I Lost Lucy

Lucy – I tried to write to the email address you left, but it bounced back. I posted a reply to your comment here.

bugAnyway, I have some other photos to post from Halloween. Unfortunately I don’t have any more of me in my fabulous bug costume. Hehe.

Jeremy and I spent Saturday night and all of Sunday vomitting and unable to move. It was terrible. Must have been food poisoning. Really awful. We’ve both pretty much recovered. We even went out for pizza last night. Yum!

Forward March

Yunnan Normal University (云南师范大学 or “ShiDa”)has recently become a real hassle. I will most likely enroll in a different school next semester. The quality of their classes varies — sometimes they’re pretty good, but the quality of their administrative face is consistently miserable. My interactions with THE OFFICE have literally brought me to tears. Their attitude is never accommodating, always combative. I’m exhausted and ready to move on, but until I have my passport back (yes, it is THAT messy) I’ll have to keep smiling at them.

On a happier note, I am finally enrolled in a better class. It suits my level and I already know the teachers. What a relief.

Although I don’t really have a group of people that I regularly hang out with and speak Chinese, I am filling my days with more and more Mandarin. Some of my friends that have been hesitant in the past to stray from English are slowly having more conversations with me in Chinese. It’s very exciting to see everyone else’s progress — much easier to appreciate than your own.

The college for teachers training to teach Chinese as a foreign language announced this week that they’ll be offering free tutoring sessions at our school every day 5-7pm. This is really incredible. Of course the announcement was posted in Chinese only, so most of the people that could use this kind of help (me) looked right past it. Thank god Jeremy can read it and he told me about it.

My language exchange with April is going well. She’s very good about keeping me talking in Chinese. This week we didn’t crack our books at all, just sat and chatted with her friend Nancy. They are both nice women, educated and relatively laid-back. They seem a bit bored with their current situation and are happy to chat with me. April has been twisting my arm to tutor one of her English students, but I am unwilling to schedule class time on the weekend.

Actually, I am thinking about trying to find work for next semester, instead of continuing my life as a student. I would love to find a job with an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) here in Kunming. I think it’s possible with my background in non-profit organizations, working in communications and information technology. Between web design, database programming, and editing I should be able to avoid falling back on just my administrative skills. And Kunming has some interesting things going on with AIDS education and other health issues. Some friends have suggested a few contacts that I should follow through on. Time to spruce up that resume!

Raising the Minimum Wage in Missouri

Give Missourians a Raise on PBS NewshourFunny, my head is back in Missouri these days. There’s a ballot measure in the upcoming election to raise the state minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.50, and continue to raise the minimum wage inline with inflation rates.

I’ve been working for the “Give Missourians a Raise” coalition doing their web design. I’m so pleased that I can still be a part of things back home. Makes me feel useful.

“Give Missourians a Raise” was just featured in a headline story on PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer. Very exciting to see that kind of nation coverage on this issue:

It would be nice to find some way to be useful in Kunming.

Free Film Screening Tonight at Nordica

center stageNordica has a free screening of Center Stage (2000) tonight.

Movie Night: Center Stage
Saturday, October 14
8:00 p.m.
T’ Cafe/Gallery Nordica
click here for directions

My classmate Liz is one of the dancers in this movie! She’s currently a dance teacher at Nordica here in Kunming and will be at the screening tonight for a dance demonstration before (or after?) the movie.

Kunming Bubble Children

Another movie brought to you by Jeremy Productions. No children were (physically) harmed in the making of this film.

Apparently this is called “水步行球” or “Water Walking Ball” and a popular activity this holiday season. So if you’re in Kunming (Yunnan Province, China), be sure to swing by Green Lake Park and invest your 10 kuai ($1.25 US) for three minutes of fun.