Dec 16, 2011

Promise me you'll never forget me...

... because if I thought you would, I'd never leave.
-Winnie the Pooh

Today was our last day with the kids, so we had to say goodbye. We had our end-of-semester-performance for the parents, then we took pictures and said goodbye. Then 4 of the students' moms took us (and their kids) out for lunch, which was fantastic. We went back home after that, and then we went to the school again one last time to say goodbye to the kids at 4 (we usually do that every Mon-Thurs, then take Fridays off, but today is the last Friday, so we wanted to spend some more time with the kids).

So, as a tribute to my awesome students, I have one last blog post in China about each of them. I've got pictures, but I'm not using my proxy anymore, so they'll have to wait until I get home.


William is our youngest and he is definitely a baby. He's 3 years old and his mom spoils him like no other. But he's generally a very sweet kid and he's made so much progress with the program. Not only is he getting better at speaking English, but his Chinese skills are improving, too. He was my least favorite of the kids when we first got here. And now, he's not my favorite by a long shot, but he's definitely grown in my eyes, and I love him.


Peter is the smartest 3 year old I know. He is very gifted with languages. He runs around like crazy all the time, shouts my name just so I'll shout his back, and he never without some drool or snot coming down his face. Unless his nose/ mouth has just been wiped. I mean this literally. He's pretty protective and has a short temper, but he's a sweetheart and really just thinks he's being helpful. I'm sure someday he'll learn better. I love him.


John is the funniest little baby gorilla. I love watching him eat his food-- baby gorilla like no other. He is so loving and sweet. He LOVES teacher Mandy. Half the time he's off in his own world and can't be brought back to earth for anything. But he's so sweet and just loves to run around and play. I will miss him so much. Mandy might be his favorite, and he might be hers, but if I could take home a couple kids, he'd be one. I love him.


Jack is Crazy! With a captial C. He's recently picked up the habit of tickling us in awkward and inappropriate places... haha. He's got a good heart, though. He's really smart and he's good at Kung Fu. When he's doing anything-- cutting paper, building with blocks, eating-- he's very concentrated. He seems like a puzzle person to me. If Ender's Game were to ever happen in real life (don't judge me for thinking about this... I know I'm weird), I think he could be one of the kids sent to battle school. I love him.


Wendy is such a funny girl! She loves to draw and dance (though she denies liking to dance), but what she really lives for is running around and being a crazy kid. She and April have had some fun times playing out on the playground after classes are over for the day. And it's hilarious to watch them. She's hilarious-- sometimes she repeats everything you say with surprising accuracy. Anna likes to take full advantage of that, and Wendy ended up singing Catdaddy. :) I love her. (Wendy I mean. Though I love Anna too, haha.)


Tony is awesome. He has the funniest laugh. We'll just be sitting there, talking, and something that he thinks is funny will happen and BAM. High pitched-make your ears bleed-screeching-laugh. But it only lasts for a second or two, and then he turns back into this calm, reserved little boy. Tony loves hardcore. He's so sweet, and he is always looking out for his little brother. He has such a big heart. I love him.


Lucy always wants to be center stage, haha. She doesn't actually speak English very well, which is sad, but she comes to school late, so she misses one of our English classes. She's very smart and I have no doubt that her speaking skills would improve drastically and very quickly if she could be in more of my classes (mine is the one she usually misses). She's really sweet, and in the past couple weeks she's been make it to about 10 minutes of my class, and I've loved every minute of having her there. I love her.


Max is special. He's such a simple boy, and he loves everyone. His favorite thing ever is Spongebob, and if he sees anything Spongebob-esque, he will not leave it alone. His other top interests that he talks about all the time are: baby chickens, his Chinese teacher-- Amy, and star charts. He's always hungry, and the two questions he asks about EVERYTHING-- "And Max eat it?" or "And put it in Max nose?" He has a strange thought process, but he's very pure. He's awesome and I love him.


Back at the beginning of the semester, Dave was my favorite student. My love for him has grown. Dave is genuinely smart (I suspect he'd be at Battle School, too. I also suspect he'd love Ender's Game). He grasps concepts well, he's very good at communicating, and he remembers his vocabulary. He is ALWAYS stylish. Dave is one of the best students I could have ever asked for. He's got the typical cool-kid personality that makes you want to talk to him, but he's good. He is very compassionate and is always the first to try to console the other kids if they are sad and crying. I love him.

Over the last four months, these kids stole pieces of my heart. We had to say goodbye to them today. And yesterday was out last day of teaching. That is easily the hardest thing I've had to do in China. I've used a squatter, I've eaten chicken feet, I even tried learning Kung Fu from someone who doesn't speak English... none of that compares to the past 48 hours. I have a headache from crying so much. I will miss these kids. My heart broke into 9 pieces when I had to say goodbye, and I wouldn't ever want to ask for those pieces back.

"People so seldom say I love you, and then it's either too late or love goes. So when I tell you I love you, it doesn't mean I know you'll never go. Only that I wish you didn't have to."

Dec 7, 2011

We have to go. I'm almost happy here.

The other day, Mandy Anna and I were going to get our hair washed, and on the way, Anna and Mandy were talking. I wasn't really listening (sorry guys), but I heard Anna say something about how, although it didn't feel like it, this was one of the last times we would ever get out hair washed. Unless we come back to China, obviously.
(PS. Don't know if I mentioned it, but going to get your hair washed sounds super lame, right? I mean, just wash your own hair, how lazy are you. But no! It's comes with a half hour to forty five minute scalp massage, then they give you a back massage for 10-15 minutes! All this for only 10-15 rmb:: $1.50-2!)
And she really nailed it right on the head. I leave China in 12 days (and I leave Zhongshan in 10 or maybe 11), and I might not ever come back. Maybe I'll come back for a vacation sometime down the line, and maybe I'll come back with ILP as a head teacher, but even then I can pretty much guarantee I won't be in Nanlang. What she said really got me thinking about the things I want to make sure to do before we go. There's only three concrete things that are really essential on my list, so it's pretty much guaranteed I'll be able to do them, but it's still a really sobering thought to think, "I have to do this next [Thursday], or I'll never be able to again."
And that train of thought led me to (1-) one of the most sad thoughts I've ever had, and (2-) try to find what it is that I'll miss most about being in China.
1- You know how sometimes, you think about a conversation you might have with someone in your head? :) And it's usually either something you wish you would have said two hours ago when you actually had the conversation because, now that you've had a couple hours to consider what they said, you have a perfect comeback or response. Or, if that's not the case, it's a future conversation you'll probably never have, because the other person just won't follow the script you laid out for them. Well, call me crazy (no, really. You can probably call me crazy for this), but I had a one of the future conversations in my head with myself. It would happen in about two weeks and it goes like this: "Hey, wanna go get some noodles and dumplings down the street?" "Yeah!" "Well too bad! You can't! Because you're not in China anymore, you're in America!"
It was really sad to think of that. There are so many things that are awesome about China. It's a gorgeous country, and the people here are so kind. There's literally a little jungle right across the street from our apartment complex. In our little town, the crazy markets are only about 5 minutes from the quiet, serene landscapes. The trees everywhere are so beautiful. It's so green here. There's a giant pond/little lake right here in town (which we didn't find until about 2 or 3 weeks ago). Adventures are always waiting. And it's China. Come on. If you take a quick motorbike ride, you can visit some Chinese temples with incense, Buddha statues, statues of other important people, the classic Chinese architecture. Then, I can't even describe the beautiful views we've seen at parks on on vacation (but don't fear, I have pictures). I imagine this is why most people love China.
2- And I love China for those reasons, too. But I won't be sad to leave that. The stunning views that are everywhere are great, and I love being surrounded by them. It's always beautiful. But there's plenty of places back home that beautiful, too. I've seen many gorgeous scenes back in my hometown. And the classic Chinese look is something that, now that I've seen it personally, I feel like that's kinda the end. I don't need to be surrounded by it all the time. I can look back at my pictures and say, "I've seen that in person, and it was awesome." And that's it. What I'll really miss about China is the people.
They're loud. They won't hesitate to sneeze on you. They stare at you openly, sometimes stopping dead in their tracks so they can watch you walk down the street. They eat strangely. They freak out if it starts drizzling outside. They have some bizarre medical ideas and superstitions. But they're awesome. They're extremely friendly. They go far out of their way to make you feel welcome. They're honest. And they're usually pretty good about playing charades if you don't know how to say it in Chinese, and they don't know how to say it in English.
I love being here. Although the beauty and history of the country itself is wonderful, I'm not afraid to leave that behind. Been there before, already done that. But the kids at school (not just our own students) who get excited to see us and shout our names, the motorbike drivers who always know where we want to go, the lady in the back of the store who knows what I get every time, the noodle guy who doesn't ask what we want anymore but instead asks how many of this dish we want, the girls at the ghetto salon that try to teach us random words in Chinese, the teachers who always smile at us, that random couple with one of the only pet dogs I've ever seen... I recognize all of them. And somehow, even though there's a GIANT language barrier separating us, we've managed to dig deeper than words and become friends anyway. I love them.
The worst part is that I don't even know how to tell them that this is the last time I'll see them.
Oh, and in case you were wondering about the three things I want to do before I leave. They're all pictures I want. I want a picture with the older kids at school (ages 5 and 6). I want a picture with the awesome noodle guy. I want a picture with all the people at this one ghetto salon.

Nov 26, 2011

Oh the holidays :)

You know those people who are like, "I hate Christmas," and then proceed to give reasons why they hate it, such as:
  • You should have the Christmas Spirit all year, not for one day.
  • Christmas songs are annoying.
  • People only really care about getting presents, which is really selfish.
  • I'm only going to give you a present if I think you actually deserve a present. I don't want to feel pressure.
Blah blah blah. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of the people who say "I hate Christmas"-- despite how genuine their reasons seem-- are just saying it because they want to hate something that most people love. I'm sure there's a term for that kind of person, but being around people who speak little-to-no-English for the past 3+ months has made me forget most of my English. It's pretty tragic, really. I'm not sure I'm still qualified to teach these little kids. Good thing I'm not taking an English class this spring.
Anyway, I just wanted to preface with that so that my next statement holds more weight.
I don't hate any of the holidays. But Thanksgiving is easily my least favorite. It's mostly about eating and being thankful for things. As far as being thankful for things goes, I really like to hope that I show thanks for my blessings all year, but it's nice to have a specific day set aside for that, because I probably don't actually show thanks every day all year. It would be fantastic if I did, but it doesn't happen. And the eating of food? You've got turkey, stuffing, pie, and then other side dishes and desserts that are filled in for each family. Turkey, stuffing and pie are pretty mandatory no matter what. The reason Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday is because I don't like turkey or stuffing. The two things that Thanksgiving is really built on. And I try them every year, but they just don't get better tasting. Haha. It's really sad.
This year, however, was one of the best Thanksgivings I've ever had (and one of the lamest Halloweens I've ever had, which is sad because Halloween is one of my favorites). It all starts on Thursday. Obviously.
We had a special craft thing we did with the kids where they all made turkeys with their parents. It was cute and fun. But the real party comes that night. For dinner on Mon-Thurs, we go over to the Chinese teachers' apartment and eat with them. On Thanksgiving, they cooked us a particularly big dinner-- with turkey :) It was really delicious and very sweet of them to do. They even had dessert for us. Fruit salad! So good. It was so nice.
Then the next day we went to Xioulan and ate feast number 2 with the girls there. It was like a real Thanksgiving dinner (minus the turkey and stuffing ha). We had KFC, mashed potatoes, corn, broccoli dish with onions and carrots, rolls, stuffed peppers, and a couple Chinese dishes. I'm sure there were other things, but they escape my attention. For dessert, we had pumpkin pie, donuts, cookies (which Morgin baked from scratch. She's AWESOME.), and a baked apple crumble thing. It was so awesome. We went around the table and said something we're thankful for, just like back home (even though that's a pretty recently adopted tradition that my family's picked up).
It was awesome. I think the best part was that it was a real Thanksgiving. We were going to have the same group of ILP girls that went to Beijing. That's the Xioulan girls, us here in Nanlang, and the sisters (plus their one other roommate who couldn't make it to Beijing). But the sisters weren't able to make it for dinner. It was sad, but these things happen. We still had food for all of them, so the Xioulan girls went downstairs and invited some of their Chinese teacher friends up for dinner. So we had Americans sharing a tradition with the Chinese. It was awesome. :) I loved it. Easily the best Thanksgiving of my life.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful for the support you've all shown me while I've been on the other side of the world. :) Love you guys!

Nov 20, 2011

It's a DLSASTER. It's an incredible MBSS.

You know how people in America get shirts or necklaces or tattoos or whatever of Chinese characters? And then they think they're all cool because they have something in Chinese, and it probably says something awesome?

Well the reverse is true in China. There's English everywhere, especially on shirts. And you know how, when you see those Chinese characters, you think, "I bet that actually says something really stupid"? Well, I've found that with the English, it usually either doesn't say anything (ehkdijflsldk), or it does say something, but has a typo.
For example, we were on the sky train the other day, and there was a guy wearing a shirt that said something about needing a green environment and then said on the back, regarding the current environment, "IT'S A DLSASTER." Aside from that, it was a totally normal shirt that I wouldn't be surprised to see anyone in America wear.
So I'm pretty sure that when shirt companies look at a batch of shirts, and find there's a typo on it, they think, "Oh no. It's a dlsaster. Let's just send it to Chlna. They'll never know."
And probably most of them won't ever know.

Nov 19, 2011

Hang on. Qualifier.

Ok, so we've been back from vacation for about 5 days, and although I feel like I love it here more than I did before I went to Beijing, I don't think I love it as much as I did while in Beijing. And I don't think that actually has anything to do with me loving Beijing. I'm pretty sure I can pinpoint exactly what it is that made me love China so intensely.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not some lonely little girl with no one to talk to. That's not it at all. I believe a couple months ago, when I got to China, I said I'd write an email about my awesome roommates. I think I'll now actually do that.
Annalisa. She's my head teacher, and she's a great one at that. I feel like I've learned a lot from here, and she's definitely helped me to become the teacher I am. More than that, she's helped me become the person I am. She's been a great influence on my life, and I love the example she sets for me. She's loud and funny. She has about twelve different voices she uses. She has the strangest dreams. And I know that she really cares about me. I think she's made the most effort out of all my roommates to become my friend. Which is very nice, because we have pretty ridiculously different personalities. She is a wonderful person. I love her :)
Mandy. She's so awesome, I love her. She and Anna have a LOT in common. She makes weird faces. She has a couple of her own weird voices. She's very nice, and she genuinely cares about the people in her life. Her laugh and smile is very contagious. We share a lot of interests when it comes to media-- How I Met Your Mother, Relient K, Friends... Other TV shows and bands. Haha. Aside from that, our interests are pretty different, but I love her :)
April. She's my literal roommate. We've had our fair share of late nights talking about nothing. We get along well. And man! Can that girl get crazy hyper! Our personalities mesh best when she's in a calmer state, or when I'm in a more excited state. She's loud. She laughs all the time. She's sweet. She's gets on my nerves occasionally (though nothing specific comes to mind), and I'm sure I've gotten on her nerves before. I mean, we live in the same room. I'm with her constantly, it's bound to happen. And I love her anyway :)
But (there's always a but, isn't there?), had I met any of these girls back home, I don't think we'd be the friends we are now. I think I'd see them at church, and we'd sit next to each other and talk and laugh, but I don't imagine we'd randomly decide to run to the store together really quick. I don't think we'd decide to go out to dinner. I don't think we'd go get our hair done. I could be wrong, but I think I'm so different from them that if I weren't forced to be close to them, I wouldn't be. It just wouldn't have happened naturally.
I'm not miserable, or even unhappy. In fact, I'm more than content. I love being here, and I love being with these people. But none of them are really people who I clicked with immediately. Even after 3 months of being here, I'm still the quietest one in the group. And it's not because I'm shy or anything, I just don't have a lot in common with all of them, personality-wise. Which isn't a bad thing! We have totally different personalities, and that happens. I'm not better than them, and they aren't better than me. We're just different.
However, we went to Beijing with 2 other schools. There were 12 of us total. 4 from our school, 6 from the school in Xioulan and 2 from another school, which name I do not know. Because there were so many people, there was a wide range of personalities. And there are 4 or 5 girls in the rest of the group that I do click with right away. So while I was in Beijing, I was able to be with people who I think I would naturally gravitate toward back home. And having that closeness with some of the other girls, PLUS being in an awesome country that I love with my entire heart, I realized how much I don't want to leave.
So yes. That about sums it up. I love my roommates, and I'll be so sad to have to leave them all in a month. It will be strange, to say the least, to not be with them 24/7. I just wish that my relationship with them was a little more natural, like their relationships with each other.

It's official. China has won my love.

I love China. Really. I loved it the first 3 months I was here, but it was different. I loved being here, but I was also cool with the prospect of going home and getting back to the "real world." I used to describe it to people in terms of a percentage. I was split 60-40 for Staying In China-Going Home. There wasn't much that was keeping me tied to one place over the other.

Don't get me wrong, though. Under no circumstances was I unhappy with being in China. I loved my kids, I loved teaching, I loved the food. I sometimes loved my roommates (HA. Sorry guys, I'm just kidding. I always love you). But I also loved my life back in Colorado. I loved going to school, I loved my family, I loved my friends, I loved the cold.

I'm not really sure what it was that changed, either. But something happened over the last weekend, when we were in Beijing, and it clicked. I was 100% contended to be in China. Honestly, I feel like I could stay here forever and be happy. But I can't. I have to go home in 4 weeks.

I love all you guys back home. I do. But I'm not excited to leave. I'm excited to come give everyone presents and to see everyone again and start up school (I'm really really excited for my classes this spring), but I have a life here in China, and I don't want it to end. Sad.

I <3 BJ!

I loved Beijing. But sadly, I didn't get an I <3 BJ shirt. Maybe next time I'm there.

So for our last vacation, which was 4 days, we decided to go to Beijing. We left after teaching on Thursday to go get bus tickets to Guangzhou-- where our train was at-- but they didn't have anymore seats. So instead, we got tickets on the sky train (that were cheaper and less time consuming. Hmm. Wonder why that wasn't our first option. Meh, whatever). The train ride to Beijing was 21 hours, and that is quite a long time, so I didn't want to be stuck wearing jeans for all of that. So I wore my pajama pants, and packed a pair of jeans and a couple shirts, then I'd wear my pajama pants back home on another 21 hour train ride. Well as we're waiting for the sky train, I realized that I left my pants at home. Haha. Oops. So that's why in every picture of me in Beijing, I'm wearing pajama pants. Didn't have anything else.

So we got our train at like 6:30 or something on Thursday, made it to Beijing on Friday at 2 or so, then our group (which included the girls from 3 different schools) split into 2 groups. 4 of the girls went to the Pearl Market, and the other 8 of us went to get Mexican food. I know, I know. We're in China. Why would you get Mexican food? Well, because I live in China, so being able to get Chinese food isn't that big of a deal. I eat Chinese food for 3 meals every day, plus snacks in between. But there is no Mexican food anywhere in China that isn't a really big tourist hot spot. So yes. We were awesome and ate Mexican food. And it was fantastic. Friday night was their Ladies' Night, so they had burritos for only 15 yuan (or you could get their vegetarian burrito for 10 yuan). That was a nice surprise. I got a pollo asada burrito and then also split a carne asada chimichanga with Jessica. So much food, but it was so delicious.

After dinner, we met the other group at a Chinese Acrobat show. It was pretty sweet. Unfortunately, the traffic was really heavy, so our taxi took FOREVER to get there, and we only saw half the show. But you know, it was ok. Because the half of the show we saw was well work the 17 bucks I paid for the entire ticket (seriously. They had those motorcycles in the metal ball thing driving all fast and awesome. and then they kept adding motorcyclists. There were five. FIVE. It was insane), and the taxi ride was actually a lot of fun. It was nice to sit there and talk with Ashley and the sisters-- Courtney and Maddie. Those girls are awesome, and I miss them terribly now that I no longer see them every week at church. Boo for having to come home!

Anyway. After the acrobat show, we hit up a night market. Jessica, Caley, and Ashley tried scorpion. I thought about it, but seeing the scorpions move around kinda made me decide against it. Ha. I don't know, eating something that's alive and has a stinger isn't exactly on my bucket list. I know, I'm so unadventurous. I think I'll be ok though. I did eat some delicious fruit thing that was coated with melted sugar. Mmm. Once the night market closed, we headed back to our hostel and called it a night.

The next morning (Saturday) we were up and at it early early so we could see the Great Wall. So awesome haha. I don't really actually have much to say about it, actually. You know how it is. Get a van ride there, climb up a ton of steps to get to the actual wall, hike the wall for a little while, take awesome pictures, head back down, possibly do some shopping (I got some dried kiwis. Quite possibly the best fruit ever to be dried). Except that I did have an awkward moment with another tourist. So if you look way up the wall, there was a section where you could see some Chinese writing on the ground. I was just chilling there up on one of the guard posts, and a girl was taking a picture of it. She said, "[blah blah take a picture] even though I don't know what it says." She seemed nice and friendly and everything, so I chimed in with, "I hope it says, 'The Great Wall.'" Ha. I thought it was amusing. Not the funniest thing ever, not particularly clever, but an amusing thought none the less. She just looks at me, dead serious, and says, "No. It doesn't." Oh ha. My bad. What a crazy lady.

Side note-- before leaving the guard post I was sure to pretend to light a fire and say, "Now all of China knows you're here," and then I imagined someone looking at me saying, "Perfect." I rock. Also, I totally did some of my awesome Kung Fu moves on the guard post. I was probably fighting off some of the Huns.

After the Great Wall, we went to the Silk Market, and then we were going to go to the Pearl Market, but everyone was having so much fun at the Silk Market that we just stayed there. I got some pretty cool stuff. Some of it is touristy China stuff, but I also got 3 pairs of cons (for 45 yuan each:: about 7 bucks) and a Converse hoody. Oh, and a duffel bag. I was originally going to just get rid of the duffel bag I brought here but upon comparing the one I bought in Beijing to the one I have currently, I can't justify getting rid of it. It's too high quality. The only thing that's really wrong with it is that the strap is breaking (which is funny, because it's only breaking because I had too much heavy stuff in it when I came to China because I was over the weight limit of my checked bags by quite a lot, but wanted to bring everything I had packed anyway, so I just moved the heavy stuff from my checked back to my carry on). That's fortunate, though because the duffel bag I just bought came with 2-- check it, TWO-- shoulder straps. So now I've got two duffel bags, and I'm excited :) After the Silk Market extravaganza, we went to get dinner. Ha. Yeah... we got Mexican food again. Ashley and I were in kahoots this time, though, and we split some pollo asada nachos (quite likely the best nachos I've ever had. legit.) and another carne asada chimichanga (and I'd only actually had frozen chimichangas, so aside from the exact same one I had had the night before, it was probably the best I've ever had also). So goood!

Some of the girls went to see the Bird's Nest after dinner, but I've never really been an Olympic fan, and I was really tired, so I just went back to the hostel to sleep and prepare for another RIDICULOUSLY early morning.

Sunday Sunday SUNDAAAY. We went to see the Forbidden City/Tian'anmen Square. It was so awesome. I loved it. We only had a couple hours there, unfortunately, because we had to catch our train home at 1 that afternoon, so we had to be on our way back to the hostel for our stuff at 11. The Forbidden City opened at 8:30, and we were there well before that, so we still had 2 hours. We ended up splitting up into different groups so that people who wanted to spend more time in the Forbidden City could all hang out together, and people who wanted to be in Tian'anmen Square could go there earlier. Courtney, Maddie and I ended up staying in the Forbidden City the entire time. It was SO COOL. And we barely saw anything! It was really awesome, though. I loved it. We were there so early that the pictures we took are just of us. There aren't ridiculous crowds on every side of us. It's nice, I definitely wouldn't change that. It was fantastic.

Then we hit the train back home, and got back to our apartment at 2 on Monday. It was a good vacation. Beijing is so awesome, and I am definitely going to hit it up again in the future. But I'll spend more time there, that way I can see it all :)

Oh, and for the record, trains suck. Sitting for 21 hours is not fun. Some of the girls in our group actually slept on the floor haha. Which was convenient for me, because then I got to sleep over two chairs, and I could put my feet up.

Oh oh oh oh. Actually, I do have one more story. We were on the subway, and we met a guy who looks JUST LIKE Tony Stark. It was remarkable. Like, if you told me that Robert Downey Jr. is living undercover in Beijing, I would be 100% positive that I met him. I'M ON TO YOU, ROBERT DOWNEY JR. Ha, but really. It sounded like him, looked like him. I'm (partially) sure it wasn't, but it was still exciting.


Hello World! Ha. Sorry for the delay. For some reason blogger has stopped letting me post blogs... I don't know why. But before I left, Chaelomen helped me set up the email-blogging. I only just looked up what my email address for my blog is, but hopefully this works and you guys will be able to read the 4 blogs I've been saving in a draft in my email (that way I wouldn't forget what I wanted to say).

I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, they don't celebrate it in China. Fortunately, I'm a foreign teacher and the schools that ILP works with are all about giving the kids a taste of American culture. So we got to dress up and decorate the classroom, and we even hosted a party with the kids and their parents, and that was fun.

The decorations were mostly made out of construction paper. We had a TON of pumpkins and ghosts and bats and the like. There was a little pumpkin patch with a construction paper scarecrow set up in it. It sounds super ghetto, but it actually looked pretty good. The school even splurged a little and got some Halloween decorations. We had some webs, spiders, and this skeleton thing that's motion-activated. For a country that doesn't celebrate Halloween, they had a curious amount of decorations and costumes available... Any idea why?

Our party was pretty awesome, too. The little kids sang Wheels on the Bus (not a Halloween song, I know, but it was the only English song they knew well at the time) and then did a little dance thing. Then the Chinese teachers performed a dance, and then Anna, April, Mandy and I all danced. We did the Monster Mash, with some Thriller moves thrown in there. We actually wanted to learn the entire Thriller dance, but we were too lazy. haha. These things happen. We started actually trying to learn it ON Halloween about 5 hours before the party. We're awesome.

Oct 7, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night.

Which is a particularly bad thing if you're on a ferry. All the waves and excessive rocking... it's just too much for some people to handle.
Thankfully, (although I live in the middle of a continent, so this will never be one of my more useful traits) I don't get *seasick. However, lots of people on the ferry last night do. Haha.

So our 2nd (or technically 3rd if you count Hong Kong) vacation just ended. It was awesome. We went to Sanya. For some reason, my proxy site doesn't really like facebook right now, so I can't put pictures up there. But it likes blogger just fine, so I'll post some here :) And maybe a few more on G+ later.

This is the awesome view at one of the beaches we went to. I think it was Yalong Bay, I don't really know if that's how it's spelled, though. But there's a lovely forest thing to the right, and the pretty beach, plus the mountains in the background. It was quite nice. The waves were awesome, I enjoyed playing in them. And beginning to learn to swim (thanks Annalisa :) Oh Sanya. I miss you already.

This is me and April, in contrast matching swimming outfits. And, even though you can't really tell, I'm wearing awesome new sunglasses that match my swim shorts. Don't worry, though. I'm pretty sure no zebras were harmed in the making of our clothes.


This is a pretty tree behind a pretty bush that was at the beach by our apartment/hostel. Funny thing there. We booked a hostel with Joe's Seaside Inn, and we get there and we go to the hostel, but that's not where we're staying. Instead, he put us in some apartments that he has which he then rents out to people when his hostel gets full. Or at least, I assume that's the reason. It was a little confusing talking to him, so I'm not sure.

This is the beach by our apartment-hostel. See? That's the ocean way in the background. There were a ton of boats everywhere with people carrying them from the shore to the... grassy area by the trees. It was really neat.

Here I am eating some delicious noodles for breakfast. We found this random little place in some back alley that said they had waffles, which was not true. We kept pointing to the picture of the waffles, and she kept saying, "Mayo! Mayo!" which is, "I don't have!" And then she pointed to some noodles she did have for 10 yuan. So I got those, and then April got some other hot (as in temperature) noodles which I have a picture of, but not on my blog :) I point out that April's noodles were hot because mine were cold. But they were supposed to be and they were delicious.

And thus concludes our vacation. It was nice. Just beaches and eating. We found this little alley that had the most delicious and cheapest food I've ever had. It was awesome. Just a TON of street food. I got way more food than I should have eaten in one sitting for probably less than 20 yuan. That includes a drink, 3 sandwich things (one spicy, two not), and some meat on a stick. Mmm. Thinking about it makes me sad that I'm not there anymore. :(

*According to Mom, it's not so much seasickness, but more motion sickness. So not getting airsick, seasick or carsick are all packaged together as one thing that's awesome about me.

Sep 18, 2011

If only it were so simple.

So I started writing a story. Well, trying to at least.

I have 1 chapter (which is super short, more like a prologue), plus a couple paragraphs of chapter 2. I have a very rough shell of what I want to happen, but at this point, I'm not really sure where to take the story. So then I started wrting something else. Something that I don't have any real expectations for, so it's just a short story. Similar to a story I wrote last Christmas for my friends (it was a play off of A Christmas Carol).

Then I wondered who I write like (Chaelomen, I think that was one of my favorite blog posts you've done).

Beginning of book: Neil Gaiman.
Beginning of short story: Stephen King.

I like both of these authors, though let's not put too much stock into that (I typed up a couple paragraphs from Anansi Boys. Turns out Neil Gaiman writes like Arthur Clarke). If only I could actually finish writing something. Not that I think a lot of experienced writers read my blog, but any advice?

Sep 13, 2011

Yangshuo :)

Yangshwhoa. Haha. That's how you pronounce it, with a whoa at the end there.
And that's where we just went on vacation. :) It was so much fun. I've got a few pictures, and my roommate is going to let me use her proxy website so I can put them up on facebook or maybe maybe the blog.

We'll see which. I feel like it would be easier to put them on facebook, because you can just upload all of them, and you can only put a few at a time on a blog. Not that I have a lot of pictures (my camera died before I even left the hotel. Lame lane), but it still seems more convenient to put pictures on facebook. Check there for updates, probably before the end of the week.

Anyway. Yangshuo.
We left for Yangshuo on Friday night, after teaching. We had a sleeper bus, which was pretty cool, I must say. I was on the top bunk next to April, and Mandy and Annalisa were below us. We stopped and picked up a TON of people. Like, we had more people than beds. Some people, we called them isle people (which sounds a lot like ILP people haha), and they were just stuck in between everyone on the bottom bunk awkwardly. Made me glad I was on top, and sorry for Mandy and Anna.
We got to Yangshuo on Sat morning, and April and I took pictures and then went shopping for a while. We did a boat ride, and then went shopping some more in the markets, and ate dinner around 8:30 or so, then went dancing. We finally got back home at 12, and I was out by 12:30. It was a long day, but so much fun.

On Sunday, we were all go go go. We were up and out by 9, biking. We rode up to the Buddha Mud Caves and did a tour there. I went down one of the slides in the mud cave and scraped up my leg a bit, but nothing too serious. It was SO much fun, and then there were hot water springs at the end. It was lovely. But the mud. Oh my. I'm still wringing mud out of my swimsuit. It was worth it, of course, but goodness. After that, we had lunch and then climbed Moon Hill (MJ- idk where I got Moon Crest Mountain from haha) and that was a lot of fun, but so tiring. It's not like a regular mountain, they have steps all the way to the summit. 839 steps, one way, to be exact. And they're steep steps. I sweat a lot. I don't even want to think about a physical amount, but it was nasty nasty. After that, just more shopping. We were going to go out for KTV (karaoke) that night which I was totally up for, but it got switched last minute to dancing. Which I was just too tired for. They said they'd only be gone for an hour, but it was probably only 10 or 15 minutes that they were gone before I fell asleep.

Monday morning! We rented mo-peds for the day. 60 rmb for one bike all day, with two people on it, so only 30 rmb each. And that's like 5 American. We had it from 10:30 to 6, and the girl I rode with and I lent our bike to another couple girls who went rock climbing in the morning, and we just shopped around the markets. I love the markets. They're awesome. Best thing to ever happen to the shopping world. But I spent a lot of money there. Around like 7 or 8 hundred rmb. But that includes the hostel (which was really really nice. We painted on the walls), and food, and the boat and bikes and mo-ped, and all my souvenirs. And besides all that, many of the souvenirs were for my friends, and a couple for family (Audrey- greater than or equal to a coconut, but I haven't found anything yet). And 7-800 rmb is only like 100-150 American, so that's not too bad, right? For 4 days... Right? D:

And then, we came home. Sleeper bus left at 8pm or so, and it was much nicer than the first sleeper bus, and more empty... and cheaper, too actually. And then we got home at like 4:30 this morning, but by "home," I mean to McDonald's. We got home home at 5:30 or so. It was a lovely vacation, but I'm excited to get back to my kids.

I don't think I told everyone-- Dave is staying the program. :) Donny's mom doesn't think he's learning enough or something, so he ended up getting pulled, but that's a story for a different day.

Also, and this is the last thing, I'M SO EXCITED! We're starting Kung Fu lessons haha :D Two days a week, Mon/Wed, from 1:00-2:30. It's going to be sweet. The instructor doesn't have an English name (most of the adults here don't) so we named him Jet. And as soon as Freda gets lessons ready, we're starting Chinese lessons, too :) I can't wait.

And now, I'm off to finish my laundry. It's all been out hanging to dry, and I think it's probably good to come in now. (Mom- bleached worked wonders for the smell :) This is something I can happily put on in the morning. Thank you so much!)

Sep 7, 2011

Remember that time...

when I said, and I quote, "When we [get internet], I'll post a blog about our apartment and my awesome roommates"?

Right? Right?

Well, turns out, I won't. haha.

Fortunately, I emailed mom a tour of my apartment. (Wizard, I was going to email it to you, too, but I didn't realize that your name wasn't in the send box until after I sent it.) This tour is complete with cheesy tour-guide dialogue and pictures :) And a potty break.

I asked her to forward it to anyone who's interested, so if you haven't gotten the forward of it already, let her know you want a copy. :) Because it won't be posted here, that's for sure.

Sep 5, 2011


It stresses me out.
Sometimes, both before I left and occasionally now, I stop and I think about going to/ living in China, and I wonder how I got myself into this mess. Let's look at the factors.
Kids. They stress me out. I don't have fond memories of most of the kids I babysit. There's a couple *exceptions, sure. But mostly, I don't like being around kids. All the girls here, as we're walking through the school, keep going on and on, "Look at him/her! He/she is SO CUTE!" and I look at them, and if they're lucky, then whatever they were doing was mildly amusing. But mostly, it's just another kid. Nothing particularly cute about it, it's just a smaller version of a person. A needy person. Who won't pay attention to me unless I'm being unnaturally animated. Which brings me to the next point.
Teaching. It stresses me out. I'm not very good at thinking on my feet, apparently. I can't think of a dozen different things to say about a fork without notice. I can't think of outdoor activities to do on the spot. When you plan your lesson, you're supposed to plan activities to do. Like, we'll cut up the paper, and we'll tear the paper, and we'll organize the paper into big pieces and little pieces. Then while you teach, you're supposed to focus on what you'll say. And that "what I'll say" part is really hard for me. There are long pauses in my teaching of silence. Which is bad for having the kids learn/practicing speaking. And it's also bad for keeping their attention. Apparently kids zone out if I'm quiet too long, and once they've gone off in their head, it's hard to get their attention back.
Distractions. They stress me out. Like, when I'm teaching a lesson, and the kids get distracted by something else in the book. I'm trying to focus on the Belle's horse, but they keep pointing at the wolves' eyes. What are they doing? They're messing with my lesson plan! I already had something going I wanted to say about the horse, but I didn't prepare for anything regarding the wolves. Or we have these tokens we give them when they say something we want them to say, but those tokens spill out of the token bags, and they all have to stop to pick up the tokens, and then class hasn't gone according to plan. Wah!!
It's mostly just the ILP program that stresses me out. And only sometimes. Sometimes I'm really excited for my lessons, and I do think several of the kids are really awesome, but it would appear that I like the trouble makers best. I'm just a backwards person. There's this one kid- Dave- I think he's one of the coolest kids in the group (unfortunately, he's just a trial student for now, so we might not get to keep him all semester). The other teachers think he's smart and everything, but they think he's a trouble maker and therefore they have a hard time with him. The other teachers all like William the best. They think he's adorable, and they love the way he mumbles when he repeats you. And he actually bothers me a bit. I don't know what they think is so cute about him, besides the fact that he's Chinese. Because he never pays attention when we're outside, and he doesn't seem to be making a real effort to learn English. But he's here all semester, and Dave, who actually appears interested in what's going on, might be gone after this week. Lame.
Also. Laundry here sucks. A lot. I'll do a load, and I know it's clean because I put in a TON of soap, and I'll hang it up to dry (we don't have dryers, we line-dry everything) and when I take it all down the next day or whatever, it still smells bad. Not in the same way as before I put it in the washer, but bad none the less. :(
These moments of doubt about "How did I get myself into this mess?" tend to go by pretty quick. I have an easy teaching life, and I love living here China. It's been a lot of fun, and I LOVE the markets. My roommates are all pretty cool. It's been fun. Generally, we can ignore the rantings of this post, because I love being here. But when I get stressed out, I get stressed out hardcore.
*of course, MJ+Chaelomen's kids, Frik+Carebear's kids (except Squirt sometimes), Berserk's kids, and probably Shinobi+Guildylock's kids all don't stress me out. I like them :) And the girls who used to live across the street. They were good. But I babysit a lot, and most of the kids drive me insane.

Sep 2, 2011


Turns out, I don't know how Skype works. I barely know my user name. I don't even think I know my password, although it wouldn't be hard to get it emailed to me again. I went to their website and everything, but since I'm in China, I can only find their Chinese website. Which wants me to pay to Skype. And I'm not interested in doing that, at all.

But I do know how google works. And if you were planning on Skyping with me, it would be infinitely easier for me if you wanted to google video with me. My most available times are weekdays between 10 pm and like 3 am MST. Or also weeknights between like 7 am and 10 am.

I am aware, btw, that I just used the term weekday to describe the middle of the night and weeknight to describe early in the morning, but that's how it is in China, so.

If you can't google video with me, and you can only skype with me, then I'll try to look at skype again, but it just confused me and made me mad :( Dislike. Google is always better. Haha.

***UPDATE: I have figured out how Skype works. And it might cut out less than Google Chat does. So, hit me up if you want to test oout my new Skype abilities with me :) ***

Aug 31, 2011

Ni Hao!

Hello from China, everyone! :) I love it over here (except for the hot weather AND hot humidity. One or the other would be fine, but what can you do)! Hong Kong was fun, but I was only there for 2 days and I accidentally left my camera in the apartment, except when we went to the Temple, so I've got some pictures of that. Plus a couple other random pictures of signs I saw in China that I liked :)

We don't currently have the internet in our apartment (which is gorgeous, btw) but we should get it today or tomorrow. When we do, I'll post a blog about our apartment and my awesome roommates. I took pictures, but I haven't transfered them to my computer yet.

Well. That's all I have. Ni hao! :)

*NOTE* It would appear that I can't upload pictures on blogger :( I don't know why. But if you want to see pictures, email me and I'll send some to you. Or you can just wait until I get back and look at all of them then.

Aug 20, 2011

It's what I was born for, isn't it?

So I'm not going to call this a hiatus because I expect that I'll still have time to blog from time to time, at rates similar to during school. But blogger is blocked in China, so I have to go through another website to get to it, and it's set up differently on this website, making it kind of awkward to blog. So, unfortunately, the awesome blogs will mainly come once a month, after I've gone on vacation.

Fortunately, though, I have access to email! So if you want to keep in touch with me that way, I will make sure to do that. I'm going to email Mom daily (assuming she emails me back), so it'll be easy to keep up with everyone. Or you can mail me, and I'll respond to that, too. I have plenty of envelopes.

If you don't have either my email address or my physical address, I probably don't want you to have them. And if that's not the case, facebook me and I'll let you know.

That being said, goodbye! :) You will all hear from me again probably between the 28th of Aug and the 1st of Sep. Hooray Hong Kong!

Aug 11, 2011

One Fortnight.

That's how long until I leave :)

So, originally I was going to Weihai. I'm sure we all remember the post, right? Really pretty? Well ILP gave me a call, which makes me very nervous. I'm quite worried they're going to call and tell me I can't go for some reason (substantial China disaster, had to cancel the program in my school and don't need me elsewhere). This isn't something I consciously worry about; I'm not paranoid about it. It's only when they call and right before I hit "answer" that I worry.

That's not the point. I'm still going to China. In a fortnight. They were calling me to ask if I'd be interested in switching schools/cities. So, as I said moments ago, I was going to Weihai, which only has one school in the city. But in Zhongshan (btw- Zh is pronounced like J, in case someone was curious how to say that) there's 4 schools. 3 schools? I don't know, multiple ones. And at the smallest one, they had a couple who was going and they just got married.
Unfortunately, there's no housing in Zhongshan to accomidate that kind of living situation.
Fortunately, there is in Weihai.

They told me about how it would be different. First off, there were 17 people (15 teachers, 2 headteachers) going to Weihai. I don't know how many people will be in Zhongshan in total, but in Nanlang (my new school) there will be 4 of us. 4. 3 teachers, 1 head teacher. The head teacher doesn't actually teach the kids, at least not on a regular basis, so that leaves 3 of us. We'll each be teaching 2 different classes a day.

Also different about Zhongshan- it's not right by the sea. It's more south (a little less than 50 miles east of Hong Kong). So it'll be hotter, but that's not too terrible. We won't be flying into Beijing, we'll be flying into Hong Kong. This is particularly important because our visas are not multiple entrance. So most of the people who go to China can't visit Hong Kong. But since that's where I'm flying into, and I won't have actually entered China yet, I get to take a 2-day vacation before going to work :)

I said yes, obviously. To switching cities. And I'm actually really excited to have a smaller group of teachers. I think it'll be harder, but definitely worth it. Plus, Weihai is kinda out there and alone, and there was only going to be one male there. So unless we were REALLY close to a branch, that would've made going to church really expensive (we would have had to pay for a bus every week if we wanted to go). But there will be more boys in Zhongshan, so even if the branch isn't close, we'll be able to still partake of the sacrament. Bonus!

I'm so excited :D It's going to be awesome.

Aug 2, 2011

When I get bored.

Once during class a couple semesters ago, I was really bored. I had given a presentation in English on my paper, and now I had to sit through a ton of other presentations and so I started drawing on the backs of my note cards. Then when I was bored in other classes, I drew more pictures, (mostly) all on the backs of notecards. So now, after months, they've all been scanned onto the computer and here they are :) Enjoy.

This was the first one. I don't draw awesome dinosaurs, but I love him anyway.

Number four.

The last one I did (number nine). I think it's my favorite.

Number six. And those things were intended to be fighting over the key, but it looks more like they're just trying to get it to the lock. Either way.

Number three.

Number two.

Number five. This was actually part of a larger picture I drew during trig on regular notebook paper. But I'm not sure where that is, and I don't quite remember what the whole picture was.

Number eight. It's hard to see, but there's a whale in the background just to the right and down a touch of the boat.

Number seven.

Jul 25, 2011

So close.

And yet so far.

I'm almost done with my summer classes :) I'm not really sure if everyone knew about those, but I took 3 this semester. Which is actually quite a lot for summer. I have Intro to Ethics, Language Logic and Persuasion, (both on Mon/Wed) and Abnormal Psychology (Tues/Thurs).

My MW classes are way easy. I love them. Ethics is really interesting and it mostly involves reading a couple pieces about a hot topic and writing a paper on them. It's a super interesting class, and I think my favorite topic we've discussed was euthanasia. I'm not going to go into details here because it would make my post far too long, but if anyone wants to talk about/debate it with me, I'm more than happy to. Logic is a really interesting class too. A lot of people think that it's not very logical, but it makes perfect sense to me. (For instance, this statement is true: If pigs can fly, then Denver is in Mexico. And that's not something that makes sense to a lot of people, apparently.)

Ab psych is pretty cool, too, but it's very involved. I watched the movie Shine and wrote a case analysis for it, and then I did 10 service hours at CHARG and am writing a paper for that. It's a lot of reading (at least 2 chapters a week) but it's really interesting.

the point of all this, though, is that finals are Wed and Thurs!
It's been a lot of fun, but I'm glad it's almost over.

Jun 28, 2011

Joy and sorrow are like milk and cookies.

That's how well they go together.

You know those links on the side of facebook for a bunch of crap you don't really care about? Well sometimes, those links are for something I do care about. That's how I got involved with ILP. And that's how I found out:

American Gods is being turned into a TV show!

It's said to air on HBO in maybe 2013. 6 seasons! Neil Gaiman will be the writer and executive producer. How exciting! I think 6 seasons is a long time to spread it out, but hopefully it will be awesome.

On a related note, I'd really like to see the mini series for Neverwhere.

(Anyone confused about joy/sorrow and milk/cookies? It's a quote from American Gods. page 447)

Jun 16, 2011

Can I just say.


In less than 2 months, I will not be living in America! Hahaha!


That's all I wanted to say. :)

(and I didn't actually want to say it, I wanted to shout it at the top of my lungs and jump up and down... I refrained, though. I'll save that level of excitement until later.)

Jun 12, 2011


This is a story I wrote last year for the same class as my Do You Feel Safe Yet paper. It was a multi-genre assignment. There's clearly room for improvement, but I put a lot of effort into it, so please enjoy :)

[Cover Page]



[Journal Entry]

Tuesday, December 17, 2115

I don't know what all the excitement is over. A chip that makes you know everything? I mean, it doesn't sound all that good. Something about it just seems so... I can't describe it. It just gives me a bad feeling. Maybe not bad, but certainly not good. I don't know. I just can't imagine why you'd really want to get one. Right, to know everything. Maybe I don't want to know everything. Is that so wrong? Is it really so hard to believe? And now I'm defending myself to myself. I need a vacation.

Taylor Jae Miller

[phone call]

-ring ring... ring ring... ring ring... ring-
Johnny- Hello?
Taylor- Hey, Johnny, it's me. How's it going?
Johnny- Good, good. How're you?
Taylor- I'm alright. I actually just called to check up on Mom and Dad.
Johnny- Umm they're fine. Why?
Taylor- Well they got those stupid Knowitall chips, right?
Johnny- Uh, yeah, I gue--but-- What do you mean stupid? These things are miracles. I--
Taylor- Johnny, you're kidding, right? Some doctor wants to cut open your head and put a computer chip in your brain and sew you back up. You call that a miracle?
Johnny- Tay, it's not that bad. It's a tiny surgery--
Taylor- It's brain surgery! How is that tiny?
Johnny- --it's a non-invasive surgery that the doctors do all the time. It's totally common place.
Taylor- Just because everyone does it doesn't make it a good idea. It's wrong! You can't just make everyone super smart!
Johnny- Why not? What's so wrong with making everyone equal?
Taylor- Johnny, it's not natural!
Johnny- But it's not harmful, either, Tay. Why is this so hard for you to understand? Maybe you should do your research for once in your life before you form an opinion about something.
(muffled through phone)
Mom- Who's on the phone, Johnny?
Johnny- It's Tay.
Mom-Oh, did you tell her you got your Knowitall?
Taylor- (whispered) Oh no. Not you too, Johnny.
Johnny- No, not yet. I tried to, but she freaked out about it. She thinks they're bad.
Mom- Bad? That's absurd. I've never heard of that before... Hang the phone up, Johnny.
Taylor- No, what? Johnny, don't ha--


[journal entry]

Wednesday, January 1, 2116

I can't believe this! Has the world gone completely insane? They've warped my own family! Johnny hung up on me, my baby brother. And why? My own mother told him to! I've tried calling again and they just reject my calls. My family and I have always been close. Now it's all gone. And for what? These stupid Knowitall chips. Those things are bad news, so why will no one believe me?

Haven't done my research, eh, Johnny? Well fine, then. I'll do it, and I'll show the world! Knowitalls need to be set aside. Once and for all.

Taylor Jae Miller

[FAQ web page]

[email conversation]
date:Jan 15, 2116
subject: I won't be stopped.

I hope this goes to the top. I hope Kyle Schwan, Brittney Jones, Amber Rye, and Damian Bock can see this. However, I find that improbable, so I'll tell whoever will read this.

These Knowitall chips are ridiculous. In no way can they possibly be a good idea. Cutting open someone's brain to insert a chip? Really? Then what? Turn us all into your robotic slaves? Well I won't fall for it. I will bring down this operation. I refuse to believe I'm the only one on the Earth against these chips, and whoever else is with me, we will take you down.

I tell you this so you know I'm not afraid of you. Take whatever precautions you think will help to stop me. It won't work, I'll tell you that. It won't work. You can tell the world what I'm saying and planning, because I will bring you down anyway. Without a chip, I will take you down. That is what the world will remember of me. That's what they'll see.

Forever against you,
Taylor Miller
date:Feb 4, 2116
subject: re Your unstoppability

Taylor Miller,

I would like to apologize for the length of time it took to return your email. Although, despite the three-week delay, you should consider yourself lucky. Your wish for your email to go to the top was granted. Being the only email received in the history of KIA chips to say anything negative, those answering the emails felt it important that the creators of the chips see the potential threat.

I regret to inform you that your plan to "bring this operation down" cannot work even under the best of circumstances. And seeing as you are one of one million eligible in the world who has not yet had the KIA chip inserted (most of which live in third world countries), it would seem unlikely for you to find others willing to join your cause.

Of course, we have notified the GRJ (Global Reinforcement Jurisdicment) of your intentions, which they will respond to as they see fit. What I mean to say is, don't be surprised when they show up at your house with a warrant or chase you with canines down the street as you run. But I must say, against my attorney's advice, that I appreciate your spunk. I think it's adorable that you think you can take us on.

Best of luck,
Amber Rye.
Also on behalf of
Brittney Jones
Damian Boch and
Kyle Schwan

[journal entry]
Monday, February 10, 2116

My email actually went to the top, which surprises me a little. But no GRJ interrogations or canine chases so far. I also noticed, however, that there were no denials in Amber's email about trying to turn the world into their robotic slaves. I mean, perhaps she just looked over it, but that is just not something I can make myself believe. That would be far too coincidental for me to buy.
Since you won't talk to me or communicate with me in any form, I will write you a letter. I don't do my research, eh? Well how do you like this? Amber, Kyle, Brittney and Damian all have their histories. Maybe not theirs, technically, but about three generations back, a huge history starts where their entire families belonged to the District 43 Black Company.
You heard me right, Johnny. That group we learned about in history. Worse than Hitler on WWII. They had their minions everywhere, stopping at nothing to take out everyone who either tried to stop them or who refused to join them. But you know the story and the tragic ending of how we barely had enough people left in the population to fit on the South American continent.
Until the All Creatures Belong ethics group finally stopped them. And I know-- that was generations ago. You probably think they changed. Well they haven't. On their web page they have a design for the chip. A picture, anyway. An encrypted picture to get really specific. This is where I wish I could get your help, Johnny. No one can solve an encrypted key like you can, and this one is particularly tricky. But I would bet that if you decode the message, it shows the real design of the Knowitall, revealing one major glitch. If only I could get my hands on one of the chips in real life, I could solve the problem. I could figure it out and District 43 Black

[warrant, and I've never seen one before, so don't judge]


This warrant issues the Global Reinforcement Jurisdicment the right to search Taylor Jae Miller, her apartment, car or any other personal properties for anything leading to the evidence of treason against the Knowitall Chip or its creators. In addition, upon finding said evidence, this warrant issues the Global Reinforcement Jurisdicment the right to arrest Taylor Jae Miller on the spot on the grounds of heresy toward Amber Rye, Brittney Jones, Damian Boch and Kyle Schwan. Any reluctance will further add to her fine and punishment.

[newspaper article- there are actually pictures that go with it, but I can't find out how to make it all fit together and not look retarded]


February 5, 2116


Yesterday, an attack against Knowitall was brought to light. Taylor Miller (left) wrong conspiracies against Knowitall in her journal (below) which she was prepared to bring to public view to try to get more to join her cause in taking down Knowitall and its creators. So far, none have joined her in her mission.

Miller does not yet have a KIA chip, against her parent's and family's wishes.

GRJ came to her apartment yesterday after Miller had sent a threatening email to the KIA creators. They caught her in the act of adding more conspiracies to her journal. She was in the middle of writing a letter to her brother, which she claims was never going to be sent. The GRJ has charged her for treason and heresy. Her trial will be conducted this Saturday, February 8th at the KRP Courthouse. For more updates on Miller's status, visit

[jury sentence]

We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of the crimes heresy and treason toward the Knowitall Chip creators and the world on all accounts.

[phone call]

-ring ring... ring ring... ring-

Amber- Amber Rye Speaking.

Damian- Hey, Amber. Did you read Taylor's journal?

Amber- Yeah, I did. Did you?

Damian- Yep. Kinda terrifying to know someone came so close to figuring out what were up to, isn't it?

Amber- Oh no kidding. Who's idea was it to encrypt the online chip with how the real chip is designed, anyway?

Damian- I have no clue. Good thing most people already have their chips and don't care about the design.

Amber- Amen. Especially the jury. Do you realize that if they had found enough people without chips to serve on the jury, we'd be the ones in prison right now?

Damian- Haha. I don't think they even looked for people without the chips.

Amber- Good thing, too. That's all I have to say.

Damian- Mm. So what do we do now?
Amber- you mean now that, in effect, we've taken over the world?

Damian- Exactly. We've got all these minions whose morals we can change to be whatever we want just by reprogramming the alpha chip.

Amber- I know. It's a wonderful thing, isn't it?

Damian- It is, it. Total unity in the world. But is that all we're going to do?

Amber- For now. I think I'm just going to take a vacation and watch everyone work. See our minions doing whatever it is that they do best.

Damian- I guess. Have you found out what they sentenced Taylor to?
Amber- I heard the judge put her to death.

Damian- Wow. That's pretty impressive.

Amber- Yes, well, if you have as much power as we do, the law will go a long way to make sure you're protected.

Damian- Fantastic.

Amber- It is, isn't it?


Well, that's the end of it. I think if I were to change anything, I might go back to my original idea of having Taylor end up in a mental institution. Also, there's a couple of plot kinks I'd improve. Like try to make it a touch more believable, but I got a total for 77 out of 70 points, so it's good enough for a school assignment.

Although, if you're ever in my presence and remember, you should ask to see the physical copy I have of it. It's pretty sweet- I made the journal :) Plus then you can see the news article in all its glory.

Jun 10, 2011

And both of them have typos.

I checked out a couple books from the library the other week, and today I finished the last of them. Supposedly they were both horror books, but I didn't think they were that scary. Maybe I'm just not easily scared? I never really thought that was the case. I wish I could just find a good book that scares the living daylights out of me.

The first one I read was Hide and Seek by Jack Ketchum (which is important to specify, because that's apparently a fairly common book title). Super quick read, only 164 pages. It's told in first person, and it's about this guy named Dave, I think. Maybe it was Dan. The first half is about how he meets these 3 kids (2 girls, one guy) who are staying in his town for the summer. They all become friends, but they're definitely a bad influence on him. Mostly it's just set up for the 2nd half of the book, which is where they decide to play a game of hide and seek in an abandoned and rumored to be haunted (although Dave/Dan starts a couple of those rumors himself) house at midnight.

The scariest it gets, imo, is when he's in the basement looking for one of the girls and he can't see anything. Obviously, since it's supposed to be a horror book, something bad happens to him, so most of the fright comes from trying to guess what's waiting down there for him. But eventually you find out what happened down there in the basement, and then the rest of the read isn't scary, it's just kinda vicious. Overall though, I liked it. I thought it had a good plot and it was written well enough.

My second book that I just finished this morning is called Last Days by Brian Evenson. It's also a pretty short book, though longer than Hide and Seek. It has a really nice writing style to it. The story is told very smoothly, and the beginning hooked me in very well. It's about a cop who gets his hand cut off and then a Brotherhood of Mutilation tries (and succeeds) to get him to temporarily join with them so he can solve a murder. It's really interesting, I imagine that Berserk would like it. Although, under no circumstances would I have called this book a horror. It's kinda creepy in the too-religious-and-cult-like way, since there are these two "brotherhoods" that think it's holy to remove a body part, and one of them thinks the more you remove, the holier you are, but I wouldn't call it scary. The ending gets kinda messed up in a psychotic way. There's a lot of killing and it's very bloody, but there's not a lot of detail in the description of the bodies or the actual act of killing. So the faint-of-stomach could still handle it. Probably.

Next I'm on to reading some of the books that were actually on my list before, instead of getting new ones :)

And congratulations to Maku and Missa. In 15 minutes, they should officially have a house.

Jun 6, 2011

Don't get the chips.

Did everyone get a chance to read my story that I wrote last year about Knowitall Brain Chips?

If not, I'm working on finding a way to put it up on Blogger. That way everyone can read it because I put a lot of time into it, and only a couple of you got to actually read it.

Generally, it's about these brain chips that science has come up with to put on your brain (go figure) and it makes you smarter.

Well, today in Intro to Ethics, the professor was telling us about how science is actually coming out with these microchips (and this isn't the first I've heard of it) that you can get for different things. If you're bad at math, you can get one to make you better. They've got them for a ton of different things, apparently.

So, what I'm really trying to say is when they come out for the public to get implanted, everyone should not go for it. Soon (ish) I'll post my story, but until then, you'll just have to trust me, since I can apparently see the future.

Don't get the chips!

May 25, 2011

I have an addiction.

Books. It's a serious problem. I've been buying quite a lot recently.

And by "quite a lot," I mean 4 in the course of a couple weeks. (And by "I've been buying," I mean I only bought two, my wonderful and awesome mom bought the other two.) Have I read them all? No. I have a rather large list of books that I've been meaning to read since the semester started.

And by "rather large," I mean between 15 and 20, depending on how you count them.

The four books I've gotten recently are:
-Black Water Rising by Attica Locke, which I haven't started yet
-*Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales, I read about 11 of the fairy tales before I got distracted
-*The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, I'm a little more than 1/3 through
-Secrets of the Freemasons by Michael Bradley, I skimmed in the bookstore but have been preoccupied with other books since

(The * means that I've been reading it recently enough that I would be able to continue from where I was in the story versus starting over. However, Bourne Identity is the only one I've read in the past few days.)

And here's the list of books that I've been wanting to read since February or so. Any that I can cut out?
-*A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
-*Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor, which is the last of the Looking Glass Wars trilogy. Really good.
-*Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
-Harry Potter 4, 5, 6 and 7 by JK Rowling
-Old Man's War by John Scalzi, which has a plot opposite to Ender's Game
-The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card
-The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper, though perhaps I wouldn't read this in one sitting
-Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
-Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, which is actually a short story collection
-Dancing Wu Li Maters, which I started in 10th grade and thought it was really interesting
-Sorcerers and Seers by Chris Heimerdinger, but I'm waiting until the last book for that series comes out to read it
-Plus a couple of trilogies that Berserk's mentioned that I want to read- His Dark Materials, and The First Law Trilogy.

On top of that, I can't stop recommending books to people, regardless of if they're readers or not. I lent 3 of the most awesome books I've ever read to one of my friends, plus the first Dean Koontz book I read which I liked a great deal.
-The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
-Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
-Velocity by Dean Koontz
-Life of Pi by Yann Martel

And then MJ's also borrowing my copy of The Looking Glass Wars (which is the "true story" of Alice in Wonderland. Or, more accurately, Alyss in Wonderland).

If anyone could find me a job where I can read books and then review them, that would be perfect. You would complete my life.

Apr 30, 2011

He's been born!

And by "he," I'm of course referring to the actor who will play Ender.

I should be asleep. I know. But today I was looking at status updates on facebook, and I learned that Neil Gaiman is going to be making an adult version of The Graveyard Book (which I'm really excited for. The children's book was pretty good).

Now I know what you're thinking. Or at least I know what you should be thinking. Neil Gaiman didn't write Ender's Game, so what does he have to do with anything.

Well, the question's been brought up by pretty much everyone who's read it: Will there be a difference between the adult version of The Graveyard Book and the children's edition, or is it going to be the exact same story, just with a different cover. Of course, Gaiman hadn't answered the question (yet) on facebook, so I turned to google to find an answer.

What I found instead was about 4 or 5 minutes of Gaiman reading The Graveyard Book. I've always thought it was cool to hear how the author wanted the tone of the book to be read. So, with my intense love of Ender's Game, I tried finding a snippet of Orson Scott Card reading Ender's Game. I didn't find anything too promising on google, so I turned to youtube.

When I went to type "orson scott card reading ender's game," the suggested search came up for "orson scott card ender's game movie" and that seemed potentially more interesting. What I found was Card talking about the progress being made in the production of the movie, and I'm really excited now :D

Also, speaking of books being made into movies, I'm really excited for Hunger Games to be made into a movie. I approve of the actors chosen for the characters so far.