China


Overdue update, but the reaction from my spontaneous giving of flowers on Valentine’s Day was immense. I warmed up by giving flowers to the garbage man, the traffic men and women, and other service workers. They were appreciative and graceful in accepting my flowers. Young ladies generally tended to be shy and confused. They all needed some convincing.

My friend and I handed flowers to businessmen in the elevator and one was so overwhelmed by the gesture that he managed to get his bag stuck to the elevator.

Then later that evening, I handed my last daisy to a woman picking up bottles and trash at Sanlitun.

As we left, I turned back to look. She was holding out the flower, smiling and standing quietly while staring at the flower.

Most recently, I attended a fashion party by Uggs at quite a nice venue -it was held at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (http://www.cafa.edu.cn/).

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At the party, I met a friendly guy who worked at P1.cn, the general manager of Hotel G in Beijing, and a lovely actress named Yubai Zhang (http://www.alias-talents.com/artiste.cfm/236496-yubai-zhang.html). I’m having a lot of luck making polygot friends who speak English, French and Chinese lately – and they’re always amazing young women who have great energy.

I do have a thought about these three languages though: How useful they are going to be! English is of course, the international language, a given. Chinese will be an incredibly useful language as China emerges as a major player, and French – besides speaking with the French-Europeans in France, Switzerland, Belgium and so on – is also quite an important language in the content of Africa. China has already begun to pay attention to Africa, harboring relations and such. I’m thinking it might be the next frontier. On the subject of languages – Spanish and Portuguese are becoming appealing, as I hear Brazil calling my name…am I being irrational and overly ambitious? I do hope to visit the continent of South American however, and while I’m there I’d like to visit Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni to cross off another item of my bucket list.  Kenya and Ghana will be next on the list as well. Thailand might also be sooner than I think…hmmm.

Anyways! I also had a wonderful time at a Valentine’s Day party this weekend – meeting attractive young people with few fun-loving lady friends of mine.

As such, although I do not expect receiving anything this year… why not plan to give a little? I have thus decided to continue my old tradition of performing random acts of kindness – giving out flowers to complete strangers just for the kicks of making them happy!  

More details to come in the next post after I experience my day…but here’s a preview:

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There’s a war going on outside!

It’s the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year and my apartment is getting bombarded front and back and from all sides by large explosions accompanied by car alarms. It’s only 10:31pm, and this frenzy of fireworks will probably last until midnight! Wow! Today is also known as “Yuan Xiao Jie” which is the festival for eating sesame rice balls or “Yuan xiao” (photo below). My apartmentmates and I had 6 each, perfectly cooked to tenderness. (You have to drop them frozen one by one in boiling water, and cook it for 1 minute after the balls float in the water).

“Yuan Xiao”

Something else exciting happened today! Yuan fen! (The Chinese word for circular destiny/serendipity)

During the Chinese New Year’s, I spent a lot of time watching the TV with my grandparents (it’s mostly what they do now that their eye sight has gone bad, and their bodies have gotten weak.) During this period, I saw this one program about Dong Lina (below) that replayed over and over again. Dong Lina was a young woman who was blinded during childhood from an eye illness and was thus committed to a life being trained as a blind masseuse to make a living. However, she was unsatisfied and decided to follow her gut taking on a bigger challenge by entering a competition with the Chinese National Radio. In the end, they offered her a job and a position as a radio talk host. I thought it was very touching when she was filmed expressing her greatest fear… that “each day will be the same as the day before.”

Today, after work, I entered the subway on line 2 at my usual time. I was shocked to find that right next to me was the young woman Dong Lina sitting in the same subway car as I was! Unable to contain my excitement, I spoke to her and her friend in the subway to tell them how I much I was inspired by her spirit and how my family enjoyed seeing her story. I also shared with them my own admirable, courageous friend who was also struck with blindness at childhood. They were both very sweet and listened intently, showing interest. Then I bid farewell and left at my stop. This was yuan fen. Simple! I hope our paths will cross again. It’s a sign. Thunder always strikes twice in the same place. It must.

Ms. Dong Lina’s greatest fear is that “each day will be the same as the day before.”

Youku video of her competition performance: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjg5MzUyMzAw.html
Global Times article: http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/677762/Blind-ambition-blocked.aspx

I recently visited Nanjing and Shanghai during Chinese New Year, and I was able to see many of my friends and family members. My family told me, on this trip, that my great grandparents were once the original investors of the Shanghainese restaurant, 录扬村 绿杨村! Phew! All the holiday eating has made me swell in the middle a bit – time to whip out my new year’s resolutions!

Last week, I climbed the stairs up to my 21st floor office after lunch. Surprisingly it didn’t take too long, and I also found that our building was missing several floor numbers. t think I will be doing that every day after lunch! I’m also quite sore today from going on a ski trip yesterday with a group of 30 people. We could see the Great Wall at the ski resort, and I skied down the steepest slope twice! I had excellent coaching from a friend who grew up skiing in Switzerland. I had been stuck at the bunny hop, limited by my lack of boldness, but with some encouragement he saw that I could handle the challenge and I was happy to have succeeded! Maybe this is a sign of a bigger pattern in my life…hmmm.

Oh and actually, there was an even steeper slope available that requires you to sign a waiver before going down haha.

Most recently, a new friend I met presented me with the coolest bag I had ever seen. She happened to have two bags by the designer Jump from Paper. Out of the blue, she says “Do you want one? I have another one. Here, have it.”

It’s a 3-dimensional bag (a.k.a. a real bag) with an image of a 2-dimensional bag. It’s from the Charmer collection, and it’s named “Bonjour!” Looks like I need to take this Taiwanese-designed bag for a walk in Paris :). It’s also perfect for my macbook air!

Take a look yourself: (Below girl is not me!)

http://jumpfrompaper.com/collection/charmer/bonjour/

7 day public holiday this week: Saturday to Friday. We return to work on Saturday in time for a 7 day work week!

How did I take advantage of this 7 day week? Rest, catch up, and go to the gym. Why didn’t I go anywhere? It’s nice not to go anywhere for a while. In any case, I’m already somewhere!

What stories do I have this week?

1) My housemate Peter went on FeiChengWuRao http://fcwr.jstv.com/
2) I met the other contestants on the show afterwards and had drinks at Xiu, where one of them poured the Canadian Club over my shoes in a failed attempt to pull off the  “I’m drinking, but no one knows I’m not because I’m pouring it out” trick.
3)  We showed a good friend around town, but missed going to Beihai Park :(.
4) I found a new apartment!  It’s twice the size of my room! It’s good. Time for a fresh start.
5) I’m preparing a training about what PR agencies can do be more useful for News agencies.

Time to register as a foreigner tomorrow morning, and go to the gym.

Here’s to finishing the training slides tonight and creating a new Chinese flashcard deck on my itouch.

And that is all! I’ll be in town in New York on Jan 4-6. The idea is to expand my global network. Follow thy gut.

 

 

 

We have been out of touch, my friend. I have been too busy traveling around and creating stories to write my updates and I’m sincerely sorry for the neglect I’ve placed upon you.

Today was St. Patrick’s day and after my work day (yes, I now work in Beijing), I went to another all-universities event at the Molly Malone bar on the ground floor of the Legendale Hotel. Although the event was hosted by Boston Colleges, I was invited by the Stanford alum community’s organizer. I met many interesting people… such as a Beida history professor and the director of the IPTV business, Umiwi.com.

Tomorrow’s a friend’s birthday and Saturday I have a hutong tour followed by dinner with some friends and this Sunday my home is hosting a party for my kungfu class.

There are many ideas roaming around this town….my head and thoughts are in a mess! I hope I have time to arrange them sometime soon! 🙂

Cheers to serendipity!

creating and abandonning so many different blogs under different names.
I’m considering I should just congregate all my activities to this blog, so look out!

Location: Beijing, China

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