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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chinese Folk Tales: The Frog in the Well

There was a frog that lived in a shallow well.

"Look how well off I am here ! " he told a big turtle from the Eastern Ocean. " I can hop along the coping of the well when I go out, and rest by a crevice in the bricks on my return. I can wallow to my heart's content with only my head above water, or stroll ankle deep through soft mud. No crabs or tadpoles can compare with me. I am master of the water and lord of this shallow well, What more can  a fellow ask ? Why don't you come here more often to have a good time? "

Before the turtle from the Eastern Ocean could get his left foot into the well, however, he caught his right foot on something. So he halted and stepped back then began to describe the ocean to the frog.

" It's more than a thousand miles across and more than ten thousand feet deep. In ancient times there were floods nine years out of ten yet the water in the ocean never increased. And later there were droughts seven years out of eight yet the water in the ocean never grew less. It has remained quite constant throughtout the ages. That is why I like to live in the Eastern Ocean."

Then the frog in the shallow well was silent and felt a little abashed.

The lesson of this story is to never boast. You will never know just how big and diverse the people and places of the world really are. This applies to me as well. I may have been to a few different countries and seen a lot of crazy stuff, but that doesn't mean that I should say that I know everything, because I don't. There's a lot of stuff that I don't know, even about my own country. The more you know, the more you don't know, right?

See you guys next time!

I'll be back China in 2 weeks! Look out for a whole bunch of updates!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Video and Post: How I Got Interested In China

The question that I get asked the most is: "How did you get interested in China? How did this whole China thing start?"

Well, here's a video that I put together that talks about a few of the reasons. If you don't want to watch the video, you can just skip it and read below, although you might miss a few things.

Although I enumerate a number of reason why I got interested in China, the biggest reason was the one that I mentioned at the beginning: my professor of Modern China and World Civilizations classes.

He was so knowledgeable and so passionate about China; it was impossible to ignore. He had an enormous influence on my and he, along with help from the International Office of ETBU, helped get me over to China to become Lanzhou University of Technology's first-ever exchange student.

It changed my life - I no longer see life in America the same way. Nearly everything I thought about life in general was turned upside down by that trip. I have gone back to "normal life" in Texas and live not too differently than the way I did before, but my thought process has changed completely in regards to my personal relationship with the world around me.

I suppose that's what I wanted and what got me really excited about China more than anything else once I got there. It was SO different from anything I had ever known before that it forced me to grow up and get serious in certain ways that I hadn't had to worry about before.

Getting food was a struggle. Doing laundry was a struggle. Going to class was a struggle. Making friends was a struggle at first. It was hard, but I overcame it with some help, and now I have emerged from all that as a different person.

I'm really excited about going back to Lanzhou on June 13th - it's less than 3 weeks away! Time passes really slowly and really quickly at the same time.

It's hard to believe I've been an A/V tech since about November. Weird....I don't feel like I wasted my time or anything - it was good, and it was what I needed to do at this point in my life. I needed to step back from China for a bit to really think about what I wanted to do. With some pushing from friends and a select few members of my family, I made the decision to apply for a job in China, and I got it!

All this to say ----- I got the China bug. Big time. It won't be going away any time soon! More videos and posts to come as the date gets closer!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thank You and a New Video: "The Random Bits"

Yet again we find ourselves with a video that I 'lost' months ago and just re-found! This time it's kind of a random assortment of clips without any real rhyme or reason.

This brings to light the kind of stuff I really would love to film and tell stories about when I'm over in China.  I never really did any kind of "A Day in Lanzhou" video, because there were few 'typical' days, I suppose. I'm definitely gonna try to do something like that.

I'd love to also do a video about food, which I started, but never actually finished. Sorry, Danielle, I know you wanted to see that video.....I kinda dropped the ball on that one.

Since I'm gonna be a teacher, I'd like to do a video with a few of my students and coworkers, if I could. I think that'd be really fun.

I also never did a video where I took you to all of my favorite places in one video. I should really do something like that. All of my favorite places are just scattered throughout my video library and on YouTube/Youku.


Speaking of Youku, I just wanted to take a minute and thank everyone who's been checking out my blog - it really has been humbling seeing the amount of views of my videos and the blog itself spike these past few months. It's started getting a ridiculous amount of occasional readers.......but nobody ever leaves comments, so it's hard to know who's actually reading.

Youku has this wonderful thing that tracks the plays on an embed in a different website, and I'm easily getting double or triple the views on Youku than I am on YouTube, which is really encouraging! YouTube is so buggy when it comes to how views and comments are tracked that I'm thinking about just sticking with Youku and putting more Chinese subtitles and translations in my videos.

Anyway, all this to say ---- thank you for reading my blog, and I would love it if you subscribed or shared it on Facebook or Twitter or something. The buttons are down below! My Twitter feed is in the top right corner of the page if you want to follow :)

I'm never going to put ads on my blog or on my videos, because I don't want to make money off of my readers. If I write a book, maybe. I actually started writing one, "An Exchange Student's Guide To China", but I haven't worked on it in quite a while. It had about 40/50 pages-ish.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Two New Videos!

Hey, guys! I have two new videos that I'd like to share with you - one of them is a vlog about Lanzhou, and the other is about my travel to Yinchuan when I was in China. I just found it the other day and realized I never actually put it up....crazy, huh? I found another few videos I'll stitch together into a kind of 'the unused bits' video.

Enjoy!  (these two will go on Youku within the next day or two) My YouTube audience is MUCH bigger on Youku, actually, so I might even do some translating for my old videos....we'll see if I have the time later.


I can't believe I never did a video that really tried to sum up Lanzhou before now. On one hand, I guess it's a good thing, because now I can look back on it and talk about it a little bit more objectively. I'm obviously still advocating a visit or look into the city, but I'm not preaching to you or anything - I'm just trying to give you a sense of what the city is like. One comment that was made is that I forgot to mention Lanzhou's famous local specialty: Lanzhou Beef Noodles (兰州拉面). Yep, I totally did. Sorry about that. Here's a picture:

My next video is an old one that I made while I was still in China - I believe it's from the last couple weeks in July (2011). I spent a couple of days in Yinchuan, Ningxia Province. It's a really great place, and I hope I can travel there again so I can give you a better look at the city. This video is unfortunately very brief and doesn't show much. My trip was very hurried, unfortunately.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed these videos, and there will certainly be more to come! I will be letting you know what's up with the vlogging/social media education project that I've got coming up once it gets a little further along, but I'm still excited about it!

 I've got a few ideas about future videos, but as always,

leave comments 

down below suggesting what you might want me to talk about or just what you thought of the videos. How can I improve? What DO YOU like and want to see more of?

This isn't just about me - you're choosing to spend time reading this blog, so I need your input in order to keep it interesting!
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