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January 28th, 2015:

The fanciest brown bag lunch

There are occasional brownbag lunch meetings at the consulate, during which we have discussions about this or that. Today, the CG hosted a brown bag for all new first and second tour officers, to discuss anything that we had on our minds. The CG is the Consulate General, the head of the consulate. If this were an embassy, he would be the ambassador. In addition to being an accomplished foreign service officer, he is also a very good manager, and a very pleasant person as well. He is generous with his time, sharing his experiences, and giving advice to new officers.

Today’s brownbag lunch was held in the CG’s residence, which is on the grounds of the consulate. We occasionally have events there, usually in the sunroom at the back of the residence. Today’s event was held in the CG’s dining room, however. When I walked into the dining room and saw that the table was set with China, tablecloth, wine glasses, the works, I felt a little funny about what I had brought for lunch.

Several people had ordered lunch from the local Subway. I brought my own lunch. I didn’t have the chance to eat my lunch that I brought yesterday, so I had my lunch from yesterday today. My brownbag lunch looked kind of funny sitting on the CG’s good China.

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Leftover peanut butter and jelly, eaten on fine China. Ah, the luxurious life of a modern diplomat.

Harbin Ice Festival 2: Snow Sculptures

Another part of the ice festival is the snow sculptures. I liked this more than the ice sculptures: they were less over-the-top, they were displayed in a park, there were a lot fewer people, and there was a lot of variety. It also helped that it was a beautiful day with very low air pollution (we couldĀ even see the blue sky!).

The upcoming year will be the year of the ram, so there were a lot of sheep designs.

The upcoming year will be the year of the ram, so there were a lot of sheep designs.

Side view of the sheep sculpture.

Side view of the sheep sculpture.

A disappointingly large number of sculptures were of western things like Disney.

A disappointingly large number of sculptures were of western things like Disney.

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Western fairy tale

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Something about fast food society.

No, that's not made of snow. It's part of the park's permanent landscaping.

No, that’s not made of snow. It’s part of the park’s permanent landscaping.

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Lion Dance!

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Lotus pods

 

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Chinese phoenix

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Erm

Erm,…

 

Erm

Erm,…

At least Darwin is appreciated somewhere!

At least Darwin is appreciated somewhere!

Einstein

The genius Einstein, and some snow sculpture in the background.

"The gift of the apple:" see Newton, Adam and Eve, and Apple Computer's icon?

“The gift of the apple:” see Newton, Adam and Eve on the left, and Apple Computer’s icon on the right?