- While taking in the river from John's fifth-story window some days ago, I watched as a young Chinese student clambered upon a rock beneath the wall that separates the back courtyard from the water. It was night and she surely felt alone. She threw a folded piece of paper over the wall, and shouted inaudibly over the waves. Its jejune babbling appeared indifferent to her swallowed cries. In 2046, we are told
Do you know what people did in the old days when they had a secret? They would climb a mountain and find a tree. They would carve a hole in the tree and whisper the secret into the hole, which they would pack with mud so no one would ever hear it.
- Friday afternoon I shared a taxi to Kangding with a young and modern Tibetan woman. When she realized I could basically understand her Sichuanese, she invited me to go for beers. I didn't meet her until Sunday, determined to make good on her challenge to outdrink me in spite of the school night. I caught a car in the rain, and as we approached Guza a techno song repeated the chorus, "I don't want no small dick boys." I saw her waiting through the window. She had a face like a wolf and, as I discovered when the evening drew to a close, a boyfriend.
- Using a volleyball and a basketball last week in my tutorials, I demonstrated how the tilt of the Earth's axis relative to the sun gives cause to the seasons. I also explained the reason different hemispheres and seasons see different stars, and why the moon waxes and wanes though the face of the man (or rabbit) never changes. For kicks, I showed them Google images of the relative size of the moon to the Earth, the Earth to the sun, the sun to the Milky Way (Silver River), and the Milky Way to the "rest" of the universe. After they took in the pictures, I drew the curtains for dramatic effect to reveal towering mountains and a swollen river. In Thursday's group, Karma Sonam exclaimed
Oohh! Life really is a dream!