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January, 2015:

The Engrishest Menu in Harbin

We had a lot of fun with this one.
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The Awesome Chair of Awesomeness

This chair was in the lobby of the hotel in Harbin. I must have one.

Sitting in this chair, how can you not feel like the most awesome person in the world?

Sitting in this chair, how can you not feel like the most awesome person in the world?

Ice Festival Pictures: Day 1: Ice Structures

The Harbin ice festival has two parks. One is for ice structures and sculptures, and the other is for snow sculptures. The ice structure exhibit is best viewed at night, when you can get the full effect of the laser light show that is modern China.

No, this is not made of ice. It's China bling. But it looks pretty. Mrs. Hoopie, wouldn't it make a nice quilt pattern?

No, this is not made of ice. It’s China bling. But it looks pretty. Mrs. Hoopie, wouldn’t it make a nice quilt pattern?

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Proof that I was there

Proof that I was there

Next year will be the year of the sheep/ram

Next year will be the year of the sheep/ram

Ice Castle!

Ice Castle!

Scariest stairs in the world (ice is slippery, right?!)

Scariest stairs in the world (ice is slippery, right?!)

Inside the castle

Inside the castle

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Proof that I was there

Proof that I was there

Ice sculpture

Ice sculpture


Frosty Buddha

Frosty Buddha

This one's for you, Marg!

This one’s for you, Marg!

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Corporate sponsorship: Snow Beer (not MONS Beer)

Corporate sponsorship: Snow Beer (not MONS Beer).

Corporate sponsorship: Harbin Beer.

Corporate sponsorship: Harbin Beer.

Staying warm in Harbin

I managed to stay warm at the ice festival, thanks to layers of clothing and hand and foot warmers.

Mittens, not gloves. The little pockets for hand warmers were cute, but I wound up stuffing the thing right into the mitten for extra effectiveness.

Mittens, not gloves. The little pockets for hand warmers were cute, but I wound up stuffing the thing right into the mitten for extra effectiveness.

Foot warmers. They stick right to your sock. Genius!

Foot warmers. They stick right to your sock. Genius!

Flannel-lined jeans are a genius invention, but I added a layer of silk long underwear.

Flannel-lined jeans are a genius invention, but I added a layer of silk long underwear.

The flask of bourbon that I brought helped, too. 🙂

The Ice Bar

As part of the ice festival, the hotel constructed a bar made of ice.

The ice bar.

The ice bar.

I ordered a shot of vodka, and asked it to be poured into my glass through the ice trough.

The ice trough. It cools the drink waaaay down.

The ice trough. It cools the drink waaaay down.

The vodka was poured into a cup made of ice.

It was good vodka. Was it worth $10? Probably not. However, it was probably worth $10 to enjoy a shot of vodka served in an ice cup, poured through an ice trough, inside a building made of ice.

Mixed Message

Do you mean I can’t not lie down? So I have to lie down? If so, why the line through the picture of a person lying down?

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Break a hundred?

Trying to pull out a hundred-kuai bill at the restaurant today, I accidentally ripped it. The waitress watched in horror. She made me pay with another bill.

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Is this a metaphor for the strength of the Chinese currency?

Over the Top Birthday Candle

Every month we celebrate the birthday of people in the Consular section.

The birthday candle is shaped like a lotus flower, and like a lot of things in China, is over the top.

Anniversary

One year ago today, I woke up in a hotel room in Virginia, got on a bus that took me to downtown Washington, D.C., took an oath, and started a career in the Foreign Service.

This morning, I woke up in my apartment in China, walked to the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang, and started my day as a consular officer.

I have adjudicated over 10,000 visa applications in the eight months that I’ve been in China. I’ve talked with ordinary people, met with government officials, given speeches, and represented my country.

Holy cow. What a year it’s been. And it’s only just started.

Breathe Much?

Ouch. I guess that I won’t be walking to work today after all.

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