Monday, February 23, 2009

what goes on.

oh my. where to start.
china is so fun. and so exhausting.

so. to start off, i have been thinking.
at the end of every day when i am laying on my piece of plywood, i think about how lucky i have been throughout my life. i have been blessed with so many wonderful things throughout my life and most of those things came from the hard work of my parents. they have worked so hard for what they have, and i guess i never realized it before now, but i have taken them for granted for so long. living is hard work. and trying to live your own life and raise seven children is even harder.
so thank you mom and dad for working so hard. thank you for your examples of hard work and instilling in us the knowledge that even though life isn't always easy. it is always worth it.

oh hey! there have been a few more things that i have noticed about my friends, the chinese. let me share them with you:
1. if they don't have change at the store, too bad. you get candy instead. or if they are out of candy--no change at all. i guess it all balances out eventually, but i want to know if i can bring the candy back in exchange for change. it is a mystery that will remain unsolved.
2. the chinese put out cherry tomatoes like they are strawberries. they are NOT strawberries, they are tomatoes, and should not be served with a bowl of oranges. it just isn't nice to make me think that they are strawberries.
3. there is no such thing as waiting in line. if you are in a line, you are going to be in that line all day. i have begun to learn how to push and shove my way through china. i feel really rude doing it, but if everyone else is pushin me, i'm gonna push back. sorry!
4. the chinese people sell american money as if it were a long lost treasure. a package of two, 1 dollar bills, cost 40 yuan. or about 6 american dollars. no thank you. 1 dollar is worth 1 dollar.
5. if you are at dinner with someone and they give you a roll of toilet paper, it isn't for you to take to the bathroom. it's for you to wipe your hands on. i guess they've never heard of a napkin.
6. if you are in the bathroom and need some toilet paper. instead of a roll of toilet paper, they will hand you a box of kleenex tissues. i think they've got their tissues a little mixed up.
7. when eating something, don't ask questions about what it is you are eating. sometimes it is better not to know. i found this out last night when i ate what i thought was the inside lining of a pig intestine mixed with peppers. it turned out to be worse.
8. there are few chinese people who know english and the ones that do, probably don't know what they are saying. we went into a store the other day, around 8pm, and were greeted with a friendly "good morning!" from all the employees. it was pretty funny.
9. because it is still the winter season, every one still dresses in long pants and long sleeve shirts. even though it is about 80 degrees outside. the worst is when the little kids at school are dressed in 3 or 4 layers of long sleeve shirts and you have to peel them off one layer at a time. they are sweating as soon as they get to school. eek.
10. the chinese have no sense of when they should stop doing construction. there are two buildings being built right next to our apartment, and the construction never stops. it starts up at about 4 in the morning and gets quieter around 1am, but if you are really listening you can hear the clink, clink, clink of the hammers going at it.

all is well in chinatown. life is good. and china is so smelly. it is getting hotter and hotter. and more and more humid as the days go on. my hair loves it.

until next time.
peace and love from the chiner.

Monday, February 16, 2009

yer blues.

well. where to begin.
china is still good. things here are basically the same as they were last week.
teaching gets a little more difficult everyday, but i am beginning to get the hang of things. the kids are adorable and want your attention so bad. i try to give all of the kids an equal amount of attention, but of course i have my favorites. and my least favorites.

linda is my least favorite at this moment in time. she happens to be in my homeroom class and she is without a doubt the smallest ball of terror known to man (man meaning english teachers in china). she is actually a big ball of terror, but she is the smallest girl in the class so she is the smallest ball of terror. i'm sure there are a few other balls of terror that lurk the hallway of happy abc's kindergarten (ps. i know that is spelled wrong. that is how it is spelled on the school, i'm just glad i haven't had to deal with them yet.

catherine (our native coordinator and best chinese friend) started teaching us chinese today. we sound like the kids we teach. it is not good. chinese is really hard. there is a poster of chinese words and pronunciations on our wall that we went over a dozen times today and i have yet to remember a single one of them. pinyin does nothing for pronunciation. not kidding. for example the letter E makes the "uh" sound. what is that? chinese; that's what. booyah!

i am beginning to miss all of my american luxuries. namely: a toilet i can sit on (i still tend to avoid using the squatter as much as possible). milk from a cow that i can drink and drink and not worry about dying from it (all the milk in china is soy and/or peanut rice. it is beyond terrible). ice cream that tastes like ice cream and not like china (the only ice cream that tastes like ice cream, is from mcdonalds). a soft bed that doesn't creak when i move (bunk beds are no good. and are even worse when the bed is made purely of raw and rough wood). water that i can drink from the tap (china water is not clean. don't drink the water.) . conversations that i can overhear anywhere i go (i'm not an eaves dropper. i just like to listen sometimes.). candy (oh how i miss candy. soft chewy candy. ps. my mouth is watering.). a dryer to cry my clothes in (hanging my clothes up to dry isn't too bad. it's the drying in the china breeze that is bad. by the time my clothes are dry they are more dirty than before i washed them.).
don't get me wrong, i love being here. there are just a few things that i miss from home. if i could have all of the above here in china, i would live here forever. ok, maybe not forever, but for a while. maybe 5 months. but if i'll only be living here for five months, i think i can do without all of those things. and guess what. i will do without.

let me just say that i miss being home.
i wouldn't change a single decision i made about coming here or being here. but i do miss home. and all that is there.

Friday, February 6, 2009

tell me what you see.

so the past couple of days i have been trying to blend in with the asian people. and over the past couple of days i have realized that this task is nearly impossible.
here are a few reasons why:
1. the chinese people in general have abnormally large moles. you are probably thinking that moles are fairly normal; however, asian moles are much different than regular moles. they have long thick hairs coming out of them that the asian people believe to bring bad luck if you cut them or pull them out. if i ever find a hair coming out of one of my moles, there is no way that i am going to let it grow and grow and grow until i can braid the hair. i guess i am going to have bad luck.
2. chinese people have terrible teeth. i don't think they know that toothbrushes exist or if they do, they probably don't care to use them. most of the people i have seen have teeth that are rotting out of their head, and on top of that they are incredibly crooked. it is sad. really. the other day some girls went to an open market in the morning and came to find a place that helps with that problem. it is a chair, with some plier sitting next to it and a sign with a toothy smile on it. dentist? maybe.
3. chinese babies are SO cute. and it is even cuter when they have holes in the back of their pants in order for them to squat in the street. it is not so cute when they are squatting in the street, but those little bums are just so cute. i would love the freedom of being able to squat in the street, but baby asian bums are luckily...knock on wood...the only ones i have seen pooking out of bum less pants, and hopefully it stays that way.
4. fingernails? more like claws. both men and women have extremely long fingernails that they use for grooming. i would rather use a q-tip and a kleenex.
5. i have come to realize that showering isn't always necessary. sure they have grease on their fingers and their clothes are covered in meat water. who cares?! it's all good. PSYCH. it is not all good. but i still love it here.
6. the chinese (as well as many other asians) have terrible facial hair. it grows in spurts around their chin an upper lip and is so stringy and strait that it doesn't really look like it should be there. all i can say is that i am glad i am not a man (asian or not) that has to worry about facial hair.
7. the chinese have a very skewed sense of exercise. they walk backwards and barefoot. they believe that they are getting more exercise that way. i am going to keep walking facing forward. and keep my shoes on. at all times.
8. asians are tiny people. and i mean tiny tiny. both men and women. they have the smallest waists and cinch their belts so tight that their pants are folding over on the top.
9. asians love to hover. is doesn't really matter what anyone is doing, but they LOVE to watch everyone that comes into their store and/or vicinity. i have never felt so uncomfortable than when i am standing in a store looking at something with 5 asians hovering over me. and when i say over me, i literally mean over me, their hovering forces me to stoop down.
10. asians can sleep anywhere. and i mean anywhere. on the bus. on the street. in the street. on a motorcycle. in the park. in a tree. on a rock. on a boat. in a cart. in a car. in a store. blocking the entrance of store. on your shoulder...with their dandruff getting on you. in a grocery cart. in a grocery cart going down the street. in a cart behind a motorcycle. etc...etc. i am a deep sleeper. but not that deep.

as you can tell, i have learned a lot about the asian people i am surrounded by. and by surrounded by; i mean surrounded on all sides, nearly all the time. i am sure this list is going to get longer and longer. stay tuned.
i love asians.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

there's a place.

i am in GuZhen Town, China. and i have noticed a few things over the past couple of days of being here.
if you are ever planning on visiting china now, or ever, you may find it in you best interest to know the following...

1. learn how to squat before you come. get down low, Low, LOW.
2. don't be alarmed by little kids peeing in the street. it's totally normal.
3. rivers of poo and garbage are no big deal. thats just how it is.
4. there are no crosswalks. just cross the street when there are no cars coming and hope you don't get run over. walk around the cars if you have to.
5. cars and scooters HONK all the time. it is to warn people walking that they are coming. it isn't meant to be rude but it definitely takes some getting used to.
6. 4-5 people on one scooter or motorcycle is totally normal (today i saw three men squished together on a tiny seat of a scooter. i don't think that would go down so well in the U.S.).
7. if you hear what sounds like gun shots, don't be scared, it's just fireworks for the new year. they are for good luck.
8. GuZhen Town is the city of lights. nearly all the shops on the main road are light shops. like fancy lights and chandeliers, and lamps and regular lights. they are never busy, but they are open for business.
9. if you ever need help at the super market, just look puzzled and about 10 workers will come help you. they don't speak english but they will be happy to hover over you while you shop.
10. people stare at americans ALL the time. they will even turn all the way around on their motorcycles just to get a longer look (today some guys yelled, "hello" at us from a van that drove by, we were so stoked to hear english that we turned around only to find the guy yelling to us, leaning half way out of the car taking pictures of us).
11. you can't understand anything, don't even try to understand what anyone is saying (the chinese always sound like they are arguing. for all i know, they could be).
12. nearly everyone here has long fingernails. don't look to hard, you can see left over ear and/or nose particles.
13. bring a foam pad or blow up mattress to sleep on. unless sleeping on plywood is appealing to you, that is.
14. sometimes little kids run in the street and babies walk in their little walker things in the street. it's no big deal. they'll be fine.
15. chicken is illegal in china. it makes people sick and die. a girl died from eating it just last week. DON'T EAT CHICKEN IN CHINA!

this is a just a short list of things that i have noticed in the short time that i have been here. i'm sure there will be much more insights to come. stay tuned.

Monday, February 2, 2009

across the universe.

i am in china now.
it's great.

more to come.