Since I'm tidying up today, I started filtering through my navy linen passport wallet removing air ticket stubs, old residency permits, passport photos, receipts, business cards, etc. In my actual passport I counted my entries and visas, which amount to the following:


1 scary, giant American homeland security stamp
3 Thai entry/exit stamps
1 entry/exit stamp to Hungary
1 entry/exit to Italy
1 entry/exit to Czech Republic
1 small Turkish visa
2 pages of Cambodian visas
1 full page Vietnamese visa
1 entry/exit to Bulgaria
1 entry/exit to Romania
1 entry/exit to Slovakia


7 full pages of Chinese visas and countless stamps, filling the majority of my extra pages.


(photos taken by Ariel)

About two weeks ago outside of our apartment, a lamb was slaughtered. This is atypical in the center of a big city like Beijing, but still happens. The man with a white cap is a 回小民族, (Hui minority) who are converts to Islam during the days of the Silk Road.
Last night I had a dinner party and invited a few friends. The menu was a simple salad, stewed rabbit in prunes and beer on pasta and a coffee cake. Lots of chatting, eating and wine drinking later and I've been recovering most of today.

Hours ago, Silvia treated me to a much wanted foot massage at this place right by our house. The woman who massaged my feet was impossibly strong, and so my feet have become wonderful jelly. She also did "heat cupping" on my heels and trailed the cup down the sole of my feet, which is like a high powered vacuum pulling as hard as possible. Really great!


(From an ad on The Beijinger)

I'm looking for a language exchange partner on a popular posting site in Beijing, which is where I found this awkward image. I'm opting for this rather than a tutor, mostly because it's free. However, the majority of the respondents thus far are either too pushy, professional, or cutesy girls looking for boyfriends.

Teaching is going well, to a point. My classes are comprised of woefully mixed levels, especially in my 8th grade classes. I had a show-offish student ask me how to spell "ideology" today, this in a class that really can't form sentences. Again, levels are terribly uneven so you're forced to employ this sink or swim tactic. Maybe my mood is off because the weather's been teeth-gnashingly freezing.

Silvy and I went earlier this week to see Jens Lekman at MAO Live, a venue that is a brisk walk from our apartment. (We're central.) It was fun and everyone sang along.