Monday, March 15, 2010

i took a bite of the apple...

...and it tasted good. so good.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

dorm parties and military time

oh man. i sincerely apologize for my lack of posts. surely a habit i intend to break.  it's been a crazy few weeks, though, but, i am happy to report that i am now beginning to settle down. i have been in xi'an for two weeks and have found a gym, multiple supermarkets with impressive import selections and an apartment. well, i haven't moved into the apartment yet, but hopefully i will at some point this week. if you cared about me at all, you should be wondering: maeve, i'm worried. where have you been sleeping? and i would say, oh you crazy so and so, that's sweet. but it's ok, i've been crashing in the student dorms.

hm, i should probably quickly described what i am doing back here anyways. essentially, i am a college counselor for chinese high school students trying to study in the states or the uk. i help them 1) navigate the complicated application process, 2) get involved in some extra-curriculars and community service projects to beef up their apps and  3) partake in my english reading club to advance their language skills. thrilling, no?

back to my living situation. my current abode is an on-campus apartment. here are some sweet visuals of my bedroom, bathroom and 'kitchen'—i use quotations because this state of the art kitchen comes with ah mini-fridge, ah sink and ah microwave. oh, and the only place i get internet is on top of the mini fridge. so right now i am standing in the corner of my kitchen with three bars of wireless. cool.

notice the single blanket and pillow. the best.

the internet corner mini fridge

anyways, the dorm is certainly an interesting place. every night between 2240-2300 (military time rules!) the same, peculiar events have been unfolding. usually at 2240 or so a group of voices emerges in the hallway, which is creepily similar to the hospital in halloween II. they then hang out for about ten minutes while somebody rearranges furniture in the room directly above me. then, boom! the voices dissipate from the halls. i have no idea where they go, because there is no influx of bodies above me. but, at this point, a pungent smell permeates through the walls and into my room. finally, at around 2300 everything goes away. whhaaaat? so confused, yet so intrigued. i have been watching a lot of dexter (not the laboratory) recently, so my imagination has been running wild. perhaps a group of students with sudden urges to kill are 'taking out the garbage'. i just do not know. maybe, before i move out, i will muster the courage to join the mystery party… until then, however, i'm cool socializing with the microwave and pirated online tv.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

i'm bringing awkward back

well. it's happened again. i am going back to the great land o' chiner. i have graduated from college and am now a 'real' person, whatever that means. and, so tomorrow my new journey commences. on the eve prior to my departure i am celebrating america... mashed potatoes, beer and american idol. oh, that ellen is so tricky with her delivery of good news; certainly keeps all of us on the egde of our seats. anyways, tomorrow i board oceanic, uh, i mean, american airlines 289 to shanghai--i know, i am hilarious with my 'mistakes'. after a week of training, i will move to xi'an for at least five months. all of you loyal readers out there might remember xi'an as the city where i fulfilled my 'lost in translation' karaoke fantasy, so, needless to say, i am thrilled to get back to that terracotta-in' city. it's been awhile since i've done this and i don't know what else to say, so, um, yeah, errr, more to come...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

i was tempted to reference harry potter in this title, and then, i decided not to.

at the start of the summer, young, wide-eyed, impressionable maeve loved travelling on the red-eye wonder that is the sleeper bus. the cozy cocoon-esque doubledecker beds seemed mystical and glorious. even as the yunnan mountainous terrain sent the bus winding around corners, i believed in these vehicles, i lived for them. well, this past week i have opened a new chapter in my life entitled 'die sleeper bus, die!'

our journey across the southern silk road, where we picked up a travelling breakdancing spaniard along the way, began with a sleeper bus. it had been the first one in awhile and after a night on the hard seaters, we were giddy for it. turns out lonely planet hasn't kept up with the chinese times--surprise, surprise--and what was supposed to be a 16-hour ride was actually cut down to 6-hours. so, we never actually slept in that guy. bummer.

flash forward a week. after an incredible experience in kashgar and karakul lake where we rode on motorcycles with locals, had a funny birthday celebration with some brits and aussies--if you see me ask me about the thailand prison and shanghai kindergarten stories--we boarded the 25-hour bus from kashgar to urumqi--trivia for ya'll: urumqi is the furthest city from the the world. neat! once again, after a few terrible normal bus experiences, we were looking forward to laying down...fuck that. not a fun way to spend a whole day.

a day later, without any other mode of transportation, we had to ride another overnighter. this time, we got to choose our beds, and since the back of the bus had beds that were completely flat, we jumped all over them. so, i know that the back of the bus is the cool place to be. you know, the hot spot for truth-or-dare, roll-calls, or if you were a member of the 2000 8th grade parker boys soccer team...wait, no, shouldn't bring that up. anyways, that rule does not apply here. the word 'bumpy' doesn't even give those 17 hours justice.

finally, last night, as i stepped onto my final sleeper bus, i had a good feeling about it. the beds were the best that we had seen. completely flat and longer, too... i could almost completely stretch out. it would be a good night. well, of course, about two hours in, the damn machine broke down. we waited for another two hours for a second bus to come, but when it came, it turned into a free-for-all of who could get a seat. luckily we scored the first two top bunks--learning from our last mistake. dear sleeper buses, you've served your purpose and for that i thank you. now, peace brah.

so yeah, tomorrow i head to the beijinger where some friends will try to convince me that it isn't the filthy, disgusting place that it really is. don't worry, they won't succeed. on friday, i will be departing chiner. to be honest, i am fucking terrified to return to the states... how do i socialize with people, again? but, then i think about a hot dougs hot dog, and i almost pee myself.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

lip my stocking

hola amigos. what's the deal? i know it's been a long time since i've rapped at ya, but the health fairy ain't been dropping dolla bills under my pillow these days. i caught some sort of bug last week, which left me coughin, sweatin, and not sleepin. but, now, the clouds are starting to part and the suns a shinin. so, anyways, now that all your burgers have been grilled, hot dogs charred, potato salads picked at, ya'll might be wondering, how the hell do you celebrate fourth of july in china. well, children, here's one way:

ok, first, i gotta give a brief introduction. i don't know if i have mentioned this already or not, but i seriously believe that the movie 'lost in translation' played a major role in my decision to study chinese. i'm not a fool, i know the movie takes place in tokyo, but chinese is just so hip these days, i caught the sino-fever. i remember watching it for the first time, though, and there was something about those neon lights and how out of place bill and scarlet looked/felt that pulled me in. and, the karaoke scene, of course. i mean, who wouldn't want to wear a pink wig, sing epic ballads off tune with local asian friends. so yeah, that has been a major fantasy of mine for some time.

flash forward: july 4, 2008. chynna and i check out the terracotta soldiers in the morning. i feel awful. no appetite, my head is pounding and my bowels are just being cruel to me. fourth of july is looking grimm for maeve. by the afternoon, after some advil and rest, i'm feeling much better. we start playing some pool--we have one rule this summer: whenever we see a pool table, we have to play. it's been awesome--when all of a sudden a group of chinese girls walk in and chynna gets really excited. you see, these ladies are not just any chinese broads, but in fact, the chicks that chynna met the night before when i had gone to be wicked early. chynna had been reading in the hostel bar/cafe area when the aforementioned group started talking to her. eventually, they asked her if she 'liked girls'. apparently they assumed that we were a lesbian couple travelling around together. after chynna laughed-- we are fully aware that we do indeed look like a gay couple. in fact, we have decided that the title of my memoir will be: 'my summer in china; or how i became a lesbian'... we're still working on the spelling...--she returned the question to which she received a positive response. our first real chinese friends=a group of lesbians... yes! so, they came back on the 4th and, wait for it, took us out to KTV (karaoke in private rooms)! really, no words to describe the euphoria. no offense america, but i don't think your silly little barbeques, parades and sparklers will ever rival pouring my heart out to whitney and celine, wearing a pink wig (!) and bonding with a group of dope chinese lesbians. bob harris would have been proud.

whew. long. ok. so tonight we begin our journey west... starting with a 16-hour train ride in hard seaters. glory god help me!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

a marriage for the walking

ok, folks. it's over. i'm done. finito. i have found my paradise. and no, it is not the newly named 'shangri-la', that would just be too cliche. it is, in fact, lugu lake, which is on the border of yunnan and sichuan provinces. first of all, we weren't even planning on coming to this exquisite destination, but as luck would have it, and with a little help from the mccarthy-hating political party--once again, i'm being careful with my words here--we stumbled upon the lake. you see, we had planned on trekking across southwesten sichuan, but since it is an ibettay region, we couldn't even buy tickets at the bus station. so, after one last trip to mama naxi's in lijiang--and one more goodbye necklace and kiss--we jumped in a van with two chinese photographers and four exchange students from singapore for the seven hour journey.

lugu lake sits at 2685 meters on the yunnan-guishou plateau, is surrounded by gorgeous--said in a thick new york accent--mountains, and has crystal-clear blue water...something i had never seen in china. additionally, and the real reason why i'm never leaving, the mosu people reside in the area. according to lonely planet, the mosu are the last practicing matriarchal society in the world...but this ain't yo' normal mama sits at the head of the table society. they have this long-standing tradition known as zou hun, 'walking marriage'. so, the women of the village call the men over for the night. the dudes, hoever, have to arrive later than midnight and leave before daybreak, because if they are caught by the parents, they have to work for the girlfriend's family for three years....dang, talk about some killer walk of shames, though. moreever--said in a thick jimmy carter accent--if the man is willing and able, he can have multiple lady friends and if a child is produced he bears no responsibility. side note: the men do, however, help in rearing other children in their family, i.e. his sister's kids and what not. so yeah, pretty fascinating place.

in other news, i've got killer teva/flip-flop, watch, shorts and wife-beater tan lines going. and, chynna now has a natural, accidental mohawk.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

mama store yo' stuff fo' FREE

whoa. it has been a long time, yo. here's a snapshot of recent events and stufff.

hangzhou=over. i shall miss thee sweet ol' harry potter-meets-scarborough fair-street-cleaning truck theme song. and you too, tad. hellogoodbye will forever remind me of cruising around on all of your bright green glory.

the first week of summer vacation brought yunnan. mama naxi (pronounced nah-SEE). tiger leaping gorge. back to the chinese food diet. french-canadian travel friends. first degree sunburns. sleeper-bus nests. naked sleeping. yak meat. uncooperative pigs. kung fu/tai chi monestary. tipping points. 24 hour solo train ride.

the second week was luxury in hong kong. and i ate lox. it was delicious.

best story:
i'm out to dinner in kunming and i had to pee so i cruise through a creepy alley into the public bathroom, which consists of a long troth and short 3 foot separating walls... no doors. there i am, squatting, doing my business when this little girl strolls in and comes straight to my notso private stall. as im peeing she casually asks me "are you a foreigner?"...let's think about this. i'm 5'9, got blue eyes and am wearing flip-flops, as the wise gob once said, COME ON! i answer her question anyway, because she's super cute and i'm simultaneously plotting how i can steal her, but apparently girlfriend just wasn't satisfied and continued to stand there, just, watching me. i never thought i would ever be forced to make small talk with a 4 year old while popping a experience, people, neeew experiences. but wait, oh no, it's not over. when i'm paying the 2 jiao, the little devil runs up behind me and slaps my ass... whaaaat? hello sexual harassment!

k. cool. tomorrow, i head back to yunnan and will continue traveling. first stop: zhong dian, now known as 'shangri-la'. in order to boost tourism, the chinese gov't declared it the real life location of james hilton's mythical, age-defining paradise from the lost horizon. so yeah. if you never hear from me again it's because i'm chilling at the lamasery, playing some unknown chopin pieces, conversing with perrault, falling in love with lo-tsen and learning how to live for a few more centuries.

below is my last installment of visual delights, as my computer is going home with my sister manana. enjoy children. and i'll hit y'all up next time i can.

tim's first day in china. who's the creeper now buddy?
chynna in her nest on the sleeper bus.
lijiang in the morning, before the tourists swarm...yes.waterfall at tiger leaping gorge.
legend says that this here is where a tiger leapt to freedom from hunters. yeaaah boi!
in the gorge.savage water features yo!
ok. here is the infamous mama naxi of mama naxi's guesthouse in lijiang.
not only does she make a dank muesli with yogurt, strawberries and honey,
but her cell phone ringtone is 'blvd of broken dreams'
by green day as well... hilario.
look how she grabbed my hand. basically, obessssed.
damn you self-timer!
tim and i planned this totally rad pic,
but alas, my canon was too quick for us.
hence the awkward pre-jump pose.
hong kong hotel view. cnn? oil? the real world?
a stark contrast from yunnan, no?lamma island.
ah, the fragrant harbour.