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Showing posts from 2012

Korean Wedding

The trip to Korea really did sneak up on me. My friend Pina has been talking about her upcoming wedding off and on and then one day she was like so we decided on December 12 so you will need to ask off work from the 11 to 17th. No question, just the facts! I wouldn’t have gladly gone either way but the fact that I got this information 2 weeks before the trip added a bit of panic! I’m lucky that she also added a by the way it’s cold there. I was thinking yea I’ll bring a jacket, No its -10 degrees cold, -10 degrees CELCIUS! They don’t have those numbers in DC, much less Shenzhen, so I may have been slightly unprepared.
I also got another surprise when Anthony, the Korean groom, called me and asked if I would sing at the wedding as a surprise for Pina! We have KTVed often, so he had mostly heard me sing rap songs. I was glad he trusted me not to ruin his wedding; my one condition was that I would only sing in English and his condition was that I not sing Rihanna’s S&M. I chose a few…

Teaching the old people

So the day after I moved into my apartment my school said we would have an important meeting with the Shenzhen Education Bureau the next morning and be ready by 8am. They had mentioned something about some important people from the government coming to evaluate our school and they would want to meet us, so I assumed this is what that was about. The night before I had come home late to find my AC was broken. It was too late to call anyone so I suffered through the night, but it was BAD! There is no kind of heat like Shenzhen heat. Everyone says its Florida weather because it’s about the same distance from the equator, it’s not true. Shenzhen heat is like walking beside a fire breathing dragon. The second you step out from under a shady tree it is literally DOUBLE the heat. I can feel the sun cooking my skin. In DC they say it feels as hot as Florida because the humidity is so high, well I kind you know there are days in Shenzhen with 100% humidity. I always thought 100% humidity would …

Simple Joys

Living in a city of 14 million people I forget the joy of open space. If there is one thing Daniels hometown offers its space. You could stand on his roof top and there it’s nothing but mountains as far as you can see. We went off to explore the forest and walked for hours without seeing or hearing another soul. Sounds so romantic, until he sees a grasshopper and goes into hunting mode. Or he rushes out in front of me and I slide off the path and into a sticker bush. One day I will be a nature girl but it’s gonna take some time.
Another simple pleasure was the mountain springs. In China I am so used to boiling everything and then burning my tongue BC I'm too impatient to wait for the water to cool off before you drink it. Or buying so much bottled water I have a tower of plastic bottles taking over my apartment. Daniels house has well water that isn't polluted BC it’s such a rural area, so we drank specked to hand. Simple joys!
When ever we left the house I always asked if I s…

Guilin wasps, fire cupping, and crowds

Wasps wars
Our first night with Daniel’s family we are greeted by his dad, proudly holding a plastic bag. I peer inside to see it’s a wasp nest! I immediately yelp and jump back, or course. He in turn laughed and handed the bag to his grandchildren, age 5 and 7. They fearlessly squat down in the kitchen picking the eggs and wasps out of the nest. I can see some of them still flapping their wings and I couldn’t bear to watch the rest! Apparently fried wasps are a delicacy in Guilin and you can sell the wasps for 100 kuai per kg ($15). It is actually delicious! I got pictures! The kids loved it too, like the dad had to keep moving the bowl out of the way.
I asked Daniel how his dad caught them without getting stung and his answer was, “he has the raincoat.” It took me a minute to realize what he meant. I knew his dad has bees too, so he must have meant the bee keeper suit, same thing right? I wouldn’t be surprised if he wore and actual rain coat though, they seem to not need a lot of the…

From the Outside looking in

There are many things about China I feel I will never understand, no matter how long I’m here or how many people I talk to. But I am thankful to be in the position to get little glimpses!
Sunday I was on the bus home for my church in Shekou to Laintang which is usually a little over an hour ride. As soon as we got closer to the center of the city traffic became a nightmare, like barely moving. A few people got up to talk to the driver and before long he opens up the doors in the middle of the road and lets them off the bus! The bus attendant runs to the front and they chat for awhile the only thing I can catch is “metro”. The whole bus seems to join in on the conversation until the bus pulls over to the curb, not at a bus stop mind you, and starts kicking people off. The attendant would ask each person “where to?” and then respond, “no, metro, go” direct translation! She didn’t ask me anything, and I didn’t know where I was so I stayed on the bus with a handful of other people.
Some of …

Cambodia Mission

My church group here organized a mission trip to Cambodia and I joined not really knowing what to expect. It was mainly centered around 5 high-schoolers and the adult youth leaders. I was worried that I wouldn’t have a place or purpose on the team, since I didn’t have any leadership position.

Our first day there, we attended a church service at the home/community center of Pastor Sam. They had set up chairs for our team along the wall with all the mothers sitting on the floor with their children. I noticed one kid about 2 years old in a cute little sundress or long shirt that was a few sizes to big. She spun around lifting her arms to show that, in fact she was wearing no pants and definitely a HE! The leaders had told us that all of the clothes you see the kids wearing were donated. Another little one run by and bumped into my knee. She looked up at me as if caught off guard and I reached out my arms to see if she would let me hold her. She hesitantly let me pick her up and stand he…

Teacher of the Year

There are days when I find myself in situations where I think, I am the worst teacher ever. How have they not fired me yet? I will give you two examples:

A few weeks ago on a Monday night I went to the McDonalds for dinner. As I am sitting there I notice a table of my students outside. I consider saying hello until I realize it is 5 of my boys sitting around shirtless and chasing their cheese burgers with beer! I decided the polite thing to do is keep my head down and walk by like I don’t notice. But you know as soon as I came outside the shout MISS CHRISTY! HELLO! So I have to reward their English. I say hello and point to the 5 beer bottles and ask, “Was it a hard day? Why so much beer?” Mind you they are all drinking 40s out of the bottle, and most Chinese men I know get drunk off of one beer! It is a school night and they have class at 7:30 the next morning; They are 16 years old and outside less than a block from the school!

They assure me, “we are the school sports winner, and…

Foreigner Laoduzi

No one likes to be sick, but being sick in a foreign country adds a whole new level of misery. One of the first Chinese phrases I learned was “wo you laoduzi.” This was supposed to be the phrase to get out of whatever your school wanted you to do. I learned the literal meaning is “I have diarrhea.”

I dread going to the doctor’s anyway, but I especially dread Chinese hospitals. They have a smell that is hard to describe. Chinese people go to the doctor for anything; a cough, a headache, whatever. There is no privacy or social norms like in the US. The doctors are not respected and often seen as money hungry or even corrupt. As soon as you sign in with a nurse, you pick which doctor you want to see and just line up outside their door. So whether you are there for a cold or for a heart attack you just stand by the door. Sometimes while you are in the room with the doctor he is doing other paper work or people will walk in and hand him things to sign. There is nothing to stop overly push…

Why Doesn't God do Miracles Anymore, Like He Did in the Bible?

I had an interesting conversation with one of my friends on the metro the other day that I can’t stop thinking about. I don’t know how it started or exactly what was said but I know it ended up an hour long debate about Christianity and me at a loss for words.

My friend was raised in the church as, what I would call, a C&E Catholic (Christmas and Easter). He had heard the Christian jargon year after year and was left with more questions than answers. My friend was going to a party with me and Roz that night and the 3 of us were traveling together. I think I mentioned that I wasn’t going to drink that night, because I had given up alcohol for Lent. He asked if I was Catholic, assuming that Lent was only a Catholic thing and then asked what the difference between Catholic and Methodist was.

I poorly explained that the big difference is Catholic and Protestant which Roz could explain a lot better since she went to Catholic school and knew the details of both. Then expanded that we f…

There is Country and then there is Countryside

I went to see the countryside outside of Guilin city to spend Chinese New Years with my friend’s parents. My friend, Daniel, kept telling me - just so you know there are is not heat in my parents’ house. And I told him - no worries I lived in Ohio. He tells me his family is farmers, no problem my Granny lives on a farm. He tells me they are slaughtering a pig for the holiday and I say my dad was a pig farmer growing up. I have been on the farm, seen the animals, played on the dirt road; I was ready for anything. I was wrong. There is a huge difference between US country and the Chinese countryside. Even without snow on the ground the mountains felt like I was constantly standing in a freezer! And the worst part was that there is no escape. In the US I would run from my warm house to my warm car and then to a warm store. But in China nowhere is warm. I honestly think it was colder inside the house than outside. The walls were all mud bricks and bare concrete floors. The only source of w…

China has everything I could ever want... except you.

This Christmas season I did a lot more to force the Christmas spirit. During Halloween some friends and I stumbled upon our greatest discovery in China! Sunggong warehouse! All the factory leftovers from the products sent to the US. I felt like I am in Wal-Mart’s holiday section, just dirtier, cheaper and a lot more crap to sift through. We came back to this gold mine around thanksgiving and it was a CHRISTMAS EXPLOSION! I am talking a full street with trees and garland covering each store front. And 2 of the buildings had 4 floors of Christmas goodness inside, mixed, of course, with the usual baby clothes, purses, plastic ware and other randomness. I couldn’t keep my legs still. They had a 10 foot plastic tree that I could comfortably live inside! Life-size Santa figures made out of glitter and gold paint (China version). As I spent every penny in my purse on lights and a wreath, I realized my apartment was too small for a tree.

Since my classes are much smaller this year I can do a…

China Traffic

People ask me all the time why I love China. My answers never seems to be what is expected. It’s the little things that make me smile no matter how awful my day has been or the bad mood I am in. (and believe me there have been plenty of those days) My honest to God favorite part of my new town of lain tang is the crosswalk man. In China people are too detail oriented to be satisfied with the standard walk/ don’t walk flashing light. In lian tang the little man is animated and he tells you how fast you need to walk. The best is the strut setting. The little crosswalk light has the proud strut that I can’t see without standing a little taller. Everytime me and my friend see it we try to walk at the same pace as the light and say, “strut carefully!” Then when the traffic light is about to change the little man gets faster and faster and end in a panic furry to get across. The panic is justified! I literally almost got hit by a bus the other day. I was with my Italian friend and the litt…