The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. --Ayn Rand


4" Wonderland

I sometimes forget that it isn't just the Chinese who are contributing to Beijing's sea of small penis. When thinking about this problem, I need to remember that no matter how large a particular nationality is on average, every race is going to have some mini-softies.

Still, mini-softies do the same things as biggie-softies. Maybe they are just as fun. You know, "fun-size".

This brings me to my question. Should I compromise my requirements because the Softies around me are a mostly fun-size?


Job, part 2

I was offered a job as a technical writer. The pay is much better than I could get translating, and almost as good as if I was teaching English. Unlike teaching English, it's also a useful skill--something I wouldn't mind putting on a resume.

Just to put a kink in my plans, I'm sure, Fair Isaac finally responded to my May 28 application. They apologized for never sending my resume into the correct person, which means that I never actually applied. Hopefully I will know what is going on within a month. A large part of me wants to be rejected so I can stay right here in Beijing.

But, if Fair Isaac does hire me, I will move back to the US. More specifically, San Rafael, CA.



I was dumped! By a cuddle buddy. What the hell is that? One of the big reasons I wanted to find a cuddle buddy was to avoid the odd and annoying formalities of relationships--dating, dumping, "feelings".

Obviously this can't be my fault. He must have something wrong with him, and cuddling could bring that out. The first thing that comes to mind is herpes.

Now I am trying to calm down. This afternoon I went to the park and read one of the two English books I own. At the moment I am sipping some fruit tea, and later I will continue my job search.

Once all my essentials are figured out, I will figure out how to live in Beijing without the physical comfort of a platonic cuddle buddy. There aren't many people I find cuddle-buddy acceptable in this yellow sea. Right now that means that no one else I know is suitable... I need to start networking again.


Job, Please?

I rock interviews. On Friday I interviewed for a translating and interpreting job for an investment and finance company through an HR/Consulting company. I wasn't really sure what to expect. I imagined that they would ask me to translate something. I was afraid it would be me in a room with two professional translators, and they would ask me to translate a business negotiation. Then they would be able to point and laugh at me if I didn't know how to say a word.

Luckily, all they did was ask me to translate a paragraph from English to Chinese about the firm I'm applying to, then it was a normal interview... except it was all in Mandarin! Oddly enough, during first impressions, people don't focus on my inner snob, and instead see a happy-go-lucky nerd. That is why I rocked this interview. I could tell the interview was going well when first I laughed, then I made the interviewers laugh. Once the interview was over, they told me I would know by Monday if they were going to recommend me for the position.

Monday morning I awake to hear my phone ringing. I answered the phone, and when I realized that it was the same interviewer (初如意) telling me they were going to recommend me, I jumped around for a good 10 minutes. This job is extremely lucrative because, although it's a Chinese company, they were looking for a native English speaker, and--this is the best part--they pay US wages. Also, the job description requires traveling to their other branch offices. Namely, Hong Kong, London and New York. After sending ecstatic text messages to the USA, I calmed down and thought about it.

Why I'm surprised I was recommended:
--I'm the youngest candidate.
--I have no formal interpreting experience.
--Actuarial science is the closest I have to experience in investment and banking.

Why I'm not surprised:
--My Mandarin is better than 90% of all foreigners who can speak Chinese. I've only met about 3 people whose Chinese was significantly better than mine.
--Since I have a math degree, they think I'm extremely intelligent. Although the job description does not require me to help them with the investment aspect, they know I'll love the job.
--I kept repeating to them that this was my ideal job.

They told me I would meet with the boss within the week, and it is up to him if I get the job or not. If I get it, I'll be living the life of a king in Beijing. If not, I'm going to be living how I previously planned--the life of a poor college gay boy trying to save money to pay off loans.


Far, Far Away

The last three weeks were spent visiting some of the poorest areas foreigners are allowed to travel to in China. There were two main goals of this trip. One was to gain experience teaching children different subjects (I was responsible for math and art), and the other was to report to various teachers and principals our educational experience in the US.

Now that I'm back in the comfort of 24-hour hot water and fast internet, I really think that this program only succeeded on the most superficial level. And beside the time that was spent teaching and giving presentations, I loathed every minute of those grimy villages. Not, as I let everyone else believe, because it was dirty. Rather it was the lack of any sort of individual time, individual choice, or individual thought.

For more of my complaints, see the jump

First, though, I will give examples of why the program was a semi-disaster. When we taught students, it was an amazing experience. In general they were all extremely excited and enthusiastic about learning. However, we taught at 3 different schools for two days each. Although the impression we left was deep, the amount of knowledge gained was minimal. We didn't actually teach these children anything, so in that respect we failed.

When we began presenting we quickly realized that the Chinese teachers/principals were not very interested in our reports. This may be due to the fact that we gave our reports sitting down behind a computer reading a script (note that this is the standard way to present in China). After forcing these Chinese people--generally used to being told what to think--to ask questions, we found that almost none of them had to do with what we just reported on. They would ask me questions like, "What is your major? What do you plan to do now?" when my report was on my experience learning Spanish and Chinese and the specific reasons why my Chinese improved much more rapidly than my Spanish.

On top of that, Chinese people don't seem to understand how to turn off their cell phones.

Outside of these two activities we ate every meal with teachers/principals and we went to visit tourist attractions, etc etc. It sounds nice, but let me paint you a picture.

I am starving. At lunch there was only one vegetarian dish, which was a plate of cold peanuts. Between lunch and dinner I ate an ice-cream bar to stay full. Every meal has already been chosen by the tour-guide/hotel manager/school principal so that us students wouldn't be overwhelmed by choices. At dinner I find they ordered the exact same food as lunch. I have to sit through this three hour ordeal because it is considered rude to leave while people are eating. After dinner, I don't have time to buy more food because we have a meeting to discuss tomorrow's classes. I want to die.

This is just the way things are here. We are not given a choice in anything. Granted, the tour guide/principal would ask us how the food was. However, one of the teachers who accompanied us on the trip is a second cousin to Satan. She would answer, "Oh, don't mind them. They're just students. They don't have any problems. They loved the food!"

In the end I was mentally and physically exhausted, and this contributed to the early onset of culture shock. I was extremely unhappy and I'm just starting to get over that.

But, in grief there are always fantastic stories. Here are some pictures to help show that. The photo of me in the red "fruitcake" shirt was right before we left Beijing. Try and spot the demon teacher.