Okay that's a lie, but I totally ate other parts of the chicken that were in the same dish as the chicken head. I guess on of their big things is that they don't waste any part of the food. That's the majority. The minority groups make fun of them for this. I've decided to use as few proper names as possible in this blog just to make it less likely to pop up on searches and stuff. I mean, the level of surveillance is probably pretty similar to other places in the world (US, Great Britain, TORONTO!!), it's just double spooky that even on paper nobody has any rights to anything. And it turns out the population in general is fairly racist towards the minorities, so they are extra disadvantaged and if I do something stupid it could risk their safety too. And like, this would be over small potatoes. I'm not involved in anything even remotely revolutionary or radical in any way...they are just very paranoid and suspicious of minority groups. So basically, I'm just going to say very little about anything that may even be slightly risky (you know, the approach activists in Canada are going to have to start taking heh heh)
Okay, serious stuff aside: I have moved into my apartment that I'm sharing with a PhD candidate from Canada who is working in a field relevant to my work and her boyfriend who is working in a restaurant for a couple months. They're great. They're also small town Ontarians who love beer and making fun of each other and take a laid back approach to roomate-ing (?lol). It's going to be good. This is also simultaneously the biggest and cheapest place I have lived since moving out on my own. This place is awesome for being cheap. It's like 17 cents to get on a bus. Beer is about a dollar for a litre bottle, jeans are $10...it's awful, and awesome. But it's kind of strange because a $100 here is about $20 Canadian...so you walk around with all these $100 bills and feel like you are carrying waaaay too much money, when really it's not at all. I feel like a total baller.
For all you IDSers I need to let you know: I have electricity, hot water, 2 bathrooms (complete with showers) a TV, all of Lost that has ever been put on DVD, a fully functional kitchen and a washing machine. And my roomate who I will call Matt actually enjoys cooking, so he cooks for us, I do the dishes and my other roomate Jessica does their laundry. So, I'm totally a baller.
I had a chance to check out the museum I'm going to be doing some work at. It was SUPER cool. If you want to know more about it email me or something because I don't want to go into a lot of detail here. Basically, I'm going to learn a shit tonne about a certain culture, it's history, and their medicine. They want me to help with english translations and setting up an english website. The plan is to go once a week so I have time to do all my other stuff, which I haven't figured out what will be yet, because I haven't met with my people yet, because I've been dealing with this craaazy bureaucracy business. Next paragraph.
BUREAUCRACY. HOLY. I have to go to the university I'm enrolled at and then get a bunch of papers from them and then I have to go to TWO police stations and get all these paeprs from them...we have to take our landlord to sign stuff to prove we live where we say we do, then we have to go get a letter from a doctor saying we don't need to be quarantined, then show that to the police stations again...it's insane. And you have to do this right away, because you can get in trouble if you are living in a place and you're not registered with the government that you're living there. And they find out, because outside of every building complex there is a person whose sole job it is is to sit and watch who comes in and out and report anything suspicious. Being white in this city is pretty damn suspicious. So, bureaucracy must be defeated IMMEDIATELY, which is so hard to do when you can't understand anyone and nobody understands you. Next paragraph.
LANGUAGE. It's killing me. I am going to find a tutor. Like, it's just so necessary for daily life. There is no way I can stay here for a year and not figure it out. The problem with this place is that there are SO many other languages too, and since I will be spending some time with minorities, they won't even be able to speak the language that I am learning how to speak. And there is no way I can learn 2 langauges at once. No dice. We'll see what happens.
I'm still crazy jet lagged. Apparently it's going to take a couple of weeks to get over it which sucks. I keep waking up RIGHT at 5am on the dot, checking the time and going "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" Which reminds me of another story: I met some of the people who work at the museum, and they were all going out to party, and since I don't know anyone or have any friends I was like "hell yeah". Only two of them spoke english well enough to be able to converse with me, but they were amazing for explaining to me all the shit that was going on. The one guy even looked all worried at first and I said "you look worried" and he said "This is the first time I've eaten dinner with a foreigner!" It was cute. Anyway, they drink ALOT. At one point, a tray with 6 shots of Chinese rice wine (different from sake...it has the same percentage as vodka) was put in front of my face and an older woman explained to me that if we were all going to be freinds i had to drink all 6 shots. I did 3 but could feel the alcohol mixing with spicy spicy food in my stomach and was like "no more", but apparently that wasn't an option, so I did half of each of the other 3. Then after dinner, they went to karaokee. I know right? Of COURSE they went to karaokee. This was SO classy though! Greeters and strobe lights and other lights...it was pretty cool. My interpreter soon became too drunk to interpret things anymore so I just followed suit and drank when someone cheersed me and smiled a lot and watched with fascination as things got funnier and funnier. Anyway, it was a good night.
Okay, that is long enough for now. If you want anymore details let me know and I will for sure let you know...I just feel uncomfortable posting it all out here where anyone could read it.