Monday, February 7, 2011


Check out my new blog! I will now be blogging there from now on.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ninja Sauce

I am home! I have no excuses about why I abandoned my blog all together the last couple months so I am going to move right on past that. I have been home from China for 5 weeks now. The 4 & 1/2 months that I spent there were some of the hardest and greatest times of my life. I am so grateful for all the people I met and experiences that I had. I will never forget my time there and I am forever a different person because of the experience. I must confess that I really want to go back and plan on it someday soon. For now, I am living in Tempe, AZ. I am not going to school at the moment. I am just looking for a job and crafting and painting as much as possible. I am starting a new and different blog. I will post it here as soon as it is up and running.

Here are just some pictures to rap up China...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was wonderful and definitely one to be remembered. It was parent day at school so for the whole morning, there were tons of parents observing our teaching. We were a bit nervous but it went very well. Amazingly, the kids were really good with their parents there. The school put on a huge dinner for us in honor of Thanksgiving. Our chef, Michael, made delicious Chinese food and we made some American dishes for everyone to try. I made mashed potatoes for the first time and gravy. They turned out really good. It was definitely different than most of the Thanksgiving feasts I have had. There were chicken feet, fried squid, weird sausage things and many other interesting things but the stuff I did eat was really good. Some of the other girls made apple crumble and cookies so I still got to over dose on sugar. It was so much fun to be around all the teachers and staff at the school that we rely upon so much and that we have come to love. The food was great and then we played some games.

I have so many things to be grateful for! I have been so blessed with such an incredible and supportive family. This year, I am particularly grateful for the opportunity I have had to live in China. It has changed my life. I am a different person now than I was before and I hope that I have changed for the better.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Free Jeans Day!

About a month ago, we went to a lunch that was put on by a company for foreigners in the area. We did not love anything about the activity except the food. The food was delicious. We were however promised free jeans so we all attended. At the lunch, they had someone measure us for our jeans. After much waiting, we all got our free jeans yesterday! It turns out that all the styles are completely different. They are all different colors and types of jeans. They all have different brand labels on them as well. I do not love mine but I love that they are free. China is always surprising. I can understand trying to bribe people to your event with a gift but I would have never thought of giving jeans. It worked for us and I am not complaining. Here are the four of us in our new jeans. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Talent Show

A couple months ago, Candice asked us if we wanted to compete in a talent show. We had and still have no idea what the talent show was for but a couple of the girls in our group are really into dancing so we all agreed that we would throw something together. We decided to dance to Thriller since we had to have a performance for the Halloween Party our school was throwing as well. After a long series of events, we merged our thriller dance with 3 of the Chinese teachers that were also dancing. This turned out to be an extremely good idea. 

Here were the most interesting things about the talent show...
1. We were the only white people participating and we were dressed up like zombies. We usually get starred at but it was taken to new levels at the talent show. 
2. We participated in the talent show and then found out that not only was there another round but that we made it to the finals so we had to dance again. We had no idea that we were just participating in the preliminary. We were all very distraught at this news. It turned out that we had to perform again a week later in a much more public place outside. There were 10 dancing acts and 10 singing acts that made it to the finals. 
3. We did not win but we did get a case of milk that turned out to taste a lot more like something unlike milk than milk but we happily took it. Tina bought us ice cream and gave us lilies that made our apartment smell good for weeks so we are completely satisfied. 
4. Heidi made the observation that Mandarin just doesn't sound great in song form and I have to agree. It may just be that I cannot understand the words but it definitely is a strange language in song. The singing acts were really all terrible.
5. We were the last act to perform. This didnt bother me. I was not at all nervous. For some reason, performing in front of hundreds of people that I do not know and cannot speak to does not bother me in the slightest bit. If you asked me to dance in front of my roommates, that would be a different matter entirely. 
6. After the talent show was over, they made one person from each group go up on stage to accept the prizes. For some reason, the Chinese teachers decided that Wendy needed to be the one that represented us on stage. The only problem with this is that Wendy does not speak mandarin and had no idea what was happening. She just stood up there and every once in a while someone would make her move to a different part of the stage. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
7. In all the talent show was a good experience. I am glad we did it and I am extremely glad that I never have to do it again. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010


A while ago, we went to Guangzhou to performance of some sort. We still dont really have any clue why this performance was going on or why we were there but we do know that we managed to get our hands on about 25 leaf fans that they gave to everyone in the audience. After seeing these amazing fans I decided that Wendy and I needed to be leafy fairies for Halloween. We made that happen. The wings were made out of some hot glue and the amazing fans we procured. The skirts are just made out of tulle and elastic. I loved being a fairy and sincerely wish that I did not have to dress like a zombie for the gigantic Halloween party our schools is throwing for 1,000 people but at least I got to dress like a fairy once out of the four times we had to dress up for Halloween this week. 

Halloween Week

This last week has been crazy. It was Halloween week, of course, so everyday at school was a different dress up day for the kids and teachers. We had fun dressing up and the kids were even more adorable than usual. 

Monday- Pajama Day
Tuesday- Crazy Day
Wednesday- Backwards Day
Thursday- Black and Orange Day
Friday- Costume Day

I was in charge of arts and crafts this week for my lessons so I made Halloween crafts with them all week. Some lessons worked better than others but I made these headbands with the kids and I think they are so adorable. On Wednesday one of the ILP directors, Casey, came for a visit. He watched our teaching and saw how things went down at the school and at our apartment. His visit went very well and he reaffirmed to us that we are at the best school, have the best coordinators and live in the best apartments in all of the ILP programs in all of China. We are truly blessed because all of those things really are true. Casey talked about sports and politics with us and it was really nice to have someone else to talk to that can understand you completely and that knows what is going on. He even took us out to dinner and bought us ice cream. That is really all it takes to win us over. 

I am so glad this week is almost at an end. It has been crazy and tiring. Thank goodness tomorrow is November! Happy Halloween! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010


One day at school, a little girl did not have an English name so we were asked to name her. We were brainstorming possible options and Wendy decided that we should name her something that had the first initial of all our names in it. The best option she could come up with was J.A.G.T.H.A.W. You will be happy to hear that we named her Daisy but the name has stuck with us and that is what we call ourselves. It also turned out that J.A.G (Jessica, Alex, Gabby) lives in one apartment and T.H.A.W (Tessa, Heidi, Alyssa, Wendy) lives in the other. 

About a month ago, we were bored on a Sunday afternoon so we decided to take T.H.A.W roommate family photo's. We then made large prints of them and awkwardly hung them all over our house to make our visitors feel awkward and to make our place a bit more homey. The Eighties themed photo's we took, that will not be displayed on my blog, are hung up in our apartment as well and are sure to make all the people that visit us feel awkward. I spend most if not all of my time with these girls. 

In the pictures it goes Alyssa, Wendy, Me, Heidi. I love my roommates and they are some of the best people I know. I am extremely lucky to get to live with them here in China. You can blame them for my love of Hindi movies and other strange hobbies that I am going to come home with. It is not my fault. 

10 weeks

This week marked our 10 week anniversary of our arrival in China! Time is starting to go by fast. We had a Hindi themed party of course! No other theme would do. We are all a bit obsessed with Hindi films at the moment. Heidi, one of my roommates and my Head Teacher, is really into it and has us all hooked. We got noodles from our favorite Muslim noodle place, some friends of ours came and brought some Apple Chutney and we watched a fantastic Hindi film called Ghajini. It was rather comical to have 10 of us in our tiny living room watching a 3 hour movie, in which you have to read what they are saying, on a lap top. We have a TV but we dont know how to turn on the English subtitles because all the menu's are in Chinese so we are forced to watch all Hindi movies on our laptops. The party was a success and China is better than ever. I am constantly overwhelmed by how amazing this experience this is. I think the only thing harder than coming to live in China will be having to leave it. I try not to think about it. Thankfully, that is not for another 8 weeks. 

The picture is the only picture we took at the party. Everyone is doing their best to look like Sanjay, the main character in the movie. I am not sure if they were quite spot on. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yangshuo 11 Hostel

Since being in China, we have stayed in some rather shady hostels around the country. They have been perfectly satisfactory for our needs but not a place I would like to chill after a bad day if your picking up what I'm putting down. However, we LOVED our hostel in Yangshuo a great deal. It had a sweet big TV with all the movies on it that you could ever want. The rooms were relatively clean. You got to our hostel by winding around these little tiny alleyways off of the main road and I loved getting to do that. The people in charge of it were extremely helpful and friendly. Our favorite part was the roof. Our hostel had the highest viewpoint of the whole village and it was in a perfect location. We loved to just sit and look at the gorgeous scenery from the roof. The only problem with the hostel was the smell of our bathroom but I can even overlook that because it was so awesome. I miss that hostel and Yangshuo and probably always will.

The pictures were taken from the roof of our hostel.