After a two week  course in Western Culture, my students had to create videos about their favorite experiences in Kunming. Final projects have come along way since making dioramas out of shoe boxes and popsicle sticks. So what did I learn? Other than how to upload a video shot on a bootleg Chinese phone onto Google,  I learned this: Shut up […]

China’s Got Talent

What could be more adorable than a Chinese five year old dressed up as Curly the cowboy? The one re-enacting a dinosaur battle. It was the Chine Speaks English competition in Kunming,  and I got to be a judge for the shortie division ( four to eight year-olds). Participants were judged on their ability to speak English,  not if they could comprehend […]

Cool Adventure

Hip. Swag. Dope. Just some of the American slang my Chinese students discussed when the topic du jour was the word,  “cool”. I ended the lesson discussing another idiom for cool, “freaking freezing!” It was the only way to describe the splizzardy weather in the city of Eternal Springs, where snow siting is as rare as seeing a M?iguórén bundled up in a […]

Putting your best 脚 jiǎo forward.

At first,  it just felt like a pebble in my shoe. No big deal. But then suddenly, out of nowhere, try it felt like an abscessed tooth migrated to the ball of my foot. Ouch! Now I understand why they shoot horses. It’s something called Morton’s Neuroma, a thickening of the skin around a nerve between two toes,  common in […]

Get your Zao on!

Most people complain about their morning commute to work. Not me. My forty minute walk to work is like jumping into a Dr. Suess book. But replace the Cat in the Hat with Kung Fu Panda wannabes and the puff balls of Who-ville with beautiful gardens of the World Horticultural Expo in Kunming.  And oh yes, replace saying G’morning with […]

Chinese Whippersnappers

It sounded like gunfire but it couldn’t be. I wasn’t in Chicago, I was in China. The sound was coming from across the street, not in an alley with gang bangers but a group of old men spinning their tops, an activity they call tuó?luó, pronounced tow-ah-low-ah. ?? These guys crack a whip at an old school over sized top, […]

Shruāng is wrong!

Shu?ng ? ,   or frost, is my Mandarin word for the day. It rhymes with “wrong”.  And that’s exactly how it looked covering all the flowers on my walk through the Kunming Horticultural Expo this morning on my way to school. Coming up with goofy sentences is my approach to learning new vocab.  And that giant monkey you see near […]

Chinese Funky Chefs

As a head cook,  I began each morning chopping fifty onions. But not in China. Employees gather in front of the restaurant before their shift and do a quick exercise and get their cha cha on. The one guy in red doesn’t look happy that I’m filming.