Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Concert

On Wednesday night my students performed in the Winter Concert. They were great, I was so proud of them! The whole elementary school performed. One of the songs my class did was a Chinese minority song, three of my girls learned a traditional Chinese fan dance. The girls were so cute in their costumes. I loved how one was Malaysian, Korean, and Chinese, so diverse like our school. Here are a couple of pictures from the night.

My darlings

The girls before going on stage

One of my little ones from soccer and me


Wet Wipes

More never gets old :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's Beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas, well not quite here in China. Kara and I were laughing and had to take a picture by this sign because it is the only one we have seen in English. They decorate for Christmas here, but it's nothing compared to the States. I am definitely starting to get in the Christmas spirit but mainly because of the anticipation to see these people...

(missing the Lil Scotts)
I can't wait to meet this little guy...

and love on him

Not to mention these amazing people...

Man 2 weeks can't come fast enough...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Poetry Slam

Students' hard work +

one mic +

lots of hot coco and treats +

sharing with parents and classmates =

an AMAZING "Poetry Slam"

Saturday, November 28, 2009


We don't drive anywhere here...through all our outings we have become pretty tight with our favorite driver, Jung Yao Lee. He's our ponyo (friend) and you are guaranteed a fun ride with him. After I took these he asked me to email them to him...I think he's going to frame them. :)

Can you feel the connection?! lol

By the way I got my coat made here for not even $30. Sorry I had to brag!

Dining out...

Dining out in China is interesting, you never know what you are going to get...for instance last night John order a double cheeseburger...what did he get?

A double CHEESE was an honest mistake :)

Say what?

For some strange reason I didn't order this.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving the Dalian way

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! It is still weird that y'all are just starting your Thanksgiving day and I am calling it a night. I just skyped with my family and they are all watching the Macy's day parade. Today I spent the day conferencing with parents, which normally would have been a drag. I am shocked to say that EVERY single one of my parents showed up, most of them with both parents attending. I was in awe, in the States I would schedule 24 conferences and maybe meet with 10 students' parents. Not here...just another reason the students are so successful, their parents value their child's education.

I left for Dalian at 4 to go to Rick and Sue's before our Thanksgiving Buffet at the New World Hotel. I went with a family that has kids that go to DAIS. It was so much fun to ride in with them and their kids. There is something about being with kids on holidays, they are so excited it makes me get even more excited. I was singing songs with them the whole way in the car. There were 30 people going to dinner so we all hung out at Rick's for an hour or so and then walked to the restaurant. The food was amazing. I can honestly say I have never had sushi with my Thanksgiving meal, but it was really good. The hotel did a great job, they had turkey, mashed potatoes(not nearly as good as yours Katie), gravy, stuffing, and of course pumpkin pie. I really enjoyed the lamb and the greek salad. For dessert they had a chocolate fountain that I hung out by (with all the kids) and ice cream!!! I even got sprinkles on my ice cream. It's the little things in life. I'm sorry to report I skipped on the chicken head and tongue. Chicken tongue is as delicacy here, but I couldn't bring myself to try it. Maybe I'll try it for Chinese Thanksgiving...wait do they have one? :)

Being away from friends and family was actually not that bad as I was expecting it to be because I have my new friends and "family" here. I feel like we are all so close because we are in the same boat. I connect with people here very easily...maybe because we are all jealous of our families gathering around a table to share amazing home cooking or maybe just because we have helped each other on this path of our lives. This Thanksgiving I feel blessed with the opportunity to expand my world. I am thankful for my friends, family, and students. I am thankful for God never leaving my side, and His abounding grace when I never deserve it. I'm thankful for chocolate fountains and wasabi. A roof over my head and my health are things I am thankful for. I'm thankful for technology and facebook (yes I went there)....and oh so much more, but I don't want to bore you!

So Thanksgiving isn't just an American holiday...tonight I saw people from all over the world celebrating and counting their blessings together. Take time to thank God for all He has given you this year, even the smallest things, because let's face it they make the big things better.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weekend Happenings

Well my camera broke, I have had it for about 4 years so I guess it's about time. There won't be many picture updates unless I steal my friends' pictures :) This past weekend was fun, it started out with normal Friday night bowling league. We went to dinner before and at the restaurant they let you roll your own kimbap (Korean sushi). It was a lot of fun, but not the easiest thing to do. After bowling I passed on going out with my friends and came home to relax. It was so nice to chill out and relax, I get so tired throughout the week with teaching, meetings, tutoring, basketball, and Bible study.

Saturday morning I got up really early and caught the chingway into Dalian. I wanted to have some clothes made and not be rushed so I ventured in by myself. I was over punctual and got there before Archi opened up, so I got myself a warm soy milk and some fried dough on the street and hung out with the locals. Some man was feeding a cat fried fish and everyone else was busy getting ready for the day. It was great to relax and "shop", I got lots of stuff made for almost nothing. I will update with pictures (borrowing someone's camera of course) once I pick them up in two weeks. I met up with the bus in Dalian and took it back to Kai Fi Qu and had lunch with Brandon, Jess, and Jennelle. There is this awesome Japanese restaurant that I always go to. They have really good rice bowls and dumplings.

After lunch we left and I got home and took a nice nap before the evening's festivities. We all went to a Focus Dalian black tie event. I was worrying because I didn't bring any dress up clothes so I had to borrow a shirt from Trina. Well I got there and there were people in jeans. China is funny like that, the dress code is always so diverse. We had a great time complete with a Cats performance by a Chinese dance group, Russian belly dancers, great food and drinks, and dancing. It was a nice change of pace from the norm. I met some fun expatriates that love living in Dalian.

Sunday I volunteered to bring food for church and teach the kiddos. What was I thinking?! would have been fine, but I forgot I'm in China and it's not easy to just find ingredients for baking. I ended up just making boxed muffins and bread, nothing special but it was fine. The kids are great at church, we did a lesson on having a teachable heart. Funny how God finds what I am working on and applies it everywhere in my life!!!

That's my weekend play by play, hopefully I will steal some pics and update this post with them. Only about a month until I am home with all of my family and friends. Can't wait!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm in Love

Yesterday I had two more reasons I love living in China...I came home to a spic and span apartment. Literally, the maids even organized my makeup and perfume. Then to top it off last night I decided I wanted a massage and got an hour long deep tissue massage at 10 PM. I could get used to this. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009


Last Friday our school had its first annual Move-A-Thon. DAIS is made up of some pretty fortunate students, so we decided to give back to the community. We also did it to break in the new track that was just finished. Let's just say the weather on Friday was frigid. We set up an indoor track inside for students to run/walk/move on when they were too cold. I was expecting my students to make it for about 10 minutes outside...boy was I wrong. They made it the whole hour in the morning and then also again for the hour in the afternoon. We actually had to make them come inside in the afternoon and finish up inside.

Ji Won and Chan Min getting credit for a hard earned lap!

The atmosphere and determination was contagious. The students and all of our staff were so pumped and excited. Earlier in the week we found out that Volkswagen donated 20,000RMB (about $3,000 USD) to our cause. We raised money for two community projects, one being a backpack project for kids that don't have school supplies for the Chinese New Year. The other project is microloans to local families that the high school students are going to manage. All the kids did a phenomenal job of moving. My class ran a total of 376 laps, between 10 kids. Ji Won and Zach were amazing running 51 laps each.

My students coloring a Thank You banner for Volkswagen

The finished product

It was so cool to see the kids excited and feeling like they are making a difference. I'm not too sure the parents were too excited having to fork overall that money, but it's for a great cause! I feel so blessed to be a part of this school. The environment is amazing, the kids are so motivated and want to learn, my coworkers are all so dedicated and in it for the students, and the parents are all so willing to help. What more could a teacher ask for?

Ethan making his way around for another lap

This week I have report cards due. Report cards are different than in the States, much more information goes into them. They are annotated explanations on the progress the student is making. I wrote an average of 1,000 words for each student explaining how he/she are doing, what he/she can improve in, etc. Needless to say I am busy this week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Grocery Shopping in China

Three Months

I have now been living in China a little over three months. Writing that sentence seems so surreal, but normal at the same time. I have become accustomed to life here in Dalian. I don’t feel so out of place as I did when I first arrived. I now consider it normal to have to walk through plastic strips hanging in the entrance of stores I go to. It is normal to have to dodge a car in the street. It is normal to see a baby or toddler using the restroom in public. It has become normal for me to greet the guards of our apartment complex every morning on my way to work. The stares as I walk by people are normal to me now. The sound of Mandarin is almost like white noise to me now. I am used to people in the grocery store trying to sell me everything. It's normal to hear fireworks at anytime during the day or night.

I have fallen in love with the Chinese culture and people. The people are so genuine and happy. They almost always go out of their way to help a ignorant foreigner(me). They have a strong work ethic. For such a harsh history, the Chinese don't use it as an excuse. They don't complain or throw pity parties, they just move on and smile. The Chinese people I have encountered want to learn from me just as much as I want to learn from them.

I used to laugh at the stares or "HELLLLO"s I would get when I was out. I have finally realized some Chinese people have never seen an American and my influence on them could be the only representation they have of America. It makes me sad to see other foreigners being rude to people here or acting with entitlement just because we are Americans. It has become apparent to me why people around the world don’t like Americans. I am proud to be an American and feel so blessed, but I would never degrade someone just because I am an American and they aren’t. Just because someone is a driver or a waitress doesn’t mean they are dumb. The norms here aren’t the same as in the States. The education system is much different. It isn’t a right like it is in the States, it is more of a privilege. People appreciate the art of learning and it shows. They don’t take things for granted, instead use every opportunity they can to learn even the littlest of things. Sorry this post was so random, just wanted to share some thoughts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Asian Stlye

I can't remember the last time that I celebrated Halloween. I take that back, it was in college. I guess I am getting old for it to be such a distant memory. I picked a good time to start the festivities over. I have never seen anything so big for Halloween at school. In international schools it is a big deal. I think because the parents still want their children to have those fond memories that all kids have from getting dressed up and trick-or-treating. DAIS did not disappoint. We had a grand celebration full of games, crafts, parades, and a party (with healthy snack, no really they were). It brought back memories of when I was little. Here are some pictures from the day

My teaching partner and me

Korean sushi at a party...high class

Some of my cuties

The whole 5th grade dressed up

Monday, October 19, 2009


We have a saying we say is "OIC", short for Only in China. We use it when there are little nuances that would only happen in China. On Friday night we had an OIC moment...

I joined a bowling league that a bunch of the teachers are in with other teachers from the Canadian school. My team is the Bowling Stones and is made up of Bob(Jon), Mabel (Eli), Xanahu(Janelle), Spike(Bob), Gertrude(Janet), and myself as "Dorris". We all picked old people bowling names. Anyways, we all went out to dinner with another team before our games. We started around 8:00, the alley closed at 10:00. We were having a blast bowling, I think the Wii helped me in practicing, and I was on my last frame. I literally turned around to bowl when all the lanes shut down. We were wondering what was going on when they told us it was 9:50 and they closed at 10:00. Needless to say we were a little annoyed, but when we thought about it it was only $2.00USD to play a game so we started taking our shoes off and getting ready to go.

The Canadians didn't feel the same way. They were really mad and saying they aren't going to leave until they finished their games or got their money back. The people running the alley weren't budging, they said "We close at 10...sorry". We ended up leaving because it was getting a little out of control and we didn't want to be associated with the other "whites".

We were all laughing how that would never happen in America. You would either finish your game or get your money back. Oh well, I learned Friday night that in China when it says closing at 10:00, they mean it. No ifs, ands, buts about it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Heart Thailand

In China they have a Moon Festival in the fall. We had off school from October 1st-12th and some friends and I took full advantage of it. We took an amazing trip to Thailand. Our main destination was Koh Phangan, a tropical paradise. It was a long trip to get there with stops in Ganzhou, Bangkok, and Sur Thani in order to get there.

One of the flights...almost there

Taking off on the ferry

The weather on the just missed us.

Getting ready to get off the ferry...we met some cool people from Scotland

Our first night we went to Cabbages and Condoms, funny name I know, but great food. If you ever get the chance to go I recommend the papaya salad and tarrot balls in coconut milk for dessert. It was amazing! I doubted it at first, but Jess ordered it and it was the best thing we had. The other restaurant we went to on our way back through Bangkok was a great Indian restaurant. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant, but I will never forget how great the food was. Unfortunately my camera ate some sand and didn't work for the last bit of the trip.

Our musician for the night at Cabbages and Condoms

Jess eating the yummy dessert he picked out

Corny tourist poses with the statues


I had to pose with this little boy that was dancing in the dragon dance we saw walking around in Bangkok, the way he danced was so cute!

After a night in Bangkok and a long day of travels we finally arrived to our island. We were like little kids so excited to be there and quickly unpacked, showered, and got ready for our first night. We ate an amazing dinner at Paulita's Lodge. The food in Thailand is amazing, I would go back just for the food. The people that worked and owned Paulita's Lodge were amazing. The woman's name was Su, and she was the sweetest lady in the world. All the workers there were her family or really close family friends. We made fast friends with the servers and her family.

Our shower, reminded me of home

Dinner the first night on the island

Our week was filled with relaxing days on the beach and at the pool, stuffing ourselves with delicious food, meeting new friends from all over the world, celebrating the full moon at the Full Moon party, taking in the God's amazing creation, elephant riding, snake holding, dancing, and more eating.

The first day we were all so excited to be there we sort of forgot to reapply lotion and ended up getting fried. See picture below :)

A little burned after the first day...look at the moon!

I'm not scared of

We learned our lesson and were very careful the rest of the week. My favorite day of the trip was when we rode elephants and went to a snake boxing show. The elephants were so chill and riding on them was so cool. It was a workout to hold on and make sure I didn't fall off when we went down the hills. In Thailand they snake box, which is basically when a man gets into a ring with a King Cobra and boxes it continually. He also holds it and does tricks with it, like kissing it and putting it down the leg of his pants. It was crazy to watch this guy! At the end they let us all hold different snakes. I didn't think I was scared, but when they put it on me I kind of freaked out, but I did hold it long enough to pose for a picture!

Group shot...

Feeding the elephant...he drooled!

The snake boxer


The ride back after our animal fun
The trip was awesome because we all become really close in a short time. We had some really good conversations and has so much fun joking around. We couldn't have asked for better weather, it was gorgeous everyday, except our last day in Bangkok when in rained for a little. But it still let up in time for us to go to the famous night market and buy some cool stuff.

Playin in the sun

Me and the guys

Catching a game of World Cup, I mean beach soccer

I think being overseas made me appreciate the United States, but has also shown me how people view Americans as well. There is the whole American dream that everyone has...go to college, get a good job, get married, have kids, etc. It was so interesting to meet people from all over the world that were just enjoying life. We met people that were traveling for 6 months, a year, or even up to 3 years. It seemed normal for them to just take off their jobs or go on leave to travel. I think that would be so cool, but it is hard for me to get out of the "American" mindset. I am not saying either way is right, just different, but it sure would be cool to just travel the world and not worry about finances.

The Thai people and culture is great. The people are so genuine and caring. They all show so much respect and love for everyone. The food is amazing and flavorful. The way of life is so vibrant and simple at the same time. The people from the town where we stayed were so content with life as it was for them. They weren't stressing over the little things I tend to get caught up in my mind (granted they do live on a tropical island, what is there to stress over). It was a good lesson to just enjoy life and the relationships I have.

Playing with fire?!

A Thai kid
I don't think I have done justice to my experience with my words words, but hope I filled you in enough. It was a great trip with great people and many great times and memories.

Some great quotes from the trip.
I'm on my island ~Brandon
I'm powerful...~me
I'm like the tide, I ebb and flow~ Brandon
Dwey, dwey, dwey...~Everyone
I'm making the trek...~Veronica
Freaking Jellyfish!!! ~Veronica
Same same...but different
and oh so many more...Can't wait for my next trip. :)