I’m excited to announce I’ve been chosen as one of the 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellows in Fiction! I’m so honored and grateful to be one of 16 fellows in fiction this year; there’s always a ton of talent among the fellows since it’s a statewide grant. After this incredibly hard year, it’s nice to get some good news and really makes me feel more inspired to keep writing. The press release is here: https://www.nyfa.org/blog/introducing-2021-nysca-nyfa-artist-fellows-finalists-and-panelists
The Rockaways are filled with seagulls who will steal your hot sauce, leaving a trail of red down the beach and ten tacos in need of sauce. Black-headed gulls hover overhead as you play badminton against the wind. You hit it towards the ocean so that it can boomerang with the wind toward your opponent’s racket. It’s a complicated maneuver. Park security says “You can’t go in the wat-ah,” not even to dip your toes in unless guarded by the lifeguards in their billowing red outfits. The park security ladies scold everyone they see and chase rule-breakers on slow, lumbering feet.
We decorate A with seashells and for some reason, find ourselves doing burpees on the beach after watched J9 & A comparing crossfit moves. The water is freezing this early in summer and your legs quickly go numb. Ijl dives in and eventually, A follows. They are water creatures—sea otters and porpoises.
The taco tortillas have gone stale so I eat the filling from one and tell A that the filling has somehow gone missing while he is in the convenience store. I love that he believes me but he tells me he can never trust me again. Sorry, A, I just can’t help it.
I’m about to leave for 长白山 in Jilin Province for our midterm break (in about 20 minutes!) Nathan, Bryan, and I will (hopefully) be climbing mountains and swimming in hot springs while avoiding North Korea since part of that mountain range and the popular Tian Chi, a lake in the mountain’s center, are partially in North Korea. After a few days there, Bryan and I will be heading down to Ji’an, a World Heritage Site for Korean culture with tombs and remains of 3(!) cities, according to Lonely Planet. Pretty excited to go! And to ride on an overnight train in China for the first time in 14 years.
Will update when I come back! (I know, it’s been way too long…)
I think it’s interesting how my attitude on paper products, like toilet paper and napkins, has been changed during my month (minus a day or two) in China. In the U.S., I never really thought about my use of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, etc. In college, they provided rolls of tp in the basement free of charge or refilled the stalls. Here, the restaurants and cafeterias rarely provide napkins and definitely not paper towels. The bathrooms don’t have toilet paper. Everyone carries around little packages of tissues. I feel as if I’m very aware of my use of paper here: how many squares, how many sheets. Gone are my days of heedlessly cleaning things with paper towels! In the cafeterias, they have hand-washing sinks instead, which is a pretty good idea.
It’s probably a good change, an awareness I didn’t have before about how much paper I waste in the U.S. but I’ll admit to missing napkins and free toilet paper in bathrooms. Is it weird to miss America for that reason? But hey, they’ve got all the oreos you can possibly want! My roomie told me that there’s a saying/song that Chinese men have Audis, women have Dior and children have Oreos. Also, apparently, Oreos are a major contributor to the growing problem of childhood obesity in China (at least that’s what I’ve been told.) Obviously, Oreos are pretty popular here!
In other food news, I tried pizza in China yesterday! Of course, not as good as New York pizza and incredibly small for the steep price (20 yuan for a personal pizza) but not bad although my veggie toppings mostly consisted of corn and onion. Here’s a photo of N & T with T’s miniscule pizza. Afterwards, A and I stopped by a 小摊儿 (small stall) selling 烤冷面 (roughly translates to roasted cold noodles.) The stall owner was super friendly so I asked her about the taste (sour/sweet) and watched as she made mine. First, she laid a sheet of the noodle upon the griddle and cracked an egg on top. She spread the egg around before flipping it over. On the other side, she brushed a sauce (not sure what kind it was), sprinkled on some sugar and maybe a bit of curry?, added some vinegar and spice. She filled the noodle with onion and cilantro, added more vinegar then folded it all together and cut it. It was a really good snack for 3 yuan! Plus, she complimented me on my Mandarin so obviously, I’m going back 😛 Yesterday, I also wandered down an alleyway within campus that led to the front yards of apartment buildings. Giant sunflowers grew everywhere, some of them hanging their heavy heads. They were easily 8 feet tall. And in the front yards, gardens with eggplant, tomato plants, corn and other vegetables. I was pretty amazed at the variety, all packed within such a tight space. I’ve realized that HIT’s campus is actually pretty small. It’s pretty easy to wander through the entirety of it although the park and some of the labs are further away. Anyway, here’s a photo of the random little Apple store located in my dorm (obviously, they’ve got everything you could possibly need here!)