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!