Jul 4, 2018

Live stream #3: The Husband Scrounge

Less laggy and less chipmunck-y!

Live stream number three was our best one yet! I turned the bitrate WAAAAAAY down, which fixed the lag and hang time. I still don’t know what’s causing the chipmunk-ing, but … one problem at a time.

Jul 4, 2018

In search of lost noodles ...

Three pillars of 面 to you

Noodles are for-real-deal one of my favorite lunches here in China, and as a genre, it is deep and wide. Here I talk about three of my favorite different kinds of dishes … which madeleine-like, transport me to a different time and place.

Jul 1, 2018

Happy Dragon Boat Festival 2018

Celebrating Chinese holidays with kids!

In my mind, Dragon Boat Festival — or duanwujie, as it’s called in Chinese — is a somewhat nebulous festival. I mean, to some extent, I’m going to view all Chinese holidays from a remove, because they are often family activities, and my family isn’t here. Our first year here, our friend took us to a boat race, fed us zongzi and told us the story of Qu Yuan, and in the years since then, we’ve pieced together more of the story. But this year, by virtue of working in a kindergarten, where they are passing all this stuff on to the next generation, I got to see some customs that I hadn’t before had access to. A lot of rituals that have to do with keeping the body healthy and safe. And, my colleague Katherine came out to explain the holiday on video for all us waiguoren.

The biggest thing I learned — that after the fact seems totally obvious — is that Chinese holiday celebrations can be quite personal. They vary from region to region, and even from family to family. To that point, in the video, Katherine conflates two stories that are both part of the origin story of duanwujie — Qu Yuan, poet, and Wu Zixu, king’s advisor. They are both men who died by suicide in a river, according to lore, and are somehow connected with the holiday. Regardless, I’m beginning to think that neither of them are actually all that central to the holiday as it is actually celebrated by real people; every time a Chinese person has shared with me their legends, it’s because they looked something up on the Internet. Not because it was something connected to something they or their family did.

Anyway, next year, I’ll probably learn even more about it. Including that I was wrong about everything I concluded this year.

Jun 29, 2018

How to look like a foreigner

Uncle’s Shorts #18

Here, I pontificate on the most diverse letter, and decide who looks more Chinese between Peter and me.

Jun 29, 2018

Live stream #2

Still not perfect, but much better!

We’re getting a little better at the live stream.

Jun 16, 2018

Hot bowl challenge

Foreigner vs. Hot Pot

Hot pot is the real sport of kings. Watch me eat soup. Marvel at the spice.

Jun 13, 2018

New Xiaomi 6 Chinese phone and a squat toilet

Uncle’s Shorts #17

So basically this week I got a new phone — a Xiaomi 6! — and I dropped some stuff into my squat toilet. An average week in China.

Jun 13, 2018

First YouTube live stream

A learning experience

Because we never met a challenge we didn’t like, Hello Uncle Foreigner is taking on the live stream. We had a few technical glitches in our very first one, but we’ll get it right soon enough!

Jun 10, 2018

Happy Children’s Day 2018

Let’s dance!

We celebrated Children’s Day this year with a blowout, school-wide performance. Theme: 12 animals of the zodiac. Fun: as much as you can have at a children’s dance recital.

Jun 10, 2018

The saga of fixing my iPhone 5

Including a few trips to Computer World

Phones are a very tricky species. I recently had to take mine in to good old Computer World to change the battery. But we’ve got friends in high places.