Some thoughts 

It’s a uniquely challenging time to be a Peace Corps Volunteer today – to think that the American Values and ideas we left the comfort and familiarity of our hometowns to promote abroad are now under intense and relentless assault back home.
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Telephone, Ethics, and Snickers

(from the previous semester)

My students are extremely competitive and love beating their classmates to first place. There’s nothing more satisfying for a teacher than watching your room explode with energy, as the kids race against the clock and trample over each other to emerge as victors.

In Class 1 I played “Telephone” and had three teams of 9 students lined up in rows. I prepared several sentences, and gave the first students slips of paper which read, “Over the weekend, I waited five hours in line to buy the new iPhone 7”. Continue reading

Syrian Refugee Crisis

(a story from last semester)

In December, I covered the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria with my students. I could limit coursework to discussing college majors, rooms of a house, and going on a date, but my sophomores are mature and eager to learn about global topics that they might not otherwise have exposure to.

I didn’t go into too much detail regarding the proxy war that is tearing through Syria today- the Kurds, Daesh, the Western backed rebels, Pro-Assad forces, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia… the perpetrators of violence change with every war in history, but the victims are always the same.

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The Bad Boys of Lanzhou

I spent a lot of my free time at Dr.INK, and have become close friends with the guys that frequent the café. They are awesome, if somewhat unpredictable company, and I never know what’s coming next.

One minute they’re teaching me Tang poetry(青山不倒,绿水长流 / the jade mountain forever stands, the green waters forever flow), and the next moment I’m learning to say some of the most vulgar things that have ever come out of my mouth, in Lanzhou dialect.


Either way, a night out with these guys is guaranteed to be boozy, loud, and memorable. A rundown of the core “wine and meat friends” 酒肉朋友: Continue reading