I recently made a discovery. China has all kinds of cool websites connecting you to whatever you need. You can find websites that connect people looking for carpools, tutors, social/work connections or "Guanxi," and even skills exchanges. I thought this was an interesting idea, so I checked it out. As it turns out, English is the most requested skill- surprise, surprise. Other listed skills are physical training, software, typing, foreign language, music lessons, cooking, etc. I decided to post an ad exchanging English tutoring for lessons in Chinese cooking. I can't come back in 18 months without being able to cook, right?
I ended up removing it in only 5 hours because there were so many requests. Apparently listing that I was American made everyone jump for the English. I set up two meetings, met four people, and turned down a bunch of others. So far so good. And what a great idea! Here's a pic with some of the folks and the food. One day I met two guys, and the other day I met two girls.
Both times I pulled in other friends and we had 4-5 people eating together. I wish we could do this type of thing in the States, but no one would trust each other enough to meet strangers like this in a big city. Just shows how safe China is...
One last picture- I have the most adorable Korean classmates. They took me out the other night for Korean BBQ. We sat outside on tiny little stools and cooked the meat over coals. VERY yummy, and very good company.