Friday, May 30, 2008

Dream Job(s)

Pulling from the 100 Things Blog Jar tonight...

What is your dream job?

I have two jobs that I would consider to be my dream jobs.

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a mother. I think everybody that knows me knows that. Because I come from a large family, I also would love to have a large family of my own. When I started traveling, I decided that I would love to adopt if at all possible. Having a multicultural family would just... well it would make me so happy.

Another dream I have is to run my own Bed and Breakfast. When I was in high school I would spend time going to Black Mountain, NC which is chock full of B&Bs and cute little shops. I have always enjoyed throwing a party or just having people in my home. In the past couple of years, I have found a joy in cooking. Running a B&B would allow me to do so many things I truly enjoy as well as still be challenging. I do like a good challenge. I would love to theme rooms from different places around the world.

Maybe one day...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Great Wall Swing Out

Over the past term a small group of us gather on Thursday afternoon for a dance lesson from Amy. Amy danced back in the States and misses it like I miss milk. We have learned (struggled through) Salsa, Basic Swing, and Charleston. Brad has learned to Tango. Katie and I have learned Basic Lindy. I think we all have enjoyed it more than we thought.

Awhile back, Amy learned of a lindy exchange in Beijing. Milk and dancing in the same city in China... let's go! This was the main reason for our trip to Beijing this past weekend... so Amy could get her swing on.

Saturday night Amy and Katie got to dance to a live big band. I think they both had a good time. Then on Sunday morning, we met up with a large group of people to travel to the Great Wall. No hiking this time... We took the cable car up. (Amy, that is how much I love you ;) ) Someone hooked a speaker up and people were off dancing away.

Have you ever seen someone who is just truly using their natural gifts? You cannot stop watching. Amy looked so amazing!!! Graceful and natural. She was definitely in her element. Katie did well too. She met her quota of dancing with different people. Brad and I sat back and just watched. (Dancing for me is fun with people I know, but strangers... not so much.) We both though had as much fun as Amy and Katie. They were just so fun to watch.

Amy, I really do hope you had a good time. You were so beautiful!
The dancers.

The fans.

For more on the Swing Out, you can visit Great Wall Swing Out.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Chinese Favorite

I have gotten to see quite a few famous people over the years. Nothing though will compare to seeing Scott "Freaking" Hamilton. I flipped out over seeing this ice skater in the row in front of me. (That is how he became Scott "Freaking" Hamilton rather than just Scott Hamilton.) However, this weekend I was able to witness a whole stadium of Chinese people flip out about as much as I did when Scott "Freaking" Hamilton sat down.



Brad and I are sitting in the Bird's Nest watching relays, pole vaulting, hammerthrow, triple jump, discus, steeplechase, etc. It was way more interesting than I thought. I even found myself getting excited as the hurdles were being placed on the track. When all were in a place, everybody started standing up and camera flashes were blinding. The athletes were walking out. I had no clue what was going on until Brad said "Liu Xiang."



For those of you who don't know, Liu Xiang is China's second most famous athlete. (Yao Ming, NBA player for Houston Rockets would be the first.) He is a 25 year old track star whose picture appears everywhere. In the 2004 Olympics, he was the first to ever win a gold medal in a track and field event for China. He has broken all kinds of records and is the holder of "Triple Crown" in hurdling. Not to mention, he is a cutie!



Yes, that is right, Brad and I got to watch Liu Xiang compete. We will be the envy of our students for sure. We jumped right in snapping pictures with the thousands around us. We captured Liu's early start on camera. While most athletes would be looked down upon for early starts, everyone has a soft spot for this kid. After, the second start, we watched Liu jump hurdles at break-neck speed, cross the finish line and capture the gold medal. He was the only athlete the whole night to be interviewed.

We stayed until midnight just so we could see Liu Xiang receive his gold medal. The stadium cheered for him and was much louder in singing the national anthem when he got his gold. When it was all over, he threw his flowers into the crowd. (Wouldn't be surprised if someone died from that...) And then, he took off his medal to throw, faking the crowd out. It was then, we became one of the millions of people who loves Liu Xiang.

Come August 2008, Brad and I will be cheering for Liu Xiang!

More on the rest of the Beijing weekend soon...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mourning Day 3

Today is day 3 of mourning.

This morning a Friend left to go back to his home in Sichuan to help his parents rebuild their house. Please keep him in your Thoughts as who knows what exactly awaits him.

In the evening, an old student came over to Talk and for dinner. He was sharing some of the stories told in his dorm. It was the first time I have ever seen one of my male students cry. There are still a lot of worries people have. It does lead to good Talks about where to put your Trust.

In the afternoon, I had my own little version of mourning. It is getting closer to the time to go home. Sometimes I think "how in the world can I leave this place?" I, too, need to put my Trust where it matters.

China is in mourning... and so is Beth today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mourning Day 2

Today was the second day of the national 3-day mourning period.

This evening we had several people from the Foreign Affairs office over for dinner. While talking we learned that "entertainment" has come to a stop for the 3 days. KTV (karaoke), clubs, etc. are all closed. The sport matches have been delayed until Thursday. It really is a time to be still. China's websites have no color presently. After dinner, we turned on the television and watched live rescue shots. There is no programming whatsoever except earthquake news. Pretty disturbing to see footage of actual rescues.
While there was no moment of silence, I am sure prayers were lifted up all over China and the world. The picture is a prayer written at the city remembrance night last Friday. People here are desperate and need Love.
China is in mourning.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mourning

China is in mourning.

At 2:28pm today, exactly one week from the major earthquake, China had 3 minutes of silence. Actually, it was the loudest 3 minutes I have ever experienced. However, it was a nation crying out together.

I was in a taxi at one of the biggest intersections in town. All traffic came to a complete halt. Air sirens, the trains, buses, cars, motorcycles, etc all blared. 3 minutes. It was this image and this "silence" that made me finally cry. Beth Quarles, one of the biggest criers ever has not cried through this whole week. I felt like something was desperately wrong with me especially after hearing about some of the struggles of our good friends. Today though, it all came out. The poor taxi man probably thinks I lost my mind. In reality, I am just a girl in love with a nation who is in mourning.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some Things Never Change

When you have a huge stack of papers to grade and it is raining outside, what do you think you should do?



Yeah, I decided playing in the rain with Amy was the only option too.




Thursday, May 15, 2008

Children of the Earthquake

As you can imagine, the earthquake is pretty much the only news right now.

We have been hearing stories of schools and children from our friends and the news.

Last night a friend was telling us about a school that had 18 classes. Only 3 classes made it out alive. (One was out on a field for PE and the two others were on a field trip.)

We heard about a few mischievous students who were sent out of a classroom for misbehaving. Getting into trouble saved their lives because the rest of the class was crushed.

Jim Yardley of the NYT captured the horror of losing children in his article.

This being a country were the one-child policy still reigns, you can only imagine the grief of parents who have lost their entire families. The Chinese people are very strong, but right now there are a lot of broken hearts. Please keep these parents in your Thoughts.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Going Gray

You know how people (mainly parents) talk about how they got gray hair (or lost it!)... worrying about children, etc, etc.? Well, at the ripe age of 25, I think that I would already be grayed and bald if this was true.

This year I have aged another 25 years (at least) in addition to the 25 I have already lived. The decision of returning to China, losing a teammate, going to India, ironic wedding dates, worries about family, worries about future, making a decision about next year, etc, etc. Sheesh! A couple of weeks ago I was almost down and out. I did not feel like being around others. I dreaded classes. I dreaded checking my email. I dreaded life. But things have turned around.

My trip to Shanghai was overall pretty relaxing. While it was not the most exciting trip I have ever taken, it was nice being away. I got to walk a lot, spend time with people I don't spend time with much, and read on the Book.

I spent time just goofing off in Wuhan for a couple of days. I put off my return to "real" life.

Sunday night I got back just in time for a great conversation with Family. Looking at people of Faith really was the perfect kick in the butt to just get over things and enjoy life no matter what is going on because Someone else is in control.

I love spending time with Amy and Brad. Can't say it enough.

I finished reading through the Book for the first time ever. While, I did it faster than I planned on... wow! Nice to see big picture and make more connections to my life. Plan on doing it again.

The weather has been perfect! I have enjoyed spending my afternoons watching Katie and Brad play volleyball. Amy and I have danced around her house and read books with the windows open.

The woman with the million dollar Revlon smile has returned home.

Life is good.

And while we are having big trouble with our return tickets home and I could easily add another year to my life worrying about it, I will just except the fact these things happen. HE never fails me.

I will look good with gray hair one day... (It will come from time and not so much worries.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Translating Movie Titles

Last week in class we discussed films. My students had to give examples of each different kind of genres. While I did not require them to use English movies, I did get back some great titles of ones they had seen...

Arrogant and Prejudice; Haughty and Prejudice (Pride and Prejudice)
The Supper Man (Superman)
Haircutter Todd (Sweeney Todd)
Breaking Mountain (Brokeback Mountain)
Electric Saw State (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Save the Soldier Ryan (Saving Private Ryan)
White Snow Girl (Snow White)
King of the Lions (Lion King)
The Despaired House Women (Desperate Housewives)
The Witch Wear Fashion (Devil Wears Prada)
Dozen of Children (Cheaper by the Dozen)
Daviqi Cipher (DaVinci Code)
War of the Stars (Star Wars)
101 Dogs (101 Dalmatians)

You can't but smile sometimes in class... Too cute.

A New Chinese Word

I learned a new Chinese word today...

"di zhen" 地震

Normally on Mondays around 2:30pm, I am probably taking a nap. Today though, I was substituting for Amy (since she so graciously did for me last week! thanks!). I was in the middle of a lesson on dating when my students started calling out "Teacher! Teacher!" I guess I looked puzzled because one girl asked "Don't you feel that?" Sure enough I was moving! For a couple of seconds I thought the wind was so strong the building was shaking. Nope. I was experiencing my first earthquake (地震)! I looked in the hall and everybody was running out of the building. My students fled. Class dismissed.

Apparently, there was an earthquake just outside of Chengdu that hit 7.5 on the rector scale. We felt one of the aftershocks. People keep saying there might be another one tonight, but I am not sure if you can really predict that. I am not too knowledgeable about earthquakes being from Nashville and all. ;)

Anyways, for those emails and one Skype call I missed... I am fine. I rather enjoyed my first earthquake experience. I am sure there are some in China tonight though that are not so fortunate. Keep them in your Thoughts.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

video

This video is especially for all of the great women who have been/played Mom to me! Love you ladies...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Girls Week

It is a week for the girls! :)

I am heading out to Shanghai to meet up with the fabulous Whitney Beard. We will have 4 days of shopping, sightseeing, concerting, catching up and on the quest for good milk and coffee. On Thursday, Whitney will be headed back to the States. Keep her in your Thoughts.

On the way home, I will be stopping in Wuhan to see my life coach, Danielle. It is always a blast to spend time with her.

Wishing all my ladies a great week... (Guys too...)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Beginning of Summer

Just another sunny day here in Yichang. No matter what the weather, you will find someone carrying an umbrella.
As much as we, Americans, love our healthy glow of tans, the Chinese are big fans of being "white." Actually, they are probably even more obsessed. Even high end companies such as Clinque sell whitening creams.
As I walk around the city (sans sunbrella), praying for the summer heat to already go away, I only hope that I can get some color on my skin before I return to the land of self-tanners, tanning beds, lying out, and general darkness.

Summer is here!