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Showing posts from 2011

Magic Moments

My church in Shekou started a concert series for the Christmas season. They will have 4 concerts around Shenzhen and I was asked to be a part of the prayer team. They said that outside the church the services will be concerts but having a prayer team will insure that they are Christ-driven and become a worship service. We were asked to pray for the upcoming event during the week and arrive an hour early to pray during the rehearsal and set up. We walked through each chair and prayed that God would fill that seat and bless the person that would sit there. After the service we were to come forward and pray with anyone who came up for an alter call.

I realized that I am not very good at this. My friend said how can you be bad at praying? Is there bad or good? I had trouble focusing; my mind goes wild in silence. When people came up to me to pray for them I couldn’t find the right words and stuttered and stammered all over myself. Also many of the people that wanted me to pray for them we…

The Joy of Going Pant-less

I have fully embraced the freedom of China fashion! I would never in a million years thought I would leave the house in jeggings, but they are now my non-pant of choice. Jeggings are jean-leggings on Chinese girls look almost exactly like skinny jeans. They never caught on in the US but they are the norm here and I love it! I now own 3 pair and wear them proudly, even in the US! Roz and I have both recently gotten the confidence to rock the jeggings and even took it a step further. We developed a system of rating your pant-less-ness from a scale of naked to real pants. 0 is naked, un-acceptable in public. 1 is pantyhose, I know you are thinking that is underwear, but in china this can serve as outerwear for those brave enough. Pantyhose with a mini skirt or shorts is a 1.5, in the US we assume that butt covering is a requirement but this is not always the case in china. 2 is leggings, basically thick pantyhose that you can’t see through. These rarely require the mini skirt or shorts fo…

Baptism

Sandy invited me to her baptism the other day. She is the friend that came up to me at the bar and asked our group of foreigners if any of us were Christians and wanted to study the bible with her. 6 months later she gave me credit for bringing her to church and leading her to be baptized. I told her that she had helped me more than I helped her. She was the first person in china that looked up to me as a Christian role model, and it forced me to become a good example. I had stopped going to church after I had been in china a few months and I had become busy with new friends. I told Sandy I believe God sent her to me to give me a purpose in church here. Everything is more fun with someone to share it with.

I barely remember my baptism. I was dedicated as a baby when my parents promised to raise me as a Christian and then baptism as something I had to check off the list before I could be confirmed in the Methodist Church. Sandy’s Baptism was much different. We met at the home of one o…

China Water

Some days China is just too much for me. Many cultural differences I can get over easily. Raising chickens in the 2 inches of overgrown plants on the side of the road in the heart of the city, sure not a big deal. Working Saturday and Sunday to “make up for your holiday”, that makes it a non-holiday but whatever. The constant touching and pushing is on the high annoyance end. But I can understand there are just to dang many people, it’s unavoidable… kinda.
However, I have one China irritation that can not be rationalized. One day, just one day, I would like to be able to walk down the street or ride on the bus without seeing baby penis! All of the babies here wear slit pants, which is regular clothes with a slit from waistband to waistband. Boys and girls.So when you walk down the street you will see babies squat down on the sidewalk to pee, without having to take their pants off.Inside the metro or grocery store I will see a dad holding their baby by the legs in the sitting position.…

Held Hostage

I was at Burger King yesterday with 2 of my American friends and in an almost empty restaurant this young Chinese guy comes and sits right behind us. I assumed he was hoping to practice his English by listening in on the foreigners’ conversation. Well I hope he learned his lesson. The conversation quickly turned to our shared battle with cock roaches. The king of all roaches has held my bathroom hostage for the last 3 days. I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom the other day and thought I saw something but ignored it in my half-asleep daze. The next morning this monster roach was fearless and didn’t even try to hide when I flicked the lights off and on. I slammed the door and tried to pretend it wasn’t real. I literally opened a new toothbrush and brushed my teeth in the kitchen. It wasn’t until that night that I got the courage to face him again. Armed with a tennis shoe in both hands, I took a deep breath and went in swinging. The first throw was a miss but…

My Students

After my first week of classes I had been observed 3 times by the head teachers and the feedback was, “I like the way you yell at them.” I teach one class of senior 1 (10th graders) with 30 students, two of which are foreign exchange students from Europe(very intimidating to me). Then another class of senior 2 (11th grade) which has 11 students, 10 of which are boys! My students are geniuses, no joke. The first day I walked in and started talking in my simplified, slower English I used in my middle school last year. They pretty much laughed in my face and responded in full paragraphs to my “How – are - YOU - today?” Lesson learned. Whenever I teach I do 2 classes in a row, so I basically have the students for an hour and a half with a 10 minute break in between. That’s just too long for them to listen to English and the last 20 minutes are always a struggle. The first week I individually got in each of their faces and gave my “I’m a good teacher, you need to be good students…

China bound, round 2!

It was a crazy trip to Shenzhen, I think a total of 30hours travel time. The journey didn’t start out too well when Roz called me after we had been on the road to Dulles for about 30mins and said, “Is Regan another name for Dulles?” That’s right we had all read the itinerary wrong and where headed to the airport. So we pull over and set the GPS on my dad’s truck which takes us through all these winding roads. I was completely silent in the car as my dad’s frustration began to rise and me and Amy both closed our eyes trying not to get car sick. We somehow got there in ok time and Roz and her family were sitting at TGIFridays laughing. I straggle in looking half dead and plop down in the seat beside her dad who immediately says, “You need a drink!” it’s amazing how different our families are but still so alike. I am so lucky to have a friend to travel with. The trip would have been unbearable without Roz to keep me company, plus I love her! So first they made us fly to Chicago on Ame…

China Size

I guess it was last month I went with a few of my American friends to visit this English culture club (training center) their friend had opened. They were having American style KTV! Which I miss ever so much! In China the KTV is individual rooms with just couches, 2 mics and your own karaoke machine. It works out well bc I get to sing as many times as I want! Unlike in the US were you sit around for hours for your name to be called for your 3 minutes of fame! I always like a bigger group to go to the KTV here, but it seems my Chinese friends would prefer 3 or 4 people in a room. WHY? They are serious mic hogs! Like they put me to shame, as if I am a shy little girl in the corner, which you know I have never been, when it comes to singing. Also public stares of descent are not effective in Chinese culture. So if they did American style KTV here you would literally have to drag the people off stage. Even in a room of friends there have been some mic hog arguments. This one guy wanted to…

China for Life!

SO I am officially staying in China for another year. I was shocked when my worthless contact teacher texted me saying she and the school would be happy to have me teach at their school another year. And even more excited when my program said they wanted me back to teach another year. Even though they wouldn't tell me this until almost a month after my school offered me a position. So I went crazy worrying about what this meant, all for nothing.

My original thought was that I should just stay in my current school. I know the area, I won’t have to move my stuff, and I have teacher friends there. However, Betty (worthless contact teacher) told me they intend to have 2 foreign teachers at my school next year so I would have a roommate in my small apartment.

This wouldn't be so bad, except I have gotten used to having the place to myself and I have used every inch of this apartment to hold my ridiculous amount of crap I have accumulated. Plus, more than you want to know, but, it is …

Burger King

One of the biggest treats in China is a genuine Whopper from Burger King with your American friends! I recently learned there is one 10 minutes from my school, a discovery that would have made me very fat if I had found it earlier this year. The food taste EXACTLY like it does back home, which is shocking but wonderful. However importing all those ingredients makes the food relatively expensive. So, like the pizza-hut, they class the place up and market it as a fancy restaurant. There is a Starbucks style atmosphere with cozy booths and hip art painted on the walls. They advertise business space and encourage business meetings and interviews to be held in one of their private rooms. It’s an adventure every time we go.

One day when it was very crowded and the manager came up to me and my friends and had us sit down. Then he sent over one of the workers to take or order! Mind you, there is a line of Chinese people at the register, but we were somehow chosen for the VIP service! They br…

We Fix It

The relationships in china always start in an unexpected way. My favorite teacher, Mrs Li, came up to me in the office one day and said, “I think we will be friends.” and that was it! Anything I mentioned, she sprung into action and got it done. This is the same teacher that brought me to my first Chinese wedding and took me to the fashion factory. When it was just starting to get cold, she asked me one day when I was free to go to the factory again, because she thought I wasn't wearing enough clothes. A common phrase I was told by all of my co-workers who were shocked that I wore short-sleeves in 70 degree weather! This was around Christmas time, so I was very busy. “How many classes do you have this afternoon, let me see.” she said grabbing my schedule and walking away. When she came back a few minutes later she said, “OK now you have no classes, we go to the factory. This is Ms. Qian she has the car.”

And that was it. I grabbed my purse and we were out the door at 2 pm on a Mo…

I Love China, Why Does it Hate Me?

It’s always small things but some days seem to be over powering! Ross and I decided to have a panda day as explained in my Chengdu blog! So the plan was to meet in a western area to splurge on our favorite junk foods and hibernate in her apartment for a batman movie marathon. On the metro getting out to Ross I had my first china moment of the day. As I was sliding my card to exit the metro, some young punk kid steps on my foot slipping through the 2 inches between me and the gate. He sneaked through the exit on my 2kuai! I was so shocked the gate almost pinched me when I hurried through after him. In my best dirty Chinese I have learned I yelled “bia chi!” which means “idiot.” He turned in shock momentarily before returning laughing with his friends! I see people try to cheat the metro fee all the time, which is silly. One - bc it cost 2 kuai which is maybe 30 cents and two - there is a metro guard watching. This further confirms that Shenzhen police are worthless.

We learned from …

All Growed Up

It was crazy to be the one taking care of my parents for the first time. They were staying in my apartment in China. I had done all the vacation planning and I did all the speaking at the restaurants or cabs in my limited Chinese. It was the first time I felt like a real adult and I feel they saw me as an adult for the first time as well. They came with full trust in me, when I asked what do you want to do while you are in China the answer was always, “whatever you want!”

I soon found that I had to make some major adjustments to the way I make plans to accommodate for my parents. When I am with my friends, we want to pack as much into each vacation day as possible and all at the lowest costs. However, when I told my parents that hostel prices must be up because of the Chinese New Year and was a 100 kaui Hostel ok, my dad responded we were not staying anywhere that was only $15 US! Then he added that maybe we should be searching for a “hotel” rather than “hostel”. I laughed that I ha…

Mama Baba qi China

I will admit I was pretty stressed out about my parents staying with me in my apartment here in China. I even confided in my new Irish friend on my Chengdu trip that I was afraid my parents were going to take one look at where I live and drag me on a plane back to the USA. She had some very good advice, “You are full grown now, if they start pulling on you here’s what you do: excuse yourself and take a shot of your favorite liquor. Anything they don’t like just say it is a cultural difference, take another shot and embrace the culture!” I have got to go to Ireland! I am proud to say that I didn’t have to take a shot the whole time my parents were here!

My stress turned into excitement when I got back to the Shenzhen Airport from Chengdu. My parents would fly into the same place the following day. As I walked through baggage claim there was a glass separation that I could see everyone’s family members pressed up against. A little baby boy broke through the security check point and run…

Chan-Chan Long-Long

I love pandas so much that I woke up at 7am to take a bus to the panda research center! Apparently pandas are most active in the morning and that is the best chance to catch them up movin around and being cute! We booked the trip through the hostel so the driver come with us and took us on all the short cuts around the zoo. Kaye loves us so much he come on his day off from the hostel to hang out with us… or maybe it was because he loves the pandas so much, either way it was great! We walk in and a group of foreigners is all crowded around the red pandas but our guy sprints right past through them saying we don’t want to miss the giant pandas! The baby pandas and red pandas are more active but the full grown pandas are only active when they first wake up and we didn’t want to miss it.

I was expecting it to be like the Washington DC zoo where it is one huge cage for one panda and it’s so big that all you can see is a black and white blur off in the distance. China knows how to do it! May…

Lazy Bones

The Hostel we stayed at, Lazy Bones, was awesome! It made me want to change my career path and work there forever. It was exactly how I imagine I would have things set up. It had a very hip bohemian feel; there where book shelves over flowing with a simple sign that said, ”Not for sale, book swap only.” There was also a box of items left behind by travels free for anyone who could use them. The owner is a young girl that runs the front desk and handles the money. Then the rest of the staff is all recent college graduates. They clients are mostly foreigners and everyone spoke beautiful English. There was a big living room that the guest and staff could hang out in, use the internet, play pool, watch movies on the big screen and order food or drinks from the bar. The tables where decorated by postcards from previous guests and drawings of everyone’s home town; which gave it a homey feel. They also offered tour packages like most hotels in China, but these were all for low budget. I fee…

Cheng Du Me

One of the privileges of being an oral English teacher is no written exams!!! So my school let me out on weather holiday a week early while the students had final exams! I took advantage of this by traveling to Chengdu with 4 or my American friends. Why Chengdu you might ask, PANDAS! Big, beautiful pandas! My friends had studied Asian history and were excited about the city’s history in explaining all their plans I took away a few key words and I was sold. You can hold a baby panda!
The trip started off in a rush, we all live in different parts of Shenzhen so we were on our own getting to the airport. The flight was leaving at 10am so I was told I needed to be on a bus by 730am. I had never been to the airport before but like most places in Shenzhen I figure I am an hour away by bus. I sit up front looking at the signs and studying my watch starting to get nervous after the first hour. I relaxed a bit when we got on the highway and I saw signs for the airport, not 2 minutes later we w…