An American Holiday in China| July 8, 2013
Turns out, the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. What's better than eating/drinking all day followed by fireworks? Not much. And I've seen my share of good food and fireworks, what with growing up in a rural part of Idaho. I mean really, what else is there to do bu make potoato salad and dangerously explode fireworks out in the courntry (the country is what we Idahoans call the areas where there are no stores -- there's a lot of "country" in southern Idaho)? Fourth of July just isn't a holiday you can mess up -- there's no family drama over who's making the turkey or who forgot to buy the mother-in-law her gift.
When I realized I was going to be in China before I left the U.S., I was pretty disappointed. As it turns out, Rebecca (another intern) is a fabulous event finder/planner, and she discovered a free American trivia night at a restaurant close to the center of Beijing (the restaurant is strangely called "The Local" -- it serves Western food and beverages). Not really knowing what to expect, most of the interns headed to the bar, with our Chinese and Canadian friends in tow. Apparently, it was the biggest trivia night the bar had ever had; it was packed with rowdy Americans (and various other foreigners). Our team was amazing (no thanks to me -- I suck at American history, really bad. My teammates Steve and Rebecca dominated, guessing almost every event and even nailing the exact dates for most)! We won 2 out of the 5 rounds, and ended up getting 2nd place overall, losing by only two points. They had prizes for each round -- we won a bucket of beer (with awesome imports) and an appetizer tray made up of blueberries, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese in the design of an American flag. You can't get a group of law students involved in any sort of competitive event without it turning into a fight to the death, so our 2nd place was a bit disappointing. And although there was no corn on the cob, watermelon, or hotdogs, there were still super delicious options -- I think the picture sums it up pretty well. All in all, it was a pretty great American Independence Day in China.
I've also experienced a quintessential Chinese event: I went to KTV for some killer karaoke. Here in China, karaoke is much more than a tipsy moment at a strange little bar -- there are decked out rooms with giant flat screens, drinks and snacks galore, and there was even a way to signal a server to bring you whatever you needed. I've never been one to be worried about making a fool of myself, which is good, because I was belting out some Gloria Gaynor and partner-dancing to many (many) Chinese love songs. Awesome. And I'll tell you what, these Chinese boys know how to do it -- they were melting all the ladies' hearts with perfectly memorized tunes.
A short word about my tutoring. It is going really well, and I am having way too much fun. We've learned about planets, whales, maps, and more! I've been making the joke that in another life, I must've been a kindergarten teacher. As you can see, these little guys are cuter than I can describe.
Finally, my internship is turning out to be much more than I thought it would be. Zhicheng is really trying to make some changes to the program, to make it more than just a comparative research experience. Recently, a group of domestic interns showed up, so there are about 25-30 interns in total, and the office is constantly buzzing. Every day there are trainings and presentations about the work that Zhicheng does, and there is also a forum every Friday for the international interns to learn about Chinese law and offer their U.S. comparative legal knowledge. I'm excited that I'm able to be here for this transition -- apparently there has never been this much focus on the internship program. I'm reaping all the benefits of the changes!