When Spice Isn’t

After living in Kunming China for eight years, I have built up a tolerance for what’s spicy. Not just the far-side foods, either, but the spice of life. The nine-year-old selling liquor in his parent’s store? At least he can see over the counter. Old women recylcers with huge bundles strapped to their backs? Walk faster! Freshly slaughtered carcasses hanging […]

China Dancing: Then and Now

I was at a local dance competition yesterday at the Aegean Mall , in Kunming, China. Is this China or Chicago? I wonder what kind of dance moves the next generation of Chinese will pass down to their kids? Will it be hip hop in backwards baseball caps or traditional folk dancing with  ethnic group headdresses?

Old World Meets High Tech

When I went to a Chinese Wet market today, I stood out. It wasn’t because I was a dà bí zi 大鼻子, big nose American, but because I didn’t use my phone to pay. No one uses cash anymore. The Peanut-butter lady couldn’t make change, so I had to wait until there was another cash carrying shopper. The blue sign […]

K.I.A-cademy Awards

I’ve tried a lot of things to get my 7th grade ESL students to use their vocabulary. These native Chinese speakers would rather memorize the longest sentence in a novel, from William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom (over 1200 words), than lose face mispronouncing a word. And yes, some want to take on that challenge. However, my middle schoolers got excited making […]