Thursday, December 24, 2009

Huang Shan Christmas

About a week before Christmas our FOA emailed us to ask if anyone was interested in going on a trip to Huang Shan mountain on Christmas eve! Most of the foreign teachers don't have a family group like we do so most of them said yes! We thought Christmas in China was going to be different enough so why not add a trip to the mix!
We left our apartment at 7:30 and climbed into an over sized minivan and were on our way! Two guys from Seattle, one from France, a woman from Brazil, an Aussie, four people from our foreign affairs office, a driver named Mr. Wong, and a tour guide that only spoke Chinese completed the group. This was my first road trip in China so I didn't know what to expect but I learned a lot! First off...apparently a trip is not a trip without a microphone. picture this: sitting right in front of a tour guide talking Chinese into a microphone, did I mention we were in a minivan?! The second thing I learned is that China has rest stops just like America! Except instead of westies (real toilets) there were stalls after stalls of squatties (holes in the ground) And the third thing I learned was not to ask what you're eating! Our first lunch I asked the brazillian woman sitting next to me "what's in the bowl of soup?" She responded with "Oh, I don't know, some dead animal" mmm dead animal, who doesn't want to hear that as they're scooping out their soup?!
After about four and a half hours of driving we came to the foot of the mountain! We saw a lot of China on the way there and I found myself glued to the window trying to see all that I could of this very interesting country!
At the foot of the mountain we started climbing stairs, our tour guide said the hotel was on top of the mountain so we started climbing! After a short while we arrived at the cable car barn and jumped on a gondola heading to the top (so I thought). The higher we glided the more our sight was consumed with clouds. When we got out of the cable car we were in the clouds and couldn't see a thing! I knew this was off season but it was disheartening being in such a beautiful place and seeing nothing of it. Our Waiban translated to us that the tour guide said "ok, only 6 KM to the hotel" SIX KILOMETERS?! UP STAIRS!? I thought...we started climbing and honestly it was probably one of the most strenuous things I've ever done...we climbed steps carrying our backpacks for five and a half hours! After a few hours of being in the cold clouds our hair got wet and started to freeze and by the time we got to the top we were frozen, wet, and exhausted. My legs wouldn't stop trembling all through dinner and we ate enormously because we were so hungry. After dinner Kyle and I said peace out to the group, came back to the hotel room and watched Christmas Vacation, a tradition his family practices every year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A day in Tonglu

I went to my first-ever-real-life orphanage in China today! I went prepared with 20 bear hugs to give Christmas Cheer to all of the little kids! On the way there we rehearsed Christmas songs! But not your typical Jingle bells...we sang Feliz Navidad, Angels we have heard on high..., Super Duper Christmas (a song I'd never heard before!) and a few others! Imagine 10+ asian women trying to learn Feliz Navidad! It was hilarious! When we arrived we sang our songs we'd rehearsed and the kids loved it! Then it was prezzy time and we passed out bears and little candies and they loved it even more! I am so excited I was able to be a part of this wonderful trip! We weren't able to take pictures unfortunately but that's what memories are for right?!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Making Bear Hugs

Making bears for thursday's orphanage trip! I honestly could not have done this without the ladies from Buford helping me!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kyle's No Good Very Bad Day

Yesterday was a tough day for Kyle and water. I taught all day and hung out with students after class so I was gone most of the day. Wanting to be productive kyle called for a water delivery, and had someone come and change the light bulbs in our apartment. When he went to put the water in the water dispenser he noticed that it was leaking, in his haste it fell off and hit the ground shattering into pieces and 18.5 liters of water went EVERYWHERE! He spent the next two hours moping up all of the water. :o( When he went to wash the towels he'd used to clean the floor he wanted to use hot water. Our washer only has cold water connected to it SO he took the hose and shower head from the shower and filled the washer with hot water. While doing this the hose burst and water went all over the floor! Unbelievable, I know! We then met juliane, stan, kris, and michael for dinner. When we got back home we started getting ready for bed. I was in the bedroom and I heard "you've gotta be kidding" along with the sound of water falling on the floor! He had looked under the sink and noticed a hose was leaking, he only touched it and it fell off spraying hot water everywhere! What a no good very bad day!
I hung out with my students on of their basketball games! We had so much fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

living with purpose

During my last class today I noticed a few people outside the classroom window peeking in, trying not to be noticed. This is not a rarity here. Being a foreign teacher we get a lot of people peeking in from time to time. In this class I have a great group of precious girls that wanted to talk so I stayed for a chat instead of running to the bus. While I talked to my girls a group of about five guys came in the back of the classroom and waited until the girls finished their chatter. As the last girl disappeared through the door one of the guys started my way. He asked if I played for the same team he did. I said that I loved that team and I did play for hIs team. He had his rule book with him and got very excited to show me it. I asked him how he knew I played this sport. He said that he had wandered in my classroom a few weeks ago to study and he noticed I had some rules from the rule book on the board! He told his friends about it and they waited until my class was over to talk to me! A few weeks ago I taught about relationships and college life, I shared with all of my classes the great love poem and left it on the board, this is what he read. I am excited to talk about our game plan with them!