Saturday, October 31, 2009

This is Halloween!

Woohoo! Its that time of year again! I love Halloween, and this year I got to help make a Haunted House!
The Chinese teachers here asked us (well, demanded is more like it) to make a Haunted House for the Halloween party that was being thrown for all the International schools in the area. We were really excited, but of course we were a little overwhelmed. Haunted Houses are a lot of work, ya know? So we designed a layout of sorts, and decided what we wanted in the house and got to work! It took FOREVER to make but we got it all done!
I'll walk you through the Haunted House. You enter through some black cloth and come upon a creepy zombie rocking in a chair (that would be Chelsey) who then follows you. All of the sudden a ghost pops up out of nowhere, and frightens you. Then the zombie pushes you into a room and locks you in. There you find an insane clown, draped in chains. There is banging on the doors and walls, and the clown is clanking the chains and staring you down. The door then opens and the clown and zombie push you into another room. On the wall there is a sign saying "crazy doctor" (China's version of a mad scientist) and there are bowls with eyeballs and a brain. There are jars filled with ominous colored liquids, jars filled with floating animals, and jars containing animals with too many legs. On a different table you find half a head and a knife, covered in blood. The Doctor has been working.... You find yourself caught up in looking at all these disturbing scenes, peering into the bowls and touching the brain. And, before you can register what is happening, a skeleton (me) pops out from behind the open door, and you go screaming back into the hall with the clown and zombie close at your tail. You now find yourself in a dark hallway, and you can barely see. The monsters behind you are pushing you onward, but the steps you take are small from the fear of the unknown that lies ahead. You scuffle into another room where 3 coffins lay. On the wall hangs a sign and a mirror.. the sign tells of the 3 dead who lay here, and to turn around 3 times and look into the mirror, where you'll see one of their ghosts. Being a curious person, you follow the directions, and after you come to a stop from your spinning, nothing happens. You look around in disappointment and hear a scream. You then realize the scream is coming from your own mouth, because one of the dead bodies (Teresa) is now sitting up, and moving towards you. You run out of the room and down a new hallway. You make a turn and see before you a slight glow. As you move closer and closer you find a room filled with glowing sticks. This is a most interesting room, you are thinking. All of the sudden some of the lights are moving towards you. You are confused, and scared, because glowing sticks shouldn't be able to move. You then understand that it is a monster (Lindsay) jumping out towards you. After some more screaming and running down dark hallways, you see the exit ahead. You bolt for the door, and as you cross the threshold a giant spider drops onto your head from nowhere. You brush it aside, yelling as you go.
Our Haunted House was a pretty good hit. We made several kids cry and leap into their parents arms. It was pretty fun haha. We also had a performance at the party. All of our kids sang songs for their parents. They sang the Itsy Bitsy Spider, One Two Buckle my Shoe, and the Witch Song. After that we had the wonderful experience of performing Thriller again. This time was more fun because we used the whole song, not just a segment from it. We started out going through the crowd and scaring them, and when the chorus would come on we would brake out into the dance steps. For the last two minutes of the song we went up on the stage and performed the whole routine. It was really cool because we were all dressed up and had our creepy face paint. The face paint was lots of fun to have, except a lot of the children were too afraid to come up to us and say hello, which was sad. A few of them would warm up to us as soon as they heard our voices and realized it was us. One of my favorite students, a 4 year old named Yumi, saw me and wasn't afraid at all! She just yelled "Teacher!!" and came running over to me to show me her costume and give me a hug. It was super cute.
The party was a lot of fun! After it was over we had to walk home, and it was the funnest walk I have ever been on. If you ever want a good laugh, paint your face really creepy, and then go walking on the streets of an unsuspecting China. You'll love it haha. The Chinese don't celebrate Halloween, and so as we were walking home we got a lot of funny stares. We decided that we should try to scare people while we were at it, so when we would pass shops we would just stand there looking through the window at people until they would look up and when they finally did, they would jump sky high. Sometimes they would cower into a friend of theirs and wouldn't look up again for a few minutes, hoping we would be gone when they finally sat up. These were the most fun because we would move even closer to that person and wait, and when they finally looked up again we would scare them even more than before. Haha it was way too much fun. And when we were walking, people would avoid us as much as possible, walking on the road to stay as far away as possible. When we got to a really crowded area where all of the shopping places are, we were able to scare a lot of people. But after a little bit they all started whipping out their cell phones and began to take pictures of us and with us. This turned into a 15 minute photo shoot, and we ended up being "escorted of the premises" by the guards. It was so funny.
Halloween is
(Pictures: #1: All of the teachers and our foreign coordinator Annie inside the Haunted house. #2: Me and Yumi, one of my favorite students. #3: Part of the Mad Scientist's room. Note- All of the things in the jars are REAL. We found them in a box in a creepy deserted room. #4: Becca and I in our face paint.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Love of My Life

My whole heart belongs to him. I would marry him without a second thought. Who is this, you may ask?
Michael Buble.
He sings to my very soul. I LOVE his voice. I have all of his CD's, and every song memorized. I can listen to him for hours everyday and never get sick of his wonderful, crooning voice.
And guess what. He has a new CD out, Crazy Love, and I want it SOOOOO bad. How many times can you listen to and iTunes sample? I've already listened to all of his new CD's samples like 10 times. And there is a music video on the Deluxe version, and I have watched that clip probably 100 times. So why am I not buying the CD?
Cuz its $14.99, which is about $150 kuai. And I really need that $150 kuai. Isn't is depressing? Trust me, it is. So I'll buy the CD in a couple months. (Unless I just break down and buy it haha, which is definitely a possibility)
I guess the point of this post is, if you haven't heard Michael's new CD, go listen to it! And if you haven't heard Michael Buble at all, then, well, there's no point in living until you do. So go listen to him, and you'll know EXACTLY what I mean. Ah... I'm listening to him right now, and my ears are so happy...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Forbidden City


Lama Temple

This temple was right by our Hostel and it was AMAZING! So many beautiful colors!

Beijing Trip Randomness

Photo 1: Kissable Panda at the Beijing Zoo! Chelsey and I couldn't resist.
Photo 2: Super cool sunglasses at the silk market. Jealous?
Photo 3: A dragon boat on the lake in front of the Summer Palace.

More Great Wall Pictures

I thought you would all enjoy some more photos from one of the most amazing places in the world!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Attention all citizens of LOGAN, and students of UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY:
We are looking for 3 openings in apartments for this SPRING semester.
Since I am currently on the other side of the planet, it is hard to find such accommodations. So....
We need YOU!
All my friends who read this and got to USU, help me out! That means:
Brittany Hart
Megan Carter
Amanda Carter
Mandy (I cant remember your last name haha)
Megan Bell (does she read this with you Mandy?)
Stephanie Boothe (Um, please tell Sami haha)
REALLY need your help! Because of the time difference It makes it almost impossible for us to coordinate a time to call different apartment complexes and see if they have any contracts that need buying, plus it isn't cheap to call. So PRETTY, PRETTY PLEASE help a girl out!
I know of a few girls who want to sell their contracts in Pineview, I just don't have a way of contacting them, but we need to tell them we'll buy them, so keep your eyes peeled for signs, and, if you have to, eavesdrop on other peoples conversations haha.
Thanks a ton people of Logan. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beijing Trip Part 2

I'll just jump right in from the where I left off.
After the zoo, we went to grab dinner before the rest of our night.  We stopped at a little restaurant by our Hostel that had the comforting sign above its door saying:
"Relax! We have an English Menu!"
We ate at this restaurant like 4 times during our stay, and we have yet to see that English menu. But the food there was delicious. It was the first place we found sweet n' sour chicken, and man was it good. We got it every time we went. They also have this really good fried rice, and a dessert (I don't know how to spell it) that is like a fried roll that they serve with a buttery honey sauce that is to die for. MMMM so, so, so, so yummy.
After dinner we went to a Kung Fu show! It was SO CRAZY COOL. It was a story about a young boy starting on a journey to be a Kung Fu Master, and about his trials and overcoming them, and then finally succeeding. Through the whole show all the performers were doing amazing Kung Fu routines, and it was so entertaining to watch. My favorite part was when they brought out long strands of material, and the performers did way cool stunts with them, just by holding on to the material. They would fly across the stage and swing each other around. It was so neat.
On Tuesday, we went on a tour of the
It was SOOO cool. We found an amazing tour guide who took us to a part of the wall that isn't open to the public, so there were barely any other tourists there, and it felt like we were all alone on this amazing wall that snakes on forever through huge, lush green mountains. We felt like we were on top of the world. It was so beautiful up there. We spent a few hours hiking along the wall and ate lunch on it and took so many amazing pictures. We were so sad when we had to climb off the wall and hike back down. But on the hike back down, I hit a patch of loose gravel and took a really hard fall and twisted like every muscle on the left side of my body, and somehow in the same motion managed to land way hard on my right side and scratched and bruised my leg way bad. But it is a way cool battle trophy. We joke about how the "Great Wall kissed me" before I left. But it is seriously one of the coolest bruise/cut combos I have ever seen. But after we hiked back down we went to a little village that is right at the base of the mountain where we sat at a little restaurant and talked with our tour group before heading home. It was nice and relaxing.
Wednesday we went on a really big tour to the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and also silk and pearl factories. It was a really cool tour.
We headed out at seven thirty in the morning to the Temple of Heaven, and we were early enough to see the sun hitting the temple and it made the colors shine really pretty. The Temple of Heaven is beautiful, and made all out of wood, and the architecture of it is amazing. They also have it painted really extravagantly with reds, teals, blues and golds. The Temple of Heaven is really neat, and one of the things I liked most about it was that huge groups of Chinese people meet outside it every morning and there are groups of little ladies doing Tai Chi, couples practicing ballroom and ancient Chinese dance, and groups of old men playing chess and flutes.
Our next stop was a silk factory where we learned how they make their beautiful silk products. It was really interesting, but I feel bad for the poor silk worms cuz they just drop them in boiling water while they are in their cocoons so they can steal their silk. Poor, poor silk worms. But the process of taking the cocoon and getting the silk strands is really insane. Its hard to explain and it would take a long time, so I wont, but if you are interested in that sort of thing, look it up lol.
From there we went to the Forbidden City! I was really excited for this part because before we left I read a lot about the Forbidden City online so I would know what everything meant and have more of a background. I absolutely loved seeing it! It is HUGE. It is the biggest wooden structure in the world, and they didn't use any nails to make it! It blows my mind. It is really beautiful, too. Some of the buildings they have preserved in its original form, and they haven't repainted any of the outside, so we were able to see some of the original paintings that are several hundred years old. We also got to walk through the imperial gardens, and they have huge trees and pavilions, and there was a really cool rock formation there that had lots of holes throughout it, and it led up to a building that the emperors would use to interview people. I have so neat photos of it.
We then got to go see the pearl factory, where they showed us some fresh water oysters that they harvest from the lake at the Summer Palace. Fresh water oysters have a lot of pearls in them, around 20, compared to salt water oysters that only have one. I thought that was interesting. The lady who was talking to our group cut one of the oysters open and she let us keep some of the pearls inside. They also taught us how to see if a pearl is fake or not. I am pretty sure some of the pearl necklaces I got from Hawaii are fake. So I am mad. But at least I will be able to differentiate between fake and real ones from here on out! (Want to know how to tell? Rub two pearls together, and if they make a grinding, gritty noise and then leave a powder, then they are real.)  
Our last stop was the Summer Palace. And you've guessed it- this is where the emperor and the royal family would spend their summers! The Summer Palace was beautiful. It is set right next to a huge lake, and is surrounded by Weeping Willows and pines. It is also home to the longest corridor in the world, just in case you wanted to know. Apparently the emperor and empress wanted to be able to take walks outside while it was raining, so they had a huge corridor built that goes to all of the many different buildings contained in the Summer Palace. Personally, I think an umbrella might have been a way cheaper answer to this problem, but that's just me. However, I can now say that I have walked down the longest corridor in the World. At the Summer Palace there is a little island in the middle of the lake and we got to take a boat across the lake to see the island and the buildings there. The boat ride was fun and we got some cool pictures of the Palace from a distance. Its really peaceful at the Palace, so I can see why an emperor would pick that spot to build his summer getaway. Oh, and FYI, if someone ever tells you that the Summer Palace and the Forbidden city are pretty much the same so don't go and see both, it's a lie. I'm so glad we saw both of the places. They both are special for different reasons, and they both have unique characteristics that I highly enjoyed.
That tour was JAM PACKED and we had quite the day! It was so much fun and we got to see so many amazing things and places! That night we went to the new Olympic Park! We went at night when everything was all lit up and glowing! The Bird's Nest and the Aquatics Center are way cool at night. It was fun to see it all and walk where Michael Phelps has walked. (Possibly, but don't ruin that daydream for me.) Pretty much,
Olympic Park = Awesome.
On Thursday we went to the Silk and Pearl Market. Oh my goodness. It is SO overwhelming. There are 6 floors of a huge building just filled with shop after shop after shop of everything and anything. And if that is tempting enough, add 3 Chinese people to every shop calling at you to come inside, grabbing your arms and pulling you to their table, saying:
"I give you special price, so cheap for you!"
Just so you know, they are LYING THROUGH THEIR TEETH when they say that. I am like 99.99% positive that these shop owners don't have a conscience. They will jack up the price by 400% just because you are white, and they think you are made of money. But, good thing for us, we have gotten pretty good at bartering. And bartering can be SO much fun. (which doesn't help if you are trying to not buy anything haha) The shop owners will try and get the best price they can, and they hate to drop, even if the thing they are selling cost them $1 to buy. They just say things like "You break-a my heart!" and "Please, please too low, too low!" and they will 'comfort' you by saying things like, "You are my friend, I give you low, low price!" and they will quietly whisper "Shhh! Best price, don't tell!" But, they are still lying. The trick is you have to name a really low price, and they will say "No, No, too low, too low!" and then you just walk away. 95% of the time you will get a little Chinese lady running after you yelling "Okay, okay, I give you, I give you." But don't feel guilty, because if a Chinese person were to walk in to their shop, they would sell for an even lower price. It can seriously be so much fun to barter.  Luckily for me, Becca had a HUGE list of pearl items from her sister that she had to buy, so I helped her barter and get all of her stuff for 2 hours while evading the temptation to buy tons and tons. We also met a friend along the way, named May. She was the worker at the pearl stand, and was way nice. She finally gave in to our hard core bartering skills and told us we were difficult so she was giving in, and so we got it all for a good deal. (hopefully) We even got a picture with her, and then she gave Becca and me free necklaces haha. She was a cutie.
That night we went to the Chinese Acrobatics show. It was so cool, and kind of disturbing, because I do not know how they get their bodies to do the things that they do. I wont even try to describe it, but it was awesome. After the show we went with out Great Wall tour guide, Ben, to a restaurant nearby. It was a "hot pot" restaurant, where they have a big circle table with a hole in it and a burner underneath, and they bring out a huge bowl with two sides: Spicy and spicier. Then they bring out meat shavings and an assortment of vegetables that you drop in the boiling soups, and they cook way fast and you just grab it out and eat! It's a lot of fun, and I think we should get some in America. (We might already... I just don't know haha)
On Friday we hopped back on a train. Sad, I know. But this time is wasn't as bad. We had a hard sleepers, which are hard bunks in little compartments. There are 6 beds to a compartment, and Becca and I were in the top bunks of one. It was interesting, but fun. We had to climb to the 3rd bunk without a ladder, but if you step on the lower beds, then the Chinese people in them get mad at you. Haha so it was slightly difficult but we managed just fine. And this train ride was only 21 hours long, and much more enjoyable due to the fact that we could sleep on a bed with a pillow and blanket. We were really sad to leave Beijing though. We loved that trip. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go there and see so many cool things. I am so spoiled. I wish I could show everyone everything that I've seen, or at least show more pictures, but I can't. I'll try and put as many good ones up as I can!!

Monday, October 12, 2009


Enough said.

Beijing and Xi'an

 We just got back from our week long vacation to Xi'an and Beijing! Man oh man did so much cool stuff happen!
We started out on a nice note with a 26 hour train ride to Xi'an. And guess what. We had STANDING tickets. It was a lovely experience. It's one of my favorite things to stand in between seats full of Chinese people for 26 hours, surrounded by smoking men and people hawking lougies. Better yet, we were perched right next to the squatter. (If you don't know what this is, look it up.) I am now positive that Chinese people have smaller bladders than anyone else on the planet. We were having to move ourselves and our luggage every 23 seconds (approximately) and the smell was wonderful. If you are looking for a way to spend 26 hours of your life, I recommend this! (I'm being super sarcastic here, in case you couldn't figure that out haha)  Okay, okay it wasn't so bad. The first 2 hours were, but then we made some friends who let us go sit on the floor with them, and then it got better. The thing about China is that wherever you go you will meet a new buddy. We have so many new Chinese friends we just don't know what to do with them! So, as words can't really express this train experience, I'll stop here. But I will say that I wouldn't take back that memory. But I will NEVER do it again haha.
We arrived in Xi'an at 11:00 Friday night, and so we went straight to our Hostel and crashed then on Saturday morning we went adventuring.  We were only staying in Xi'an til that evening, so we had to cram! Our first stop was the Terracotta Warriors. If you haven't heard about them, they are pretty much a huge collection of clay soldiers that were unearthed  in the 70's when a farmer found a clay ear in his well he was digging. They were buried with an emperor to help him journey to the next world. They were pretty interesting, and I was surprised by how big they were and how much detail each one had. It probably took forever to make all of them.
After the Terracotta Warriors we went and explored the Muslim Quarters. It's a block full of shops and food places that are surrounding a Muslim Mosque that was built almost 800 years ago. It was really entertaining, and everywhere you looked there was something new and exciting to capture your attention. The Mosque was beautiful. Becca and I were really excited to see the Mosque because we took and Intro to Islam class together last fall, so we got to use some of that knowledge while we explored. It was really fun.
That night we had to get back on a train (sigh) for another 13 hours so we could get to Beijing. This time it wasn't so bad, because we had hard seats, so we were able to get some shut eye in. At this point we were all so exhausted that we could have fallen asleep practically anywhere, so we were happy to be able to sit down.
We got to Beijing around noon and checked into our Hostel there (the Candy Inn, and I would highly recommend it!) and then we got started with our day! Our first stop was the Lama Temple.
The Lama Temple is old. (don't ask how old cuz I don't remember haha) It used to be a palace for princes to live at, and then it was made into a temple a few hundred years ago. It is really amazing and beautiful. The Chinese use such beautiful colors in their buildings, and such amazing architecture. We took some beautiful pictures, and we were able to see some people worship with incense. Its really cool to see how such a different religion works. In one of the buildings there they have a HUGE statue. Its over 26 meters high, (A giraffe is about 5 meters high, so maybe that can put it into perspective for you a little bit) and it was made out of a single piece of  sandalwood! It actually holds the Guiness Book of World Records for largest statue made out of a piece of wood, just in case you would ever want to know that random fact. It was a ton of fun to see.
On Monday we went and saw the Beijing Zoo! The Hogle Zoo will never be as cool ever again. The Beijing Zoo in huge. They have like 10 times as many animals. I'll tell you a couple of my favorite things that we saw/did.
Well, in China, instead of selling hot dogs at stands like we do in America, they sell these meat sticks. I was really hungry, and they smelled pretty good, so I thought I would try one. At first it wasn't too bad, it just tasted like China (and yes, China has a flavor). But then I felt something weird in my mouth, so I spit out the piece I was eating and looked at it and it had thick spikey black hairs in it. So, of course I wasn't going to eat anymore. But China also doesn't believe in having very many garbage cans, so I had to hold onto the meat stick for awhile. So, as we were walking, we came up to some of the monkey exhibits. They are very different than the U.S. ones. For starters, they just have glass walls, and then no top. And, as should be expected, people were throwing in food and trash to try and feed the monkeys. Someone threw in an entire bucket full of popcorn that was still sealed in plastic, and this big furry monkey came over and grabbed it, finally figured out how to open it, and ate the popcorn. So, we were just standing there, taking in all the madness, when I remembered I had a meat stick in my hand. Might as well not let it go to waste, right? So I chucked a chunk of it over the glass wall and I hit a baby monkey in the head. Haha it was kinda funny. At first he just looked around all confused and then he realized there was a piece of food on the ground next to him and so he picked up the meat chunk and started gnawing on it. It was really funny. So that is the story of the Meat Stick and the Monkey. Another highlight of the Zoo was the Zebras!  You know how in the Hogle Zoo the Zebras are far away and you just get to see them from a distance?  Well, in China it's the total opposite. They keep the zebras in a big pen that is lowered about 5 feet from the sidewalk, and all they have around the pen is a small metal fence. So we could just lean across the fence and totally PET the ZEBRAS. Yes, you heard correctly! We got to PET them! It was so cool. They are so pretty. We also got to see cute, cuddly, fat panda bears!  They were adorable.  The Zoo was amazing.
This post is already way long, so I'll stop here for now and then write more later! I have so much more to tell!