Wednesday, June 28, 2006

All people are being led to China

Every day I run into someone who has either been to China or who is going there tomorrow... I overheard a couple from Boot Camp talking about teaching there, my condo tenant's niece taught there last summer, my neighbor- a landscape architect -visited the gardens outside of Shanghai recently, the guy on the sailboat last night grew up in southern China and is going back next year, my Norwegian fairygodmother is going to be there the same dates I am...I'm telling you, everyone!!! has China on the itinerary. If you haven't already purchased your ticket, I hope there are still some left when you decide to go!

All of these people offer China advice, like: burp after meals, greet elders first, don't point, buy Performance Underwear at REI, learn Mandarin, don't give watches as presents, and don't eat the "noodles" that are actually worms. What piece of advice is crucial to my trip's success? Please tell me now, if you have been holding important information from me. (Use the "comments" link below this post to leave me your advice.)

And, FYI, two things:

1.) My destination city is Deqing. Should I be worried that it isn't listed in Lonely Planet China? A few people think that ACT is actually a cover for a concubine service. Does anyone know?

2.) I have not decided on a travel blog name, and I know you are all getting impatient for the unveiling. I will reveal it before my departure date (the 6th). But thanks for participating (well, most of you)!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What, Where, Why

I'm going to China through the America-China Teaching Center (ACT). In exchange for 22 days of teaching conversational English to Chinese teenagers in a soon-to-be-determined city, I get a round-trip flight, room and board in an air conditioned hotel, a bike, a cell phone and a week of touring in my city of choice (Beijing).

Worded differently, I am going to China to teach Chinese teenagers English so that they might take over the world economy. I am well aware that China is invading deeply into our economy, expropriating our most valued assets and in so doing, undermining our ability to counter. I am going to help them do that more effectively by teaching them our language.

(A friend suggested to me recently, "Well, when China takes over the world, they might remember your kindness toward them.")

How did I get so lucky (I hope that's what we will all call it in the end)? Through Craigslist. I have truly come to expect universal synchronicity to occur in all of my dealings with that site. Past examples include:

Last year, when I responded to a Craigslist ad regarding a writing desk, I was unaware that I had actually answered a call made to the universe by the owner; the desk had been with her for years and she wanted a beginning writer to be graced by its mojo. I answered the call and 1.) got the desk plus 2.) training to take over the desk owner's public relations job for Doc Maynard's in Pioneer Square. Since then, Craigslist has provided me with 3.) a microwave from an acquaintance's parents (through an anonymous posting), 4.) a refrigerator containing two "human heads" along with 5.) the "opportunity" to appear with those heads on Evening Magazine. And now, because of Craigslist, 6.) I am going to China for "free" and 7.) I have a delightful Texan subletting my condo during my five weeks away and her "only vices" are a.) an obsession with cookbooks, b.) an obsession with the University Farmer's Market and c.) the fact that she carries her own set of knives and a mini Cuisinart with her wherever she goes.

See what I mean?

Finally, along those lines, to relate what sealed my final decision about my summer plans, I will simply quote from a book called China, Inc. (about the rise of China's economy) "…then I come upon a noodle stand where a man and his teenage son work over an enormous pot of steaming beef soup. On China's streets, noodle making is a kind of performance art…"

Noodle making, a performance art…'nough said.

When I am not training Chinese teenagers to take over the world economy, I will be on a covert mission to spy on the Noodle Performance Artists on the streets of Shanghai and Beijing, attempting to expropriate their noodle making secrets in order to bring them back to Phinney Ridge so that I might undermine the Phinney Market's Friday Night Dinners with my non-copywrited Performance Artistry. (Click on the neolithic noodles above)

Forcing universal synchronicity, training China's youth to take over the world, expropriating secrets, undermining small local grocers…actually, all of these important crusades aside, my trip is mainly about providing entertainment for you on this blog. I hope you all appreciate my efforts, and that an American with a Chinese explorer's name is not planning to research the net this summer in preparation to teach with ACT in the fall.

China, China, China... what's in store, Craigslist?

The "Name Marjie's Blog" Contest

OK, here is where you can enter to win a copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book...just come up with a catchy title and subtitle (see generic titles above), and make them better than everyone else's.

Submit your entries as a comment using the link below this post.

All Roads Lead to China

China, China, China. China is all I've been hearing about lately, but (them taking over the world aside) maybe that is because I will be spending five weeks there this summer. I'm going to tell you all about it - the what, the how and the why - but you are required to visit my new travel blog for that information (linked below).

That's right, my travel blog. A travel blog is a bit of a stretch for me…it brings up some past emotional trauma that I have decided to work through. For those of you who remember The American Leif Erickson Comes to Norway Debacle, (when my little brother posted all of my Norway emails on the net and the newcomer to our school read all of the intimate (and incriminating) details of all of my colleagues' lives before his arrival - revelations that I considered to be for my email lists' eyes only and which may have been slightly exaggerated for entertainment purposes), you will understand why I am hesitant to make my stories publicly accessible.

My brother says he "doesn't want to create any more hardships for me," but he is convinced that blogging is the only way to go in the year 2006. Anyway, I am inviting all of you to interact on my blog weeks before my departure (July 6) so that 1.) he and I can get all of the blog bugs worked out before I am actually in China and 2.) so that you can enter the contest: "Name Marjie's Travel Blog." The winner will receive a copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book upon my return. I need both a title and a subtitle.

After you have clicked on the link, save it to your "favorites" - unless, of course, you would be lying by doing so.

OK, see you in The Blog! And don't be shy…post a reply (Rita, a two minute poem, please?)! Just hit the "comment" link at the bottom right following each post...