I teach English at the Jilin Institute of Architecture and Civil Engineering. I live in a city called Changchun, which is situated in the Northeastern province of Jilin. The province borders North Korea, Russia and Inner Mongolia. It’s supposed to get cold soon. I have an apartment in a gated apartment building complex called “Zhonghai,” which literally translates to Middle Sea and less literally translates to Mediterranean. Last year, the apartment belonged to Sean.
I know a lot about Sean.
|The cross is Jesus and he’s telling the observer that he’s the bread of life|
|An accurate depiction of a crucifix|
|Fuck you Sean|
|Ask me anything about Romans 8|
The other item of interest Sean left behind was an open package of meat. He left this sitting in the freezer while it sat unplugged for a month, swimming in a pool of yellow water and maggots. I would have taken a picture were it not for the unbearable stench of rotting flesh. That shit was seriously the worst thing I’ve ever smelled in my life. It made me dry heave, which a smell has never before caused me to do. In that regard, I guess I should be thankful for the new experience and all.
I was not very happy about all these things when I first moved in but I have since grown very fond of my apartment.
Since Sean doesn’t really have anything to do with China, the rest of this post will be a list of notable people I’ve met since I’ve been here. Some of them will come up in future posts, assuming I write future posts. I should also mention that I came here with a good friend of mine named Andrew. There’s a lot to love about China but there are times when you need an American around. As Andrew has put it before, one day you’re bound to order pig anus in a restaurant and it’s better to have someone to laugh about it with than to stew in your lonesome misery. Andrew studied abroad in Shanghai for a semester and was fairly certain he ordered pig anus.
|Andrew holding evidence that Chinese people enjoy stupid cat shit just as much as Americans|
Allen – I’m not sure what Allen’s job is exactly but it entails trying to take advantage of Andrew and I every chance he gets. He picked us up from the airport when we arrived and before greeting us, began explaining that we will not be paid the amount of money stated in our contract for the first month. I have a lot to say about Allen and will most likely dedicate an entire post to him. He’s a scoundrel and a manchild and his malevolence knows no end.
Black Stallion – Black Stallion. English students in China pick their own English names. Sometimes they aren’t names. A marketing student at the university who seems to be some kind of assistant to Allen. Along with Allen, he met us at the airport. He’s as awesome as you might expect someone who picks the name Black Stallion to be. You’d have to be to work for Allen all day.
Emily – One of my students. On the first day of class she asked me what my religion is. I told her I’m a Jew and she kept commenting on how clever I am. During class the following week, she asked me if I could cut open my head and give her a piece of my brain so she could gain some of my Jew cleverness.
Nick – Another American who has been here for a year. Knows the city very well and has a good sense of fun. A man who goes to the same gym as Nick asked him to marry his daughter and offered a dowry that included a house, car and restaurant.
Wayne – Another American who has been in China for ten years. Wayne enjoys Star Trek and Linux, which are both on my list of things that make me instantly like someone.
“Ü Mi Guy” – Ü mi is corn. Many street vendors sell corn. A few of them record audio loops on a megaphone that play over and over and over again as they bike up and down the street. One stands out far above the rest. His promise of reasonably priced corn beckons all. I came up with a drinking game that involves Ü Mi Guy and passersby who stare at us white folk that may or may not be fatal. Testing will begin in the near future.
|Guess what they don’t sell here|
The Entire Second Floor Sales Staff of Ou Ya – Ou Ya is essentially a Chinese Wal-Mart. There’s one right around the corner from Zhonghai, so Andrew and I have spent a lot of time here getting cleaning supplies and whatnot. The employees spot us immediately and know we’re looking for things that we have no idea how to say in Chinese and have been an indispensable help. I had to buy a drying rack for my clothes and the closest thing I could come up with was “after clean clothes put place.” These ladies found it.
Bruce – Bruce is a student at the college. He is representative of a large number of people I have met who approach me and simply say, “Hello, I would like to be your friend.” They study English and aren’t shy about talking to foreigners. We exchanged phone numbers and later that night, after finishing “Scanners,” I saw that I missed two text messages and the following correspondence between Bruce and I ensued:
09/20 20:03 Bruce: hi,paul.goodnight! i want know more about you….
09/20 20:22 Bruce: Maybe you are busy now .It is ok,hope meeting you next time!
09/20 22:20 Me: Hi Bruce. Sorry I didn’t respond to your messages until now, I was watching a movie. It was nice meeting you today.
09/20 22:22 Bruce: it is ok.Have a good sleep! Tomorrow will be wondeful.Good night,Paul
09/20 22:25 Bruce: it is OK.Good night!Paul Tomorrow will be wonderful ! Sorry for my slow writting….
09/20 22:37 Bruce: it is ok.Have a good sleep! Tomorrow will be wondeful.Good night,Paul
09/20 22:38 Me: Good night Bruce.
At that point I think Bruce was satisfied and waited until the next day to contact me again. So far whenever people have given me the wanna be yo friend routine I’ve said fine and given them my number but a few more Bruces could change that.
I think that rounds it off nicely. More to come.