Sorry for the relative lapse in communication. Our lives here have become routine, to the point that we no longer blink at most things that China throws at us (including a little boy peeing on the floor by produce in Carrefour, me getting grazed by a huge bulldozer on my daily walk through a construction site to work, and Alison being asked to write an English essay for a colleague's 8 year old child). We are gearing up for a great 3 weeks, though: on Friday, Sarah and we are going to Pingyao for the weekend, then we are meeting Uncle Manny at the airport on the following Friday to go to Yangshou for the weekend with him. He's staying a few days with us in Beijing, and we're so excited to show him around! Then he leaves Wednesday, and Alison and I go to the annual Beijing Epi conference 2 hours away at a hotel with a hotsprings.
Last Friday, I gave a talk about American high-schools, college application process, college/university, and pre-med/med school applications.
(PS: the unexpected benefit of this year is that by the end, I will be completely used to speaking in front of 100-200 people, often with only a days notice). There were two questions, the first about what Americans thought of China's relationship with Taiwain, and the second being what I thought the shortcomings were of the Chinese education system as it does not offer as much choice as the American system does. (PPS: This year will also make me a politician, able to provide PC answers without really answering questions.)
Then Saturday, we went to Sarah's apartment for Thanksgiving x2. I carved the turkey for the first time!
The food was DELICIOUS (including Alison's sweet potato casserole with homemade apple sauce). And we spent the rest of the afternoon talking. It was a great group--mostly Europeans, a few Chinese, and then the Fogarties (minus Simon who was actually in the NYC!)--and it actually felt like Thanksgiving. I did have a faux pas when I noticed that this Chinese man was speaking perfect French and I asked him how he learned it--turns out he's from an island near Madagascar that is still a French territory, so he speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, French, and English. Show off. We also had a lot of nonverbal communication, as demonstrated by Ben and Alison. To provide a quick work update for those of you who are interested: Today, I plan on sending a rough draft of another paper to the American PI, who will probably tear it apart. The first one was rejected by Lancet (big surprise) but we edited it and sent it to JAMA 2 weeks ago, and it was assigned an editor (woo hoo!), so keep your fingers crossed. And the 2nd one has been accepted to a small journal that's published within China...so no complaints. Things are going really well.