Pulling. Them. Off.

So, for a good while, probably a year or so, I’ve wanted a pair of late Qing, early ROC dark sunglasses, like you see in movies. The original article can be seen on the left, and a more modernized one on the right.

Now, obviously the ones on the left are real hard to pull off if I could even afford a legit pair, but when I was in Pingyao I got a more modern looking pair that still had crystal lenses (the important part) for only 20RMB (bargained from 30, and still probably 5 or 10 more than I needed to pay. I laughed when a woman offered me the same pair for 60).

Recently took a couple friends out to see Daowai, and one of the Jormy (Chinese, but spent her time in the States in Alaska of all places) turns out to be a good photographer.  And based on this evidence, I gotta say I’m pulling my pair off just fine. Love em.

Narcissistic joking aside, please tell me if I look like a putz and living in China hasn’t just warped my sense of fashion. Also, considering growing out my beard more, as you can see (this is like 1.5 months of growth). What do you all think?

Now, a very special shoutout to my amazing amazing little sister Clara who is GRADUATING COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!! From entering at the young, yet still brilliant age of 16, to graduating with stellar grades, a hugely successful public health club as her legacy. Clara, I am so proud of you, you definitely got all the work ethic and are actively working to make the world a better place. You’re going to to amazing things and make so many lives better (like you already have for us, your lucky family), and I’m privileged to call you my sister.  Love you tons, can’t wait to see you again. (Sorry I missed your graduation. Again.)

And an equally special shoutout to my grandmother Joanna who has been such a presence in my life, always full of love and support, and a role model in terms of hard work and responsibility. Happy 80th birthday grandma (at time of writing). Hope it’s fantastic.

Lastly, happiest of Fathers’ Day to my beloved dad Bruce. I am incredibly thankful for all your love and support as well. You’re a shining example to me of how to find the many joys in life, do what you love/love what you do, and get some great stories along the way. You inspire me, I hope you have a fantastic day, and I love and miss you tons.

In other Fulbright news, I went to the Sino-Russian expo, which was quite the unique experience. My first time being to an expo, and it was pretty cool!  Booths from all over the world, selling a lot of the same things, quite overwhelming. I wandered with a friend, sampling everything from beef jerky to wine to cocoa butter, and walked away with a nice French table wine and a box of stoopwaffles for my neighbors.  Oddly enough, I didn’t feel an uncontrollable urge to buy everything I saw. Mostly just the edible stuff.

I also popped down to Beijing last week to see my undergrad professor who came home for the first time in five years (I can’t even imagine doing that myself), so another shoutout to her for starting me on the road to learning Chinese, so much of what I have today is because of that foundation.  Also, thanks for pointing out that my second tone still needs work, I’ve been getting real lazy with my Chinese, and as much as it stings to recognize my mistakes, it’s a good reminder to slow down and be more present when speaking.

Moving from skills I thought I had mastered more than I do (Chinese) to skills I thought I might have lost, but still have, I read four books last week, one of which was in Chinese!  It’s been a while since I read purely for pleasure, so realizing I can still tear through a book at lightning pace like in middle school was nice.  Just takes something more engaging than a yearly report on the SCO I suppose. And now all my pleasure reading also counts as research for the book!  Love how that works out.

Most recently among those books was 13 Reasons Why, which is a ten year old novel in which a high school girl, Hannah Baker, kills herself and posthumously releases 13 tapes to 13 people who she felt were critical in bringing her to that decision.  It was recently made into a Netflix series, which I haven’t watched, but has gotten flak for being *far* more graphic than the book, and for breaking practically every good practice for depicting suicide in media.  While the book is somewhat neutral, from my understanding the series really glorifies suicide, depicting it as Hannah taking power back that’s been stripped from her and getting back at everyone who made her life unbearable.

I made a point of reading it as the series aired right about when I started working for Crisis Text Line, and apparently it caused a huge uptick in suicidal texters.  You could say that this is because the show lists us as a resource for viewers affected by the content, but I suspect that many people texting in would not need to if they hadn’t watched the show in the first place. There’s plenty of analysis out there, but that’s my two pieces.

The book, by contrast, is relatively tame, and moving, but still suffers from some fundamental flaws I’m not skilled enough in literary analysis to fully articulate. Compelling read with a nice message.  I really don’t like the show though, and will probably not indulge it with my viewership.

Other random news, I attended a Chinese Toastmasters meeting on Wednesday, ostensibly as a judge, but I ended up giving a speech as well on short notice. Fun times, will probably go back, much less of a cult-y feeling than my experience at one in America. I got voted best judge actually!

Additionally, we won trivia this week, and got some super cute photos out of it.

To wrap up, doing a lot of reading and feeling good. So many things I may have forgotten some.  If I did, they’ll go in the next post.  Have some noodles with a kitty and a kiss.

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