Day 88 - Cinco de Mayo

Thursday, May 5th, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3 Mountains - CRUSHING DEFEAT


If you're wondering what happened to the loneliness, I stopped taking it so personal that everyone was busy, and developed my own routine. I was impatient. Slowly, people have warmed up, let me in, and started inviting me to things. The occasional social outlet pops up from time to time, and allows me to get through all of my professional, and self-appointed work. Focusing is doing wonders for that, by the way. 

Technical Error

Aurora returned the USB full of music on it because it can’t be read by her computer. This is the second time that's happened here, but it worked for Mary.. Weird. Aurora had handed it to the smallest girl, who walked up and gave it to me, and skipped away. So adorable.

"I'm not paying for this"

Blech. Baozi. (Back left) Low-protein lunch.
After lunch, we have Mandarin lessons where Helena taught us how to deal with cab drivers and the potential disagreements that can come from it. Knowing how these things tend to go, I don't feel prepared to use the "I'm not paying for this" or other such confrontational phrases just yet. 

Out of the Red

Teleport home, nap. I walk the block to my bank and am pleasantly surprised that I’M IN THE MONEY. Well, not super in-the-money, but enough to settle up with everyone here. Awesome. Teleport back to school, eat dinner with Jen and Aurora. One of the more familiar Chinese CoTeachers walked near us and I moved my bag. She said she couldn’t stay because she was supposed to eat with others. Jen said that she had tried to eat with a lot of the CoTeachers in her several years here and found that a number of them will avoid the foreigners because they are embarrassed about their English.

Walking to Mado through the well-lit Hutong
English Embarrassment

This seems ridiculous when you realize that they teach English, but saving face seems to be a major thing in China. As Pool put it in his hypothetical situation: If you were in front of a crowd of Chinese people and ripped a roaring fart… there’s a good chance that the reaction might be “What fart?” in order to save you the embarrassment. Jen pointed out that this can be kind of sweet, though I can see how it can be annoying at times when being direct would be much more kind or effective in dealing with problems. In this case, we will all pretend their English is perfect and avoid speaking it outside of class. That's one possible explanation, at least.

Big 5

Tonight is the Information/Language exchange with Aurora, where I teach her about the Big 5 Factor model of personality. OCEAN (Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (now emotional stability)). Some applied psych would probably be useful for someone who’s never studied psychology at all, and personality theory is the most easily usable with people, especially when teaching.

The Good Stuff

Chugging Contest
Since I have money, I stop drinking the shit coffee that is pissed out of automatic machine, and get a latte from one of the new girls working at the lounge café. I order a latte, and she says “yī bēi?” (one cup?) clarifying if I’m buying one for my guest, but I say “yī bēi! zuì dà bēi!” which means “one BIG cup! Biggest cup!” which she doesn’t understand and gets confused. I forget how to say “just kidding,” eventually enlisting Aurora’s help in navigating the rest of the conversation. I am forced to awkwardly stand around, listening,  because she didn’t give me the ¥95 change for the latte.

Cinco de Mayo!

Jump forward to Mado bar where it’s the Cinco de Mayo pub quiz! This round it’s just me and Tad, who are probably the weakest pop culture members on our team. We really need Mary, especially since all of my pop culture has nothing to do with Mexican culture. We get in either last place or second last place, but hey, at least they had a piñata.


At one point, Chad's friend had come up and introduced himself. We've met before. He talked about how he was displeased with his raise at his company. I've been watching videos on listening, and decide to put them into practice with this guy. In doing so, he ends up speaking more directly to me, allowing me to control the flow of the conversation through selective questioning. Neat.

Piñata. They gave each contestant 10 seconds.
Didn't survive the first 3 seconds.

After our trouncing, Tad and I walking to the falafel place. He said that his first few months here had been spent partying, and drinking a lot. He thought that he hadn’t experienced any culture shock. It wasn't until he looked back some months later that said he was able to recognize that had experienced a low-level of it the entire time. Now, he says he tries to embrace the Chinese lifestyle. "Yeah man, I drink hot water all the time now."

We grabbed some schnitzel at the usual place and met both the co-owners. They were friendly, and both from Israel. I was happy to help them take a picture of both co-owners and their parents, who were visiting for the first time. Nice guys.

A dust storm began as we walked to get our cab. Down the street we ran across Carden Asthon on the side of the road, snagged her, and continued on our way. 

Overall, I’d say it was a pretty good day.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Play (verb)
wánxiào (play - laugh)
Just Joking
kāi wánxiào de
[k-aye wahn-she-ow duh]

Editing Music
Diablo Roho
Rodrigo Y Gabriela

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