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 :) ***