My friend Carla Wu gets married

My friend Carla Wu gets married
CILI, HUNAN — Here’s a happy story for the second day of 2015. My friend and former student, Carla Wu, is a cancer survivor, and celebrated her marriage in her husband’s home village near here on New Year’s Day. Carla (吴双 Wu Shuang) was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in summer 2013. After surgery to remove a tumor from her thigh and aggressive chemotherapy since then, her cancer seems to be in remission. Her hair has grown back, long enough for a pixie cut, and she’s gained some of her weight back. Her husband Mu Yanhui (牟颜辉) is a nurse. They met while both were working in Guangdong province. He is from a small village near Cili, and she is from Yueyang city, several hours away. So, that means two wedding parties! The date of the Yueyang party has not been set. In his village, the local custom is for the groom to pick up the bride in her home, and carry her by car and on his back, as the case may be, to his home. There, they pay respects to their ancestors, and serve sweetened boiled eggs to family and friends. Then, there’s a big dinner. In recent years, Chinese ...

Lion dance

This is only one of the lion dances I saw while in Yangshuo this Spring Festival. Taken with my cellphone on Feb. 10 and stabilized by YouTube’s magic elves today.

Modern vampires suck 5

Modern vampires suck
JISHOU, HUNAN — I’m old enough to remember when vampires were scary, the kind of guys no girl would want to hang out with — unless they really wanted to be both ravished and undead. Now teenage girls swoon over the impossibly sensitive and chaste modern-day vampire guys, who swear off human blood and suck only animal blood. I am surprised PETA doesn’t get on this flagrant abuse of helpless animals, but the animal control folks are tickled pink, I bet. The vampires I grew up with (not literally, mind you) were all versions of the ghoulish Count Dracula from the novel by Bram Stoker — not very pleasant at all. They couldn’t stand sunlight, which could kill them. So they only moved about by night. None of this new-age sparkly effects we see nowadays. They without exception attacked only humans for their blood. Any sex would do, but Dracula in the movies seemed to have a taste for the ladies. And of course the victims, once bitten, would also become vampires. (The sexual connotations here are pretty obvious, but alas lost in today’s abstinence-only vampire ethos. How bloody dull.) They were technically undead, neither alive nor dead, but somewhere ...

Guest blogger: Wu Chengjun (Smile)

Guest blogger: Wu Chengjun (Smile)
JISHOU, HUNAN — While folks in the West were celebrating Valentine’s Day, the big day here was the beginning of the New Year, and the Spring Festival. I arrived in Jishou on the 12th, so I could spend New Year’s Eve and Day with one of my friend’s family. Spring Festival is rich in traditions. One of my freshmen, Wu Chengjun (Smile), is from the countryside of Huayuan County west of Jishou. On her own, she has been blogging in English in her QQ space about the Festival. They were so interesting and honest, that I asked her if I could share them with my friends in the States. She said I could. I’ve made corrections to Smile’s punctuation and some of her grammar, but everything else is her work. I hope you enjoy reading her diary entries. ——————————————————————– 11/2 — the Year of the Ox The day after tomorrow is the Spring Festival. My folks bought many things today, such as meat, vegetables, fruit, hot food, new clothes, and sweet wine, which you can drink with a kind of bread made of rice. The fruits are not only apples and pears, but … I don’t know its name in ...
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