I find most of this pretty accurate. Worth reading all 50.
'Champlain College grad reunites school with its alma mater'
Read more at http://www.champlain.edu/about-champlain/newsroom/james-beams
It’s that time of year again! ***Make a commitment and apply to attend the annual CGI U meeting in March 2014 at Arizona State University in Phoenix, AZ.***
Hello, I’m Kayla Hedman, your Champlain College campus representative for the Clinton Global Initiative University.
Last April, fellow student Mahmoud Jabari and I had the pleasure of attending the annual CGI U meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. It was a great networking and leadership building experience I will never forget.
This year, my goal is to have more representation from Champlain students at CGI U, by helping you to develop commitments to action in one of 5 categories:
- Global Health
- Poverty Alleviation
- Energy and Climate Change
- Human Rights and Peace
Your commitments do not need to fit perfectly into one of these categories, and does not have to be an existing cause.
In the past years, successful commitments have included:
- The idea to invent SOCCKET, a soccer ball that generates and stores kinetic energy as it is kicked around. The team created this idea because 25% of all kids worldwide do not have access to electricity. However, most of these children do play soccer. 15 minutes of play with the SOCCKET powers a light for up to three hours.
- One Bead, using the skills of local artisans in Kenya to raise money for a local school
- and lastly, Building with Bottles, where students trained mobility-impaired individuals in Haiti to build functional stools out of disposed plastic bottles and sell them for a profit
Many more can be found on CGI U’s website.
Anyone of you has the ability and resources to develop a commitment around something you’re passionate about. And don’t hesitate to contact me for assistance through Champlain mymail.
Still interested? visit CGIU.org for all the information you need.
So it has been a really long time since I’ve posted on here. I’m in the middle of a transition - a big one. I need to catch up on this blog, which I hope to do with photos > written content to keep you engaged, then transition into my new Wordpress blog. The new “blog” will integrate my digital portfolio, my other social networking sites, and a young professional blog.
You may think the photo above is an odd choice for this blog post, but the action surrounding this photo (and the many others that can be found HERE) is all I can think about at the moment. Friday night I had the pleasure of helping out at the Vermont Ice Ball, an event to raise funds for the U.S.A. Luge team on their quest for gold in Sochi this winter. The prospective Olympic U.S.A. Luge team is comprised mainly of graduating junior Olympians who are under 20 years old. Having just turned 21 a couple of weeks ago, I look at these successful teenagers, who I now call my friends, and contemplate what life has in store for me in the following months as they prepare for international exposure.
I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had through Champlain and beyond, but I am so incredibly nervous for what is to come. This is what senior year does to you, kids. More on that to come.
Gotta have some humility.
Sorry if you find this post offensive, but I expect you to because…
1. Americans are way too sensitive
…says Benny the Irish polygot.
After receiving quite a lot of angry comments from fellow tumblrs on my formerly titled "China is Weird" post, I decided to share this link, a cultural analysis of America, which I read months ago, chuckled at a few times, but didn’t necessarily take to heart. I actually agree with most of it. I even shared it in my Globalization, Technology & Development class last semester.
One’s gotta have some humility. Take it or leave it. I’m just sharing my opinions from what I observe throughout my time in China. I’m not saying that any one culture does it right while the other one is wrong. I’m not belittling China’s people, and I’m not hating on China - after all, this is my second time in the country in one year; I chose to spend my summer here. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t come back.
I’ll try to write the next posts with a more favorable tone. Always feel free to give me some feedback, but please, no name-calling. :) Thanks for reading!
(follow the link by clicking the title to this post)
asiamericana asked: I'm a Burlington native, so I felt like I should say hi to another expat with Vermont connections! I read your "China is Weird" post. China is complex, most issues are not black and white (just like the US). Women's lives here are different for sure, but to say that Chinese women aren't important at all is to paint a false portrait. It takes a while to figure out this country, enjoy the ride but keep your eyes open for the full picture!
Thanks for your response! Writing quickly, I didn’t emphasize what I truly meant from that statement. The post is edited now after stirring up quite a bit of responses/reblogs. Whoops! That’s what I get for posting a stream of consciousness from a written journal.
I concur that issues everywhere are not black and white. Here it can sometimes be a little harder though to get to the truth, both from propaganda and the language barrier.
What brought you to China? Gotta say I’m missing a Burlington summer right now, but I heard it’s just been rain.
Well, the reason I haven’t blogged any updates from Shanghai lately is…it was one of those weeks. One where bad things come in threes. Unfortunately, one of those things was the drowning of my laptop. Thank goodness for my mom (whose birthday was the other day - Happy birthday mom!); she had the bright idea to back up my laptop on an external harddrive before leaving for China. Phew!
So! Back to China. It is unique. I would say weird, but people seem to be sensitive to that word even though it’s not in a negative sense at all. I just wish there was a way I could share my experiences with you all and do them justice.
I really want my boss at the animation company to make a short about Chinese transportation, specifically bikes and scooters. Chinese bikers and scooter-ers are incredible. They carry bundles of 12-ft long bamboo over their shoulders; you can often find them selling animals such as baby bunnies and guinea pigs in cages, and snakes in mesh bags from their bikes (photo via Kaity Roberts ‘15 instagram @kaitygirl16)
Riders wear bike ponchos which cover the handlebars and read “rain coat” across the back; often this look is enhanced by a construction helmet on top. Sometimes I even see four people on one bike. They often ride while holding umbrellas for protection from rain or sun, and quite frequently have many boxes strapped to them. It’s amazing how they keep their balance, avoid cars and pedestrians, and cover such a large and populated city by bicycle.
Another reason why China is weird, for lack of a better word because this really is bizarre: they cancel MAJOR holiday celebrations with no explanation. A couple weeks ago we were given Monday through Wednesday off of our internship due to the Dragon Boat Festival. Although this meant we, and the rest of China’s workers, worked the weekend, we were excited to see this national celebration.
The festival is a time where most Chinese people spend time with their families, but our friend Cherry’s family is back in Beijing while she is working on a year-long project at Shanghai GE. Therefore, she spent the holiday with the next best thing to family - us! Alaina and me, American expats. Wonderful!
It was truly a win-win. She had “family” and we had a tour guide.
So Wednesday we set off to the park where the dragon boats were to race all three afternoons. Upon our arrival after an hour-long commute across the city by metro and taxi, we stood at a gate with a number of expats, tourists, and locals. All of us were confused. Beyond the gate we saw decorations and tents, a venue staged to host many guests for a national holiday completely deserted. Were we early? Was there an accident? I know it wasn’t closed due to inclement weather. I was dumbfounded. Cherry asked others, read a small posting in Mandarin on the temporary gate, and even asked security. She returned to us saying, “It’s closed.” I wanted to say, “No sh*t Sherlock” and let the other non-Mandarin speaking expats and western tourists know that there was no sense in waiting around, but it was pointless. There was no explanation for the event to be called off.
Perhaps this is why, days in advance when we asked our co-workers about Dragon Boat Festival events and activities we should check out, they said, “Don’t worry about it. Just enjoy the days off, they don’t come often.” So instead, we filled with day by touring art galleries, browsing shops, trying traditional foods, and checking out Chinese graffiti. (photos via instagram @kaylahedman)￼
Although the Dragon Boat Festival races and other activities were canceled on Wednesday, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t celebrate and be festive!
And now, here’s 18 more unique things about China:
- Although people in China eat a lot of rice, they never heard of putting a water-damaged electronic in rice to dry it out. “Geniuses” at one of Shanghai’s Apple Stores said, “Are you sure this is a laptop? Or is it a Transformer?” I just responded, “After drinking all that water, it got hungry.”
- The cleaning ladies in our hotel refuse to make Alaina’s bed if she leaves even one pair of shorts or a business card on it. Now she strips the entire bed to ensure they make it.
- China has no services for disabled folk or homeless citizens. Americans should be grateful for the services we and our loved ones have access to.
- Hostel website reads, “Chinese nationals can only stay with foreigners if they are married and have a licence.”
- One word: FIREWALL.
- What we saw: Man walking down sidewalk where there is outdoor dining. He stops at a cooler full of crayfish on the ground, dips his hands in and rubs them together as to wash them, shakes them off on the sidewalk, and walks away. That’s hygiene and clean cooking practices for you!
- Another: An old man in a wife-beater tank with lots of keys on his belt loop walks backwards down the busy street our gym is on. There are also a lot of tourists here visiting Century Park. Sometimes, he claps his hands with every step.
- Taxis say no a lot, even when you have the address written in Chinese or speak Chinese. Because the city is simply so big, sometimes the drivers don’t want to go that far or they just don’t know where your destination is. They have a star rating system that shows how well the know the city… we always end up with 2’s or lower…
- People’s “trendy” clothes. Just imagine. I really appreciate the ability to express yourself, and it’s so fun to go shopping here!
- People’s “trendy” haircuts. Even wilder. My personal favorites: the Chinese mullets, rat tails, and boy-band bangs. The girls get upset because they all have straight black hair and want to differentiate themselves with hair dye, permanent texturing, and off-beat cuts and styles.
- Speaking of beauty, some girls wear white stickers on their eyelids to create an illusion of a second crease. I think their eyes are beautiful just the way they are!
- Men often don’t wear shirts, or just roll them up over their [beer] bellies because it’s hot - but believe me, this style is not!
- Pretty sure Chinese people don’t get sick of Chinese food, although it’s very oily. Perhaps I’m just not used to it. Yes, there are many different dishes to choose from, but it mostly is made up of the same staple ingredients. If they do tire of vegetables and rice (they don’t consume large quantities of protein), sources (my local friends) say that they just eat soup.
- They love serving animal proteins with all the fat, bones, feet, heads, everything. They just spit it out. No worries.
- Just imagine Downton Abbey with chopsticks. Hahahaha. I love these utensils. They make me eat slower because otherwise my napkin-less lap would become a masterpiece of food droppings.
- WeChat: an app that makes meeting strangers online cool again - except this time they’re within 100m of you. Yikes! Also, shake your phone to meet people who are shaking their phones at the same time! It’s a helpful app to have though because it allows you to text users you know when you have WiFi. This is an international app, but I have observed how popular it is here.
- Not only do things mysteriously get canceled, but often get canceled, postponed, and forgotten about. Here, it’s NBD. Just never expect to have any plans set in stone. It won’t happen.
- Disney’s Mulan: accurate on a few accounts. 1) women are often treated like they have no importance, even though Chinese women are very independent and strong willed, 2) honoring one’s family is very important.
More to come!
Nothing in this post is meant to be degrading or imply that one culture does things right and another, wrong. I am simply sharing differences between Shanghai, China and my home in the United States with other readers so they understand the unique things I am experiencing from day to day. Thanks for reading.
- Structures, malls, skyscrapers, industrial parks, apartment complexes - the sheer speed, quantity, and pure size of what they build. There is estimated to be another 6,000 skyscrapers completed by the end of this year.
- CHEAP FOOD
- Outer loop of Century Park is a perfect 5k
- CHEAP TAXIS
- Fake markets
- Starbucks - consistent drink and lunch-break
- Saying “Hello” and “Bye-bye” and giggling
- Citizen’s willingness to work, their dignity, and the desire to better themselves/earn for their families
- Helpful locals, and they make you feel welcome
- You can wear almost anything, express yourself!
- Ability to live like a king and make $bank$
- So much wealth and disposable incomes
- Innumerable luxury stores and malls
- Beautiful women
- French Concession - expat hangouts
- Food from any culture and western grocery markets
- Westerners get on TV a lot: Chinese most enjoy watching children, animals, and foreigners
- SAFETY - I never feel threatened
- Locals call their attempts at English, “Chinglish” openly
- KTV karaoke 24/7
- Cheap beer at markets
- Massages - the not sketchy ones
Not so awesome:
- Weather - HOT and HUMID
- Street meat and rarely good chicken available
- Water - both drinking and dirty public water
- Smell of sewage and B.O.
- Bathrooms - squatty potties, no privacy, no flushing toilet paper
- Crowded subways
- Language barrier
- Can never plan anything
- Crazy drivers - run through red lights, GO right on red, stopping for pedestrians or bikes, using the horn ALL THE TIME
- Fireworks outside your window
- Stray animals…China is not a place for animal lovers
- Hygiene and personal space do not exist
- Streets are dirty
- No ice - no cold drinks
- They call me “Kay-ra”
- Smoking is still a big thing and allowed almost everywhere
- Expat men are only interested in Chinese women… the life of a single expat woman is a lonely one
- Pop music is awful
- Hair styles
- Feminine Chinese men, by our standards
- Expensive western food, beauty products, and supplements
- Geting stared at all the time
- Weird snack foods
- Lack of dairy products - good yogurt, cheese, milk
- Chinese people have incredible poker faces
I think a lot of women are too concerned about what people are thinking about them. To me, it’s about forgetting who the other people are in the room. Come with your ideas; come with your passion. It doesn’t matter if you wear high heels or not.
—Charlotte Jones Anderson, via Marie Claire magazine
Bug bite anti-itch cream
More shorts, less pants
More athletic tops
More money (could always use more money)
A waterproof laptop case
A waterbottle that doesn’t leak (of which together could have saved me from blogging from my phone and would make watching the season finale of Mad Men a bit easier)
More socks and underwear = less laundry
A stuffed animal or pillow I’m used to
More protein bars
My best friends
A resistance band
My L.L. Bean slippers
Another pair of casual walking shoes
A foam roller (running so much is killing my legs)
A written list of my friends’ addresses for postcards (they’re all on my now-broken laptop)
More hand sanitizer
A mind already proficient in Mandarin
A tennis racket
Just to name a few…next time I’ll do better.
Late Monday night we received a phone call in our hotel room from Jason, a co-worker at Hippo. He requested that we join him for a day at ‘Happy Valley’ on Tuesday. Happy Valley is a Shanghai amusement park, so we also assumed that our boss Kerr and his family would join us.
The next morning, Donny decided he didn’t want to go, so Alaina and I hoofed it to meet him at the building where we work. We were really surprised to meet only him. “You ready?” He asked excitedly. I couldn’t say I was, but we carried on towards the subway anyways.
After some conversation, Alaina turns to me and whispers, “Should I say something?” because all morning we discussed how we expected to do some sight-seeing, rather than waiting in lines all day. I didn’t think it could hurt, so she pipes up, “Jason, Kayla and I don’t really like amusement parks.”
Jason stops in the middle of the sidewalk and says, “Oh.” We explain that we don’t like rides (which is a lie, but I just wasn’t in the mood to be a third wheel on rides or wait in line all day) and he says that he’d call a friend to see what we could do instead. I pull up an e-mail from Grace, one of our contacts from NAHTC, which features a list of tourist attractions in Shanghai. Alaina motions, “Why don’t we go here?” To which Jason agrees and we get on the subway headed for Dapuqian.
Dapuqian reminds me of the Beijing hutong, alleyway neighborhoods featuring shops and restaurants. I was excited to see some local art, many Thai food restaurants, and some nice boutiques.
After following Alaina and me around window shopping for a few hours, we head back out to the entrance to meet Jason’s friend Cherry from his English-learning class.
Cherry is really nice, and after stopping in a few more shops, we decide upon a restaurant called BaliBali, and head upstairs to an outdoor patio. We ordered a som tam (green papaya) salad, some duck breast, a couple curry dishes, and mango rice for dessert to share between the four of us. I also got watermelon juice, my new favorite beverage, to quench my thirst.
Over lunch, we talked a lot about what we studied in school, we exchanged English and Mandarin vocabulary and culture facts, and some funny stories. I felt like I’d known Cherry a lot longer than just an hour. That’s why I asked her and Jason to come up with a Chinese name for me. This was a big deal. A name is a name - you don’t often change it. Also, I plan to get a tattoo of my chosen Chinese name upon returning to the States. They came up with three options for me:
- Kai Xin - happy
- Hai Yun - imagine a blue sky with clouds over the ocean
- Yun Fan - a combination of Cherry and Jason’s Chinese names meaning cloud over a sailboat… kind of.
Either Kai Xin or Hai Yun could work because of my name (Kayla Hedman), but I can’t seem to choose! So difficult.
After lunch, we jumped back on the subway and headed to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. It was a very impressive museum, catering to all sorts of interests from robots to animals, media to fitness. It also featured three iMax theaters, an area to shoot archery against a robot, a giant artificial rainforest, and much more.
The three of us from Hippo couldn’t resist taking a picture in front of the Hippo in the World Animals exhibit, and we had a little too much fun playing in the ‘magic room’ with a slanted floor (we just love embarrassing ourselves - like we don’t stick out enough already).
When we left the museum, I could really use a coffee, so we headed to a nearby Starbucks. We sat there for a couple hours laughing SO HARD at everything. I have never laughed so hard in my life. We decided to go out to dinner to conclude what ended up a wonderful day.
It’s really fun going out to eat with Chinese people here, because they do all the ordering and you end up eating things you never would have ordered yourself. We got a fish soup, some delicious pickled radishes, some spicy garlic noodles, and a few other traditional dishes. We also each got a TsingTao, which was unusual for Cherry and Jason on such a casual evening. The food was awesome, even if a lot of it ended up in Alaina’s lap because she’s still working on using chopsticks.
Jason admitted to us near the end of dinner, that he too had no interest in going to Happy Valley. He and our boss assumed that we Americans would want to do something more adventurous.
Our common understanding of other cultures often end up being misconceptions, and I’m really glad that I keep breaking the stereotype and vice-versa by spending time with my Chinese friends.
After only one week of working, we were surprised to learn that we were to have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off for China’s Dragon Boat Festival holiday. There was just one catch… we, along with the rest of the Chinese work-force, were expected to work the weekend. Now I fully understand why a normal work-week is just five days long; it’s exhausting to work seven days in a row from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Our first week of work was like a smooth-operating machine. After work each day, we’d walk to the Jinke Road subway stop and take the fifteen minute commute to the gym we joined. We’d spend a couple hours there, figuring out the rules of the pool and even taking a Zumba class one evening. Post workout we’d grab a bite to eat, either at a restaurant we enjoy near the gym or somewhere local to our hotel. From there we’d clean up and be in bed before 11 p.m., ready for the next day of work.
The weekend was no different; it felt very much like the work-week. As a team of four, we completed a pretty substantial project this weekend, translating a “Chinglish” script (as they called the very literal translations) into proper English with characters, dialogue, and a sense of humor catered to a western market.
Saturday we had some help translating from a young Chinese intern that goes by the English name of Yolanda. She took Sunday off, but invited us out that evening to celebrate her upcoming birthday with all of her friends.
After going to the gym, getting dinner, and getting a little more dressed up than usual, we were running late to meet Yolanda at 10 p.m. Donald decided to join Alaina and me, which was a lot of fun, and we set out on the subway hoping that it wouldn’t close before we got to our destination…or at least close enough to grab a taxi for a few blocks.
Since the subway closes at 11 p.m., we did have to hail a taxi to drive us the last leg of the trip. When we arrived at Lune, the bar of her choice, we were surprised to see only a small group of people. Many of Yolanda’s friends canceled due to the crummy weather, complaining of headaches, or they were attending a fashion show that evening. We felt bad, but were excited that we weren’t too late to damper her fun.
Something strange about celebrating birthdays in China is that the birthday girl or boy will treat others on their special day, rather than being treated. So Yolanda bought us a round instead of us showering her with gifts and treats.
At midnight, our mutual friend from work, Jen, fetched a cake from the back room to celebrate Yolanda’s 22nd birthday. We didn’t sing happy birthday or anything, but Yolanda paused to make a wish, and we all shared a Green Tea and Red Bean flavored cake… interesting, but a very common flavor for treats in Shanghai.
Even though the DJ at Lune was playing House/electronic music, Alaina and I got everyone dancing. I could tell Yolanda wanted to go to another place to dance more, so we finally coaxed her into gathering everyone and making our way to a club we heard about in the French Concession. Unfortunately, this place was closed on Sundays, but we knew of many nearby bars and restaurants where we could show her a good time for her birthday.
We ended up at Zapatas, where Alaina and I have been twice now because we always have a good time. We were the odd ones out at this point (third wheels), so we went to the less crowded upstairs and had our own dance party. We were pulling out an assortment of risky (and quite embarrassing) dance moves, and were actually filmed by a number of people on their smart phones. No shame. Later in the night, we even taught a Chinese man how to ska dance to ‘Scotty Doesn’t Know.’ I’d say our time at Zapatas was successful… especially when I got the DJ to play Beyonce. We stayed there until they closed after 3 a.m., and made our way to KTV for karaoke near People’s Square.
Now I’d heard about how popular KTV was in China, but it was nothing like I had expected. When we walked in, it honestly looked like a brothel. We walked past room after room, all which were dark with low sectional sofas and a small group of people; the vacant rooms being cleaned were totally trashed. We finally escaped these long hallways and entered the lobby, which had a giant screen playing familiar American music videos with lyrics on the bottom. Where was the stage? The pub booths or cocktail tables of drunk people waiting to make fools of themselves? This was no 500 Days of Summer karaoke bar. This was KTV. We met up with the rest of the group that came by car and not taxi, and then they went and “ordered a room” or something. We were led down one of the long hallways into room 90, which had a plasma TV, a control station, two microphones, a tambourine and two maracas, and some lazer lights. We all sat on the sectional sofa, and for the rest of the morning (until 6 a.m. when we caught the subway home) we sang karaoke in room 90 as a small group. We all sang American and Chinese songs, and we were amazed by how good our Chinese friends were at singing. It was a very intimate experience, and I’m glad no one was tone-deaf. Now I want to go back to KTV all the time. Good thing there is one on nearly every block!