Tuesday, August 16, 2011

China Part 3

FYI-my harddrive crashed the week after I got back and it has been slow going getting my pictures back. I still have a file that needs to be retrieved from my hard drive.  Any suggestions? 

Sorry for the delay. 

Do-Re-Mi's Adventures Part 3! (Erika, Sarah, and Brittany)

On our "FREE" day we went to the market.  It was like Walmart on payday with a terrible TJMAXX twist times a million.  First we went to the clothing market.  Zhu Zhou is known for their clothes.  I was not very impressed.  Obviously, the Chinese are very tiny so it was tough to buy clothes for our American group.  I got a dress, but not a traditional one.  The clothing mart reminded me of horse stalls with each stall being a different store.  

We left the market and went to the next market and got some souvenirs.  I had one mission and one mission alone and that was to find pearls.  We finally did on the 7th floor of this market.  We bought out one stall and ran out of time   I will not leave this country until we go back because I have some more pearls to buy and some other random gifts.  It is a good thing that we have an empty suitcase coming back with us that will house all my shopping trips and gifts the Chinese give us.  They shower us daily with gifts...nice ones too.  

We went to a teacher's house for lunch which was the first delicious Chinese meal we have had (in my opinion).  We stuffed our faces and then had to leave for the Zhu Zhou city museum.  It was actually really neat because it was a very intricately designed city built for industry.  This city specializes missles, railways, metals, and clothing.  After the museum we went to an Elementary school to get a tour and then that principal treated us to a Traditional Tea Ceremony.  

Principals here have a sweet deal...I am thinking maybe America missed the boat in how Principal's should be treated.  Here they have drivers and really nice cars.  They are driven around everywhere and they only have to go to school for 1 month to learn how to be a principal.  I thought Queens being only 2 years was short!

We went to the tea ceremony and it was a lot of fun! A lot of tea drinking.  It was very formal.  Afterwards, we went to one of Charles' friend's house for dinner.  They taught us how to make dumplings.  We made a ton of dumplings and they were SO delicious. The house we went to was this really cute teacher and her husband and little boy.  She showed us her wedding album.  Here in China before you get married you go to a Glamour Shots for wedding dresses.  It was hilarious.  All the pictures are then turned into a board book basically that is on display at your house.  I am glad that America doesn't have that tradition---way too cheesy.  

That was our "free day." We were more exhausted than a day of teaching.  

The next day Charles picked Do-Re-Mi up for school because we always run late so he knows that if he picks us up we will be there on time.  He told us that he canceled the meeting we had that night and that we had a free night and dinner would be delivered to our room.  The 3 of us started planning out getaway.  

After school, Charles surprised all of us with a massage!  It was wonderful!  One of the student's parents paid for all of us.  The massages all take place in the same room on bed like chairs about a foot apart.  The massage was 70 minutes, was about 30 minutes of a foot massage and cost 38 yuan--which is about $5.  Crazy.  At one point, I lost it because I looked over and the guy was kneeling on top of Sarah.  I came out with bruises because of their strength, but it felt great!  We are heading back there after school today!  THey said we couldn't come every day because it would hurt our body...after I saw my bruises I knew why.  

That night we snuck Her into our room after massages and asked her if she wanted to go out with us.  She happily agreed, but we knew if we told everyone else that our little adventure would turn into a huge group outing.  So, we snuck out.  We grabbed a taxi and headed for Pizza Hut.  Rebels...we know.  It sounds so small and ridiculous, but we were A. happy to get a break from the huge group B. happy to get to know Her more and C. eat PIZZA!

Last night, we took a trip down to the river where there is a park and we hung out for awhile.  Then they gave us all traditional Kung Fu shirts and we learned Kung Fu from a Master on a stage in front of the river. There was quite the crowd.  I mean picture 11 Americans dancing around in traditional Chinese gear doing something that comes so easily to the Chinese.  

We walked along the river and then Charles took us home!   Tonight we have a forum for the teachers again!  

One of our favorite things about China. 
The Shirtless Wonders!

Monday, August 8, 2011

China posts are put on hold (1. my computer crashed and pics are mia at the moment and 2. there are more important things to be doing right now)

I would like to introduce you to Janelle Hayes. She is my adopted mom.  

Ken and her went to Taylor maybe 25 years before me, but the Taylor community is big and loving and they are the prime example of the Taylor community. 

The community is what made me love Taylor and part of the Taylor community has contributed to my love of Charlotte. 

Before I ever moved down here, I emailed the alumni in the Charlotte area seeking advice.  Janelle was one of the only people who emailed me back...it led into a series of emails.  In the end, she offered up Ken's muscles to help me move in (to my 3rd floor apartment).  

I met Ken and Janelle mid August 2006 and ever since I met them I have been a part of their family.  Come to find out, we actually met before that day but I will let Ken tell that part of the story.  He loves sharing this story. 

Ken and Janelle have been my family and my friends over the past 5 years. I remember specifically the day that Ken told me I was family and I was welcome anytime and I knew he meant it. I remember having a really bad Saturday night and showing up on their doorstep, crying, and they said to get in the car we were going to get ice cream and then come back for dinner. I have slept on their couch, taped over their favorite shows on dvr (by accident), sifted through the millions gallons of ice cream they keep in the freezer, and drank glass after glass of tea with Janelle.   My parents hang out with them in Charlotte and any city they randomly meet up in and stay with them when they come visit.  Janelle taught me how to make the most amazing banana bread that keeps my yard mowed, she makes me beautiful cards and tags celebrating every milestone in my life, she cooked me dinner every Monday where Ken often had to put up with either boy drama or us swapping school talk. 

Janelle is a beautiful woman who loves her family and the Lord in a way that I would love to emulate. 

She is going through a tough time right now and I am praying that we all see it through. 
Janelle is my adopted mom and I love her. 

If you want to follow her story...you can here.  
I know she would appreciate your encouragement.