Saturday, September 29, 2007


Heading to a train bound for Xian... terracotta soldiers... will post soon!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oh Mooncakes!

Yesterday was Mid Autumn Festival... you might remember last year when I wrote about the horrid mooncakes...

This year I received 5 bags of mooncakes! Not 5 mooncakes, but 5 bags! Most of my Chinese friends don't even like them...
Last night for weekly Tuesday night dinner we had chicken and rice (Thanks Nana!) and then I made my own version of mooncakes... cupcakes with moons painted on them. I must say I enjoyed this tasty treat much more... American mooncakes. :)

Mid Autumn Festival is also a holiday where people send texts wishing you a happy day. This year my favorite was from my friend Kristy. She wrote: "oh, im 2 tired!!! i fighted with the sun all day long today to grab a moon for u, but the sun definitely say NO. so i trample into a mooncake with extreme anger!! pls accept it as a little gift, and happy mid autumn day."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Perfect Kind of Day

Today was one of those perfect China days. You wake up to the sun shining through the window. Look out to see the little farmers market in the square. In the afternoon you have plans to go with foreign and Chinese friends swimming and then have a pizza dinner afterwards. Perfect!!

After lunch a group of about 15 of us headed out to our swim hole. We wanted to take advantage of the nice weather while we still could. Because it was so pleasant outside we opted to take motorcycle taxis instead of the bus or taxi. The 15 minute ride was wonderful! Peach and I shared a bike and pretend to be flying. Silly yes, but it was that kind of day that you just wish you were a bird to flap about.
(Peach and I on our motorcycle ride...)

(Just outside our swim hole)

When we got to the swim hole we found that it was closed. After a little climb we got in anyways and were "invigorated" (quote by Kim) by the cool temperatures of the water. Of course soon before we left is really when the sun peaked over the cliffs that surround our swim hole. (You would think we would know to go later by now!!!) Anyways, we enjoyed soaking up some sun (well us foreigners did anyways while the Chinese girls sat under umbrellas) and watched some of our students who learned to swim over the summer. It was great!

(Brad and I soaking up some rays... I even got a little color!)

Tonight for dinner many of the same students/friends came over for dinner. We made LOTS of pizza. It was a thank you feast for those of us that helped us move apartments. Brad and Amy made the crusts yesterday with supervision and then the kids got to put on their own toppings tonight. They were creative as grapes even made it on to 1 pizza! The boys watches women's soccer on TV and the girls sat around singing silly songs and chatting. Sometimes you really can forget that you are living in a foreign country!
(Bill and Steve top their pizza off)
(The always- so- happy Steven loved his pizza for 1)

Now I sit at my computer, laundry washing, grasshopper pie freezing, floors freshly swept and utterly exhausted. Just wanted to write about my grand day. Tomorrow morning I will get to sit amidst friends and Think about what is truly important. My favorite part of the week. Today was a great ending though to another week.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Decline of Something Great...

Newest obsession... Justin Timberlake!

I just love his music...

Have I declined in my musical taste??? I thought I had GREAT taste, but then came good old Britney Spears ex, Cameron Diaz chasing, Jessica Biel smooching, teen heartthrob whose greatest lyric is "I'm bringing sexy back..."

I also heard another song I love the other day called "Crazy Beautiful." Want to know who sings that? Hanson.

Somebody needs to pump some Features/Tom Petty/Explosions In The Sky/Andrew Bird blood in me ASAP!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"May It Be Everything To Everyone"

As Kim and I make it home from a long afternoon at the nail salon, I receive a phone call asking if I want to go to the Vienna Boys Choir concert... Really?!?!? In Yichang, at Three Gorges University??!?! Of course!
(A little excited...)

A group of us girls head to dinner a little sad because there are only 2 tickets and about 6 of us that want to go. By the end of dinner we had gotten a phone call saying there were 8 tickets and they would be delivered to us. Vienna Boys Choir! I mean WOW!!! Talk about an experience you don't get everyday...

(dreaming of these angelic voices...)

Walking home from dinner I am in a giddy mood because hey, I am going to see the Vienna Boys Choir. I could just hear their sweet precious voices in my head. Because we are in such a good mood we start quoting "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." (It was funny to me!)

Then when we were almost halfway home we ran into our delivery man... Upon looking at the tickets I immediately fall to the ground laughing. I am sure that everyone had thought I lost my mind. On the ticket was pictures of ballerinas. Yet this being China, there was still a 50% chance in our minds that the Vienna Boys Choir would still be there. I was still a little excited because I have never been to a real ballet before! I made the "Tiny Tim" comment to Amy and Katie that I hope that it would be everything to everyone... More serious fits of laughter...

We get to the auditorium to find out that yes it was ballet. No it was not that good. Definitely no Vienna Boys Choir! After having a lot of trouble figuring out the story behind ballet and thinking to myself "This is not a real ballet" so I would scar myself for life, it turned out being "everything to everyone." The played Italian Opera for Dawson, Irish Step Dance for Katie, Roxanne for Amy, Gene Kelly Singing in the Rain for me and Yangtze River Opera for Jian. Still not a quality performance, but decent enough to make some good memories...

Yeah, that ain't no Vienna Boys Choir...

(sorry if that was one of those "had to be there" moments, but I thought it was pretty stinkin funny!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Foreigner Mischief and Such

It was a lovely weekend here in Yichang. I don't think I could have asked for a much better Saturday...

The morning began with my student Sabrina coming over for some help. She has picked up a part time job in a primary school and she wanted some help planning a telling time lesson. We had such a good time making clocks, a game and just talking about teaching. She is a business major but only because her parents want her to be. It is a shame because she would be a great teacher! Making clocks made me kind of miss teaching young students. Coloring is not a big hit in the university setting. ;)

Our friends, the Mosbys, came in town for lunch. It was a super quick visit! We had not seen Pam in over a year so it was really good to see her smiling face. We ate at our "other kitchen" UpDown so they could experience what we eat on a semi-daily basis.

After lunch, Amy and I were off to our friend Eden's baby shower. Eden is married to a Chinese man and they are super cute! Eden has lived here 7 years! But I really admire her because she is going to have her baby here in Yichang. That is a feat in my eyes. I can't even use squatty potties, much less give birth here. The shower was fun and little "Clenden"(as he is affectionately called now) racked up.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent with foreigners. We played cards, went to McDonalds for dinner and then visited Yiling Square. That is the place to be at night. People are dancing (ballroom and other such types of dancing), exercising, playing cards, watching the fountain show, etc. This Saturday night some of the square was taken up by a rollerblading lesson for kids. The kids looked like mini-professionals, skating in a true circle while crouched down. It looked more like a scouting event for the next Olympics. Another part of the square was taken up by a foreign pyramid...

That's right we made a pyramid in the square. Nothing like a group of weiguoren to attract some attention...

Friday, September 14, 2007


Happy Teachers' Day bethquarles Thank you very much! Until now,I still remember your words very clearly. It's worry to cheap in an exam,no matter how small it is .And it's also in some other things. Happy Teachers' Day! (I know it's very late,but It's really what I just want to send you and let you know. miss you Candy

This was a note I got from Teachers Day. Candy was a student last Fall. If she didn't learn any English at least she remembered cheating ("cheap"ing) is not good.

Conquering the cheating problem one student at a a time...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

School's In Session

Well school is back in full swing...

The first English Corner was last night and you can tell it is the beginning of school by the number of people there. English Corner is a great idea in theory. Students gather outside the library one evening a week to speak only in English. The foreign teachers hate it though because we get the same questions "Do you like China?" "What do you think of Chinese men/women?" and my personal fave "Can you use chopsticks?" I do enjoy meeting more students but have to answer the same questions in a row is very tiresome. Anyways, so last night a group of Dawson's (or Handsome as they like to call him) new students found me. They asked me to sing which I politely declined (they do not realize this was for their benefit!) Then they start cheering so I grab the nearest upperclassman that I know and ask him to sing for them. He doesn't. They ask me to dance and I told them I had nobody to dance with. They went found Dawson and then dragged me over to his side. We ended up dancing a little Waltz while Dawson hummed some song. Our little crowd of maybe 30 had turned into a crowd of maybe 60. Upon taking our bow we decided it was time to go. Only one hour English Corner. :) I can dance like that every week if it means I don't have to stay hours!

I did receive pretty good news. I am only teaching 12 hours this term. I teach for the College of International Communication and they did not have as many students enrolled in this term. I have my same 3+1 nightmare students I had last year (minus the nightmares because they flunked out) and then 2 new classes of 3+1 freshmen. The freshmen seem to be on the ball. I see each class 2 times a week. When I go back to America I am not sure that I will be able to handle a teaching job because the most I teach here in one day this term is 4 hours. Hard knock life I know. :)

Still kind of homesick, but really trying to pull out of it. I am trying to stay busy, meet with students/friends and just remember why I am here. Keep us in your Thoughts...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy Teachers Day!

September 10th is known as Teachers Day in China. On Teachers Day you get tons of text messages from numbers you don't know wishing you "good luck", shouts from students as you walk by, flowers and the occasional celebratory dinner.
Cole called me a couple of days ago to see if the boys (Monday night class I has a year ago) could take me out for dinner on Teachers Day. I agreed because I love their company. Normally though when we eat together is when I experience major differences in Eastern/Western cooking. (Last time we had a couple of different kinds of blood...)
Cole picked me up in a taxi and we headed straight for the hot pot restaurant. When I got out of the taxi my boys came running up, yelling "Happy Teachers Day!" and presented me with a bunch of fuchsia carnations. It was great to see all of them (plus girlfriends they had acquired over summer.) Only Cole, Hugh B and Julie stayed for dinner because the rest were having dinner with a Chinese professor. Thankfully there was no blood this time. The only odd food I "enjoyed" was seaweed and some kind of bean curd. (Bean curd... who came up with this name?!!? Even the name makes me sick...) It was a nice dinner. A nice night. A nice memory.
Happy Teachers Day!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Girl, A Motorcycle And A Tree

Not too many adventures during the first week unless you count the following...

My living room happens to be pretty big. Exciting it is not. I have the standard wooden bench couch, two wooden chairs, television on coffee table and another small coffee table. This accounts for little of the space in the room. I decide it needs some sprucing up. It needs to feel homey. I decide a plant would do the trick.

A plant.... some of you might already be concerned because of my past track record with living things (Who-Dey the tiger dog and Wasabi the crab)... why on earth would a plant be a good idea? Still not sure, but the experience was worth it.

After lunch one day, Peach, Jumping and I hop on motorcycle taxis to head to the greenhouses behind campus. We stroll through the grounds and our impatient taxi men join us after awhile. Everyone had advice for me. I did not listen much (could understand anyways) and found a tiered tree that I liked. The taxi men were quite insistent that I should buy 2 trees. I bought 1.

After making my purchase, comes the question that I should have thought about before... how do I get the tree home? Opps. After much debating between greenhouse boss, taxi men and girls (while I sit back thinking how much easier this whole experience would be if I were at Tom Thumb in Green Hills!), the decision is made. On one motorcycle will be driver, tree and Peach. The other will have driver, Beth and Jumping. We load up the first bike to make sure it will not fall over and then head back to campus.

Where else in the world can you see this?

Driver carries my new tree up four flights of stairs and places the tree in living room. Once again he shakes his head and tell me I should have bought 2. I tell him that he would have had to carry the second one up for free. He says I made the right decision. Everyone leaves. I sit on my butt-numbing couch and enjoy the greenery of my new living room until I have to melt the ice that has built up in my air conditioner by filling coffee cups up of hot water and making a huge mess when I pour it into the AC...

Another problem for another week...

Monday, September 3, 2007

All I Needed...

A semi-Western meal made by a dear Chinese brother, hearing the voice of my Daddy, a good night's sleep (finally!) and chatting with my baseball fanatic friend...
Bring on the year in Yichang!
I am feeling much better now...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Little Harder Than I Thought

Well after 49 hours of traveling I have arrived back in Yichang. I wish I could say that I was excited, but I am not.

While I was home this summer I was anxious about getting back. The first two weeks were pretty much miserable. No real reason. However, I got used to being back. I had some great trips and got to see a lot of people. By the end of the summer I was finally starting to feel at home again.

Our journey back included some delays, rushes through airport, no food, toting over 500 pounds of luggage from one bus station to another, my feet the size of Texas and a squatty potty from Hades! We got back to hear that we were getting to move apartments that night. No rest for the weary... Then I realized no air conditioning in my apartment so I ended up crashing on the boys couch for the night.

I have this nice huge apartment but for the time being I can't seem to enjoy it. Everything seems overwhelming! Yesterday I did almost nothing because I was zapped and so homesick. This morning I woke about 4am (still on American time) and have accomplished a little bit. My bed is finally put together and clothes put away. I am supposed to meet some of my students for lunch and then I am planning on fixing dinner for the others. Maybe that will help pull me out of this little funk.

Combination of jet lag, homesickness, pms, overwhelmed, and maybe even a little culture shock is just not good... I think there are a few of us here facing the same problem so just keep us in your Thoughts.

Re-entry to the Middle Kingdom a little harder than I thought.