Wednesday, July 27, 2011


China Part 1:
你好 (hello), 

So, there will probably be very few blog posts.  I can't really write anything because in China there is NO social media anywhere.  No blogs, no facebook, no twitter. I mean I even turned off the data connection on my phone. 
I have started writing this email multiple times, but always end up taking a "rest."
Our 4th of July...We didnt really celebrate it.  It was our first day over here and I don't remember much of that day.  We were exhausted. We had been traveling for a day and a half-close to 40 hours without any real sleep.  So, the first day they picked us up from the airport and welcomed us with flowers and then we (Sarah Erika and I) got in a car with Charles (who works for the govt org. that brought us over) and he gots us lost in the car for about 2 hours. We got a nice tour of Changsha.  
right off the plane after the 34 hour trip. excited to be in china not sure what to expect. 

please excuse the disgusting hair. flowers brought by Her, Katherine, and Charles

Our leader Nolan really wanted us to wear our official shirts-we fought our battle, sucked it up and put on the tacky shirt. 

Charles met us with water (wahaha) and wild tiger (a one thing fits all type of medicine)

The program started on Tuesday and it crazy.  The kids were OUT OF CONTROL.  They speak little English, but they are smart and quick learners.  They are amazing artists and have the most beautiful handwriting. They know how to spell in English.  What they don't know how to do is listen.  We each have 3 teacher assistants (so NICE!) but they don't always come to our rescue.  Teaching is pretty lax here...teachers answer their phones in the middle of class.  They only teach 3 subjects and then plan the rest of the day.  They are all very excited for us to be here and want to accomodate us in any way possible.  For example, my assistant brings me breakfast and Sarah's assistant brings us hot tea every day made from flowers.  They are often telling us to take a rest.  The kids behavior is interesting since we were all under the impression that their education system leaned toward the militant side.  What we are working with is nothing like robotic children, but very loud, energetic kids. At times their robotic ways shine through, like when they recite things, or answer questions, or show us kung fu moves. 
There are a few kids that had us pick their English names (only boys though). We have encountered many hilarious Chinglish names.  Her, Handsome, If, Crystile, Icy.
The program is the first ever and it is a huge deal.  The city we are in brought us over and even though we are working with Beijing University we are modeling for the whole town.  So teachers all over.  Today, we had so many tv crews here and I probably had someone in my room taking pictures and videoing 80% of the day.  Slightly daunting.  It feels like the papperozi is here in China...cameras everywhere!
the tv crew, observing teachers, and paparazzi 

my crazy crazy chinese class

the paparazzi-justin (named after justin beiber by S, E, and myself)

the dynamic duo-our first chinese boyfriends. 
Tonight we had a forum with the teachers from the whole city.  Benton Heights got a quite a bit of air time and lots of laughs.  As always, we are an eccentric school with a bunch of crazies.  The Chinese loved the videos I shot of my American kiddos.  I could go on and tell you about the men who don't wear shirts or the babies whose butts hang out of their clothes or how last n ight we had dinner with the President of the university and he took shots of wine all night but I will save those stories for a different night.   
Love you all,  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Oh sweet Georgia Ave, you turn 2 today! 

Or 72 if we are really counting. 

When I first laid eyes on were disgusting and ugly. 

I have never seen more dirt and filth in my life.

The owner wasn't sure anyone would ever see past the dirt and the smell of the renters and want to buy you. 

But along came a 24 year girl who really wanted a house near the city...

and this girl could never visualize anything until she met you. 

This was the focal piece of your future existence. 

The day we closed on each other was the best day of your life (and Ann and Julia's).  

Our fingers were pruny from scrubbing with undiluted purple power...

and our noses hurt from smelling years of steamed collard greens and other awful smelling foods. 

Don't let the smiles fool you...we were more happy to be together than cleaning up this foul smelling house. 

They were troopers. 

They win the best friends of the year award. 

My parents also judged you, but they came down to give you a fresh coat of paint and try to make you a little more liveable.  

Nobody thought you were great...everyone wanted to give up on you.   

Except for me. 

I wanted you.

Because I could see that you had potential. 

 There were plenty of days where I came and laid on your scratched up not yet refinished floors and cried.  This happened the day I came home from work and there was a huge hole in my floor. 

And the day that the bathroom cabinet wouldn't be painted (bc it was faux wood).

But most days I cold see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Like when this floor was refinished and tiled. 

There were a few setbacks. Like the day before school started and I got mad at your ugly faux painted wood and I took a crowbar to the wall and ended up with a hole that I didn't know how to fix. 

But soon you were fixed and I had exactly what I wanted and I learned how to sheetrock.
 A beautiful bathroom. 

a livable living room

a kitchen of my dreams

shelves made it look oh so pretty 

and a living room that begged me to come live in it. 

So I did. 

Georgia Ave. I saw your potential. I loved you and still do. You made me a homeowner and taught me things that I never would have thought I could do.  

I am so thankful for you and I wouldn't trade you for any cookie cutter house in the burbs anyday.  

Happy Birthday Georgia Ave. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

We have ARRIVED!

This adventure started at 4pm when Ashley picked Sarah and I and our 4 suitcases and dropped us off at the airport!

We are SO excited to get this adventure started!

I will say it is very nice traveling with your friends...

Josh wins boyfriend of the year and dropped E off at the airport as well! 

He happily took pictures for us and everyone LOVED our We Love America headbands! 

We made it threw security. whew. 

Our flight to LA was good, pretty long since we left at 8:30 and got in at 11ish LAX time, but to us it was close to 2 in the morning.  Our next flight didn't leave until 1am so that was about 4am our time.  It was a long stretch with a lot of transfering of stuff, people, etc.  I have a double ear infection so the flight was particularly uncomfortable for me, but we made it...grabbed McDonalds and hopped on the Korean Airlines Plane to Seoul, Korea. 

This is from Leg 1 of the trip!

Korean Air treats you right. They tell you when to wake up and when to sleep.  They feed you every 5 minutes, bring you juice every 10, and we even had 2 meals.  I couldn't eat the first meal...It was "dinner" and to me it was like 6am.  I suffered through the beginning of the flight with an ear that felt like knives were stabbing it and then I took a double dose of Tylenol PM and knocked myself out for a solid 5 hours.  When I woke ear felt great and I had pineapple juice and cake waiting for me!

 This is the Omelette and Continental Breakfast options!  Not too shabby KA.  Also, they bring around hot towels and gave out slippers to wear around the plane.  

I wore them around when I walked my laps into Morning Calm so that I was not a candidate for blood clots from flying:)  Thanks ER for warning me again. 

 One of the delish marble cakes and my sweet platypus water bottle.  
 Hello! We are in Korea now! We made it...3 movies later, 5 hours of (not for some) sleeping, and a ton of food later.  

Welcome to Korea!

E was worried that she might have to go into quarantine. 

The Korean airport is pretty spiffy, very clean, no squatties, and free internet. All things I love.  

A few things I am so thankful I brought:

my platypus water bottle that folds write up and takes up NO space
my new REI camping feather pillow
my dad's kindle (thank you papa!) 
Read: Hunger Games Book 1 and Outliers

stay tuned for the next post...we are china bound in a few hours.  

Sarah and I set up a little camp on the airport chairs to try to get a few hours of sleep before we go!

Love to all.