Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

This blog has not run a correction before, but I suspect it is merited this time.  I posted a link to my friend Marcella’s blog, but I think it went to a Chinese site…oops.  I fixed the link in the related post, but in case you already read it and suffered a twinge of despair at its inaccuracy, here is the correct link:

Check out the Dec 31st post, entitled “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night” for possibly incriminating pictures of us all in reindeer ears.
Happy Chinese New Year!

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If you don’t spend much time on Facebook, you might not know that I have not one, but two blogs.

“How come you didn’t tell us?”  Some people ask.  Well…because it’s new.  Ish.  And I wanted it to be nice and polished before I told too many people.  (If you know about the blog already, kindly skip to the “plea for help” section :))

About the Blog

As much as my own life amuses me from time to time, questions about the mechanics and dynamics of relationships are my true passion.  Allow me to introduce the “other side” of my little writing empire:  “Where Is This Going?“, a blog dedicated to the science of romantic relationships.  A little social science, a little snark.  You might like the result.

You can find out more about the blog on the About page (keep in mind that it was launched pre-wedding/China relo), or you can just start browsing on the Home page.

Some of my recent or favorite posts include

Is Playing It Cool Putting Your Love Life on Ice?”

Why Your Hot or Not Score Doesn’t Matter

Men…Do They Need Cuddling More Than Sex?

Plea for Help

Now, to the point.  I need your help.  I’ve written almost 30 posts and I’m ready to put the blog “out there”.  If you like it, or know someone who would, there are a few things you could do:

  • Leave a comment:  You can comment at the bottom of every post by clicking “leave a comment.”  Discussion is healthy, and it makes the blog more legit.
  • Subscribe and follow along!  See the right sidebar on the homepage to follow by email or RSS.

  • Share the blog with new people!  Post the link on Facebook, mention me on Twitter (@whereisthsgoing), email a post to a friend.  Use the sharing buttons below each post:  And, you know, if you have contacts at the New York Times or in some sector of the social science blogging/writing world, and you want to show them the blog…don’t hold back.  🙂

I’ll leave you with this:  about a week ago, the blog got 122 hits in one day–an all-time high.  It was so exciting.  I’d like to see the day I hit 200.  Or 1,000.  (Hey, I can dream) I’ll keep you posted!

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If you need a good honeymoon plan, or just an escape route after your next resignation or sundry bank heist, get yourself to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia.  Matt and I (that’s Mr. and Mrs. Schneider folks!) just returned home to China looking tanned, rested, and stuffed full of fresh fruit juice, satay, noodles, and good memories after our honeymoon to this great little tropical oasis.

Langkawi is a combination of the Malay words for “eagle” and “limestone.” In addition to impressive holdings in both of those categories, the island is also home to:

Wild monkeys (this one hissed at me!)

Prawn crackers (Antennae included–mmm tasty)

Muslim ladies fashion mags (the thumb is mine):

And everyone’s favorite bottled beverage:  KickAPoo Joy Juice.  (we’re not making this up…is it a pick-me-up, a laxative, an exploding joke-soda?  No one knows.  But don’t despair, it’s bottled in Georgia, so you just might be able to track it down state-side.)

After we picked out the island together (with recommendations from friends with Southeast Asian know-how, thanks Mary Hui!), Matt planned the rest of the trip, telling me only that we were going to stay at 2 different places and that I should pack a swim suit, sneakers, bug spray, and a tent.

Just kidding about the tent.

Our first stop was TanJung Rhu Resort, a small slice of heaven on the northern side of the island.  TanJung Rhu boasts Langkawi’s best beach, and Matt scored us an all-inclusive package that meant we could order whatever we wanted from pool-side drinks to room service to four-course dinners at their gourmet restaurant.  Yay for awesome husbands!

Here is the man himself:

Now, I’m showing you the good pictures just to stir up jealousy, but in truth, it poured buckets and buckets (did I mention buckets?) of rain for the first 3 days we were on the island, leaving us only 1 day of sun at this resort.  Matt and I would dart out in the least-worst of it for a dip in the ocean, a nettlesome bout with sea kayaks, or to unwind in the hot tub and order pool-side fried noodles in between thunderclaps.

It sounds bad, but when you’re on your honeymoon and in love, rain isn’t a terrible thing.  Especially with free room service.  Why don’t other places make room-service free?  We had so much fun ordering whatever came into our heads at any hour of the day–

“do you feel like one or two baskets of croissants?  And Watermelon juice?”

“Do you think just the frittata or should I add freshly sliced mango?”

One rainy afternoon we called three times (Another pot of coffee please!  And samosas, penang-leaf cheesecake, and spicy oxtail soup!). We swore to love each other even if we gained 5-19 pounds.

These are our feet in paradise.

And this is me making eyes at Matt (before gaining 5-19 pounds):

One of the coolest features of the TanJung Rhu beach is the natural land bridge that forms every day at low tide.  Normally, the ocean view looks like this (note the limestone outcroppings):

But, at low-tide, this happens:

Isn’t that wild?  Matt and I had all sorts of fun picking through the tide pools–it was just incredible.  We saw crabs, fish, and armies of tiny mollusks scurrying to and fro in all manner of borrowed shells.  We “rescued” two large yellow starfish and a brown fish that we found stranded in the sand (and we felt good about ourselves).  We saw 2 octopi with heads the size of golf balls hopping–yes, hopping–on all their legs trying to get back to the water.  One signaled his success with a powerful squirt that almost got me.  Matt unearthed a large, beautiful spiral conch shell, only to find it occupied by a huge, less-than-beautiful mollusk!  So we put it back before he decided to squelch up a finger or some such shenanigan.

Our next stop was Temple Tree resort, where we basked awash in sun-shine for 5 whole days. 

Temple Tree had a lovely, homey feel.  In addition to offering what is largely considered the best restaurant on the island (Nam Restaurant), the owner wanted to give guests the experience of sleeping in traditional Malay housing, so she uprooted residences from each state of Malaysia and transplanted them to the hotel grounds!   I could kick us for not taking more pictures, but neither of us are really picture people…alas.  You can see one at the back of the pool above.

Matt told me ahead of time that there was a little surprise at the second place.  I said “is it an elephant?” to which he said “well…not exactly.  But close.”  It turned out to be cats!  Here is me with one named Alex.

Temple Tree runs a cat rescue program on the side (and a dog clinic), and the friendly, healthy kitties roam the grounds and can be found in all sorts of places.

Setting up a honeymoon with cats was a loving gesture on Matt’s part because I love cats, and Matt and I have a running joke in which he pretends to hate them.  (If you saw him snuggling up with some of these felines, you’d know it was just an act.)

After resting, lounging, and eating at TanJung Rhu, we were ready for some exploring.  We took a boat tour (this is me wondering dazedly how we got on this boat),

And saw eagle habitats,

Mystical channels,

And a bat cave full of real bats a-squirming on the ceiling.  Eek!  We didn’t take a picture of that.

We also explored the nearby town, uncovering such delights as the Oblong Burger (I think we can all agree that the circular burger was growing a bit tiresome?),

Tomato, our favorite lunch place, (where for something like $11 we could both feast on local Indian, Arab, and Malay delights and iced kopi tarik (which means, literally, “coffee pull” and is the result of tossing coffee systematically back and forth between 2 metal pitchers to cool it down and create a pleasant froth)),

a lovely stretch of public beach,

and a great little motorbike rental shop that outfitted us with a zippy ride for the next day.  (For my general reaction to motorbikes, see here).

Bike neuroses aside, I have to concede that seeing Langkawi by motobike is super-awesome.  We flew around the island, past beaches and harbors, the wind in our hair; it was one of our best days.  We started by making our way to the Langkawi Cable Car, a main island attraction.

In case you are traveling with wayward or epileptic companions, the cable car authorities helpfully forecast the dangers of hopping in front of their cars:

If you manage to avoid the head-thwacking and deposit yourself safely into a cable car, you are then greeted with this comforting message:

Luckily, we made it to the top, with only a few shrieks on my part during bumpy transitions.  The view was spectacular.

Next stop on the motorbike, the Seven Wells waterfall:

Be careful!  (So helpful, these signs)

Then it was back home to relax:

And have a drink at Temple Tree’s happy hour.

And have Matt mimic me having a drink at Temple Tree’s happy hour.

A lovely honeymoon all around.  We were sad to leave.  But hope to be back someday.

And that’s the end!

Tee hee.

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Ladies and gentleman, I have been inattentive and downright remiss with this blog.  But I have a good excuse, and I’m going to use it:  I am getting married in 23 days!  I had hoped to glide seamlessly toward my wedding day, bypassing the glassy-eyed fog that usually clings to soon-to-be-brides.  But, alas, I have become mired like all matrimonial sisters before me.  I’m not only getting married, but I’m reducing and re-allocating my possessions and moving out of the country.  You know, just a day in the life…

So, basically, I float in a swirl of half-baked to-do lists and disparate errands.  If you caught me on the street, I’d likely babble on about where I’m ordering a parasol from or which jazz song I’m considering to “round out the prelude.”  Then, maybe I’d ask you what your name is, that kind of thing.  Last week, I went to the wrong airport while trying to visit my dad and his wife Susie in Orlando–which resulted in a harried cab ride from LGA to JFK, followed by a grumpy bride-to-be spending 2 hours returning to Brooklyn in defeat.  (Arriving 15 minutes before your flight, Delta explained kindly, doesn’t really work).  I made it the next day, though, so not all was lost.  Yesterday, I spent the evening annoyed that I would have to miss some pre-planned hang out time with my mom and a few high school friends because I had somehow double-booked a venue walk-thru with my jazz band.  Why would I do that?  A few minutes after I had finally laid my darting eyes to rest, my brain offered “August 9th is not next Tuesday.  Next Tuesday is only August 2nd.”  I had skipped a week in my mind!   Worrisome, true, but at least I hadn’t double-booked myself.

What I’m getting at is the WCT “Wedding Crazy Time” has fully encompassed me.   I will be a very enthusiastic bride, but it’s possible I’ll only have one shoe, or forget my bouquet.

So, to give myself a purposeful breather, instead of just feeling lazy, I am going to take a blogging break until late September.  I’ll carve out some time to get married, enjoy our honeymoon (Langkawi, a tropical island in Malaysia!) and then transition to life in China.

To tide you over until you get real pictures of us, here is a fun map of Langkawe (I’d like to avoid the Cave of Bats and the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden, please.)

And if you couldn’t quite read that, here are some fun pics swiped from Google images:

So, you know, we’ll suffer through somehow.  At least we’ll have each other…

If you don’t want to miss a beat when I resume posting, just subscribe by clicking “subscribe” to the right near the top of the post.  You won’t get spammed, I promise, you’ll just get an email whenever I submit a post.

I will miss you all–until October!

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This isn’t entirely a real blog post.  My apologies.

First–I have a NEW BLOG (I know, I’m like a writin’ fool).  This one is a space to explore the available research about relationships and breaking up, including gratuitous commentary and analysis by yours truly, of course.  Follow along and/or share with friends!

Second–I was feeling a little bit under the weather last night and this morning (allowing me to eschew my normal wake up call with little guilt), but it all led to a delicious breakfast set I thought you might enjoy. First, I made a pot of tea out of a mix of our two kinds of pearl tea: jasmine and honey (pearl tea is a kind of tea where they roll the tea leaves into hard little balls that unfurl in all their flavorful glory when you pour hot water over them–very nice).   This tea and a squeeze of lemon=happy throat.  Then, I made what I have christened the Mango TDF (To Die For) Smoothie:

Mango TDF Smoothie

-1 cup peeled/sliced mango (they are especially delicious in China right now)

-1 cup liquid yogurt (not sure if they have in US, but 3/4 cup plain yogurt and 1/4 cup milk ought to work)

-2 dashes cinnamon

-1 tbsp honey

Blend with ice cubes if desired, and enjoy!

Until next time–

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The People’s Republic

This past Sunday, Matt and I went to his church–it’s nearby and has an English service and American-style worship.  Chinese nationals were sitting alongside foreigners, we didn’t have to show passports, everything seemed weirdly normal.  They were even grilling hot dogs afterward to raise money for a trip the youth are taking to Cambodia this summer.  It was probably the most familiar environment I’ve encountered in China thus far (with the exception of the internationally appealing overstuffed chairs at Starbucks!). I left wondering if maybe the things I’d heard about church in China were exaggerated.

This Tuesday, I went to their monthly Ladies’ Coffee Night, curious to meet other English speakers.  I met ladies from all over the world–America, Canada, Holland, the Philippines, and China–and got to hear about the work that brought them (or their spouses) to China.  “Our church is probably the only one in China that operates the way it does” one woman explained to me.  She told me that the city of Shenzhen is part of a special economic zone that is more lenient by design, and whose proximity to Hong Kong doesn’t hurt either.  She had lived in other parts of the country where church was dicey–home group meetings during the week were discouraged and the Sunday service was only for foreigners.  They had to partner with a government-sponsored church to offer a week-night Bible study that Chinese adults could openly attend.  I left feeling very grateful to have landed in this part of the country.

If you’ve read your history book, you know that “church” as we know it is restricted in China.  Classical Marxist Communism viewed religion as both “the opiate of the masses” (for moving the focus to the afterlife and seeing life’s circumstances as God’s will rather than organizing against injustice) and, at times, as a possible agent of protest and revolution.  Atheism is the official state position in China.  There are some state-sanctioned churches, but they have to meet certain requirements, like not preaching on topics that sound revolutionary or openly proselytizing.  Also, the party (not the fun one) is welcome to “visit” and check the audience at any time.  Foreigners are given more leeway to practice their religion, but passports are usually checked at the door and mingling with nationals is frowned upon.

In the US, I take a deep breath when I mention Christian activities I’m involved in, as some people instinctively back away, assuming we won’t have much in common, or worried that I’ll judge their lifestyle or corner them and argue about why they should believe the things I do.  I can’t get over how different the vibe is here–the connotation of “church” in China is more like “underground rave scene” might be in the US–an oft-illicit activity that stirs curiosity, scaring away the cautious and making the adventurous salivate.  How lucky we are, ironically, to think of church or faith as restrictive, out-dated, or over-bearing in our country.

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While the true purpose of the Light* cream has not yet been revealed, I’ve had a coffee breakthrough.  Oddly enough, while making tea.   I poured the hot water into a mug and was about to add a tea infuser when I wondered casually what the horrible smell was.  Conclusion–our filtered water is gross!  Matt had told me this, but somehow I hadn’t processed it to the extent required to not put it in the tea kettle.  So, I used bottled water this morning and here I sit, sipping a half-way decent cup of black coffee with cardamom in it.  I decided to try it black first before phasing our calcium-free potentially dairy substitute back in.  So as to evaluate each element as it is added, like a properly trained scientist, of course.

Yesterday’s granola-hunting expedition was a success–I learned that the Chinese make honey from all kinds of non-bee sources, like chrysanthemum and other flowers.  I bought the kind with a big, happy bee on it just to be sure.  Matt later gently broke the news that there had been a problem with Chinese bee-sourced honey lately, but told me that “probably” this honey would be okay because I got it at the international grocery.  I’m baking it at 173 degrees Celsius, so I think I’ll survive, but if I don’t post tomorrow and instead make the local news, you might need to suspect the honey (and watch the local news?  Challenge Moment…).

Finally, my friend Katy (who hails from the lake at summer camp when we were 10 :)) has requested I add photos to this blog…a completely reasonable request, except that I don’t have a camera on my Chinese cell phone (this is my usual photo-taking method).  My new cell phone does, however, cheerily sing out “in-com-ing mAIlll” like a chorus from a 1960s game show, every time Matt texts me.  I haven’t figured out how to change the volume settings.  But I digress–I will endeavor to attach a photo soon!

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