Thursday, June 23, 2011

Last Update

Note from Suki: The last post was actually sent to me sometime last week. This one was just yesterday. Lindey comes home on Sunday.

This is my very last update at Jiangxi Mayflora International. We have just about six hours before a bus comes to take us away to Guangzhou.

The performance that we were supposed to do yesterday never happened. I’m not sure when they decided to cancel it, but they did and didn’t tell us until a half hour before we were supposed to do it… I don’t really mind, truly. Instead, we went to go say goodbye to our kids and hang out with them. It was just the most fun I have ever had, even when some of them think it is hilarious to pull down their underwear while I’m filming.

There’s a hole in my heart.

I don’t want to be so overemotional about things, but I have always had a hard time letting go. I may bounce back easy, but it’s hard to just let go.

I haven’t truly cried yet, actually. Not even when saying goodbye to the kids, mostly because I don’t think it’s sunk in that we’re not coming back and I will probably never see any of them again.

It broke my heart saying goodbye to Lory and Colt. They are the two kids that I came to love as much as my own nieces, who are the children I will love the most until I have kids of my own.  I hung out in Colt’s dorm room and we just cuddled up on his bed and he showed me his elephant and was just so happy to see me. He got so sad when I had to say goodbye. He has this thing about doing running-jumps to give me hugs. I am going to miss him.

Lory was even harder, because Lory actually asked me to stay and started crying. He told me to not leave the school, or at least go to Japan with him and his family instead of going back to America. At some point, he laughed and called me a bad teacher for leaving him and I just wanted to cry. I am going to miss this boy so much, he has been my precious little friend for this semester.

We said our goodbyes to the teachers we’ve known and everyone else. I have now removed everything from my room and just need to do a last minute mop-job.

In three days I will be back in the States and back with family. I’m excited, but I wish traveling around the world was easier. I would love to return to China, to come back to Jiangxi Mayflora even, if just to see my kids. There’s so much more to see here and I think it’s a great country, even if I cannot comprehend the language and sometimes the hygiene really sucks.

It'll be really hard to not be around the girls. We've just grown so close and I can't believe I can't go to Desi wedding. But we'll keep in touch and hopefully meet up in the future.

I think I’ll just send this off now and call it good. All the other stories will come once I’m back in the States and everything else.

Farewell, Mayflora. Farewell, my kids. I have loved my stay here and I hope you all have amazing lives and time finds you with a smile on your faces.

Overdue Update

Okay, I totally meant to write this up before, but I am easily distracted and there were things going on here.

Not much happened between my last update and last week, but last week was actually rather eventful. For one, it started our last month in China (but more on that later). It was also Children’s Day!

Now, I’m sure you guys have heard me bemoaning the fact that Tim wanted me to sing the Titanic and I did not want to sing the Titanic song. For one, I just don’t like it that much. -_- and another, it’s really hard to sing for me.

So I finally convinced Tim to let me sing something else, maybe a week and a half later… On request from Bryndi, I was going to sing Colors of the Wind because the other girls were painting while Raza and I were singing.

Well, that lasted a while until we did a stage rehearsal and realized the two songs were not enough to paint the whole picture of flowers (it was a big picture. 2x4 ft? Something like that.) So I offered to sing another song to give them time and Tim immediately jumped back onto the Titanic song…

But long story short, the other girls decided they wanted to sing the national anthem for the third song, which defeated the purpose of the third song, but since the first verse is so short, they decided to cut out Colors of the Wind and pre-paint some of the picture (it turned out that they pre-painted A TON of the picture, but whatever)… and thus I was singing the Titanic song again.

The weekend before Children’s Day, Lory invited all of us over to his house for his little sister’s birthday, on Saturday. Saturday comes and it’s maybe 2:30 in the afternoon when Tim gives Kim a call and says that we have to rehearse in four hours. Kim tells him that we have plans with Lory and he says to cancel them, basically. 8( Strike numero uno. He actually GOES TO LORY and asks if he really did ask for us to come over to his place, and Lory says yes. Next thing Kim knows, Tim is saying that Lory is okay with the teachers coming over the next day. Somehow I don’t think Lory really had a choice in the matter, but the problem lies in the fact that Tim cancelled our plans for us, four hours before he needed us. None of us were down with that. I especially am not down with this, because later on I found out that it was the entire program running through rehearsal and if Tim couldn’t be bothered to tell us until mere hours before, I wasn’t really willing to cooperate. I realize that’s a crappy attitude, but Tim has lied and used us SO MUCH before and this was just… not okay.

So that evening, the other girls decided to go check out this little run down restaurant that’s across the street (it doesn’t look like anything but a brick house falling apart) and they rather liked it. But anyways, they were basically escaping Tim completely and were going to walk around for a while and everything… I didn’t go to the restaurant, I just ate the normal food before heading up.

I decided that even though Tim already spoke to Lory, I’d go to his mom’s place to see if he was there. Tim came up the stairs right as I was leaving and asked where I was going and where the girls were. I answered (truthfully, mind you) that I didn’t know where they were, because they’d gone to get dinner but that had been an hour and a half ago. He starts WHINGING at me that we all need to go to the stage to practice and I need to call them (dunno how he expected me to do that, not like I have a phone to do that -___-) and he always tries his best to tell us when things are happening, which is complete BS, really, because there’s actually this other party that the other English teachers told us about and Tim hadn’t even mentioned AT ALL, but anyways… I basically flipped out. Tim knows that it is in the ILP contract that teachers get the weekends off completely and he had the nerve to tell us last minute and cancel our plans and just… no, I was not okay with it and I told him so. I didn’t yell or anything, but I was definitely angry and he stopped trying after that, trying instead to get Kim and the rest on the phone or something. By that point I’d left to find Lory.

Turns out he wasn’t and I went to check if he was in his classroom, which he wasn’t either. So I spent some time watching James and Thomas play basketball, which was completely adorable. They were so excited (and actually kinda good) and three feet shorter than the other boys playing, cause they were all 7th and 8thgraders. XD So cute.

It was actually almost 9 by the time the other girls came back and sometime after that, Tim called Kim, telling her that we needed to rehearse the next day… which Kim told him no, because we have already told him time and time again that we don’t do things on Sunday for religious purposes. And really, we would have done it, except he whines at Ashley and Bryndi and then tries to convince Kim and all this ridiculous stuff and we were just… not happy with him.

We did say that yes, we’d run through the program on Monday after classes, and it’s not until we’re heading off to this rehearsal that we find out this performance isn’t on Wednesday, June 1st (Children’s Day), it’s on Tuesday. Why we are only finding out the day before is beyond me, wtf.

But rehearsals went well, really. My voice kept on breaking in the last part of the song, but everyone else there seemed to love it. After our performance, I nipped onto the other side of the stage to say hi to Lory and watch his skit (he was playing the piano for it ) and then he and I hung out in the audience for a while before heading off to his place. We played some games and stuff and guys, I just love this kid so much, I don’t want to leave him at all. D: D: D: my heart, omg.

And thus the performance came upon us! It was super crowded, obviously, since there were tons of parents and siblings coming to the school and everything.

Performance went great. My voice still broke, but the crowds were enthusiastic. Sam and a couple of the other kids came up to give us their little hand clappers and glow stick bracelets, and at some point, this girl came up, gave me a flower and a hug. So I felt pretty good about that. After the performance is when we got our next surprise!

Tim had mentioned to Kim on Monday that he was thinking of taking us with us when visiting this other school in the province and maybe we could run through our little program (me and Raza singing, the girls painting, the nation anthem, etc). We’d be staying at a hotel, maybe do karaoke, and of course, he’d feed us. It sounded like a great way to spend the weekend, so we said that was fine.

Turns out that he didn’t say June 4th, he said June 1st (which sounds exactly the same, argh) and so that was… Well, the next day. So we got up really early, sat in a van for hours, and eventually arrived at this school.

It was smaller than Mayflora. It only ran from grades 1-8, had about 700 students, and was rather charming, but I think I like Mayflora better. Our kids are cuter. (My bias, can you feel it?)

But we were warmly welcomed at the school. We had lunch with a couple of the headmasters as well as the director of the school, and it was just HUGE. Ridiculous, there was so much food we couldn’t eat at all…

Tim took us around to see some sights. We saw a pagoda that was supposedly 2000 years old, which I honestly don’t believe because the entire thing was made out of modern brick… but it was fun. The stairs were fun, actually. The way you go up the floors and stuff. Ashley decided she wanted to build a pagoda for her kids for a playhouse. I really liked it, despite the fact that it was six stories or something and I am really not that good with heights.

While we were on the top floor, I spotted what looked like a graphitti spider (since there was plenty graphitti around)… Turns out the spider was real. Ashley screams, I freak out, and we decide that it is obviously time to go.

Kim jumps out on me as we go down to the next floor and I literally just sit down and start crying while laughing, my systems were all freaking out and just… haha, it was hilarious, but my heart was trying to jump out of my throat. Good times.

Also with the pagoda (and we actually saw this first) was the ‘biggest dinosaur fossil’… which was roughly the size of Linus and much shorter. Definitely not real, either… Uhm.

Haha, at some point, Raza actually JUMPED IN and crawled under the wood skeleton thing and just… ahahalsdfj I don’t even know. Raza’s actually pretty hilarious, once we started talking. It took a few weeks, but yeah, it was fun.

[Insert a week happening]

Sorry, I realize this update is so long overdue, but I’m beginning to realize a couple things. I have 9 days left until I’m back in the states and today is my last day of teaching.

I don’t want to write these stories, I want to just tell them to you. And I also don’t want this to end. Time flew by so much faster than I was expecting and now it’s time to say goodbye… I don’t know, it’s hard.

But I’ll leave some quick summaries, just to remind myself of what’s happened.

 The rest of Children’s day was spent at a different school where we were fed three different dinners, went to a karaoke lounge for the first time in my life, and several people got drunk. I think Raza and Tim got drunk three times in the space of ten hours.

 I am currently winning at the one who’s gotten the most here in China, since I kissed a soldier on the cheek during the Children’s Day performance. There was tons of cheering and the headmaster and everyone else later told me that it was a story to last a lifetime. I find it amusing that I don’t interest guys in the US, but here, I am going to be one of those cool little legendary things that he’ll probably brag about later.

 Tim really is ridiculous drunk. And he loves the Titanic song like nothing else. So does everyone else in China, I was thanked by several people for singing a song that brought back adolescent memories or something like unto that.

 Vacation wasn’t anything exciting, really. The girls went to Guilin and I stayed here at the school.  I was dragged off to this English party that I thought I’d gotten out of since the other girls weren’t there, but I was a judge and it was just kids from our elite department… except for Grade 6, which are my ELE kids. Not sure why they weren’t there, probably they had to do some test or something. But I judged, I sang, my kids were adorable and Lory somehow knows how to play ‘Teacher wants me for a Sunbeam’, ‘The Wise man and the Foolish Man’, and ‘Once there was a snowman’ on the piano. When this happened or how this happened, I have no idea. But they were so cute and I’m going to miss them a ton.

 I watched a lot of movies on vacation, some of which were pretty awesome. Tangled, Unstoppable, Inception, and A-Team, to name a few. I also liked the Italian Job, which I had never seen before, for some inexplicable reason, despite the fact that it has been on TV for ages and all the other Kids had seen it at Nana’s a million times before. But yes, I liked it. It’s better than the Oceans movies.

 I was unfortunately stupid and tried to watch I Am Legend on my own. It was broad daylight and someone had told me that if I could watch the newest Sherlock Holmes movie, I could handle I Am Legend…  Yeah, right. |:  I didn’t even make it forty-five minutes into the movie, I started freaking out. And then I couldn’t sleep for two nights because once the lights were out, I started freaking out more, thinking things were going to eat me. Yes, I realize I am far too old to be scared of monsters under the bed, but I am. (Luckily this sleepless night thing ended when the girls got back and I sleep just fine.)

 I haven’t started packing yet.

Yesterday was my last day of ELE and I got all my kids to write down their Chinese name, their English name, and fingerprint their piece of paper. I’m going to scrapbook this somehow. I’m going to miss them so much.

Yesterday was also my last day of proper teaching since today we’re running through our end of semester program that ILP presents to the parents. Yesterday I did coke-floats, which were actually extremely successful, in that the kids loved them and that I could keep the ice cream frozen despite not having a cooler or anything to keep it cold proper. The wonders you can do with bags and bottles of ice and a couple towels. Win? I think so.

Lory and Colt are going to be the biggest heartbreaks leaving this school. They’re my babies. I’ve watched Colt grasp a ton more English during this program and he’s just the cutest thing ever. He lets me hug him and holds my hand and everything. And Lory, of course, has always been a favorite too. They both just hand on me and let me hang on them and I just… it’s going to be hardest to let them go. I’ll miss all the kids, of course, but those two are just so sweet and amazing.  

But as much as it’s going to suck leaving, I’ll be happy to be going home. It’s weird not being able to vocally talk to my family and this is the longest I’ve ever had to go without seeing my parents. Also, Valerie has had her baby and it’s a girl and I’m so excited to see her, I cannot even say how much. (But I guess the battle for the first nephew is still on? Who will win!? FIGHT-O!)

I also just miss America. I realize I wasn’t able to pick up on Chinese the way some people expected me to – none of us did, really – but I’m just waiting to be somewhere where I understand what people are saying most of the time. And losing celebrity status will be a little odd, but not being stared at all the time will be nice too. I’ve decided that I can skip the being famous thing, I’ll just be rich.

Well, I should shower and go down to lunch now. I might update one more time before I get back to the states, but I might not. At this point, it really is just wanting to talk to people, not write this stuff down. But anyways, toodles!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beijing and Shanghai

Okay, well, I’ve hauled my laptop on me with this vacation. :D I AM IN BEIJIIIING as I type right now. It’s super exciting. 

The first bit of our trip was… well, a 16 hour train ride. Guys, I am boss with these things by now. Desi, Ashley, and I were sitting together (with Nicole, Bryndi, and Kim nearby.) We got super lucky for the first part of the trip. There was this girl who goes to school in Nanchang and going to Beijing for vacation with her sister. She’s studying English and she’s a freshman and her name is Kisha and she fed me cookies and cracker and she was adorable. (Run on sentence, say what?) She was fun to talk to.

There was also Tong. Tong was a 25 year old… boatman of some sorts. Almost a captain but he wasn’t… military? Anyways, he’s been to the Philippines and India; he likes name-brands (he sat down because he saw me reading his Armani bag); and his English was pretty awesome. We just spent a couple hours talking about Jackie Chan, ridiculous puns, and our teaching in Mayflora. It was super sad when Tong left.

Also, I will have you know, I read the entirety of Watership Down in about five hours. I love that book so much. 

The train was super annoying though. |: Like, it started out super, STIFLING HOT when we boarded. My legs started sweating, guys, my LEGS. So gross. We were just all slowly dying and suffocating and we were like that for a half hour before the train to move and the air-con turned on. And then the air-con turned FREEZING.  Like, I was shivering and all this crap… and on top of that, I hadn’t packed a long-sleeved anything and I was in shorts. But once we got into Beijing and out in the real air, all was well. It’s cooler than Mayflora, but it’s not cold. It’s almost like San Francisco weather right now, even when it started raining and everything. ^^

But yes, we arrived in Beijing~! :D We got into the city around 11AM and got picked up by a guy in a van. And his partner in crime. Guys, you have no idea how hilarious some of the situations we get into are. But anyways, we talked him down from 2000yuan (because who the heck is that dumb? U_u;;) to 120 for all of us to our hostel (which was quite a way off and so that was probably cheaper than taxis.) Ahem.

I like this hostel a lot. It doesn’t look all high class and whatever, but I like the comfortable lived in feeling. The staff is super nice, our room is nice, etc, etc, etc. The location is awesome too. We’re right next to the Tian’an Men Square and the Forbidden City is within walking distance and the whole block we’re staying in is a big shopping/food district, which we spent the rest of the day exploring. It was awesome. :D

After we dropped our stuff off in our room, we set out to get to the bank and get food (because I hadn’t eaten anything in the past 24 hours besides a pack of oreos and a vitaminwater… Go me.) It took us a while to find the bank… Long story short, people kept on sending us in a million different directions and we ended up at this ‘Bank Of Beijing’ which we tried out of desperation and it worked! Haha, we’ve never had anything but ATMs from the Bank of China work for us, but yeah, it was awesome.

After that, we went back to the road our hostel is on and checked out this noodle place that we’d seen coming in. It was called ‘Californla Noodle Shop USA’, though I didn’t notice the typo on California until Kim pointed it out. The engrish on the signs. |D I am thoroughly amused.

But I got this nice beef noodle soup thing for lunch… Ate it the fastest. +_+ Guys, it makes me feel bad, I’m like a bottomless pit among my fellow teachers. (Actually, Nicole is the bottomless pit, she just doesn’t eat as fast.)

After we ate lunch, we decided to go check out our area and spent the rest of the day shopping and exploring. There’s a lot of neat stuff here. :D I’m super stoked about some of my purchases and |: for the ones they are intended for, you better too or I keep them.

Well, that’s all for now. Time to sleep and then tomorrow it’s the Forbidden City, Tian’an Men’s Square, and possibly the Pearl Market. Whoot.

[Insert Time Passing Here]

… Okay, so I haven’t managed to update this thing until… well, it’s Thursday. 8D;; We’re in Shanghai. Which I am completely in love with and have been since we stepped out of the train station. I wish to convey to you how some parts of this city look like they stepped straight out of a Pokemon city but it’s bright and cool and the alleys still stink but the rest of it is just so gorgeous and I am in looooooooooove.

But! I shall go ahead and try my best to recount the past few days in Beijing.

We ended up not doing the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square until later, but we went to the Temple of Heaven and the Pearl Market. My main partners in crime were Bryndi and Nicole. It was pretty rad, really. 8Db The Temple of Heaven was like a… park with a bunch of different palaces for different things. Like the Temple for Praying for Good Harvests, or something like that. There was a Palace of Abstinence and we had a guy from South Dakota to take a picture of us in front of it with us doing V-signs (for Virgins 8D).  There was some other cool things like the 70 year old door. Apparently the door was created when the officials were concerned for the health of Emperor Qianlong (or was it Qinglong…?) who was very old and so they made this door in the outer wall of one of these temples so it was easier on him.

Well, Qinglong was afraid that his descendents would abuse this privilege and thus decreed that no emperor could pass through the shortcut until they were the age of 70. (Apparently nobody after him lived that long so the door was never used besides Qinglong)

After the Temple of Heaven, we moved onto the Pearl Market. I did get pearls. They’re super pretty and they’re black pearls, because I’m not much of a pearl girl in general and I’m even less of a white pearl girl. I had fun helping some of the other girls pick out their purchases, especially Ashley. The Pearl Market is actually only one floor of the building it’s in. There’s the Pearl market, an electronics market, and a clothing/shoes market. I didn’t much like the electronics floor. Who wants cheap knockoffs that  you can’t even tell if they work or not until you leave the place? The clothing market was okay except some of the ladies were complete bullies. U_u;; Like, nobody tried to touch me, but Bryndi, Nicole, and Desi were all telling stories about being yanked back into stores because the vendor wanted to try and bargain them higher.

(I have, by the way, gotten rather good at this haggling thing. n_n/ )

But Kim says I’m also the last person she thinks will get raped. 8Db Apparently I look tough. Who knew? Anywho. That was our Saturday.

Sunday was up to me, Bryndi, and Nicole to plan because Desi, Kim, and Ashley were off to go do their whole sleeping on the Great Wall thing that was too expensive for us to try. We skyped into church (sadly we did not get the sacrament, there was nobody in Beijing T_T) and then decided to go see the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. We didn’t actually go into the Bird’s Nest, but we did get to go into the Water Cube. (For those who don’t know, these are the stadiums in which the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics were held.) We got there by subway, which was actually rather fun. I haven’t been on a subway since San Francisco.

Guys, it was so legit though! Like, they let you into the pool area and they play clips from the Olympics and it was just SO COOL and the Cube is actually a pretty cool construction. O: Like, it’s… made of bubbles, to be honest. I liked it a lot.

We didn’t do much else besides that. Went back to the hostel, hung out a bit, went to bed early because we were having our own early morning trip to the Great Wall.

… Which was even more legit. Like, it’s a super long drive from Beijing. +_+ On little sleep, anyways, I felt so dead tired while we drove. But then we got there and it was just awesome. We were in the Jinshan section and there were lots of ups and downs and slopes and stairs that were so steep you had to practically climb up them and everything. I brought a couple rocks from the Great Wall for souvenirs and everything. We had a blast. We met some kids from the UK and did the whole climb with them and it was a lot of fun. :D

It was just really impressive. Just the section we were in stretched for as far as the eye could see and just… super wow. *w*

Randomly but I feel like I have now done the five major things that people do when they go to China. I’ve gone to Beijing and Shanghai; I’ve seen the Terra-cotta Warriors and Pandas; I’ve climbed the Great Wall of China. I’ve done a ton of other stuff too, but I feel like I definitely covered the major bases.

Anyways, I will… uhm. Omit certain parts of that night and the next day because there are stresses and stories to be had that don’t need to be repeated and it can mostly be blamed on hormonal imbalances.

On Tuesday we went to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. I was… uh, honestly expecting more of the Square. I mean, it was nice. Big. Long. But overall, nothing wow-worthy. (Might be because we just walked through it instead of buying tickets to all the exhibits on the sides?) Anyways, it didn’t take us long to go see the Forbidden City itself.

I read that the Forbidden City is the biggest royal palace in the world and I believe it. The place was huge. It was like… well, a village or palace city (no durr, think of the name, Lindey u_u;;;). The buildings just went on for forever and they all had these different purposes that it was almost a little ridiculous (like halfway points between two different receiving buildings for resting and the emperor slept here and the empress slept here but sometimes they slept there and… and what not). But it was gorgeous and fantastically stunning and it was definitely worth going to see.

After the Forbidden City, we went to this highly recommended snack street… which was honestly just a huge rip-off (what the crap, I could buy meat on a stick near my hostel for a third of what they were trying to charge) and I ran into a handful of biatches that I probably would have slugged if I was less nice than I was. I did try snake! It was really good, actually. Almost like chicken, but different. Nicole and Bryndi were brave and tried the fried scorpions on a stick (none of us were brave enough to go do the scarabs…) Bryndi ended up puking… Luckily I missed this part of things, Ashley and I had moved on to try and find a different store.

After that we ended up in this clothing market. I didn’t really do much there, I hadn’t even wanted to go in the first place, but eh, it was fun to find stuff with Ashley. We got some ties and met this really awesome guy in one of the shoe stalls. We were trying on shoes and needed smaller seizes so while his coworker was trying to get them, we just sat there and chatted. He grew up in Suzhou, moved to Shanghai when he was 18, and then came to Beijing a couple of years ago. His English was great, just saying. We had a ton of fun just talking to him and Ashley ended up getting the pair of shoes. Sadly, he could not go down to the price I was willing to pay for the purple leopard skater high tops that I was looking at, which was probably a good thing because I did not need them, even if they were so me and completely GORGEOUS.

After shopping, Bryndi and Nicole split to go see the Olympic Gardens at night and I hung with the other girls as they got expensive Coldstone’s ice cream and then we took a cab back to the hostel. It was actually rather fun, we were having this running commentary about how long it’d take and what number it’d end on and how we’d split the bill. Ridiculous. 

Once we got to the hostel, Ashley and I went back to the shopping street near our hostel (which I’d frequented many times before, so I had buddies.) I just had some last minute purchases and one of the vendors was super nice and gave me a gift! I now am the proud owner of a little rabbit statue with a pepper necklace. It’s so cute.

Thus came Wednesday, which was the day we left for Shanghai. By this time, due to the amount of walking we’d done, my feet were completely in ribbons of pain. So we all decided that as lovely as the Summer’s Palace sounded, we weren’t going to do it. Instead, we went to see a mummy.

Yes, a mummy. They had Mao mummified and placed in the center of the Monument Square.  It… actually kind of made me sick because I felt so disturbed after we went to see it… him… it? I don’t even know.

We didn’t do much else that day. Wandered around, tried out some last minute things, and took pictures with our favorite vendors. I also got a picture of this guy’s pink and orange hair who worked in one of the hair salons along the street.

Thus the train from Beijing to Shanghai came. (I got to keep the ticket for this train, I’m super stoked, it was the one ticket I wanted.) The station was so crowded, it was insane. We got there easily enough and started to get to the boarding area. I was trying to follow Bryndi with my two bags and it was just kinda hard and I bumped into this guy. He said ‘Oh my god, I’m sorry’ and I just sort of flushed and looked up, shaking my head.

Guys, this guy was so cute. He just smiled at me and we pressed into the crowd again to get to the gates and he started again: “Hi, my name is Kevin.”

So I introduced myself and we compared tickets and it turned out that we were not only going to the same place and in the same car, but we had seats close to each other. He was super sweet and offered to help carry my stuff, but I was fine, so he helped Bryndi with one of her various bags.

Turns out that his seat wasn’t near mine, it was right across from me.

Guys, I don’t think you understand how instantly I fell into like with Kevin. (Shoot me now, I’m blathering about this in public, but oh my gosh. ) He was just so cute and hilarious and he didn’t actually speak that much English, but I will shamelessly admit that his legs and mine were draped all over each other and I had butterflies. (Of course, he did ask Desi if he could kiss her and let her sleep on his shoulder, but whatever, excuse me for not being tiny and blond and adorable. xD;; Ahem.) Anyways. Some of the girls in my group definitely dig these UK guys that we run into. Me? Yeah, I think most people know by now that I like them asian boys. 8DDD Haha, so this was my one flail. Not only was he a handsome asian guy (I mean, he was good looking. Not amazingly gorgeous, but he was cuuuute~) with stylish clothes but he was a part-time model AND he is a hairstylist. Not just for anyone, but for models for all the fashion shows and what not. I actually have no idea if the model part was real, but the hairstylist thing was legit. He showed me this video of him on this stage cutting this girl’s hair for like a video class and stuff. He was joined by his teacher (who was suuuuper good looking. *w*) and the models getting their hair cut were so cute, omg. D: One of them ended up with this super teased pig-tail look and I loved iiiit. (Also, let me just say, Kevin looks super cute in glasses and a bowtie. n_n/)

… So yeah, ridiculousness aside, I also read this book called Sarah’s Key during the train ride. It’s about the Holocaust for the Jews in France and parts of it were devastating (as almost all Holocaust stories are), but the ending was just a bit too cheesy and stupid for my liking. Definitely not as good as the Hiding Place and Briar Rose, which shall both forever be my favorite books on that subject, fictional or otherwise.

So that was today and now we are in Shanghai! I’m actually trying to finish up this update asap because I am dead tired, but once we arrived here and found our hostel, we went out to eat… Lunch was okay, but the place wasn’t –great- or anything. Then we went down to this area called Old Town and did some shopping. Actually, Ashley and I went to see this Chinese gardening park place and then had Dairy Queen Blizzards, it was a rather nice date. The rocks were super cool, you have no idea. (Or rather, you will once I upload pictures.) It was just so pretty and there were flowers and it was green and lovely and. I liked it a lot, which says a lot right now, because I’ve actually been sick since Monday. So look at me, I’ve stopped being such a wimp about things too! :D Go me.

Anyways, not much to say for after that. 1TYM PLAYED IN THE STREET WE WERE SHOPPING ON. It was exciting. :D Also, I got some small trinkets for my kids’ store for super cheap. \o/ Pleased, this one is. (On the other hand, I had to buy this gaudy hand-strap for my flip video because it broke while in Beijing and I couldn’t find the other half of it before we left. U_u;; Ugh.)

But it is late, I am finally clean, we have two more days in Shanghai, and then it’s back to Mayflora for us. I’m actually looking forward to it, I miss my room and the kids and everything else. But yes, we’ll go rock Shanghai first. n_n/

[Insert the next morning]

Being sick surely is troublesome. Also, for some reason the net won’t let me connect at all and I have no idea why because everyone else in this hostel seems to be able to. Maybe I’ll ask the front desk later, though it doesn’t really matter much.

[Insert more time passing]


Haha, I’m really bad at keeping this updated, but I am again without wireless (the desktop works because it has direct linkage or something, I don’t even know) and Tim isn’t around so we can’t get this fixed. He better be back soon though.

It’s now Thursday, May 12th. We’ve been back at the school for a few days and lots of stuff has been happening.

To wrap up what happened in Shanghai… well, I suppose nothing significant, we spent a lot of time just wandering. We went to this sort of Silk Market thing which I didn’t really care for much, but Ashley and I did get a few more ties… Haha. Bryndi and Nicole ended up getting dresses fitted and stuff, so they went back the next day, but… To be honest, what we did the most in Shanghai was eat ice cream.

It’s a weird thing to spend money on, I’m sure, but we haven’t had ice cream in ages and getting it at the school is difficult because you’re either dealing with yucky leftovers or battling against a thousand boys before it becomes the yucky leftovers. Hm. Yeah. So we had ice cream a lot. It was so good too. ;o; You could get a chocolate Sunday for a dollar and those things come packed with chocolate syrup, I loved it so much.

We saw the Bund too, because that was near where we were staying. The Bund is apparently high class shopping (ie Armani, Prada, etc) against the river and a walkway and…at night it is super gorgeous. We spent hours just hanging out, wandering around, and it was awesome. The lights! The buildings! We made this friend with this adorable little 16 month old toddler and awww, he only tried to hold my hand. I couldn’t get a picture of him though, it was too dark and if I turned on the flash, it would have blinded him. But he was super adorable. Not as cute as my nieces, but cuuuute.

The next day we went off to explore. We went to a Pearl Market like we had in Beijing but the one we ended up at was… expensive. O_O It was like a legit jewelry store and they were like ‘No bargaining’ and stuff so we… ended up not staying very long. They did show us the difference between fresh and salt water pearls with hands on demonstrations. It was pretty cool.

But then we were left with nothing to do, so I suggested we go to this underground shopping place my friend had suggested when I asked her for places to go in Shanghai. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but it was basically this mall underground. Pretty rad. I liked a lot of the clothes they had there and they had some really awesome high tops (which I have fallen in love with). I think I win for finding the place, really. At first we weren’t sure if it was really something we wanted because there’s a floor on the same level as the station and it’s like… nothing but wedding and prom dresses but then you go up and it’s got all the normal clothes and stuff.

Sadly, I was really trying to find this place where they had Johnnys phone charms and unfortunately… looks like the shop jumped ship or something because I found a place with DBSK and Johnny pictures but the displays were all tattered and the new merch in front of it was all normal girl stuff like rhinestone jewelry and stuff. Meh.

But I had fun running around. I made friends with a kitten, everyone else bought some cute stuff, I did too… And then we went to go down the food section and got lunch and ice cream and then went aboveground to eat it.

… And then there was the Korean Kreeper (as he has been dubbed.) I’m sort of tired by then so I’m in a daze, but I come back to my senses when I hear someone say ‘You’re like Cinderella’. This guy has come up and he’s talking to Kim and Ashley and he says he’s Korean and he’s studying English in Shanghai and some other stuff and suddenly he’s says again “You’re like Cinderella” to Kim and then “You’re Snow White” to Ashley and finishes it up with “And I’m Mickey Mouse”. After that, he went to give us all a hug and a weird double French cheek thing (you know what I mean) but instead of touching cheeks on both sides, he like… open mouth kissed/licked Kim and Ashley. After seeing Ashley’s face, Desi and I quickly went ‘DO NOT WANT’ at him and he just patted my arm and left. Seriously, so CREEPY. +_+ We’re not convinced that he was involving Kim and Ashley in some weird sort of self fantasy and I promised to write them a book with a villain made just so.

Eventually we went to the station and got on the train to go back to Nanchang. It was an overnight thing and we got to Nanchang around… 7AM. It wasn’t really eventful, we mostly slept and dozed and stuff… But Tim did NOT come pick us up, despite the fact that we told him and even moved our train to arrive at a more convenient time. Ew. So we ended up getting on a bus… a bus that was already jam-packed and they were trying to pack all of us and our luggage (which was considerable at this point, omg) and it just WAS NOT WORKING. But it was working enough that they were going to leave… until a policeman got on and said it was too crowded and removed all the people who weren’t in actual seats, which included us. We were freaking out for a bit because the bus started moving with our luggage still on it, but someone stopped it and we got our stuff and were put on a different bus going past Mayflora and only a few too many people sitting in the aisleway.

I have never been so ridiculously happy to see the school. It just rose out of the scenery on the left and I went HALLELUJAH. The other people on the bus thought I was amusing as I kicked the guys in the aisle out of the way because… I was sticky and dirty and gross and I just wanted to take a shower and everything. The shower was glorious. We seriously did nothing on Sunday besides shower, eat, and sleep.

The next day was pretty fun! :D My family all got on Skype because it was Mother’s Day in the US and Jonathan was able to skype home :DDD It was a ton of fun and KAELYN SAID MY NAME. ;o; Whee. So did Vivi and Lara but they were considerably older when I left (which feels like forever ago, despite only being a little over three months.) But yeah, that was a great few hours, definitely worth skipping lunch over.

Going back to teaching was interesting… I mean, I had a lot of fun, it was just a bit… well, weird. It was great seeing all the kids again, I missed them so much. And hey, they missed me. Even my ELE class. :D

However, we haven’t really done much in the way of teaching… the first two days were just fine but during the second class on Wednesday, Angel comes bursting into our classes, telling us that we need go to some meeting and our kids have to go back to their regular classes and then yelling at our kids to hurry up and whoa. +_+ So we rush the kids back upstairs and Thomas was so cute while he pushed us out of the classroom all ‘Teacher, go go go go go’ but… haha, we were so confused.

And we didn’t really DO much. Turns out they’re filming some sort of advertisement for the school and we’re a huge part of that, so they’re putting a lot of us in this. So we met some of the crew for filming, Angel worked out bits of our schedule, and they took a few pictures… Was it worth pulling us from our classes? Eh, not really.

But apparently we don’t teach for the rest of the week. I mean, we didn’t teach today and I don’t think we’re teaching tomorrow. Because of filming. They had us in this meeting room and this whole thing is total bs, what they had us doing. Like, they had us being part of a ‘meeting’ which we never are. They had us in the teachers’ office, in the cubicles, on laptops… we don’t use the offices at all, we work out of our apartments. So on and so forth. Apparently they’re doing even more stuff tomorrow and Kim and I are… sort of teaching. I have no idea, it’s just completely weird.

Anyways, we’re also moving from the dorms to the hotel apartments that they’ve built for us… I’m sort of ticked, to be honest. By the time we move, we only have five weeks left here at Mayflora. I don’t want to pack up again (because we packed up to swap rooms right before vacation. I’m now in Ashley’s room) until we go home. Also, it’s just going to be a pain, it’s up six flights of stairs and there is no elevator and we not only have to move our stuff, but we have to move the supply closets as well.

Life is so eventful, hahah.

And thus the time in Shanghai passed.

[Update right after moving, warning of frustrated Lindey.]

I figured I should just document this in a different entry because it’s… ridiculous.

So I ended up not teaching the rest of the week, which actually disappointed me a lot. We definitely didn’t do anything that was worth not teaching. I was actually rather ticked throughout the whole thing.

We wasted an entire afternoon on Friday doing nothing. Literally nothing. Four of us didn’t even have to do anything at all and they wouldn’t let them leave for some reason until hours later and Kim was held back nearly as long as I was. I nearly missed dinner because they ‘needed’ me for fifteen minutes out of four hours and obviously that meant I couldn’t go to dinner the entire time (I ended up eating dinner in the crappy cafeteria near our old apartments). It was such a waste, I was so pissed off. Basically we were just filming in a classroom setting and the kids were great and all, but it was such a waste of time. I spent half the filming (because when I wasn’t on camera, they just had me in the classroom, in a corner, while they filmed the students going ‘Welcome to Mayflora!’ and stuff. I talked to our students, because they were on the building opposite where we were and some of them came down to see me, like Grace, Kevin, Nate, Beer, and Angel.

But it turned out to be a fun night. The girls all got changed while I was finishing up filming, we got a basketball from Tim, and we played Horse and Pig for a while. I actually won! :D It was fun.

Actually, it became one of the best nights I’ve had in Mayflora. I had fun with my group and after we wrapped that up, I headed off to our kids to see if any of them were playing piano. I was a little earlier than usual, so most classes were actually still working on homework, but the grade 1 class had gone home… but Lory was there. And he was playing piano with this kinda pretty woman that I’d never seen before. I assumed it was his piano teacher because I know he’s more advanced than Wendy, the woman who helps the other kids who play piano.

Well, I wait around a few minutes to say good night and he introduces her. Turns out it’s his mom. Enter my surprised face. I asked where they were going and he said ‘home’. On impulse, I asked if I could see where that was (because I was dying to see where our kids stay, they’re on the other side of campus and stuff) and they both said yes.

T_T It was so adorable, they kept on calling me pretty and cute in Japanese.

We ended up going to Lory’s Mom’s apartment (whose name I don’t know because I’m horrid with Chinese names and she didn’t have an English or Japanese one…) and I guess she’s a teacher here! They offered me some grapes and watermelon (FRESH FRUIIIIIIT ) and Lory showed me his pet chicken, which is only like, two weeks old maybe and super cute. :O!!! He named it ‘Small Brown’. Not so original, but he’s so cute about it, asldjf.

After that, Lory’s mom excused herself to go get Lory’s sister… I didn’t even know he had one! But apparently he has two. He mentioned one being eleven and in Singapore, but his little sister lives in the school with him and she’s one year old.

She is super cute. She warmed up to me so fast and she just giggled and laughed and asked me to tickle her and it was just sooooooo adorable. I love this family, can I just adopt them? I even got to ‘talk’ to his dad on the phone, who is in Japan. I didn’t really say anything, nor could I really hear him. I just had the phone shoved at me and said ‘Hi…?’ and then Lory said ‘No, no, in Japanese!’ so I said ‘Konnichiwa’ and made everyone happy.

Lory actually tried to get me to stay at his mom’s apartment for the night, but I told him that wasn’t possible. They gave me a chunk of watermelon for the other teacher’s and Lory ended up leaving with me because his sister stays with his mom, but he stays in the Elite dorm with his classmates. So I got to see their dorm, which is nice, and they have a caretaker and everything and Sam decided to do a little underwear dance for me. Guys, why are these kids so cute, can I just keep them? Bryndi and I were just talking about it, and I’m pretty sure I’m just going to bawl the entire time I have to tell them I’m going back to America and not coming back. Especially Colt, Jack, and Lory, but really, I love all of them. D: They’re just so sweet and excited to see me and that goes for my ELE kids too and I just… It’s hard thinking about never seeing them again after this.

But… Before I get to sentimental, I shall go on with what became a very crappy weekend.

[Insert many hours and much hilarity]

I would go on about how crappy this weekend has been, but I just spent three hours with Ashley, Kim, and Desi in utter amusement. I can’t breathe much, but it was too good a night to spoil with such trivial things such as the fact that the internet doesn’t actually work and we have no hot water. :3
Hot dogs will never be the same. 

[Current notes]
I'd just like to say that we finally have hot water and internet and I no longer want to kill people -that- badly.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pikachu and Food

Haha, updating finally.  I’ve meant to do this for ages but kept on putting it off. I’m not even sure why.

Let’s see… We switched our area of teaching again. I’m teaching Games now and it’s… actually it’s frustrating! It’s not that the kids don’t understand most of the games and how I explain them, they pick those things up perfectly well… but it’s not about learning how to play the game, it’s about speaking English. I was doing so well in Kitchen and now I’m having to learn how teach a game and play it while getting them to talk a lot. My last review came back horribly. Boo. T_T

Oh wait! We had our mid-semester visit last Sunday/Monday. Halfway through the semester, the ILP directors go out to visit all the schools and check on the teachers and what not. Steve came to see us and he was super nice and a lot of fun. ^^ He was telling all sorts of cool stories about other teachers and his own ILP teaching experiences and what not.

Guys, Director Visits mean the schools are trying their best to impress and omg, I ate so much food. We went to go pick him up at the airport and Tim took us out to Pizza Hut.  This was the first time I’d had pizza since leaving the states.

It. Was. Heaven.

I got this stuffed crust pizza with seafood (crab, shrimp, squid) and pineapple. So good, soooooo good.

That was Sunday and then the next day they moved classes into the morning. We normally taught from 2:25PM to 5:00PM and this was… well, 9AM. Haha, it threw me off so bad. But the kids liked what we were making and were super awesome and all, so it wasn’t too bad. Then we had a huge lunch and I ate a ton. Then we had a couple meetings and checked out the new teacher’s apartments.

Guys, I’m so jealous. D: The new teachers are in the hotel, which is nearer to where our kids stay and their hallway leads to the roof and there are places to hang your laundry and just. Super jealous.

After that, we were just hanging out until dinner came around and we had another big dinner. +_+ Annnnd I was actually still pretty full from lunch, but I still stuffed myself because the special dinners are just always SO good. While we ate dinner, they played videos of us teaching on the big screen in the main square (which you could see from the dining room we were in.) ORZ, HOW AWKWARD I LOOKED, WHAT THE HECK. D8

And then Steve left. It was a pretty quick visit, but we all had a lot of fun.

… And then the frustrations returned. Turns out that after the mid-semester visit, they decided to change the schedules. Without telling us. So our ILP classes are now 25 minutes later and our ELE classes were at different times. Stephanie (the English teacher for my ELE class) was asking me that morning if I was too busy to teach the class and I was so confused at why she would think that, but it’s because I was late… because nobody bothered to tell us the times had changed. Ticked me off so bad.

But we’re all adjusting and what not. Thursday is the start of our next vacation and we’re doing a Beijing/Shanghai/Great Wall trip. So not as much traveling and what not. I might take my laptop, I don’t know. Depends. Will talk to Nicole about that…

I’ll just finish this update off with a quick funny story.

I’m not sure if I’ve told you guys about Nate. Nate is one of our Primary kids and I’m not sure what he has, but he is a kid with special needs. Often very frustrating, but I’ve discovered that he really remembers song lyrics and what not, so I try to get him to sing and behave… doesn’t always work, but anywho.

We’re rotating one day and I’m talking to some kids in his class and we start talking about Pikachu, because he is a classic and a great conversation starter. This is with Sam and Ted and Yao-yao. Suddenly Nate starts singing at the top of his lungs and I have never heard this song before, I don’t even know how he came up with it or anything, but he’s all…


It was just… at first it was kind of obnoxious, but looking back, it was just hilarious. He sang that line over and over and over and it was just so loud, we had some other kids just staring at us in confusion. Hahah.

Happy Easter, everyone! 

We had a fun easter. On Friday, we decorated paper bags for our easter baskets and the easter bunny visited us early! Cadbury chocolate eggs, I was in heaven. *w*

And today was good too. Church was great and we’re having a devotional with just the six of us later on tonight. ^^

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My kids. ♥

Kimmi told me that I needed to write shorter entries. Mom said I needed pictures with people in them. Here is something to please them both.

So one of the things I did last week besides the normal teaching and planning, we had to create and write our skits. We’re doing an end of semester performance and each home group has to do a skit of some sort. Our theme, we decided, were fairytales/Disney. Bryndi is doing Peter Pan, Ashley is doing Snow White, Desi is doing Shrek, and Nicole is doing the Wizard of Oz.

I chose my favorite Disney classic ever and that is the Lion King.

It’s so PERFECT! My kids just fit perfectly into their roles and I’m just so excited even if it totally fails, because… I don’t even know, it’s just so much fun. Because it’s my home group and all, I have to write the script for my skit.

Guys, I cannot even begin to tell you how much ridiculous fun I had writing it. Here’s an excerpt from the script. I don’t even, it was just a scream to write. I was giggling the entire time.

Timone&Pumba: Hello~
Simba&Nala: *startled* AHHHHHH!
Timone&Pumba: *also startled* AHHHH!
Timone: We mean no harm!
Pumba&Simba: DON’T EAT US!
Nala: … *facepalm*

Yeah, I had way too much fun. It’s dorky but WHO CARES AT THIS POINT!?

In the name of pictures, I present to you my cast. Sadly I have no pictures at the moment of Kevin, who is my Zazu, but I’ll try to get a picture of him in the future.

Oh! And because I forgot one before, here’s a picture of Ashley.

And with that, I present my home group/cast for Lion King. I warn you now that I don’t know their ages because 1) China apparently does the whole one year older than they actually are because they’re born at the age of 1… and 2) they lie about their ages. 8D!

This is Grace. Grace is the only girl in my homegroup and she’s a sweetheart. Automatically Nala, obviously.

This is Andy. Andy is… well, if he isn’t the oldest, than he’s definitely the biggest. He’s Mufasa.

This is Gobster… who is a pain in the rear, but he can be a cute chub when he needs to be. He’s Pumba.

This is Phillip. He can be a bit of a snarkbutt at times, so he’s my Scar.

… Admittedly I saved the best for last. I LOVE ALL MY KIDS, but if I had to pick ones… It’d be Miles and Colt.

This is Miles. He’s truly adorable and intelligent and sweet and he’s just got this humor that translates so well, despite the language barrier. Look how cute he is. :( He made the crown box while we were in class and posed just for the camera~! He is my Timone. This is Colt and he’s just the most energetic, enthusiastic, and sweet kid I have ever meet. He loves learning whatever I’m teaching him, he picks up fast, and he’s actually fond of me. He’s my Simba and I have mad love for the kid.

No Kevin, even if he’s a nice kid and I want to show you him. He was at ping pong practice and was therefore not around for pictures.

That’s all for now. I’m actually thinking about taking a nap while the girls are at painting class.