Musings of a Musical Mind

Published: August 9th 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

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It's perfect except for one minor error....
The dreaded day has come and gone. March 15, which was supposed to be the day the government shut off our heat, was not the shut-off day after all. When I woke up that morning, I tentatively felt the air in close proximity to the heater in my room; it was still warm! I felt elated and threw open the window to share my happiness with the world. Sadly, my neighbors weren't as thrilled as I was; they paid no attention to my joyful proclamation and went about with their daily business undisturbed. The government-regulated heat has been both a blessing and a curse. Of course, I consider myself lucky to avoid heating bills; unfortunately, I cannot regulate the actual temperature of the apartment apart from opening the windows to let in the cool night air. At times, I have woken up, sweating, in the middle of the night; the thermometer read 75.6 degrees. I can't, and won't, complain, however, because I can still vividly remember living in my parents' house where the heat is turned down to 55 at night, even in the dead of winter. The weather is warming up as well; the week of Siberian winds and frigid

This is an ongoing construction project near my apartment complex. Buildings go up amazingly fast here; that's because construction crews are usually migrant workers who live in tents onsite and work by rotating teams 24 hours a day.
temperatures we experienced is now long forgotten.

Some exciting news today: soon, I will be a famous face in Beijing! I'm already a spectacle anywhere I go, with my fair complexion and light eyes and hair, but the company I work for is creating new advertising and they're using the teachers as a mechanism to attract new students. I have been chosen, along with 4 of the other teachers, to appear on advertisements that will be splashed all over the Beijing subway system. Just imagine it: I'll be riding the subway to some unknown destination, and will be mobbed by fans as they push and shove to have their picture taken next to me. Actually, that has already happened in my daily life. It's amazing; the middle class is rapidly growing across China, and as people have more money, they tend to travel to the big cities to seek jobs or to see historical and famous places. Often, this is the first chance they've had to interact with a foreigner, and I've had literally a line of people waiting to take their picture with me! It will definitely be interesting to ride the subway for the next couple months
A young Shaolin MonkA young Shaolin MonkA young Shaolin Monk

We went to see a kung fu performance last night, and this little guy greeted the arrivals.
and see my own face staring down at me from the billboards.

Although I tend to be inconspicuous anywhere I go, I attempt to blend in the best I can. On my way to do my weekly grocery shopping, I decided to try a little experiment. Along the sidewalks, there exist large, glass cases which hold the pages of the day's newspapers. These are a free and convenient way for busy people to keep up to date on what is going on around China and the world. There is usually a circle of old men crowded around these cases, reading the news and discussing it. Today, I decided to practice my reading comprehension and stopped at one of these newspaper cases to check out the day's paper. As I scanned the headlines, I could see the old men doing double takes as they caught sight of the little white girl reading in Chinese. I was eager for them to discuss my presence with each other, but strangely enough, they kept silent. I ignored them and continued to see what I could understand of the daily news. To my happy surprise, my reading comprehension has significantly improved, so that while
Stage at the Red TheatreStage at the Red TheatreStage at the Red Theatre

Kung Fu performance
I may not grasp all the details of the story, I can get the gist of it and summarize it for someone else. I became immersed in the stories, seeing what I coudl understand and skipping over the words I hadn't learned yet. Imagine my surprise whe, after I'd decided I'd had sufficient practice, I wheeled around and found myself face to face with a crowd of curious passersby. As I'd read the paper, people had literally stopped in their tracks to stand behind me and watch me!! I gave them a smile and cheerful wave and continued on my way, laughing to myself at the bewildered expressions on their faces. Yes, folks, it's true: foreigners can also read and understand the written language too!

Additional photos below
Photos: 7, Displayed: 7


Kung Fu PerformanceKung Fu Performance
Kung Fu Performance

These guys are truly amazing...breaking wood and metal blocks over their heads, flipping through the air, somersaulting on their heads. The power of the mind is incredible.
Kung Fu PerformanceKung Fu Performance
Kung Fu Performance

Complete with a Lion Dance (one of my favorite aspects of Chinese culture)!

25th March 2007

Hey there superstar! Think I can get a personally signed autograph from you??? Then I can frame it or even sell it! ;-)

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