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. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A preview of my Thailand trip

more to come later...

Things I Do in China...

A friend and I were talking about the little things that have changed in our life now that we are in China.

Things I do in China but didn't in the states...
1.Walk everywhere
2. Risk my life getting in a taxi (but I'm used to it now)
3. Plug my nose a lot, you wouldn't believe the smells in China
4. Walk to school, it's nice only taking 5 minutes to get to school
5. Go to students' houses for dinner
6. Carry cash and never my credit card
7. Say hi to any and everyone in Mandarin
8. Get my mail from a guard
9. Read more
10. Eat out a lot more, food is so cheap here
11. Eat a lot more fruits and vegetables
12. Squat to use the public potty, as in there is no toilet, it's just in the ground
13. Have my classroom cleaned twice a day
14. Sit inside and do work while my class is at recess
15. Get my laundry done by the maids
16. Get DVDs for 2 USD
17. Talk on skype
18. Wake up each morning hoping to have a good email from a friend of family member
19. Run the the beach each day
20. Don't pump gas, or drive a car for that matter
21. Push for a coveted spot on the ChingWay
22. Get tailored clothes made for me for about $10 an article
23. Speak a different language to people everyday
24. Get full body massages weekly for about $12
25. Have parents volunteers three days a week!
26. I use sign language and gestures to get by.

I'm sure I will think of more...until then