Considerations concerning the consumption of Chinese cuisine :

According to the California Academy of Sciences Research (CASR) department, chopsticks are thought to have been developed about 5,000 years ago in China. Apparently the leading theory says most folks cooked their grub in large pots since that helped the food to retain its heat. CASR claims that it was the “hasty eaters” that first broke some twigs off a nearby tree and dug in. And thus, chopsticks, or kuai-zi (quick little fellows) were born.

Going further, they also say that the traditional food that most Chinese ate tended to be small enough to negate the use of knives, too. Heating the family meal took fuel, so why not just chop the food up into smaller pieces so it cooks quicker? You save fuel! Makes sense to me. So, that’s what they did. Even the life coach Confucius (who was also a vegetarian–who knew?) is said to have weighed in by encouraging the use of chopsticks over knives since knives could subliminally remind folks of the “slaughterhouses.” Yup. As it turns out, the “hasty eaters” started a serious fad. By 500 BC those quick little fellows had spread throughout China, Vietnam, Japan, and even Korea.

And even Chinese restaurants in America have them.

Oh, do I know how to eat proficiently with them, you ask?

No. Not at all. When I try to use chopsticks it looks like I’m developing advanced arthritis in my fingers. The sticks themselves are more pliable than my phalanges. Considering that I’m getting ready to spend a few years in China this poses a problem for me, a pickle if you will.

I woke up thinking about this today. Yesterday I had a dream that I was in China but I left my camera in America. I’m not much of a picture-taker, but for some reason, in the dream, this stressed me out.

Ok, going to snag two twigs from a tree…

(Ah, if it was only this simple.)


Things we need to do before leaving the states:

(In no particular order, and done in a stream-of-consciousness format)

Pack up apt.

Get newspaper to pack breakables

Move boxes and our scant furniture into mother and father-in-law’s storage locker

Figure out what we’re doing with both cats

Call all utilities and set up an end date to services

Call landlord and tell him we’re leaving the country, so he’ll probably want to get new tenants

Get rid of Noelle’s car (it’s old…probably sell it on Craig’s List for around $600)

Store mine somewhere (either at my parent’s or Noelle’s)

Call insurance and cut coverage on vehicles

Book airline tickets

Get China visas signed in Chicago

Change bank account information

Call our tax guy and get info about what our options are

Call our credit cards and get international spending form filled out

Buy a track phone, or look into a better plan for phones in general

Hang out with closest friends one last time before we take off

Accept any donations that may come our way (just thought I’d stay optimistic)

Put two-weeks notice in at work

Work those two weeks

Contemplate not working those two weeks

Think seriously about just quitting before we leave since I don’t like the job anyways

Keep working to save as much mullah as we can

Meditate on the arbitrary nature of money and how the world would be better without it

Go bat-crazy at the realization that we are actually leaving the country for an extended period of time

Say our tear-full goodbyes

Hop on a plane

Dalian, China

So, over the last two weeks we’ve had a few interviews with a school in China and a school in Taiwan.

After much deliberation, we chose Dalian. The school in Taiwan offered more money, but the overall feel of it didn’t really jive with who we are as teachers right now. Dalian seems warmer, more willing to help with certain aspects of living abroad for the first time.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the school in Taiwan is happy. In fact, the guy we interviewed with contacted my wife yesterday and tried to convince her we made a mistake. I don’t know if this shows desperation on their part or if they just liked us that much. I’m pretty sure she and I rock when we do tag-team interviews,  but I’m also bias. Anyways, so the guy tells my wife that China’s living expense is high and that it will be difficult. Wife counters with, “Our housing is paid for.” Bam. The guy grows quiet and just says, “I see.” They stop talking, and then an hour later he contacts her again and sets up a meeting time via Skype for Thursday. Apparently he wants to try and convince both of us at the same time. I don’t even want to listen to him, but I will. We’ve already accepted the contract in Dalian, so there’s not much he can do or say at this point.

We hope we’re making the right choice, but only time can give us that answer. We’re going to be leaving Ohio on the 15th or 16th of Sept. The initial contract is a full year, but we’re hoping to stay abroad for at least two. Here’s to hoping!