Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

2013 03 08_1255_edited-1These last couple of weeks have been a blur; spring festival, finals, a job interview, a short break, and back at it. Spring festivities went on for over two weeks ending in the lantern festival. For the lantern festival we headed down to the river after filling our bellies at Pizza Hut. The lake was beautiful; trees lit up with lights, buildings and fireworks glittering back on the smooth river which carried paper lilies with candles, people lighting lanterns and releasing them into the sky. It was like that scene in Tangled were people light the lanterns, but not so serene. Actually, those lanterns were illegal where we were, so people had to do it in secret before the cops saw them. In one case the police snatched it out of the sky and stomped out the fire. Another person was carried away by police. Literally, one cop on each limb as his mother cried/screamed in the background. Later that night when we finally made it home, fireworks shot off into the night until dawn.
As for the job interview, that fell on the inconvenient week of finals, yes, finals already. We are fitting two semesters (two years for me) into one semester of Chinese, so regular tests = finals. The interview was at the Chengdu Institute for Biology doing research on alternative uses of Duckweed. The whole process has waked me up to Chinese culture and navigating the confusing labyrinth of conversation. So far, I’ve found it interesting but now I’m really busy, 18 credits and now a job… we’ll see how this ends….
Last week was mostly just me being busy running between the job and school, but on Thursday my art class went to two museums. One largely centered around historic artifacts and the other around the ancient craft of shu embroidery and brocade. I loved the later of the museums, but what I thought was the most amazing part was how much the final pieces cost. One was worth the same as my parent’s house! Honestly, I think they just ran out of space on the tag and started using 9’s ($99,999). That’s not even in Chinese currency!
I mentioned in my last post that vegetables are really cheap and easy to get here, so my diet has been mostly fruit and veggies with the occasional side of noodles or rice. As a result, my pants are too loose. As a curvy Scandinavian woman there aren’t a lot of pants here that fit me. Pants vary between American sizes 00-4, with the occasional 6. I figured I’d go to H&M because they’re a European store that would maybe have my size. Out of all of their pants I found two pairs that fit.
Despite not fitting in most Chinese pants, Chinese people are always an ego booster. Although I don’t speak Chinese very well yet, I do hear “Your Chinese is great!” or “You’re very pretty” on a daily basis. Thank you, China.

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