Thursday, April 16, 2009

You have one use

I have so much that I need to blog about, so many funny things have happened but I had to jump on here and say one thing that literally JUST happened. I have six students over for dinner, to read a story, and then have a discussion time. All of the students are cooking and they never let me do anything. I just tried to wash the rice and they pushed me out of the kitchen. When I told them I felt useless they started laughing and Erick said "You are not useless, you have one use. To eat". AHHH! I love these kids.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cheapo Fruito

I just went out to get some soy sauce, vinegar, and salt because my students are coming over and cooking dumplings before our English lesson tonight and while I was out getting these things, I stopped by the on campus fruit guy to pick up some fruit for breakfast tomorrow. Anyways, I know how cheap things are here especially fruit but today it just seemed to really click. I bought two oranges, two pairs, and half a pineapple for 4 kuai which calculates to be 58.8 cents. Ridiculous, huh?

That explains why I actually make less money a month than I owe for grad school :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 26th

Today in one of my classes my students had to act out a dialogue they had written which entailed one of them being a patient going to the doctor to get medical advice. They had to use 15 of the vocabulary words we had gone over in the two previous classes. Two of them used the examples I had given them in class. After this, which was hilarious, they had a mini-test where I was the patient and they were the doctor. I came up with a random illness and they had to figure out what was wrong with me and then cure me. The last two students were ridiculous enough for me to share!

The first ridiculous guy: Ben
English level: sub-par but he’s hilarious
Illness: constipation

Me: Hey Doctor Ben
Ben: hello, pretty girl
Class: hilariously laughing
Me: Okay Okay… Go Ben
Ben: Are you the doctor or me (he’s the twentieth student to go, all have been the doctor aka.. not paying attention)
Me: You’re the doctor, Mr. I’m texting in class
Ben: Oh, umm.. what’s wrong with you
Me: Well, it’s embarrassing I have really bad constipation
Ben: How long?
Me: Three days
Ben: well, um, uhhhhhh, maybe it’s because your so hot
Class: Laughing again
Ben: (embarrassed) I mean, well, you need an injection and rest
Me to the class: So, if I go to Dr. Ben, I’m going to die

Next Student: Simon
English level: pretty dang good!
Illness: diarrhea

Simon: What’s up
Me: What’s up Dr. Simon
Simon: What’s up….
Me: (I say nothing and just stare at him)
Simon: What are your symptoms
Me: Well, I went to Dr. Ben yesterday with constipation, he gave me an injection, and now I have terrible diarrhea.
Simon: Well, do you want to be healed quickly or slowly
Me: Um, quickly!
Simon: Alright, listen to me. You are going to have an operation. We’re going to operate, it will cost $50,000. We all know that operations are dangerous so we will keep you in our nice facilities to make sure that you are comfortable, which will cost more. But, don’t ask questions cause I’m the doctor and I know what I’m doing. So, what do you think?
Me: I’m going back to Dr. Ben

I’m also writing this in my next class who is writing a massive amount of vocabulary that I have given them while we listen to Toni Braxton’s ‘Unbreak my heart’ for English listening….. or because their teacher would rather have music going instead of silence. No, it’s for English listening.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

So, today I had one of those days that you just can't help but get frustrated at all the Chinese people staring at you, talking about you, and just making ya feel like a zoo animal. Normally, it doesn't get to me too much, but today wasn't one of those days!

Anyways, two amazing things happened today. First, and I don't think you could fully appreciate this unless you lived here but we caught a taxi in Wuchang to head back home (a thirty-forty minute taxi ride) at right about the time where the taxi drivers switch drivers. At five in the afternoon, all the drivers randomly stop picking people up and give their car to another random driver. Anyways, we get in his car and he says he'll take us where were going but then has to call a guy on his cell and ask where it is, he does a U-ey and drives INSANELY slow in the direction were suppose to be heading. After about 5-8 minutes he turns to us and starts rambling things and we have NO clue what he's saying. We deduct that he wants us to get out and find another way home so he can meet up with his other taxi driver best friend to do a switchy. We tell him we don't understand and give him the best 'I'm a foreigner who has no clue and you have to help me' face and he just continues to cross the river into our section of town at an EXTREMELY slow rate. He crosses the river, pulls into the next bus stop, tells us to wait a moment, gets out of the car and just stands at the front of the car for about ten minutes.... After considering all the possible outcomes of our future from him planting a bomb in the car to possible kidnapping. A random guy walks up to the car, says two words to our taxi driver, gets in, says the name of our neighborhood, and starts driving off! He called his taxi best friend who met us at the bus stop to finish taking us, and our original driver just starts walking!! He called his bestie to come pick us up because he knew it would impossible to get another taxi at that time of day!! Oh China.... Alright the second thing was Danielle and I went to Mickey D's to get our American food fix and we sat in Mickey D's for about an extra forty-five minutes watching the World's Strongest Man competition. I've always loved watching that, just ask Lindgren!

Alright, that's it. We're having an Irish/St. Patty's day party tomorrow.. I'm excited!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Thursday

8 am class: Discussion Day: Love

I learned three things today in my 8 am class. First, after talking about a multi-cultural saying you might notice, goes a little like this " Love is patient, love is kind..." My students and I talked about the characteristics of love. I towards the end if this saying reminded them of any movies, poems, books, etc. And the first comment from Andy (who usually doesn't talk much) was "Scent of a Woman". I DIED LAUGHING!! I couldn't believe that he had seen that movie!! Next, Jerry pipes up saying gost... after deciphering what he said, I slightly freaked out again because he was saying "Ghost". I tend to forget that I teach the rich International students and that they are much more aware of other cultures. Last thing I learned in my 8 am class was that one of my students is 22... yup. I'm a college professor teaching students only a year younger than me. If he only knew!

10 am class: Speech Day: What you like most/ dislike most about your country

I learned don't ever not eat breakfast coming off of a bad night sleep to a 8 & 10 am class where you have to sit through speeches. I bet its discouraging when your teacher falls asleep while your speaking.

Noon: Lunch with Helen

I get to spend my lunches with Helen who is one of the coolest Chinese people that I know. last week we spent about an hour just talking about the Twilight series which she is reading right now. Don't judge us! She is traveling to Xi'an for about a week and a half for a research project... I'm gonna miss her :(

5:30 pm: English Practice

I have nine students over weekly on Thursday nights to practice their English. This week (and now every week from here on out) we met early because my students cooked dinner for us! It was AMAZING!! It was like a party! After eating, we cleaned up, and read a story the beginning and discussed it. I really love Thursday nights with these students!

9:00 pm:

Went upstairs to Jeremy's apt where they were finishing up another get together where in attendance was FANNY! Fanny was a student here last year, and last semester she lived on campus while she was studying for the post graduate exam which she told us tonight that she passed!! I haven't seen her since December!! She gave me some really cute earrings for the Spring Festival holiday!

I like China.... MAN!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In Honor of my Mother

Alright, this is for my mother. She, as well as the rest of my family, will understand why I'm wearing the ridiculous Tiara... plus I was just feeling crazy! Thanks for being understanding of why I'm here! I love you...

Backed up and Bottle Necked!

Alright, I'm going to start with the recent stuff and work my way backwards!

My Philippine students have officially stopped coming to class which means my 10 o'clock class today didn't happen.. and ultimately means I had no classes today. But, no worries! I have tutoring tonight which is eight times more energy depleting than my college classes.

Last night, Jeremy, Laurie, Drew and I had our second official 'listening' where Drew picks an album that takes you on a 'journey' and we experience listening to it. It originally sounded a little boring to me but I really enjoy participating. I've learned a bit about the people participating.

This past Sunday I had two crazy things happen: First, after playing outside with the little kids that I tutor (with literally 30 people watching) we headed back inside. Mary, Jacky, and Steven ran ahead and waited for us outside the gate, while I turned the corner of the apartments Jacky turns to look at me with this HUGE grin on his face and as confusion hits me trying to figure out why he's grinning so much realization sets in that he's relieving himself right there on the sidewalk, in front of the apartments, and facing me. Oh kids! Second things was after our Sunday meeting Danielle and I went into Carrefour the supermarket and upon leaving we see a man carrying his baby, which is around the age of 1 1/2 - 2 years old and the baby is drinking out of a beer can... BEER CAN!!

That same night... (yeah, I'm busy on Sundays) We hung out with Edwin and Mary Myers who are amazing!! They used to teach up here in Wuhan but moved back to the States before I got here but they recently returned to a town about six hours away by train. Anyways, they were up here and it's so refreshing to be around people who are older, more wise, and have a different view on life than the 20somethings that I always hang out with here. Anyways, we spent the whole night joking and laughing. Mary almost peed her pants when Jeremy told her the story of the three of us crashing a Japanese funeral! We also had lunch with them on Monday. I love them!!

I'm still sticking to my Old Testament readings. I'm around Deuteronomy 20ish. I really want to finish the OT before I get home. So, please encourage me!

Great Story... to fully appreciate this, you must have watched High School Musical or at least worked at Camp of the Hills in '07. Anyways, I was playing a game with my sophomore students in class which required them to be in teams of three and to choose a team name. One of the teams choose the team name of Wildcats. I had my suspicions to why they chose that name, but I moved on with class. WELL, team Wildcat ended up winning the game and after I announced this to the class one of the boys yelled out "WHAT TEAM?" and the other two, without thinking, yelled back "WILDCATS".. and they repeated it "WHAT TEAM?"... "WILDCATS". Yes that is right 20 year old college sophomore quoting High School musical in class... Can my job get any better?

Alright, if you don't receive my mass emails or I don't keep in touch with you well enough. I've decided to move back to Abilene and go into the Marriage and Family Program graduate program. I'm nervous but I guess that comes with any major decision in one's life.

Lastly, I each lunch weekly with two girls on Tuesdays named Stephanie and Amy who's English abilities are great. This week the weather was wonderful that we sat outside to eat and Daniel accompanied us. We sat and just chatted for about an hour and a half. I really enjoy spending time with those two girls. Stephanie always runs the new phrases she learns by me, the first one was "curious as Lot's wife" which was fun to talk about. And the second was "take a hike". I told her to turn to Daniel and say this, but she got really nervous and couldn't!!

Alright, until next time!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I get on here to write the semi-cool things that have happened to me and then I decide I don't wanna take the time. I think I'll do it later, but then I do the same thing the next go 'round. Now, here I am with too many cool things to write and their slippin my mind!

Went and hung out with Rosie and Mavis this past weekend along with Danielle, Jeremy, and Austin. They claim to be from San Antonio but neither of them have lived in one place long enough to really set roots, but San Antonio is the closest to home. Mavis was a chaplain for the Air Force for just about forever so they moved around the world frequently, Abilene being on the of the places. Cool?? YES! While they were there Rosie went through the MFT program at ACU which is the program that I'm planning on starting next Spring. So, we had a lot to talk about! We had some amazing Tex-Mex for dinner and a good ole southern breakfast the next morning! OH! I miss western food!

One of my students wore his camo jacket that said US Army again. It always makes me feel awkward! I saw a women with bright orange hair on campus this week, people don't really dye their hair here so it was crazy different.

Tonight, me and the crew had a 'listening' where we sat around and listened to Jeff Buckley and it was an amazing night. Jeremy and I just sat there talking about life, decisions, what fears we have. It was a good night.

I had lunch last Friday with the guy (Jimmy the Airplane Pilot, whom I call Jimmy Plane Guy) who I met on the plane back from Shanghai to Wuhan who upgraded me to first class simply so he could have an hour and a half of free English practice. Well, after denying getting together with him quite a bit, there is only so much no you can say before you feel like a jerk. So, I finally agreed to lunch which was fine but quite awkward at first. Anyways, Jimmy plane guy called today four times in a fifteen minute time span... uhh.

I miss everybody!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And life continues....

This week thus far:

1. Nothing crazy fun on Monday but I did catch up with some friends, no classes, went to stationary street with Jeremy to get some supplies for his Kindergarten job.

2. Tuesday, The HanKou Ren met for dinner with Ed at the Farkle. He came to China to bring a new batch of teachers about two weeks ago and he saved the best for last because he flew out today and we're closest bunch to the airport. Dinner was good. I drank a coke which kept me up later than normal. It's amazing the affects coke will have on you after you stop drinking it.

3. Today, I saw a guy wearing wranglers!! Not the country tight wranglers, but a pair of normal fitting jeans but they were wranglers... IN CHINA! I was amazed! I've been catching up on grades today. Yes, I'm a week and a half into classes this term and I'm a little behind on grading! I have babysitting... opps... I meant tutoring tonight at seven. I'm teaching the parts of the face. We'll see how that goes.

4. My Thursday 8am that I 'moved' and I was so excited about! Nope.. didn't work out. I have to be in class at 8... boo. I don't ever want a real 8-5 where you have to get up early everyday.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thermal Theory Thursday

8 am - Class.. I hate 8am's, My class and I agreed that 8am was too early and we changed our class time to Thursday at 2pm. Exciting!

10 am- Class... Again, my students weren't scheduled to have me but after learning I was their teacher were extremely excited. One of my favorite boys tried to have a conversation with me before class and his oral English really isn't good at all but he tries so hard that I adore him! Also before class one of my students, Vicki, shared the exciting news that she passed the IELTS exam which the foreign language test that one must pass before being allowed to study abroad in an English speaking country. (it's very difficult to pass) so next December she will go to England! After class my student, Edgar, came up to me and was obviously quite nervous. He told me that he will take the same test in April. While visibly being very nervous he asked if I could give him any suggestions to make his spoken English better, because he "is a shy boy". He said that he knows his spoken English isn't very good and that he gets nervous when he "opens his mouth". He was so precious!! So, we devised some situations for us to work on his spoken and listening skills and because China is a country that if someone does a favor for you, you MUST return a favor. So, he said he will make me a dish that he learned to cook over Spring Festival (the long break we just had)

12 - 6 lesson planned for a long time!! Watched High School Musical 3. Wrote in my Journal. Cleaned my apartment. Read out of the Old Testament (I want to finish the Old Testament before I come back to the States, so hold me accountable!!)

6:00pm - dinner

6:30 pm - group

10 pm - Chinese movie with the gang....

Well, that was my day. I had a lot more free time this after than I'm used to. But, that will change having changed my 8am class to 2pm. DONE!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back to Classes: Day Three

Wednesday: Day Three of Classes

Woke up early this morning for no good reason... Got up had some cereal, got ready for my classes. Went to class at ten with my new freshman and read an American short story with them that I assumed was going to be extremely over their head but I wanted to push them and see what they could handle and I was very surprised and happy to learn that it wasn't extremely over their head, just a little over their head! Ha, it went really well. So, after reading this short story with vocabulary that they have never heard of in their life I broke them up into groups and we did some group discussion.

I had my sophomores at two which was great. It was the first time I've seen them since I've been back and their schedule told them that they had a different foreign teacher, so when I walked in some of them got really excited that I was their teacher again and that always makes you feel good! I gave them kind of a lot of homework so we took it easy in class. After wards they had to stick around for forty minutes for a meeting so I stuck around with them (specifically one girl, Tina) and we talked about our breaks and what we did. And then all my old freshman started walking through the door! I didn't realize how much I missed them until I saw them again! I went over and talked to my favorite ones (yes, I had favorites! They were the nice ones that try really hard...) and they were really upset that they didn't have me again. That felt good too!!

Went home for about two hours and then I was off to my tutoring job. It used to consist of three five year olds and a barely four year old. WELL!! Today it was the regular four, another three year old, another fiver, and a seven year old!! How do I teach a range from three to seven!!! One doesn't listen and the other is a genius! Anyways, it was loads of fun and I taught them the names of clothes and I had them put all my clothes on, it was sooo fun!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teaching: Day Two

Official day number two back to teaching... but my first day with classes! Today I taught Daniel's freshman who are headed to the Philippines in March (I have them tomorrow as well). We played a few games to get them used to speaking English in front of me because they were really nervous having a different foreign teacher, especially the boys! They are more advanced than the freshman that I had last term which makes it a little more fun for me!

Stephanie and her friend Amy came over for dinner tonight. My Chinese cooking got their approval!! I was excited about that! The two of them went to a bakery and bought a cake for dinner tonight! You really buy cakes for special events! (the cake had a cow on the top made out of whipped cream!) They are so sweet!! We had dinner, I let them look through my new English books that I bought and read over Spring Festival (I read ten books in one month), and then I called my dad and let them talk to him to practice listening to another English speaking accent (my dad's accent is getting more and more southern the older he gets). I love those girls! Oh yeah, Stephanie gave me ham as a present.. some kind of ham in a bag. I'll try it out later and tell you about it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

First Day of Classes

Today was the first official day back to classes here at Wuhan Polytechnic University and I did not have classes! Exciting! I spent about three hours on my lesson plans and schedule. I spent time with one of my favorite friends, Stephanie, and met her classmate Amy...

Valentines Day

My Valentine's Day in China turned out to be my favorite Valentine's Day ever! Daniel, Danielle, Jeremy and I got all dressed up and went out to the ever fancy restaurant Pizza Hut! We ordered from pink Valentine's Day menus and shared 'lovers' meals where everything was made for two! After dinner Jeremy, Danielle, and I went out dancing and made a ton of new Chinese friends!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Random Pictures

Stolen Japan Stories

HELLO! Most of you know that I just got back from my vacation! Well instead of spending three hours writing out what I did I stole Danielle's mass email, replaced all the Taras with Danielles, edited a few minor details, and pasted it into this blog! So, if it sounds different than my usual blog rantings, now you know why! I hope you enjoy...

Danielle, Jeremy, Dennis, and I flew to Qingdao on January 11th at 8 am. Bright and early 8am and got into Qingdao about 10am. Qingdao is a pretty cool place. We didn't doo much while we were there just eat, read, and be lazy. We stayed at the Old Observatory Hostel for only about $5 a night per person. This hostel is located on a hill top overlooking the city. We walked around the city saw the St. Michael's Catholic Church and the Huilan Pagoda on Qingdao Bay. We found this amazing pizza place that smelled just like an American pizza place. Tuesday we spent most of the day in the hostel reading and just doing nothing. Then we went to the Xiaoshan Pagoda and saw a 360 degree view of Qingdao. We saw some crazies swimming in the 30ish degree weather. Then we tried to find this Mexican Restaurant, but failed so we returned to the amazing pizza place yet again. After lunch we went to see the Qingdao Yingbin Guest House, which was the official residence of the German Governor in 1905. It was really beautiful. This part of town had a large German and Victorian influence, so it was really different from most of China. We had dinner back at the hostel in the observatory. Since its low season in Qingdao we were 5 of the 10 people in the hostel. Carole arrived at 2:00am from Hong Kong.

Wednesday we went to the Tsingdao Museum and Brewery, the largest and most famous brewery in China, to see how things are made there. After that we went to this German Restaurant and had some really good German food.

Thursday we left on our ferry for Shimonoseki, Japan. We got on the boat, sat our bags in our 2nd class western style bunk and headed for the lounge at the front of the ship. We sat in the lounge with our new friend, Justin, a cyclist from England for about 3 hrs till the ship actually left. We played games and read to pass the time crossing the East China Sea on the ship.
We disembarked the ship at 10 am on Saturday January 17th, got our stamp in our passports and walked out into Shimonoseki, Japan. We walked over to the train station; Danielle, Jeremy and I left out bags with Carole and Dennis and went out to try to exchange money. We were looking for a specific hotel that we could exchange money at because all the banks are closed on Saturdays in Japan (unlike China where they are open 7 days a week). So we went searching and couldn't find it. We looked around for about 30 minutes trying to find this hotel, but no such luck. We kept seeing the same Japanese characters for the hotel, but no stinking hotel. So we finally thought we had spotted it. We walked up to the building and there were people dressed in all black. The 3 of us walked into the front door and were prepared to ask where we could exchange money, when we notice there is a funeral in progress. So we casually walked out with somber faces. After coming out of the funeral home, we saw the hearse and walked calmly around the corner where we began to laugh hysterically. After that we just gave up looking for the hotel and returned to Dennis and Carole at the Train Station. We then boarded out train to Hiroshima.
After our 2 hr train ride, we arrived in Hiroshima and made our way to our hostel relaxed and watched some SUMO wrestling on TV. After recuperating a little, we headed for the A-Bomb dome. Hiroshima was the 1st city in history to be subjected to nuclear warfare (Atomic Bomb) on August 6, 1945. The A-Bomb directly killed an estimated 80,000 people. The A-Bomb was one of the only buildings left standing. It was crazy. Just seeing how much destruction something can do and kill all those innocent people. It really makes you think. It's like there's this creepy feeling in the air.
We went to the Hiroshima Castle and looked around for a while then got on the subway and headed to Miyajima. We went to a Japanese food festival, had some oysters and other Japanese specialties. Then we headed over to the Miyajima Island. We saw the torii at the Itsukushima Shrine. The island has semi-wild tame deer. We saw the 5-story pagoda, the Itsukushima-inja shrine (a whole lot of really cool orange-red pillars in the shape of a temple). Wonderful photo op and I defiantly took the opportunity.
On Monday we went to the Hiroshima Peace Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Center. This was a rough day just seeing all the destruction and pain that went on because of the A-Bomb. I had a hard time keeping my eyes dry seeing all of the after effects. After that we went to the Hiroshima Palace and walked around the grounds and to some pretty temple that I don't know that name of it.
This is the part which wasn't fun at all. We decided to take an overnight train to Tokyo form Hiroshima, but nobody told us there wasn't a sleeper train. So we left Hiroshima at 2:45pm changed trains 4 times then boarded out last train at 12:30am, tried to sleep in our seats and arrived in Tokyo at 5am.
When we got to Tokyo we were all exhausted not only because we didn't get any sleep, but because we'd been carrying our heavy backpacks around all night long. So we had to try to navigate the incredibly confusing Tokyo subway. So we finally found out way to the guy's place that we were staying at. We decided to try to save some money and CouchSurf (a website you can sign up on and stay with people for free and house people). So Yuji lived out of town so we finally got there around 10am. So we got to Yuji's house and he said we would be sleeping on ting on the Japanese style mats in this certain room. So we got there and there were 5 people sleeping in the room and we asked him where we would be sleeping and he pointed to the kitchen and the dining room. So we had a little conference and decided to stay there for the 1 night, but leave and get a hostel the next day. We took about an hour nap and then proceeded out into Tokyo. I honestly don't remember what we did for the rest of the day except get more lost in the subway, ate at an English Pub, went to the Tokyo Imperial Palace I think and took some pictures around the gardens because it is only open to the public 2 days a year. Don't really remember what we did after that (due to the uneventful time and my lack of pictures), but I do remember that we went back to Yuji's place around 9:30pm. We didn't have cell phones and his apartment was locked and we coincidently didn't have the key or know where it was. So we walked to the little store to try to call him. He said he'd be back at 10:30 so we shopped in the little store getting some amazing foreign food. Then we returned to Yuji's place right at 10:30. No one was there; actually we sat outside his place until 11:45 when 2 of the guys that were also staying with him arrived and showed us that the spare key was hidden in the closet right next to the front door. So we were really ticked about that, went in took showers and went to bed on our hard kitchen and dining room floor.
We awoke early the next morning, packed out stuff and left for the train station where we dropped off our stuff and ate McDonald's breakfast. We had to make an unwanted detour to the other hostel that we were staying in that night before making our way to Tokyo Disneyland. All 5 of us had an incredibly wonderful time. We rode my favorite Tea cups, along with Dumbo, Space Mountain, Peter Pan, Alice and Wonderland, Buzz Lightyear, Snow White, Pinocchio, It's a Small World, Pooh's Hunny Pots, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lilo's Luau and saw the Parade. So when we got to the park, we noticed that probably about 2/3 of the people there were wearing some sort of hat and or cape or tail. This 2/3 of the people included little boys and girls, grown men and women, teenage girls and boys, people of all ages. It was hilarious. The day turned out to be a stress free fun filled day.
We stayed in the hostel we had booked and then went out looking for Dunkin Donuts because Danielle’s mom works there and Danielle was obsessed with finding one somewhere on our trip. She heard that there was one in Tokyo and after looking all over for it, we just gave up on it and ate at this really good burger place. We then went on this Ferris wheel and got a very foggy Tokyo, so we really didn't see very much. Then we went to Tokyo's Time Square. We went and sat on the 2nd floor of the Starbucks to people watch. We watched out the window to the street where 100's of people walk across the street in every direction all at one time. We went and had some Ramen noodles, picked our stuff up from the train station and headed on our train for Kyoto. We were really glad to get out of Tokyo.
We got to Kyoto and went to our hostel and got to bed. We got up slowly the next morning and went to set lunch of Miso soup, sushi, pickled fruit stuff, rice, and tea. We then headed out to the Fushimi Inari Shrine that consists of Toriis that form an archway. We walked through this archway and just took pictures. They are so beautiful. We went to Gion, the part of town where geishas hang around. We spotted a couple of them all dressed up, but they were really fast boogers and it was hard to take their pictures. We went to the Yasaka Shrine on our way back to the hostel.
We left the next morning on a train to Nara. We got to Nara and went to the Todai-ji Temple Daibutsuden Hall, which is the world's largest wooden building. It also houses 2 very large Buddha statues. We also saw lots and lots of deer, yes more deer along with another wonderful food festival. Before going into the Temple, Danielle and I encountered this guy wearing a deer costume. Him and his friends (one of which has a Buddha mask on and another with a video camera) came up to us and started talking to us. They introduced themselves and were videotaping us. It was a strange encounter and I'm almost sure we are somewhere on the internet with this deer man and the Buddha mask man. Who knows, it was pretty hilarious though. We also had the opportunity to witness the "Grass Burning Festival" where they lit a mountain on fire. It was really interesting to watch.
We returned to Kyoto late that night and left the next morning for Osaka. We went to our hostel and dropped off our stuff. We found this really good Sushi place and had some authentic Sushi. My brother-in-law, Noah, informed me that Japan doesn't export their rice, so you must go to Japan to get authentic Japanese Sushi. (btw Noah was right). So after that we went to the Golden Pagoda in Osaka. While in Japan, there are certain things that one should do. Some of those things include eating sushi, pretending to be a ninja, seeing geishas, getting things from vending machines, enjoying the heated toilet seats, bowing to everybody you see, and going to an Onsen. You might not know exactly what and onsen is. Well basically it's a room full of public baths. So we walked to this onsen and found it pretty easily. We walked in and took off our shoes, we rented towel and Carole and I went into the girl's part of the onsen. So when we walk in and there were about 10 middle-aged and old ladies walking around naked. So Carole and I kinda just stood there somewhat uncomfortable, but just decided to go for it. So after putting our clothes in the locker, we headed out into the onsen. We were kinda confused about which bath to get into first or where exactly to go first. There were a couple of different baths including an Herbal bath, Scalding hot bath, hot water bath, warm water bath, jaccuzi type bubble water bath, electric water bath (that was really freaky), a cold water bath, and a warm water bath that was outside. It was really fun being in there. Let's just say that it was a real big confidence booster. We were in the onsen for an hour and a half.. Our visit to the onsen was really relaxing and much needed.
The next day (Monday, January 26th) we got up and traveled to the Ramen Noodle Factory. We saw about 150 different types of Cup of Noodles that were glued to the ceiling. We walked through the museum and learned the history of the cup of noodle. We watched the video about how Cup of Noodles are made then we went into the little make-your-own Cup of noodle factory. We got our empty cup and went to the tables to design our cup. I decided to draw a picture of a large cup of noodle, myself standing in the grass and the little chicken they use as sort of a mascot for the cup of noodle. So after finishing our creations, we took our empty cups to the counter where they dried the marker on the cup. Then the lady put the dried noodles into the cup and we turned the crank to flip the cup over so the noodles drop into the cup. So then after that we choose the type of powder for our soup that we wanted (you could choose from Cup of Noodle, Seafood, Curry, or some Sio something). I chose the Cup of Noodle just to be safe. Then we choose 4 different topping ingredients that we wanted. The options were: Pork, Egg, Green Onion, Fish sausage, garlic chips, shrimp, green asparagus, cheese, imitation crab, corn, and kimchi (whatever that is). I don't remember exactly what I choose but I think it was green onion, asparagus, shrimp, and imitation crab. After choosing my soup and 4 topping ingredients, the lady sealed my cup, wrapped it in shrink-wrap and then she put it thought this heating machine to shrink the cellophane. After that I took this plastic bag that they gave us and you had to put your cup of noodle inside it and blow air into it to secure it. Then I put my red string they gave me around the plastic bag to make me a necklace. We then went to the little cafeteria and got some lunch from the vending machines. I had some Sport Noodles that said they were creamy flavored and they were pretty good.
Later that day we went out to the Himeji Castle, about an hour west of Osaka. There was a reconstructed version of this one in Osaka, but we wanted to see the real thing. This is really close to the place where the movie "The Last Samurai" was filmed. We got there about 5 minutes before the place stopped letting people enter, but we only had 15 minutes to get up to the actual castle and look around. We were able to stay and look around the gardens. We met some people and they showed us where this really cool Japanese restaurant. We had some wonderful edamame (baby soy beans), sushi, meat kabobs, and bacon wrapped cheese. Things were normal prices for food in Japan, but the portions were really small, so we went and got something else to eat after that. We went back to our hostel and us girls went into the bathroom and got in the onsen that they had there. It was a blast just the 3 of us having fun in the onsen.
The next morning we woke up and took a taxi to the Ferry Dock to take our ferry back to Shanghai. So the ferry on the way back was kinda boring because the lounge was only opened from 9-11am and 2-4pm. So we mostly just hung out in the room and just read books. Basically it was kinda a dud for the most part except when Jeremy ran into the room freaking out while on the ship. He said he thought he saw a "little person." Yes yes it was just Tommy Lee Jones on the Vending Machine. I'm sure Tommy Lee Jones would love to hear this story.
After getting off the ship we got our passport stamp back into China. Daniele, Jeremy and I made our way to our hostel, while Carole and Dennis made their way to the airport. Danielle, Jeremy, and I decided to stay in Shanghai for a couple of days to see the city, eat some good foreign food, and just hang out. The 3 of us got to the hostel dropped off our stuff and headed for the Superbrands mall where we ate Burger King for lunch. The next few days consisted of hanging out in the hostel, eating American food and shopping. We left at 10:30pm on a flight for Wuhan and arrived in Wuhan around 12:30 am on Feb 1st.
It was a pretty adventuresome couple of weeks. We had a blast, some minor troubles, but got back safe and sound with lots of wonderful memories. Now I am back in Wuhan chilling for a while. I start classes February 16th.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another Addition to THE LIST!

Today I had lunch with my babies and the mother's at Annie's house after tutoring, and I now can officially say that I'VE EATEN DOG!! I told them about two weeks ago that I really wanted to eat some before I left China and you better believe they made it for me as fast as they could! They are always surprised that I'll try anything. At first, they wouldn't tell me what I had eaten even after I pretty much begged, but now they just wait until it's in my mouth before they'll tell me. I ATE DOG!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A small snippet of my life!

Here is a tiny snippet of my life, I found enough significance in it to write about it obviously.

I exit my apartment wearing my newly purchased maroon striped super thick thermal pants that I bought at a shopping district here in Wuhan that is the equivalent of a 6 block flea market. I begin my short journey to the apartment that I tutor my babies at, listening to 'Love Hurts' by Nazareth and I smell the familiar scent, which I later am astonished that I actually recognize, as cooking chicken feet. And I'm taken aback by the whole situation. First, I now recognize the smell of cooking/cooked chicken feet, I'm walking to tutor 5 year olds who are on the same level of vocabulary in English that I am in Chinese, and I'm in flipping China!!

I also shed two tears today when I received a card from my parents that only said 'I love you so much'. The card had no senders address and no one signed the card, the only things personally written in it was 'Love ya Boo' in my fathers distinct slanted handwriting and my mother's beautiful cursive that elaborated with a 'and me too'. It's weird how being away from my family for my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas didn't invoke as much emotion as a simple card with only 6 words written in it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

Today's Randomness

It's usually an everyday occurrence that I'm walking down the street or across campus and I see something that classifies as completely weird, insane, completely different, or just hilarious. After seeing these things, I'll think "You should really put that into a blog" and I never do. So, today. I'm blogging about the things I saw today.
First, while leaving campus I saw a guy somewhere within the age range of 18-21 which gloves that looked like they were intended for a six year old girl! They were white with Easter pastel colors splashed all over it! It literally looked like Easter exploded onto his manly white pastel colored gloves! It gets better, at the tip of his manly hands were huge white cottony soft flowing balls! HAHA! I tried so hard to keep in my laughter.
Second, the guy sitting behind me on the bus kept leaning up really close to me trying to get a look at my face. He was uncomfortably close, leaning over my left shoulder. Every time I turned at looked at him, he would back up but it didn't stop him from doing it again, and again, and again. The disadvantages to being a whitey in China!
Third, while sitting on the bus I saw a white guy!! I know your thinking umm... big deal, your white and you live next to your white friends, but I didn't know this guy! And he was just walking down the sidewalk with some people, so casually. After writing this, it's yet another slap in the face telling me that I can't get mad at Chinese people for being interested in me and staring at me, if I'm white and can't help but stare and be interested in the white guy!!
Fourth, I saw a Chinese guy wearing a U.S. Army jacket today. Weird.
Fifth, I ran into one of my sophomore students today, one of the really sweet ones! And he stopped and tried his best to talk to me, but his English really isn't that great. It took him about five minutes to form and get out the question if I was going to be their Oral English teacher next semester. It was so cute, how much he struggled, I think half of the problem was that he was really nervous! It was hilarious when I answered him in Chinese! He was so shocked and laughed so hard! I only said one tiny phrase but they always expect you to know nothing! It was great!

That's about it...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My New Years Events

I got home last night around three in the morning from my New Year's Eve crazy events which included be chauffeured around by the parent's (Annie and George) of one of the children I tutor. I had no clue what was planned or where we were going!! We ended up going from tutoring to a fancy super packed dance club where I proceeded to simply stand in a corner because I was overwhelmed with newness of the situation! I had no clue where I was, I couldn't talk to anyone, I had no clue what was going on. But, I still had a blast! We left there and headed to a Karaoke place where we met up with two of their friends. We had our own huge private room where we sang karaoke for hours, ate food, talked, and I died from cigarette smoke. We finally were kicked out of there at closing around 2am. From there we went to eat 'breakfast' at some 24 hour chinese fast-foodish place. And I got back home around 3am!! To make it better, I stayed up until 6 am talking to Felicia, my Dad, and Cameron! I went to bed at 6!!
Today I woke up around 11:15 to a ringing phone. Boo. Anyways, I sounded like a man because of all the smoke I breathed in last night! I spent all day relaxing, talking to Stateside friends, and cleaning my apt. I had two of my freshman students come over for dinner tonight. I feel really distant from my freshman students and there are two students who are great at English, they really try hard, and they are really nice to me. So, I wanted to invite them over which honestly is an honor to them. And we just talked like friends would, it was really nice. I cooked them Chinese food and they were surprised! I got to know them both better and made plans to do dinner again with some of the other students. OH... one of the students, Will, is the one that bought me Runts, his picture is about three blogs down!
Lastly!! And coolest of all. The Chinese TV show that Jeremy was on finally aired!! So, my students and I went up to Jeremy's apt ( my TV is unplugged and shoved in a corner in my office) to watch the show. They laughed so hard every time that my face came on the screen!! Which is came on quite a bit! Jeremy did a really good job but obviously stumbled for words a few times. It was hilarious to see one of your friends on a game show speaking in another language and then to see your own usually white face to flash across the screen suddenly!! I only wish all of you could have seen it!