Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving, etc.


My first big holiday in China has now been written in the history books. And I think it was quite a success. The actual day of Thanksgiving didn't consist of anything too special besides a big lunch with the five foreigners that I basically live with. We did have some amazing pies though, thanks to Laurie. But, Saturday we had a large foreigner get together for a big Thanksgiving feast that many people from out of town came to. And as you all know, it's really nice and refreshing to be around new faces and personalities. I met a lot of new people and made some new friends and connections. But, most importantly... I ate some pumpkin pie! It definitely isn't Thanksgiving until the pumpkin pie has past through my lips! Secondly, I had mac-n-cheese!!

I tutored my five year old kiddos today and it went well. They learned a new color, letter, and some more household items. We played red light green light which they learned last time and the new game for today was duck duck goose! It was funny teaching them the different animals before we played because a duck and goose have little differences in the eyes of a five year old. Especially one who probably hasn't seen either animal. New update, went from 11 five year olds to 4, now back up to 8... killing me...

p.s. if you actually read my blog can you leave a comment or email me something about it. I feel slightly awkward putting some of my life out there on the internet and if it's not doing it's purpose to keep people updated... I may throw it out the way-side. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


11:09 pm November 26

Walking down from Jeremy's apartment back to my own, this amazing smell wafted into my nostrils. Winter. It officially smells like winter.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Thing I Ate Today

All in one day I have eaten:
1. Sheep liver
2. Sheep intestine
3. Sheep heart/ arteries
You say... what! A fish eye? Yes, I picked the eye ball out of a fishes head and placed it in my mouth!! YEAH!

Also, something worth noting is that I walked about two feet behind a man peeing on a building and I didn't think it was weird and I really think twice about it. Done.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Amazing Happening Of The Day

Got a text message at 9 p.m. from a male student that reads:
"Air is to man as fish is to water as you is to me."

I love China!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Update of Randomness

1. Our women's retreat ending up going very well! It was a very relaxed yet very productive weekend. I got to know some of the Wuchong girls so much better, including getting to share a bed with Katera! We really don't get to hang out with those girls enough. It was also a blessing to have an older perspective there with Rosie! We need some more wisdom in our program, all of us are in our twenties!!

2. I allowed my freshman classes (60 boys: 4 girls) to write down questions pertaining to either me personally or to American culture given that they've never seen/talked to a foreigner before. And this would give them the opportunity to not be as shy. I got some really hilarious questions like A. DO you think you are pretty? B. What is your phone number and C. Can American girls love Chinese boys? My answers were as followed... A. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I think I'm good looking and then sometimes I look in the mirror and ( I proceeded to make a face like I was throwing up) they thought this was hilarious. B. I wrote my number on the board so all of them could have it and then set some rules. Do not call too early, do not call too late, and nobody can ask me out on a date! C. I told them about my friend who is dating/ pretty much engaged to a Chinese Man. They were so excited that American girls could be interested in Chinese boys!

3. My Chinese language lessons are going well. I have learned how to shop pretty much, buy food, learned the vegetables names as well as meat names. I can buy train/ bus tickets, I can ask what time it is, tell people where I'm from and that I'm an English teacher. And some other small conversation phrases. I've also learned pinyin which is pretty much the equivalent of our alphabet.

4. I am starting a new tutoring job tonight which is an hour and a half of eight 5 year olds!! I'm really excited/ really terrified! Can you imagine handling eight 5 year olds in your native language much less with kids who can't even understand you?!?! So, please be praying for me that I don't go insane!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Friday!

My Friday has consisted of two things of significance.

First, if you have been reading my blog you know about the import store called theatre most common stated in my blogs due to the Dr. Pepper that they sell. But, they sell all imported materials and foods which basically makes it wonderful. WELL, in our new big supermarket, maybe a fifteen minute walk from our apartments, they opened a theatre which I visited today!! Not only do they have Dr. Pepper but A&W Rootbeer... AND A&W Cream Soda!! This store is so crazy with it's cheeses, pickles, kitchen appliances, familiar soaps, pizzas, hamburger helper for Pete's sake. I don't know Pete but he would love this place!!

Second, today was day one of our Wuhan/ surrounding cities Ladies Retreat which started off with some fellowship, singing, Chinese meal, and watching 'The Ultimate Gift'. It was really uplifting to get to sing, we don't really do that often at our school and you never realize how precious things are until they're gone! This whole weekend is filled with wonderful lady activities. It's been held in my apartment, so lets pray for clean ladies to keep a clean apartment :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Omar and Paanch

I have these two friends back in Abilene, Omar and Paanch (Omar I put your name first this time!) who are usually on skype and I probably get to talk to them as much as I talk to my family. Anyways, after talking to them today for about thirty minutes I realized that they always always make my day so much better! So, I just wanted to say that I love you guys!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rachel and Beijing!

"He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man" Mao Zedong

Well, if any of you have ever questioned my manhood, there is now no question to it. I'm a true man!! Or... whatever.

This past Thursday night Daniel and I caught a sleeper train to Beijing to meet up with the most wonderful Rachel Baker!! We got in Friday morning around seven and headed to our hidden hostel. Our hostel was impossible to find being in this tiny back alley (hutong) that was being constructed on and was all sorts of torn up!! Friday we found our hostel, got to see Rachel(!!!!), and headed off to explore the crazy world of Beijing. We were walking distance to Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden Palace. First, we went through the forbidden palace with the huge painting of Mao on the outside. Next we went through Jingshan Park which is just a small park, but it sits on a high hill that over looks both the city of Beijing and the entire Forbidden Palace. It has such a beautiful view! After this we went walking through a random neighborhood to find our way back to Tia'nanmen square. On the way we had our first meal altogether which consisted of Eggplant cooked with tomatoes, Fish flavored pork & veggies, and some not so good steamed dumplings. We also walked into this tiny shop ran by a woman for Tibet! I bought some presents that were made from yak bones. We finally found our way through the neighborhood back to Tian'anmen square where we just walked around for a bit and pretty much took hundreds of pictures of random Chinese people asking for us to take pictures with them, probably so they could tell their friends back home that they saw foreigners! Walking to and from these places we passed by the National Grand Theatre which is one of the coolest buildings in Beijing. Look it up! Lastly, on Friday we went to an Acrobatics show where these inhumanly flexible/ crazy daredevil Chinese people were flipping and climbing all over each other. It was so amazing!! I have tons of pictures and videos!

Saturday, we woke up crazy early and headed out with a group to the Great Wall! Rachel, Daniel, and I were the only ones out of the group to opt out of the cable cars to take you up to the top of the Great Wall meaning we climbed up forty straight minutes of stairs. FORTY MINUTES!! But, it was well worth it once we reached the top! We walked for about an hour and a half up and down our section of the Great Wall and it was so beautiful! It was really hard for me to grasp that I was standing on the Great Wall! It didn't feel real until now writing about it! We took a million pictures/ videos up on the wall! After our incredibly hard walk down the stairs we were swamped by Chinese people trying to sell their trinkets and souvenirs. Which is usually quite annoying but we turned it into quite a fun time! These two older gentleman had their booths set up next to each other and Rachel wanted a set of nice chopsticks and I had the two of them going back and forth trying to sell them to us, we were working the masters! They know a few English phrases to catch your attention but when you start bargaining with them they write the price down on a piece of paper (since they use the same numbers) and foreigners do the same and it goes back and forth. When this old man starting writing his price down on the paper after I had used some Chinese on him, I got this horrible look on my face and told him "I know, I know" in Chinese making him think he insulted me by not using Chinese! They always go a lot further down on their prices when you speak Chinese rather than using English!! (If Rachel reads this she'll maybe roll her eyes since we found something she bought for 60 yuan there somewhere else for 15!!! I can't believe they originally wanted 180 yuan for it!) After we left, we headed back to the hostel, got some needed info from the internet, and took some much needed naps! Later that night we met up and went out to eat at Outback Steakhouse! I order the Alice Springs Chicken which was a piece of chicken breast covered in mushrooms, bacon, and cheese with some honey mustard. It was the most delicious flavorful thing that has passed between my lips in months! Completely not meaning to be dramatic I would close my eyes and just absorb the taste! It was amazing! They also served a small warm loaf of wheat bread. SO GOOD! Amazing Rachel picked up the bill which was crazy because western food is quite expensive in China! Pretty much all the faces there were white faces. Speaking of, I now understand why the Chinese stare at me so much because after living here for only around ten weeks, I was overwhelmed by all the foreigners in Beijing! I was constantly pointing them out!! "Wow, look at those foreigners!!" and simply saying "FOREIGNERS!" That's so sad! After Outback we walked around the walking street (a street for shopping, no cars are allowed, it's usually really nice expensive stuff) we found a bookstore that was completely foreign books! I bought a book for myself! I'm really excited to read it! Walking back to our hostel we stopped, sat near, and just looked at the National Grand Theater because it's quite a spectacular view at night with it's random light lite up on it. It looks like the stars in heaven, stars that we rarely get to see here.

Sunday morning we got up and went to a meeting they hold in a restaurant. Everything was pretty much in Chinese so it was a little difficult to stay awake given the full weekend we had and I had nothing to concentrate on! Afterwards we ate lunch with them and had some amazing conversations with one of the couples that are living in Beijing, they had some really inspiring and encouraging things to say! I also got to meet Jane, a friend of a friend whom I had just been told about a few days beforehand! After our meeting Rachel, Daniel, me, and a new Chinese friend, Zhou all went to the Olympic park to see the sights and take some pictures and then we all went to the heavenly temple which was such a great sight to see!!! We hustled back to our hostel had a few minutes to sit and chat, we ate some dinner there, then Daniel and I grabbed our bags and left to catch our 9 o'clock train that night!! We made it back into Wuhan at 7 in the morning and both had 10 o'clock classes to teach!

Great things that happened that I forgot to write about!
1. The three of us hung out in this young man's tea shop looking around, smelling teas, tasting teas, shopping, and just trying to have some conversation with him. With his small English vocabulary and my small Chinese vocabulary we managed to have a decent strand of conversation! I would use as much Chinese as I could inserting an English word or two and definitely using body language and he would understand and do the same back! I knew where he was from, that tea isn't grown close to Beijing but only back closer to his home, he told me about his father, I bought some tea, I learned that they own two tea shops and he runs that one, I told him what we were doing there. It was encouraging to use my small amount of Chinese!

2. My English is degrading quickly. I like to blame it on me being tired all weekend but Rachel kept getting a kick out of my horrible horrible broken English! I kept using wrong words, wrong tenses, etc! Quite embarrassing!

3. The night we just stopped, sat, and stared at the starry-heaven building, it was quite cold, and after sitting for maybe thirty minutes we stood up and had a hard time walking with numb booties!

4. Having Rachel in China and getting to see her and hang out with her was amazing! It helped to relieve my wanting to see my family!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Last week we threw a huge Halloween party/ Haunted House for a large number of our students and friends. Halloween is not celebrated here so it was really culturally interesting to watch the Chinese people experience Halloween, especially the Haunted House. This Haunted House probably would have made Americans laugh but these Chinese students were terrified to go in! It was amazing! We had some really great costumes show up!!

I also had three small parties at my apartment with my sophomores who didn't get to go to the large Halloween party because they attended last year. So, I decorated my place all the way, had the lights completely out (including all my windows blocked out with black cardboard) and I lit the room with only a few tea lights. It was so cool looking! My sophomores played a few Halloween games and then told/ acted out the scary stories that they wrote. I have no words to express the plays that came out of those scary stories!!

I'm headed to Beijing in about an hour and a half!! So, watch for the update about Beijing!