September 10, 2014
This Morning’s Finer Points:

•Feeling more whole after spending yesterday evening running intake for the food pantry at my favorite Buffalo organization, Friends of Night People.  In the two years that we’ve been abroad, so many wonderful changes have occurred: a more streamlined system for documenting client demographics, more aid and assistance for Buffalo’s homeless, and yet some things were very much the same.  My heart felt melty when some of the dinner clients remembered us from before, and were happy to see that we’d returned.  

•I went to a job fair this morning, and passed my resume out to several companies.  It was daunting and strange!  I’d get sucked into these job prospects that I’m actually not at all suited for (“We’re really looking for someone with a background in hospice work and palliative care, but it’s flexible!”) without ever intending to.  I did find a few exciting opportunities, though…fingers crossed that my dream of finding a job where I can write comes true!

•I received a bunch of adorable messages from my former students, wishing me a happy Teachers Day.  This holiday is pretty awesome, and I think it should be a bigger deal in America.

•I’m currently eating rainbow sherbet, so…there’s that!

This Morning’s Finer Points:

•Feeling more whole after spending yesterday evening running intake for the food pantry at my favorite Buffalo organization, Friends of Night People. In the two years that we’ve been abroad, so many wonderful changes have occurred: a more streamlined system for documenting client demographics, more aid and assistance for Buffalo’s homeless, and yet some things were very much the same. My heart felt melty when some of the dinner clients remembered us from before, and were happy to see that we’d returned.

•I went to a job fair this morning, and passed my resume out to several companies. It was daunting and strange! I’d get sucked into these job prospects that I’m actually not at all suited for (“We’re really looking for someone with a background in hospice work and palliative care, but it’s flexible!”) without ever intending to. I did find a few exciting opportunities, though…fingers crossed that my dream of finding a job where I can write comes true!

•I received a bunch of adorable messages from my former students, wishing me a happy Teachers Day. This holiday is pretty awesome, and I think it should be a bigger deal in America.

•I’m currently eating rainbow sherbet, so…there’s that!

September 9, 2014
Morning sky!

Morning sky!

September 8, 2014
The full moon outside our little home.  Wishing all my followers a happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

If you’re in China, please eat a moon cake for me!

The full moon outside our little home. Wishing all my followers a happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

If you’re in China, please eat a moon cake for me!

September 7, 2014

cctvnews:

Does Buddhist music help crops grow?

Playing music to help a #fetus grow is well known in #China. But what about playing music to accelerate the growth of #paddyrice? Less well known, perhaps.

Paddy rice yields in southeast China’s #Fujian Province have reportedly grown 15% after “listening to” #Buddhist music, according to local media Southeast Morning Post. 

The 400-mu (around 26.7 hectares) crops are also rounder and bigger in size, said the report. 

Apparently soft and subtle Buddhist music (#GreatCompassionMantra, for instance) was played to the #crops through nearly 500 speakers. 

But is there any scientific evidence to back this up? 

Read more: http://www.cctvnews.cn/2014/09/07/does-buddhist-music-help-crops-grow/

Whether it works or not, it sure makes for a peaceful farming experience. Last winter we worked on an organic farm outside of Chengdu where Buddhist chants played all day long…

September 7, 2014
I cooked dumplings for the first time in America.  They were amazing.  So Proustian, I was right back in Sichuan for a few blissful moments.  That magic combination of soy sauce, red chili oil and black rice vinegar…

I cooked dumplings for the first time in America. They were amazing. So Proustian, I was right back in Sichuan for a few blissful moments. That magic combination of soy sauce, red chili oil and black rice vinegar…

September 4, 2014
Video chatting with our old students.  I’m missing these kids in such a big way.

Video chatting with our old students. I’m missing these kids in such a big way.

September 4, 2014

It’s impossible to predict how Peace Corps will change your life.

In so many ways, I feel better and stronger and happier.

There’s another thing, though…something unexpected. It’s not huge, but it is a thing.

My stomach is in revolt.

After ingesting a menagerie of antibiotics during my time as a volunteer in China, my guts are basically biotic-less.

No biotics.

Everything is different. Every meal is a fun game of roulette.

I now take a cocktail of probiotics and lactase pills before every meal, and it actually seems to help.

I’ve done way too much reading up on intestinal flora, which I prefer to imagine as a lush mossy landscape dotted with wildflowers. Some nights, it feels more like some sort of swampy condemned area behind a chemical factory…

Lactose intolerance is a fun souvenir!

August 30, 2014
Unsolved Mysteries

This job search is really beginning to make my heart race.

I mean, life has taken a totally different turn from the crazy busy productive path I was on for the past few years.

My routine involves tuning in to Lifetime Network every morning at eight so I don’t miss ‘Unsolved Mysteries’. Did I mentioned I don’t have the Internet at the house I’m currently residing in?

So, Dennis Farina leads me through some puzzling and oddly comforting mysteries (“UPDATE: two days after we originally aired Sally’s story, she was reunited with her biological mother!”) and I drink my Chinese tea.

I work out. I shower. We go somewhere where there’s wi-fi and I check my email on my iPod. My heartwings flit and flutter as the app loads. Oh, no new messages. No responses to the applications I’ve sent out. Poor old heart drops down, hitting each rib on the way.

Then I’ve got to find some task for the day. Something to feel productive. I’ve baked bread for the first time in my life. Who knew it was so easy?!

I made blueberry ice cream. I’m crocheting a baby blanket for a friend who’s just given birth. I write in my diary regularly. I read novels. I feel a bit like a teenager!

Eventually it’s time to close the windows, lock the doors and hop into bed. I dream of the next part of life: the part where we can have a home together again, and jobs. We can unpack, I can buy myself new clothes.

My life is currently an unsolved mystery. Which direction is it headed? Can I break into the world of writing and communications in this town? Will I be able to have a kid in the next year or two? Keep watching, I still believe the update is going to be a happy one.

August 27, 2014

Guys, important non-China advice needed! Which makeup should I do for my sister’s wedding?!

August 26, 2014

warmdintherays said: If you're seeing likes on really old posts it's because I stalked all the way back! I loved loved loved reading your blog. I lived in China for a while (I was in Chengdu when you started training!) and am moving back in about a month and have just missed it so much and missed talking to people who see all the craziness and insanity and love it anyways so basically thanks so much for keeping your blog aha because it made me laugh and cry and feel at home. You are an amazing writer, absolutely.

Wow, thank you!

And lucky you to be returning so soon! I really do miss it already. Yesterday there was an episode of ‘Bizarre Foods’ on television, and it featured 苦瓜, bitter melon—one of my favorite vegetables in China. I got all teary-eyed missing it!

Wish you all the best in your future travels!

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