Social Experiment: The Tale of Two Profiles

*note I changed the original picture since somebody decided to make it an issue because I photoshop some pictures to make my skin smoother. Due to lighting and some apps yes that can lighten skin. In no way am I ashamed of my true complexion. So ask a question before you make assumptions that I am ashamed of my skin tone*  
It’s bizarro how I am finding everything about my life a social experiment lately.  It is what fueled me to write my latest blog entry. It is what helps me to keep my sense of humor when I am having one of those infamous Bad China Days. 

The Next topic in my Social experiment series tackles online dating in China.  With online dating your picture is what everyone looks at first. I know if a guy doesn’t have a profile picture, I am less likely to read about him. He could have written something that was a beautiful as a Shakespeare sonnet but no picture no read. I am sure that men are doing the same thing with my profile.

  
Online dating is like being a kid in a candy store, so many choices to choose from but many people are selective in their choices. In a candy store I prefer jellybeans and caramel over black licorice.  It is just a choice. 

Online dating is just like that. My social experiment on this began as an accident. When I first came to China I had an online dating profile with OKCupid. My friend met her boyfriend now fiancé in China using OkCupid. I have had mixed results with this website in the past. So I did it I put up my profile. It has been active for 2 years. In 2 years I have had 14 responses to my profile. Oh and 106 views. Of the responses most of them were black men. The views I had a mix of men but mostly black.

  
 In the first profile I am heavier and there are only face shots. I also am wearing my hair in it’s natural state.  My smile and my words in the profiles remain constant. My age changed though. In China there is a stigma about age so I subtracted some years off my age in the first profile. Also I sent out maybe 4 responses that never got answered. 

Once I moved to Hangzhou after my tragic love life ,I decided to  give love another try.  I decided to open my OKCupid profile again.  Well guess what??? I forgot the password!  So I decided to open up a new account. A new account a fresh start. 

  
This profile was born about 3 months ago. So it is very new. I put up my most recent pictures. Well the response was way different. In 3 months I had about 51 men respond to my ad and over 100 views. These statistics are way better than my older profile. The words are  basically the same. I am still a romantic and still an animal lover.

So what could possibly illicit a difference in response?  There is a saying, ” A picture speaks 1000 words.” So yes image is everything. I think it is the differences in how I look. Many physical variables differ between the two profiles, like 60+ pound weightloss and sessions with my flatiron. Also in some pictures I appear lighter than in others. That is due to lightning and maybe some photoshopping skills. However I have a variety of pictures in both profiles.  Location may have also been a variable. However I was getting responses from different areas than where I live in both profiles so this variable probably is not a great enough factor to change the results of this experiment. Someone mentioned that I am more confident and that comes across in a photo. Maybe …. But I don’t see that as I look over my two profiles. I see the same exact expression.

  
Another thing that I noticed was the type of men that responded to me in both profiles. In the first profile it is mostly black men that respond to me. I would say they are all Africans. Many were very polite in their responses. I don’t often reply using the first profile. I only remember it whenever I get an email alert to a message. 

   
The second profile I get responses from a variety of men representing a variety of races. I guess this profile is more man friendly.  Maybe the overall cuteness factor of ChocolateChickinChina revamped is the answer. Maybe it be an unknown like how many licks does it  take to get to the center of Toostie Roll Tootsie Pop. The world may never know.

The British are Coming

This blog is all about my closest group of friends in Hangzhou, who I lovingly call The Brits. I can’t begin to explain how loving and funny they all are. They opened up their ranks and accepted this lone American in their fold. There is also a Canadian in our group but he doesn’t come out as often.

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Each of the Brits have their own distinct and lovely personality. I just love their deprecating, dry and sarcastic sense of humor. I find it refreshing. I always have a blast when I hang out with the Brits. So without further ado let me introduce you to the Brits.

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This is Mr. Debonair himself, Sir Ashton, our leader. Ash has a heart of gold and is a good friend, though I worry about his liver. He loves a pint or 20. He is a likable bloke and always organizes us together. He is our king. He drinks so many Long Island Ice Teas that I fear that he may morph into Joey Buttafuco one day( Google that name if you don’t get my joke) Ash is a friend that I met though another friend and he is the one that introduced me to The Brits. He also is a matchmaker and he is trying to find love for me. What a sweetie. Just don’t get him angry.

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Next up we have Sam, the most cynical and funniest in the group. Sam is the music critic and he gave me a thumbs up on my music in my phone. He is a Smiths fan, which I absolutely love. He smokes Marlboro Ice Blast and drinks Tiger beer. He hates music by Michael Jackson, it is like nails on the chalkboard for him. Oh well nobody is perfect.

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This is Big Ben, and my opinion the most mature of the bunch. Ben dresses like the classic English gentleman. He is the classy one and is very well spoken. He actually isn’t a Brit, he is a Welshman. Ben found true love in China. He and his girlfriend are so sweet they give me a toothache.

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Next is Baby Joe, a fresh faced young lad. I like Joe he is very adorable. He has game, I have to say. Within one week of moving to Hangzhou he found a beautiful girlfriend named Laura. They are so utterly adorable together. Joe can be a bit naive and is the butt of every single joke. He is a Liverpoolean and rumored to be the illegitimate grandson of one of The Beatles. If you believe that you are more gullible than Joe.

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The Chicks. The Brits have their Chicks. Their chicks are Chinese. They are Brits by association. We can call them The Chits.

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This is DanLi, girlfriend of Ben. She is uber nice and a chocoholic. No piece
of chocolate is safe around her. She is also a piano teacher. I think she is absolutely beautiful both inside and out. Ben is one lucky boy.

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This is Laura , Joe’s girlfriend. If Maryann( from Gilligan’s Island) and Dorothy( from the Wizard of Oz) had a love child then it would be Laura. Laura is just a sweetie. She is very kind and helpful. I always have such a pleasant conversation with her. She is such a cute and petite lady. Her English is very good. She is an English teacher.

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Helley is no one’s chick! She is single and strong minded. Her drink of choice is ginger ale. We have not fully corrupted her yet. I know many foreign men would love to have a girl like her. Her English is very good. She and I are the single ladies of the group. I would love to set her up but she is content with her life the way it is.

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The Canadian, is the only other non Brit. He is actually a nice guy and a good friend He is fun to be around and makes me laugh. He is a mountain man and loves the outdoors. Johnathan likes to take exploration trips around Hangzhou on his days off. He use to play in a band in Canada.

The are my motley crew of friends. I love them to bits. So cheerio mates.

Xiamen Stories:The Family

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I have been in Xiamen for about three days and it is paradise. Xiamen is one of the cleanest cities in China. It is so lovely with palm trees and hot tropics. it reminds me of the Taiwan that I see in all those Chinese dramas that I watch online. The people here are friendly and the men here are really good looking. That is another post though.

This post is just to introduce the family that I am living with for this month.  The family name is Lin. It  consists of a dad that is  an architect. He is  also a kind  and  loving husband  and dad. A mom who is  quite beautiful and kind. She listens  to French music and likes wine. She loves being a mother and  she is very good  at it. I enjoy watching her roll on the  floor and playing with her children.  Then there is the grandma and  she is so lovely. She has this air of  poise and  grace.. She  helps care  for the children. I like her alot  too. Then there  is the housekeeper. She doesn’t live there  but stays there  all day and then goes  home. She  is  a good cook and  also takes care  of the  baby. She  has a warm and friendly smile.

The Baby

The Baby

Oh and  baby Lala. OMG so cute and  clever. I so want a baby!! The baby has bells that she  wears on her ankles, so you can hear  her  coming. I like that idea and  she  is always  coming. She  is one  years old.  I gave  her Uni(sorry Lesly) and now  she  is my best friend. I taught her how to say hi and  hello in English. She  already knew bye bye. Now when  she  walks into the  room she  says hello.  I wasn’t  kidding when I said clever!

Last, but not least is Nono; the  10 year  old that I am tutoring. She  is quite outspoken at times. She  is sweet, funny, creative  and clever. I really love  her  personality. She  has  me  laughing all the time.  She loves to pulverize  me in chess. I never  could understand that  game. She  also is  such a doting big sister. I have  already  bonded  with  her. Vivacious  is  the  adjective  that describes  her  best. She  told her  dad that  he  has  to  stop  smoking because the teacher  does not like it!

Nono, the girl I am tutoring

Nono, the girl I am tutoring

I feel  God  has been with me  on his  whole journey  during the  summer. I am learning about myself. In Anhui I rediscovered my heart. In Xiamen I am rediscovering a sense  of  family. I have  not had that sense of  family for over 10 years. After my mom died,  my family became  distant. I truly missed having a family. Their  love and  bond is  so amazing.  I have become very distant in those 10 years. This is  showing me  what love is. The lord is  showing me this maybe  as a means of preparation. Everyday, I am opening up more and  more. Oh and today the  baby only wanted to hold my hand  and not her  daddy’s. That was  too cute.

Loving sisters

Loving sisters

Anhui Adventures: Never Can Say Goodbye

My students

My students wrote this  for me

I am so sad  today. The last  day of  instruction was yesterday. I am feeling a great  sense of loss. I have  made a connection with these students in such a  short time. I am sadden that it is  all about to end. time flew  by  so  quick.

I will always  cherish my time  in Anhui and  hope that  i may be  able  to return to this  friendly province. To me  it  feels like  home. The  students have  all connected  with me.  I feel like I am part of a cohesive family. I do not want to lose this feeling. I feel  blessed that I was allowed the  opportunity  to work  with such an amazing staff and the  best bunch of  students that I have ever encountered.

My  memory book

My memory book

Will is  comforting Anna

Will is comforting Anna

I made the  last day pretty mellow and  relaxed. I was sad and  wanted  to have a relaxing moment with my students. We played  dodgeball, watched  movies  and made memory books. the students had to write  down their fondest memory of  summer camp.

This  was  very emotional  for the  children because  just as  i have  fallen in love  with then, they have  fallen in love  with me. It was cray me a river there was not a dry eye  in the classroom. Even Matt was teary eyed. John lasted the longest and  Jonathan  decided  he  could not  deal with us  and  went off to  his dad.

As I held unto my students trying to  console them, I really knew that I would  love the  opportunity to be  able to teach in Jixi, not sure if  it is a possibility but it is  something that I will pray on. If God wants me  here then there  will be  a way. All I know is that it does not  feel right that I am leaving Jixi.

The students were

The students were weeping

I soon broke  down in tears  and  my students  began to  comfort me. It was  quite  an emotional scene.  No one  wanted  it  to end. The camp faced  many hardships but we persevered. Together  we  are stronger. I really  do want to keep in touch with everyone. My heart is aching right now  as  I write this. I know that I have  a new adventure waiting in Xiamen but Xuancheng is  where my heart is.

Zoe is in tears

Zoe is in tears

Anhui Adventures: My Students

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The best  part  about  being in Anhui is  the  students. I have  never  met  such a  group of  kind  and  humble  students.  The  kids  are  so  down to earth. Being in  Anhui  has  changed  me  so much. It  has  given me  direction. The children have  helped  to  cleanse  my  troubled  soul and  have  shown me the  direction that  I want  to  go  with my  life.

I realize  now  that my  place  is  with the kid,s not in a university setting. This  will mean a job  change  after my  contract is  up.  In the  middle  of  a school year  too! Wish  me  luck in that endeavor  and  pray that i will find the right placement

My class is  hysterical, I have  18 students.  Out of  those  students  15  are  boys. You know  how  middle  school boys can be, rambunctious, sneaky, mischievous. They were  quite a  handful but I love  them  so much. They  were eager  to learn and  we  built  up  such a rapport together.

Each student  has a distinct  personality. There was  Matt who is the troublemaker  who had a mega crush on one  of  the teaching assistants. I have  a soft spot  for the bad boys, I just loved Matt he  was a cutie. Then there  was John, he  always got in trouble never  listened and  always ended  up almost  getting hurt because he  never listened. There was Mark the  buck tooth beaver.  Awwww he  is  soo precious his English level was low but he  tried  so hard and  his  smile  warmed  my heart. There was Bill who is  just a  cool kid and  an amazing dancer. His  mom is  the richest woman in town but Bill is  so level headed and  down to earth. He treats everyone equally. He is  so not a  snob.

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Oh  and then there was Anna.  Anna  and  I totally connected. Her mom was my  co teacher  in the class. This  little  girl  is  such a happy, optimistic  and loving child. She is 12 years old an  she  has  stolen my heart. She always  cheerful and kind. Eliza, her  mom is  my new female  friend in China. I am really  going to miss her friendship. I will keep in touch  with them. I was even invited over to their  house  for dinner. I really  wish that i had  the opportunity  to see her  grow into a lovely  young  woman.

I had Mike  and  Ken who loved  to dance. On break time those  two were always  doing Gangnam Style. It was too funny. My boys  did  enjoy  dancing and  singing. They  had  me  laughing for  most  of the  class especially  during  break time.

Oh and there  was  James, James is  also a  student  who  will be  forever engraved upon my heart. He was the  oldest and tallest boy in my  class at age  15. He  had the  calmest and  sweetest  demeanor. His  desire  to learn  English was  high. He sat in the  front and he out of  all my students  made the  most  progress. I love  this  boy so much.

Oh and the twins Mark and Luke(they  choose those  names on their own) is it ironic! They had  a  higher  level  on English than most  of the  students. It was  so  fun communicating with them. I really felt a  connection with them, plus  they are  so funny and friendly who  could  not  love the twins. DSC00317

Oh  and  Jim whose  parents are  both  teachers and  he  had  the highest English  level. Jim is  a smart  kid and has a  sense  of  justice. He  has the  heart of  a rebel but he  does it in such a subtle  and  clever  way.

I also  had  the privilege  of having Jonathan, a foreign  teacher’s  son in my  class.  H aving an expat  child in the  class really  was  a learning experience  for the  Chinese  students. Jonathan  made  some  lifelong  friends  and  he  told  me  he was hesitant  to leave the  school.

Oh and my two lovely girls Lisa  and Zoe. It was great  watching them torture  the  boys during break time. These girls were at  first intimidated  to be  in a  class  surrounded  by  boys, gradually  though they got  more  comfortable. Zoe taught me  how to blow  a double balloon. A balloon inside  a  balloon. It is  so unbelievably cool. And Lisa has the  funniest laugh and  she  is  quite the actress.

We learned  so much together. I taught them high frequency words, greeting, Western Culture and  Chinese Culture, phonics. I Also taught them about American football,  baseball and  dodgeball(In the  next and very  short blog). We have  been practicing for plays  that I wrote that we  will be  performing on the final day  of  camp. They  learned  about Western music. I also  learned  so much from my students  to. They taught  me  so much more than I taught them, They  showed me  my  true purpose and they  opened  my heart  to love. I will always remember  Jixi with a fond  heart.

Anhui Adventures: The Hotel

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After the  long long car ride, we were told that our  rooms on campus were  not ready, so we  would be  put into a hotel for  two days. I have  found that my stays  at hotal s in China have  been quite pleasant.  Well escept the my universities hotel room. Ughs.

The hotel staff was  so excited  to see us. There are not a lot of foreigners that  come  to Xuancheng. So seeinga  foreigner  is a big  deal. The staff was  really nice. We had  to check in and  our  passports were  scanned.

We were taken in the elevator. We had  to make  two trips because the elevator  was narrow.  We were  both on the fifth floor. The Vice  head master  of the school opned the  rooms i walked  into the  first room. The  vice principal said  non no no and pointed to Jose  and  Jonathan. He  gestured  for  me to go to the  corner  room.

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chairs

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A bathtub, I never got a chance to use it. I was scared my big butt would get stuck.

To my utter suprise  and delight it  was a suite!!1 This was the  nicest room that I have  ever styaed in. I left like a queen. I have  two two bathrooms. One bathroom had a bathtun! I had a living room with a chaise,  couches and a TV with cable. My bed was a huge king sized. There was also another TV in that room and a  computer  with internet axis.

I was so nears tears. I flopped on my bed and was comforted by a soft western style mattress. It was like I was  sleeping on a cloud. It was  an  end  to a perfect  day.

Sleeping on a cloud

Sleeping on a cloud

Anhui Adventures: Arriving at School

Xuancheng is surrounded  by  beautiful mountains

Xuancheng is surrounded by beautiful mountains

This  is  part  of  a series  about my  month teaching in Anhui province at  a  summer camp. I have  been  here  since July 3rd, however  due  to internet snafus and  being  busy with lesson planning I only  have  the  time  now to  update my readers on my adventures. I have  so much to update, So my lucky readers prepare a series  of post overloads. 🙂

The company that  hired  me  to work  for  the  summer  arranged a flight for me  from Nanchang to Hangzhou. The flight was only about an hour  and my friend  Liu Jia took me  to the  airport  to say farewell.  We arrived  early, I am so  parnoid  about things  happening like the cab breaking down. So we  sat in the  airport people watching for  two hours.

courtesy  of www.disneygo.com

I got a window seat, iy was  so relaxing to watch the happy little clouds. Don’t  clouds  make you  so happy! Bob Ross likes  happy little fuffy  clouds.  I  felt like  I was in his  paintings.  
The  plane  landedand guess  which ditz could  not unfasten the seatbelts? ME!!! I think I have  blonde roots. I was struggling with it. Finally an older Chinese  knight in  shining armor saved the day. He unfastened  my seatbelt with the greatest of  ease. Yeah , I am a ditz. Next i went  to  claim my  luggage, did I mention that I had  to pay an overage fee?. My friend  told  me that I packed too much. Well, I am going  to be  gone  for two months and I am a girl.

I got off the plane and  look for  my contact person. Everyone  has  signs  with  names  on them. My  contact  did  not. I could  not spot  him so I called him. He told  me  what  he was  wearing. We finally  found  each other, He helped me  with the bags. He was shovcked  at how heavy my bag was. He had  no clue that I bought mama and  baby  bag. Big papa bag was at home all alone. He  told  me  to the car  where I met Jose and  his son Jonathan and their adorable puppy Chino. I  just love their  puppy. I wanted to steal him and  give  him hugs and  kisses.  I still want  to steal him to this  day. He is my rent a puppy!!!  I nicknamed him Chi Chi.

Look at the cutie pie!!!!!

Look at the cutie pie!!!!!

We had  a  four hour  car ride. It was  a great way to get to know the TAs. They are  college students  and  get to help  us  in the  class room. The hour  car drive  really  helped  us  all to  bond. I sat in the  front seat. Oen of the only perks about being a fatty is that I always  get to call frontsies! Due to my size I am really just  too big right now to sit anywhere  else in a car when there  are lots of people.

On the  car ride I found  out that I had  a lot in common with Jose. He is  also  from New York. He is a professional teacher like myself. Oh and  he use  to work at the Newark Board  of  Eduation! My former district neighbor. Oh and  he too  moved  to New Jersey  after living in NY. He  is  funny as  hell too. He is now my new BFF in China.  Jason you have been replaced! Hehehehe

We  did not arrive at the school until 10 pm. They had a banquet  meal waiting for us. Everyone  knows that I have been trying to lose weight, well I  did  partake  in the  feast  and it was  so delish. Hands  down it was one  of the best meals in China. The food was not  spicy, like it is in Nanhang. There was  duck tongue, this beef that was surely water buffalo,  a  fish dish and  an assortment of  veggies. I was hungry   so I dove  right in. I did eat small amounts.

After eating we were shown our rooms. We had  to stay in a hotel te  first night. Oh I wasa lucky girl. I will post next about the hotel room.

Duck Tongue

Duck Tongue

Hunk of  Meat, tasted like water buffalo
Hunk of Meat, tasted like water buffalo

A fish in a sweet  sauce. It was the most succulent fish that I ever tasted.
A fish in a sweet sauce. It was the most succulent fish that I ever tasted.

Dragon Boat Festival Party!

The performers in the play

The performers in the play

Happy  Dragon  Boat day everyone! I am  so  sorry that it took  so long for  me  to post. If you want  to place  blame on anyone, blame  my neighbor and my best friend Jason. He  distracted me  and  I  never had time to write  my blog. Shame! Shame!  on  Jason. He never reads my blog anyway! In fact I am in  his  house  writing this blog. Jason’s house is the party house.

Today we  had a Dragon Boat Festival Party at my school. Just a brief synopsis. Dragon Boat Festival is  a celebration of loyalty and  honor. It is  a tribute  to Qu Yuan, a statesman, patriot and  a poet who was exiled from the Chu dynasty. When the Qing  dynasty overthrew the  emperor, Qu Yuan killed  himself in sorrow and  to show  his  honor  and loyalty  to the  old regime.

Zongzi is a type  of  dumplings eaten during the  festival, it is glutinous rice wrapped  in bamboo leaves. There are different types  and flavor. Some  have nuts. I have  to  stay  away  from those. The Zongzi was thrown into the  river  to keep the  fish  from eating Qu Yuan’s body.

Eric, the Emcee, me  and Bambi the Soldier. Bambi was  so helpful during this event.

Eric, the Emcee, me and Bambi the Soldier. Bambi was so helpful during this event.

Initially , the  Foreign Affairs Office  wanted to  host a small party  to introduce the  foreign teachers to the holiday. Somehow this idea morphed  into a big extravaganza organized by Jason and I. We were no longer the  guest of  honor but the facilitators and participants. We had  to  come  up  with the  ideas and enlist students from our classes. This  an extremely  Chinese concept, so we  were reluctant plus they  said that we are really creative. A dose of  ego feeding is the  best form of  coercion.

We came up  with some  great ideas.  We had  a skit,a zongzi wrapping demo, a Zongzi passing contest (like hot potato), singers, dancers and  a zongzi eating  contest. We invited some  students. Oh  and the  school invited the  press! They  wanted  to publicize  this.

This event  could  either sink , swim or  fly. I was  nervous. If it  stunk then  blame it on us! Hehehe. I have to  say though I did  not  want  to do this  willingly, I am so glad  that I did. I really learned  so much  about The Dragon Boat Festival. I had  to research it  because I wrote  the short  skit for the festival! The students  worked  very hard to make this event a success and  I love  them all so much. They practiced despite the fact that they are preparing and  taking finals.

It was  really a great way  for the students on campus  who live far away from home to celebrate  the holiday. I also really feel  so much  closer  to my students  and  Jason’s  students since  we spent  so much  time preparing  for the  Dragon Boat Festival. We practiced, we laughed and  bonded.

Oh and  I I was featured  ion the news I’m a  star!!!!! So awesome!!!! Maybe my soul mate  was watching the 6:30 news and will see  me fall in love  with me and come  and find me! Oh if  only life was like a movie!!! My life story would be Nocturnal in Nanchang.

Night Out in Nanchang :The Remix

photo courtesy of www.verynanchang.com

photo courtesy of http://www.verynanchang.com

If  you read my last post, my big highly anticipated  night in Nanchang was a  washout. Instead of hiding my head in the  sand, collecting cats,and  learning  how  to knit(I do want to  learn though in all actuality) I decided to give nightlife  in Nanchang another  chance.  We had  a holiday in China called Laborer’s Day, so I had  more  free time then  usual. I asked  my brother  from another mother Jason if  we  could  go out again.

He called The Drunken Irishman. Now  here is a rarity. The drunken Irishman  did  not  want to  go out! What did  hell freeze over? When does a party animal want to to stay at home? Apparently  he was  too tired  out  because  he  has  been out every night this week. We were not liking the bar from before. I didn’t feel like it was  an inviting place. Jason got  struck  down. Now  since  his bromance partner  did not  want to come out Jason was ready to say no. Jason and  I  both would  have   ended up getting lost in Nanchang.

Jason then called Cowboy.  My loyal readers may  remember Cowboy  from my  other blog post  about my the  Chinese drinking game. I just adore  Cowboy, he  is a fun, honest and easy  to be  around. Cowboy brought  his  friend, who had  an extremely low English level. His  friend  was  dressed to the T’s, a nice  looking chap. He liked  dancing, so he and  Jason could do a stripper  dance to lure the  ladies in(NOT)

We took the white van into Xin Jiang then hailed a taxi. Ok this  was  my first  true  experience  with racism in China. I know that many Chinese  are  racist but they  never  say it. Well, the  cabbie as he  drove  with us in the  cab  said it Chinese that he  hated Africans. This was translated to me by Cowboy. I  got a bit upset, Cowboy apologized  to me and  explained that some  Chinese  are like that  and  live in a very limited world. Hindsight 20/20 I should have  told Cowboy to inform the driver that I am an American not and African! Just  ugh, I hate racist!

I was given a free Survival Chinese phrasebook by the bar owner

I was given a free Survival Chinese phrasebook by the bar owner

I got over it because  Jason sat in the front seat and was  using all the Chinese  he knew to talk with the cabbie. The  cabbie was using his very limited English to talk to Jason. It was funny so that it  brought a  smile to my face. I hope the  cabbie  will sometimes  change his  mind  about  black people. He  was  not a bad  person. He  just  needs to learn to  judge  people by their  actions   not  by their  skin  color.

The cabbie  took us to  an area by the Bai Bridge that had  bars. First we were  hungry  so we roamed  around  looking for food. We finally ended up getting hamburgers. Oh in  China anything between a bun is called  hamburgers. In the USA it is  called a chicken sandwich. This  was the  same  area that we  went to before. The bars  were  either dead or too expensive. It was looking like a wash again! At this  point, I  did  not  want  to  throw in the  white flag. I wanted  to  go out. I was ready to say  at  least we can  go  do KTV. We called the Drunken  Irishman. He told us  of another place that was  closer to downtown Nanchang called Bossa Nova. I heard of Bossa Nova it is advertised  on VeryNanchang, It  looked  fun.

We took a taxi to the bar.  Jason was whining because  he  saw  other  foreigners. He wanted to  go  to a bar that was more  locals  because  he  wants  to pick up women. In China white foreign men are like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. It is way too much competition when vying for a Chinese female. I told  him  sometimes  it  is more fun to relax and  kick back with your  mates.  It is  not always  about  trying to find love, but enjoying the time  with  people  who love you.  It takes the  edge  off.

photo courtesy of www.verynanchang.com

photo courtesy of http://www.verynanchang.com

The place was empty  but  we  were  greeted so warmly by the  owner. He was a foreigner  from Brazil. He hugged  us  all and  since it was  our  first time at his  establishment  he treated  us  to a free shot  of tequila. Then we  were seated. I love  the  ambiance  of  the  place.  It was  very  homey and there  were  flags  from every country. We got a  drink menu and to my delight I saw that they had  sangria.  Jason being  cheap  just wanted  beers. I am  not a  big  beer drinker  beer  bloats  me. I told them I would  pay  for the pitcher of  Sangria it was 120 kuai a pitcher, so I bought  two. None  of the lads  ever  tried Sangria. They  bought it  over  and the guys  were it was  a girl’s  drink and  said it was not stronger enough. Oh little  did these boys know that  hidden secret of  sangria. It may taste  all sweet and girly but it slowly packs a  punch.  So lol they  got  drunk  off of  it! SWEEEEET!!!!

Jason bought the  next  pitcher  but it was  another drink that was  yellow and  creamy that I actually preferred it to the sangria. We were  feeling  giddy. Then our amiable host  came  a serenaded  us!  I  just love this guy! He sang  for  every  table, I knew  many of the  songs. I was singing  along as  were Jason and Cowboy. I requested La Bamba, and  he  sang it. Everyone was  clapping and  cheering. I was having  such a grand time. I was chair dancing!

We then had  to head out as  I was heading out a  Chinese party  was  heading in. One   guy  said  he  was  a colonel so I saluted  him. We  then  were  talking and they ended  up buying me  a beer. The group were speaking to me in English  and  we were saying cheers. One guy  took particular  interest in me, so we  continued  talking. My friends were  waiting  by the  door and Jason was  tired.  The bar  was ready to close. So I ended up  getting  the   guy that I was speaking to mobile number.  He wanted  me to come  back tomorrow night but  it would be  very hard  because , Wanli is very  far away from Downtown Nanchang.

This  I have  to say was  a much better  experience  that before. Any night that I end up  with a guy’s  digits is  a win situation. This was  the  first digits  that I scored  in China! Booyah!!!!!!I was not 100% interested in this  guy but I just want to make friends  and meet  people, so why not? I am definitely  going to come back to Bossa Nova again. I was  also invited to go to a Brazilian Barbecue place  called Obe Obe by another patron of the  bar on Monday. I am going to drag Jason and  Cowboy there  with me  one day 🙂  Wo hen xihuan zheli.

My first digits in China  China? Maybe I should bronze them?

My first digits in China China? Maybe I should bronze them?

Dumpling Darlings

Dinner prepared by my students

Dinner prepared by my students

On  Friday, my students came  over  to cook me a Chinese meal. They wanted  to thank me for making them a Western meal earlier  in the week.  I wasn’t  feeling well at all all week and  yet I entertained  my students. I went  to the  clinic  and have  been on antibiotics. I worked Thursday  but had  this  Friday off. I was sleeping in and  heard  a banging  on the  door. It was my Chinese tutor Lee. Behind him were a brigade  of my Chinese  students. It was  an Asian  Invasion!! I was groggy and sick but let them in.

Busy bees  making dumplings

Busy bees making dumplings

As the  girls  were bombarding  my  kitchen, Lee began to teach  me  pinyin. It is my deepest  desire  to learn  Chinese. I really  want to  communicate  to the  people living here. Who knows  maybe  I can  attract a Chinese  cutie  if I can at learn to  speak Chinese.  Also I am sick of  pointing at this and  saying that one and  smiling. I am in China so I feel obligated  to learn the  language  out of a mixture  of  respect  and  survival.

When my lesson was over, I invited Lee to  stay but he had to  go back to his  campus. The girls  were  ready  to make dumpling. Dumpling 101 commenced! I was shown the technique, first  you you get the  round  circular  dough, you gather the filling  using chopsticks and  place in on top of the circular  dough. Next you dip your fingers in a bowl of  water  place  water  around the edges and  fold  in  half. Then  you pinch the  dough  using a pleated methods. Sounds  and  look simple  enough. The  girls made it  look easy. My  first  attempt looked  more  like baozi and  less like a dumpling. Yes  it  was  an ugly  dumpling. so the  girls  showed  me  another way to make the  pinches.

It  took me  awhile before I made an acceptable dumpling.  My dumplings were  definitely not  as pretty as my students. Rome  was  not  built  in  a  day  it  will definitely  take  more  time that and day to  learn  who to make   dumplings.  The  hardest  part  was the pinching  part. My  folds  just  aren’t pretty. I can tell when I am  eating the  dumplings  which one I made.

My first  and  fifth dumpling. I am improving

My first and fifth dumpling. I am improving

While there was a crew  of  us making  dumplings  there  were  other girls  making a  variety  of  dishes. there were  about  seven  students in  my kitchen. It was smelling so yummy. I was so  happy. A home  needs  to have  people in it. I haven’t really experienced  a  homey atmosphere since  my  mom  died.  My friend  Lisa opened  her  home  to me  prior  to me  leaving the US and it was  at that moment I realized that I hated  living alone.

It was so nice  chatting  with them as  we  were   folding dumplings, it was  a girl bonding moment. I  don’t  experience  much of that. My childhood  friend  was not a gushy girly girly, so she  had no ides  about female  bonding. When i  got  older  I had  more  gal  pals  and  we  did female bonding rituals. I really  missed that and the dumpling making  really helped  me.

Finally  dinner  was  ready, we had tomato and  egg, cucumber  and  sausage, dumplings  and a dish  of  just sausage. It was very  yummy. Oh  and they  begged me to make  my garlic  bread  again. They  said it was  so delicious  before  that they wanted  to taste it again. The best  part was the fellowship and the  company. Oh I forgot we  left the  door  open and my neighbor  walked in. He wanted to borrow  water to get tea. The water  guy who  delivers  our  water  was MIA, once the Chinese teacher  saw the  girls  he  decided  to stay. I was  feeling very  tired and  my students  are  nursing students  and they  saw my  meds  so they knew that I was a sick teacher. we  talked  for  a  bit and I showed them  my  Facebook and  they talked to  some of  my friends  that were on Facebook on Friday.

All in all  Friday was  a fun night. I can’t wait  until I get  to make  dumplings with them next time.. One  of the  girls even likes  karaoke! Score!!!!

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