Friday, January 25, 2008

You can call me Bond. Mister Bond. Mister Bond Coffee.

My computer has been making funny noises. If I appear to drop off the face of the Earth, I wanted you all to know what likely happened.

More posts to come about the winter! But for now, I felt like I needed to leave some mirth in my wake. But, how can I best acquire mirth, you may ask, in a culture in which happiness is perceived so differently from the one in which I was socialized?

I buy it! And here is a reproduction of the text on this can of (sort of) coffee-like mirth:


American pattern

>> I'm young...I'm coffee

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Friends from Afar (But Not That Afar)

So! It is going to take a few posts to really describe everything that's been going on here. First of all! As some of you may know, a certain high school friend came with a friend to visit me in December, as he was on Winter Break from his teaching position in Hong Kong. Call it an FHS 5 1/2 year reunion, I guess.

It was really great having friends in. Scott stayed with me and we put Diana up at a nearby hotel. In the mornings we'd run around the city a little bit, I'd work in the afternoons while they continued to poke around, and in the evenings we'd have dinner with friends and see whatever sights we could manage. Scott and I stayed up late every night talking, and it was a wonderful, though exhausting, few days. It was also during Korban, so tons of people were herding rams down the city streets twenty and thirty at a time to the mosques for people to buy and slaughter, celebrating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son.

Not only that, but one day I took a day off work so we could take a one-night trip up to a city in former Tibet, the site of one of the world's most important Tibetan Buddhist temples. We stayed in an amazing little American-style lodge called the Red Rock Inn, which put us back about 20 yuan ($2.50) for the night.

We had a heck of a lot of fun while they were here. It was great hesitantly introducing an old friend to a new home that I love, and seeing him and his friend begin to love it as well. It was great getting to know Diana. It was fun talking about books, movies, and music. And I have to admit, the fact that I won basically every time we played cards or Settlers of Catan didn't hurt. I'm hoping that this semester he'll take the time to practice a little. Next time he comes to my city, he needs to bring his A-game.

Also! They came bearing gifts from Hong Kong, and they bought me even more housewarming gifts while they were in my city, including a set of coffee cups and a sweet clock that matches my furniture. It was really kind, not to mention the kindness of traveling out here just to see me in the first place. And I hope that they enjoyed themselves, and I genuinely feel like they did.

To be continued...