Mar 24, 2013

State of JG Address.

Whoohooooo! I'm back in action! I feel like I have an old friend back! (you!)

After some intense google-action, I figured out that if I install a different browser (Firefox rather than my trusty friend, Safari), than pictures will most likely load around the fire wall. And golly-gee it worked! Yay! Thank you, Google and Firefox!

Here is a long over-due state of the union address so that I can get back to telling stories about the random crap that happens while living as a student/teacher/redhead in

A few nights ago a dear, dear friend of mine and I were chatting on the phone. Our conversation had taken a turn toward deep-ville and we were reminiscing on our "journey's" in Somewhere inside the conversation she said to me, "Jessica, you are the happiest I have ever known you... I like stable, contemplative Jessica." I replied with a pause, a reflective moment, and then a, "Honey, the crazy is still there, just under a layer of contentment."

And it's true.

I find myself in a great stage of life these days and I'm in no rush for things to change. (As all things must, alas.)

I have a decent job, a full scholarship to school with an awesome PhD advisor, I am able to study a language I love for free, I have a cat who is my pride and joy and calms my biological clock, and I have a man who is sweeter and kinder and more patient and thoughtful than I ever thought I would find. Between work, school, the cat, and my man, there is really nothing lacking in my life. I feel fulfilled, challenged, cared-for, validated, and peaceful.

Of course, the crazy is still there. But what I have found is that if there is contentment, if I am looking for my blessings and acknowledging them, then the crazy is allowed to co-exist. I think this is called "growing up," but I'm not sure.

This semester is a great reprieve from last semester. You are probably happy that I wasn't really blogging last semester. I had bitten off more than i could chew with taking on 30 students. I was a mad woman. But somehow it all got done. And my cat didn't die. And my relationship grew strong. And my friends didn't forget about me. (I think). This semester is a billion times more calm. I now only have 17 students. Hallelujah. I have decided that, "manageable," is a key word for the rest of my career. This semester is manageable. Work has been busy with a dinner meeting in Shanghai last week with the provost and several all-day meetings with university partners in Hangzhou. It's going well.

The weather in Hangzhou has gone from freezing, wet snow to semi-cold, wet Spring. It is our rainy season and I am determined not to let the rain affect my over-all mood like it can. Seasonal affective disorder is real, people! Luckily, there have been some gorgeous sunny days in the mix for outings and hikes in this gorgeous city. This time of year always replenishes my belief that I am lucky to live here. The winter drags on and makes me want to buy a one-way ticket to Bali and never look back, then Spring arrives in all its glory and I'm like, "Oh, ya! I love this place!" ha.

Well, I guess that is enough for a, "state of life address." I'm so excited to blog again and keep this e-journal of hilarious and sometimes serious happenings.

I'm so happy that you can join me here.

Have some eye-candy...

Spring is here! And so are the imported tulips and windmills. Oh China.

My darling angel boo boo butt.

weekly, free, and mandatory Mandarin class.

morning hike by West Lake.

all official and stuff.

walk slow. xoxo.

Mar 23, 2013

The Chinese Internet Hates Me.

It does.

I can't upload any pics.

But I can write. So, here's a special story from today.

I visited the little dumpling shop across the street from my dorm before joining a friend for a blind massage. (One of the most fabulous ways to spend a Friday evening and a "Pro" for wanting to stay in C.hina longer.) One of the dumpling shop workers is a formidable woman who is taller and larger than me with slicked back hair and a huge smile whenever I visit. A few years ago I found myself back to back with this giant to see who was taller (her - by a smidge). Finding a 5'11" woman in China is like finding Bigfoot. Needless to say, this woman and I have some sort of unspoken comraderie. We are both existing in a world that is built for people 5'1"-5'7", males included. Although, I consider myself to be the lucky one because everyone just attributes my height and stature to being Russian. Which I am not.

Anyways, I had not visited the shop in quite a few months and I passed by the tall lady dumpling maker on my way to the cash register.

She nudged my elbow. I turned to look her in the eye.

"You have gotten fatter. But you must dance really well," she said.

"Um, thanks," I replied after pausing to make sure I heard her Chin.ese correctly.

So there you have it, folks. I may not be writing as much, but the natives are in full-force awesomness as usual.

And she's right. I've gotten "fatter." And I'm one heck of a dancer after a few glasses of wine.

Dumpling ladies know everything. Especially the large ones.

walk slow. xoxo.