This past Thursday, my 4:30 PM Oral English class was completely empty- I freaked and thought I accidentally went to the wrong room, when I remembered the morning class telling me there was a dance competition in the afternoon, at the north campus. With this in mind, I took a brisk walk over to see what the fuss was about.
At my school in Lanzhou, breakups and relationship drama are a very public affair. Young couples will make a scene outside the front gate of the north campus for everyone to see. The guy always looks angry and talks loudly, while the girl (she usually wears a baseball cap, maybe to better hide her mascara-streaked face) silently cries at the prospect of getting dumped by this loser over a misunderstanding that probably wasn’t her fault.
And the rest of us pretend to go on with our lives but we keep looking over our shoulder every ten seconds.
This past weekend was Lanzhou University of Finance and Economics’ 7th Annual “China – America Friendship Softball Game” (中美友好垒球联赛). PCVs from across Gansu gathered in Lanzhou late Friday and took an early Saturday bus down to the school’s Heping campus to play softball and engage in intercultural exchange with the Chinese students.
Coco has the best style out of all of my students; I sometimes wonder if she named herself after Coco Chanel but I never asked. Her hair is poofy when everyone else’s is pin-straight, her clothing is outlandish in color and texture, and her giggle is an octave or two higher than that of her peers. Coco is a welcome addition to my class when the rest of the kids pretend to be too cool to enjoy what I’m teaching.
One day she wore the craziest shirt littered with emojis and smiley faces…
Like a Pikachu hit by a Thunderstone, Chinese bike shares have evolved!!!
I remember the first week I arrived in Lanzhou, I was thrilled that the city had invested in a bike share program. All along major roads, near public buildings, and some parks were the ubiquitous grey bike racks that ate up half the width of the sidewalk. By tapping my transit card against a sensor, I could unlock the bike and ride around to meet friends for dinner or just explore the city at a leisurely pace.