Friday, August 21, 2009

What We Did in Teacher Training

Adventurers, behold!

(*clears throat*) A poem:

Hearts are in pain
I am lost, alone,
Mad, and sad.
I'm a sad panda,
and there is no bamboo.

This lovely work of high literature was composed by myself and Jason Petsch, my Yale-China partner-in-crime. As part of Dan Bleiberg and Kelsey Clark's mock lesson, we had to pair up and write a poem (using metaphor) responding to a situation. Jason and I got "Just Broke Up With A Boyfriend Or Girlfriend." We kinda loved it.

I'm currently working on two videos: the requisite Hong Kong video, as well as a retrospective look at the summer in Beijing. They will make an appearance soon enough...



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An Epic Anniversary: China Prepares for October 1, 2009

'sup Amigos,

A history lesson: on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong stood on the steps at Tian'anmen, the entrance to the Forbidden City, and declared the foundation of the People's Republic of China. It is 2009, and the PRC's 60th anniversary approaches. Preparations have begun:

These are shots of my Chinese roommate's college. He is somewhere in this mix and, along with his fellow students, will be participating in the festivities. He tells me that over 1 million people will take part in the official ceremony at Tian'anmen Square that day.



A Quick Reflection Before Bed

Dear Reader,

My summer is winding to a close. Tomorrow, I have my written final. Friday, I have my oral exam. Friday night, I board a 25-hour train to Hong Kong, where I have 10 days of intensive TOEFL training and Yale-China orientation, after which I move to Yali Middle School, Changsha, for the next two years of my life.

It's all happening so fast, it seems, but I suppose that's how life works, for better or for worse.

Speaking of the better, I want to reflect on the worse. I recently went back and watched the first (and this far, only) music video that I've made, "Part of That World," a parody of "The Little Mermaid" song of nearly the same name. In the video, I chose to use a couple images (one of female Chinese soldiers marching in formation, one of a Lego rendering of the famous Tian'anmen Square photograph from June 1989) that I would not use if I made the video today. The first photograph grossly mischaracterizes my future students, and the latter now seems totally insensitive to the lives lost at Tian'anmen that summer, as well as to the movement for which they were lost. I think that I crossed the line, although I didn't realize it at the time. However, I have decided not to remove or edit the video, because it represents who I was at the time it was posted, and now I can look back and really see how much I've grown.

There are also other little things about me that have changed: I try not to use the word "retarded" anymore (this is largely because I've learned a great deal more about autism this summer, and I simply don't feel right throwing out that word casually), and I've become much more sensitive to jokes involving children, even if in complete jest.

Anywho, these are just a couple quick observations that I wanted to throw out. Now, about that final...


Chris' Character Comics (San C), 1

If you read Zhongwen, enjoy! If you don't...well, enjoy!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

500 Ban(1) + Wo(3)

Hola Readers,

I have for you here a truly a special treat. The 500-Level class (500 Ban(1) = wu(3) bai(2) ban (1) = 3 ren(2), all fellow Fellows: Colin Campbell, Kelsey Clark, and Dan Bleiberg) invited to make a guest appearance in their skit. I was their essentially their current teacher's evil twin: Yang(2) Fen(1)fen(0), or more formally known as Yang(2) lao(3)shi(1). A video may have been involved...

Wo(3) yong(4) Zhong(1)wen(2) da(3) si(3) ni(3)!*


* Note to self: character application. F$$king invest.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Great Wall Getaway

Meinen Damen und Herren,

Yes, yes, I know exactly what you're saying: "What is this?! Another post so soon??? Christopher, you shouldn't, really, you shouldn't have..."

Well, I did, so psssh :-P

This lovely piece documents an epic 24 hour adventure (which included such diverse modes of transportation as walking, subways, buses, and our lovely taxi that drove the wrong way on one-way time, we're taking a rickshaw) in which Yours Truly and three other adventurers (Kelsey, Lizzie, and our darling Nate) camped on and hiked from the Jinshanling portion of the Great Wall in Hebei Province to the Simatai portion in the Beijing Administrative District. Words cannot describe the Awesome, so I will simply show you:

Chang(2)cheng(2) you(4) piao(4)liang you(4) shuai(4).* (I really need to get a character program...yeah, I'll get on that.)


*"The Great Wall is both beautiful and handsome." This is how I described my impression of the Wall to our taxi driver. This promped him to muse on the Wall's elegance, more to himself than to us...then he drove into one-way traffic...on purpose. This is China. These things happen.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chengde Magic

Nimen hao!

Again, I've been MIA...drats. I'm hoping I'll be more consistent at the posting thing when I get to Yali, 'cuz here in the Beijing...well, yeah...

Anywho, and a few friends ventured out of Beijing a few weekend ago (and two weekends ago (Dalian!)...and last weekend (hiking and camping on the Great Wall! forthcoming) We journeyed to Chengde, a city in Hebei Province. It was a sweet time, as documented below:

Note: we also spent a day exploring this incredible park: Highlights included hiking its mountains and wall, checking out decrepid Communist vacation homes, watching a Chinese calligraphist make his art, and listening to some pretty sweet music (and having learning do-re-mi on the erhu, a traditional Chinese string instrument). I'd say that it was fun times, and I know fun times.

I'm also planning on writing more thought-provoking and intellectually engaging posts in the near and distant future. I'm also planning on introducing another feature of the blog that I've been developing: Chris' Character Comics, or San(1) C. They are incredibly fun to create, and I hope y'all will enjoy them as a regular feature.

v :-) v,