Sunday, February 28, 2010


The weather here has been warming up...Jess and I went for a hike just by the school. It was a lot of fun and the views were great!

Kai Fi Que in the distance

Jin Shi Tan

The Ocean :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Say What?

What are your guesses?

Friday, February 19, 2010


The other weekend 20 of us went to the Harbin Ice Festival...words do not do it justice. It was a busy weekend, we left right after work on Friday to catch our flight...arrived and checked in. Kara, Brandon, Jess, and I went and got some food and drinks. Kara and I were like teenagers talking all night. Saturday morning came early and Kara and I bundled up...I wore 6 layers on the bottom and 5 on the top (not including my coat). We went down to breakfast and realized we were the only ones dressed for the day, everyone else was going to go back up and change. We were sweating while eating, it was hilarious. The breakfast was delicious, the Chinese food is growing on me. I ate fried rice (always liked that) and jiaozi with hot water. The Chinese don't drink cold water, it isn't good for your I had a cold.

After breakfast we headed to the Disneyland of Ice. It was awesome, I felt like a kid again. They had all the Disney classic songs playing on speakers through the whole park. Kara and I were signing all the words, people were surprised we knew the words...guess everyone wasn't as obsessed with Disney movies as I was. If that wasn't enough for my inner kid there were also a bunch of ice slides and tubing! The world ice carving competition is held in the park so we took a look at the entries, they were incredible. USA actually won the competition, but I personally liked Thailand's entry.

Kara and me being silly @ Disney park

Tubing with Isaac

Part of America's sculpture

Jess and me in the teacups

Thailand's entry...way cool

From there we went to a Russian church that was built when the Russians had control of the city. It was very interesting, they had turned the church into a tourism museum. From there we went to a delicious lunch. We were all loving the food and the chance to warm up. I got to sit with my adoptive family, I love my brothers they are so fun! When we finished stuffing ourselves silly we headed back to the hotel to rest for about 30 minutes. A group of people went to another park that had snow sculptures, but since I wasn't feeling well (I had a bad cold) I stayed back with some people and just walked around the town. We found some cool stores and got some hot cocoa.

old Russian church

"Chinese catch" ( I forget the real name)

Warming up at lunch

A market we walked through

Next up was the ICE FESTIVAL! We loaded the bus and set off...we got there and I was speechless. I felt like a kid, we ran around the festival trying to see everything. I had to keep reminding myself that all of this is made from ice. It looks fake. Everything had so many details, I can't even imagine how long it took. There were tons of things to do other than just look around at the ice architecture. There were snow foxes to hold, ziplines to ride, slides to take, chess to be played, shows performed, yaks to be pulled, and lots more. We had a blast walking around the winter wonderland.

Just a little bit cold

All of this is made from ice...pretty amazing

Chess anyone?

Loved this little snow fox

Snow sculpture...year of the tiger
The next morning we went to see the polar bears swim. We walked on a lake and gathered around the hole cut into the frozen water to form a pool. After waiting about 20 minutes in the freezing cold they finally came was a spectacle. It reminded me of when we broke in Mom and Dad's pool in November...craziness. This time I was glad to be on the other side. The polar bears were the last stop on our trip, so we got on the bus to the airport and said goodbye to Harbin.

The polar bear swimmers showing off

I had a blast in Harbin. I have to stop myself at times like these and remind myself how blessed I am to live in China and get to see the world. China is an incredible country with so many amazing places. I have traveled a lot already, but still have tons more to see. :)



Monday night in Dalian there was a huge fireworks display to bring in the New Year. If I have learned anything from living in China I have learned that Chinese people LOVE fireworks. It isn't abnormal to be woken up at 5 am from fireworks 20 yards from my window. You hear them constantly...daytime, nighttime, it doesn't make a difference. Fireworks are lit here to scare the evil spirits away when there is a wedding, new building, funeral...basically anything new. Veronica, Kara, Jess, Brandon, and I went into Dalian for two nights to celebrate the New did not disappoint. The fireworks were was freezing and crowded(DC's 4th crowds got nothing on the Chinese mob we faced), but well worth it. Take a look for yourself...

We also went to some great restaurants and walked around the city. City life is way different than our little life here, I actually felt like I was in China. Where we live we tend to get a little spoiled because we have a "Western lifestyle", so I welcomed the culture with open arms. I am beginning to get used to the sound of a louggie (sp?) being hocked/spit and horns honking excessively. Overall it was a great time with great people. I am so thankful for my friends here. We have become one another's family here in China. It was great to celebrate the year of the Tiger with my faves.

The crew

The Year of the Tiger...


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy New Year!

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year
1. Clean the House: Before the New Year arrives, it is very important chunzito give the house a thorough spring cleaning, sweeping away any bad luck that may have accumulated over the past year.

2. Decorate the House: Go Red! Since it is considered a lucky color, doors and windows are often painted red. If that sounds a little extreme, then make sure you hang some of those beautiful red paper cuts and red lanterns instead.
(Paper cutting is an ancient Chinese art form dating back to the Han dynasty).

3: Do not Clean: for the first few days of the New Year. If you insist on cleaning, then you risk sweeping away your good luck.

4. Make a sacrifice to the Kitchen God (Zao Shen): Hang a poster of the Kitchen God in your kitchen and offer a ceremonial sacrifice to ensure that he gives a good report on the family's behavior when he returns to heaven. That will result in the family having good luck through out the New Year. Sticky Cake (Nian Gao) is a popular ceremonial sacrifice, or children could rub honey on the Kitchen God.

5. Get together with the family: on New Year's Eve preparing Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi). Hide a coin in one of the dumplings. The lucky finder will be the recipient of good luck in the New Year.

6. Give Children Money in Red Envelopes: New Year is usually the happiest time for children because they will get many red envelopes with YaSuiqian (lucky money) in it.

7. Distribute tangerines and oranges: (symbols of wealth and good luck) to children and guests throughout the New Year season to attract abundance and good fortune.