Friday, April 21, 2006

Thursday was my birthday. I am 26 years old. It's a strange feeling realizing that this is my THIRD birthday in China.

I tend to get a bit weird around my birthday, but I must admit that this year was not so bad. I've taken an extended break from drinking, so I didn't go out (really, I just don't have the time, money or inkling anymore), but my roommate treated me to lunch and I broke my diet to enjoy a chocolate ice cream. (Note: chocolate ice cream tastes much much better when you eat after a long period of not eating it. [Note: I am not really on a diet so much as on a health kick. Since cutting out the drink and other vices, I've put myself on a whole foods, low-dairy diet. Given that I have already been a vegetarian for 12 years now(!), this was not so hard, but I try to eat processed foods as little as possible. The results have been tremendous. I cook and clean a lot now--the kitchen has never been in better shape--I've lost some weight and my digestion system has never been so functional and efficient, something of an achievement here in China where most foreigners contend with Mao's revenge on at least a monthly basis.])
I bought this book as a present to myself. It's Hunter S. Thompson's Curse of Lono, illustrated by Ralph Steadman. This book was hard to find before Mr. Thompson decided to spray the walls of his home with his own blood and genius, but since the violent event, the story has been rereleased in giant coffee-table format. I was thrilled to find the book at my local bookstore/coffee shop/free wireless Internet access hangout, so I bought it. Hunter S. Thompson spent some time in Hawaii in the early 80's and the book is a collection of his writing about the place. As the photo to the left attests to, Mr. Thompson spent some time on the Kona Coast (though I can't imagine what he, or anyone for that matter, could have be doing there that would constitute "ass kicking").
Ralph Steadman was an artist I became familiar with in college. Here is his interpretation of the Kona Pier. The fish drawn up is the author, himself.

In other news, things are hectic on the home front. My roommate, whom I refer to as La Poupee (the French for "bimbo"), announced four days ago that she will be leaving Beijing on the 23rd. This left my other roommate and I in a scramble to get someone in here as soon as possible to take her room (of course La Poupee was far too busy with her own affairs, such as washing her hair and arranging farewell meetings, to make any effort to find someone herself-- despite her demand for an instant return on her deposit). Perrine, the roommate staying, with whom I get along well, and I, needless to say have been pissed. But as luck would have it, we found someone yesterday. He's another hapa (his dad's from Hong Kong and his mom is English) and he comes from Liverpool. Amazingly, like another hapa I know, he studied media in school, took up service work upon graduation (he's a cook) and then came to China to be an English teacher. What is most appealing about him, aside from the cook part, is that, unlike most of the people I have been encountering of late (very young, hyper-ambitious, or hyper-slack, recent graduates who have come to Beijing to either "break-into" the Chinese market (they usually return home deflated, having discovered that the road to CEO greatness requires wicked Mandarin skills and a struggle greater than a three-month internship) or to pickle their minds and livers on the cheap while snagging as many Chinese girls as possible (they usually return home after having run out of money), is this guy has had roommates in the past, he supports himself and doesn't seem to have any specific agenda other than "seeing how the other half lives" and getting away from the alarmingly "media saturated" British society (his words).
Other news: I am still working and studying, working and studying and working and studying. It looks like the job with the British Council is not panning out, but a friend of mine just referred me for a job at his place of work, the International School of Beijing. The position is Marketing and Publications Manager, and my friend said, given my background, that I may have a good shot at it. This would mean a full American salary, with benefits. We shall see...

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