Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hiatus

Where shall I begin...

Obviously, I took some time away from the blog... and facebook and a million other things and now due to facebook demands from a great friend of mine (who happens to be an INCREDIBLE photographer: Brittany Wong), I am blogging despite how tired I am at the moment.

Sunday the 23rd was my beautiful sister's 18th birthday.  Of course, I'm 8,000 miles away and couldn't be with her sadly, but my Chinese sister, Jenny, turned 18 just a week before and I was lucky enough to spend Sunday with her.  We went to her (now our) favorite ice cream place, did some shopping, and went to the park and acted like the little kids we always say we are.  It was perfect.  That girl is seriously my other half out here.  Her english is incredible, we can share the little details of our lives w/ each other, we joke, we talk about our futures, she teaches me Chinese, and sometimes I have to teach her Chinese.  Haha.  The girl is an absolute blessing and I don't know what I'd do w/out her this year.  one day you'll all meet her because she IS coming to America soon no matter what I have to do to get her there.
We sat at a table w/ a few 5 year olds.  Yeah, we're that cool.

Remember my new schedule?  Teaching 3 days a week and tutoring 2?  Well let's up that now.  I started 2 new classes this week: American Culture & Oral English for sophomores.  43 students in those classes.  Same group, 2 different days.  It should be fun.  I have also had all of my students now.  1 class of 3rd year students, 2 classes of sophomores and 3 freshmen classes.  Lots of new faces to learn.  Lots of opportunities.
Almost all of my classrooms look like this.  Surprisingly, I never get nervous standing up there!
No small group last week or this week.  Last week something came up in school for them and this week is a holiday... which I'll get to in another post probably.

On Wednesday I got to go to the hot springs just outside of town.  I've only been to hot springs once, in Colorado a few years ago.  But this is China and things here are always different.  I had no clue what to expect.  It was great though.  Huge pool.  Cool evening.  Warm water.  It was super relaxing.  My boss invites me every week now and I think it's only 20 RMB to get in so I plan on going as often as I can.  I LOVE swimming and getting to go to hot springs in China is something I plan to take advantage of. (Sorry about the terrible pictures.  I took them on my phone right before I left.)

Friday (only 5 days of no blog and look how much has happened).  On Friday I got to skype my grandparents for the first time.  They came over to my parents house and I got to talk w/ all 4 of them for about an hour.  My grandpa just had open heart surgery this morning so I needed to make sure I got to see him and talk to him and basically tell him that he needed to behave and not be stubborn because I expect a lot out of him (he owes it to me since he always cheats when we play games).  That was the best start to my day!  It was SO great to see them and hear their voices.  I have the best grandparents ever!  [UPDATE: Surgery went well.  They did what they needed to do thankfully.  They should have woken him up about 4 hours ago, so hopefully soon I'll know how he's feeling.  Keep 'thinking' of him please.] 

While I was skyping them, I got a call from my boss who wanted to take me to see how moon cakes are made (major festival just happened and moon cakes are the popular treat).  He picked me up and took me to this place that makes moon cakes 2 weeks out of the year.  People call in, she makes them, they sell out instantly.  My boss bought me my first big moon cake filled w/ bean paste.  That may sound gross, I know, but it's quite delicious.  It's really sweet and, because she makes it fresh, it's delicious!  That was a shorter trip than we expected so we went to his in-laws house to drop off some moon cakes.  They were at their noodle factory so we headed over there.  It's this patch of rural China in the middle of a normal looking city.  We walked into this little gate and BAM.  This is what I saw.
They bring the noodles in here and dry them with a fan to make sure they don't curl at all. 
My boss decided he wanted to take some noodles so we walked back to the in-law's house and made lunch.  I say 'we' because he always has me help.  I'm slowly learning to cook Chinese food and I LOVE it!  The thing on top of the food is this mushroom thing that's specific to my province.  It's delicious.  I'll miss it.

So that was most of my week.  Sunday was the Mid-Autumn Festival.  It's the second biggest holiday in China.  It deserves its own post.  That'll come soon.  Maybe not tonight though.

One week of no blogging = way too many pictures to upload. I guess more exciting things happen in a week than I thought.  

Still living and loving life in China.  Can't believe month 4 starts tomorrow!

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