Ping Tracker

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Got This!......Wait, No I Don't

So, yeah, I was walking around campus after going to 西站 or the "West Station" in Lanzhou.

I just bought a Chinese version of Tom Sawyer, a few snacks, explored the final corners of campus, and was just thinking,

"Wow, great, I could really get used to this. I've finally got the hang of the area and campus."

And then I proceeded to get lost.

That's what you get, I guess. I finally got my head on straight and found my apartment, and THIS time, I really think I got the hang of the campus layout. It's a big place, so it's a little easy to get turned around the first day or two. But I got it now! (I think)

I was kind of annoyed at the lack of restaurants and shops on campus at first. Actually, really annoyed. Pissed, really. But I had neglected a corner of campus that apparently had ALL of them haha

It's cool now. I'm not mad anymore.

It seems that most universities are like that - they can pretty much be self-sufficient. There are shops, restaurants, offices, and all kinds of stuff on campus. But if you want raw vegetables to cook or some special items, then you gotta get off campus.

I'm settling into my new place. It's not a two-bedroom apartment, so it's a lot smaller, but hey, it's pretty cool. It's more decorative and....I dunno, unique than apartment at Lanzhou University of Technology.

This is the living room. Just to the right of the photo is my desk and computer/printer.

I like it a lot, and I've unpacked everything. After going to the market, it's starting to look a little bit like a home.

There's not a lot going on besides the move itself. I've got a few things that need to be taken care of like my residence permit and foreign expert certificate, but other than that, I'm pretty much free for the next week!

I spent part of the morning and early afternoon off campus wandering around Lanzhou's West Station and bought the aforementioned Tom Sawyer.

I got lunch at KFC, which was not bad, although the KFCs in China are a little more bland than their western counterparts. I got the "Double Stacked Sichuan Sandwich" with some fries and a mango-peach juice or something like that because they were out of soda.

I'm happy to be back in Lanzhou - it's a great city, although it's really big. I was sitting on the bus earlier today and thinking, "Dang, this city is big.....I kind of forgot about that."

The area around Jiaotong University is a giant shopping center and doesn't have a lot of the family-operated shops that I liked so much about Lanzhou University of Technology.

It IS a lot newer than the stuff around L.U.T., and maybe that's why I don't like it as much. It doesn't have the character that

However, I've only been here a couple of days, so I can't say that I've found everything, but that's just my impression so far. I can't make all the decisions and judgments about the place in two days - this is a nice campus and it's just a different area.

As open as I am to living in other countries and traveling and stuff, it's weird how much I don't like change......I keep thinking:

"Man, this isn't L.U.T.. I want to go to You Jia for my favorite potato dish and that Sichuan place for the spicy fish and beef dishes! I don't WANT to go to these restaurants around here!!!!"

What the heck is wrong with me?! hahaha

I'll be back later with some more updates and pictures! I don't know if they'll be interesting or not, but hopefully they are. I've seen a couple of cool alleyways with lots of shops and restaurants that look promising. You'll like those pictures!

 I'm off to read Tom Sawyer!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lanzhou: A New Beginning

So, I'm back. I made to Lanzhou, where I'm gonna start teaching on September 10th at Lanzhou Jiaotong University. I like the campus a lot, although it's really big. It takes a while to get anywhere,'s crazy!

Anyway, it's cool to be back in Lanzhou, although I'm in a different part of the city. The people here are a bit different and the environment definitely is. The part of the city I lived in before was already developed and well-established, while this area I'm living in now is under a lot of construction and has a lot of the construction noise and dust.

However, there are a TON of shops around and a really big mall/supermarket that has everything that I could possibly need. It's pretty cool!

Anyway, the video is just about the trip over here - I'll be putting up videos of the apartment and campus life and friends soon!


Well, that's about all for now -there'll be more videos and posts to come! I've got to finish getting settled and caught up on sleep, so when that's done, I'll put the full effort into everything.

Let me know what kind of videos you want me to put up! Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Youku, any platform is good for questions and requests!

Twitter: @LetChinaSleep
Youku Username: 胖老外

See you guys next time!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Leaving Once Again

So, by the time you guys read this post, I am going to be either on a plane or already in China.

 Besides what's in the video, I don't have much to say except "See you next time - I'll be on Facebook and on here."

So yeah, I'll see you guys in the next video/post!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lanzhou Jiaotong University 兰州交通大学

So, today I will be writing about the university I'll be teaching at. It's called Lanzhou Jiaotong University, and I actually have a video talking about it!

This last trip I took to China in June, I was able to visit there a couple of times, so I've got some pictures and some video of it, so here it is!

Lanzhou Jiaotong ("Gee-Ow Tong") University is a former railway institute/college, as evidenced by the train heads located right here. They don't work, but they are sort of the symbol of the school. It is mostly known for its engineering and transportation majors/concentrations, but has a rapidly expanding foreign language department.

English, Japanese, Russian, French, Spanish, and more - I'm not exactly sure how many languages are there. At least the 4.

They actually have whole block of buildings dedicated to foreign teachers housing right here.

See that writing? That says:


How segregated is that?! Haha

Yes, China usually puts all their foreign teachers together on campus. That's pretty much the way the universities do things. China hasn't quite gotten to the point where having foreigners in their countries is no big deal. It's still a big deal. Foreigners are often segregated and watched pretty regularly, but that's because there's not many of us and they're not quite sure how to deal with us yet. Give them some time - things will get better.

The school is located on the north side of the Yellow River in a district called Anning - unfortunately, it's not as close to the "downtown" area of Lanzhou...whatever that means in China. Everywhere is downtown. It's about 40-45 minutes from the areas that used to take me 10-15 minutes to get to. That's unfortunate, but I'm sure Anning will eventually become home.

Anyway, about the school - it's got a pretty good reputation in Lanzhou at least....people seem to be really impressed that I'll be working there, so I assume it's a strong school that has fine students.

I actually shared a cab with a guy who was a train driver/conductor or whatever you want to call it who actually graduated from Jiao Da (what people call it for short). Pretty cool!

As far as the campus itself goes, it's actually much bigger and the facilities themselves are much nicer than at Lanzhou University of Technology. Not that Lanzhou University of Technology is a crap's just got character. LUT is an older school and doesn't have the funding that Jiao Da has. Plus it looks like Jiao Da has finished renovating recently. Things look newer, cleaner, and generally kept up better.

I'm pretty excited about my future with Lanzhou Jiaotong University - good times are ahead!


I hope you liked this post! I'm going to be putting up another post about the process of becoming an English teacher in China. The idea really took hold when I read another "become a teacher in China" blog post, so maybe if I write my own post, someone will read it and be inspired. One can only hope, right?

Until next time!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

2012: The U.S.A. - China Olympics

"International Magical Cooperation," my Harry Potter-quoting sister reminds me while I obsess over the gold medal and overall medal count race of the U.S.A. vs. China.

"Yeah, I know, international relations and stuff.......Ron was wrong in obsessing about 'fraternizing with the enemy' and missed the whole point of the wizarding world's Quidditch World Cup...but seriously, we're beating China!!!! For now..."

    (2012 Olympic Torch - Public Domain photo)
It's strange how The Olympics can bring out such and sudden and fervent outpouring of patriotism. I've been getting up early to watch the U.S.A. women's soccer team play their games, and I've been cheering on our athletes like crazy, and annoying my family in the process, I'm sure.

China's going through the same thing - people all over China are shouting "GO CHINA!!! 加油!! We've GOT to beat America!!"

Everyone's being patriotic and having fun with the Olympics. It's one of those few events that (most) people can put aside their country's politics and just enjoy their team or individual event.

All of the athletes are there for the same reason: they've trained incredibly hard their entire lives and are now at the top of their game and are competing at literally the highest level possible. It's an honor just to qualify.

I don't know about you readers, but I'm still a pretty young guy at 23, so I don't really remember many Olympics. I remember some of the Olympics from 4 years ago in Beijing, but I only watched the opening ceremony and remember it being pretty legit. I wasn't even interested in China at that point - I just remember hearing about this guy Michael Phelps who was supposed to be pretty good.

I don't even remember the 2004 Olympics....where were they?

Anyway, few years later, here I am, and I'm pretty much glued to the action - it's a big deal. There are people from all over the world competing in sports you'd never watch otherwise - it's an opportunity to see something new.

When the spotlight is shined on the different athletes, we hear stories about their lives and their home countries. We heard about the kids from rough neighborhoods who found discipline in sports, the kids chosen at a young age to go to special training camps for years on end, kids who were pushed to excel and were encouraged by their parents and the people who literally do nothing but prepare and help others prepare for these games.

The stories provide interesting glimpses into the different cultures from which they stem, and while some highlight our differences, they all highlight universal truths:

We all want to leave behind a legacy. We want to be remembered. We all want to be great.

Yeah, this is going to be one of those "universality of human existence posts." I mean...I guess it is, I just kind of go and write with my thoughts.

We can't all be Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt or Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan, but we all want to, to a certain extent. We want to be recognized for our skills and for our hard work and we want to be rewarded for it.

While the people who aren't competing are thinking about the implications of China winning the most golds and symbolically overtaking America or America staying on top with the most medals and yada-yada-yada/whatever, the competitors themselves aren't thinking of the political ramifications (except maybe the North Koreans) - they're there to show their hard work and to do their best to represent America or China.

I really wish I could be in China and talk to people about how they feel about the Olympics. I think it'd be a pretty interesting thing to look into, although I can't imagine the sentiments being any different than the sentiments here, but you never know.

But bickering about which country is the best at everything, who has the most medals, and which country takes the moral high ground when it comes to training is not the point of the Olympics, as my sister pointed out - it's "International Magical Cooperation."

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