Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hanging Out

For all its high speed trains and new construction, a large part of China is still a very farm-based country.  Walking around our campus, it's very easy to see how even our fairly citified part of town still maintains a connection to its agricultural roots.  Now is the springtime harvest of all things green-like, and everywhere you look, big bunches of leafy things are hanging out to dry, to be put into earthenware crocks for pao cai - pickled vegetables.

Hanging Greens, Hongguang

They're everywhere - outside of window ledges, on banisters, clothes lines, clothes hangers, and trees.  Makes the campus look a bit Doctor Suessian, no?

Hanging Greens, Hongguang  Hanging Greens, Hongguang

Hanging Greens, Hongguang  Greens on the newspaper kiosk, Hongguang

Also hanging out on top of the - I don't know the exact word for these - "newspaper reading kiosks", maybe?  - which are themselves a relic of an earlier time when posting the Party newspaper behind glass was the only form of information that people got about goings on elsewhere.

Greens drying on the newspaper kiosk, Hongguang

And then there were these huge strips of seaweed all stretched out the other day.  Don't know what the story is behind those, as we're quite far away from the nearest ocean last time I checked.  Bet they'll end up being pretty tasty, regardless.

Hanging the seaweed, Hongguang

Hanging the seaweed, Hongguang

Hot enough for ya?

Drying the chilis, Hongguang

Drying chilis, Hongguang

Some red chilis set out to dry that I saw while taking Ysa to kindergarten sometime last month.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's big in the world of pens right now...

copyright infringement pens, Yangshuo

... and in the world of kids' trends in general, summed up by a big batch of pens for sale in the tourist / backpacker town of Yangshuo.  Featuring prominently are characters from Plants vs. Zombies and Angry Birds, both video games with massive followings over here (at least if my kids and their friends, as well as massive merchandising are any indication).  You can also see that Sponge Bob Squarepants is starting to make inroads.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Awesome Power of Words

A few examples of extraordinary typography seen in the last few months of our travels, each amazing in their own particular ways...

Guest house advertisement on styrofoam cooler lid, Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong


Internet-Linked Library of Science, Childrens' Day Temple Fair, Koh Kut

Happy Memorial Time

Monday, March 19, 2012

Birthday Solo

Speaking of solo adventures, Xander had one of his own back in Thailand for his ninth birthday, albeit a little bit warmer and slower than the ski jump from the previous post.

X solo kayaking, Koh Kut

Our guest house was right on a mangrove-lined estuary, with a convenient dock and three kayaks to rent.  So, for his birthday, Xander took off up the river a bit, and came back about a half hour later.

X goes solo, Koh Kut

X solo kayaking, Koh Kut

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What education should be, part 1

This video of a fourth grade girl working up the courage to attempt a longer ski jump has been circulating a lot around the internet lately, but I think that it's pretty appropriate to the topic at hand.  Make sure you have the sound on!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goin' on a job hunt...

Okay, internet, time to do your stuff!  As you can guess from the slide show above, I'm getting my job search started up.  It's a bit tricky to do via the internet, but not impossible.  I'm thinking that the more information that people can learn about me online the better, right? 

These pictures, therefore, will soon be the introduction pages to my personal web site - which will also have my resume, a video or two, links, sample lesson plans, and all sorts of other good stuff.  In the meantime, I figure that it can't hurt to do a small bit of (shameless) self-promotion on this blog, too.  Interested?  Get in touch via the email in the slide show, leave a comment, or simply pass along this link to all your friends and neighbors:

Thanks for your help, everyone!  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Some Cityscapey Bits from Hong Kong

From Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

You wouldn't know it from these pictures, but Hong Kong isn't really that big of a place.  I think it's total population is something like seven million or so, which compares roughly to Chicago, and is miniscule compared to cities of comparable import in the rest of China.  It looks that much bigger because everything is all scrunched up into a much smaller space.  To me, it seems like someone took a city like Chicago, then pushed most the people into the middle, leaving the outside for green space and mountains.  Not a bad way to have a city, that...

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Due Dilligence

While we're on the subject, a few shots of Ysa in action, drawing intently while we were waiting for a veggie burger and fries on Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ysa tells it like it is

Hey, our laptop is now fixed! Jane is back, the semester is well underway - what better way to get back into the swing of blogging than a musical interlude featuring the indomitable Ysa on the piano?

Make sure you keep watching past the intro to catch the lyrics, which are a moving portrait of the Chinese kindergarten experience. A sampling:

"In class, there's a lot of classmates that's my friends and I love to play with them.
And some, they don't like me and I don't like them, and I don't play with them..."

Don't worry, though... the song ends on a triumphant note. With lollipops. And ice cream. Enjoy!