First Day Going to a Bar

So one of the people from couchsurfing, after texting me a couple times for stuff that I said I wasn’t free for (like ice-skating, no way am I putting myself through that again), texted me today saying he and some friends are going to Kokomo’s, which is that rooftop bar, the first place I ever went when I got here for study abroad. So we are meeting up and 9 and I am just so excited to be DOING something.

Also I gave myself a pretty different haircut. It’s choppy at the front and the same length in the back. The way I just described it, I realize, makes it sound like a mullet, but I think it looks kind of good. Hanh hates it. Jes didn’t really say whether she likes it. So I’m just going to take my chances and wear it around.

I’m cooking more rice. I am so good at saving money. Today I ate several sticks of raw broccoli with soy sauce straight from the bottle. Classay. As well as half a block of raw tofu. And now I’m having rice, thankfully not raw. I can’t believe I’m not losing weight. Probably the two boxes of pocky and the Kinder Bueno per day have something to do with it.

I got a lot more responses on couchsurfing, but now I feel like I’m being creepy by doing that. Am I being creepy? I dunno….

Anyway I will update on how the bar is tomorrow. I plan on skyping with Chris and hopefully  I will see Ming and Joann and maybe Kevin and Joey too since they all live together.

Countdown till Japan: T-3 days =]

First Day in Sanlitun

6/22 8:00 AM

So the Internet in my apartment crashed today. I called up the serviceman but as to be expected they are all on New Year’s break.

Today is New Year’s Eve actually. Fitting that it’s also the first day I go to Sanlitun Village. Which I’ll be honest was just so I could use the internet at Starbucks. But still.

All I can think about is saving for Japan. I’m going to try and not buy any food, at least not counting street food.

Anyway so that’s about all for this morning. I don’t know if I’ll get out tonight, hopefully I’ll find something to do today on the Beijinger.

*****

6/23 7:00 PM

Got some great fireworks shots. 春节快乐!

Kinda pissed because this stupid blog just erased everything that I wrote. Oh well.

So New Year’s Eve, I took a walk around Sanlitun and it was cold and pretty. I should post pictures on this in addition to facebook.

Fireworks were just all over the place, it was awesome. Some were right outside my building, so on the 13th floor I got a super up-close view. People were also playing with sparklers on the ground. What a mess to clean up later though haha.

Fireworks have been going off all day today, New Year’s Day. Maybe the city is actually just under bombing attack. It’s dark though now and I can finally see the fireworks’ light.

Did you see what I did there? I correctly used the apostrophe on fireworks. Thanks Strunk and White, the Elements of Style. Maybe all this studying for the foreign service exam is not going to waste. At least I know all the Canadian provinces now, in addition to many of the protectorates of the great nations such as Guam and Martinique, as well as economic principles that I should have learned instead of earning a C and D in macro and micro. God I hated econ, but I don’t mind it so much now that no one’s making me study it.

A lot of people seem interested in hanging out with me on couchsurfing.

On that note…

JAPAN IN FOUR DAYS!!!!

I can’t wait to go. I can’t wait I can’t wait I CAN’T WAIT.

I met this person Mackenzie on couchsurfing. She seems nice and she’s willing to take me around Tokyo a little bit. Lucky me. OMG I can’t wait. Also I figured out expenses today,  and I know that since I’m cheap I’m going to end up spending way less than I figure, and what I figured is WELL within my budget. It’s true that a meal, a cheap meal in Tokyo, is around 1000 yen or 12 USD, but also true that I have more than enough to cover that because the average meal in China is only around 3 USD.

I’m also going to get a Chinese bank account. I read on the WSJ that it’s good to invest in Chinese currency now while it’s still cheap, because it’s really worth about 3 times what the Chinese say it is. Therefore, when they finally let it appreciate, I’ll have three times more of it. 🙂

Also I managed to fix my internet, using the complex maneuver of unplugging and replugging it. Yay, that problem is gone.

More later.

New stuff!

So let’s start talking about NEW stuff!! 😀

I realized that I should explain my name. I am ChelseaCoconut because it is cold as FUCK in Beijing right now. Maybe I will shorten it to BJ from now on. I actually have a T-shirt that Joey haggled for me once at Yashou that says, in the style of I ❤ NY, I ❤ BJ, which has gotten a lot of immature reactions from my oh-so-mature friends :p

Anyway, I dream of coconuts, and one day of living someplace warm. Philadelphia, Ithaca, Beijing, they’re all just covered in wind and snow and runny noses and misery. I don’t give a fuck if I look like a leather bag when I come out from Miami after 20 years, it will have been entirely worth it.

Anyway so I’ve been in Beijing for a week. Flying over was not a hassle, unlike when I flew over in August last year and was almost arrested for leaving my damn bag unattended for thirty seconds in Detroit. Fuck Detroit.

I’m in Beijing right now, in a fairly small apartment with one other girl, XJ, a consultant at IMS, probably in her mid-twenties and she still has terrible acne (I bought her some Neutrogena from back home as a gift, which I don’t think she used). She’s currently been gone almost my whole time here, since it’s about to be CHINESE NEW YEAR and she went home to Hebei to be with family. She’ll be gone until the 31st. She thinks that my IQ is right around 7, as the bathroom sink doesn’t work and I think I sleptwalked and turned it on and then when I tried to turn it off (completely overflowing by this point) I was too dumb to realize that the handle just wasn’t completely off. Anyway. She now thinks that I am a moron. I am forbidden from using the stove or really any other appliance. I bought a rice cooker. We’ll see if she throws a fit when I get back.

I’m kind of being unfair. She seems really nice. She bought me some slippers to walk around in because, as is Asian style, no shoes are allowed beyond the foyer. She is terrified of roaches, as am I, and I intend to keep this place very clean.

Oh yeah, and all of her beauty products are in the freezer right now. I don’t get it. Yeah the apartment is too hot, but hot enough to melt lotion? I don’t think so…

She has a giant Hello Kitty doll hanging on her door. Her English is pretty good. She’s so Asian. This whole country is so Asian, whoda thunk? I pretty much live off food at 7-11 and off of rice in my rice cooker because I am saving up for something and also because I don’t want to go outside in this horrible Beijing wind, which is probably super polluted. Going vegetarian is going to be so easy. So will starving.

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China Life:

Still can’t drink tap water here. Must boil or bottle. We have a giant jug of purified water with  the little red and blue taps underneath like you see in offices in our house. I have a TV in my room that doesn’t seem to work right now although I tried it before. I sleep on the floor, on a Korean-style tatami mat, and it’s surprisingly comfortable. I can’t buy a bed yet because no one is shipping right now because of the holidays, but I think I might just not. Our bathroom sink as I said does not have a drain, for all intensive purposes it’s a really high-up pool for leprechauns. My roommate has the nice room, but she pays more per month, 2800Y to my 2200. The gas stove does not like unless you help it out with one of those little ignite sticks. We have a nice balcony on the outside, with a view of a golf course and a smokestack. Pollution here in general is indeed pretty bad, with a yellow haze on the city on its worst days and a funny smell on its best. All I do is cook rice. I love it. If only I had some butter.

I can’t wait to go out to a club again soon. Not today, because I’m not going by myself, because that’s sad. When I went out to clubs last semester with my friends, I was a surprising hit with black guys. Like that one night when K danced with that one Korean girl. Haha good times.

Also I just want to record the awesomeness that happened over this past break on New Years. I went over to Cait’s and she made truly incredible food, and I brought shrimp poppers that surprisingly everyone really liked (and sugar cookies that I made that didn’t do so well hehe) and I ended up getting my midnight kiss from Dante, my old boyfriend, and ended up sleeping on the floor with him and her old brother 🙂 SPOONING! LOL ok I’m actually really regretting writing this down, so embarrassing how happy this made me 😛 but anyway. It was a good last hurrah for my friends back home.

The sun is out now actually though, that’s nice. More later on life in China.

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Anyway enough about that silly stuff.

China is, simply put, nothing doing right now. Not until Chinese New Year on the 23rd, anyway. I don’t really have friends yet 😦 I know Tom, Kurt, and Kenny are here, but they all went home for the holiday, so I’m going to be alone for a little while.

Which is why…..

I am going to JAPAN.

On the 27th-31st, I am hitting up the technology capital of the world. It’s around $900, counting hotel (I didn’t think of getting a couchsurfing account until it was too late), but honestly I think it’s still totally worth it. I am so excited. I’ve met several friends (also on couchsurfing) and hopefully the language barrier won’t be too much of a problem. I can’t wait.

I’m keeping it a secret too, from my father because he is unnecessarily concerned about me being near radiation from the earthquake of last March (which is unfounded, as NYC has higher radiation levels than Tokyo and I don’t plan on going north anyway), and from my friends, since I’m already hyper-sensitive to being accused of wanting to be Asian. This trip is for me and me alone 🙂

It was also done because my Chinese F (访问) visa expires the 16th of February, and it’s a multi-entry one, and I didn’t want to waste it. Since I am getting my new work Z visa through LEAP education, the place that I will be teaching at, and there’s no guarantee that they will get me another multi-entry or give me days off to take trips, this is really my last chance, maybe my only chance, to go to Japan. I come back on the 31st and I start work on the 1st haha. I’m staying at the Chisun Inn in Asakusa, and arriving at Narita on the 27th. It’s supposed to be very close to the Ueno Zoo and Sensoji Temple. I can’t wait to see if they actually have squirrels for exhibits there.

Oh yeah, I quit my job at CGTI. They were offering me 5000 a month, which is roughly five bucks an hour, which is ROUGHLY jack shit, even in China, because even though in China that’s more than enough to live on, that is WAY less than any expat should take. And I refused to listen to all my friends and family who told me that, because I’m a stubborn idiot. But the breaking point came when I went to work last Thursday, and got there early, around 8:30 AM. Someone was in my old desk spot. There was a photo hanging up of all the CGTI members in which I was not present. The email list tacked to the wall did not have MY email there, even though my email has been made. As I sat there eating my dumplings and taking this in, I realized that for once in my life, maybe I shouldn’t just take this lying down. I should go find a company that will actually appreciate my skills.

And I walked out.

I might not have done that if I weren’t about to start working for LEAP education. They are paying me 6000 Chinese yuan for the first month, 7 the next, and 9 forever more. It pisses me off that even with training in the first two months, I’m STILL making more than I would be at CGTI, and I have NO training in this English teaching schtick whatsoever to begin with!

The future is bright. Teaching English is only from 3-8 on weekdays, and then one of the weekend days. Not bad, and I still have time to do things during the day.

AND I’m going to Japan. I thought about it and I realized that if they have offered Japanese in my high school as well as Chinese, I probably would have taken Japanese. I just have the biggest super secret obsession with Japan.

I’m the luckiest little expat alive.

First Day on the Blog

I always thought blogs were self-promoting and lame. I’m not entirely sure I don’t still think that actually. But I can’t deny the value of logging my life experiences and keeping them to share with others and my grandchildren – and to stay true to myself, I’m not sharing this blog with anyone until many years later. I just have to say that there are a lot of experiences that were awesome but that I’ve forgotten the details of, and so the blog commences. Actually, today finding that my roommate has filled up our shared freezer with beauty products and lotion, I realize now that I have a need to write down these small details for reflection later. My dad always said I should keep a diary anyway, which I never did expressly because he told me to, a decision that I now regret, and therefore today I will start making a record of my majestic daily life.

A brief, self-promoting bio:

My name is Chelsea and I’ve just graduated from Cornell University, with a more or less useless degree in Chinese culture. To make up for the stupidity of choosing such a lame liberal arts major in one of the worst economies of our time, I am currently in China now trying to look for a job, and just in general enjoy the fact that I’m in such a cheap country that my savings will be more than enough to hold me over for a while if I can’t find a job. One American dollar, or about 7 yuan, can get you two meals. I also went to China to get away from everyone that I hate. Which is a surprising number of people. Although I found that after being here, maybe I don’t hate them as much as I thought I did. I miss some of them in fact.

I have a younger brother who is in the merchant marines, S, at KP, in his second year of engineering now. I have a father who teaches math and engineering. My mother is not in the picture, but as I understand it she too was an engineer. Most of my extended family is in engineering. It explains why so many of us are socially challenged! Haha well not really, but my family is quite a smart bunch of people and there’s a lot of pressure on us younger kids to do well, which is fine.

I studied abroad in China last semester. Not my first time here, I went in the winter of 09-10 to Beijing and Hangzhou and I hated it (probably the culture shock, coupled with my shyness of that time made making friends difficult). However I loved last semester, I was with a great bunch of people. There was Ch, my “white friend”, my bai ren, still probably the coolest guy I know. There was T, my roommate from DC and Beijing, a Chinese girl raised in Nanjing till she was 10 and came to America; we’re not super close but we would go shopping if we got the chance. There was K, who frankly was always pretty mean to me, but I guess that’s just how he is. There was J, who was the attractive one that all the girls liked 🙂 he had a girlfriend most of the time but we still saw him a lot. There was Ci who I worked with at China Greentech Initiative, she was fun on the rare times she actually came to work. There was T, Chris’s Korean roommate and student at Beida. There were Ku and Ke, Chris’s friends.

This past winter break, I was at home, taking a break from China and enjoying major access to cheese. My brother and his girlfriend / our friend who worked on the ship with me as well La were there for Christmas. We didn’t do anything as usual because my dad gets the holiday blues like crazy, and also J has moved to Florida as of last April, and my dad is seeing K semi-seriously now. I should introduce them all actually. Judy is kind of my mother figure, she and my dad have been on-and-off since her son Clark and I were in fourth grade, so it’s been about 12-13 years…wow. After getting laid off from Lenox she got a job at Arthrex in Florida so my dad is kind of seeing other women such as Kathy. I don’t know much about it. Clark is in his last semester at Connecticut (I should be in my last semester too but Dad made me graduate early, something that I’m pretty sure I’ll regret.) I visited Florida for 6 days to see my grandparents and Judy. We saw an alligator super up-close in Nana’s development. Florida was surprisingly cold, why does cold weather follow me everywhere?

Anyway this is old news. Background information is done. On with the new. 🙂