Saturday, May 16, 2009

This morning I stepped out of the dorms and startled a tawny long-haired cat, who had apparently been nibbling at the leavings spilled from a fallen bag of potato chips.  She scampered into nearby bushes and cautiously watched me as I crossed over to the student cafeteria in search of breakfast.  It's early Sunday morning, my first Sunday morning here, and I wasn't sure what would be open.  The cafeteria was serving, but the pickings were slim: pork filled steamed buns or bowls of congee.  Neither appealed to me, so I hopped into the student store.  Crossing back to the dorm, carrying a yogurt in one hand and a sweet roll in the other, I saw the same cat perched delicately atop her stack of chips, gingerly nibbling away.  She looked filthy, but fat.  We observed each other quietly as we guarded our morning victuals. 

It has been a busy few days since I lasted posted.  These days have included:
  • A trip, Friday morning, to the nearby Nanhu Community Center.  We have a faculty-advised team of graduate students conducting life cycle research there, and our undergrads will be engaged in service learning and collecting life narratives.
  • Teaching an intensive two hour English language seminar to a class of Social Policy students.  The course was originally entrusted to one of our group, Charles, but he ended up with 150 students.  So he recruited me (and three others) as his co-teachers.  The objective: further mastery of transitions used to debate or discuss controversial issues. The lesson plan: in small groups, come up with the five most important things a foreigner should know about China.
  • A terrific dinner with Paula (Dean of Social Work), Charles (Paula's husband), John (Social Work faculty, head of the graduate research team), and Jim (University of Missouri, Center of Asian Affairs).  We sat in a gorgeous room at a restaurant perched on a hill and ate and ate, while overlooking the skyline across the banks of the Yangzi River.  Later we endeavored to find a place for a cocktail outside by the river, but we couldn't find a place that would sell us spirits in a glass (we were asked to purchase the whole bottle).  Ultimately we sat at candlelit tables, some of us sharing a bottle of Great Wall wine (nothing to get excited about!), some of us drinking Chongqing beer.  Roving musicians kept arriving with horn instruments, string instruments, microphones and amplifiers, playing loudly near our table, dueling with their selections.  (that last part was not very pleasant!)
  • A trip to an ancient fort (Diaoyu), site of the Mongol conquest of Sichuan. Check out the picture of me playing pin-the-hand on the Fu (good luck symbol).  I touched the radical for "field" and this means I will be rich some day!
  • A foot massage with Paula and the social work team, and an excellent dinner of Northern China cuisine (including a favorite dish of mine: tofu skin with green peppers).
My low point in the past 48 hours was discovering that we are now blocked from blogspot, including one of the graduate students' food blogs. Bummer.  But Jason is posting my blog and the students' blog from stateside, so keep reading! I'm also getting the comments via email, and I love reading your posted comments. 

1 comment:

  1. Blocked? As in, you cannot access it now? Strange. I wonder if that's the gov't.

    Have a great trip!