July Xiananigans

As this month is quickly coming to an end, and my travels will begin this evening, I figured now would be a good time to recount my recent Xiananigans. 


After handing in my grades, I went to Delhi Darbar with Sara, Chris, & Jason. The following day, I had my first tutoring gig with a 12 year-old girl named Alice. Let’s just say I had the chance to practice a lot more Chinese than she had to practice English. In the afternoon, The Gang of Four (not the infamous Gang of Four who plotted against Mao, but just Sara, Chris, Jason, and I) headed to the Muslim Quarter and Walking Street to do some shopping. Sara and Chris wanted to pick up some souvenirs to head back to Italy and the States, respectively, with. As I didn’t find what I was looking for in the Muslim Quarter, Jason and I headed to Walking Street. I ended up purchasing two purses; a small black messenger bag and an easter egg blue backpack slash shoulder bag. After, Jason and I ate my new favorite meal: cold noodles 凉皮 and Xi’an hamburger 肉夹馍; DQ’s proximity made it inevitable that we would stop there as well. A good way to end a typical Xi’an summer’s day. 


For July 4th, I had decided in advance that we would be celebrating in a not-too-typical fashion. Instead of your traditional barbecue fare, we enjoyed making and cooking dumplings, 饺子。We being Chris, John, Sara, Jason, and I. Earlier in the day, Xi’an experienced monsoon-like rains and Jason and I ventured out at its completion to do our grocery shopping. I had a pleasant time jumping in and out of gigantic puddles with my hot pink rain boots, reliving childhood fantasies. The dumpling party consisted of Jason and I preparing everything in advance and then the entire group placing the filling in the pre-made wrappers we bought. On top of dumplings, Jason made an assortment of other dishes for us to enjoy. We also had doughnuts and watermelon for dessert. At the end of the evening, as it had nearly slipped my mind, Jason and I lit off some firecrackers. As is tradition, and since fireworks and firecrackers are not considered an illegal activity of amusement, I figured what better way to end July 4th than in style.   
The following day I had my first two lessons with my other two tutoring gigs. First, I tutored a 12-year old boy named Andy. Again, much like Alice, I’m still using a lot of Chinese to supplement the fact that he understands very little. My third gig, second of the day, is actually both entertaining and worthwhile. I am training the Green Molly staff. Green Molly is an Irish pub and Western restaurant located in Gaoxin 高新, better known as the High-tech zone. The owner, English name Stone, is also an owner of Parkqin; Jason’s former place of employment. His staff speaks virtually little to no English thus has a hard time communicating with foreign customers. I also get the opportunity to speak a lot of Chinese with this group. I rather enjoy teaching them because they actually have a purpose and an ultimate goal. Additionally, I’ve been hired for six months to one year so I’ll have supplemental income through the school year. I am teaching them phonetics, ten to fifteen vocabulary words, and five phrases every class. It’s been a pretty slow start, but I have noticed improvement, in most, if not all, the students. The class is usually about fifteen to twenty students gathered in the downstairs pub; I stand in front of a whiteboard, perched on a platform usually for performers.

What else? Besides going to the Green Molly twice a week, tutoring Alice three times a week, and Andy twice a week, I have done some baking. On two different occasions, I made challah. I made 4 loaves, froze 2, and baked them several days later. I also made my very first attempt at baguette. I found a really straightforward recipe from Epicurious, and with a little finagling, lo and behold I had a half a dozen or so baguettes! A bit saltier than I would have liked, but for my first attempt, not half bad. In addition to baking, I tried to keep up my normal gym routine, but alas I failed. I did go out to eat rather frequently; usually chowing down on tomato and egg noodles 西红柿鸡蛋面, cold noodles 凉皮, or roujiamo 肉夹馍。I also have had the chance to spend more time with Jason. We had a shopping excursion at Vivo City, as I was in dire need of some retail therapy and some appropriate travel gear. We shopped in H&M and Mango. I am quite impressed with the amount of items I purchased: a maxi dress, a pair of cargo capris, an a-line above-the-knee dress, and two sleeveless shirts to complement the cargo capris. Even more surprising, Jason discovered both shirts I purchased. Now you are probably thinking I spent a lot of money, but in fact, my purchases totaled 449元, about $70. Side note: If you’ve been on Facebook, then you would have already seen numerous pictures of the shopping adventure. Jason purchased himself a SLR camera and as is common with men and gadgets, he couldn’t put it down. He’s been snapping pictures of me, Xi’an scenery, and various other objects nonstop. I’m hoping he’ll be a professional sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, a couple of days later, I started having some stomach problems again. Not the same as I did last year, which resulted in needing antibiotics and a trip to a gastroenterologist. A quick visit to a doctor, Chinese, not traditional medicine, helped to resolve the problem. I also ate really light food for the next week to avoid any further complications. I seem to be fine as of late.

I was elated when Stone, the Green Molly owner invited me for dinner and drinks. I had never dined at the Green Molly and I have to say they have some of the best Western food in Xi’an. I’ve been told that Gaoxin has a better collection of Western fare, and this statement is clearly factual. I ate steak, ahi tuna, penne carbonara, and a caprese salad for the first time in a long time in Xi’an. Stone and I were joined by an American friend of his and his friend’s Chinese girlfriend. She had just visited the States so we had a lot of fun making comparisons and contrasts. It was also nice to talk with a fellow American who may have outshone me in the sarcasm department, the key word being may.

The final part of July was devoted to doing some Translation & Interpreting marking for my new department. It seems as though the Translation School is always in need of a proofreader slash editor. In addition, they pay for my services. Resume building and cash; what more could I ask for? I’ve done editing work for XISU’s 60th anniversary celebration and also worked on marking and providing commentary to Translation & Interpreting grad students. I was having a hard time finding productivity at home so I made a day of it and went to Starbucks at 大雁塔 as well as Small World Cafe 小世西餐厅,where I ran into Andy’s mom and we both were rather taken by surprise (I probably should have noted earlier that they are filthy stinking rich. This is not just an observation, Hui li made this pretty clear to me. They pick me up or drop me off in a brand new Mercedes SUV and his mother drives a top-of-the-line Range Rover. Furthermore, Andy has visited France, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, and Japan. His sister will be attending university in the States. His mother has traipsed all over Europe and the US. So needless to say, they can afford to pay me). 

You are probably wondering where I am traveling to. If you haven’t heard from myself or my family, then I am pleased to inform you that I am traveling, with Jason of course, to Thailand and Laos. I imagine I am in for a rude awakening. Although Thailand is quite developed due to its tourism industry, Laos, on the other hand, is still pretty underdeveloped. I’ll be gone for about a month and I don’t think I’ll be updating until I return. See you all on the other side! 
Sara and I making 饺子。
Sara, John, and Chris. We made two kinds: Chinese greens/egg and tofu/celery 饺子。 
John giving up as he said his 饺子 making skills leave much to be desired.
Yes, we made that many! All the ladies wore some semblance of red, white, and blue. 
Chris’ 饺子-making skills are pretty good. 
An array of shapes; mine are the coin-shaped, which, according to Jason, is the lazy way to make them. 
One of Jason’s stellar-shaped 饺子。
Setting off firecrackers
Challah french toast made by yours truly. 
Xi’an clouds
View of the bedroom from my living room 
Waiting for delicious noodles and Jason trying out his brand new SLR camera. 
Starbucks at 大雁塔。
In one of the numerous parks surrounding the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, where you can practice your math skills with a handy-dandy abacus. 
在路上。
又在路上。
在星巴克。Starbucks at Vivo City. 
电视塔。

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