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October, 2014:

The Airpocalypse has begun?

This morning the AQI was off the scale.


Any over 150 is unhealthy. A score of 300 is “hazardous.” I don’t know the threshold for “face melting,” but I think 600 might be in the ballpark.

This is what it looks like outside:


Can I stay home today?

Bloviating in Qiqihar

On my recent city visit to Qiqihar 齊齊哈爾, they let me in to a high school to talk with high school students about studying in the U.S. They put me in a room with 100 high school kids and a PowerPoint presentation, and let me brainwash them for a hour.

I think the principal was expecting me to talk in English. When he was introducing me, he told the kids that they should raise their hands if they didn’t understand something that I said. When I began by greeting them in Chinese, they clapped, and when I started my presentation, there was a little murmur of surprise in the crowd. They were a great audience, very receptive, and afterwards, a bunch of them came up time to ask follow-up questions.



I really like this part of my job: I love to talk, and I like interacting with students.

Tshirt English of the Day

“Caution: Scream escape”

Goooood Morning Qiqihar!

I am in the remote city of Qiqihar (chee chee ha er). Getting here took all day yesterday: I left Shenyang at 10:00am, and arrived at 5:00pm.

I’ll be here for a few days on an outreach visit. Consular officers are each assigned two cities to visit and get to know. The idea is to understand smaller cities in the region, so that when we are interviewing visa applicants, we can be better judges of their applications.

Today I will visit the local government foreign affairs office, then visit some companies in the area, and finally give a presentation in a local high school.

Tshirt English of the Day

“Scream & Nope the club of fright”

Tshirt English of the Day


Tshirt English of the Day

“Freedom for sale”

Actually, this one is a little depressing.

Tshirt English of the Day

“Self colors oracle”

Papaya flavored fermented milk

It’s actually a lot yummier than you would think: drinkable yogurt.


Tshirt English of the Day

“Warning don’t go outside in the alley at night because it’s dangerous”