“Living in China at this moment, the stories bombard you with such fantastical vividness that you can’t help but write them down and hope to make sense of them later.” -Evan Osnos
I’m leaving China in 8 days. The Evan Osnos quote is a cop-out way of me saying, I could have posted so much more on this blog these past ten months. In fact, I’ve actually filled an entire journal with stories, ramblings, and feelings that I haven’t had time to fully process. In other words, even though I won’t physically be in China after July 19, I will still be updating this blog because I think I covered about five percent of what I learned and experienced.
I went back and looked over some of the posts I’d written. It was a considerably less embarrassing experience than looking over my middle school Xanga. I came across a gem of a post (well, really, weren’t they all gems?) where I set myself some extracurricular goals. Let’s see how I did:
1) Brew beer using a hot plate.
I did this many times with several different Taigu cohorts to varying degrees of success (failure?). For beer snobs: we made an extremely dry Christmas beer (we argued over the name but I stand by my choice, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”), and three unnamed beers: an IPA with a nice hop profile but no carbonation, and two porters. None of them were carbonated enough and everything was vaguely medicinal. But they all got you drunk!
I didn’t go to Huangshan, but I did visit Tiger Leaping Gorge–with some family friends, Amelea, and V over Chinese New Year. We were in the throes of an awful Chinese tour. We only got to go to the tourist-ified part of the gorge, but it was still absolutely beautiful.
3) Convert a Chinese man into a feminist.
This is a very long story that I have failed to document properly for seven months, but here’s a teaser: I met a 22-year-old round-faced Shanxi village boy on the train, and even though he’s a huge chauvinist by Oberlin standards, he listens, and now he has a gay friend.
4) Hit up a Chinese gay bar.
I didn’t go to a Chinese gay bar. But I did go to a Chinese bar and act gay. Maybe that counts.
5) Do a wedding photoshoot.
5a) Convince a dude to be in my wedding photoshoot.
Yeah, this didn’t happen. The closest I got to this was my friend’s entire extended family mistaking me for his betrothed. Cultural hilarity ensued, including an episode where his mother tried to dress me in one of her turtlenecks because she thought I was cold. But too many weird gender issues surfaced. To be continued.
6) Revisit Hooters in Sanlitun in Beijing.
I did not revisit Hooters. I am not sure that it is still open in Beijing. I suppose I still have time to meet this goal because I’m flying out of Beijing and will be there a few days before my flight, but at this point in my life, Hooters no longer seems important.
7) Become less terrible at basketball.
I think I touched a basketball once. I think that’s more contact with a basketball than I had in all of 2011. Goal met!
4.5/7. That’s almost 65%!