I Can Read It But How Do I Say It?
Often students come to me asking how to pronounce words. I think a guy found the most challenging one, parallel. There was a group of about half a dozen or so of guys, all trying to say this tongue twister, all of them coming out with some version of pellaler, or pelaluh, or pehluwuh. I tried to split it-- para-lel, but the lel was killing them. A girl walked by, looked at the word and came out with a perfect "parallel". Girls are much better at English here.
In talking with students about American families, the fact that around 40% of American babies are born out of wedlock came up. This was an alien concept to these kids. It just doesn't happen here, for lots of reasons, not least which is the fact that the vast majority of these kids don't date, let alone have unprotected sex. You can't get married until age 24 (men) and 22 (women). Social mores and laws just don't condone this kind of baby making. One kid, trying to get his mind around the fact that so many kids are conceived without a lot of forethought asked, "Just like animals?"
I explained that there are lots of one parent families in the US that do just fine, and that there are some here in China, too, but they are mostly aghast at the lack of structure.
Coming to the City
Yesterday on the bus, there were a couple of groups of countryside folks with all their belongings waiting at the bus stops. They piled in and packed the aisle with their bundles wrapped in plastic. The driver still only charges them 2 Yuan each, and everyone is tolerant of having to climb over their stuff to get on or off the bus. We will probably be seeing a lot more of them from the drought plagued areas.
A Cool Thai Blog
http://expat-matt.blogspot.com/ is a good blog by a buddy of mine, another American economic refugee, who moved to Thailand. He is a good writer who is having an adventurous time making a go of it in Chang Mai as a musician. It takes some big ones to make the quantum leap from Idaho to Thailand.
Zhanjiang Branch of the UN Security Council
Last Friday's beer night included: Several Chinese, a Canadian raised in India, two Brits, an Aussie, a French-Vietnamese dude, a 6 ft 7 inch Finn, and two Americans who felt kind of stumpy compared to the Finn. The Brits put up with the French guy because they like his wife, who is Chinese. The Finn is a 28 year old who works for a shipping company that does business here in China. He made me feel stumpy.
It's actually raining more than just a heavy mist, and there is standing water outside. It smells good, and has to be welcome by the local farmers, who water their veggies with big cans when it doesn't rain.