Monday, May 28, 2007


Every morning I get up at 6am. I have a natural, biological alarm clock which I am not sure if it is a blessing or a curse. Normally I don't have a class until 10am so the first few hours of my day tend to be my most productive. There are a plethora of morning activities I choose from...

Rolling over and grabbing the book I was reading the night before
Putting on some good tunes (anything from Ginny Ownes to U2) and find something that needs cleaning
Going to market
Fixing a cup of some morning starter and catching up on emails
Turning on and scanning the websites
Grading the endless supply of student papers
Writing a postcard or letter to someone that I know will appreciate it but I will never hear back from (cough:family:cough)
MTV pilates workout
20 minute GRE study
20 minutes of flipping through my Chinese book (I wish I could call that study, but it is really just flipping)
Researching some recipe for a culinary masterpiece (or disaster!... I try a new recipe each week... this is the only New Years Resolution I have kept!)
Sitting down with the Good Book and having a little quiet time

My morning starters consist of orange juice, milk tea, or fake coffee... This summer I won't have to decide because it will be MILK!

Anyways, so I pick a few things and get started on my day. This morning I chose pilates and market.

Honestly, pilates does not get chosen every often, but I do feel better when it does. I brought my MTV pilates from the States which I am so thankful for because here you get Chinese dubbed exercise DVDs that throw all rhythm out the window. I love my mat that didi bought me a few weeks ago! I am a little more motivated now.

Going to the market is always enjoyable! Each morning between the hours of 6-9am there is a little vegetable market on the basketball court outside of my house. Then on Snack Alley there are vendors lining the streets and at the end of the street there is a bigger market. It is any farmers' market enthusiast's dream! This morning I was in search of some veggies for the jambalaya I am making for dinner tonight. I picked out tomatoes with my boss Mr. Tian. I acting out making dinner for my celery lady. I smiled at a group of mothers holding their children clothed only in split pants and I chased a butterfly with a little girl in a big puffy Easter looking dress. I was successful in finding everything I needed and only paid 4rmb. (50 cents American) It was a great market day!

All in all a fabulous and productive morning. Now I head to the toilet/shower combo room to get ready for class and the rest of my wonderful Tuesday...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pseudo Memorial Day

Since we have to work on Monday which is Memorial Day we thought we would celebrate big today. This morning about 20 of us went to Xia Lao Xi for some great swimming action. Our American friends from Yidu came in town to go. We also took several of our Chinese friends/students. For some it was their first time to really try swimming. It was a really good time for all!

Tonight we hosted a cookout for the foreigners. It never ceases to amaze me how easily amused we are. We spent a better part of the evening looking for mosquitoes to hit with Brad's bug zapper. It was quite successful though because the grill actually worked!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007


T.M.I.F... a little spin on TGIF... Thank Mao It's Friday!

So Amy and Brad bought me the greatest shirt possibly ever! I want to post a picture, but I am seriously thinking it will be what I wear home on July 13th. Guess you should come see me at the airport... :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Beth, the Swim Teacher

A group of American tourists passed through campus today. My 3+2 students were picked to show them around campus. After taking them to this incredible exhibition hall in the library (which I never knew we had) the tourists were fed up. There was no AC (welcome to our lives!) and my students were "not good enough." Many of the Americans came to talk to me about my experience and said they admired the fact that I was willing to come. Then they proceeded to tell me how horrible the students' English was. This really upset me in a lot of ways! (1) I am their teacher... guess I suck (2) The students really tried and were so excited about this opportunity (3) English is after all their second language (4) You are in China... get over it! I had all kind of protective feelings rising inside. I will be the first to admit most of these kids are not going to pass their exams to go overseas, but why should a stranger complain about it!??! Agh!
So after this not fun experience my students invited me to go swimming with them at the school's brand new pool. It just opened on Friday and everyone is so excited. I had decided that I probably would not swim there because I thought it would be awkward and such. However, after the afternoon I thought it would be a fun way to cool off and spend some time with them. I sucked it up and got in my swimsuit.
When we got to the pool I was informed I would have to buy a swim cap. Oh joy! What a fabulous look. The girls headed into the locker room where they had no qualms changing in front of their teacher. When we finally made it to the pool most of them admitted they did not know how to swim and some had never gotten into water. Our little outing quickly turned into a swim lesson. It was quite fun! My fears of being stared at faded and I gained respect from many who joined in our lesson.
I guess if I stink at teaching English I could always be a swim teacher...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Keep on Truckin'

Just thought I would show you a picture of my Family here in China. They are pretty special people and it is always a joy to be around them. What a blessed girl I am!
I am a little tired this week. I have been kind of sick the past few weeks and had to go to the hospital last week. (Not that serious, but there are no doctor offices here. I really wish I could share my experience because it was like none other... Lets just say the "no line" problem in China was a million times worse when people need to go to the restroom!) I am currently taking 17 pills everyday! None of which help with energy though. Please just keep Lifting me up because it is hard to Work and be in a good mood for that matter when you are so tired.
Thankfully I am surrounded by good people! Just got to keep on truckin'...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dragon Boats

On Saturday we went to the river for the 7th annual Yichang International Dragon Boat Races.

Dawson and our friend Yuanmin scored us "tickets." I use the term "tickets" in the loosest form possible. When we arrived our seats were basically every man for himself and there were a lot of people. I am talking about a lot of people even for China! The first half hour were so bad that we were considering going back home.

After scaling a makeshift wall and walking around like we owned the place, things got much better. Dawson and I were interviewed by a TV crew. (Of course we were not as popular as baby Schafer!) We met several of the foreign racers including a family from San Diego. I chatted with the Australian/Chinese team for quite a while during boat loading. It was a great morning to spend with friends!

(Australia/China Dragon Boat Team)

(Good friends that made it more enjoyable!)

The Dragon Boat Festival started as a memorial to Chinese poet Chu Yuan who drowned in 277BC. Traditionally, people throw rice into the waters so that the fish will eat the rice instead of the poet! Dragon Boat are long boats that race to the sound of a drumbeat. Each boat contains one person to steer, about 20 rowers, and one drummer. It is a real art to make the boat as I saw recently on CCTV.

And that my friends is Dragon Boat Festival...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Graduation Day!

For as long as I can remember these two girls have been called the "Little Girls." Today though they are not so little.
Caitlin and Hannah are both graduating today from Beech High School.
Caitlin has grown into such a beautiful lady! The changes that she has gone through have been amazing. She used to be the quiet, shy one but she has more personality than most people I know. She enjoys life and she knows how to really laugh. Once Caitlin starts laughing then she can't stop and it is just great! Caitlin has worked really hard in HOSA and has gotten to go to Nationals two years in a row! She thought about going to Florida for school, but I think she finally decided on Tennessee Tech.
Hannah just blows me away! She took summer and night classes so she could graduate a year ahead of time. She is a member of FFA (Future Farmers of America) and honestly sometimes I wonder how she is so different from her other sisters. However, she is amazingly independent and so strong. I have a lot of respect for her. She is going to go to UT-Martin and she wants to be a narcotics officer.
I am a little homesick today because I wish I could see these precious girls walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. However, both Caitlin and Hannah have a sister in China who could not be prouder.
Girls, I love you so much. I can't wait to spend time with you this summer. Sorry if you hate the picture, but you know if you emailed me a few every once in awhile... :)
(*Congrats also to my cousin Katie who is graduating from David Lipscomb High School!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Shocking Discovery

So one of the differences in China and America are ages. Here is China when you are born you are considered to be one. In America you wait a year before being one. It always makes for interesting conversation. Last night included....
Brad is the youngest one of the bunch and when we first made friends with the KF4 we were surprised to learn Peach was older than him too. Peach and I both call Brad "didi" which means younger brother. It is kind of special. Brad even made Peach a cupcake for her birthday that said "23...older than me." Brad has gone 8 months calling Peach "jiejie" (older sister)! However, we made a startling discovery...
Peach is Brad's "meimei"! I know we have talked about age difference in front of Peach before, but last night I had some students over and we were talking about it again. It just clicked! Peach is 22 in America and 23 in China. What an outrage!!!! She keeps us on our toes for sure. I had to post about this new discovery because I was just so floored. I shouldn't have been though because it is Peach. She is alot like me... sensitive, klutzy, but lovable ;)
Not only am I sometimes on a different day than my American friends, but I guess I am a different age too...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

Here are a couple of text messages I got today...

"Today is Mother's Day. Don't forget to take a telephone to your dear mother. And take my best wishes to her. Thank your mother birth you, make me have a best foreign's teacher and friend! though i haven't too much time to get in touch you, in this special time i think special you. I feel so so happiness"

"What does family mean? F=Father, A=and, M=mother, I=I, L=love, Y=you. Hope everyone have a family full of love. Happy Mother's Day! Best wishes to your mother."

Friday, May 11, 2007


You all may not appreciate this as much as I do...

The sense of smell is quite unusual. It has the ability to trigger memories that we tend to forget until that moment we smell it. Last fall I wrote about the smell of Friday football games and this past week I have had a few smells.

My house smells like a hotel when I turn the AC on.
My laundry detergent reminds me of the smell of my flat in Scotland.
The smell of honeysuckle beside the croquet field reminds me of my best friend Katie in North Carolina. She taught me how to master honeysuckling.
Brad sometimes smells like my brother Joe. (This occurs only after Brad has done laundry so you know how often that happens... ;) )

Of course, there are some major bad smells too.

One spot on Snack Alley that you know to cover your nose 100 feet before you make it to that spot... All you Yichangren know what I am talking about
The river... it makes the Cumberland look like the waters of paradise
Eggs... personally make me sick... Breanna Lewis' ducks win the stinky eggs award hands down (plus there is just something strange about ducks eating eggs... I mean that is what they lay)
Who-Dey knows how to stink up a room by leaving his "presents"

Anyways, there is one smell I am really looking forward to... The smell of my dad. He does not have a strong smell, but there is something that no other scent can capture. It is the strongest when I set right beside him and snuggle in the bend of his arm. I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tiger... HA!

The big question this week is "How is Who-Dey?" Our students are curious. When we call people in the States that is their first question. Photo comments, etc. So since everyone is so concerned about the pup, here is a quick update....

Photo on New Years Eve... just a couple of days after we got our tiger

Photo taken this past Saturday...

Sadly, you can our tiger is no longer a tiger. He has lost his stripes and a lot of his cuteness which stinks for him when he gets in trouble. Presently he is staying with Brad and Dawson. Who-Dey is the most spoiled dog in China. He has been sent more fan mail than me! New toys, new bones, lucky dog. He switches homes every couple of weeks. He is getting better about using paper and the biting is not as bad. He is growing up!

Guess he can still be pretty cute!

For those of you who might want to know... Brad, Amy, Dawson and I are doing just fine too. Thanks. ;)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

The best way to start the day...
Waking up to new sheets and the sun shining
Drinking a cup of coffee and settling down to your computer
Hearing the voices of two of your precious sisters and getting giggle-faced talking about prom, break up boxes and figuring out how to hang up
Hope the rest of the day is as great as the last hour. :)
*Note: New bedding thanks to Kim, Katie, Sandra and Shorel!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Growing Up

Well as of April 27th, I am another year older. My birthday was really special thanks to my dear friends. One of my classes made me 365 tiny paper stars to wish me 365 days of happiness. Cole and Hugh B. took me to lunch and got me a nice Chinese cake. The Yichang 6 made a Mexican feast for dinner. Best tortillas ever! Amy's made the classic cake shown here. (Less than 70 days now! Strong.) Late night festivities included a ghetto dance party. Brad, Dawson and Amy created one of my favorite places in Nashville on the porch for me which I will NEVER forget. Good birthday...
It was kind of hard being away from family, but I am learning that is just part of growing up and not just because I am in China. This whole growing up thing can be really hard sometimes. This week has been "Spring Break" for us so I took a little time to get away and be alone. I spent a few days in Wuhan just gathering my thoughts and trying to refocus. Journaled, walked, went to the zoo, went swimming... had peace and quiet. I came to the realization that I might never feel truly grown up because there is always so much to learn. Is there an age or time when you actually feel grown up?
While in Wuhan, I was walking down the road when I felt someone push me. Instinctively I grabbed my purse and sure enough everything was gone. (I had been careful. My purse was strapped over my whole body and the flap was facing my leg... they are just THAT good.) I was walking by some construction and so I turned and saw two girls running on the other side of the barricade. I took off running and yelling too. Two men joined in the chase with me. One of the girls came over the barricade and started walking like nothing had happened. I went to grab her arm and she turned around right at that moment. She jumped forward and I lunged, tackling her to the ground. I yelled for her to give me my things and she just looked so puzzled. For a slight moment I thought I had gotten the wrong girl. Tears sprung up, but thankfully she gave me back my wallet. She also gave me my phone which I did not know she had taken. I was lucky. I learned some lessons too. In my wallet I had been carrying all my money and bank card. I do not have any phone numbers memorized because they are all in my phone. If that girl had escaped, I would have been up a creek! I guess I would have had to email my friends here and just pray that someone would show up in the next few days. I will have to be smarter... That too is a part of growing up.
Growing up is fun sometimes too. Brad spoke tonight at Family time. He talked about witnessing and I was reminded of the awesome responsibility we have here. Things here are urgent too. I am studying more than I have and really looking at some tough questions that I have been asked as of late. I guess I have taken so much of my spiritual life for granted especially when I see my friends and seekers here. I am enjoying this part of growing up even though it is challenging.
Sometimes it is nice being a "kid." Tonight we took a walk and then five of us linked together walked home and went to the store. People thought we were crazy, but we just had a good time laughing. We drew pen tattoos. I am now a member of the "Mosquito Mafia" because of the bites I have everywhere. (I have to spray myself with Off before I go to sleep at night.) Life is just too fun sometimes...
Here's to growing up...

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Scattered Is The New Black

After years of using Xanga, I have made the switch to Blogspot. Why, you ask? Because Xanga is inconveniently blocked by the Heads here. At least I will be able to blog once again...


That is the title of my new blog. I picked this title because that best sums up my life these days. My interests, the people I love, emotions, the papers on my desk, my personal belongings, my heart and even my homes. And for all that is good, my money is always scattered around my house. Pick up one of my books and there is a good chance you will find 10 kuai being used as a bookmarker. Is it my fault my money still feels like monopoly money??!?! Anyways, so that is how Scattered came to be...