Saturday, July 17, 2010

Daniel's List

I've begun to pack and the first thought I had was, why did I buy all this crap. I have way way more stuff than I either can or want to bring home, so I've been giving away stuff to people for a few days. I gave Sean and Sarah some food and liquor as well as a few kitchen supplies. I game Steve a bunch of stuff including a fishing pole and very little chair. I think this is a good lesson though since I'll be much more reluctant to buy junk in Xinjiang. Since pretty much everything I don't either bring home or give away will probably find its way into the hands of the people who clean the apartment I feel like I'm in the last scene in Schindler's List where Schindler is freaking out because there were a few possessions of his left that he could have sold to save more people. I've been trying to foist things on people I'm sure they don't want. Steve took two little Christmas trees but no one wants the big one. Hell, Sean and Sarah even took an unopened bottle of mouth wash I had lying around. Well next time things will be different I'm not going to buy anything in Xinjiang that I don't either intend to take home or really need.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Aliens are Coming!

Well apparently there was a UFO sighting over Hangzhou, which is pretty close to where I am, a few days ago that delayed a bunch of flights. There are all sorts of theories as to what it really was and I'll leave that debate to the internet I just wanted to say that while I'm sure most of my students would say that aliens would land in China since it was such an important country I think we all know the truth, even martians want cheap labor.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Medical Form Marathon

To go to Xinjiang next year I had to get some medical forms filled out just like I had to do two years ago before I came to China for the first time. I though it would be easier this time around. The forms were mostly in Chinese after all and they were issued by the Chinese government so it shouldn't be any problem to get them done in China. I was very wrong. Teddy first thought it wouldn't even be possible to get them done in Changzhou and suggested I go to Shanghai, the problem with this though is that it would cost a huge amount more money to get these relatively simple forms filled out in Shanghai. It isn't really Teddy's job anymore to help me with this stuff anyways and he was busy. I turned to Luca who has taken over Teddy's old job for some help. Luca eventually called one hospital who thought they could do the tests I needed but he said he was too busy, though I'm not exactly sure with what, to take me. Steve generously offered to accompany me to the hospital located in downtown Changzhou. When we got there they informed us that we were at the wrong place and we should go to the special hospital for foreigners in the North of the city. This is the place I initially thought would do it but Teddy had seemed adamant they couldn't get it done.

We took another taxi over there and after looking over the form the woman said they could fill it out but that they couldn't do any of the tests that day because they only did them in the morning. Steve agreed to come back with me another day to get all the tests done. The tests themselves were relatively simple just the usual doctors poking and prodding, with maybe the one exception of an odd test where I was supposed to smell some liquid in a jar and describe it, a test made much harder by the language barrier, also I'm not sure they were happy with the, "I don't know it smells like medicine," answer. With these tests done though I had to wait another week for the results to come in. Steve heroically agreed to come with me one last time. The real trick here was that I needed them to fill out my forms not just give me one of theirs. Steve had to debate and argue with them quite a bit but they eventually agreed to fill out the form I had, they even made two copies, since I'm not going through all that again. In the end it took weeks to accomplish what should have been done in days and I got a good lesson in the great Chinese run around.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Most Unlikely Thing to Ever Happen

I once saw someone try to calculate the odds of an alien invasion. Or the chance that a giant monster would rise up out of the water and Godzilla style attack a city. But all these unlikelihoods pale in comparison to what has happened. If you go out and win the lottery and are then immediately struck by lightning after getting attacked by a wild tiger it will still not be as unlikely as what I'm about to tell you. No, no, don't try to guess you'll never in your wildest dreams come up with something that has this little chance of happening. It's quite possible that even when I tell you you still won't believe that anything so unlikely could possibly have happened. Me coming to China was unlikely and going to Xinjiang doubly so but this just blows all that out of the water. In fact the better you know me probably the more unlikely this will seem. In fact if you had told me a year or two ago that this would happen I would have laughed never even thinking it possible for one second. Are you ready? Are you sitting down since this will come as a bit of a shock? Ok, I warned you this news is not for the weak of heart, the elderly, or the pregnant. I, Daniel Bruno Davis, have become a vegetarian.

There, you're shocked right. You can't believe it. Me who has long railed against everything having to do with vegetarianism; who in high school tried to start a club devoted to meat eating in opposition to the school vegetarian club; who thinks that the only good animals are the tasty ones; I have become a vegetarian. No, no I still don't care about animals. In fact I always find it refreshing how in China people don't really anthropomorphize animals the way people tend to in the US. No, I'm not overly concerned about the environment, in China anyways it's pretty clear that animals are about number 1,000 on the list of things destroying nature. I just thought it would help me to lose some weight. I couldn't exactly cut out carbs as every single meal around here is about 80% rice or noodles, but meat not so much. Many of the dishes already have little or no meat since it's usually the most expensive part. On top of that vegetables and tofu are huge parts of the diet in China and fish is pretty easy to come by. I basically looked at the unhealthy things I was eating in China and realized that if I cut out meat I would also cut out most of the really unhealthy foods. I'm taking about as narrow approach to this as possible. I'm still eating eggs, and yogurt, and what not just not meat. I've been doing this for about a month now, and it's worked out pretty well so far. There are a decent number of things to eat on campus that don't have meat in them, and at restaurants I can usually find something with fish or vegetables. Well there you have it. Now the rest of your day will seem strange and out of place as you wait for a meteor to fall from the sky or a giant tidal wave to envelope us all because if something this unlikely could happen who knows.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Foreign Expert and Expert Contributor

As most of you probably know by now me and Ken corrected a bunch of sign and stuff for the translation department. Well I wrote up a op-ed on it and in an amazingly fast period of time, less than a week, it was accepted and posted by the Wall Street Journal's China blog the China Real Time Report. It's really amazing to see something I wrote get published there. One funny thing some one noted was that at the end of the piece one of the tags is "Expert Contributor" so now I guess I'm a Foreign Expert and an Expert Contributor, now if only I was actually an expert in something.