morning, shanghai!

Ah … Great Firewall of China – I once again succumb to your pressures! I’m in China (yay!) but I stupidly forgot to set up my VPN before leaving New York and now I’m having oodles of fun trying to set it up in-country. It’ll only be for a bit longer, and even though Gmail lags like no other, at least I still have e-mail. Facebook and WordPress? Not so much. I’m sending this post via e-mail, which is simply cumbersome. This is just a short trip to China so I’ll be back in New York before Independence Day.

But hey, it’s 6 in the morning and I’m awake – when’s the last time that happened? Unfortunately the sky is so hazy it’s hard to make out the sun ….

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receiving gifts in the mail

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

There is something about opening up your mailbox and seeing a package in there that just makes your heart go all a-flutter, you know? Well, truth be told I get excited if I see any piece of mail with my name on it, but maybe that’s just the egoist in me!

Then again, it’s always really annoying too because our mailbox is super small where the opening is 5″ by 6″ and we don’t have a locker for parcels either … so you can imagine how absolutely stuffed it can get with the letters/packages/catalogs/magazines of four people. Sometimes we end up having to go down to the post office because not everything fits.

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A bit back I won a giveaway hosted at Paints and Pans for a wonderful pair of earrings from Nell Belle Designs. And they arrived in a box that fit just perfectly in my mailbox. It was so exciting. Thanks, Natalie and Nell!

the end … ish?

I am no longer in Shanghai. I am no longer in China. After my last post I did some traveling around China, and it was amazing. Shanghai isn’t really a tourist place, but it’s a nice place to live. Beijing, however, has so much of Chinese history stuffed into it, from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City to the Summer Palace. And the Olympic buildings? Amazing. Xi’an, similarly, has the Terracotta Warriors. And then Zhangjiajie has the nature that I had been sorely deprived of in Shanghai.

It’s kind of weird to be back in the good ol’ United States. But it’s the beginning of a new adventure. So – what’s going to happen to this blog? Eh, not quite sure. I think I’ll keep it active and just switch it to focus on New York instead of Shanghai. I’m going to reactivate my old blog squareby’s corner and just keep the topics separate with this one being more of travel and life and the other more of crafting.

[NOTE: Well … that didn’t last to long. Squareby’s Corner merged with From Here to (There), because frankly … there ain’t much crafting that gets done these days.]

Sigh. So much left to do. I like the quiet and space here, but I miss the availability of everything in China. The convenience stores open 24/7 that are on every block, the fruit stands with amazing variety that are on every block, the little food stalls with dumplings and noodles that are on every block, et cetera. In Xi’an one of their specialties is a type of noodle called “biang biang mian.” I don’t know if it can really be considered a noodle, because it’s almost like a flattened and elongated dumpling (the American kind that’s basically just flour) so it’s kind of chewy. It was good, but I think I was a little turned off because there were some tomatoes with the noodles and I really dislike cooked tomatoes.

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where’s google?

For the last few hours, I can access neither Yahoo nor Google. It’s very, very weird. I managed to access them via proxy, but it’s really inconvenient and still not working very well. GFW, what now? Why have you gotten rid of my beloved Google? I know Yahoo had some problems a bit back and Google has that fairly long-standing dispute with China, but … now? Why? My main work/school e-mail is Gmail, which I cannot access. Everything forwards to this one, my main one (the one I’m typing this from) … but my past e-mails are inaccessible. Very annoying.

Hopefully it’s just some glitch and they’ll come back up. I can’t imagine this is a permanent thing since websites get blocked/unblocked all the time over here, and I really don’t think they could get away with blocking such big sites like Yahoo AND Google. Sure a lot of people use Baidu, but I’m thinking more people use Google.

on hiatus

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

Well, you haven’t heard from me in about half a year. So I’m guessing you’ve figured out by now that this blog is on hiatus while I’m off adventuring in China. Can’t do much crafting in Shanghai. If you really miss me, you can read my blog at miesby.wordpress.com. I switched over to WordPress for my China blog because the firewall here is pretty extreme and it took me this long (six months!) to figure out how to access Blogger.

Anyway … Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

hiatus, oh yes

I got back from a field trip to Hangzhou about … four hours ago. And I’m exhausted but there’s oh so much to do. It’s too late to change my work schedule, so for now it’ll have to do. But in addition to that, midterms are coming up. Visa stuff. Then Thanksgiving. Essays. Portfolio. Applications. Stuff on top of stuff. I have so many stories and photos to share, but that’ll all have to wait. I still haven’t uploaded all of my Expo pictures, so whatever. No serious blog posts for a while, just simple “I am alive” kind of posts for the next month.

gfw, what now?

The Expo is over and done with. I was hoping that the Great Firewall would be relaxed a bit with that event concluded, but not so. Instead, sites I had access to last week now seem to be blocked. Then again, the Asian Games have started in Guangzhou so maybe that’s why. I heard that when the Olympics were held in Beijing, a whole buncha sites were blocked but were later unblocked … so here’s hoping. For example, this blog. I can no longer see my own blog. Thankfully I set it up so I can post via e-mail because the GFW’s position on blogs is constantly changing. But IMDB, which had been blocked back in January but reopened a few weeks after, now seems to be blocked once again. Nothing serious, just a bit annoying.

In other completely unrelated news, I’m busy. Busy busy busy me. School, work, family, graduate school. Busy busy busy. Oh well. Better busy than dead.

starting here

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

Alrighty, so after a really, really long time of searching the internet, I finally found this site which would allow me to make a blog that I could actually see over here in China. I probably should’ve done more research before I made my way over here to the other side of the planet, but oh well. I was in shock when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to make a Facebook status update for a year.

[NOTE: This blog and the following few posts were originally hosted on Publr because I had issues accessing my Blogspot account in Shanghai. Now I’m on WordPress, which I much prefer, so I consolidated everything.]

Hopefully, this blog will work well enough for my purposes. So everyone, I am alive and well. This will be quite the adventure. Over here in Shanghai I’m 13 hours ahead of US central time, meaning that at this moment, about 5:30 PM, it’s 4:30 AM over in Austin. Don’t forget about me. E-mail, Skype, et cetera. I’ll reward you with pictures and riveting tales.

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a bag for a swap

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

Lately I’ve been participating in swaps over at swap-bot.com, which has been quite fun. For the latest swap I had to send something handmade. So … if you’re in that swap and your name is Clara, stop reading here (because I haven’t sent it yet!).

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I have a lot of fabric, so I’m going to try to use it by sewing stuff. I found a pretty simple tutorial for a bag which you can find here that I decided to use for the swap. I think the bag came out rather nicely, but next time I make one I’ll probably change the fabric and shape.

Other stuff is in the works and hopefully my self-imposed deadlines hold fast. Now I’m off to actually do homework!