If you're here looking for those pictures I promised, all I can say is that it's not my fault. Every time I try to upload a picture it uploads a blank image. The same with video. Maybe in a day or two it will be back to normal. One can only hope! For now, I hope you can enjoy this replacement blog entry.
Some of the Americana girls here have started a new tradition. They're naming each month and giving it a theme. November was No Shave November, which wasn't really anything I could participate in since the school probably wouldn't appreciate my mountain man look. December was Destination December, so Angelyn, Jessica, and I went to Chengdu for a few days. January has officially been dubbed Jovial January. Anytime we say something mean about someone, we aren't allowed to eat anything sweet for 24 hours. Since bitterness has come out of our mouths, no sweetness can go in. I'm not sure what February is going to be, I've heard everything from Festive February (celebrate all those unknown holidays like National Handshake Day) to Frugal (speaks for itself) to Fanatic (wear sports gear every day). There were other ideas that seem to be evading me at the moment, so I'm not really sure which one will stick. We'll all be gone on various winter trips for the majority of February anyway, so most of us won't even be together to celebrate February.
March has already been declared Meager March. Angelyn was doing some research and found that the Chinese government has set the necessary income level of the poor and homeless at 169 yuan each month for urban dwellers. I think it's between 70 and 80 for country folks. What that means is that the government says anyone making 169 yuan each month and living in any city in China is making enough money to live on. If they make less than that, the government will provide them with the difference. After living on our 3500+ yuan monthly salaries for so long we think this sounds rather ridiculous, so some of us are going to attempt an experiment. For the entire month of March we are going to try and live on only 169 yuan. We're taking a lot of things into consideration. First of all, we don't pay for our apartments, utilities, and internet. We're going to work out a system of rationing those things so we can charge ourselves a fee, considering that someone making so little probably wouldn't have access to most of those things. Things should be more interesting if we need to go across town a lot. It costs 1 yuan to ride the bus, but if I leave and come back every day of the month then that is automatically 62 yuan out of my budget. More than 1/3 of the total! Since my school is on the outskirts of town, furthest from all the action at the other schools, I guess I'll be staying in shape from all that walking. There's also been discussion about giving all of the money that we save that month to some of the homeless in town. I'm sure we'll map it all out with more details as it draws nearer.
For now I need to work on finishing my class grades so I won't have to worry about them anymore. I'm leaving for language school in 5 days so I need to wash clothes, clean my apartment (yeah right), pack, finish grades, etc., etc. Hope you all have a great day! I'll keep you posted.