Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My New (ish) Obsession

Well.... you all know that I love shoes. I 
L - O - V - E
Shoes. Always have, always will, they're apart of me and who I am sorta thing. Before I left for China I was at approximately 97 pairs of shoes. I am fully aware that this is a little on the ridiculous side. But I can't help it.
(Admitting there is a problem is one of the first steps, right? At least I am on the right track..)
This summer I did a really good job of not buying any shoes; I had to save money for China, right? Well, all that hard work has gone down the drain. I am here to admit defeat. I have been sucked in in the worst possible way.
China shoes are
There aren't really words to describe shoe shopping in China. Its amazing, and I am so sad that I will have to leave this shoe heaven. Chinese shoes are MADE for my feet (or at least that's what I tell myself). They always have my small size, and I LOVE it! And, what's even better, is that all the shoes seem to sparkle. No, they aren't all glittery and stuff (though a lot of them are), but they just seem to radiate love and beauty an joy. They sit all delicate and shiny on their little shelves, taunting me and my small wallet. Its TORTURE. And the worse part is, that compared to U.S. pricing, they are SUPER cheap. So, in a way, it is logical to stalk up and buy a lot of nice shoes for an amazing price while I'm here, but I know that I'll still keeping buying shoes wherever I am for the rest of my life. But what's a girl to do?
One of the girl's that I teach with, Teresa, gave me this advice:
"When in doubt, buy it."
I don't think this is good advice for me (or anyone for that matter), but while I am holding that pair of black velvet stilettos with diamond studded heels and embellishments, for the super low price of $10 (American money), it's the only thing running through my head. And it just gets worse when I spot the purple patent leather heels with heart shape diamonds on the toes, or the navy blue ballet flats with black jewels, or.... I can go forever, so I'll just stop there. 
It literally causes me pain.
(Okay, maybe not physical pain, but you know what I mean.)
I think I've done pretty well for how tempted I have been. I've only bought 10 pairs. (So far)
So I guess this post is dedicated to now having more than 100 pairs of shoes, and also to China, and their wonderful stores that suck me right in. I hope they sell these wonderful shoes online... that would solve everything... haha.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Renshou Temple Photo

Pictures only work if I send them one at a time Sad smiley emoticon but better than nothing, right?

Another picture!


A picture.

Sorry this is all I can send. Its of the Donghauli Ancient Alley!

Guangzhou & Foshan!

I realized that I never blogged about the little trip we just had! We had 2 days off of teaching so we decided to take advantage of the long weekend and go on a vacation to Guangzhou and the neighboring town of Foshan. It was WAY cool!
In Guangzhou we went to a little island called Shaiman Island. It was settled mostly by foreigners, so we got to see some white people haha. And they have a restaurant there with American food, and it was SO GOOD. I had the best hamburger of my life there....
They also have really good shops for souvenirs, so we stalked up! We got lots of jade necklaces and earrings, painted scrolls, caligraphy sets and tons of stuff. We'll probably be going back there haha
In Foshan we were able to see a Buddhist temple. It was really pretty. I love the architecture they use. There was a 5 story pagoda that was really cool, and giant silk lanterns. China is awesome.
After the temple we visited an ancient alley where they have preserved some of the old housing structures and buildings. This was BY FAR the coolest part of the trip. It felt like we were walking through China a hundred years ago. We were the only ones there so it was really quiet, and it started raining and so the atmosphere was really neat. We got some AMAZING pictures. I just love that place.
Our next stop was the Nan Feng Ancient Kiln. This Kiln is over 500 years old, and one of the pottery centers of the world. They told us that its fire has never gone out (but when we walked past it, it didn't look lit lol so make of that what you may). While we were there we were able to sit at a pottery wheel and try and make something out of clay. It was my first experience, and I wasn't very good, but I want to take pottery lessons now! Maybe one day I'll be able to make something.
Our trip was a blast. China is amazing. They have such a unique culture that's so different from ours. I love learning about it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Karaoke Night!!!

One of the teacher's in my group, Skyla, had her birthday on Saturday! The Chinese teachers had a great idea to celebrate: We had a Karaoke night! So we went to the top floor of a hotel that was nearby. The place was totally decked out- shiny black walls and black floors with sparkly lights and glitter. Totally a Chinese karaoke studio. It was awesome!
My group (Chelsey, Becca, Lindsay, Teresa, Skyla, Laura and I) and also some of the Chinese teachers from the school (Annie, LuLu, Katie and her 5 yr old son Ryan, LuLu's husband and LuLu's friend David) all came. It was cool to have both groups there because we got to hear some cool (weird/funny) Chinese songs. Annie is a pretty good singer, and so she sang a lot of really neat songs for us. Also, LuLu's husband is a singer in a band, and he sang "You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson, and he did amazing! It was really fun.
The Chinese teachers wanted to hear a strange array of American music from us. They picked out a lot of Michael Jackson, which is great, and also a lot of old Avril Lavigne songs (like Sk8er Boi haha). We also got a few Brittney Spears songs (Lucky, Hit Me Baby One More Time) and some old Backstreet Boys songs. It was really funny to hear them all again. We surprised ourselves by knowing a lot of the lyrics still.
We had a BLAST. We sang and danced and goofed off and had birthday cake. It was GREAT! What a fun night!

Chinese Restaurant Extravaganda!

So, this weekend we had teaching off (yay) and so we decided to something fun!
On Friday we decided to go try a new authentic Chinese restaurant, and we picked one that is just about a block away from our apartments. It was pretty interesting.... haha. It's a really cute place- when you first walk in there is a cute coy pond and bamboo and chinese-y stuff. It really sets the mood.
The thing is, we don't speak ANY Mandarin, and only about 10% of the people in our city of Zhongshan speak English, so everywhere we go is an adventure.
The host finally mimed out of us that there were only going to be 4 people in our group, and took us to a table. As we walk through the restaurant, EVERYONE turns to stare. No joke. Mouths open, chopsticks still half way up, pinching their food and waiting patiently for their owners to remember to eat. They all turn around in their seats and seriously stare the whole time they are eating. Its kind of disturbing and entertaining at the same time.
Our waiter comes over with some menus, and of course breaks out into his Mandarin routine. We just stare with blank faces, not understanding a word of it. He finally realized we didn't understand him, and just gave us the menus. But unlike an American restaurant, he stood their waiting for us to order, instead of giving us some time and coming back later. So we open the menu, and thank goodness their were pictures or we would have had a HUGE problem. But the pictures still don't help that much. You cant really tell what it is. (except for the turtle and the fish heads.. those are pretty obvious haha).
Well the waiter REALLY wanted to us to order. But we couldn't decide. Plus, the menu was the biggest menu I have ever seen at a restaurant. I think there were at least 100 entrĂ©e's. Finally we got to the last page of the menu and 2 of the pictures looked good. So after that hassle the waiter put our order in.
So as we were waiting, our eyes wandered over to our neighbors table. They had a big dish of something that looked REALLY good, so we waived our waiter down and ordered that too.
Our first meal that we ordered came out and it was surprisingly good! Lindsay and I really liked it, but Becca and Chelsey didn't think to much of it. I think the pork/chicken dish we ordered was the closest thing to sweet n' sour pork we can get. We also got these really good bun/roll things that tasted kind of like a doughnut.
A little bit later the other meal came out and it smelled really good. I dove right it and picked up a piece of beef with my chopsticks and popped it in my mouth and BAM! It was SOOOOOO spicy! And if you know me, I don't do spicy. Mild salsa is spicy for me haha. So I hurry and pulled the beef out of my mouth and just sat there with it in my chopsticks. I didn't really know what to do. So I thought about it for a little bit.... "Hmmm... that was really spicy.. but it tasted good... but it was spicy... I'm REALLY hungry... " So I was brave and put the beef in my mouth again. And I realized something. You get used to the spicy flavor, and it is REALLY YUMMY! So me and Lindsay went crazy and ate a TON! I was really proud, because that isn't something I would normally do. Spicy is REALLY spicy haha.
The best part of the meal was when the waiter brought out watermelon at the end. Watermelon is like HEAVEN here! Nothing ever tasted to good haha.
So our first Chinese Restaurant experience went really well. We think we got REALLY lucky with what we ordered. We'll see if we can be that lucky again!
(Wow this is kinda long... sorry!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The ILP program that we teach through has a reward system. If the children say the right phrase, then we give them little red, plastic tokens. They have little felt bags that hang around their neck that they are supposed to put the tokens in, but they are 5 year olds. HA. Like that happens.
So we rotate classes every 20 minutes, and the first thing the kids say as they come running into my class is "Teacher, teacher! So many tokens!!"  And then every child has to come show me their bags and handfuls of tokens before I can get them to sit at our little table.
And then throughout the lesson, every time I hand a token out, the kids exclaim in euphoric delight: "So, so, SOOOOOO many tokens! So many tokens!"
All afternoon this phrase has been stuck in my head, while pictures of cute little Chinese children flash in my mind, and their accents make me giggle. These kids can be so funny.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Teaching in China

Yesterday was our first day of teaching in China....
It was so CRAZY!
My class has seven children in it, and they are only 4 years old. They are ADORABLE, but they don't speak a word of English. So while I am "teaching" them English, they just stare at me like I'm an alien pretty much.  Poor kids.
Since they are new to the English program here at the school, I was able to give them English names. After naming them all, I found out that 3 of them already had English names, and the boy I named Fred was actually already named Apple and is a girl. Whoops. My bad.
We rotate classes every 20-25 minutes, so luckily I get to teach some of the older students (5-6 yrs old) too. They are Easier and harder. They are easier cuz they have had a year in the program already so they know some English, but harder because since they know some English, they aren't as shy and you cant get them to SIT STILL. During class today, one of the little boys kept grabbing the board game from me and whacking me in the head with it, while one of the girls kept pulling on my braid and covering my eyes. They just cant seem to keep their hands to themselves. Oh children are such a joy.
But really a few of them are SO CUTE. There is this one girl name Emily in my class and she loves to just stay by my side so whenever we line up to rotate she comes and hugs my legs and is so cute. Its hardest for the 4 year olds because they all miss their moms still, and so a lot of them cry throughout the day. There is also this boy named Harry and he is super smart and picks up the language really fast and is extremely helpful. He also has really big ears that stick out and you just want to eat him all up he is so cute!
Some of the kids are really funny, too. And not always on purpose. Example Numero Uno: Susan (AKA 'Sweaty Sue'). Sweaty Sue is one of the new 4 year olds in our school, and just the mention of her name here has a rolling on the ground laughing. There aren't really words to describe this lovely little girl, other than she is SWEATY. For some reason she sweats more than anyone else  we have ever met here in China. Even just sitting there, without any physical activity, she has beads of sweat rolling down her face, and her hair is always plastered across her forehead. Oh she is such a joy. I need to get a picture of her in all her sweaty glory!
So teaching is NOTHING like anything we expected, and NOTHING like what we were trained for, but I am liking it so far, and I am having so much fun!