Sunday, July 25, 2010

Watch your step

When visiting a foreign country with a foreign language, it is generally recommended to learn a few local phrases as a common courtesy. I like to learn the regulars - please, thank you, washroom, where is this helicopter going?, what hospital are you taking me to?, yadda, yadda and a couple extra useless phrases since you never know when a useless phrase will come in handy.

So here is a useless / useful? phrase you can use when in China (spelled the way it sounds in my head):

Sho shing jia shiao (say it in a real soft, whispery voice).*

Translation: watch your step.

I learned that one early on in the Beijing and Qingdao airports. Elevators, escalators, moving sidewalks. All are concerned about the placement of your feet.

So. If you tuck away foreign phrases in your memory banks, feel free to add this one. You never know. You might get a chance to use it.

*I'm not sure about the Cantonese / Mandarin thing. We were in a Mandarin-speaking part of China, but a Cantonese-speaking friend of mine told me what it meant and how to say it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

You can leave your hat on

I would like to start to recount my journeys in China, but to begin, I must start a few days before the trip.

My mother, sister and I went to a local production of The Full Monty - a musical version based on the British movie of the same name. Both the play and the movie tell the story of a group of men - underdogs - who are out of work, down on their luck and having a rough go at life.

They realize the answer to all their problems - to become male strippers. They may not have the same qualities as your average, run-of-the-mill male stripper but they do have something else to offer - they are willing to go The Full Monty.

It was totally awesome! ps- The title is suitable, but it was definitely theatre (insert snobby boarding school accent here), not some seedy club show. The show was tasteful. We try not to dwell on any moments that were... tastefully theatrical.

Anyway, that isn't the real story, just the intro. A couple of days after seeing the show, my sister and I are in the mall. We get separated. When we bump into one another again, she is blushing.

"I saw one of the actors from the show, and I talked to him," she says.

She had taken the playbill from her purse the night before, but I still have mine. We look for him to get his signature, but he is gone. Or hiding. Clearly, it isn't meant to be.

Fast forward a couple of days to me in the middle of the airport, searching for my passport so I can get on the plane (suitcases open, underwear on display). The people in line (in front of me, behind me, inching past my open suitcase to get past me) look familiar. I realize I am surrounded by the cast of The Full Monty. Everyone is there but the main character.

Of course, I took the playbill out of my purse the night before.

I feel like I should be brave like my sister and tell someone I liked the show. But who do you tell? The closest person? That might be weird since I am rummaging around in my suitcase. Should I tell all of them or just a few people and let them spread the message? I wouldn't want to hurt someone's feelings by not including one of them. Perhaps I could just run around high-fiving them all.

Meanwhile, through these ruminations, I find my passport and we board the plane. I decide to forgo complimenting the actors as I have since realized it is early in the morning and they are also busy finding passports, hugging loved ones, buying coffee. An awkward high five from me is probably not necessary at the moment.

We board the plane.

Yes, the cast and I are also to share an airplane.

One of them is sitting directly across the aisle from me (small plane, 2 seats on either side of the teeny, tiny aisle). As far as I can stereotypically tell, he is dressed like an actor not hiding from his public (silk vest and scarf, nice shoes as opposed to paper bag over head or sunglasses). Okay, I wonder, now should I talk to this guy?

We are instructed to put on our seat-belts. The plane takes off. The drink cart goes by. Snacks. Should I talk to this guy? He dozes off to sleep. His foot is sticking out in the aisle. The flight attendant walks by and trips over it. They apologize to one another.

Okay, he's awake now. Should I try to talk to this guy? He gets up. Goes to the washroom. Okay, I'll wait five minutes, then say good job. It's not polite to say good job to someone as they walk out of the bathroom.

Apparently, he has placed his carry-on on the over-head bin on my side of the plane. He stands close to rummage around in it.

I stare at my book.


This guy is much too close (it's a small plane. He's not a creep).

I can't talk to him now. What am I supposed to say? "I didn't recognize you until now, but great show the other night."

Clearly, I would not say that, but my blush would.

Finally, I decide there are people in LA who can walk past Drew Barrymore without batting an eye. I am going to mind my own business and let these people get on with their day. I clapped the other night - Good Enough.

We get off the plane. Just us passengers here. My stress refocuses on completing the next twenty+ steps required before my journey is completed.


Fast forward again, this time three weeks. I have written this post, but have not actually posted it yet. I am walking around campus at lunch. I see this guy. He looks familiar. Of course he does. It's the main character from The Full Monty sitting on the grass. Eating a sandwich. Should I go say hi?

Quote of the Day:

"Good Grief"
- Charlie Brown (Charles M. Schultz)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm Baaaaack (well, 87% back)

Well, my dear friends. My colleagues and I have returned from China, bringing with us our newly acquired slew of parasites and ailments.

Actually, I have been back for over a week, but it has been a weak week. Until now, the only possible blog post for me would have looked something along the lines of:

I R Sick (followed by accounts of my doctor-visiting adventures).


Water. Water. Bring Water.

Anyway, I'd say I'm back up to 87%. I have regained my appetite and shake like a Chihuahua every time I eat (I lost a million lbs, totally messing with my Shape-Ups experiment - Don't worry, I plan to gain them back asap in the form of milkshakes. MMmmmmmmm milkshakes).

So On With The Show

This is not China-related, but it was the moment where I realized I was well enough to rejoin the ranks of humans (or whatever ranks I used to be in):

My friend had a party (I told her I wouldn't blog about it (I only blog about parties where I fail to socialize) - I'm blogging anyway).

So. My friend had a party. She lives with her fiance and a new(er) roomate.

We were outside eating watermelon (ok. I was eating all the watermelon. Chihuahua-style) and I noticed a cute little garden in the yard. My friend's fiance is european and an awesome cook, thus I assumed it was his garden.

He's also a little straight laced.

I caught the eye of the new(er) roommate, brought my finger to my lips, whispered, "Shhhhhh," and tossed my watermelon rind in the garden.

She returned the, "Shhhhh," and smiled.

Later that night, I found out it was, in fact, her garden I was tossing watermelon rinds in (yes, rinds. I'm a jerk).

I left early (recuperating people need their rest), but not before ensuring the fire pit and the roof of the neighbor's shed were equally graced with watermelon rinds.

That's right, my friends. It is time to return to writing. The creativity is beginning to flow in a not-so-savory direction.

Do you find yourselves becoming inadvertently (or destructively) creative if you spend too much time away from your creative outlet of choice?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mermaids make the day shinier

I came across a mermaid.

Mermaid sightings are largely attributed to those of sea cows, manatees and dugongs by lonely / malnourished / drunken sailors.

These photos are of the beluga whales in the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, Canada.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Double agent

Today I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance.

So excited!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cut and paste

I hope you have a nice day today.

For the writers in the crowd:

Are you the type of writer who knows what they are doing from the start and can write in a straight line from point A to point B or are you the type of writer who puts down bits and pieces and rearranges them until they fit the way you want them to? Do you have a different method from the two I have listed?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Make a wish

If you the type of person who makes wishes on airplanes, now is your chance.

I have it on good authority that there is one in the sky.

A little birdie has told me Google and its affiliates (including blogger) are inaccessible in China as of May 24th (they used to route through Hong Kong, apparently), so I apologize in advance for allowing my blog to wilt. There are a few prearranged posts coming up but there probably won't be any of the spur-of-the-moment traveling posts I had hoped to make.