Thursday, December 21, 2006

Not enough Brandy?

due to several complaints of "where are you in the photos" I have recently uploaded to one convient album nothing but pictures that include me. So here for your amusement is a vainglorious attempt at pleasing those with slower connections.

If you're only interested in pics of me, here ya go:
(Please note the 22lbs weight loss and the permanent smile on my face, hehehe)

Saturday, December 16, 2006


if you tried to call today, sorry!! I work mainly on the weekends and keep my phone on silent during class. Don't let that stop you from trying tho! I'm going thru a particuraly hard patch right now, what with christmas coming and all and I'd love to hear from you guys. It'd be really nice. HINT HINT! CALL ME!!! :)

Love you all, miss you bunches!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Call me for FREEEEEEE!!!!!!

If you can make long distance calls for free you can now call me for free!!!

1. Call one of these numbers (Long Distance because it's in Iowa)
Yes you can use your cell phone.

2. Wait then dial my home or mobile number - home 0118607562230268, mobile 0118615919219186.

3. Talk for FREE!!!!

More information

Now the hard part is catching me at home. ;)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

as promised, a video!

see more videos at my youtube site. the links have been updated over on the right side of the page.
enjoy this oh-so boring clip of james and I being interviewed on my friend Sandy's weekly EnglishRadio show at her college in Shenzen.

My Two New Addictions

So since I've moved to China things have never been better... I think. I also think it's hard to judge such things. Now that I'm nearing the halfway point I think it's time to do a little self-assement.
Things I've Learned so Far:
Enough of the Chinese language to get myself IN trouble, not necessarriliy out of it.
That time doesn't ever stand still and seems to change paces depending on what I'm doing.
That most friends are superficial, but good ones aren't as hard to find as it seems.
People every where are basically the same.
I have two new addictions that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to shake.

Oranges and Being Popular.

Never particulary cared for oranges before... but here, so cheap, convient, easy, fresh, mmmmmm. I must eat at least 30/week. If I'm at home I can just sit and peel and watch movies for hours. mmmmm.
And the popular thing... well, I'm not sure exactly how to deal with it. I guess people liked me plenty enough back home, but I never really noticed. But here, it's astounding.. I'm like a rockstar. So I guess if I ever become a star I'll already know what it feels like.

But in other news I'm starting to feel the rift in myself again. The one that knows I should be more mature and more responsible and the one that says, but brandy you're only 23 there's plenty of time and you've always been so good. I'm pretty sure the only thing I've ever really been so good at, is just being lazy. I mean if I could just pin-point something, get excited or motivated, I KNOW i would be awesome. But I just can't. I don't know why. Fear of failure, perhaps? I don't think so. Because I know how to learn from my mistakes. I just recently rediscovered my inability to make important decisions. It's frustrating.

Also, not eating lunch is frustrating. So I'm going to go do that.
I'll leave you with promises of a new photo album from the new branch school that opened and some other random photos from a BBQ the teachers had.

Videos to come soon!
Love you and miss you all.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Post-Thanksgiving Post

The photo is from our leftover dinner at Holiday Inn. All I have to say about it was overpriced and not what mom makes. :) Next holiday I'm cooking!

So, this isn't exactly a China post, it's more of something personal. But that's only because I'm dying to connect to people on less than in a superficial way.

So I'm doing something very special tonight... At the request of my good friend Champ, since it's the weekend, and that's when I work, I'm *gasp* staying at home. Champ is my good friend but also my newest teacher assistant for my kindergarten classes. So he's been a little concerned about me. With good reason. While I've been keeping really busy and having lots of fun, I've also started neglecting important things about myself. So after our little heart to heart tonight I've decided to post something I found while doing some cleaning and straightening of papers I've been meaning to sort since before China. I ran across this little tidbit scribbled on notebook paper stuffed in my haphazard journal. And what perfect timing to boot. I'm not sure exactly when I wrote this, but I'm guessing by the content I was about 13 or 14. Whew. Ten years. It does go faster and faster doesn't it. Without further ado (try not to laugh too hard)

Things I'm Thankful for.
I'm thankful...
for God's grace. life. all 5 senses. the lessons I've been taught so far in life. A sunrise. A good sense of humor (especially in the worst situations) my musical abilities. The people that have no reason (but still do) care about me. For a great dog Max, my friends. Technology I am exposed to. The big rock beside my house. Asparagus. My sister. The opportunities I've been given. Warm bed at night. My cousins. A nice house. Food. My dad's unconditional love. For the bible. Electricity. My hair. The mountains. For the ability to differentiate between good and bad. Free will. God's plan in my life (even though he won't tell me what it is) good music. Bad music (so I can tell what is good music) a computer. My weird sense of logic. That my memory blots out the bad things in my childhood (actually, most of my childhood)my writing talent. My Sunday-school teacher. That somewhere, somebody understands exactly what I'm talking about (even if it's nowhere near here). That I have more to learn. That life isn't as predictable as I predict it to be. That my little brother was born. That he wasn't born twins. That my best friend still calls me just to talk. Alarm clocks. Backpack. Cubed steak and scalloped potatoes. More than 1 language in the world. For fads that I don't follow. For words that rhyme. Appliances. Stars. Water. The beach, but not the sand. Mirrors. Pictures. Adolph sax. For people that agree with me when I say "drugs are stupid" bubble baths.

yep, there ya go. a peek into my young innocent life. my my.
ok, now i'm going to go get ready for bed before 12. let's see how long this lasts.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Happy After-Halloween

Sorry for the lack of communcations by blog and by email. I still have lots of pictures to upload and to explain as well. I've been very busy. I'm out all the time with lots of friends making contacts and getting to know the city, the people, and the language the fastest I can. Some interesting things of note lately would be my role in the upcoming made for TV chinese movie. I got a few walk on roles. Filming was a lot of fun, especially since only one person was there to translate. Luckily I can understand enough and speak a little so that things were really fun. One day we filmed at an old antique hotel and the next two days we went to the TV studio. It was really cool and I got to take lots and lots of photos.

I'm starting to get more brave with my camera and taking it out all over the place. There are so many little things here that are interesting as well as the strange and tourist like places.

Also, TPR opened a franchise in another city nearby so Tuesday a few of us teachers traveled there to be what I like to call, "walking white billboards" It was your standard impress your investor party with champange and speeches. Then a they took us out to lunch (where the red wine and toasts were flowing) and then on an excursion that deserves a post all its own. Which will be soon.

I am getting a new roommate, an american girl, 18, from Ohio, named Lauren. I met her thru a new friend (Casey, another american) and we all had a great bonding time, remembering fun american things like Dave Chappelle, cartoons from the 80's, and commericial jingles. Things that you just can't share with Aussies and Poms and such :)

I apologize for any deteriation of my vocabulary or grammar skills. As I learn how to better communicate with my chinese friends I find that I over simplify many things. But with some of my friends I like to use really "big words" just to help them learn more than what's on the tests that they're all so ferverently studing for.

But all in all, despite some spats with Daniel, and the whole "i'm not a teacher" thing, things are going really well. The weather is starting to cool down, and I just bought a nice Lane Bryant sweater for 5 USD. It's nice. And SOON I think I'm going to give in and buy a cheap sax. Things are really really looking up.

So if you bear with me, I'll start replying. I really do miss everyone and communicating properly with you guys. I love you all.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Musical Debut

So some friends showed me a new bar, since I'm anti-Sands bar now, due to the loss of my favorite waiters and a little political upheaval of sorts... and plus my legs are covered in mosquito bites from being outside so much. Anyways, it was a place with live music. Chinese music of course, but not terrible. And then the guitar player played and sang a nice jazzy version of Fly Me to Moon. So after he came off stage I talked to him a little. He only spoke a little english but enough for us to swap numbers because he said he had a friend with a saxophone that maybe I could play. We also talked about guitars and musicians. His favorites are Clapton, BB King, and Steve Vai. Very interesting. So then he asks if I wanted to jam, and I think sure after everyone is gone from the bar we'll jam. But no, he meant after the band plays. So that's how I found myself on stage in China with someone I just met who speaks very little english trying to think of songs to sing and play with him. Good thing I learned Tears in Heaven ;)

So without further ado:

Cool thing is, a few days later I got to meet the sax player. More to come.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Here it is... the long awaited for update!

It's been a while,
Let's just suffice it to say I've been really busy. And really happy!!

I visited a friend's university, went to Serena's hometown for a few days, had a night on the town with the new foriegn teacher Jeremy, had a walk on part in a TV show, threw Daniel the best birthday party ever, played guitar and sang on stage at a bar, renounced Sands Bar as the best place ever, went bowling, a few different kareoke nights, became a groupie for an awesome band, and hmmm... what else?

oh yeah, and some teaching ;c)

So here's some highlights:

One Thursday, I went to visit Champ's university, Jilin. Champ, by the way, is a waiter that I met in August at the Sands bar and have since become really good friends with. He's a really amazing guy and the more time I spend with him the more neat things I find out about him. He's really hardworking, has really really good english and amazingly enough seems to understand my sense of humor. Which is hard for most native speakers :) Anyways, so Jilin University...
It's out near the Zhuhai airport, maybe an hour or so by bus outside of the downtown area I live in. He invited me out there to visit because there were having a welcome back freshman kind of event. He sang in a large choir. It was pretty funny because he also had to wear make-up. I was teasing him saying that he'd make a pretty girl. Hehehe. But the university was really nice. It felt just like a college back home really. I mean, minus the people staring at me because there are no foreigners there. But we visited the dining hall, and walked around the campus a bit. I didn't get to see in any dorms or classrooms. Maybe next time? I also saw Lucky and Jane out there. Two other chinese friends of mine. And I met a few cool friends of theirs as well. So we all got to sit around and just be bored college students until the program started. Which was interesting, I might add. It was basically a showcase of students and entertainment. I remember a magician, a hip-hop street dance group, a fashion show, some atrocious saxophone duet type thing, weird chinese dancing in beautiful costumes, occasional fireworks, and lots of shouting and screaming from the crowd of 8,000 students with those plastic clappy hand things and glow sticks. I spent the night out there with Champ at his friend's apt who lives right next to campus. Sparsely furnished and very masculine to say the least. But I suppose the friend (who's name I can't remember to save my life) is very smart and he looked to be running some sort of computer business. Not sure. There wasn't much conversation going on. At least not that I understood in english. Then there was some upset with the friend's roommate coming home drunk or something. I'm not sure because I was so tired I just crashed on the bed and shut the door. It was a neat trip and good expierence.

Let's see...

Daniel's birthday was Sept 28th. He'd been reminding us of it for weeks and weeks since it was the birthday that marked his transition between "teenage-ness" and adulthood. While I didn't lavish him with many gifts (just some of the best ice cream in town) I did organize one of the best parties since I've been here. I carefully planned the guest list to avoid obvious awkward situations, made sure everyone was well informed (instead of the notorious last minute scramble everyone together tactic) and I think everyone had a really enjoyable time. We started with dinner at the Indian Kitchen, many people's first time, and in the photos you can see the dancer that periodically came out and would dance some nice Indian dances. Other than the waiter forcing the nasty Kingfisher Indian beer on us, dinner was really nice. There were many 18 people there. And while we didn't move around a lot socializing, most people enjoyed getting to know someone they hadn't met before while also being with a few people they did know. After a bit of time and a lot of food, we headed down the street to Cohiba. It was a little loud and crowded inside, but it worked out for the best as more and more people showed up after they had to teach. Here's where everyone started having the first few drinks and getting to know more new people and of course, playing the infamous "dice" game. Which I finally figured out, and mostly enjoyed! We stayed there until the mood for dancing swept over everyone and we decided to go and check out the newest club on the block Teng Wai. (I have no idea if that's how it's spelt) It was an ok place, however we pretty much were the party. No one was there or dancing really, even though the music was really good. So we had some (relatively) cheap drinks and started the dancing. It was great because so many people there had never really had a chance to go out and do this, and those that had were having a great time. Funny moments were when people that don't ordinarily dance were being drug out onto the dance floor. I'm sure the pictures speak for themselves. We eventually got bored dancing without all the blatant Chinese onlookers and since we all know how much Daniel loves Red Bar, we headed across the street. It was really good fun. Not too much drunkenness, no injuries, no crying, and no fighting… and when we got back to Daniel's he got to finish up the night by talking to C.N. on the phone, so he had a great nice. Mission Accomplished! He's still thanking me for such a great time.

Then Saturday people started leaving for their vacations. It was the National Day/Mid-Autumn Festival/Moon Day, where (nearly) everyone got a week or so off of work to travel and visit family. I wasn't scheduled to leave until Monday morning, so I went out that night with some of the new teachers that just came. Or maybe that was Sunday. Hmmm, it all starts to blend together after a while.

But I've come to some conclusions about being "popular." I mean this is really my first stint with being friends with so many people. I didn't really realize it at first, I just thought of myself as having a few good friends and knowing a lot more strangers that wanted to start learning English from me. I'm actually growing closer to people and getting to learn about them. And while it feels like a good thing, I'm also scared that it's going to be a bad thing. With the foreigners it's ok because everyone here is so transient. The first battery of questions you ask someone upon first meetings are "where are you from" "how long have you been here" "how long are you staying" that way you can get a feel for the person. If the answer to the first question is different from your native country, stereotype jokes kick in. If the answer to the middle question is less than 1 year or so you can be pretty sure people are going to treat you like a baby. And if the answer to the last question is less than a month or so, you can be pretty sure you're just going to be cordial in public and not really form any sort of bond, perhaps not even remember their name.

But anways,

Most of the foreigners went to exotic locales such as Thailand (Daniel & Julie, Kevin), Tibet (Sue & Wayne), Sydney (Amanda), and others. But I had the fortune of visiting the hometown village of my friend and former Teacher Assistant (TA) Serena.

I'm sure everyone has had a look at the pictures. I'm going to work on putting captions up and trying to explain some of the things. I had a really great time depsite the fact there was no western toliet the entire time. Also, all the wonderful chinese I've been learning is mandarin, and her family speaks cantonese, which I only know about 10 words, half of which are only useful in restaurants and the other half you wouldnt say in front of your grandmother, if you know what I mean.

Other interesting things of note: I'm taking Latin dance classes from the security guard here at TPR. I'm starting yoga classes hopefully as well next week. And due to financial and diet reasons I'm cutting back on gratuitous alcohol consumption. Ok, well that last part is still up for debate :)

I'm still working on the band, however, due to those same anti-alcohol financial reasons, I still won't have a saxophone for another month or so. I sold my bike because I wasn't using it as much as I'd planned. The schools I'm teaching at are a lot further this semester and when I get done in the evenings the last thing on my mind is a solitary bike ride. Lately, I've been relaxing at home with my cat and watching Lost. Stupid addictive American TV shows. I finished the first season while doing lesson plans (well, sorta doing lesson plans) this weekend. Now I think we're going to make it an after work occasion at Daniel's house on Saturday nights. TV shows and dinner.

Oh! And speaking of dinners!! I almost forgot. This is for you mom!! I had a great night of cooking Chicken Alfredo for my friends. I learned a few years ago how to make my own alfredo sauce, good thing, since they don't exactly sell it on the shelves here and if they did I couldnt read the label anyways... but yeah, it was the most amazing thing I've ever cooked I think. I had to improvise a bit, like instead of sprinkling the chicken with prepackaged lemon pepper, I marinated it with fresh lemons and finely ground pepper. The garlic bread was fresh and well it was just really good :) Everyone enjoyed it except for Daniel, who apparently just wasn't ready for the shock of oil, cheese, and butter. We don't really get that a lot in most of the chinese food here.

Ok well I'm about to go out (yet again) going to go introduce Lenny the guitarist with Carlos the chinese one. Should be a good night.

But yeah, I've been having a really really phenomenally good day today for no apparent reason. These days have been increasing more and more as well. It's strange, this... happy... thing. I've never really dealt with it before and that's been the most interesting part about China thusfar... learning more about myself each day.

Much love to everyone, I'll try to get to personal emails soon enough!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quick Update

There will be more explinations
and new pictures from August Full Moon Party.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lazy Post day...

Snippets of an email I wrote to someone :)

There's an instant camraderie that comes from
being foriegners, so that there's always a wealth of friends around,
(as long as you dont mind the occasional asshole who doesnt know how
to act in a different country) and some of the most fun people i've
met are my chinese friends, who's fluency level is so high they
understand my sarcasm. So at least I'm not lonely. Ok, not terribly
lonely. I'm still a far cry away from being able to sit down and have
a nice chat with someone about anything of substance that would allow
them to get to know the "real" me. But then, as you've seen, the real
me is a little scary. haha.

Other good things, I'm losing weight. Without trying. And my goal of
drinking water everyday is now a reality that I dont even think about,
because otherwise with the heat and amount of walking I do, I have to
drink. So the total so far is about 7 lbs. 3 months, 7lbs. Woo hoo! So
I think now I'm going to actually try and lose weight and see what

I'm also doing really good with my goal of learning chinese. It's not
as hard as I initially imagined and I've got plenty of places to learn
from. I study books when I'm bored at home... I listen to lessons on
my ipod when I'm taking a long bus trip.. and then of course there are
my chinese friends.

I used to feel bad about asking them "how do you say this in chinese"
but they do the same thing to me in english sometimes, so I guess it
all works out. We havent even started the "free" chinese lessons that
the school offered us yet. They keep saying, well we're waiting for
the semester to settle so that we know everyone's schedule and we can
organize them. I hear they're pretty useless anyways. By now I might
even start in the intermediate class... but I'm not sure.

So losing weight, and speaking another language and being hot shit
when I return to America so I can tell all those boys that didnt want
me to go f--- themselves... I'm right on track! haha!!

But there's much more that I'm doing and learning here. It's really
good. It's really the best thing I've done in my life. I still haven't
figured out what I'm going to do with my life. However I do know it's
not teach kindergarden kids! No matter what language they speak! OMG.
Teaching is the hard price I pay for loving living in China I think.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A good day in China...

is not characterized by a tremendous amount of amazing things occuring, but rather, just the simple pleasures in life being realized. For example, today I was sitting in my nice clean apartment alone, save for my beautiful (if not a little sickly) cat, writing lessons plans and listening to my newly purchased Ben Fold Live with the Western Austraila Symphony Orchestra DVD. I had a very productive morning washing and hanging my clothes, taking a nice hot long shower, and lesson plans when I started getting hungry. So I phoned up the local dumpling shop, spoke the "signal" words to them, and a mere 15 minutes later was enjoying a hot bowl of pork dumpling soup. Yum yum! Then I take a stroll over to the TPR HQ and check my email and write this blog before I head out to Gong Bei and teach my adult class for 2 hours. Tonight I may go have a potluck dinner with some of the foriegners, or go out with some chinese girlfriends to listen to live music or maybe a nice dinner with this guy who wants to "learn english" :)

Last night I enjoyed mexican night and South Park with Daniel and Julie (I love cooking, they didn't mind cleaning) then went to have a few drinks with my chinese friends and james at an outdoor BBQ where we talked about all sorts of funny girly things.

The weather lately has been beautiful as well. The hottest days of summer are gone and autumn is creeping in. I hear winter gets a little frigid, but it can't be anything too horrible because it doesn't snow.

AND on an exiciting musical note, I found the most beautiful Yamaha silver saxophone here. Out of my price range, but I'm glad to know there's quality here when I get ready. Until then, I'm still going to purchase a cheap sax, because there's a few people that I've met that want to get a band started. Two chinese guys, a New Zealander and myself. Piano, sax, drums, guitar. It will be interesting. Also exciting, they sell vandoren reeds here :) when I found them I was terribly excited. I think I really confused the music shop people.

So it's the little things, like being able to afford a maid once a week (10rmb), ordering delivery (3rmb) listening to my favorite music (5rmb) having a beautiful cat, living alone, but not without plenty of new friends... that's what makes life in China good to me.

And in unrelated to me news... two new teachers from Austraila had a hard time adjusting and are heading out this weekend after classes and thus, Kevin got re-hired at TPR.

Soon the October holiday is coming where I have an entire week off. I'm going to travel to the hometown of my one of my TA's and live in a smaller town for a week. Should be interesting. More details and pictures to come!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Starting a band?!?

I'm pulling things together here so that hopefully I can play some music. There's Lenny, a teacher here at TPR from New Zealand who plays guitar (mostly lead stuff I think), Martin (formely known as Kelvin) a chinese staff member at TPR on the keys and singing, and then myself maybe as back up vocals/rhythm guitar and definetly sax player. We're going to get together in the next two weeks to jam and see how it goes. There's also a drummer, Michael a chinese staff member at TPR who plays drums. It's just so neat because one person has a friend with a studio, Lenny used to produce and mix music and such back home... so if it works out that we play well together, we can really play!

I went today and listened to Martin play piano and sing. It was amazing! And of course he was very humble about it. I can't wait to get together and see what all of us can come up with.

I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on my formation of a band :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Beautiful Friend Macro

This is her blog, sadly it's in chinese, but the pictures aren't!!! Be sure to check out this album! Those are her professional studio photos... so beautiful!!

New post coming...

I've been working on typing one post for the past two days.. there are so many little non signifigant things, that when put together sounds really big. So soon, my loyal readers will be an update of epic proportions, but until then, this little tidbit will have to tide you over.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I survived the first weekend.

So yeah, wow. This weekend the new term started. After too little sleep Friday night, because after sitting at the resturant near Jusco with some new foriegn friends from another school, I went out to Sands with Joe, Kiki, Mandy and lots of other chinese friends. I had a really low key evening with only 2 glasses of beer and lots of listening to the conversations around me. Yes, even the Chinese ones. I'm really excited now that I can understand a few things. I'm really focusing on learning the language as quickly as possible. It's not as hard as I originally imagined. But anyways... teaching... ugh...

So Saturday morning was a little rough... even tho the classes were simply giving the children english names and passing out their books for class, I wasn't doing to well. The assistant they assigned me was brand new, and that didn't help matters either. But after many (many) hugs from Sue during the day, I was able to survive.

It's a nice group of us working out in the branch that is far away from the school's HQ. About a 20 minute bus ride, so it's not too terrible. The crew is me, James, Daniel, and Sue. The TAs are nice and I even helped one of them get a job. Good ol' Champion :) He's an amazing guy. He's 20 years old, goes to university about 1 hour from the city, works on the weekend at the Sands bar until about 2am and then will start working for TPR in the afternoons. I'm sure he has no free time. And he LOVES to study english. It really shows, because he's always asking questions and sometimes I think his grammar is better than most of us "natives"

Anyways, so that night, I was supposed to have a nice quite night in, cleaning and loving on my poor neglected Marmao, but alas, the sway of popularity washed over me again and I found myself consoling Joe about Kiki. It was nice tho, I really really love the beach here at night. And from were I was sitting, you could see the lights of Hong Kong and a beautiful moon. So Joe and I just sat on the sand talking and then after he left I didn't feel like going home so I sat with John, Macro and DJ Johnny for a bit. It dawned on me that I hadn't eaten and it was nearly 3 in the morning, so John and Macro and I hit 888 street for some delicious BBQ. I went home entirely too late, but had a really enjoyable evening just talking and getting to know people better.

Sunday at school, despite lack of sleep, was actually really really really good. The children didn't cry, my TA Milly had her stuff together a little bit more, and the new set of CY classes were a high enough level that I could talk to this in a mostly normal way of speaking. Best part about Sunday was we got a car ride back to Wan Zai Sha because Daniel had to teach adults in Jida so we crammed into the TPR car and to destress from the day started telling jokes. It was particularly funny if you knew Sue, she's that kinda person that is so sweet and gentle and kind and smiling, but yet there's much more beneath the surface. And we're laughing and having a great time when the dead baby jokes show up :) Good times. (if you don't know, google it)

Well that about sums up my weekend. More interesting things to come later :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

An Update

So not only is the weather fabulous now that it's "fall" but it's also wet. Not sure if there's a big storm, or what's going on, since I can't read the news and all, but oh well. At least I'm not melting into a big puddle of sweat every time I walk out my door.

I'm still in the process of updating the picture albums so that they make more sense. And of course once I get my camera fixed I'll finally be able to take picutres of all those things I've been waiting to take pictures of. If you have any requests of things you'd like to see, please leave me some comments.

Otherwise, things are well. We find out our new schedule Thursday. But I also found out if you ask nicely, the front staff of each branch already knows a few days before. So I'm teaching in Xin xiang zhou, kindys in the morning. and i'll find out my afternoon schedule soon as well.

anyways, time for class. this is my next to last adult class. friday we'll be going out to dinner.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

New Pictures

I'm adding a few new albums... and also changing around some of the others. It's getting really confusing :) So from now on whenever I add a picture to an exsisting album I'll post a blog so you can go check it out. For instance, I'm putting all the pictures of the MarMao in one place.

So newly added are:
A Day at the Beach - We played volleyball, it was really great. Most everyone just took turns playing and occasionaly we'd get an actual volley going. Then Daniel got the bright idea to rent a jetski. Terribly overpriced, but still great fun. I think somwhere towards the end tho, it ran out of gas because we had to sputter back 1mph or less. hehe. Anyways...

More to come!

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Some Websites of Interest

TPR English School
Where I work.

Sands Bar
Where I like to hang out and soon will be playing my sax. Once I can afford one.
Be sure to check out the pictures of the place. It's beautiful and offers damn near everything.

Monday, September 4, 2006

The State of Affairs

Well Michelle left yesterday. The house and china feel very different without her presence. She was nothing but kind to me and it was amazing to have met someone like her here halfway across the world. Daniel cried when she left. It was sweet.

So now life has to go on. I'm now one of the "old teacher" here at TPR and soon we'll be getting in new recruits. It will be interesting. I've already compiled a list of "Michele's Helpful Hints" for the new person. Sadly I won't be able to contribute quite the same way Michele helped me, but I can at least pass on the few things I know.

Let's see, what else is new... Oh! I just got back from a job interview. A random guy on the bus one day starts speaking english to me. Turns out he's a recruiter for the Guangdong Institute of Science and Technology. We swapped numbers and he sent me some information about the position of Foriegn English teachers. It sounds pretty nice. Furnished apt on campus, 16 hours/week, more if I want, more pay, etc etc. So after taking an EXTREMELY long and expensive taxi ride I get to the campus and meet with Ben. He takes me up for an interview, but before we even get up to the buildings he says, "You do have a B.A. right?" shit.

So now I'm faced with a slight dilemna. I found out that you can buy a degree online basically that will be good enough "supposedly" for China to take it. They don't really care where it's from because they just have to go thru the beuacracy of you having a degree. All they want is a native american speaker. So for $50 USD I can get a degree. Hmmmm....

Dunno. But I also have some other unexpected expenses that cropped up. Like, my sick cat. I think it's got worms. But it's very hard to explain this to the vet that speaks no english. Oh, and I broke my glasses. It just keeps getting better.

Anyways, I know this blog isn't exactly fulfilling but I'm off to the doctor's.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Things I learned last night in China

I've never really been good at keeping a paper journal, just mostly online. And even then, barely. But I wanted to make sure I didn't forget the little lessons I learned last night. That's why I was up at 4am scribbling down as many thoughts as I could coherently complete. And so here is a nice condensed version, for all you readers back home.

Things I learned last night in China:

1. the dumpling place delivers. it also stays open very late. this will be great because now i have to learn how to order food over the phone in chinese.

2. that you can bargain for nearly anything. thru a long and complicated process of bickering, even taxi fare can be negotiated. also another reason to hurry and learn more chinese so i can get cheap rides. beat the bus!! and there's no tipping. it's win-win.

but most of all.

3. I truly got an example last night of something I've been saying but never really fully understood. I always meant it, but now I've seen it in action. We are all one.
We share the same soul. We are all humans. Thou art god. Ok, so I'm naive sometimes. this is a fact I wont deny. But if we could only live our lives "practicing what we preach" so to speak, then maybe everything wouldn't be so miserable. The world doesn't have to be a swirling vortex if we don't want it o be. We are in control of the most powerful thing in the world, ourselves. If we all excercises the power of self-control at the same time. Wow.

But I found all this out after talking to Sandy for hours and hours last night. While Michelle was hanging out with some random english bloke that helped her drag Brad home from Holiday Inn. Side note: There was Cher. It was bad.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


nice to see comments and to know that people are out there. Not exactly what I imagined that my post would provoke. Anywho...

Two more days left of classes this term with the little kids and only a two more weeks of the adults. I'm a little worried to find out about the fall schedule. All the old teachers keep emphasizing how lucky I am to have started with such a great schedule this summer... and not to be too disappointed later on. I'm not really all that worried about.

I think sometimes people that come here dont have the same goals that I do. I wanted to come to China to see the world, to learn a new language, to work, and to learn things about myself in a totally new enviroment. I mean sure, running away from a crappy life back home was a nice perk, but it wasn't the main reason. I could have ran anywhere for that.

But here I am.

Also, another thing I don't understand about lots of people I meet here. They like to complain about things. Things I think they should just suck up and shut up about. I didn't imagine that when I arrived here that I'd be staying in huge, nice, expensive quarters. I actually feel extremely lucky to have it as good as I do. I was thinking that maybe I was a spoiled American, but maybe I'm not. I don't whine if there's no ice in the resturant. I don't moan if the A/C doesn't work properly in my classroom. I don't even constantly complain about the funky smells that are constantly drifting thru our open windows. (Altho I am curious what they're cooking that makes smells like that)

I'm also not here to "hook-up", get married, or make a sexual god out of myself, like so many guys seem to be up to. My interest in Chinese friends is soley for learning more about people that were raised in a different culture and learning more about the country and the language.

Anyways, I gotta grab dinner before class tonight. And tonight Brad is celebrating leaving by Karoke at Holiday Inn. Ought to be interesting. Asuming there's no Cher involved. Only time will tell.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Too much realism?

So it's come to my attention that perhaps my blog isn't G rated. I'm still trying to determine what it is that would make this unreadable to the prim and proper crowd. Is it my descriptions of the real world that I see around me? The too casual mentions of boozing and losers. Well, I make no apologies.

So if the nature of this blog gets too graphic for you... sorry. Ok, not really. I'm just sorry that the things in my life as I honestly present them are something to be hidden and shameful and not for the whole world to see and understand.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just a post

Well, nothing of terribly note lately. I've put up some new pictures and even a quick video of my students singing over on YouTube. Nothing spectacular. The verdict is in on the new cat's name, it's MarMao. A combination of spanish and chinese that means Sea Cat. Because his eyes are two different colors... not that the sea is ever blue around here. Oh well. I can't wait to get a charger for my camera so I can start taking my own pictures. Most of the latest ones have been from Michelle's camera. I'll get it sorted out soon enough I suppose. Let's see... using my birthday money I made two important purchases here.. a cell phone, and intergral part of the social and job scene here, and a bike. Since the purchuse of my new bike I have already been out almost every night biking alongside the road that runs by the sea. It's called Lovers Rd. It's very beautiful because at night you can barely see the things floating and the buildings look nice because they're all lit up. Oh and it's cool. Always a plus. I looked at the weather today in Tallahassee, 73 I think it said. Must be nice. Of course that could have been at 7:15am. hehe. My online travel writing course didn't go as well as I hoped. It was full of a bunch of older pompous ass types who had no room for a young unexperienced person as myself. I'm starting to think that all foriegners that travel must be assholes. Does that mean I'm fated to become one as well? One of those people that's always like... "Oh well in China...." or "Did I tell you about the time in China when..." I promise that I will do my best when/if I come back :) And speaking of future plans, I still don't have any. No great revelations have come upon me as to what to do with my future. However having a birthday is rather sobering and I realize that I can't just flit about forever with no idea of what to do next. I'm sure one day I'll regret it.

Other weird thoughts: Sometimes when I'm walking down the street and people AREN'T staring at me like I have three heads, I'm starting to forget that I'm not like everyone else. I mean I dont conciously walk around thinking about how white and fat I am right? Pretty soon I'll be eating like them and talking more like them... I feel like a duck that was raised with chickens or something... Doesn't know that it's different. Maybe if you stay somewhere long enough it happens to people as well...

Also on one of my bike rides I looked up and was finally able to see the sky. It dawned on me for the first time that the stars and constellations were different. It's little things that get me.

And chinese lessons are going great! I'm learning from many different sources and I'm unashamably practicing with everyone I can! Michelle is helping me with practical things, and my school is offering a basic course which is going for phonics and reading pinyin. I also solict the help of random strangers that feel brave enough to try and talk english to me. Which is scarily common. If i'm riding on the bus, at least once a week someone strikes up a conversation in English. It's not long before they're asking me what I think of China, the food, or if I can speak Chinese, which in turn gives me a chance to say,
"Wo jiao Brandy. (Bai-lan-di is my chinese name, which means, brandy. haha) Wo shi mei guo ren. Wo shi lao shi. Wo xihaun zhong guo. Wo tan gita. Wo suo de bu hao"
I am Brandy, I am an American. I am a Teacher. I like China. I play guitar. I don't speak well.

I can also say little things like misc fruits and vegetables, here there, this that, today tommorrow yesterday, and a few colors. It's also getting easier to recognize some of the characters that I see ALL the time. But basically I'm still in the baby step phase. But it sure is a lot of fun. I dont think I'll be writing or reading anytime soon, but in 3 months I hope to be wow-ing people with my speaking skills.

Ok, time to hit the cheap-o dumpling shop for a late dinner. Don't forget, I LOVE emails and comments. Send some!! :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Help Me!

So I was walking down Flower Street the other night with Michelle. She was supposed to be showing me where to buy phone cards but we ended up buying a kitten instead!!! Note: possibly the cutest kitten in exsistance. It is a white long haired kitty with two different colored eyes.
We couldn't resist.
So now the question is, what to name him...

Suggestions appreciated.

Use the link to the left to go see the new pictures. Also privately available is the picture of my neck/back after cupping :) It's not for the squeamish...

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

My new Chinese friends

So yesterday I discovered that I really dont mind hanging out with people that barely speak my language. They're often times more interesting than the foriegners here.

So one of my adult students lives near where I live and he drives (which I think is rare unless you have lots of money, which his dad does) And he offers to drive me home after class. Which is much better than a twenty minute bus ride. So we've made quite a habit of it. Then one day he brings his friend in to visit class. A cute young guy as well... but he obviously doesn't need the class as he's better than most of my students. But afterwards Allen (my regualar student) said he had to drive his friend Gary back to Macau and go buy some shoes and asked if I wanted to come along. So I did. (Even tho I was supposed to be cooking dinner for Daniel, meh) I did try to call and let Daniel and Michelle know I was going out, but never got them. Anywho, we had a nice time chatting and shopping and eventually going out to eat. We swap numbers and go our merry ways. That was Sunday.

Then yesterday I get a phone call around lunch and it's Allen and he wants to take me out around Zhuhai because there are only a few places I've been. I meet him outside my place and he's got a cousin and a different friend in the car. Their english is even more limited than Allen's so it's difficult talking to them and so it was a little odd. So Allen took me to his father's company where they sell marble and granite and things like that for home decoration and hotels and things like that. It was neat. We had tea and I met his dad. then they showed me where they cut the stones. It was very loud, and all the workers didnt know what to make of me.

So by this time it's almost 5 o'clock, so instead of going back home I ask Allen to drop me off at the Xin Xiang Zhou branch so I didn't have to take the bus and I could work on my lesson plan. But I ran into Brian a foriegn teacher from New Jersey. He had just finished teaching one of those horrible summer camps things like I have to, so we started talking about that and bouncing around ideas. Then we decided to go to that Brazilian BBQ place next door to the school. As we were sitting there two girls came up and said that it was one of the girls bday and if there were four people they could get a cake. So we let them sit. They turned out to be pretty cool. They go to the university nearby and are not from the Guangdong provence so they dont speak cantonese. They thought it was pretty cool that I knew so much chinese for only being here a month. They also took lots of pictures. I uploaded those today, so be sure to check them out.

Today I'm going to the doctor again. Other exciting news I got a part-time job giving lectures/classes at a nearby hotel. Only 1 hour a week, but it pays 100RMB. Woo hoo! I'm also going to save up this next months paycheck so I can go to Thailand with Daniel and some friends for his birthday in late September.

As for my sickness, I'm almost over my cough. It's now that deep chest hacking bronchitis like cough. Which I think scares people on the bus :)

I saw that Kevin bought a guitar, but when I tried to give him tips I dont think he was interested, so whatever. Good luck to him.

Anyways... lunch time!

Friday, August 4, 2006

What did I get for my bday?

A typhoon washed ashore, oh yeah.. and the flu!!
I've been sick for the past few days yet the teaching goes on. I can't cancel classes because then I will make no money. Which btw, payday is coming soon! Hooray!

No, actually my birthday turned out really good. Michelle gathered a bunch of people together and we went out to this great indian resturant. There was a lady dancing every so often, and the garlic cheese naan was to die for!!

Then we ended up the evening by heading down to good ol'Bar Street. But because of all the wind and rain no one was really out. So for the first time we actually got to sit and talk and had a good time. And drinking of course. For the record, I still really don't like beer for mass quanities of drinking. Come to think of it, I don't really like drinking mass quanities anyways. Truth be told a rum and coke or two and I'm happy and warm enough for a whole evening.

Then the dancing began. Again, no one at the club. So it was basically watch the white people dance time.. which makes me really paranoid. So I just sat with the guys and drank. Did I mention the doctors went out with us?

The pictures will speak volumes :)

Anyways, between the kids being really good and making me cute little cards and things, and the cake with weird fruit on it, and then the great nap i had, and the new shoes I bought... yeah it was an interesting 23rd bday in China.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

New Pictures & Lesson Learned

I put up a few new albums todays... These were taken by Michelle. There's some pictures of a day by the pool we had for James' bday last weekend. There's also some different food here in China. Then there's the album of the neighbor kid that stops by to visit. And then there are some of Daniel, Michelle, and me at our ghetto mexican food night, and a night before we went out to bar street. Fun stuff.

And more importantly the lesson that I learned this past weekend...Michelle was right. I was thinking that maybe because she's been here so long that she didn't like people because she was the mean one or something to that effect. bUt after this past weekend... I don't like the white guys here either. At least not white guys that have been in China for any extended length of time. It's not just the fact all they want to talk about it sex with chinese women or how much they think of themselves, they also tend to be big assholes when drinking. Which is what everyone does most of the time they're not teaching, right? I think they're giving foriegners a bad name as well. Ex. We were at this resturant by the sea, nice place. Uncrowded as well, because of the sporadic rain. So there's maybe 20 foreigners there drinking and talking. I already feel out of place because I'm younger than most of them, and have been here only a month, where as most of them 6 months to several years. So our little table shared a small keg of beer (108RMB) and as we get towards the end of it, one of the guys knocks it over, spilling beer everywhere. Does he apologize and offer to buy another one? Of course not. He blames it on the poor waiter who rushed over after the fact to help clean up. Then he demands a free keg. No one did anything. (Not even me sadly, I was too angry) What I didn't realize then, was that the poor waiter probably had to pay for it, or even worse could have lost his job. I knew that it was wrong of him to do that, but I didn't know it would be that bad. I mean they were just obnoxious the entire night. And I tried to talk to different people, but they were all the same. Maybe it was me, and I just exude hatred of ignorant people. But I figure if I was drinking and I *still* had a bad time, it must have been really bad.

The best part was sitting by the sea listening to the surf and looking at the city lights and the moon reflect on the water. I will definetly go again, but hopefully not with any of the foriegners.

Anyways, off to the doctor with me! Hooray for needles!

More about the pictures...

Some of pictures in this album need a little more explanation I think :)
Also you can hover your mouse over to pause the slideshow or you can click to view them in another window at a larger size.

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1 - 4. Some really strange fruit, one you take the outer pink stuff off it kinda looks like a little onion inside, but they're sorta sweet. Sorta.

5. Is the most beautiful cat ever, newly named Snow White. Everytime I have to take the 13 bus I walk up Flower St. That's where Snow White and Garfield (the orange cat) are always tied to this tree. They're really sweet and playful. It's always a joy. People also enjoy staring at me as well.

6. A picture Michelle took. I thought it was really well done. So I included it :)

7. Michelle and one of her students.

8. Beautiful skyline.

9 - 11. So there is a Muslim noodle restaurant that we go to. The best thing to order there is "Do Jao" which is this green bean, beef and rice platter. Only 5RMB. They make the noodles right there so you can see. It's pretty nifty.

12 - 13. Ahhh the supermarket. As Michelle and I were trying to get these pictures some of the employees made us leave. I think that they thought we were inspectors or something. Either way. It's gross :)

14. Yummy eh?

15. That's the bookstore across from my building. If you notice on the top floor there are people sitting in the windows. Apparently they dont have public libraries here so people just go to the store and sit and read.

Be sure to check out the other albums as well :)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

To the Doctor...(dont miss the illustrations)

So the other day my knee and back started hurting. Well they've been hurting for sometime now. If you know me, you know I crack my back/neck/anypart of me that will, almost constantly. I've contemplated going to a chiropractor for sometime because it hurt so much. Which for those of you who know me, know it must hurt pretty bad for me to want to spend the money I don't have on even feeling better. Sooo... when my knee starting acting up over here I thought I'd see how much a good massage would be, or some sort of alignment. Boy oh boy... that's when all the fun started.

So Michelle, my roommate, has been here for 10 months now, she speaks fairly fluent chinese (enough to get by anyways) and she shared with me about her neck pains and such. She told me how she goes to this doctor every so often, and that he's very good though he speaks no english. I figured for 40rmb (5bucks), why not? Plus I do lots of walking up stairs and long bus rides here which nearly kill my knee and back. So away we went...

I'd have to say the first unusual thing I noticed (and still can't get over) is that after climbing the extremely steep stairs of this clinic building up to his office, when we entered he was just finishing a smoke. That's when I knew everything was going to be *really* different.

There were no forms to fill out, shoot, I don't even think he asked my name. Michelle just told him I was a friend of hers and that my knee and back had been hurting. So he gets me to lie down on this massage bed and starts prodding around. The new chinese word I learned for the day was "tong" which is pronouced like "tone" and means "pain" So as he's squeezing the life out of my poor leg, knee and otherwise he's asking me "tong/bu tong" (pain, no pain) I guess after that he decided that the pain was in my lower back and that I'm severly mis-aligned. He decides to give me a massage and realignment. So I turn over and then it begins.

I swear it felt like he was punching my kidneys and he could quite possibly have massaged thru me and rubbed the table I was laying on. All while asking.. "tong/bu tong" He also learned some english words yesterday like "yes you sick sadist" and "sunnovabeech" Remember I'm laying on my stomach with my face in that hole in the table surrounded by sheets and pillows, sweating to death (even tho the a/c was on) and nearly crying it hurt so much. But I figured that was the worse part before it feels better, right?


Then after about 15-30 minutes of rubbing/beating the shit outta me, he goes over to this table and comes back with some packages of something. I pick my head up and look into his eyes just to make sure he's not enjoying scaring me to death. Michelle is chatting with him and the other doctor in the room and laughing at my misfourtune. Ok, so the banter was pretty funny. And I was overreacting a little bit. But then... came the needles.

So accupuncture isn't so bad, you can barely feel the needles once they're in. It's the electrodes he attached to the needles that kinda bothered me. At first it kinda tickled, and parts of my muscles were jumping about. It reminded me of this little machine mom has a few years back that you put on your face and it is supposed to shock you a little to tighten the skin. Or something like that. But depending on which one he touched, my leg would jump or my toes would twitch. And it got really warm. So that took quite some time as well. I dont really remember how long because I was so intent on not moving and redirecting the pain to my toenails or something.

So then he starts on Michelle while I'm laying there. And their conversation is still going on. It was pretty funny. She was asking him about his weekend and she told him about me. And how I'm a teacher from america and I play the guitar things like that. It was quite the jovial occasion. Considering I had pins stuck in my skin and electricity pulsating thru me. Other than that...

So then a little bell goes off, not unlike a microwave, and I think hooray I'm done!!! But no. There was more. Thankfully this part wasn't so bad, but it's Michelle's least favorite so she was going on and on about how much it hurt, etc etc.
Here let me show you some pictures, because I had no concept of this either.

It's called cupping.
It didnt hurt as much as I thought it would, and it's really supposed to be good for pulling muscles instead of pushing them. And so I went along with it. Ok, truth be told I couldn't really see what was going on. So that's why I went along with it. Michelle had it done later, after I was finished and so I got to see it. Pretty crazy looking.

I'm not sure how long each section of all that lasted, but it was about 2 hours later that we left. Fun part is I have to go back today so that he can continue to work with my extremely messed up back. I hope this helps. And for $50 dollars for 10 visits, I'm willing to find out.

Other funny parts of the visit were finding out their names. Chen Xi Long and Zhou Li Chang. Oh and did I mention these aren't like 60 year old little chinese men. They're maybe 27 and 30 I think they said. They also didn't have english names. So we said we'd think about it and give them some. They wanted hot/sexy names, they said. And since Michelle and I both have a thing for latin looking men we decided on Antonio and Joaquin. Yes...

Antonio Banderas and Joaquin Phoneix.

Not that they resemble these guys in any ways. But oh well :)
Welp, it's time to catch the bus and go back for my torture... errr treament today!
I think afterwards I'll ask him for a smoke. Ya know? The whole "was it good for you too baby" hehehe. So crazy.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Finally... a really good day

Not only is it because it's Friday... it's because my classes went very well today. The first class of 12 had a lot of fun as we learned about UP and DOWN today. I had them jumping around like monkeys. I also coaxed them into helping me color flashcards. The book I use with them doesnt come with flashcards like the normal books. So we just made our own. Fun stuff.
Then the next class went very good as well. After making them write so much the other day, now they are scared and know that when I raise my voice that I mean business. The Hello/How are you? line up went well... and then we actually got to play a few games. We're working on "across from/next to, and behind" so I arrange about 4 them in the chairs in the front of class and drag them in different positions and then play team quiz games where I ask them "who is next to, who is behind" things like that. And it actually went pretty well. The winners and volunteers all got stickers. And then at the end of class, since it's Friday... I brought in the guitar that Daniel let me borrow. I play BINGO and Twinkle Twinkle.. .and the I pick someone who is sitting quiet and nicely and let them strum while I change chords and sing their name. They LOVED it! And so it makes you feel pretty good when you have a good day with them. Let's hope my adult class goes well tonight.

I miss everyone (ok mostly everyone...) and would love to hear from some of you guys that havent emailed me. I'm not sure who's reading this or not. Leave some comments or something!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Ok, so cancel that whole depressed rant about no money. I got some birthday money today and I can buy my own food again. Hooray!

Also my class o'little monsters went better today because yesterday I punished them severly by making them write! So today they were (almost) perfect little angels. Which is nice for keeping the headaches away.

Otherwise, things are great. No intersting stories just yet. I hope to have more pictures as soon as I get a new charger for my camera. I want to get pictures of the surrounding area. Oh, and of the neighbor :) His name is Shao(sp?) Wang, which literally means, Little Wang, which is the family name. This still tickles me to no end, even tho it's pronounced Wong. Anyways, jokes aside, he's the cutest little kid ever. He's 20 months old his mom told me. He lives with his grandparents, dad and mom. Occasionally they leave the door open and he wanders around in the hallway and if our door is open he'll wander right in. He knows Michelle fairly well so he likes to come over and visit if he can. Last night however, he shut the door while she over at the neighbors. Which sucked for her since I had a late adult class last night. And the bus took forever. So when I came home she was at their house eating cantelope at like 10pm. Her chinese is decent enough for her to at least comminucate with them. If it were me I would have been freaking out. But anyways, he likes to come over and point at our fish and dance with us. It's precious.

Anyways, more to come later :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Money Woes

Doesn't matter the country, it seems that I'm poor no matter where I go. Maybe this is just because payday hasn't rolled around yet. But I am so tired of owing people, and borrowing, and living off the goodwill and charity of others. Which is ironic, because I don't mind giving people my last dollar. You'd think I'd be able to accept help from others. And oh but I have here lately... that or starve and walk 30 miles to class. (Ok I'm not sure exactly how many miles, but it's a long bus ride)

Payday can't come soon enough. Let's just put it that way.

But I never really realized how much having money affected my mood until lately. It makes me pretty angry with myself to realize it. I really do hate money. And I know that happiness comes from people around you and your outlook on your circumstances. That's what makes me so freaking mad.

And people around me, wow. I still feel like a freak or celebrity. People haven't quit staring. I've met a few nice chinese people that speak some english. Like Lovely, in the music store. Or Stray at the pizza place. But as you can imagine the conversation never really gets in depth. Not that conversation with the foriegners does either, mind you.

But eh. Other than being poor, things are fine. Putting up with the kids is a fun thing to do for 3 hours a day. I know it wouldnt be so bad if it weren't the summer school instead of regular classes. That's the most frustrating part. Because its mixed ages and a very bad book to be teaching them out of. But there's not much I can do. So we just play games and try to learn a little english. I think the first thing they're going to learn is Be Quiet and Sit Down. If they don't come out of class with that much, they were deaf.

And my adult class is going well. They like to talk. They are very bright. And they are there to learn english. So it works out rather nicely. I'm coming up with fun stuff for them to do, like Logic Puzzles, Mad Libs, things like that.

If you have any ideas PLEASE share them. For either kids or adults! Anything is appreciated!

Who would have thought I'd spend hours a week doing lesson plans and teaching, ha ha ha. I'm still not used to the irony of it myself.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A new class

So tomorrow I start a new class. I am teaching adult level students. This should prove to be interesting. Also today I found my teacher voice. The little monsters in my 2nd class were shouting and screaming and everything else while I was trying to line them up for a game. So I screamed, made them sit down, and had the chinese teacher translate my angry thoughts.

Anyways, I'm excited to see a new part of the city as I'll be teaching the adults in a different branch. It will be MWF nights from 7:30-9:30. Fun stuff.

Welp, it's time for lunch. Let's see how much I can do with rice today!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Weekend

Well it's been a good weekend. Guess what we did? More pizza and Red Bar. Woo.
This is going to get old fast. Also finished watching the first seasons of Prison Break. I swear I watch more TV here than I ever did back home. Anyways, I'm getting a little depressed I think. Today I'm in a quite melancholy mood. Not sure if it's the weather. Apparently we're catching the tail end of a Monsoon. This morning I woke up because it sounded as if someone were pouring buckets of water up agaisnt my window. Lots of rain this weekend.

But back to the me feeling weird thing. It's odd because I don't talk much to people here. Not even Kevin. I just sit around listening. For instance today we went to the Dynamic Pizza place and sat for 4 hours talking. Well, rather, I was listening. But I don't know if it's everyone or just the people I've met so far... but everyone here seems to be world travelers and know lots of languages and have plans for their lives and etc etc. I know I'm young still, but there are people here that are young here as well. And the rest of the people are boring (sports, drinking, blah blah) I just feel so different than everyone around. But what's new right?

Anyways, I'm going to listen to Daniel give a lesson, er well, presentation today for adults. It's like a time for them to come and talk english with people at a coffee shop in Jida. Fun stuff. But I did do something terribly responsible today too. I did my lesson plans for the week :) Yay me!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

End of Week 2

So, it's already starting to fly by. I just finished the 1st week of teaching and the 2nd week in China. I'm really excited because things are starting to settle down. At least for the summer. I work Monday - Friday 8-5. So it's nice. I'm studying Chinese and trying to learn from everything around me as well. I'm spending time getting to know the area, learning childrens songs on my guitar, and trying foods that are strange colors and shapes :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I just spent 20 minutes typing only to have IE crash. It's 2:30 and I'm dying for lunch. So perhaps tomorrow I'll fill everyone in on how the teaching is going :)

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Asian Strangelove or How I learned to stop worrying and love the bar.

So yesterday we got our teaching schedules. I'll be teaching kindergarten classes, Monday thru Friday, 8:00-12:00. Which is really good if you consider I have evenings and weekends off. And plus the kids are soooo cute. But this also freaked me out a little bit because I basically have to spend hours and hours dancing, playing games, and singing with them. I've never taught little kids...or any kids for that matter.

So I was stressing out over my books. My thoughtful roommate said to take my mind of things we'd go out. So after a bit we met up with Duncan and Daniel and walked about 10 minutes to the only pizza shop in town (run by a non-local obviously) where we had delicious pizza and cheap beer. My favorite combination. It's also a hangout for non-TPR teachers, so I met about 5 new people last night as well. K.J. being one of them. She lives near the pizza shop, works next to her apt, and never really gets off the block. So she wanted to go down to "Bar Street." Everyone else in our party had been but me. So they coerced me into going with them. We only went to one club, so I didnt get to see the rest of the street. Perhaps next time. But I had a lot of fun. The club itself was interesting. It was very VERY loud. And even when people were speaking english to me I couldnt hear. I figured out how to order drinks by pointing at someone else's. So I ended up with Jack and Coke :) Everyone else by this time was dancing. And there I was sitting at the bar drinking and smoking my precious cloves (they dont have them anywhere around here) when they started dragging me onto the floor right in front of the DJ's booth. The music there was in english and very VERY funny. the only songs I remember are the "are you going to San Fransico" remix and a mix of that crazy frog noise and the them from Beverly Hills cop. No joke. I spent more time laughing than dancing I think :) So amidst all these asians flailing about were us 4 westerners and it tickled the guys pink when all the ladies danced together. So at one point this one asian girl, Coco, started dancing with me. She had me pushed all the way agaisnt the speaker and wouldnt let me move. Everyone was just laughing and laughing. I was getting very embarrased. But it was pretty fun. Michelle and Daniel even got up on a platform and did some pole dancing. I WISH I would have had my camera for that. I also feel very sorry for the poor taxi driver that had to take us home. We were all laughing and carrying on so loudly. I'm sure he didnt understand a word of it. Or at least I hope he didnt :) And let's just say I've got a helluva hangover today as well.

Anyway, so that was my adventure at Red Club. I miss Poor Paul's. OR anywhere you can have a conversation over beer and darts really.

I'm also dissapointed that in the first week I've been here I've already done all three of the activities there are to do. Eat, Shop, and go to the club. What am I going to do for the rest of the year ;)

Friday, July 7, 2006

Today's Adventure: The Hospital

Today the new teachers had to go and get our exams done. I must say I was fairly pleased that for four of us it only took 3 hours. That's travel time included too. We had X-Rays, Physicals, Blood Work, and Ultrasounds. It was just kinda weird to be in a hospital with no cold air or aneseptic smell. Everything was mostly sterile. I didn't see her clean the little ear-scope thing out and there was no little plastic cover. But oh well, right? If I was worried about germs and sterility I'm guessing this wasn't the place to choose to live for a year.

Other than that things are great. Still doing the training, classes start next week I believe, but I haven't gotten my schedule yet.

In addition to learning about Chinese culture, thanks to the plethora of new teachers, I'm learning about other parts of the world as well... There's Daniel and Travis from Austrailia, Amanda, Michael and Duncan from England, Brian from Ireland, and Uva from Germany. It's been interesting.

Welp that's all for now I guess, if you have any questions class feel free to comment :)

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Photoshopping and the best 2 dollars I ever spent.

So perhaps everyone remembers me showing you this beautiful picture of Zhu Hai. The lush mountains with the profile of tall hotels all overlooking the beautiful blue ocean. Well....

it's no ocean. It's the sea. and it's not blue. it's BROWN. and dirty and icky. apparently, for tourists sake, they go thru the trouble on all the literature i've seen so far, of making it all blue. when it's obviously brown. all the time.

but everything else is fine :)

and now onto the second half of this report about the best 2 dollars I ever spent.
so there's this hair parlor right across the street from my apartment. angel's. and boy was it like heaven. one of the other teachers who has been here for six months (tho not in this particular city) asked if i'd ever had my hair washed. i was like, of course, i do it every day (twice here because of the humidity and sweating) but after dinner last night we went to the salon and he introduced me this glorious treat known as hair washing. they spent 30 minutes shampooing and massing my head, then my arms and shoulders and back and legs. mmmmmmm... then another 20 minutes drying and straightening my hair. all for the low low price of 15yuan. which is almost 2 dollars. i felt so guilty the entire time. and tipping isnt customary here.

i think i may become spoiled :)

anyways, off to training and orientation today!!!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

I made it!!!

So after a crazy trip across the US, and a not-as-bad-as-i-imagined flight, I finally made it halfway around the world to China. I'm on day four now and it's been quite a trip.

Here are the pictures I've gotten so far. I would make this longer but I've already kept my unoffical tour guide Daniel waiting. He's an Austrailian that's been in China for 6 months in another town, but is new to TPR (our school) so he's sorta/kinda new.

Happy 4th!!! We're getting KFC and Budwiser tonight. That's as good as it gets.

And here are some pictures for you all!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Houston here I am!

Well after a rocky start, here I am in Houston, TX. We had a little mishap with Kevin's car, "the behemoth" as I call her, dying at the airport as we got our rental car.

Side note: As much as I hate SUVs, I am rather enjoying the Buick Rendevous we got. I feel dirty when I drive it tho and solace myself with the fact it's only for a week until I give up cars for a year (or more, hopefully).

Let's see, AL was uneventful, and we stopped in Jackson, MS to see one of Kev's old friends and have dinner at Cock of the Walk. It was a neat seafood place on the edge of the Resevior. I loved the menu. Catfish or Chicken Strips. Served with various sides like cole slaw, cornbread, etc etc. It was good.

Then there was Vicksburg, MS right before Lousiana. Where I went to my first Casino. I blew 10 dollars in a few minutes on penny slots and watched some people play blackjack but was too scared to sit down :) That, and I'm horrible at adding the cards correctly. That seriously hinders my game .. hehe.

So then we rolled into TX while I slept and then finally Houston!

So as we pull into Houston, Kevin gets to see the childlike side of me that's easily amused by tall buildings and shiny things. So as he pulls out the map to "navigate" I take a lovely downtown drive thru the city. Very nice on a Sunday afternoon. And surprisingly I didn't even go down any of the one way streets backwards ;) Yay me!
I got a bunch of pictures of buildings and stuff downtown. Which I'll get up on here soon.

So that's that. I think I'm going to go jump in that nice soft bed while I still can. Tomorrow we get our Visas at the consulate and then hopefully get all the way thru Texas.

LA or bust baby!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Today marks the beginning of the first leg of the trip to L.A.

We, of course, have to stop in Houston to get our Visas, but otherwise we've got 6 days to get from here to there.

I'm already tired :)

Sorry to everyone I didnt get to see before I left. I had quite a time of it... and I *just* finished packing my bags. I'm waiting for Kevin to get back with lunch and the rental car so we can load up our bags and set out west.

If anyone needs to reach me, Kevin's cell phone will still be working as far as I know. And if anyone wants to send me money I still take paypal ;)

and pictures!! I'm already finding great road side stuff :)
Like this one: Cheap SC Gas