Sunday, August 30, 2009

Birthdays and Beach

This weekend might be my favorite so far. Last night all of the teachers had a potluck in honor of four colleagues birthdays. The food and company was great. After we all stuffed ourselves we went to KaiFiQu for some dancing and fun. We had a blast, off course. People do fireworks in China for EVERYTHING!!! I am not kidding, if they are breaking ground on a new building...fireworks. Birthdays=fireworks, weddings=fireworks, funerals= fireworks. Apparently they think by lighting off fireworks it wards off the evil spirits. I have been woken up many a mornings at 5 AM, I'm sure you can guess I wasn't happy. So last night for Jess' birthday they had fireworks. It was crazy, even in South Carolina you wouldn't have been able to set these off. It was about a square 1.5 ft of fireworks and they lit them RIGHT BY THE BUILDING!!! I couldn't believe it. For a communist country there aren't a lot of cops around. :)

Me, Kara, and Veronica

This morning was amazing. I woke up and it was GORGEOUS outside. I went to church, ate some lunch, and got my massage/chiropractic work done. I was going to come home and take my Sunday nap, but decided it was way too pretty to be inside. I am so thankful I did. I walked to the beach and basically to the town next to us. I put my Ipod on and walked and just enjoyed God's creation!! It was so nice. I needed some time alone and also had fun seeing the sights. I was asked by 5 people to have my picture taken with them. It was pretty funny. Here are some of the pictures from my outing. Oh yea, on the way home I was kind of in a hurry and a little tired from walking so I got a moped taxi back (don't worry mom he was creeping along so I was safe). I went to pay him and he wouldn't accept my money. I think he just took me for the bragging rights of having the tall American ride on his moped. LOL

I found it kind of funny walking around and saying hi to people. They wanted to impress me with their knowing English, while I wanted to impress them with what I am learning in mandarin. I would say "Ni hao" and they would say "hello". I would say "Ni hao ma?" they would say "very good thank you, how are you" I would say "Wo hen hao (I'm very good)" This went on, back and forth with dual languages for the basic phrases in both languages. We both were excited to show off our language skills! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jin Shi Tan Market

Took a trip to the local are some pics.

The locals...

A group of men just hanging out

Meat market...

Poor chickens.

The produce is so good and cheap!

Instead of wearing diapers little kids just have slits cut in the back of their pants. This is the best picture I could get of it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friends, Basketball, and Chinese

The other day I was at recess duty(we have it once every two weeks) with some of the TAs. All but one of the TAs are local Chinese girls, one is an American husband of a teacher. Anyways, they are all continually learning English. I was talking with Emma and she asked me, "What is the meaning of the phrase...Don't eat the yellow snow?". I started to laugh and asked her where she heard that phrase. She said she was watching Friends. I told her it meant how if you are out in the snow you don't want to eat the yellow snow because that's where someone went to the bathroom. She was so cute, she started to laugh and say "Oh my goodness, that is so funny!".

On another note, I had my first experience with playing basketball with local Chinese guys. It was a blast. Although they cheat like crazy. I went with Jon, Joe, and Kiyko from DIAS. We were a team of four. The first game we were winning 6-1, you play to seven. All of a sudden they said okay now 0-0 we start to play. Jon warned us about this so we just kept having fun. The guys we played really good and funny. They love Jon, who is about 6-8, everything he does is hilarious to them. I played okay and survived, probably because it was only half court. The only thing bad about it was I had to guard the smelly guy. Everyone felt bad for me :) We played for about an hour then caught the bus back to school.

I also had my first Chinese lesson on Friday. It was good, I learned lots of good conversational stuff. It is really hard! I was frustrated with not being able to catch on quickly, but I think it will come if I keep practicing. I will let you know how it goes.

That's it for first full week was a success. My students are fabulous, I couldn't ask for more. Today is a luau for everyone at our apartment complex. It should be fun.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Once you pop, you can't stop!

Unless it is shrimp and seaweed. Yuck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The food here is very interesting. Here are some pics of things I have encountered. Nothing like good old Chic-Fil-A! :)

Squid...this was actually pretty good, they grill it and put lots of spicy seasoning on it.

I can't bring myself to eat a chicken foot just yet.

I have no clue what these are, and really don't care to find out.

I think these are cow's hooves...what do you think?

PS-Sorry vegetarians, I should have warned you!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I've Arrived!

Well I have been in China over a week now. The trip here was crazy. My flight leaving from Greenville was held because of fog in Atlanta. When we landed in Atlanta my flight to Shanghai had already left. I was rebooked onto a flight that left Atlanta five hours later and I had to go through Tokyo then to Shanghai. The flight was fine, I watched some movies and slept. There wasn’t anyone next to me so that was nice. The Tokyo airport was awesome, their toilets are great. I didn’t use any of the extras, but I saw they had heated seats, air freshener, sound effects, and a wash. That’s my kind of toilet! I checked my email and the executive assistant,Dawei, had booked me a hotel in Shanghai(there were no more flights out of Shanghai to Dalian that night) and rebooked me for a flight to Dalian in the morning. It was a long trip, but I finally arrived on Wednesday around noon.

Kurt, the head of the school, met me with one of the drivers. They took all my bags and we were off to DDA (Dalian Development Area). Dalian is a huge city, it was fun to look out the window and see it. We passed through KaiFaChu which has a ton of shopping. We got to the school and Campus Village (where my apartment is). It is so gorgeous here. We are in the foothills of the mountains, but a walk away from the beach. I couldn’t ask for more. My apartment is so nice (pics below). Kurt then took me on a tour of the school, apartment building, and to lunch. He then suggested I go lay down before a dinner they were having for us, since I had been traveling so long. I laid down thinking I wouldn’t sleep and was woken up by a knocking on my door. Kurt was there asking if I was coming to dinner! I had overslept because partially because I didn’t have an alarm clock, but mostly because I was jetlagged. I quickly through on some clothes and went down to the cafĂ© and met everyone. I’m sure I made a great first impression with sleep in my eyes.


Living Room

View from one of my windows

My school

The next morning (Thursday I think) a group of us had to go get physicals. Apparently in China if they find out you have cancer or some other diseases they deport you. There were about 10 of us that had to get a physical. It was like the Amazing Race. We just went around with our paperwork to the open door. We were put through the ringers; we got blood work, Xrays, ultrasounds, sight tests, and EKGs. I would be remiss to not mention the great urine test. Before I do, you need to know that China’s toilets in public fail considerably to Tokyo’s. Let’s just say it is a toilet sunk into the ground (and I am being nice). You have to squat to pee, no joke. So imagine trying to squat and pee into a little cup, then we had to pour our pee from the cup into a little plastic beaker. Put you can’t pull up your pants because there is no where to put the cup. It was a feat to do balance, pour, and not spill. I walk out of the stall very proud and go to hand the lady my business. She looked at me and pointed for me to put it with the other 30 samples in a little stand. What!? I don’t think that is sanitary, but oh well. Needless to say it was a great bonding experience with my new colleagues.

We finished the day by shopping in KaiFaChu. After pictures being taken of me and trying to tell the store clerks what I wanted I was done for the day. I thought I deserved a Blizzard from Dairy Queen so I was happy with that. The next morning we were going to conquer getting our cell phones…you can imagine how that went. Dawei is awesome so she translated for us. I ended up getting one that works on all the continents, it was so cheap. Shopping here is an art, you are allowed to bargain so I am getting used to that. I have learned most of my numbers, but more importantly I have learned how to do hand gestures. They have different gestures for the money (quay or RMB) so it is really complicated. I just put my hand out with the money and have them take what I owe them. The Chinese are so honest, they would never rip you off. They go out of their way to help you.

So far I am loving it. I miss all of you back home like crazy! This has already been an amazing experience and I am only a week into it. I have way more appreciation for people in the States that don't speak English, it is so frustrating when you are trying to buy something or ask something and NO ONE understands you. It is an eye opener as to how others feel. Anyways that is it for now. I still have lots to share, but I will update it later.