When the weather was so great outside in this early spring in Chengdu, I just couldn’t stand staying at home. So…I went out with my girl friend to enjoy some sun.

     People from Sichuan LOVE spicy food, and I’m definitely one of them. Our first stop was the most famous Maocai (冒菜)in the city. It only opens daily from 10:30 am to 2 pm. I went there once last summer but the beef was sold out even my friend and I lined up for more than two hours. Luckily we had it this time. It was indeed that good!

     I haven’t been walking like this in the city for over five years, and I discovered several places that I have never been or noticed before in my life.

Chengdu Art Gallery:

Chengdu Catholic Ping An Qiao Church (I didn’t know there’s catholic church in Chengdu at all…):

Please excuse me for these bad quality photos, but here’s some more:

Again, I’m so happy to be home!


THREE days until the Chinese New Year!
My last Chinese New Year at home was 5 years ago, so I can’t describe how excited I am right now. And every time I think about I will stay in Chengdu for half a year doing what I am passionate about makes me smile. I can also spend a lot more time with my family and friends here. I’m so looking forward to the coming Rabbit year.

The past two weeks:

– Met family and friends
– Visited high school teacher
– Shopped around
– Karaoked
– Ate Ate and Ate a lot of good food!!!

The next few months:

– Work at Mercy Corps’ Chengdu office to help out with some PR and publication work
– Learn more about international development and nonprofit in China
– Wait for grad school information
– Plan my Europe trip with an amazing friend (Maybe)

Chinese New Year plan:
– Hot spring and ski trip with family
– Chongqing trip with friends
– Shop in Hong Kong with my dear mom

Haha…My 2011 Chinese year will be a GREAT GREAT year!

I finished my internship at Special Olympics Oregon last Wednesday and I will be a college graduate in less than a week! Someone told me that there are three biggest things in life: born, graduate from college, and get married. I can’t believe I completed two already. Although I don’t see the next big thing coming anytime soon, graduating from college and receiving a degree is definitely an end as well as a beginning of a new chapter in my life.

I’m so happy that I participated the senior experience program in Portland and got the chance to intern at Special Olympics. If I chose to graduate in the past summer, I would not have the chance to experience the life living in a city in United States (not until next year at least) and learn so much about nonprofit organizations.

Sometimes I feel I’m too young to have a life in Eugene. Not saying that I don’t like Eugene, but I can only imagine I live in Eugene for a long period of time after I turn 60. Portland is perfect. The city isn’t too big, but I have a lot more to do here. Besides my internship, I enjoy meeting new people in Toastmasters club and CouchSurfing, going out with friends to explore good Asian restaurants, etc. I will definitely miss Portland later after I leave.

Senior experience gave me chance to learn about nonprofit organizations also. After decide to pursue a career in nonprofit in the field of international development, I feel I know so little about this field. Thanks to the senior experience, at least I’m learning new things every day. It is a great start of my nonprofit career. (:

P.S. I went to Lucky Strike on Saturday. It’s probably the only Sichuan style restaurant in Portland. As a girl who spent 18 years there, I would say the taste is pretty close to real Sichuan food. If you LOVE spicy food, don’t miss it.

Here’s the website:  http://luckystrikepdx.com/index.html

I have been reading and learning about various of issues in international development by myself for about two months now. One week, one issue. This week, I’m learning about Microfinance.

Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. There are now about 3,000 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in operation around the world with 100 million clients. Many of these clients are from the poorest countries in the world. In 2006 the most famous MFI, Grameen Bank (and its charismatic founder, Muhammad Yunus), won the Nobel Peace Prize. Many MFIs have a dual mandate – to create viable FIs, and to alleviate poverty. The success of these institutions demonstrates that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services.

I watched a TED speech given by Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva, talking about her experience and the world first one-to-one microlending online service. I’m deeply touched.

Grameen Trust has several microfinance projects going on in my home Sichuan. I hope I can check them out and learn more when I go back in late January.

The following is a conversation someone had with a Chinese ESL student studying in the U.S.:

A:  So what did you think about the results of the election yesterday in the U.S.?

Student: Not much because isn’t Obama still the President?

A: Well yes, but he lost control of the House.

Student: So where will he live?

A: The White House-that’s where the President of the U.S.A. lives.

Student: So he didn’t lose his house?

A: Oh no wait-I meant the House of Representatives.

Student: Oh I see, so how can he still be the President if he lost control of something in his government?

A: Well the American political system is different from the Chinese political system.  Obama won’t be up for election until 2012 but because of this election he will have more difficulty doing his job.

Student: He already seems to have a lot of problems doing his job.  So why do Americans want to make it even more difficult for him?

A: Good point-I can’t explain it.  American politics is very complicated.  I’m not sure even most Americans understand what happened yesterday.

Student: People say the political system in China is bad but it is very simple and I think China works very well.

A: Maybe so but then why are you trying to get into An American university?

Student: Good point.  Ask my father.  It’s not my idea.

I was shocked when I first heard about this conversation. But I understand it later because most of us do know nothing about elections. SAD.

I had my first real Thanksgiving dinner with Ashlea Holcomb and her family on Thursday. It was such a good time and I  learned some more about American culture. I was asked about things I find new when I first came to the country and I couldn’t think of any during that time.

But, there are actually plenty of them (haha…):

  • There are many homeless people also. They stand at intersections and hold signs to ask for help. General Chinese think ALL Americans are rich and USA is the paradise.
  • McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut are cheap food and not that popular. They are really popular in China  and some kids even like to have their birthday party there. Pizza Hut maybe can be considered as “luxury” several years ago.
  • Drivers are super nice. Pedestrians are the king. Cars always let the pedestrians go first. Such thing happens in China so rare that if it does happen to you, you should totally go buy lottery because you are soooooooo lucky.
  • Chinese food here are generally cheaper than other type of food and taste totally different from real delicious Chinese food. P.F. Chang’s food to me is just China Blue’s on a prettier plate.
  • Wild animals are everywhere, even in the city.
  • Mormons are not just in Utah.
  • 7-11s don’t sell lunch and dinner.
  • A lot of people hate Walmart.
  • People always ask me if I eat cats and dogs. NO I  DON’T. And none of my friends and family does.
  • Tiananmen Square protests is a common topic when talking about politics.
  • Why people need a gun at home? See the following ads I found:

The list goes on…I will update later…Maybe…

Please forgive me that I have been interning for Special Olympics for 8 weeks and I just knew today that there’s a famous software for nonprofit organizations called Raiser’s Edge.

It states in one of their news releases that more than 13,000 nonprofits around the world  use The Raiser’s Edge for donor management and it provides everything a nonprofit needs for complete fundraising and online marketing.

The Raiser’s Edge 101:
• The Raiser’s Edge helps nonprofit tracking all the details associated with building donor relationships,  functioning online marketing including online donation and registration, email communications, and targeting fundraising campaigns.
• It strengthens relationships and facilitate communication with donors and prospects across channels—with access to extensive biographical and demographic information for any individual or organization.
• It makes recording detailed information easy for all types of gifts and pledges for both online and offline transactions.
• It makes well-informed decisions with data from easy-to-access reports, and configures dashboards to receive up-to-the minute analysis of fundraising performance of their online and offline marketing and fundraising activities.

Here’s a useful guide I found online (highly recommend): http://www.blackbaud.com/files/support/guides/re7/re7begin.pdf

My goal for my last two weeks at Special Olympics Oregon is to learn as much as I can about this software. (: