Monday, April 09, 2007

a quick summary of Christmas 2006

...but first, a quick glance at Thanksgiving 2006...

**This is a picture from our In-China Thanksgiving dinner. I have to say, it was my first American style Thanksgiving with gravy, stuffing, etc. - all the good stuff. The turkey, unfortunately, had to be store bought...mostly because Chinese apartments don't really come equipped with an no baking. Seems a bit overdue to be writing about our adventures during Christmas, but I really haven't had all that time until now. So...let's begin.

To begin with, our Chinese class had a Christmas party. Everyone brought a dish from their home country (well, of their home country) to share with the rest of us. We also did an attempted Secret Santa gift exchange. It was a bit more difficult than the other exchanges I have ever done...mostly because the person you are given may not be someone you really interact with much. But, I guess that only made you talk to everyone else who was their friend so that you can find out what gift would be best. I was the secret Santa of Luo Lana (Chinese name) from Peru. The only thing I had noticed was that she recently got an i-pod. So for Christmas, I got her those squishy feeling i-pod covers as well as some of those round, gold foiled chocolates. Tabitha (to my surprise and absolute happiness) was my secret santa and she got me exactly what I wanted. I know this may sound OCD...but I got a planner!!! After four months without one, my life finally felt complete. I am definitely one of those people who likes to write down everything she needs to do in her planner and then cross it off the list when it was done. I don't's simple pleasures. I ended up bringing chili - of course, made by the one and only Joel. :) Finding the necessary ingredients was tough - but, I think it turned out pretty good. It was quite the scene though...making good old American chili in a Chinese wok. I think we were only one of a few classes that actually threw a party for Christmas. Oh, this picture is hilarious. That's our tingli teacher, Wang laoshi and Sergio (Chinese name shi jiu as in the number 19) from Spain. He's teaching her how to play pinata. See, we had to improvise what we were doing because we didn't think to bring string. So, at first the football shaped pinata was just taped on the wall. However, the tape couldn't keep it up, so in the end, we just had to leave it on the ground and have her (half dizzy from all the spinning) beat that poor pinata on the floor. The whole class was in laughter and our teacher swinging and beating. Oh...and of course, we didn't bring any sort of blindfold, so that's just Sergio's ski cap over Wang laoshi's face. Poor teacher! We ended leaving early to pack up for our next adventure. One of Andrea's friend's friend has a cabin up in the mountains not too far away from Chengdu. We were going to visit a hot spring and then spend two nights at the cabin. A few of us spent the trip to the mountain watching Firefly...a show that was supposedly on Fox but then was pulled off air for who knows what reason. It's a pretty good series - just imagine wild west plus space adventure and there you have it! The main characters are like space have to see the series to understand. The hot spring was absolutely amazing. This was another first for Deborah...never really been to a natural hot springs before. There was a heavy sulfur smell, but the surrounding area was so peaceful and quiet. We took dips in the various springs they had set up - some really (almost excuriating) hot ones, and some of the cooler ones. By the time we left, we were all pretty hungry and ready to drink and play some. :) We hit the cabins about an hour later. We were to be the only guests at these cabins for the entire duration of our stay. Usually they are closed for the season, but since we had connections (guanxi!) we were able to find sanctity up in the mountains during Christmas. What was even cooler was the decorations that the owners put up for us. Knowing that we would probably all be a bit down during the holidays not being able to by with family back home, they set up the area quite nicely with tree and ornaments, and a nice, warm fire. Oh, and of course, there was karoke. It wouldnt be a Chinese Christmas without karoke. Here are the boys singing their hearts out. We all took turns finding songs - but alot of them were only oldies and motown. What would karoke be without drinking? Well, we actually didn't sing and drink...but we did play a drinking game that now all of us love to drink to whenever we do drink. King's cup? Yeah...I'm pretty sure most everyone has played this game besides me...but we had a blast! :) I believe this was the first time we had ever drank together. We played until about 1 or 2 and then we all headed off to bed.
The next morning, Andrea, her friend and her friend's son got up early to do some morning Taoist styled exercises. After breakfast, we climbed a mountain...well, probably more of a large hill. Either way, it wasnt that easy of a climb because the path was slippery from the morning dew. We came upon this bee looking insect...actually, even now we aren't too sure what it was. The view was spectacular...even when the clouds started settling in. We didn't spend too much time up on the hill only because we feared the weather was going to turn on us. We headed back down for dinner. To be continued...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Voicing for a Chinese Internet Game

I know it's been awhile since I last updated my current status. I will formally start to write all that happened during Christmas as well as during the Spring festival starting Monday. I need to work on my field notes from my last trip to Yangjuan first. But, I did want to share an interesting experience I had today. One of my friends, Tim, had another friend who works for an internet gaming company. He needed two people to help out with the "foreign" voicing of the characters. The game is called "Street Soccer." 6 people play as internet players with street soccer rules.
After agreeing to do the female voice of this game, I met up with Tim this afternoon and rode our bikes to the guy's house. We each took turns saying things like: "Nice Pass!" "Yo, chill out! The game isn't over yet!" "Man, that was awful!" "Defense! Where's our defense?" Of course, we made changes so our original script wasn't like this. :) Haha...I tried to make it as authentic as possible by the use of "man," "yo," and "aight." I don't know when the game will be available...we might have to stop over at his place and do a couple of more recordings. Man, I guess this is my debut!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dinner with the folks

I've been feeling a bit sick these past few days. Must have caught something while I on that 23 hour train ride. Despite the coughing and sniffling, I have been taking my mom to some of the touristy places in Chengdu. I'm in the process of charging my camera so that I can transfer pictures over for posting. So, I'll talk about those trips in another blog.

Sarah and her family came back from Tibet this evening and so we decided to have a gathering of families for dinner. We (Sarah and her family, Laura and her mom, Matt, and my mom and I) went to that mapo tofu place we ate previously during the mid-autumn festival. It was nice to see everyone again and even better that we got to meet everyone's family. We had the traditonal family style Chinese dinner - a plate of stir-fried bean sprouts, mapo tofu *of course!*, fish sauced egg plant, kongbao chicken, huiguo rou or twice cooked pork, winter melon dakon pork soup, fish (nian nian you yu), and pineapple flavored bing & scallion flavored bing (cong you bing). All of us shared stories about our adventures. Laura and Sarah also have blogs that I have linked with mine. Check out their adventures! Laura spent some time in Beijing and in Shanghai and Sarah and her family was in Beijing for a few days before coming to Chengdu and taking the train to Lhasa.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chinese New Year Festivities in Chengdu

There is a word in Chinese that, when translated into English, sort of loses its meaning. That's because it has to be understood in context - mostly a cultural and experimental context. 热闹 or renao is when translated is literally "hot noisy." For the Chinese, this means crowded, noisy, and busy. People sometimes mistaken this to be a negative term, but let me tell you, Chinese people love renao.
Today is the 2nd day of the spring festival. Last night, my mom and I went over to Matt's place and cooked a "traditional" Chinese dinner. It's really hard to get authentic when all of the vegetable markets are closed, but we tried our best. We wanted to make 饺子or dumplings but because the market wasn't open for the holidays, we had to buy frozen ones instead of buying the dough and making our own. Besides dumplings, we had roasted duck and chicken, soy bean curd, Chinese sausages, and a soup of all sorts of seafood and meat balls - shrimp balls, fish balls, pork balls, fake crab meat (the pink and white stuff). All while eating, we were watching re-runs of CCTV's annual spring festival program. In the middle of watching an old Chinese movie called "The Knot," all hell broke lose with fireworks. And not with those ones that you would buy in the America at those stands outside of supermarkets. These were like the ones you would see at firework shows - right at eye-level outside of Matt's 6th floor apartment. Crazy! On our way home, I spotted some local, small vendors with carts of fireworks. Tonight is going to be a night of pyro-mania. And they are hella cheap too!

This morning, my mom and I headed down to Wen Shu Yuan, this temple in the middle of Chengdu. Growing up in LA and having attended all of these Chinese New Year Festivities as a kid, it was pure heaven. Renao and tons of it. So many kinds of 小吃 or little foods!!! Let's see if I can recount all of them: fried squid, Tibetan butter tea, fresh sugarcane juice, mala tofu flower, baked goods, dragon whisker candy, mud roasted chicken, stinky tofu, etc. There was just too much for my stomach to take it all! Besides the ones already listed, there was deer meat, fresh coconut, cold noodles, 5 friend quail eggs on a stick, insects (like grasshoppers, scorpions, bee/jacket larvae, beetles, etc) on a stick, all sorts of bean mixtures, etc. Man! You have got to love China during the holidays. People here sure do.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Happy Lunar New Year!

It's five minutes till the New Year and outside my's absolutely chaotic! Everywhere, there are fireworks and firecrackers going off. If you didn't know where you would think you were stuck somewhere where warfare was going on. There is non-stop blasting of reds, yellows, greens, and blues. On occasion, right now, there are those gigantic fireball fireworks that give off that loud boom and bright glow. So this is how people in Chengdu celebrate their new year! My mom and I have been in Yunnan for the past nine days. We finally arrived back in Chengdu this evening...after a twenty-three train ride from Kunming. We missed the last stretch of people buying last minute groceries. We did catch a couple of small shops so we bought some sunflower seeds (500 grams to be exact), some chicken wings, 3 apples for peace, 2 pears, and some oranges with their stems and leaves still attached.'s hard to sleep at all right now. Everywhere, people are lighting fireworks like crazy! The sky is constantly aglow and the night setting is filled with squeels from fireworks and crackles from the firecrackers. If only I was more eloquent in my description or if there was a way for me to record this and have this be played back...haha. Let me tell you's a great way to usher in the new year thats for sure. This probably won't be the end of it. New Years lasts for fifteen days! Without all of the vegetables and such, I made some thousand year old eggs and salted duck egg congee and my mom and I had that with the chicken wings and bean curds. The fireworks started way early...when we were eating dinner. The sad part of it all is...we don't have a tv in our apartment. My friend David (Zeng Yu) gave me a link, though, to watch what was probably the most watched television broadcast in the world of Chinese people - CCTV's annual New Years program. Streaming over our internet live was sort of a I'm going to see if watching it tomorrow morning would be a better bet. I'll try to fill in the details later about our trip within the next few weeks. I think I'm going to go and step outside and try to see if I can catch more of this excitement!
Happy Lunar New Year Everyone!!!
It's the year of the PIG. :)


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

...Chinese Web Chat...

...third week of the new year already...and I'm not sure I've really kept any of my resolutions. But being Asian, I have a second chance for making up broken resolutions...

...these next few days will be absolutely crazy. Finals are next week...and in the process, I need to work on revising my research proposal as well as making contacts so that we (Sarah, Matt and I) can get ourselves to Yangjuan during the first week of break. I'm a bit nervous...mountain roads could be really icy...

...I will have to catch up with what happened over Christmas and new years in the week to come. Some pretty crazy things...preview: Chinese people beating up on foreigners on Christmas eve...which we participated in...spending a few hours in sulfur-smelling water...getting crazy assed drunk at a club drinking JW-Black...played my first drinking game: King's Cup - freakin awesome...and rocking out to Mo-Town...

Oh, but here's to anyone interested in learning a bit of Chinese web chat lingo...

What you type in...

...520...wu er ling..."wo ai ni"...I love you
...360...san liu ling..."xiang nian ni"...I miss you
...775885...qi qi wu ba ba wu..."xin xin wo bao bao wo"...kiss me, hug me

...748...qi si ba..."qu si ba"...go die or go to hell

...ssgg...shuai shuai ge ge...handsome boy
...ppmm...piao piao mei mei...pretty girl...

祝大家新年快乐! 希望大家都很好.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

IKEA & a Christmas tree

:) Hope everyone is doing great...finals are almost over, no?

Things here have been going okay I suppose. I have been listening to Christmas music and it makes me miss home alot. But today, a couple of us got a taste of being in the States. Matt, Tim, Ben, & I headed on over to the newly opened IKEA for lunch and to stroll around. REAL HOT DOGS!!! China usually either have the Chinese sausage or these "spam-dogs." Spam-dogs only begin to taste decent if you put the chili powder thing they have. We also had Swedish meatballs! Western food here is usually no lower than 25 RMB...but I had a hot dog, a soft drink, 10 Swedish meatballs, fries, and some sort of berry sauce all for 13 RMB. Not bad. I've never been to IKEA in the States, but I am totally in love with the IKEA here! Haha...I feel like I could use everything they have there. A couple of us are planning on going back this coming Saturday.

After we got back and had class, Matt, Laura, and I went to Roberts Hall to scavage for some Christmas stuff. Roberts Hall really isnt a building, but rather a room devoted totally to UW exchange students over at the overseas students dorm. Over the years, Roberts has collected stuff pervious exchange students leave. At first, we were just looking through this stuff. But then we thought, why not put up the fake Christmas tree that was in the room? And we did...we decorated the tree with tensils, ornaments, and lights. Following that, we did the door and windows. :) It's pretty nice. People outside on the street can totally see our tree. Yay. Alright, going to go and finish off The God Delusion. I'll post more later. Laters!