Tinder – the perks of online dating

We are after all in the 21st century, and I live in a city where men are everything but courageous when it comes to “picking up” girls, so I might as well explore if behind a screen things are looking up.
I just installed tinder, the worldwide online matching app sensation. Made an appealing (my opinion) profile, and here we go.
How does it work? You can choose a distance and age range, and one by one, matching profiles start popping up, and you must like or not like. So far so good, simple enough.
I already have a reputation for “picky”, and more than one friend told me at some point “lower your standards or you’re going to end up a spinster”. I used to laugh at this, but at this age, I might be starting to believe there is some truth to it.
Ready, set (comfortably on my sofa), go! Uf, a picture of a guy with his (I presume) mother. Not like, mommy’s boy is a no no. Next! A cropped picture but some blonde long hair still manages to stay in the pic. Seriously, you don’t have a picture without your (I presume again) ex in it? Clingy! Next! Too many tattoos, next! Fat (I am sorry, no no again for me), next! This time a sportive type, no shirt and the bathing pants lowered so we can see the work of art (those 6 pack abs he worked hard for, that is). I don’t need to see a 6 pack on full display in a bathroom mirror selfie. Congrats on those abs, mr narcissist, but no thanks. Next. A profile picture showing an independentist flag. I’m sorry, am I on the wrong site? I thought we are supposed to show ourselves, or is this extreme patriotism who you are, you are no longer an individual but a part of a region trying to be independent?I am looking for a date with one guy, not a country, not to mention I find boring this topic, neeeext! Oh, a normal one! Looking attractive, no nudity, no mother in the profile picture, no blonde in sight. Like! Hmmm, he apparently clicked like as well, there is a chat opening up. Starting here, anything can happen, the good, the bad and/or the ugly.
And so on and so forth. I have discarded countless (freak, mama’s boy, naked, hang up on the ex, crazy, narcissist, ugly(sorry!!), crazy eyes, too strong political views, married guys looking for hook-ups, and the list can go on, but i have “liked” a few I actually found interesting.
I am in the chatting phase right now, have not seen any in person so far, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
I’ll be back!

P.S. @tindafella, on instagram, seems to be my soulmate! 😂. Big 👍 to you man! Yes, it seems we are all freaks…

Advertisements

Mandarin Summer Program at BLCU

Thinking about the endless nights of google-ing when I knew I wanted to spend my summer studying Chinese (my newest shiniest hobby), I decided to post my own perspective on the matter. The matter being the Chinese Summer Training at BLCU (Beijing Language and Culture University).

It is very subjective, of course, but there are things I wished someone would blog about.

Is it worth it?

Some say it’s great, some say it’s s**t. The truth is, as always, somewhere in the middle. If you want to go home with a significant level of Chinese, you need to study study study. Sure, some teachers are not that great (mine was fantastic, though), but in general by participating in Class and get some homework done, you’ll learn a great deal of Chinese. Truth being said, it’s quite easy getting distracted, but in the end, loosing yourself on the streets of Beijing can help a great deal – very few people speak another language besides Chinese. Even if you don’t study that much, just going to classes helps a great deal.

Getting in:

Fill in the forms and e-mail them, that is pretty much what the require. Then wait patiently for the letter. It will come, eventually.

Accommodation

Now I think it is pretty easy, but I know from experience it can be pretty confusing. The best option (in my opinion, of course) is the International Student House, or Building 17. Why? It is right outside the campus door, which means more liberty. It is slightly more expensive that the average dorm, but no curfew, hot water all the time, some ladies cleaning the rooms every morning (some mornings against your will :). Dorm 17 can fill up quite early, so try and book a room ASAP (once you have the letter from BLCU). For the single room they’ll say it’s not possible, no more rooms available, etc, but don’t give up easy. Complaining and wining is the most efficient form of getting things. If you can’t get one single, the double room is not that bad. They will assign you a roommate sooner or later (mine was later, thank god!). When you call, best to have near you a Chinese speaker friend, if not, it will become pretty soon a tragicomedy, but in the heat of the moment, it will look more like a horror story. I know a couple of people who did not book and just showed up looking convinced they did reserve a room, and they got the most-wanted single room, but it’s a lottery you can very well loose.
I stayed in Dorm 17, so I can only say about the other dorms what I heard from others. There are some with the showers outside the building (can’t imagine going out for a shower in the winter), or with a guard outside watching the time, and if you break the curfew 3 times you’re out, and so on. Other than that, I imagine they’re fine. And quite cheaper.

Eating

BLCU diner is cheap, very cheap, and the quickest solution to get a rapid, greasy meal. There are some restaurants and cafes in the same building, but significantly more expensive. My favorite place for lunch? The U-Center (shopping mall across the street) cafeteria, they have the best noodles I had in my life, for 1,5 Euros a (huge) bowl.

Level test

classroom

When you show up you will have to pass a level test, which is quite accurate. Bear in mind you will be in the same classroom with 20 other people and each of you have to speak “publicly”. The teacher asks all of them one by one and start asking questions in Chinese, gives you some texts to read, and that’s it. But if you’re shy, start preparing. Once you start classes, if you are not happy with the level, you can always switch (with teacher’s approval).

Classes

I studied Chinese for 6 month before going to BLCU, and I got to be in level B. I was very proud of myself for that, but it lasted quite little. To my initial shock, the teacher came in and started to speak at normal speed (which for me was terribly fast), only in Chinese. My first impulse was: What am I doing here???? Bear for a while before running to switch to the lower level, after a couple of days it gets better. I learned a great deal, even if at first I was absolutely terrified of the poker faced teacher, and I will always remember her well.

Colleagues

Mostly students, coming from all over the world, mostly in their (very) early 20s, and in my case, they knew a great deal compared to me. It was quite frustrating at first, until I found out most of them have been studying for at least 2 years. So don’t hurry in beating yourself up that others seem to pick up quicker than you. Chances are they already studied that, but they are in the same level as you, so head up.

Trips

The Summer program lasts for 4 weeks. First week-end is normally a trip to the Great Wall. Packed with tourists and students, but still stunning. Don’t forget to charge the camera!! And it’s a good opportunity to eye people and make some friends. Most of the students are by themselves, so they are as eager as you to bond.

great wall

Then, for the other free week-ends, they organize trips. In my case it was Inner Mongolia (a Chinese province) and Datong caves,

datong

and the other to the Shaolin Temple.

shaolin

They are quite cheap, well organized, and allow you to see a bit outside Beijing, and make some friends outside the classroom. Very touristy though, which I guess is fine for the average 20 years old student.

Going out

Propaganda and Sensation are two twin discos 5 minutes away from Dorm 17, and quite popular as well. Wu is a good option, and if you fancy a western bar, Helen’s is right outside Sensations. This is for the every-day party scene, for a more posh and no-students areas, San Li Tun Village is Beijing most popular party scene.

Personal advices:

Have some notions of Chinese when you arrive, otherwise ordering at KFC can be a nightmare, not to mention the shock when you realize almost no one speaks English.
Make the most of the sunny days! There is a huge difference seeing the Summer Palace on a normal contaminated dark-grey fog, and on a sunny day.
If you are in your 30s, like me, you will find yourself surrounded with very young people who will look at you with wide eyes, while imagining you with a walking stick. Never-mind the age gap, you can meet great people and make life lasting friends.
Don’t be afraid to interact with locals. Young Chinese are eager to interact as well, we had the best days with our new Chinese friends we met on the street while asking for directions. And what can be better than a cultural exchange in your broken Chinese mixed with their broken English?
Try not to party EVERY night, and most important of all, try not to skip classes. Even if you will find very few moments to study outside classroom, the mere fact of being in there helps a great deal in improving your language skills.
And most of all, HAVE FUN! It’s been a great experience, I will always remember it with a smile on my face.

P.S. It’s 3 AM, so please be gentle with my grammar or spelling mistakes. :). Any doubts or questions, happy to help.

Grass is always greener…

Must be the human nature, but it still pisses me off that I cannot break this nasty habbit of wanting what’s out of my reach for some reason. 

Could be anything, from sugar cravings on periods I am denying myself the pleasure, to the obsession of having a dog when my lifestyle is completely incompatible with the responsibility, a man that ignores me, or an expensive piece of clothing when I’m soooo poor. 

So am I supposed to trust my own mind in these situations? Do I want it because I really want it, or do I want it because I can’t have it? 

Andy Warhol says: “As soon as you stop wanting something, you get it.”

Problem is… I stop wanting something the minute I find something else out of reach to replace it. It’s just a question of convincing myself that I want a lettuce instead a whole chunk of tasty chocolate. 

Yeah. Good luch with that.

 

Bye bye 2012

Bye bye 2012!!

All in all, you’ve been a good year. I should check out my last year’s “New Year Resolutions” if I could find it… the only thing I remember on it is the money… I’ve become a full-on capitalist, it seems.

Anyway, it was the year I have decided to learn another language, and when I chose Chinese, I could not have dreamt of the impact that had on my life… So I went on and spent my holiday in Beijing, pursuing this complicated language (with a relative rate of success), and meeting so many great people, if not so young… which was good by the way, I’ve become younger and sillier myself. I’ve made some good friendships that hopefully will lastImage

This is the year I met people who went around the world… or at least around a continent, and they showed be beyond a doubt that it can be done.

This is the year that I saw the Great Wall, ddd

the sunshine from Spain highest top, the Teide, and most important of all, I saw it with my dear friend… a short but ever so fulfilling trip

Image

Taipei 101 from the Elephant Mountain, connected with a friend, Image

then Hong Kong – I’ve wanted to see it for so long!!, (and disconnected with another friend, unfortunately),

Image

I saw my family more, in happy reunions over the summer, and not so happy reunion over my dad’s stupid accident that left him on a hospital bed for a month now… but I have spent more time with him now that I spent in the last few years, and I felt so much closer to my family, so all’s well when ends well.

My love life has been a complete disaster this year, too, but as Bia said, you can’t stay in and wait for a guy to knock on your door, right? That should bring out a very good resolution for the next year: go out (and about)! I’ve heard a very interesting resolution, that you should hook up with at least one guy in one month… I should steal the idea and put it in practice… my hooking up skills are rustier by the minute, haha.

All in all, it was a good year, I have a good job, I did a few good trips, I met really nice people, so thank you 2012… will remember fondly, but looking forward to what 2013 will bring. I feel it’s going to be a hell of a year!!