Wuddup everyone. Haven’t blogged in a very long time (I am sorry) but I have been traveling a lot for work and been generally busy/sick/this website has been blocked. I am back now though, don’t you worry. I have recently been “marketing” for my work, which basically consists of me and some coworkers going to random provinces with little to no plan and trying to recruit students. Needless to say, it hasn’t worked that well, but (again needless to say) I have been the star everywhere we went. It is a pretty cool opportunity because we are going to places that are not on the typical “places to see” list for China, and these cities also have little to no foreigners so the people there are super excited to see a white guy. I have been to Yunnan and Guizhou provinces twice in the last 4 weeks, which are down in Southern China. I was in two cities for the majority of the time, Qujing in Yunnan and Guiyang in Guizhou. Guiyang has a special significance for Erin and I because when we first decided to come to China, we were offered teaching jobs in Tangshan and Guiyang, ultimately deciding on Tangshan. I don’t regret choosing Tangshan, but Guiyang definitely had some qualities that Erin and I both would have enjoyed.

Guiyang is the capital of Guizhou province, a poor province way down south. Guiyang has multiple translations, but all the locals that I talked to said that it meant “Precious Sun”, which gives you an idea of one major negative and one of the original reasons that we didn’t choose to live there. Basically, the sun doesn’t shine there. It is a wet place, and the city is usually covered in fog or clouds, which was true for about 90% of the time I was there. Due to it being so wet, there is also lots of trees and plants that grow without the help of thousands of Chinese workers planting them, which was different from Tangshan. It is hard to enjoy warmer weather if it is drizzling or not sunny though, and it is REALLY hard to enjoy cold weather when it is drizzling and there is no sun. This point is only enunciated by the lack of indoor heating in the south, which was really ridiculous during these trips. The second time I went to Guiyang, I went by myself to “market” and lead two European students around the city. Beijing was unbearably cold when I left, but I felt significantly colder in Guiyang. I was staying in the house of a Chinese family that was friends with my company’s contact down there, and they would leave the doors and windows open like it was summer! It snowed 3 inches one day when we were there! I am not a big fan of sleeping with clothes, but even I wore sweatpants when I slept. The focus of the house was the old fashioned stove in the dining room, where we would all huddle around everyday and night just because it was the only tolerable place in the house (the bathroom floor was heated so that was nice too). The family I stayed with was great and their house was very nice. They were typically gracious Chinese hosts, and their two kids, a 16 year old named Venus and 12 year old named Andy, were really cool and funny. I also slept with my Guiyang girlfriend during my stay, a one year old cockapoo named Mengmei, who immediately dove under the covers every night when I went to sleep because she was also freezing.

We did some things other than freeze though. We saw some random sights which were about the same as every other city that I have been to in China. We climbed a mountain which was populated by hundreds of monkeys, which was awesome because I love monkeys, but sad because most were obviously sick, had traps attached to their limbs, or were eating trash. One afternoon we went to a legitimate pig feast/slaughter. We got to watch them slice and dice a full sized pig which we were then served an hour later, which didn’t bother me other than the fact that it was raining pretty heavily. The bulk of our activities involved the Guiyang agent taking the three foreigners (me, a 16 year old Swede named Kevin and a 17 year old Fin named Venla (they were both awesome)) to local high schools and parading us around, talking with students, meeting the principals, and taking LOTS of pictures. I played basketball with a high school basketball team and nearly collapsed after like 15 minutes of them sprinting full speed (I am getting old). I also don’t know what is in the water in Guiyang, but people were acting like I was a supermodel. High school girls would giggle wildly and be shaking from nervousness, and all the student’s moms would constantly comment on how good looking I was. It was weird but something I could DEFINITELY get used to. The trip would have been pretty miserable with different travel companions, but luckily Kevin and Venla put up with the activities/lack of activities with a smile, and we had some good times.

I think that is a good post for now. I am back in Beijing and don’t have work for the next week because of Spring Festival aka Chinese New Year, so I will try to remember to post again a few times. Erin is off to Taiwan as we speak, so it is my week to have custody of our child/rabbit, Tutu. So, two Happy New Years to everyone, hope you are doing well. Peace.

– means try to save the dead horse as if it were alive…the impossible is possible

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