Site Placement: Lanzhou

OMG, I GOT MY SITE PLACEMENT!! Site Placement Day goes something like this: 83 PC trainees impatiently mill around in a large conference room, waiting for the site managers to hand out different colored folders that indicate the province at which you will serve. Yellow is for gansu, pink for Sichuan, green for guizhou, and blue for Chongqing. The first thing you look for is the color of the folder handed to you, and then you quickly decipher the name of the city written in large font on the front page, in which you will live (ranging from population 6,000 to 15 million). My eyes darted around frantically for the first minute or two at a blur of colored folders being passed around… dear god please don’t give me a blue folder – I cant stand 102 degree summers… and please no pink, lots of natural disasters recently, and that tone-deaf accent… green would be okay, nice scenery but no heating in the winter… until I received a YELLOW folder!! I am happy to announce I will be teaching at a university in Lanzhou for the next two years!

lanzhou on a map. needless to say i am NOT biking there…

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LINE café, a banquet, the world’s largest building, and Qingcheng mountain

Been busy these past weekends, here’s a rundown on some of my favorite moments!

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LINE CAFÉ: Line is a super popular messaging app throughout east asia. Everyone uses it in japan, Taiwan, and south korea. I love using LINE for its stickers/ emojis, centered around a cartoon bunny and bear who are dating– the stickers and GIFs show the full span of a modern relationship: dating, hugging, blowing kisses, shopping, jealousy, getting into arguments, physical alteractions, and making up. As with facebook and google, this app is blocked in China and inaccessible to 1.4 billion people. Still, the adorable bunny, bear, and their friends (a duck, a frog, etc) have become a cultural phenomenon in China DESPITE the fact that no one here has ever used the LINE app! It is so popular that there is a LINE café in the trendiest part of downtown Chengdu selling bunny/ bear t-shirts, pencils, plush toys, hats, macarons and ice cream and coffee.. everything! Kind of funny, that an official LINE store can open in Chengdu, but the messaging app is off limits. CAPITALISM WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS

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on being irrelevant (getting schooled in model school)



  1. not connected with or relevant to something.

“an irrelevant comment”

synonyms: beside the point, immaterial, not pertinent, not germane, off the subject, neither here nor there, unconnected, unrelated, tangential

I was supposed to teach my students a course on persuasion, on convincing others to take your side of the argument. Instead, they basically taught me what it means to be irrelevant (to the point where I wrote IRRELEVANT on the board in all caps), in the sense that my questions and examples were so far removed from their day to day life that it was laughable at how little I know about my Chinese students and their lives

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