Alexandra Sieh pens the column "China Monologues" for the Colorado Daily every other Tuesday. The Daily's former nightlife columnist has embarked on a journey overseas, where she reports back with us on life, culture and adventures as she is teaching English to children in Beijing. Get to know your pal, Alex.
What are your thoughts on hastags?
The more the merrier. Better yet, the more unconventional the better. I've used: #830DraftTime #ClimbyBro #FaceOfSleepDeprivation #AccidentProne #BFFSFoLife #LetsBuildAThemePark #DrinksOnMe #JustKiddingImPoor (Hint: Never take hashtags too seriously. They're a lot like life that way.)
Describe what one day in your life looks like.
Work days are filled with the screeches and giggles of children. I hear about pre-teen relationship drama and get questioned about why I'm still single. ("Aren't you supposed to be married if you're that old?") After I get done acting out a new word or pretending it's the wall's turn to speak — the spinning marker pointed to it, after all — I always get "Teacher, you're so crazy ..."
Kids, you have no idea.
Weekends are days to explore. I'll hop the train across town and meet my pal for a couple of baozi before walking over to the old Daoist temple that's filled with decrepit statues all posed in eerie stances. We'll read the plaques discussing the various departments of Daoist belief, snap photos of the cold, grey skies and pet the Golden Donkey for luck. On our way home, we pick up a beer or two and sip as we go (no open container laws) — talking about everything. "Hey, this uyghur restaurant has some sweet vegetarian food," leads to a delicious meal before we head to a craft brewery for locally brewed pints. A healthy blend of history, local culture and booze.
What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I've read countless books, articles, etc., that have inspired my writing. Editors have tweaked, altered and revised my work as I've worked as reporter, freelancer and columnist. But ultimately, the reason I'm a writer is because I always wanted to be one. I always knew I would, so I never stopped writing — at least for long — in some form or another. It's how I describe myself, and I let the incredible work of others inspire me to find my own "writer's voice."
What's the most important thing in your life right now?
Here's two: my iPhone — with its kick-ass camera and Pleco app for Chinese translations, sans WiFi connection — and my passport.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Teletransportation, or whatever it's called. In lieu of my letter of acceptance to Hogwarts to learn to apparate, I wish I could close my eyes and POOF be on a beach in Malaysia or in the peaks of Nepal. More than that, I'd love to SNAP be at my friend's house, crashing her 20-something birthday party or SHAZAM land in my parents' living room just in time for a movie and a home-cooked meal.
What would you do for a Klondike bar?
I suppose if I had a Klondike bar waiting in the wings, a scorpion from the Wanfujing snack street may seem more doable to force down...
Would you rather lick a hospital's doorknobs or slurp a booze shot off a bar floor?
At least off the bar floor I get booze out of the deal.
What are your favorite smells?
Mens' cologne — which I often opt to spritz on myself at a store and then sniff all day; chile simmering in my mama's kitchen; fresh, crisp mountain air; Tide detergent from the clothes hanging to dry in my room.
Read more about Sieh's adventures overseas: coloradodaily.com/columnists.