Sunday, August 31, 2008

copycats and child care.

yesterday, i was out shopping with my friend and two of her young boys(who are awesome and smart and sweet and call me Ames the Flames). we were school clothes shopping (awesome), because they start school on monday. we hopped off the bus and were crossing the street (holding hands so safe) when caleb, carrianne's first grader, started talking:
"you know when people first come to china and all they do is just stop still and look at everything?" 
"well, i still feel like that. i really like looking at china a lot."
which is awesome. this kid has spent his whole life in china, and he's still amazed by it sometimes. 
which made me start thinking. when i was here last time, i was so awestruck by china, i would often stand still and just look and exclaim over e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. 
this time though, i have prided myself a little on adjusting quickly, being efficient, generally not being a total tourist foreigner.  which, i realized yesterday, is ridiculous! what is the point in me being somewhere completely foreign to me, if i am not going to be awestruck by it? why would i change up my scenery so intensely, and then not revel in it and exclaim over it? i don't think i have been altogether callous to my change in culture/country/lifestyle, but i think i am going to pay more attention, generally, and see awesome things as awesome, and take time to soak things in. which means i will be taking more photos. hopefully.
i have been having a difficult time taking photos lately, because it always seems to me that photo taking in china is something that tourists do. and i am not a tourist (growing up in juneau, i have an enormous aversion to being mistaken for a 'tourist'). also, because i already get so much attention for being a gawky, redheaded, tattooed foreigner, i am not so keen on drawing more eyes to me by taking photos of 'everyday' things. really though, it is the daily things that are so interesting to me. i will try to become better at sucking up my pride and capturing these intricacies that strike so much awe in me. 
of course, i haven't completely abstained from using my new camera (thank you aunt bobbi!), though most of these photos are taken from my 13th floor window. more voyeurism, less attention. that's what i'm all about. so, in the spirit of an amazing website, The Big Picture, i am going to do a photo journal today. probably expect more of these to come.
in china, i can walk up the block to a lovely little market and buy produce. all this cost less than 3 dollars! i am totally being ruined by the cheapness of everything. i don't know how i'll buy food in america ever again. in xining, i've heard that outside of the city there are huge greenhouses where they grow most of the produce. very cool.
  this is the sport center that is located across the street from my new apartment. in the morning and at night there is a huge circle of tibetan dancing on the near field. also in the mornings, the field is full of people walking and exercising (there is even a group of people who do kung fu with staffs!). then, in the afternoons there are people playing soccer and flying kites. also, that big bluish structure is a climbing wall!
here, across the street from those sports fields, is a sports school. the children who attend are outfitted in army fatigues (uniforms). camouflage is very 'in' in china, as are any other sort of combat outfit.
this is my favorite motorcycle in all of china. check out the fusion of fringe and plaid! so hot.
this is on the way to the place i stayed when i first moved here. when it rains, the sewer overflows and there is literally a flood of shit that rushes down the street. awesome. 
this is not a picture of cute kids who attend a sports school. instead, it is a photo of the military base that i could spy on from the apartment i lived at for the first few weeks. these guys would wake me up every morning with their shouts and drills. 
this man lives on my street. i think he has a fake leg. he is very proud of his birds, and sets them in the sun every day. 
this is my street. my apartments are yellow and red. that woman sells lovely plants, and i see her with her cart all over town.
this is a truck full of sheep. when the truck slows down or speeds up, they stumble back and forth in a wave. it is so strange to me the different things that trucks carry in this town.
this is the view to the left of my apartment. this is the largest city i have ever lived in. i really love it here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

the qinghai burger. part one

what have i been eating?
picture this: mutton meat sticks, round flat bread (say it: 'bean-zuh"), flames, techno and spices galore. 
now, put it all together, and you have my dinner four nights a week. 
it is partially due to the fact that this is one of the only things that, through a combination of words and body language,  i can order all by myself. another aspect to factor in is the high frequency of locations at which to procure this delicious item. 
 also, include the sheer tastiness, the late hours at which they can be acquired (10: 15 pm!), the ease of consumption (no utensils, no plates), and the lack of leftovers (which have a tendency to mold in my fridge), and perhaps you will understand why i love the qinghai burger. 
because i love it so much, expect to see much more of the qinghai burger in the future. i will probably eat another one tomorrow night. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

because i promised

i have limited time on the internet right now- soon i should have the world wide web working in my new apartment, but for now, i'm keeping promises. if you have a desperate desire to snail mail me something, or if you'd like to strike up a china pen-pal relationship, have at it- here is my work address, which is much more reliable than my home address:
Amy E. Gibson
West Wing of the Children's Palace
#4 Jie Fang Lu
Xining, Qinghai, China
also, just to let you know- i have been insanely busy of late- working full time, dog sitting, and moving, so please trust that i will be much more attentive t
o communication in the future. right now though, i am still getting settled.  
this is me and the bailey. we are pals. sometimes she drives me insane. sometimes she is not sure if i love her. it's a give and take sort of relationship. 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

all my friends are loud too!

my dear lady friends in bellingham made me this awesome she-video during one of their recent GIRL NOISE TIME's! i, personally, am in awe. i just got the link maybe 15 minutes ago, and i've already watched it twice.  not only am i the luckiest girlfriend ever,  but i'm so excited that i get to be updated on the incredible stuff that people are doing in bellingham and at Friendship City
if you're in bellingham and looking for  good  things to involve yourself in, i highly highly recommend checking out Friendship City and all it's offerings.
just don't try to edge in on my friends. 
and, for the boys. friendship city . friendship city

Thursday, August 14, 2008

to begin.

thank you (mom) for being patient. this is my blog for the time being, because i am unable to access my normal blog while i am in china.  
i have officially been in xining for two weeks now, and i am having a really amazing time. there is so much going on here, with teaching and the olympics, and just the bustle of living in a chinese city of two million. i am learning the ins and outs of the busses, as i have finally procured a high tech bus pass, and when i have time i just jump on a bus to see where it goes. i have also been taking a lot of motorcycle taxi rides when i find myself stranded on the outskirts of town.
there is much less shock coming here this time than last time, and i feel like i am really really living here. it took a few days for that to sink in, but now i am excited about it.  i am also remarkably tired from working and i am heading to bed. 
i'll write soon!
love you.