Yilei Xiao: From China to California

Yilei Xiao is an international, exchange student from Zhejiang in China. She is studying Interior Design at Sacramento State. Back home, at Nanjing Tech University she studies Landscape Design. 

Where in China are you from?

East of China… It’s called Zhejiang.

What do you miss most about China? 

My parents and my grandma. The hours are different by 15 hours. It’s kind of like they are in my tomorrow. I’m still in their yesterday. It’s more than half a day a part.

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Why did you decide to come to America for exchange?

Because I want to see different cultures and to learn English. As a transfer student, we only have transfer programs to America. There are over 50 universities I could choose in America. If I fly from China to America, California it’s the closest to my home. I also really like the weather here.

Can I talk about the weather in California. For the past 4 months, it has only rained once.

Why do you think it’s important to learn English?

I think it’s interesting to communicate with different people from different countries.


Have you had culture shock here?

Nearly everything is different. For example, in class it’s so strange that people can leave before class is over. Back in China, teachers think it’s impolite to leave before class is done. Here, no one cares about what you do. And obviously the food here is really different.

Oh and people here have high enthusiasm to participate in parties and in sports. Everyone likes to assemble. Also, when I’m walking in the streets here I can say hi to anyone even if we don’t even know each other

What new experience do you want to have while you’re here in America?

I experienced my first sports game here in America. Back home we all know that Americans like sports and people are all really enthusiastic about sports. I just go to the games here and have different experiences because of how passionate these sports fans are.

How can you compare American students to Chinese students?

I never talk much with American students, so I don’t know much about them. During the classes that I have taken, I see nearly most of the students paying attention in lecture. Students in China are always writing their notes by hand. There is an old proverb that says ‘writing can help you memorize things.’ Here everyone writes their notes on their laptops.

There is always a misunderstanding with a lot of Chinese students. There are a lot of students who have a lot of wealth and their families will send them abroad to study and a lot of these students don’t like school. I don’t hang out with these students. I feel like their parents did not give them a proper education. But some of these students are very hard working because studying abroad is an opportunity to cherish. Money sometimes does not equal a good education.

Do you feel scared being an international student in America? 

I rarely go off campus, but when I’m on campus I feel very safe. There are so many people in China. Here sometimes when you walk on the street there are only cars passing by. This kind of situation scares me. I read the news everyday and there is so much bad news here in America of deaths and hate crimes always happening.

I don’t think about my race when I think of safety. I think  you should try your best to obey all the rules in the country you are staying in. Don’t do something that others would get mad at you for.

Are you ever going to come back to America once your exchange is done?

I’m not sure. Maybe for travelling. I want to go back to China. I miss everything about China. I grew up there. I miss my parents; my family. America is so far away from there.

What are your thoughts on the Yulin Dog Meat Festival?

We really hate it. We have a micro blog and we’ll expose the people who hurt animals. When people from different cultures mention that we all eat dogs, we feel a lot of shame about that.


If You’re Going To San Francisco

The first stop on my exploration of California was San Francisco.

Travel, travel, travel. My mind constantly repeated this word. Coming to Sacramento, I knew I wanted to explore the State. And finally, after 2 weeks of laying low in the old Sac Town, I was off to a bigger city.

The skyscrapers, local traffic, and swarms of people in SF made the city feel like home to me. Being from Toronto, I missed the busyness of a large city. My weekend trip to San Francisco was the ultimate beginner’s trip. Tourist attractions, sleazy clubs, and wild Uber rides sum up my exploration quite well.

Here is the essential touristy guide to exploring the beautiful San Francisco (in the form of my photos).

Lombard Street

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Golden Gate Bridge

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Pier 39

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The Nightlife


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The Eats

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My First Bit Of Hate Mail

Being an aspiring journalist is hard.

Kind of like being a celebrity, it takes A LOT for a journalist to get noticed in the digital age. As much as I want to sit around at home and write about all my morally correct, feminist views – I know I can’t. Being correct does not get you views; being controversial does.

So I decided to go to the dark side and got a gig as a click-bait journalist… I know, I hate myself too! And it makes me kind of upset that all my profit is coming from stupid, Buzzfeed type articles, instead of articles that actually mean something to me. ANYWAYS, the other day I wrote an article that stirred up a bit of controversy. It was assigned to me by my editor and no, I do not agree with anything that I wrote. It was a challenging article write because it went against ALL my morals. I even made that clear in the introduction of the piece.

Within minutes of this piece getting published, I received SUCH HATE from sooooo many women. I can’t help but feel kind of upset that my morality is being questioned because I agreed to write such a controversial article.

On one hand, I know this article will get me a lot of views because of the questionable content. On the other, I kind of regret writing it. I wish young, aspiring journalists did not have to turn to such extreme measures just to get views and profit for their content.

Will you be my Bro’smaid?

After watching what seemed like 500 consecutive episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress,” I couldn’t help but wonder what my future wedding might be like.

As far as weddings go, I never really envisioned myself having one. Standing at an alter, wearing some poufy, white dress, in front of hundreds of guests completely terrifies me. I always just pictured myself coming home one day with a paper from city hall saying that I was now married.

But, this show got me thinking. What if, I actually had a wedding?

I can already imagine, looking around and seeing all of those attentive eyes beaming at me while I profess my love for my soon-to-be spouse. And my partner, well he’d probably be standing next to me sweating and already regretting his decision to enter into a large and dramatic European family.

I would too if I were him.

But, wedding planning extends far beyond finding a spouse and having a ceremony. According to those tacky TLC wedding shows, years go into planning the “perfect wedding.” Apparently, I should’ve started a “Wedding Ideas” Pinterest board by now.

Being quite unconventional, I would want to do something different with my wedding. Not too extreme where my family would disown me, but unique enough so that my guests would still talk about it for years to come.

Maybe I can wear a colored dress, host the reception at a strange venue, or find some wild entertainment. All this has seemed to be done already.

But then it hit me, I want bro’smaids.

It was when I began thinking about my female friends. Well, the ones I would actually want standing next to me at the alter. I realized my list was quite few. There would likely be a possibility of my husband standing by an infinite number of groomsmen while I have a total of two bridesmaids by my side. But, this wouldn’t be an issue if I had all of my guy friends standing next to me as well.


So it’s set. My bridal party will consist of all my closest friends regardless of their gender. And yes, my bro’smaids would have to attend my bachelorette party, help me pick out a dress, and get ready with me the day of the wedding.

My husband can pick whoever he wants to be in his wedding party as well. To be honest, I would rather not have his childhood best friend, who he once dated, be part of my party. My bridal party is exclusive to my closest friends only.

And me and my bro’smaids, I mean husband, would live happily ever after.

Disclaimer: To my few, loyal and loving girlfriends, I am forever grateful for all of you! 

Family Girl: Why Lois Griffin is a Feminist Icon

lois-griffinLois Griffin is good for feminism. Yes, you read that correctly.

You can revoke my feminist card right now but, the extremely offensive animated TV series Family Guy actually helps with the progression of feminism.

Lois isn’t a particularly complex female role. The idea of her character being a committed, sexpot, fun-loving housewife who is notably way hotter than her husband is indeed kind of sexist and degrading. Audiences need to recognize that it is for these same traits that Lois can be viewed as a more positive, especially sex-positive role-model for women.

As far as sitcom women go, a Lois-type character actually challenges some of the oppressive stereotypes associated with TV suburban housewives, like the idea of them being an emotionally needy nag, or a ditzy, hot mess existing solely to create sexual tension with the male characters. Comparatively, Lois’ sexually charged housewife role is far more complex than the classic shrew’s like Peggy Bundy from Married with Children or Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond, who are merely caricatures of their gender.

Feminism needs a clearer definition. In the episode “I Am Peter Hear Me Roar,” Lois made the simplest but most accurate comment regarding the term: “I’m all for equality, but if you ask me, feminism is about choice.” Lois’ choice to be a wife and mother should not be critiqued for abiding by traditional, middle-class, hetero-normative gender roles. Why she chose to marry an arrogant, unmotivated drunk is still beyond me, but her choice to do so will be one that I defend with as much passion as Stewie has for Rupert.

But, what is possibly most empowering is that her primary role as a suburban housewife hasn’t stopped her from executing her dreams.

In fact, throughout the 15 seasons of Family Guy, Lois has taken on a variety of different, and sometimes questionable, roles. Her passion for singing led her to become the star of her husband Peter’s underground bar, she is a badass black belt in Tae-Jitsu, is the director of the stage play “The King and I,” runs for school board president, and even wins mayor of Quahog.

Lois’ mobility has allowed her to turn her political beliefs into actions. In the episode, “It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One,” Lois becomes the mayor of the Rhode Island city in hopes to shut down a number of companies that have been polluting the local lake with toxic waste. She ended up embezzling tax-payer money to buy a designer purse and fur coat but hey, I’m sure we can agree that other politicians have done a lot worse.

It was Lois’ strong will and pure intentions that forced her to realize the error in her ways and eventually resign her position as mayor. Her actions showed that leadership roles and money are not the sole determents of success.

In fact, even though Lois is the epitome of a trust fund baby, coming from a family of rich socialites, she was willing to trade in her extravagant lifestyle for love. There is no better way to be removed from the will of an incredibly wealthy father than to marry a dimwit of a man like Peter Griffin.

And if you need one more reason to love Lois, her exaggerated sexuality is totally hot. Because we no longer live in the 19th century where women are viewed as asexual beings and TV sitcoms really need to include more women who openly embrace their sexuality. Lois’ sexual experiments with sadomasochism, amateur pornography, and bisexual encounters displays sexual fluidity, and control of her own sexual pleasure. In challenging the societal norm of female sexuality, Lois frees women from the shackles of sexual submission and opens up the opportunity for choices.

In a show where every episode includes some sort of Peter-Assment towards minority groups, especially by sexually objectifying women, it can be difficult to accept such crude dark satire as a progression of feminism.

Family Guy helps viewers see past the limited, liberal feminist lens that mainly focuses on equality through placing women in leadership positions. It shows audiences that every woman is different, whether they are a CEO of a successful corporation or a housewife and mother like Lois. Let’s finally recognize the diverse range of opinions and beliefs that fall within the feminist spectrum.

In the spirit of diversity, accepting a woman like Lois Griffin as a role model to the feminist movement shows the variety of artists that represent all forms of feminism.

And if you refuse to accept an embezzling, kleptomaniac, gambling addict as a feminist role model, at least the exaggerated crude humor of Family Guy is a spoof that makes you question exactly how our politically correct state has coddled most of us.

It’s time to show some feminist love for Family Guy.