Early December, I taught a lesson on obesity and the dangers of eating too much sugar and fatty foods. In retrospect this wasn’t nearly as relevant for my students as I would have hoped, as almost all of them are severely underweight and many of them have never eaten fast food due to financial constraints. (KFC and McDonalds are considered pricey in China, and Pizza Hut exorbitantly so. Pizza Hut is like the Per Se or Masa of China, seriously!)

Anyway, to make learning about poor eating habits easy and fun, I made up a game called FAST FOOD FRENZY. How do you play Fast Food Frenzy? Continue reading


Year End Festivities: DongZhi, Hair, Secret Santa, Banquet

Winter Solstice Festival

Winter Solstice (Dong Zhi / 冬至) marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In China, people make and eat dumplings this evening, to keep their ears warm (there’s a Han Dynasty story for this, but I forgot it already)

Eight girls from Class 3 invited themselves over to make dumplings at my apartment. The nice thing about living on-campus is all these “Peace Corps-ish” interactions are occurring with greater frequently- lunch with students, random last minute side projects, and now homemade dinner!


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It’s the first week of December, and Dr.INK café’s WeChat group is blowing up with photos of Victoria’s Secret angels. Ah, it’s that time of the year again, when all of humanity sets aside its differences and gathers to watch 50 liquid-dieting models blow kisses and stomp down a blinding LED runway in Paris, girls who are wearing next to nothing except massive, glittering wings clipped to their bony backs.

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is the type of shit-show extravaganza that is against EVERYTHING the Peace Corps stands for. There’s just something about the blatant objectification and sexualization of women, and the costumey, fetishy, cultural appropriation aspect of the show that clashes with the goals of Peace Corps: GEWE (Gender Equality, Women Empowerment) and fostering deep, long-lasting, intercultural exchange beyond “exotic” headdresses, necklaces and other disposable accessories.

Karli Kloss as Sexy Pocahontas from 2013. sooo original

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Dunhuang with the Gansu Bureau of Foreign Experts

My phone rings; it’s Brian, the foreign affairs rep at my school.

“Hello Harrison?”

“The Gansu Bureau of Foreign Experts has invited you to join them next weekend for a trip to see Mogao Grottos, Crescent Moon Spring, and Yuan Guan Pass-”

“ok, ok. calm down. I’ll send an email with more details later. Have a nice day”

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, this FOREIGN EXPERT got himself a trip to Dunhuang!!

new friends!

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