Saturday, December 19, 2009

Visa Trouble = Non-Vacation

Greetings from Korea!

I went to type in a title, and when I typed "Visa", the auto-complete pulled up a previous title from last year: "Visa Trouble = Vacation". This time, however, there's no fun or games. I'm sitting in the Seoul airport waiting for the check-in to re-open so I can get back through security (the whole hurry up and wait deal).

A lot of our friends have to do this little excursion: 8am flight to Seoul, 6pm flight back. One of our friends has done it so many times that she's got it down to a science. The only real consolation prize is that the Seoul airport has a couple Dunkin' Donuts, which we don't have in Beijing (although Shanghai has some).

This past year we've been lucky enough to have year long visas without max-stay requirements, but now our year's up and it's time to renew. Our renewal starts from the most recent date of entry, so that's what I'm here in Seoul. It's kind of painful to be stuck at an airport in a city/country I've never been to, but M and I were remarking that the fact that we're okay with me doing this visa run rather than some crazy whirlwind trip/vacation is actually a good sign that we've settled into our life in Beijing.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Earlier this week, M and I were running late, only to discover that the elevators in out building were broken. Mind you, we live on the 25th floor and were planning to scoot to our appointment. So we had to put the scooter away and run down the stairs (we're so out of shape that our legs were sore for days after).

When we got back that night, one of the elevators had been restored to working order. But the other had some strange pump sucking a brownish liquid out of the shaft.

The next night, the elevator was still broken, and they had this contraption going on.

We had a good laugh. But now that I think about it, I'll be entrusting my life to the efficacy of a hair-dryer on a fuse box the next time I step in that elevaor (which, of course, runs under the faulty assumption that the elevator will eventually be fixed).

Posted via email from Beijing Dou

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Daily Cry

Back when I was in high school, I had a girlfriend who used to have a daily cry with her mom.  When she told me about it, I remember being dumbfounded; at the time, I hadn't cried since I'd lost my pet turtle in elementary school.  On days when there wasn't anything particularly frustrating or sad to cry about, she and her mom would sit down together and think of something really sad until the tears started flowing.  The idea of it all--crying on command as cathartic relief, was beyond foreign to me.

But lately, I've started having a daily cry, and I've gotta tell you, it's fun.  I get my daily cry in every morning on the way to work, sometimes on the way back too.  Basically, it's been so cold and so windy, that riding into the wind on the scooter, my eyes have been watering profusely.  And even though it's not technically crying, there's a certain amount of relief that I get from climbing off the scooter with my eyes glistening, wind-dried tear streaks running down my face.

Maybe the Ex- wasn't so crazy after all.

Posted via email from Beijing Dou

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Backlogged: Halloween

The distant future.  The year 2009.

I know, I know.  This is super late, but since I'm playing around with this email posting service over at Posterous, I thought I'd attach a picture.  And what better way to implement social media innovation than through robots.

Definitely took some inspiration from:

and my late 80s, early 90s childhood.

Posted via email from Beijing Dou

Desperate times...

call for desperate measures.  Trying out this new blogging service over at Posterous since we can't get on Blogger without our VPN on.

Posted via email from Beijing Dou

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just what am I teaching these kids anyway?

So I teach an Intercultural Communications class and as part of the course, we try and make the students aware of stereotypes and prejudices that they may have or may face when going overseas.

I gave them a quiz and as review, I tested them on some key terms that they learned at the beginning of the course.

When asked to define the term stereotype and give an example, one of my students (a gal from Guangdong) came up with this gem:

2. stereotype refers to a selection process that is used to organize and symplify the perception of others. For example, many people think middle east people are terrorism Black always stealing