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WhiteGhost

Thug Life: China Style [WhiteGhost]

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6 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

the air quality was so bad I could barely see across the yard. 

WTF!

 

6 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

the traffic jams heading out of the big cities can get so bad that the drivers could be stuck there for 2-3 days.

WTF!

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19 hours ago, zenLara said:

WTF!

 

WTF!

Luckily the air cleared up pretty quickly.  Back in 2013 we had the "Airpocalypse", during which the AQI was over 900 for almost a week.

 

The scariest thing about the multi-day traffic jams is not that they are a thing, but they are common enough that companies have started producing and selling products specifically for that

 

OK, week 2 here we go

 

Yesterday afternoon there wasn't time after church to cook, so we ordered in again.  

UoTtc7C.jpg

We had Peking Duck, spicy-sour soup, Kungpao shrimp, spicy boiled beef, blood & offal, fried rice, fried eggpant, and some kind of bread-like thing.  The rest of the afternoon was all helping Ghostlet with his homework and preparing for finals, which finish up this Wednesday.  

 

In the evening Ghostess made dinner again, which was sweet & spicy fried fish and beef & celery

WS0o532.jpg

 

In the evening I noticed that we were behind again in the Assassin mini, so I did an ab workout before bed to try and get our points up a bit.

 

This morning I went out to the park and did my pull workout, as well as some high bar gymnastics.  My shoulder felt a little wonky so I didn't try giants, but I did most of the rest, especially making sure I got in at least 3 kips.

 

For lunch I had the rest of my beef stroganoff, so again no repeat picture.

 

We just heard back from the lawyer the Arbitration hearing result, apparently the hearing application was voided because of the name issue and we need to start the application process all over again, including proof of my name with regard to the labor contract.  Not sure how we will do that, so we will need to meet with the lawyer again to discuss. :( 

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This is all very interesting- kind of an eye opener to how much you're used to your own life/environment and don't stop to think that often about what it is like in the rest of the world. The air pollution problem is really kind of scary.. How long have you lived in Beijing? How did you come to live there, work? Do you think many people move away because of the air/traffic situation?

4 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

 

We just heard back from the lawyer the Arbitration hearing result, apparently the hearing application was voided because of the name issue and we need to start the application process all over again, including proof of my name with regard to the labor contract.  Not sure how we will do that, so we will need to meet with the lawyer again to discuss. :( 

That sucks.. I hope your lawyer will have a solution. 

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Yeah, this multi-day traffic situation sounds like a dystopian sci fi novel.

 

And uguguhuhgughu, about your arbitration issues. :(

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12 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

The scariest thing about the multi-day traffic jams is not that they are a thing, but they are common enough that companies have started producing and selling products specifically for that

So...um...what about the...err..marketing for, you know...bathroom stuff?

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26 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

So...um...what about the...err..marketing for, you know...bathroom stuff?

I can't decide whether I want to know the answer for this or not. :D 

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5 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

So...um...what about the...err..marketing for, you know...bathroom stuff?

 

I think you've forgotten where this thread started: how common it is to drop trou on the street and take a leak. If you're in a traffic jam, you don't even need to find a street, you're all set.

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14 minutes ago, sarakingdom said:

 

I think you've forgotten where this thread started: how common it is to drop trou on the street and take a leak. If you're in a traffic jam, you don't even need to find a street, you're all set.

3NR8.gif

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16 hours ago, KB Girl said:

This is all very interesting- kind of an eye opener to how much you're used to your own life/environment and don't stop to think that often about what it is like in the rest of the world. The air pollution problem is really kind of scary.. How long have you lived in Beijing? How did you come to live there, work? Do you think many people move away because of the air/traffic situation?

I have lived here for about 15 years.  Before I came here I was working in Hong Kong but 90%+ of that office's business was in Mainland China (this was before they had a Mainland office).  Not being able to speak mandarin meant that I could not be assigned to any Chinese projects, which meant that I was doing stuff from the rest of SE Asia (Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.).  In the last year that I was working there, the company instituted a hiring freeze policy for non-Mandarin speakers.  I could see that if I didn't learn the language my career prospects there would be very limited so I decided to learn it.  I tried learning after work in HK, but it just wasn't working for me.  In the end, I decided to quit from my job and moved here to Beijing with the intention of staying for only 1 year.  I had discussed with my company and they had promised me that when I was done learning the language they would have my position waiting for me.  However, when I finished my year of study, a former colleague of mine had taken a job here and asked me to come be part of his team, and I have been here (although in a number of different companies) ever since.

 

There are quite a few people who leave because of the traffic and pollution, but one a net basis there are more coming than going.  When I moved here the population was about 15 million, and now it has almost doubled.  The stated policy from the central government planning commission is for Beijing to have a population of 130 million by 2030, but a lot of that growth will come by absorbing surrounding cities into a greater Beijing metropolis encompassing the entire Bohai region (Beijing, Tianjin, and large swaths of Hebei Province).

 

15 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Wtf, 2-3 day traffic jams, that’s beyond insane!!!

 

12 hours ago, raptron said:

Yeah, this multi-day traffic situation sounds like a dystopian sci fi novel.

 

Yes, but it is a good indicator of just how much people will put up with

 

17 hours ago, KB Girl said:

That sucks.. I hope your lawyer will have a solution. 

 

15 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Bummer about the legal debacle. :(

 

12 hours ago, raptron said:

And uguguhuhgughu, about your arbitration issues.

 

Thanks guys, it is supremely frustrating.  Right now I can't even resbmit because I need to have my passport to show the clerks when submitting the application, but my passport is still at the Entry/Exit Administration until the 22nd.

 

9 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

So...um...what about the...err..marketing for, you know...bathroom stuff?

8 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

I can't decide whether I want to know the answer for this or not. :D 

4 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

 

I think you've forgotten where this thread started: how common it is to drop trou on the street and take a leak. If you're in a traffic jam, you don't even need to find a street, you're all set.

 

I was going to reference the fist page of this challenge but @sarakingdom beat me to it :D 

 

However, since you asked...

Spoiler

zEY8kD3.jpg
That is marketed as a mobile bathroom for cars, but apparently you can also use it when camping, as part of an earthquake emergency kit or when you are hospitalized and they don't have any bedpans or catheters (unfortunately also a thing :( )

 

Yesterday I had a late lunch which was just a snack plate, but it was quite satisfying.

zRXhPL4.jpg

I still wasn't that hungry when dinner rolled around so I just had a protein bar and a few more cashews.

 

This morning when I dropped Ghostlet off at school it was -4, but with the wind chill it felt like -16 :o .  I decided to wait for a bit before going out to workout, but by the time the sun was up it was down to -8 and the wind had not died down.  I didn't really feel like skipping y workout, so I bundled up and went out anyway.  I got through most of my leg workout, but it was just so cold I called it quits and came home without doing any gymnastics.  No regrets at all :)   I had a very nice stretching session at home where it was nice and warm.  I have been feeling for ages that I have not been making any progress because my side splits are not any wider than they were 6 months ago.  However, I noticed this morning that from my front "split" position I can now lean forward far enough to put my palms flat on the floor, and I could not even get close 6 months ago.  So not progress where I was hoping, but I'll take whatever progress I can get.  My regular front fold seems to be getting slightly better too.

 

When I got back Ghostess was still here because she isn't feeling well and took a sick day.  She is going to cook dinner later though, so looking forward to that.  

 

Ghostlet is wrapping up his finals, with only English and Math left at this point.  He had his Chinese final this morning, and when we were reviewing last night, he had about 20 poems memorized because a lot of the questions will come from the poems.  He also memorized 2 of the papers he had written during the year because his test will have an essay portion and the papers he memorized cover the most likely topics that the teachers thinks the essay will be on.  I think when I was in school I only had to memorize about 6 poems total.  He does double that every semester and I am amazed at his ability to memorize stuff.  He got his science and music scores back, getting 100% on his science final and an A for music (no numerical score, just a letter grade).  Very happy with those results so far :) 

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Great grades! Congrats to Ghoslet!

 

Sorry to hear the process is going to take longer. Hope your lawyer will find a way to sort out all those issues :(

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7 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I have lived here for about 15 years.  Before I came here I was working in Hong Kong but 90%+ of that office's business was in Mainland China (this was before they had a Mainland office).  Not being able to speak mandarin meant that I could not be assigned to any Chinese projects, which meant that I was doing stuff from the rest of SE Asia (Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.).  In the last year that I was working there, the company instituted a hiring freeze policy for non-Mandarin speakers.  I could see that if I didn't learn the language my career prospects there would be very limited so I decided to learn it.  I tried learning after work in HK, but it just wasn't working for me.  In the end, I decided to quit from my job and moved here to Beijing with the intention of staying for only 1 year.  I had discussed with my company and they had promised me that when I was done learning the language they would have my position waiting for me.  However, when I finished my year of study, a former colleague of mine had taken a job here and asked me to come be part of his team, and I have been here (although in a number of different companies) ever since.

 

There are quite a few people who leave because of the traffic and pollution, but one a net basis there are more coming than going.  When I moved here the population was about 15 million, and now it has almost doubled.  The stated policy from the central government planning commission is for Beijing to have a population of 130 million by 2030, but a lot of that growth will come by absorbing surrounding cities into a greater Beijing metropolis encompassing the entire Bohai region (Beijing, Tianjin, and large swaths of Hebei Province).

Love the background story, thanks for sharing! If you're up for it; you were in the army, how did you get from there to working in Hong Kong? 

 

130 million is approximately 10x the population of my entire country :P

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9 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I had a very nice stretching session at home where it was nice and warm.  I have been feeling for ages that I have not been making any progress because my side splits are not any wider than they were 6 months ago.  However, I noticed this morning that from my front "split" position I can now lean forward far enough to put my palms flat on the floor, and I could not even get close 6 months ago.  So not progress where I was hoping, but I'll take whatever progress I can get.  My regular front fold seems to be getting slightly better too.

 

Nice!! I also find stretching progress very slow, I don't really notice visible progress until after 6-12 months, quite a leap :P

 

Go Ghostlet!

 

9 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

The stated policy from the central government planning commission is for Beijing to have a population of 130 million by 2030, but a lot of that growth will come by absorbing surrounding cities into a greater Beijing metropolis encompassing the entire Bohai region

 

That scale is quite beyond what my brain can imagine... :huh:

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21 hours ago, deftona said:

Well done to Ghostlet - those are some fabulous test scores! 

 

17 hours ago, zenLara said:

Great grades! Congrats to Ghoslet!

 

12 hours ago, @mu said:

Go Ghostlet!

 

Thanks, we are very happy.  He feels confident about his Chinese test yesterday and is confident that he can get at least 85% (which is the minimum standard where we want him to be achieving).  English and math this morning and then liberation will occur at 11:30am. 

 

17 hours ago, zenLara said:

Sorry to hear the process is going to take longer. Hope your lawyer will find a way to sort out all those issues :(

Thanks, I hope so too

 

13 hours ago, KB Girl said:

130 million is approximately 10x the population of my entire country :P

 

12 hours ago, @mu said:

That scale is quite beyond what my brain can imagine... :huh:

  Yeah, living among so many people has taken some getting used to.  It was really brought home to me last week when I was watching @Tobbe's vlog and he walked around his neighborhood and not only knew every single neighbor, but also where they were (iirc, at the time his family was the only one living in the entire neighborhood).  I don't even know the names of most of the people that live in my apartment block (20 units), and only recognize a handful of people in my complex.  For reference, my building had 4 blocks, and the complex has 3 buildings like mine and then 4 towers which have about 30 floor with 8 units/floor, so approximately 1,200 units in my complex.

 

12 hours ago, @mu said:

Nice!! I also find stretching progress very slow, I don't really notice visible progress until after 6-12 months, quite a leap :P

Considering I have been working on stretching since I joined NF and have been working on it fairly consistently for more than a year, I wouldn't use the the word "leap" to describe the progress.  ;) 

 

13 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Love the background story, thanks for sharing! If you're up for it; you were in the army, how did you get from there to working in Hong Kong?

I am happy to give the extended version back story, but I am going to have to go back to before the army for it to bring everything together.  This won't be as detailed as Teros, but should fill in most of the gaps :) 

Spoiler

 

So starting from Middle school, we had to pick a foreign language to study, and the options were Spanish, French, and German. My older brothers did Spanish, and my older sisters did German so, wanting to be different, I picked French.  I enjoyed my French classes so I continued with that in High School.  However, I really did not like my French teacher in High school.  He was an unforgiving, super-arrogant perfectionist.  I still stuck with it, for 3 years, though, because I still liked the language and was pretty good at it.  During my 3rd year of high school, my French teacher said that he had tried to learn Russian over the summer but quit because he said it was impossible.  The next year, our high school introduced 3 new language tracks (Russian, Japanese and Mandarin) and I dropped French like a hot rock and signed up for Russian, just to show up my French Teacher (turns out he didn't care, when I saw him at graduation he didn't even remember me).

 

About the same time as this was happening, I was getting ready to enlist in the National Guard (for those who don't know what that is, it is a State Militia that can be used by the Department of Defense as reserve units as necessary).  The rest of my family had also signed up for some kind of military service, so I was the 5th child to enlist.  With parental consent, a person can enlist at age 17, so the week after my 17th birthday I was getting sworn in and was assigned as a Russian linguist.  I spent my Senior year of high school learning Russian in school and then supplementing that with additional military language training on the weekends that we had training.  Within days of high school graduation I was shipped off to basic training, which was then followed with a year at the military language school and some other specialized training.  

 

After I finished my training, I came back home signed up to be a missionary (The Utah National Guard has a program that you can sign up for what is called an 8x2, which means you sign up for 8 years, but 2 of those years you are put into Inactive Ready Reserve, which means you don't have to show up for training, and you don't get paid, but if they need to you can still be called up for deployment), I selected to use my 2 years of IRR to be a missionary.  At this time, the Soviet Union had just collapsed and the restrictions on foreign missionaries had been relaxed, so I was expecting to be asked to do my missionary time in Russia.  In fact, while I was waiting for my assignment, I was contacted by someone from the OSIA (US agency that inspects nuclear weapons around the world) and was essentially offered a job when my mission was finished in Russia.  Well, as it turned out I got sent to Japan instead, so I ended up spending the next two years in Japan, mostly in the Kyoto area and then Okinawa.  

 

When I got back, I enrolled in university.  The OSIA job was no longer there, so I figured what I would do is get an undergrad in linguistics, get a masters in interpretation and then go work as a simultaneous interpreter for the UN or some similar organization.

I also had to get back into the military training, but by this time the country had decided that Russia was no longer a serious threat and therefore did not need so many Russian linguists.  They also did not need any Japanese linguists either, so they asked me to reclass into either Korean or Chinese.  I had no interest in Korean so I signed up for the Chinese program.  Once I arrived at the language school I was informed that I had been involuntarily reassigned to Korean anyway, because the Chinese slots had already been filled.  I was not happy about this, but there was wasn't much I could do about it, so I spent the next almost 2 years learning Korean.  

 

During this time, I continued my research into my chosen career path, and discovered that it didn't pay as well as I was hoping.  The short term contract jobs could be quite lucrative (about $500/hour) but they were very short term so I would need to be constantly looking for new jobs.  The more secure long terms jobs paid significantly less.  So while I was commiserating with a classmate, he mentioned that his brother was an investment banker and made $2 million per year.  This sounded like a pretty sweet gig to me, so when I finished my Korean I went back and changed my major to international finance.  By the time I graduated, I had pretty much finished up my enlistment, and ended up finding a job in Tokyo with an investment bank there (spoiler alert, I was not making $2million per year and have never seen anything close to that).  However, it was a good paying job, but it was also incredibly busy.  I was in the office from 9am to about 3am mon-fri and then 10am-10pm on weekends.  

Shortly after I got hired into Tokyo, the tech bubble burst and they started cutting people left and right.  Given that there were only a few of us foreigners in the office, our names were at the top of the list.  My managing director (also a foreigner) was being reassigned to the HK office, and he was trying to take a few of us with him, but they company would only allow him to take people with non-Japanese language ability.  In the end, he was only able to take two of us (me because of Korean, and another guy who was Taiwanese but did university in Japan).  

So that is the rest of the back story on how I got to Hong Kong.  Interestingly, the ex-coworker who invited me to join his team in the Mainland was the other guy who came with me from Tokyo.

 

 

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For some reason that just decided to post itself before I could get my update in.

Last night we had the same sweet & spicy fried fish as last time, as well as some chicken & celery.  I didn't take a picture, but it looked pretty much the same as last time.

No workout this morning because I needed to pick up Ghostlet after his last two finals.  He feels pretty good about his English test, but is not sure about math.  Math was apparently harder than he expected.

 

Lunch is going to be lasagna which is the oven now, but you are going to have to wait until tomorrow's update for pictures. :P 

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On 1/15/2019 at 1:31 AM, WhiteGhost said:

The stated policy from the central government planning commission is for Beijing to have a population of 130 million by 2030, but a lot of that growth will come by absorbing surrounding cities into a greater Beijing metropolis encompassing the entire Bohai region (Beijing, Tianjin, and large swaths of Hebei Province).

Damn.

 

Also, dang, that is quite a career trajectory to wind up where you are today. So many languages! 

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22 hours ago, Mr_Willes said:

 

This one of life's rules!

Image result for truth gif

 

19 hours ago, BardicGarlic said:

That cheese plate is hypnotic. Haha. 

Related image

 

12 hours ago, raptron said:

Also, dang, that is quite a career trajectory to wind up where you are today. So many languages! 

 

11 hours ago, annyshay said:

Your backstory is fascinating!

 

8 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Fascinating indeed :) Thanks for sharing!

 

I have carped a a lot of diems :) 

 

8 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Can you still speak Russian and Korean? 

They are both still in there somewhere, but I don't use them enough to keep them polished.  I spent a couple of weeks in Russia a few years ago and by then end of it I was able to have conversations.  I think If I were go back and send more time there, it would come back fairly quickly.

 

8 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Dang, when I ordered tacos in Spanish I had no idea you spoke so many more languages than me.

None of which helped me to order breakfast tacos :D 

 

Lunch yesterday was Lasagna, and it came out much better than last time

6K4SwXA.jpg

 

In the evening we had pizza to celebrate Ghostlet finishing up his tests.  I'm pretty sure you all know what Papa John's looks like, so I didn't take any pictures of that :D 

 

I was thinking about what I want to do this year, and one of the items I have been rolling around in my head is learning to draw.  I was going to save it for an upcoming challenge, but figured there isn't a compelling reason to wait, so went online and found a free online course and got started.  The first assignment is to just find random things and try to sketch them, so I made my first sketch last night.
bQ160kV.jpg
Ghostess had no idea what it was supposed to be so I suspect most of you probably can't guess either.  A picture from a similar angle is in the spoiler

Spoiler

EQVScp4.jpg


I went out in the yard in the afternoon while Ghostlet was playing soccer with his friends and tried to get a push workout in.  I got through the first little bit of it and then I got a call from the police asking me to very some information from my visa application.  It sounded suspicious so I asked them to call back when I had the paperwork in front of me and called the Entry/Exit Administration if this is a normal procedure.  They didn't know and suggested I call the police directly.  I found the number and called the police department but they didn't recognize the number that was calling and recommended that I don't share any information when they call back, because it is probably a scammer.

So when the guy calls back I tell him that I can't give him any information and he gets a little upset and then hangs up.  Later I get a call from the other officer that I called and he told me that the guys was actually from a sub office and that I should cooperate with him.  Way to be coordinated there, police 
Image result for eyeroll gif
I hope the application doesn't get denied or delayed because of this :( 

In the evening I finished my workout and then did a 5K run on the dreadmill just because I felt like I needed a bit of extra cardio.

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Why in the world does this keep posting my stuff before I finish...

This morning I got an update from my dad re: my mom's situation.  Spoilered for cancer talk

Spoiler

When I was there in December, she was getting a full brain scan because the cancer was spreading very quickly in her brain.  The results of the treatment came back yesterday and it was completely unsuccessful, and the cancer has spread much, much further throughout her brain.  This is on top of the cancer in her lungs, esophagus, kidneys, liver and intestines.  After consultation with the oncologist, they decided that there is no treatment left for her to try so they sent her home from the hospital with a steady supply of painkillers to keep her comfortable and she will just live out the rest of her days the best she can. 


I did not get a workout in this morning and spent time playing with Ghostlet.  I may have taught him how to play poker :D Lunch was Japanese curry from Coco's Ichibanya, the best Japanese curry restaurant in the universecitation needed

mb8jxkl.jpg

 

In the afternoon we will go out and I will try to get another workout in while Ghostlet plays soccer again

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What a fascinating backstory, thanks for sharing! And for what it's worth I could see what the drawing was supposed to be. :) 

 

So very sorry about your mum. 

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