Making Paper

No, this post isn’t about the fact that the Chinese invented paper money, it’s about the fact that I’m a published author in something other than my school newspaper!  You’ll remember the two articles I drafted back in January when I had nothing much going on.  I pitched both to Yale and kind of wrote off the one that didn’t get picked up.  I was going to post it to the blog, but after showing it to a friend she suggested I pitch it to The Beijinger, and I’m proud to announce that they not only picked it up, but that it’s the inaugural issue of their new “TV Tuesdays” column!  Reading it, I still have some issues with it, it still seems a bit on the assumptive side, but it’s really cool all the same. 😀  They did have me cut a big section of the “op” in my original “op-ed” pitch, so I’ll post the complete draft as I envisioned it later this week.  Link!  Any and all feedback is welcome.

You’ll also remember that I got roped into translating some abstracts for the department’s journal.  Well the most recent issue just came out so I got credited!  They’re…not my best work honestly, from a quality standpoint rather than a rhetorical one like the piece above, especially after seeing them in print.  I blame being rusty and ambivalent, but I intend to knock the next batch out of the park.  Thankfully, you can’t tell which two are my translations. 😀  Check it! Sorry for the neck crane :\.

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At a friend’s recommendation, I was also going to apply for the “Xi’an Youth Leadership Conference”, only to find out that by “youth” they meant ages 25-40, so I unfortunately didn’t make the cut.  However, I did get help doing a nice Chinese writeup of a future research plan before I realized so not a total loss.

In other news, I forgot to mention last post, I’m now two shifts into my year-long commitment as a crisis counselor.  The site I’m working for is called Crisis Text Line, and I encourage any of you out there to text in if need be, or share it with someone who might need it.  My job there is basically to take people from a moment of crisis to a “cool calm”, hear them, validate them, and then help them figure out a plan on their own moving forward, give them resources if they want, and in rare cases flag a supervisor to contact EMS or law enforcement.  Should any of you out there feel the need, just text “Home” to 741741.  Link here:

My first shift was a bit odd, as I was moving really slow (conversations are ideally supposed to take 45 minutes, but I only managed to get to two people over my four hour shift), and my two texters had trouble articulating their needs so there wasn’t much I could do :/.  It made me feel kind of useless, but then again, I’m trained for a specific task, and that task wasn’t something that could really help these people it seemed.  The second shift was a lot more intense emotionally for me, but I got my speed up a bit and got through it.  In training they’re very big on self-care, so my routine for that is as soon as my shift ends book it to the pool to do a swim before it closes (incidentally the time constraints are finally gonna force me to improve my speed there as well haha) and then get dinner with either an ice cream or an alcoholic beverage (last week was ice cream).

I’m actually kind of surprised with how empathetic I’m able to be in this role (my supervisors have been quite complimentary).  I’ve always felt I was rather unempathetic, and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to start volunteering. It also works out well because I’m able to spend my afternoon working in America’s wee hours, which is one of their highest traffic times. While it sometimes feels a bit artificial, the way I’ve been trained to engage with the texters, I think I’m finding a more genuine voice while still hitting all the notes they want me to.  It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m glad for the opportunity to help people out and I think I’ll get a lot out of it as well.

Thursday actually saw me going out to a concert, a  Harbin-based punk band of white guys, and then a Russian band from Lake Baikal called Rainy Season who were billed as “pop rock”.  Rainy Season had an interesting sound, really good, but hard to classify as exactly one genre.  My biased ears heard some prog rock in there even.  Cool show, cool guys, I have a social life, those aren’t lies.

The weekend was mostly filled with reading, although I did take the time to go bowling and clean the house, I’m getting better at making Turkish coffee I think!  Experimenting with different additions now, honey, maybe cinnamon etc.  Some pics along with a shot that seems to prove that spring is finally here!  Additionally, a de-boned chicken wing stuffed with dirty rice (I’m really curious how they manage that) and a great shot I got of a middle aged Chinese man and a young tattooed Russian woman both wearing the exact same watch on the subway.

To wrap up, here’s some pictures of Shenyang’s Japanese architecture which is real cool to look at too.  Being as young as it is, all of Harbin’s foreign architecture kind of blends together, but Shenyang has a muuuuuuuch longer history.  When the Japanese took it over, they kind of built a whole new section to the city (in an identical layout to Oosaka I’m told), much of which is still around today and has been converted into government buildings and banks.  Hope all you reading this are well and love you lots.


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