?

Log in

No account? Create an account

September 8th, 2006

passport stamps are optional

I took advantage of our extra day off last weekend to visit i_phianassa in Vancouver, British Columbia. Unfortunately, the queue waiting at the border was close to a quarter-mile long and took a full hour to get through; by the time we met it was already 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon and most businesses were preparing to close for the day. Still, we were able to catch one of the historic tram rides through the city which passed by graffiti-plastered walls, construction zones, and a small grove of trees near Granville Island. Perhaps not the most glamorous route, but it was fun all the same.

We also saw a random baby left on a bench near the science center that hopefully belonged to one of the patrons exiting the tram. Isabelle then led me through Chinatown and within sight of Gastown - two areas of the city which I've heard it's best to avoid. My reply was to drag Isabelle into every book and music store we encountered on our way back to the beach. All without buying a single thing.

If anyone asks, my weekend involved a jaunt across an international border and a walk down the much-traveled and mysterious Silk Road. All this time and I never knew it passed through Canada.

names and naming

After my Chinese class finished on Tuesday I stopped by the Foreign Language Department's computer lab to get an early start on our next homework assignment. Normally we're given a mixture of listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and translation questions, but after looking at our schedule of homework for the week it turned out to be an easy assignment of five translations. While sitting in the lab I suddenly heard a voice behind me exclaim, "Oh, Bái Lì Yáng!"

Only one person on campus calls me by that name, and when I turned around I noticed Ms. Luo approaching my table. The first thought to cross my mind was that I had done something horribly wrong that she wanted to discuss with me outside of class. (hopefully not on the subject of asking out a teacher on accident) However, a moment later I noticed the girl studying semantics from our class walking behind Ms. Luo, and it was soon explained that she was looking to borrow someone's workbook because she couldn't find her own. At least it wasn't related to my hão bu hão from before.

In addition to Ms. Luo calling out my Chinese name across a public space I also received two new names from friends in recent weeks. My flatmate decided that "Sleeping Beauty" would be a good nickname for me given how often she finds me napping during the middle of the day. We actually discussed that tale in my ASIA 474 (South Asia: Culture and Change) class yesterday - in particular how foolish the king was for banishing all spindles from his kingdom. From a vaiśya point of view it makes absolutely no sense to destroy one's textile industry, as this can be such a large source of revenue for a ruler. Hmm. It is a funny nickname to have, but probably quite fitting at the same time. Another person called me her angel a few days later, but that's a story you don't get to hear just yet. I still smile when I think about it though, even now.