asked and both her and her fiance are good friends of mine so I am really excited. I won't put their names here, though, on the off chance that someone who knows them reads my blog before they get a chance to spread the news themselves. EEEE!

I suppose that's all my biggest news for now. Next week is midterms. I can't believe the semester is almost half done already. The seniors are taking their IB exams in three weeks. Wowza.Actually, I have a "mid-term" myself this week. We are at about the middle of my Chinese classes and we are halfway through our new textbook so our teacher is giving us a bit of a midterm this week. I haven't had a midterm in about two years!

Well, gotta prepare for classes. Leave comments to say how good I look as Mae West.

Much love,

Thursday, 8 April 2010


I continue to be horrible at updating. I know. But something happened this weekend where an update seemed kind of necessary. I cut off about 10 inches of hair.

My before picture kind of sucks in that it was taken about 3 months ago. I thought about taking a before picture right before I cut it but I figured I would be able to find at least ONE clear picture of my long hair from recently. Oh well.

I got tired of it being so long and the summer is coming so I figured I might as well chop it all off. When the time came for the cutting I was a bit frazzled so I completely forgot about gathering it up in a ponytail to donate it to Locks of Love. Oh well. Next time! My friend Elizabeth (the one from improv) was the one who did the honors and I think for no real training she gave me a pretty nice 'do. Liz cut my hair out on my balcony. I felt very Chinese getting my haircut outside. At first she was cutting off chunks and throwing it all over the edge of the balcony. After we watched it wildly blowing in the breeze we figured it was best to throw the rest away inside.

The comments on it have been mixed but positive. Walking into class for the first time after having it cut lead to a very fun reaction of "Woooooh!" and applause from the students. Most people say I look a lot younger. I look younger to myself as well since this is what my hair looked like when I was a freshman in college.

One interesting reaction was that a few people asked me if I was in love. I asked a coworker about it and I guess it's a saying or something that if a woman cuts her hair (at least as severe as a haircut as I had) it means there is some big change in her life. For the record, I am not in love. Just wanted a hair cut.

On a related note, as I was walking back to my apartment the day after the haircut and was surprised to find a dead rat by the side of the path on the school's campus. As I got closer, though, I realized it was not a dead rat but my own hair. Nice.

Anyway, what do you think?

Much love,