The rumors are true.

Some of you may have heard things about a cat roaming my apartment. Some of you may have heard about my apartment. Some of you may have heard about me.

First things first.

Yes, I have my very own cat in my very own apartment. It’s a nice thing. Being a long-time fan of cats, I imagined coming to China and getting a cat. School-provided housing isn’t generally pet-friendly, though, and I knew that.


Then it happened.

Students mentioned to Karyn they thought teachers could have pets. She very kindly informed me immediately via SMS while I was on a trip I’ll tell you about some time. It was a spark of hope that burst into beautiful flame when I found the furniture in my new apartment covered in scratches and snags—the tell-tale sign of a (poorly disciplined) cat.

Meet BinBin (滨滨), also known as KitKat by habit of use, a name my friend the animal-naming guru readily approved.


I’m looking at a blank post page and finding myself unsure of how to proceed.

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, but that’s not the problem.

The problem is that I’ve had all these ideas over the past several weeks. I have scraps of potential posts littering notebooks, backs of homework papers and emails. But now that I have a chance to use them, I’m not sure that I can.

I’m not sure what will make the bang that will reinstate my blogging career, so I guess I’ll go for the whimper and hope someone notices.

I moved since our last conversation. I’m in Haerbin now. It’s the northernmost big city in China, I’m told. Those aren’t the most common comments I’ve gotten, though.

Just before I moved here, I took a trip to see a little more of this vast country, and managed to improve my Mandarin a little in the process. A common question was ‘Where are you from?’, which was a little hard to answer. I had lived in Changchun for two years, but all of my belongings were either in my backpack or in boxes a moving company had just delivered to an empty apartment in Haerbin. So I learned how to say, “I’m moving to Haerbin next week.” The second most common response was ‘Have you ever been there?’ immediately followed with ‘It’s very cold.’

But by far, the most common response to my mention of Haerbin was ‘The girls are very beautiful there.’

I’m not here to comment on that notion, but if you’re going to build a reputation for your city, that’s a pretty good start, I’d say.

Perhaps I’ll tell you more about Haerbin later. And more about that trip.

Right now, I’m tired of sitting in the window.

It’s Food Again

I think I might post about food too much. So I went ahead and did it again. This time, it’s the amazing potato soup I made this past weekend.