Thursday, July 31, 2008


Hey there -

Sorry I have not been updating the blog more frequently. I was doing pretty good there for awhile, but then I switched apartments and the new place doesn't have an internet connection.

In the near future, I'm going to post some pics of Suzhou, the creamsicle bike, and the apartments in Shanghai.

The fact that there has not been an update on here has been an update in and of itself. There is really not much new in the Wild East, at least with me. I study or teach everyday and most days, I do both.

Everyone is getting excited for the opening ceremony next Friday and I have been given off from work as a result. Or, rather, in Chinese fashion, I have to work Thursday instead of Friday. I don't mind though because I like where I teach; the classes are smaller and the atmosphere is more laid-back than my previous job.


ps - the answer was the American Consulate. I just thought it was ironic. I had seen our consulate many times, but I never noticed what was 40 feet away.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My first typhoon

Typhoon Kalmaegi lashed Taiwan yesterday and today it hit China, in a province south of Shanghai. It's been downgraded to a tropical storm so most of what we're getting right now is heavy rain and a little wind. My first typhoon has me thinking about my first hurricane, Hurrican Gloria in 1985:

Does anyone remember that one?

Here is a link for the typhoon:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Reasons for getting hitched

It’s not as exciting as Fight Club, but there’s this thing called “Chat Club” at the school where I teach. Most classes are structured and you have to focus on a particular topic – pets and weather for the lower level classes; business language and interpersonal skills for advanced students. But, there’s no structure for “Chat Club.” I can pick a topic and talk about it for an hour.

On July 4, I taught about the Revolutionary War and typical American holiday celebrations. Yesterday, inspired by a conversation I had with my friend Joy (who is Shanghainese), I chose marriage and started out with the following question:
Why do people get married? The first three reasons were:

1) loneliness

2) wanting to take care of someone and vice versa

3) fear (of what, I'm not sure)

After a solid ten minutes, someone mentioned the word "Love." I thought it was interesting that this was the fourth reason and not the first or second.

It was even more interesting to hear why people have children. Here are the top five:

1) having kids is fun

2) wanting to take care of someone

3) continuing the blood line

4) keep a marriage together (?!?)

5) hope that the next generation can lead a better life

Again, after ten to fifteen minutes of discussion, someone mentioned "Love."

The reasons for having children were much better than the reasons for marriage, but still I was startled, I thought love was the best reason for both.

Shanghai Geography

Here's a little quiz for you all. I just noticed this today.

In Shanghai, the Consulate of Iran is across the street from:

a) my old apartment building

b) the American Consulate

c) the school where I teach

d) my new apartment building

e) there are over 130 foreign consulates in Shanghai, but Iran does not have one

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A bit hot

It was 87 degrees with 90% humidity today…….at 2 a.m. I took a pee three days ago and haven't had to go since. That’s how rotten it is here.

My t-shirts are soaked. I’ve involuntarily lost five pounds and have considered walking around with an umbrella like the Shanghainese ladies. It is ridiculous. Last winter, I kept hearing stories about the brutal snow storms and ice everyone was experiencing in Philly and especially Chicago. All the while, it never got below 20 in Shanghai and now it is payback. As we speak, says the temp here is 99 and it feels like 107. Agreed.

To top it all off, there's a nice blanket of smog to coat the air like whip cream covering a chocolate sundae. Delicious. I feel like I'm in a microwave. The sun cooks the city and everyone I work with keeps talking about how it’s almost 40 degrees out. I try to trick myself that they’re talking about Fahrenheit, but then I remember that I’ve been in saunas cooler than this. So, if it's hot where you are, click on this link and just say to yourself: I'm not as hot as Chris (and I never will be).

Friday, July 04, 2008

I'm Handsome.

That’s right. Read it again, read it outloud. Yours truly is handsome. I know - I couldn't believe it either.

The news was delivered to me earlier today at work around 1:30pm Shanghai time. Last week, our school video taped one of my classes. I’m not exactly sure why, but I suspect it had something to do with advertising. And again today, they videotaped today's class.

When I asked them why, they said, “It’s because you’re handsome.” I knew I moved here for a reason. Great for the self-esteem + terrible for the ego= a happy 4th of July here in the Wild East. And just to think…I was only wearing an orange DRPA shirt in honor of the holiday (as a segway into my July 4 class, I talked about the Delaware River).