A GLBT Perspective from Thailand : Interview

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I (Kyle, also seen as Administrator kL) got the chance to interview a gay male from Thailand. He's in his mid 20's and he's here to refine his English at a university in Texas. He refers to himself as Karn, which is a nickname that's suitable for people in the U.S. to pronounce!

The reason Karn is improving his English is because he wants to go to culinary school here. But, in order to get into culinary school he has to pass a "toefle" test, which tests his English.   From there, he wants to go back to Thailand to start his own coffee / pastry shop.

Karn has been here since August 27th, 2009. He isn't officially "out" to anyone here in the U.S. In Thailand he is, but only to a certain few. However, he says Thailand is very accepting of gays. They see gays basically the same as everyone else in Thailand. I asked him if they have the "club" atmosphere in parts of the gay community like we do here, and he said they do. They have all the lights, the music, the dancing, etc. They accept anyone of 20 years or older, but some are less strict and let almost anyone in. The drinking age is 20 in Thailand.

He also stated that in general, Thailand's family structure is different. They are bigger and they live together much longer than the families here in the U.S. In a social context, Karn said that nobody kisses in public in Thailand, but here in the U.S. it's not uncommon to see that kind of public affection. Also, even things like holding hands, etc. in Thailand are rarely seen.

As far as the straight acting vs. gay acting dichotomy in the gay community, Karn said he noticed more straight acting gay men here than in Thailand. He said that in his home country female acting is more apparent. While it can vary depending on perspective, I thought this was an interesting thing for someone to notice in the U.S. Gay men seen as straight acting given the often-stereotyped images is a bit surprising, but perhaps Thailand has a bigger ratio of flamboyant types than we know. 

-Kyle (GLBT International Initiative)

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The Edge of Heaven : Movie Review

The Edge of Heaven is a motion picture that documents the eerie and yet astonishing connections between citizens, a young political rebel, and a prostitute in Turkey and Germany. Each one of them have a remarkably, well defined story behind their life.

Overall, the film presents the story in a very well structured, dramatic way. The Edge of Heaven really gets the viewers attention through very well-done acting, beautiful scenes, and vivid, dramatic twists and turns. The connections between this film and anything considered "GLBT" is a relationship that forms between two of the young women that are integrated into the storyline. While the relationship isn't the basis of the movie, it still holds a significant role in the events that take place before and after it began.

For those who haven't seen this movie, it's very much recommended. This movie leaves the viewer with a feeling of connection to the characters in the story, but at the same time an eagerness to look into their future as they approach "the edge of heaven."

-Kyle (GLBT International Initiative)

On December 4th, the GLBT International Initiative presented The Edge of Heaven in Nils Hasselmo Hall. This was the last free film for the fall semester in our GLBT International Film Series. Keep posted for possible films in the upcoming semester, Spring - 2010!

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GLBTA Movie Time: A Year Without Love - Un Ano Sin Amor (Argentina,2005)

This movie is coming soon in Dec 1st!


A Year Without Love (2005)

With the Clock Ticking Down, a Desire to Survive

By LAURA KERN
Published: February 10, 2006 in New York Times

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In "A Year Without Love," background ticking sounds represent the life clock of Pablo (Juan Minujín), a youngish gay writer afflicted with AIDS, and count down the passing seconds of his dreary existence. It is based on the diaries of the real-life Pablo Peréz, who is listed as the screenwriter, with the director, Anahí Berneri.

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This intriguing but never fully arresting film by a first-time feature director recounts in uncomfortable close-up Pablo's day-to-day activities inside the apartment he shares with a mentally unstable aunt in Buenos Aires and a hospital to which he makes regular visits.

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He occasionally engages in (protected) sexual acts with strangers at a local porn theater, but it's his involvement with an S-and-M group -- and his attraction to Martín, one of its core members -- that strengthens his desire to live. (During these sections the ticking temporarily ceases.)

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The S-and-M activities Pablo dabbles in aren't particularly hard core, or impassioned, even, like those, say, of Bob Flanagan, whose similar quest for finding pleasure in physical pain while fighting a debilitating disease was documented in the 1997 film "Sick." In fact, Pablo, looking numb and inexpressive, seems to be in it more for the companionship.

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The film boldly combines vigorous promiscuity with sexually transmitted disease and reveals rare insight into the endurance and treatment of illness, but getting through it requires a level of commitment audiences may be reluctant to invest.


A Year Without Love

Opens today in Manhattan.

Directed by Anahí Berneri; written (in Spanish, with English subtitles) by Pablo Peréz and Ms. Berneri; director of photography, Lucio Bonelli; edited by Alex Zito; music by Leo García and Martin Bauer; art direction, Maria Eugenia Sueiro; produced by Diego Dubcovsky, Daniel Burman and Maximiliano Pelosi; released by Strand Releasing. At the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 95 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Juan Minujín (Pablo), Mimí Ardú (Aunt), Javier Van de Couter (Martín), Carlos Echevarría (Nicolás), Bárbara Lombardo (Julia) and Osmar Nuñez (Báez).

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Some other
Critic Reviews:

Los Angeles Times | Kevin Thomas
A Year Without Love is only Berneri's third feature yet is an elegant, economical work.Read the full review


Variety | Eddie Cockrell
An Argentine writer dying of AIDS searches for a medical cure and some human warmth in the hospitals and S&M clubs of Buenos Aires in dignified, thoughtful drama A Year Without Love.Read the full review


San Francisco Chronicle | Peter Hartlaub

It's a weighty and visually interesting movie that unfortunately doesn't have a strong message beyond its overwhelming bleakness.Read the full review


This movie is coming soon in Dec 1st!






A Struggle Over Gender Identity - Free Film Viewing: "Ma Vie en Rose"


Ma Vie En Rose
(my life in pink)



Photo

A Film By Alain Berliner


Date:
Friday, November 20, 2009
Time:
6:00pm - 7:40pm
Location:  
Carlson School 1-123

"Ma Vie en Rose" ("My Life In Pink")
is the story of Ludovic, a little girl born in a little boy's body. For him, nothing is more natural than to change his gender. As a hopeful and sensitive child, he truly believes that a miracle is going to happen. He will be a girl, no doubt about it, and he's in love with Jerome, his school mate, and son of his father's colleague. Initially a source of amusement, an outrage begins in their suburb when the two boys are discovered pretending to get married. The family begins to realize with horror that his desire to be a girl isn't just a little boy's fantasy. They try to make him change his mind, to no avail. The situation turns into a real-life drama of intense reactions from neighbors, friends, and teachers, resulting in a profoundly optimistic ending.

GLBTA Movie Time: The Bubble(Also named Ha-Buah)(Israel, 2006)


Overview

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User Rating: 7.3/10 (IMDB)
Director: Eytan Fox
Writers: Eytan Fox (writer)
              Gal Uchovsky (writer)
Release Date: 7 September 2007 (USA) more
Genre: Drama | Romance more
Also Known As: The Bubble (International: English title) (USA) (new title)

Runtime: USA: 117 min | 
              Israel: 90 min |
              Canada: 117 min (Toronto International Film Festival)

Country: Israel

Language: Hebrew | Arabic | English

The movie follows a group of young friends in the city of Tel Aviv and is as much a love song to the city as it is an exploration of the claim that people in Tel Aviv are isolated from the rest of the country and the turmoil it's going through. The movie looks at young people's lives in Tel Aviv through the POVs of gays and straights, Jews and Arabs, men and women. It all begins when Noam, a young Israeli soldier, serves in the reserve forces and meets at a check point a Palestinian young man called Ashraf. Following an incident during which Noam misplaces his ID card at the check point, Ashraf shows up on the doorstep of the apartment that Noam shares with a gay man and a straight woman. How will the meeting affect all of their lives? Written by A.M.

"The Bubble" is the story of a group of young people who live in Tel-Aviv, Israel. The movie follows the group's difficulties of living in Israel's reality. Their routine breaks when a young Palestinian man enters their lives. Written by A.T


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中文剧情概要:

    远离烦嚣的海岸城市,帅哥美女的浪漫天堂,台拉维夫──被誉为「西亚的纽约」,时尚与文化之都。有人说,来到台拉维夫的旅客,只需卸下一次行李就够,因为这里好玩的地方太多,让人一来就爱上它,停不下来也舍不得离开。

  故事就从这里开始......在台拉维夫的一间单身公寓里,两个「酷男」诺安、亚里与美丽性感的露露同 住屋檐下,两男一女的友谊万岁、爱情至上,开心地日夜笙歌,每天三八吐槽、彼此分享生活的悲喜与秘密。诺安是个娃娃脸阿兵哥,有一天在检查哨碰上巴勒斯坦 来的性格帅男艾斯拉,两人一眼「电」上、天雷勾动地火,谁都没料到这段几乎不可能的「以巴之恋」,竟会爱得如此炙热浓烈。於是,艾斯拉也为爱来到台拉维夫 讨生活,成了公寓里「3+1」的第4号同居人。

the bubble4.jpg  美女露露活泼可人、大胆寻爱,却总是恋上不该爱的沙猪劈腿男,看不见身边纯情宅男的默默守候。而亚里则经营一间雅痞咖啡馆,每天在店里悠哉来去,心中暗暗渴望一生一世的真心爱情,却老是只堵到喜欢一夜温存的危险情人。

  三男一女、异性同性、友谊爱情、微笑眼泪、激情失恋......在繁华缤纷的台拉维夫,他们把国仇家恨、鸿沟界线都远远抛诸脑後!只在泡泡公寓与雅痞咖啡馆里开心乐活,尽情释放年轻、享受生命,直到无解难题迎面袭来的那一秒钟......。

     导演伊藤福克斯(Eytan Fox)的作品多涉及同志、种族等议题,是目前国际影坛最受瞩目的以色列电影导演。前两部剧情长片《我的军中情人》Yossi & Jagger、《男人的心中只有男人》Walk On Water皆曾在台湾上片,受到本地影迷欢迎,更在世界各地皆创下绝佳口碑与票房。他是公开出柜的电影创作者,在幕前幕後都与制片、编剧伙伴吉尔乌齐斯基 (Gal Uchovsky)长期合作,《泡泡公寓4人行》是他的最新作品,已在国内外多项影展获得观众票选奖。



Movie Review for The Bubble

Amazing film, 8 July 2006
10/10
Author: dortner01 from United States

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

I am currently on vacation in Israel for summer, and so was able to see this incredible film. A bit of a warning before I begin writing: I speak fluent Hebrew, and so the Hebrew parts were no problem; however, about a quarter (a bit less) of the film is in Arabic, and I was unable to understand a bit of this subtitled bit. This did not detract from my understanding of the film, but did cause me to miss a few jokes which evoked some strong laughs in the theater.

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After a year of American Cinema which many hailed as one of the greatest years for homosexual cinema and relationships, it takes something truly special to stand head and shoulders above the rest; yet, "The Bubble" surpasses all others with its blend of excellent acting, witty dialogue, and relevant political climate.

The film opens on a checkpoint on the Israeli-Palestinian border; For the first few moments, we are unsure about the type of movie we have walked in on. Yet, this is an important element of this film's strength. The political situation, and the extreme tension in the air is constantly in the background. Most importantly, Tel Aviv serves as a character of its own in this film. It is constantly referenced. Street names and restaurant names are constantly exchanged. The skyline and city development is critiqued quite harshly, and ultimately the city evolves along with the film The film focuses on the love between Noam (Ohad Knoller) and a Palestinian immigrant, Ashraf(Yousef 'Joe' Sweid), with the societies of Tel Aviv and Palestine serving as a constant foil. We always know that their relationship is forbidden, and this creates a sense of urgency rarely present in cinema. The love is incredibly strong, and stands as the centerpiece of the film. The secondary relationships and friendships are equally strong: flamboyant restaurant owner Yelli's ( Yousef 'Joe' Sweid) relationship with the ultra-butch and grating golani solider, Golan (Zohar Liba), is particularly a source of amusement. The love scenes which abound in this film are all exquisite, fine crafted works of art, and the cinematography is astounding: In the first love scene of the film, the camera pans down as a male character gives oral sex to Lulu (Daniela Virtzer), and dissolves into a shot of Noam and Ashraf. This shot any many others lead the viewer to realize that all of these relationships are expressions of the very same form of love.

To give away more of the storyline would be a tragedy, but know that there is a lot of political tension and tragedy which touches onto the current world political climate, so I will instead focus on the witty dialogue. Even when watching this movie in my second language, I could not stop laughing throughout. Lines of particular amusement include the question of whether gay suicide bombers receive virgin women or men in heaven, and an analogy of Sampson from the bible as the worlds first suicide bomber. This dialogue shows a particular sense of purity and reality which is rarely seen in Cinema. The music used in the film is also particularly powerful. Music is only used in times when characters legitimately could or should be listening to it, and in one scene the music weakens when a character removes one earphone and stops when he removes the other. Little elements like this truly elevate the film.

I could not give greater recommendation to a film; this is a superb work of cinema which is catharthic as well as extremely well crafted.



GLBTA Movie Time: Lan Yu (HongKong, 2001)

Overview

Director: Stanley Kwan
Writer: Jimmy Ngai (screenplay)
Release Date: 22 November 2001 (Hong Kong) more
Genre: Drama | Romance more
Awards: 8 wins & 12 nominations more



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Plot Summary for Lan Yu

Beijing, 1988. On the cusp of middle-age, Chen Handong has known little but success all his life. The eldest son of a senior government bureaucrat, he heads a fast-growing trading company and plays as hard as he works. Few know that Handong's tastes run more to boys than girls. Lan Yu is a country boy, newly arrived in Beijing to study architecture. More than most students, he is short of money and willing to try anything to earn some. He has run into Liu Zheng, who pragmatically suggests that he could prostitute himself for one night to a gay pool-hall and bar owner. But Handong happens to be in the pool hall that evening, and he nixes the deal. He takes Lan Yu home himself and gives the young man what turns out to be a life-changing sexual initiation. Handong and Lan Yu meet often, and the boy is soon very secure in his love for the man. But Handong insists that he wants a play-mate, not a lifelong companion, and warns Lan Yu that they will eventually break up. Meanwhile, he showers expensive gifts on Lan Yu, expecting to deflect the boy's love by turning it into gratitude or dependency. Lan Yu is undeterred, until the night he catches Handong with another boy. They meet again on the night of June 4th, 1989. Handong goes looking for Lan Yu, worried that he might have been caught up in the army's murderous sweep through Tiannmen Square. Handong gives Lan Yu his most lavish gifts yet - a newly built villa on the outskirts of Beijing and a car - and they begin living together as a couple. But again, Handong shies away from his feelings for the boy. He enters a whirlwind romance with Jingping, a professional translator who has helped his company in trade negotiations with Russians, and marries her. Lan Yu moves out of the village and Handong loses contact with him. Before long, Handong is divorced. He runs into Lan Yu by chance at the airport one day, and an invitation to try Lan Yu's home cooking leads to a resumption of their relationship. Now, at last, Handong is learns to feel and show commitment to his lover - just when his company comes under investigation for smuggling and illegal fund-raising. Handong is facing long-term imprisonment, possibly worse, but to the delight of his sister Yonghong and her husband Daning, he is bailed out by Lan Yu. The boy sells the villa and the car and pools the proceeds with his own savings - yielding enough to get Handong out of trouble. Finally, Handong and Lan Yu can be happy together. But fate can play cruel tricks. Written by Strand Releasing {strand@strandreleasing.com}

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Wealthy entrepreneur Handong runs a trading company in Beijing. His loyal lieutenant one night introduces him to Lan Yu, a penniless architecture student. Handong enjoys bedding the boy, but doesn't think of an on-going relationship. Written by Anonymous


中文剧情概要:

一切发生在1988年那个炎夏的晚上。帝皇桌球室。高干子弟陈捍东跟发小刘征及一干人等正玩得兴起的当儿然后看见蓝宇。从东北到北京念建筑的缺钱的学生。那个晚上他买下了他的初夜。

再次相遇是冬至的晚上。雪下的大。你穿的那么少,不冷吗?肉欲把理智盖掩。华华饭店房间内的幕天席地几乎是地久天长的绻缱。刹那间已经等同一辈子。你不给我玩你给谁玩?嚣张的话语在同年夏天动荡的气候幻成瘟疫让捍东为蓝宇操心。他跑广场干嘛去了?那个下午太阳特别的红。

那夜,在满天叫人害怕的光影中间,在幌动的自行车和手拉着手的人堆中间,在生与死中间,他们终于确认了一段他们之前并不明白的关系。平静而快乐的日子并不 是必然的。递尔间出现了林静平,她令捍东觉得自己是可以让女人幸福的男人。蓝宇没有哭。起码在可以控制以内的时刻他坚决拒绝哭。你知道,我答应过自己,以 后我是再不会让其它人令我伤心的了。

三年多的婚姻生活,然后捍东离婚了。人海茫茫,我只是希望可以多见你一次。首都机停车场内捍东和蓝宇的再次邂逅彷如隔世。蓝宇成熟了。真希望可以再抱你一下。不话不说还需说。

天地不仁, 而未断的尘缘在蓝宇温馨的小楼内唏嘘延续......

陈捍东是北京的一位高干子弟,后来成为一位腰缠万贯的商人。他的身边一直美女成群,但同时他也 对男人感兴趣。蓝宇是一个东北男孩儿,家境贫寒,正在北京求学。为了赚钱,蓝宇成为捍东的男朋友,一场色情交易就这样开始了。捍东是情场老手,无论是对男 人还是对女人。从一开始,他就告诉蓝宇:"我们都不要认真,日后才能好聚好散。"但是最后他们发现,他们已经不能分离。不过迫于社会和亲人的压力,捍东最 后娶了一位叫静平的女子为妻,蓝宇则默默地离开了他。后来捍东做生意失败,因为经济问题被有关部门审查,这个时候,蓝宇卖了捍东给他买的房子,又拿出了自 己积攒的钱,终于使捍乐重获自由。当捍东想排除万难,好好地爱蓝宇的时候,蓝宇却在一场施工事故中死去了......



Movie Review of LAN YU

NR

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-By David Noh


For movie details, please click here.

Based on a gay erotic novel anonymously posted on the Internet in China, Lan Yu tracks the romance between a shady Beijing businessman, Handong (Hu Jun), and a student, Lan Yu (Liu Ye), who has become a prostitute. At the outset, Handong assures Lan Yu that the relationship will continue as long as it works and then it will simply end. It's a somewhat difficult proposition for Lan Yu, who has fallen in love with him, but, for a while, he is happy as Handong's kept man. But the ever-restless Handong suddenly decides to go straight and marry a pretty interpreter who has caught his fancy. The two men's lives are destined to be entwined, however, as Handong comes to realize the depth of Lan Yu and his own feelings for him.

Stanley Kwan has directed not only one of the best gay love stories ever made, but one of the best love stories of any stripe. His characters and situations have the simple, gorgeous ring of real life. The story unfolds beautifully, filled with telling human detail and observation. Yang Tao's cinematography is superb, with oblique angles and camera movements which are at times wonderfully reminiscent of Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love. (Production designer William Chang is, incidentally, responsible for the glorious look of that film and this.)

It's a startlingly bold film in every way. As the script was not officially approved by the Chinese censors, Kwan was forced to film it in secret in Beijing. The behind-the-camera courage is matched by that displayed on the screen. It's wonderful to see Asian men sexualized for once: Hu and Liu are both comely subjects--a far cry from the nerds or martial-arts machines which are the usual ethnic representations. Both are terrific actors, as well. Liu skillfully and touchingly delineates the maturation of his character, never overstating his essential goodness, from semi-innocent student to mysterious life force. Hu is perfection as a typical alpha male, bluff and handsomely assured until he receives a comeuppance he has no way of preparing himself for. The actors' scenes together have a thrilling intimacy and intensity that is downright haunting. (Handong's olefactory obsession with the particular shampoo Lan Yu uses is but one resonating detail here.) Kwan's film positively sings in moments like these and a drive in the country, car radio blasting away, which forever captures the blithe, heart-racing excitement of first love. This viewer's only reservation is with the too-tragic ending, which, although dramatically traditional, reads as too moralistic, as if these characters (like those in Y Tu Mamá Tambin) have to once more be made to pay for their fun.

--David Noh


Welcome to the International GLBT Movie Festival!

您好!欢迎来到明尼苏达大学GLBTA(Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgenders & Allies----男同性恋者、女同性恋者、双性恋者、跨性别者及友好人士)国际交流博客!我们立志将这里打造成一个平等、开放、自由的同志话题讨论空间,供以美国与其他国家的GLBTA群众能够互相了解与促进。

我们希望明大的国际学生能与我们分享您们的同志心路历程,在美国或本国的相关经历,和对我们校园GLBTA社区的建议。同时我们也非常欢迎校外及美国境外的各种同志社团和个人为我们提出宝贵的意见。
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另:处于对于隐私的保护,我们建议您在发表评论时请勿使用真名或留下您的校内邮箱(X.500 ID @umn.edu)。

What do you need to know about American culture at a US college?

Hello all GLBT international students! Here are some general tips about living in and interacting with others the United States.

Credit for this article goes to University Language Services.
http://www.universitylanguage.com/guides/adjusting-to-american-culture-while-you-study-at-college/


What do you need to know about American culture at a US college?

Calendar Dates

When writing calendar dates, Americans list the month first, the day second and the year third. Therefore 12.7.2009 would be December 7, 2009 in America but July 12, 2009 elsewhere in the world.

Forms of Address

Address a person by his or her title when you are in a formal situation or you would like to acknowledge the respect you have for that person. Titles include "Dr." for both a medical doctor and a scholar with a PhD, "Mr." (pronounced "mister") for men, "Mrs."("missus") for married women and "Miss" for unmarried women. If you are unsure of a woman's marital status, use "Ms" ("miz"). Some women prefer this title in anyway.

People of equal standing (for example, classmates or co-workers) generally refer to each other by their first names only, or in some cases by their last names only. When in doubt, ask a person by what name he or she would prefer to be called.

Grades

Grades in almost all colleges and universities are based on a letter and a percent. An "A" is the best while an "F" is the worst.

You may also be awarded a "plus" or "minus" after your letter grade. For example, an A+ is better than an A, which is better than an A-. However, an F is never paired with either a plus or minus.

Grades and percentages generally follow the chart below. However, schools and even individual professors often vary this slightly.

A : 90 to 100 percent correct
B : 80 to 89
C: 70 to 79
D: 60 to 69
F: below 60

Grade Point Average

Grade point averages, or GPAs, are calculated on a four-point scale.

A = 4
B = 3
C = 2
D = 1
F = 0

Pluses and minuses are calculated into a GPA. However, an A+ will rarely earn you a higher GPA than an A. The more credits a course is worth, the more that course's grade will affect your GPA.

GPA's are indicated with two or three numbers--for example, a 2.75 GPA or a 3.5 GPA.

You will receive a GPA after every quarter or semester of classes. Each quarter or semester's new grades also will be calculated into your cumulative GPA.

Greetings / Small Talk

Americans typically greet each other with a "hi" or "hello" along with a short question, such as "How are you?"

A standard reply would be, "Good. How are you?" These questions don't require a long response, and the person asking the question won't expect an answer of more than a few words.

"Small talk" is the phrase used to describe the conversation between two people who don't know each other very well. Good topics of small talk include the weather and the classes you are taking. Religion, politics and other controversial subjects are off-limits until two people know each other very well.

Handshaking

People generally shake hands when they meet for business, and often they shake hands again at the end of a meeting. This can occur if the people are meeting for the first time or have known each other for years.

When shaking hands, avoid gripping your colleague's hand too tightly. Alternatively, don't make your hand too limp. A firm handshake is best.

Handshakes aren't common among young people, with a few exceptions. For example, a college student could shake the hand of a person of seniority or in a formal situation, such as a job interview. Always shake a person's hand if it is offered.

Holidays

Many workers and students have the following nationally-celebrated holidays off:
New Year's Day (Jan. 1)
Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November)
Christmas (December 25)

Your university or workplace may or may not be closed on the following holidays:
Martin Luther King, Jr Day (third Monday in January)
Presidents Day (third Monday in February)
Columbus Day (second Monday in October)
Veterans Day (November 11)

Few people receive time off for the following holidays, but they are often celebrated with parades or marked by other special events:
Easter (a Sunday in March or April)
St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
Halloween (October 31)
Election Day (first Tuesday after the first Monday in November)

Meals

Americans eat three meals: breakfast, lunch and supper. "Dinner" can also be used to refer to either the second or third meal of the day.

Breakfast is eaten in the morning, before work or school. Lunch is served sometime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Supper is typically the largest meal of the day and is generally eaten between 5 and 8 p.m. College cafeterias that accept student meal plans are generally open for a limited number of hours each day- check with yours to be sure you know when to eat!

Some people on Sundays combine breakfast and lunch and eat "brunch." This is typically offered in the late morning or early afternoon.

Smoking

In some cities, smoking is now forbidden in places where it used to be common, such as bars. Ask others about the local smoking laws, or pay attention to what others do. Some cities also prohibit smoking outdoors within certain distances of buildings.

If you want to smoke in a car or home, always ask the owner if smoking is permitted there.

Telephone

Answer the telephone by saying, "Hello, this is John" or simply "Hello." A person who lives only with family and not roommates may answer by saying, "Hello, this is the (last name) residence."

The person who is calling will likely respond with, "Hello, is (Jane) there?" or "Can I speak with (Jane)?"

In the US, telephone numbers are 10 digits. The first three numbers are called the "area code" and indicate from what part of the country the caller is located.

Temperature

Americans use the Fahrenheit scale to calculate temperatures. Water freezes at 32 degrees.

To change Fahrenheit temperatures into Celsius, subtract 32 from the temperature and multiply the result by 5/9. For example, 100 degrees Fahrenheit would be about 38 degrees Celsius.

To change Celsius temperatures into Fahrenheit, multiply the temperature by 9/5 and then add 32. For example, 21 degrees Celsius equals about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Time

Americans are punctual. Classes start on time, and you may hear a bell to mark the beginning and end of the class. Some professors take attendance at the beginning of class, so it's best to be early.

If you are meeting someone or are invited to someone's house, be no more than five minutes early or five minutes late. Arriving 10 minutes late requires an apology. If you will be more than 10 minutes late, you should call one of the people you are meeting.

An exception to this is if you are attending a very large party or you were told that you can arrive at any time.

Time Zones

The continental United States has four time zones. From east to west they are the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones. Hawaii and Alaska are each in different time zones.

The Eastern time zone is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. The Pacific time zone is eight hours behind.

Most of the United States practices daylight savings time. Clocks "spring forward" one hour in the spring and "fall back" one hour in the autumn.

Tipping

You should give waiters and waitresses in restaurants tips. Customers generally leave between 15 percent and 20 percent of their total bill. If you're not good at math, simply leave your server double the amount of tax you paid on the meal.

Tips are generally left one of two ways. You can leave the money on the table when you exit the restaurant. However, if you pay by credit card, you can fill out the special "tip" line on the receipt to tell the server how much to charge you.

Tips are unnecessary and not expected at fast-food restaurants.

Other people you may be called upon to tip include hairdressers and hotel workers.

Weather

The weather in the United States varies considerably based on your location, the season and the time of day.

In general, the southern part of the US is extremely hot in the summer, and the thermometer can easily reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is especially true in the southwestern part of the country, where the US even has deserts. Night, however, can be cool, so you'll still want to bring a jacket.

Northern states in the midwestern and northeastern parts of the country can be exceedingly cold in the winter, with several feet of snow and negative temperatures. Summer temperatures tend to be more moderate.

Almost anywhere you study, you'll want to bring along at least a few items of clothing that will prepare you for snow, heat, wind and rain.

GLBTA Life in China

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_China
http://www.gaychina.com/html/

As the University of Minnesota has many students natively from China, we invite you to consider GLBTA life in China today.  You can begin by looking at the Wikipedia article on the subject.

Another interesting site is gaychina.com, detailing some parts of GLBTA Chinese life.