Since I broke up with my ex in October 2016, I’ve given the dating game in Beijing a shot and it’s been a whirlwind of funny/awkward situations, and moments where I can’t even think of how to respond. Here are some of the more “interesting” things that have happened while on a date
Her: Let’s grab dinner at 6 on Saturday
Me: Sounds good!
In the restaurant on Saturday
Me: I’m starving, you hungry?
Her: No, I ate an hour ago
Me: Umm, I thought we had dinner plans
Her: Ya, but I was hungry an hour ago and didn’t want to wait. It’s ok, I’ll watch you eat
Me: So, drinks on Friday?
Her: Ya, perfect.
At the bar
Me: I think I’ll grab a beer. You?
Her: Oh, actually, I don’t drink, but I am so hungry, I think I’ll get Pho
So I sit there, drinking beer, listening to her slurp up Pho while puffing on a vape every other bite and blowing it right across the table. Before I can even start to wonder how I get myself in these situations, she says:
Her: Do you want to buy a vape? I sell them, it’s my side business
Me: Thanks for the offer, but I’m all set
Her: No worries! Anyway, it’s so nice of you to buy me Pho
Me: Sorry, what gives you the impression that I’m buying your food?
Her: That’s how it works, guys always pay
I’ve gotta start vetting these girls better before agreeing to go out
Her: Oh my gosh, this mojito is so strong
Me: You can order something else if you want
Her: No, it’s ok, I’m just feeling like so drunk already
Me: Alright, well just don’t throw up on me
So we keep talking, and between stories she keeps commenting just how strong the drink is and how’s she feeling drunk and laughing a lot. This is her first drink, so I’m not concerned, but find it odd that she keeps talking about it. After we finish, we head down to the bar and the bartender says “Table 10, one beer and one non-alcoholic mojito”, at which point I turn to the girl and say “Sorry, what the fuck?”
She looks at me and shrugs: I thought you’d like me better if you thought I was drunk
“Don’t Do Scooters”
Me: Hey, so we can meet around 8 at the subway station and I can pick you up on my scooter and then ride to the restaurant
Her: Sounds great!
At the subway
Me: Hey hey, ready to go?
Her: Actually, do you know any places close to here? I don’t do scooters
Me: … I already made a reservation, I thought you said riding on a scooter would be fine
Her: Ya, but I don’t do scooters, too scary
Talking to Chinese girls on Tinder (which you need a VPN for) can be tricky, but there’s one thing for certain - they’ll ask you how tall you are
Her: How tall are you?
Her: Sorry, that’s not enough
Me: What do you prefer?
Me: Out of curiosity, how tall are you?
Me: If you want to date a giraffe, go to the zoo
Me: Hey I’m outside of the KFC where we agreed to meet. Where are you?
Her: I’m inside, hold on a second.
Her: Hey sorry, I was hungry so I got a bunch of stuff.
Me: We are literally headed to a restaurant right now
Her: Ya, but I wanted KFC
This was an event held by the Italian Chamber of Commerce and it did not disappoint. Meats, cheeses, wine, bread - it was perfect.
Had the opportunity to speak at Tsinghua’s 2019 graduation and farewell party. Lots of interesting speeches and congrats to all the grads!
Got asked to speak at Tsinghua’s 2019 graduation commencement on Tuesday, focusing on life in China after graduating.
Here are the 12 books I’ve read so far this year, along with a short review, to achieve one of my 2019 New Year Resolutions:
I’m T-minus 370 days until I leave China. Just renewed my work visa and it will expire June 10, 2020, and I don’t intend on getting a new one - it’s time to start a new adventure elsewhere.
Photographer friend was doing an exhibition about foreigners in Beijing at their place of work, so here I am at Xinhua News Agency
Writing is the easy part. The submission process, on the other hand, is an entirely different ball game. Whether you're submitting to literary agents, a publishing house, a literary magazine, or an online journal, they're each going to have a different process and want things formatted just the way they like it.
Here's the process:
Let's say I want to submit a short story for submission. First, I need to find who publishes short stories and in what medium (some are only print, only online, or both). Then, I'll need to go through the list and first check if they are interested in publishing stories in the genre I've written. If yes, I'll find "Submissions" on their website, and the first thing I do is look at the top of the screen to check for this:
"There are currently no open calls for submissions at this time."
If that isn't on the screen, read through the criteria. Often, word count is the biggest hindrance. Also, I’ve noticed that almost every site seems to be looking for “LGBQT writers/content”. Just an observation. If you manage to meet their requirements, you then start reading how they want the story submitted. Generally, they'll want an e-mail, have an online form, or some type of submission account like Submittable.
Formatting is the biggest pain, especially when trying to find a literary agent because each agent wants a specific amount of pages in a certain format, either as an attachment or pasted into an e-mail. Short stories are easier since you're sending an entire piece of work and most follow the Shunn formatting guide. However, there are often weird requirements where you'll have to go in your document and change things. For example, some want no personal information on your work while others want everything, including an address. Some will only accept a .doc format while others want a .pdf or .rtf. Some want a single - and others want double --. Once you've managed to fiddle with your original piece according to the specifications, you can move on to the cover letter.
The cover letter is generally the body of the e-mail you send to those you're submitting to. It should include your name, title of your work, word count, genre, and previous publications. Some magazines/agents/journals want a short bio written in 3rd person, while others don't. Some want your nationality, others don't. Once you've finished with that, and attached the perfectly formatted file, recheck their site to make sure you type the e-mail subject line exactly how they want.
Once you've finally completed all of this and press send, you'll immediately be sent an automatic reply that goes something like this:
"Thanks for your submission! Due to the number of submissions we receive, we don't have time to respond to every e-mail. If you don't hear from us within 2-6 months, please consider submitting your work elsewhere."
Then you do this again, and again, and again. There are a lot of free submissions out there, but there are also lots that charge a “$3 reading fee” and writing contests that charge an entry fee. Sometimes, you'll get lucky and people will want to publish your work, and other times, they won't. In any case, it's worth going through such a tedious process because it gives you the possibility to share your work with a larger audience and at the end of the day, isn't that what we're all trying to do? It’s a hassle, and I’d suggest making a sheet in Excel to keep track of everything, but ultimately, it’s better than not going for it.
You probably wouldn’t expect it, but Beijing has some solid burger joints. This is Great Leap Brewery
I’ve always been an advocate for noodles over rice, and each time I eat these, I reaffirm my decision. These are called “You Po Mian” and are a broad, belt-shaped type of noodle, popular in Shaanxi Province, also known as biángbiáng miàn. It has vinegar, soy sauce, spices, garlic, bok choy and sprouts. It’s a super simple dish, but there’s something about chewy, handmade noodles that really brings it together.
Xi'an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang'an in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. It is one of the oldest cities in China and the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals. Xi'an is also the starting point of the Silk Road.
Xi'an means "Western Peace" and as of 2015, had a population of 8.7 million people.
Fun fact: Xi'an was the first city in China to be introduced to Islam. The Emperor of the Tang Dynasty officially allowed the practice of Islam in AD 651. Xi'an has a large Muslim community, the significant majority are from the Hui ethnic minority.
The Terracotta Armyis a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.
The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi’an, Shaanxi, China.
The terracotta figures are life-sized and vary in height, uniform, and hairstyle in accordance with rank.
Also, I have no idea what that lady is doing squatting on the ledge.