Tag Archives: Gap Year

Yellow Rivers

There is a God of Bodily Waste, and He hates me. I discovered this during a devilishly fun time backpacking across the Tibetan Plateau, and so I ran up a list of bathroom do’s and don’ts that I wish I … Continue reading

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We Fly High

I can do this, I told myself. There were the rocks glaring down at me, coaxing, warning, daring. There was Rick behind me, no doubt wincing at my foolhardiness. We had come to the Tibetan Plateau, the land of monks, … Continue reading

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Fables

Here are two Chinese fables you may have slept through (if you’re like me) in world history class. In the first fable, a throng of artists gathered to see who could draw a snake the fastest. This was pre-Crayola, so … Continue reading

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Highs and Lows of Chinese Education

Merely saying the word curdles the juices of Chinese high-schoolers. It’s a word that invades their minds from diapers onward, piercing, commanding, enervating. The thought of it boomerangs around their insides like a bouncy ball made of needles. It is … Continue reading

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Lamb of God

I had to fill something that was very, very empty. First the stomach growled just slightly. Then the growling grew louder, turning heads. Before long, belly machinery was grinding, train whistles were screeching, and long dormant forces were hissississing with … Continue reading

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The Drinking Age in China is 18

To explain the Chinese word for a legal “right,” my teacher used the example of alcohol. “A little kid doesn’t have the right to drink beer,” she made the class repeat in Chinese, “but I do have the right.” A … Continue reading

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Our Large Russian Friend

Staring down the barrel of a Russian tank, I felt a feverish jolt running through my vertebrae. The tingling seemed a primitive reaction to confronting my mortality. Then again, it could have been a pulled muscle. I strained something while … Continue reading

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