Last week was a slow work week, but a busy one otherwise. A 2×2′ bubbling in our living/dining room floor had grown to about 3×8′. Obviously, the installation had not been done properly (and that’s not the only problem in our apartment), so with expansion caused by the warmer weather, the floor was a good inch off the concrete base. Fortunately, Wu Ayi’s hubby used to do remodeling work. On Saturday, he and his friend repaired it all. They did great work, but now it’s a little weird for John and me, not having to deal with the puffing.
On Thursday, I attended the 2004 US-China Conference on Women and Leadership, an event cosponsored by Global Interactions of Arizona. It was a good meeting in that I made a lot of contacts with people from the US. I even met Korva Coleman of NPR! A total celeb in my book and she was rockin’ cool. Session-wise, I was a little disappointed, especially with the Chinese presenters. I mean, with statistics like “98% of SH women are very satisfied with their marriages,” it was tough not to realize the propagandist agenda. On top of that, since December I had been trying to get involved with the event’s local host– the SH Women’s Federation. I had emailed and called but to no avail. I finally met the recipient of my emails, and all she could say was, “No, our organization is for local women. We don’t collaborate with foreigners.” Uh, first of all, this is a US-China conference… purportedly, you want to work with American counterparts. Second, I am living in SH, and I am Chinese. I was so irritated and pissed off. But after sitting in on their presentations, I realized anyway that they aren’t even that feminist. They’re just into publicity and self-congratulation. Surprisingly, after some of their higher ups discovered I taught English, there was renewed interest in me– or my teaching at least. We’ll see how that goes.
Friday night there was a conference gala at the Yong Foo Elite. I know, sounds like a car model but it was a really jazzed up restaurant–used to be a private citizen’s home and then was formerly the British Embassy. Ironically, the event was sponsored by Elle Fashions, and there was a fashion show in the middle of dinner. Sure, feminists want to look good too, but I just thought it was a tad weird. Maybe if the models looked like healthy women, I could be a little more forgiving, but they were straight off the Asian runways. And the fashion industry/media is certainly responsible in many ways for driving women into this lifelong obsession with image and “beauty.” Anyway, I was still glad I attended. Meeting Korva Coleman was just too cool.
Yesterday, John and I had dinner with Bill and Helen at Shanghai Uncle in XuJiaHui. Bill’s been to the place five times already. Really good food but so pricey. Everything is pricey now that we have the Wu (ayi). She’s been hooking us up with all sorts of great eats. We don’t even have to leave the house anymore. 🙂 But SH Uncle was a good time. Afterwards, Helen came to our place to see the dogs. She was quite frightened of them but I think it’ll get better. Helen is a cool woman. She’s gonna try to hook me up with some more teaching work through her sister’s company and such. Meanwhile, Bill is kicking butt here in SH. He and some friends formed a company doing interior design/remodeling work.