Tuesday, March 31, 2009

thank you girl.

i was inspired by my dearest buckaroo, tiffani herpel, to compile this list.
i have much to be thankful for.

in no particular order:

1. i am thankful that tiffani inspired me to make this list.
2. i am thankful that i am in china. it is so hard, but i am learning more about myself than i ever thought i would.
3. i am thankful that there is change in everyday life. that life isn't the same everyday. even though somedays seem to be the same as the previous one, it is always different.
4. i am thankful for my family. i don't know if they really understand how truly grateful i am for them.
5. i am thankful and so grateful for the awesomely amazing packages and letters i get from my family and friends. you have no idea how good it is to hear from home.
6. i am thankful for my friends. all of you. no matter where you are. you have helped shape me into the person i am today, right now. so thank you, so much.
7. i am thankful for the little children i teach. i have learned more from them than i ever expected to.
8. i am thankful for rice. and that there is never a rice shortage in china. i think i would starve if it wasn't for rice, two meals a day.
9. i am thankful that we have a shower with hot water. i wouldn't ever shower if it wasn't for hot water.
10. i am thankful for the ice cold water i was my face with every morning and night. it helps wake me up and put me to sleep. i never would have thought i could get used to ice cold water in the morning.
11. i am thankful for my parents. for the example they are to me. for how hard they work to be sure that i have what i need.
12. i am thankful for all of my brothers and sisters. i know i'm not the greatest sister sometimes, but i hope they know how grateful i am for all of them.
13. i am thankful for all my nieces and nephews. i love being an auntie. good work with the reproduction brothers and sisters!
14. i am thankful for traveling in china. it takes so long to get anywhere, but will make everywhere at home seem so much closer.
15. i am thankful for prayer. and the fact that: i know it works.
16. i am thankful for missionaries. for their example and dedication. you are all so great.
17. i am thankful for elder mason t. porter. and for every letter i have gotten for the past 14.5 months.
18. i am thankful that american is a melting pot and that there are so many different kinds of foods. china far from a melting pot and there is one type of food. chinese. breakfast, lunch, dinner. it's always chinese.
19. i am thankful for the guard to our apartment building and how every time we walk by he gets a big smile on his face and salutes us.
20. i am thankful for the chinese. they make me laugh so hard. i think maybe i laugh a little too hard at times, but i really can't help it. 4 men squeezed onto one motorcycle is always funny.
21. i am thankful that i have the opportunity to be in china and gain an appreciation for all that i have back home. i will never take a western toilet for granted again.
22. i am thankful for life. that it is different everyday. that there are different challenges everyday that we have to get through. and that even if we don't make it through those challenges in one day, there is always tomorrow.
23. i am thankful for skype and that i am able to talk to my family on it. being away would be so much harder if i wasn't able to talk to my family.
24. i am thankful for chinese lessons. i don't take advantage of them like i should and i am about going crazy by the end, but i am thankful that i have the opportunity to learn a little chinese.
25. i am thankful for books. i really wish i had a book to read right now. we have limited resources here in china. you see, most of the books are in chinese. it makes it a little difficult to know what the books are about.
26. i am thankful for the asians and their long fingernails that scratch my head at the washee washee.
27. i am thankful that i got my moms curly hair. i would look a lot more homeless in china if my hair wasn't curly. thanks mom.
28. i am thankful that i have a bug net on my bed. and that i don't have any mosquito bites.
29. i am thankful for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints.
30. i am thankful for the people who enjoy my photography. there are times when i question myself and my skills, but when i hear that people enjoy my photos it puts the questions to rest. so thank you.
31. i am thankful for my computer and that i brought it to china with me. i don't why i ever thought to leave it home. that would have been the biggest mistake.
32. i am thankful that the big market has spaghetti and sauce. mixing spaghetti into my meals makes me feel a little more american.
33. i am thankful for the quick-e-mart and the 2 yuan ice cream.
34. i am thankful for mcdonalds hot fudge sundae. it always hits the spot after a long day in the chiner.
35. i am thankful for catherine and the funny things she says. idear. chiner. specier. the list goes on and on. she is a jewel and a gem.
36. i am thankful for my poopey pocket pants and that they keep me warm and keep me from getting mosquito bites.
37. i am thankful for peanut butter. i have never loved peanut butter and jelly more than now. pb and j is almost as good as rice sometimes. hard to believe, i know.
38. i am thankful for the truck that plays "happy birthday" every morning while it sprays down the road. it makes me smile as i roll out of bed and marks the beginning of another day in china.
39. i am thankful for sunshine. the sun is always shining in china. unfortunately it is always behind the clouds so i never get to see it, but when i do, it is so great.
40. i am thankful that we have to walk to the market, post office, bank...everywhere. i like having a reason to get out of the apartment and see china at it's best.
41. i am thankful for the porter family. they are a huge example to me and have given me far more than i deserve.
42. i am thankful for june 26. i can't wait to see my family and friends.
43. i am thankful that i am going to delta for the 4th of july. best demolition derby-fireworks show combo. if anyone wants to come, you are more than welcome.
44. i am thankful for the girls that i am in china with. i am learning more and more from them everyday. some of the stuff i am learning is insightful and extremely useful and some of it is completely pointless, but will be useful at some point in my life.
45. i am thankful for music. there would be many nights i lie awake if it weren't for the soothing sounds of fight! singing me to sleep.
46. i am thankful that i can sing as loud as i want, whenever i want here and don't care who hears me.
47. i am thankful that when i have to get mad at the kids at school. they forget about and are always excited to see me the next morning.
48. i am thankful. for technology. it would be so hard being here if i had no means of communication other than post mail.
49. i am thankful for optimism. there is no reason to be down when the sun is shining and you have been granted another day. take advantage of it. there is only one today, live it up before it becomes yesterday.
50. i am thankful that these 50 things came so easily. i thought this was going to be a lot harder than it was. PSYCH. your turn.

until next time.
peace and love. from the chiner.

Monday, March 23, 2009

i'm looking through you.

i'm floating.
on a river called life.
one minute i'm floating.
the next i'm struggling for air.

i'm standing.
on a mountain called fear.
one minute i'm climbing.
the next i'm falling to the end.

i'm soaring.
in the sky called bliss.
one minute i'm high.
the next i'm two feet from the ground.

i'm climbing.
in a tree called knowledge.
one minute i'm in the branches.
the next i'm in the roots.

i'm walking.
through a street called unknown.
one minute i'm comfortable.
the next i'm unsure of everything.

i'm swimming.
through an ocean called beauty.
one minute i'm in awe.
the next i'm terrified.

i'm looking.
through a person called you.
for an answer.
of what to do.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

run for your life.

ni hao my american comrades.

i am still in china and it is still good. the sun is shining again and all is well. i love being able to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine.

things in china have been good.
minus this scariest moment so far: here is how it goes... there were a few of us that made the trip to zhongshan city (about 2 hours away) and we were hanging out on walking street. you know, just shopping and people watching. we had walked up one side of the street and were walking back down the other side. it was pretty busy on saturday and there were a lot of people staring at us. we weren't drawing attention to ourselves or anything. that is just how it is when you are the only americans some people have ever seen. so we are walking down the street and i wasn't really paying attention to what was going on and all of the sudden kate goes walking past me really fast and mumbling about someone grabbing onto her face. and was followed by hannah and kaitlin telling me to walk faster. then, from behind me i hear alexis yelling something at someone. at this point, i was still not really paying attention to what was going on and out of no where i feel someone grab onto my sleeve. i turned around and saw this crazy asian woman staring at me with these HUGE creepy eyes and then hear alexis yelling "stop! stop! stop it!" and hitting this woman who is still holding onto me. finally the woman let go and we walked away. to tell you the truth, i wasn't really paying attention to what was going on and was still a little out of it, but alexis and i look behind us and the woman gets up and starts following us. so, we started walking a little faster, and so did the crazy lady. so we started running, and so did the crazy lady. she chased us for a good couple of minutes and we were weaving in and out of the street and finally went into a store. we waited for a few minutes and the coast was clear. let me just say it was a once in the lifetime thing (knock on wood) that i was chased by a crazy asian woman. i hope it never happens again.

we spent some time at the xiaolan city park. it was a great time. there were a ton of asians there and it seemed as if none of them had ever seen an american before. we were being stared at and watched the whole time. there were a ton of people that walked by and tried to snook a picture of us having a picnic. it was pretty darn funny.

this weekend i played some ping pong and badmitten. we went all out and showed off our stuff at the city park. we are terrible at both of those chinese sports, but the locals seemed to get a huge kick out of us. it was pretty funny. i have never had a crowd stand around and watch me make a fool out of myself. it was really funny to see a bunch of chinese men standing around and smirking. oh the chiner.
oh. speaking of the park...we were walking home from the park (guzhen city park) and around the park there are benches and things to sit on (because there isn't any grass) and we walked past some groups of people sitting and talking. we walked past this group of mothers who were breast feeding their babies and all of the sudden we see one woman...full on...and heard her say "hao chi, hao chi!" which means "yummy, yummy!". who says that to their babies when breast feeding?! it was the funniest SLASH weirdest thing i have ever heard. we were laughing pretty hard. maybe you had to be there. i mean here. in china.
also, while we were at the park i squeezed onto the lap of a statue of a man reading a book. it was like he was holding me and we were reading the book together. it was a great time and there were a ton of chinese homies watching me. such a great time.

this past monday we (5 of us) were still on vacation and decided to go out of town for the day. we got up early and took a bus ride for a couple of hours to foshan. a small little town, that is really a HUGE city, that we totally didn't expect. it was a really neat place and super fun (if you are ever in china, go to foshan). we went to these famous kilns called the "ancient nanfeng dragon kilns." it was crazy awesome. i thought it was going to be just a kiln...you know, a round machine that gets really hot. PSYCH. it was a HUGE kiln that can hold over 1000 pots at once. AND! it has been burning since it was first fired over 500 years ago. it was awesome. i was also able to make some pottery. on a potting wheel. it was super hard and took so long but i made a cute little bowl that will be great for eating rice out of. the people who run the kilns are going to fire it (in the ancient kilns)! i am so excited. chinese pottery. fired in an ancient chinese kiln. how cool is that?! there was a ton of awesome art at the kilns. it was like a huge museum and the kiln was the center of it. it was great. i highly suggest going there if you are ever in guangdong province.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

you really got a hold on me.

so today on our way back from the post office we stopped by the kindergarten.

and this is what we found...

i love these kids.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

day tripper.

oh my goodness. it is march now.
i can't believe how quickly time has gone.
i have been in china for over a month now and time has gone so quickly.
days seem to go by pretty slow, but for the most part life is moving all to quickly and there are times when i have trouble keeping my footing.
it has been pretty cold the past couple of days around guzhen town. i haven't like it one bit, but on the other hand, i kind of have an idea about what my family and friends are going through back home. i hate the thought of being nice and cozy warm while they are shaking in their socks.

so here is a little insight as to what i have learned over the past couple of days:

1. it doesn't matter. they don't even speak english. we had open class on friday, which means that some of the parents came and sat in on a couple of our lessons. it wasn't a big deal. i mean none of them speak english so it doesn't really matter what you say, but it was a distraction at times. especially when the kids start talking to them in chinese. NO CHINESE! it's rule #1 in english class.

2. chinese ice cream may be more delicious than mcdonalds ice cream. we found some delicious chinese ice cream that is sold at the little market across the street from our apartment. no more walking all the way to mcdonalds! yes!

3. mosquito net? more like death trap. we seem to be having a slight problems with mosquitos so hannah and i both got mosquito nets to go on our bunk bed. oh boy. let me just say right now, before i get into the details, that everything in china is difficult. you hear the words "mosquito net" and you think, ok, a net that hangs over your bed to keep the bugs out....yeah, that's what i thought too. i was WAY off. it took me about 2 hours to get the whole apparatus set up. are you kidding me?! the net is square shaped, because obviously, beds are square shaped, ok, no problem. i get the net on and realize i put the long sides of the net on the short sides of the bed. yeah i know, i'm way smart. so i had to switch the sides around, thats easy enough. it wasn't until after i had all four of the sides tied on that i realized that the door of the net was against the wall and i had to take the whole thing off and turn the whole net around. are you kidding me, china? how can a net be so difficult. i was sweating so much by the time i got that net up. gross. stupid china! but yay! no bugs in my bed!

4. if you are ever asked to go out with a students family for dinner...kindly deny the invite. on saturday night we were asked to go out to dinner with one of our students families. it was her (karen, our student) dad's birthday and it kind of shows off your wealth when you have americans at your party. so, we went to the party, which wasn't really a party. we went to a restaurant that didn't look too nice because it was next to the michelin tire store, but anyway. we went into the restaurant and it smelled way good. we were all super hungry. we were seated at our table, which was round and had a hot plate and a HUGE bowl (of boiling goodness inside) in the middle of the table. we got seated and were nice and comfortable and then....the lid came off of the huge bowl and....i have never wanted to not look at something so much in my whole life. it was the most disgusting bowl of boiling animal parts, most of which could not be named. i'm talking duck feet, duck heads, sea snake, chicken legs, fish heads and a whole lot of unnamed meat parts. it was so gross. i ate well, drank some of the mystery animal part broth, it was not great and full of fish scales, but whatevs. i choked it down. after the dinner, we had birthday cake, which i was looking forward to the most, you all know how much i love dessert!, and i was completely disappointed. it was not great, marvin. but sweets are sweets, and after animal parts any kind of recognizable food was welcome by me.
ps. i really hope karen's family doesn't ask us to dinner again. the chinese fish for compliments a lot and say "sorry, sorry" when they think you didn't like something. and even though we didn't like what they served us, we said it was delicious. they just want you to say how much you LOVED the food so that they don't feel dumb. oh china.
karen's mom (who was completely wasted. i mean really wasted, we watched her drink an entire bottle of wine) drove us home. but luckily the chinese drive so crazy, so she fit right in with the rest of the crowd.

5. don't ever forget your keys! especially when the spare key is locked inside with the main set. on saturday night after dinner, hannah and i we were locked out of our apartment. we had to sleep on the most uncomfortable couches and listen to one of the girls sing Prince songs all day long. it may not sound like that big of a deal to you, but the girl singing in TERRIBLE. it wasn't so bad sleeping there, it was the being forced to stay there all day because i was wearing my pajamas that was the worst part. i had to go buy a toothbrush at the scary market, but it was all good. we were finally able to get into our apartment at 9pm on sunday. so we only spent about 24 hours in the same clothes, in the same apartment. not too shabby. lets just say that we are never going to forget our keys again.

6. you break it, it's broken forever. after hannah and i got into our apartment on sunday and got ready for bed (meaning: changed out of our pajamas we had been wearing since yesterday and changed into different pajamas). hannah was in the kitchen brushing her teeth, and out of no where i hear "ahhhh! lindsey! get catherine! the water! the water! the sink! the water! ahhhh! lindsey! the water!" apparently, the little thing that hangs on the wall and holds our toothbrushes, fell off the wall, hit the faucet, and broke the faucet off, and....lets just say "old faithful" was going off in our kitchen. we asked catherine if it could be fixed and she said "no. it's broken." but we can call someone to come and fix it right? wrong. broken now...broken forever. oh china.

well. i suppose that is all for now.
until next time.
peace and love from the land of rice and late night construction.