sry kiddies no more fun blog time

After a very long time of no account activity (unless you know my other tumblr (n0thingworthnoting.tumblr.com [NSFW {no kids allowed}])) I am just going to put it out there, for anyone who doesn’t know already
I’M IN AMERICA

But other than that there are few things to discuss. I won’t be updating about my stools (although if you have any desire to know more about my digestive tract feel free to contact me) or making annoying posts about existential angst or things like that.

As time goes on, however, I will probably use this blog as a platform for self-promotion (school is coming up and projects are on the horizon) and the occasional cry for help/ok I will probably complain about culture shock or post some sort of comprehensive list of THINGS I MISS ABOUT CHINA and/or THINGS I REALLY DON’T MISS ABOUT CHINA.

But hey, to say the least, it’s good to be back.

MOSQUITOES IN THE ROOM OF AN ANGRY FOREIGNER

For those of you familiar with American literature, you’ve probably heard of or read the famously terrifying sermon by Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Just in case it’s been a while, I found part of a summary on a website that reads at the top of the page WARNING: DO NOT CITE.

“”Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is a typical sermon of the Great Awakening, emphasizing the widely held belief that Hell is a real and functional place. Edwards hoped that the imagery and message of his sermon would awaken his audience to the horrific reality that he argued awaited them should they continue without Christ…The underlying point is that God has given humanity a chance to rectify their sins. Edwards says that it is the will of God that keeps wicked men from the depths of Hell; this act of restraint has given humanity a chance to mend their ways and return to Christ.”

The thing about this sermon is readers are encouraged to reflect on their actions, realize all their wrongdoings and return to Christ. No more messing around in sin! Stop hanging out with Satan! Jesus is where it’s at! As humans we have this ability to reflect, to ponder, and to fear the consequences of our actions. Mosquitoes? Not so much. They hum through life painfully unaware of the flames that await them if they don’t shape up and return to the ponds from which they came. They live guiltless lives; they are two steps away from being machines.

Day and night they hover over my windowsill, circle my feet, as if the smeared brown bodies and crooked legs were not the corpses of their friends. “Oh, there’s Jim, he’s not looking too good.” Yeah you’re right because I killed him with an envelope.

I wrote this in my journal on April 17th, and will share it for reference:
I can’t remember the last time I woke up and there wasn’t a fresh welt, itchy and red, somewhere on my body. Over a week.
All day, either I am gone or the mosquito is gone. For several hours it’s far out of sight and even further out of mind. Sometimes I remember the intruder only when I catch myself absently scratching.
I have tried killing it unsuccessfully. Even if the culprit isn’t just one, rather two or three all feasting in shifts, I have managed to miss, lose, or disregard it at every opportunity. I won’t kill anything that isn’t actively trying to hurt me, as far as insects and bugs go. Once, it was in the afternoon sometime this week; as I poured a cup of steaming water, the mosquito whined past my face. With some effort, I could’ve killed it, but I watched it fly straight into the window three times and decided against it. The next morning I had five new bites on my ankles and wrists.
Since then, the hunt has been ongoing. The damn thing is totally invisible, unnoticed, until I’m too tired to care. I sleep on my side, and am regularly startled awake by a sudden shrill hum of insect wings. Even if I turn on the light and wait, the mosquito remains hidden until I’ve gotten comfortable…

As it turns out, there was not just one or two mosquitoes haunting my room. Two days ago, from one am til I woke up at seven-thirty, I killed seven mosquitoes. When I got back from class, I killed three more. This isn’t funny anymore, nor was it ever really all that funny. To them it might have been a running joke. “Let’s see how long she’ll sit up with the light on. Yeah she has class tomorrow, I think in four hours?”

And much like God with his sinners, I tried to be patient. They won’t be killed immediately, as long as they get the hell out of my room—or even just leave me alone, I don’t care if they leave, as long as they don’t bother me—I have said this from the start. Mostly because I wasn’t so good at hitting them successfully. Now, however. I am an expert; I can find them perched on textured surfaces, just moments after turning on the light, even though I am bleary-eyed from fitful sleep. My bedroom is now a mosquito graveyard, and I am done playing nice.

They still have time to correct their ways. Though they are figuratively pinched between my fingers, dangling helpless over a pit of flames and mere inches from eternal suffering, they can fix this. I am not God, but to these pathetic and aggravating creatures I’m as close as it gets. They are not sinners but I am definitely angry. It’s gotten to the point where I think I hear them even when I can’t see them, much like a phantom phone vibrations and the like. In the past two weeks, I haven’t slept through the night once. Their salvation lies in their own hands, or rather on their tiny wings, and as long as they keep their distance, I will refrain from joyously slaughtering them all.

In the words of Jonathan Edwards: THERE IS NOTHING THAT KEEPS WICKED BUGS AT ANY ONE MOMENT OUT OF HELL, BUT THE MERE PLEASURE OF RHIANNON.

I accidentally found this in my Google hunt for Chinese recipes, and ended up learning about the food traditions in Henan province. V cool if you ask me//if you really want to know I almost didn’t share this because the header image looks like something I made on Kidpix in elementary school but whatever. And even if the information is fake (which it doesn’t sound like it is???) at least I’m fooled~

that was a bad review but I really think it’s worth reading???

我不是厨师

…..but I’m learning!

Since first arriving in China, one of my main goals has been to learn to cook some dang Chinese food.
Can’t be that hard, right? Google “Chinese recipes” and there you have it. Sixty variations on crab rangoon and whatever chop suey is.

But as disappointing as this may be (it sure as hell was to me) but that ain’t the real stuff. So unfortunately, Happy Wok and Chang Jiang have been lying (sort of) to us. Imagine my dismay when I realized people don’t eat spring rolls and potstickers on the daily.

At least, not here in Central China. See, another thing some of you (including me until very recently) don’t realize is the kind of “Chinese” food Chinese people eat varies a great deal depending on where in China you are. Here in the more northern part of China, we have dumplings for the New Year, but this isn’t so in the south. Mantou (aka steamed buns aka God’s gift to humans) are pretty common as a rice substitute in this province, whereas noodles are more common in other places. Same goes for the level of spiciness in food. Supposedly, Sichuan (“sze chuan”) cuisine is ridiculously spicy and includes a lot of numbing spice (which is exactly what it sounds like). However, my friend from Guangzhou says he likes spicy foods, but his parents “won’t accept it.” Which makes sense when you aren’t actually tasting anything so much as you’re wishing you could taste anything.

All that to say, my endeavors to learn how to cook Chinese food have faced obstacles. Namely, what kind of Chinese food? Even now I can’t really tell you what kind I’m looking to make. Something easy (or not), digestible, and worthy of showing off to my friends and family at home. Ultimately, when I cook, I hope to make dishes that remind me of my time abroad.

So far I have a very small list of things I, in theory know how to cook. I have a list of even fewer things I’ve actually cooked. (Unfortunately, steamed buns are apparently difficult to cook, so they’re not on that list but hopefully that will change.) In looking up recipes, I discovered a couple things: 
1) if it’s by Paula Deen, it’s probably not authentic.
2) if it links to take out restaurants in the greater Madison area, it’s probably not authentic.
3) recipes in Chinese are my best bet, which also means…
4) holy crap y’all I CAN READ AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS IN CHINESE!

When I say “authentic,” I’m using the word very lightly. Generally I mean “likely cooked in a Chinese household” and not something that can be found at a takeout place. Not to say those foods aren’t authentic—those cute little pancakes that you put meat and vegetables in are often served with a duck course, for example—but I want to make food I’ve eaten in China, made by Chinese food, or by the woman who lives down the hall from me who is Japanese but cooks every day and makes me incredibly jealous.

Anyway, so hopefully this list will continue to grow, but below are the foods I could in theory make and/or have made:
-fried eggs and tomatoes with green onions
-boiled cauliflower, onions, and sesame sauce with parsley
-fried eggplant with tomatoes and green peppers
-steamed mushrooms (these things called “tree ears” that are black and wrinkly) with chopped chicken, onions, green peppers, and green onions
-stir-fried pork with onion shoots and green onions
-pork and bokchoy (cabbage, basically) dumplings
-sliced cucumbers, sliced onions, and spinach leaves dressed in vinegar, soy sauce, peanut oil, and sesame paste (this one I overheard so it may not be accurate//am a huge fan of sesame paste and will put it on anything)
***as far as I’m concerned all of the above can be served with rice, over noodles, with steamed buns, crackers, on a pizza, etc.

Which might sound impressive, but I have a long way to go. Onions are also pretty popular in Henan dishes, as are different kinds of mushrooms and lamb. Anyway, this post was inspired by my first attempt at one of the dishes—stir-fried pork with onion shoots and green onions. I bought some steamed buns to make it more filling. Two is more than enough for one meal, but I underestimated how much food I would yield with the stir fry. It was surprisingly easy, even though I kind of burned the green onions, and also really good. It’s a dish I’ll have to work more on before sharing it with others, but here’s hoping!

I’ll post more about this later, but in the meantime, if you’re able to read Chinese//know someone who reads Chinese//want to experiment with Google Translate, here’s a fantastic website I’ve found with all sorts of recipes for Chinese food:

www.xinshipu.com

p.s. the title means “I’m not a chef” bcuz #clever