Friday, October 29, 2010

Word of the Week: Xian Guang

I'm pretty sure for the last three months, I have been running through life. Sometimes it feels like I hardly have time to take a second to breathe throughout the day. I could probably learn a thing or two from my elderly neighbors. At dusk, you can find the grandpas and grandmas of the apartment complex taking walks around the neighborhood at a snail's pace with their hands clasped behind their backs. It is endearingly called "Xian Guang," or the pleasant stroll. I love seeing them just unwinding from their busy days and enjoying the evening air. It is a great reminder of how much I do need to take my own pleasant stroll every once in awhile when the chaos of living life over here gets to be a little overwhelming.

"There's a Chinese family in our bathroom."

A few weekends ago, we got to visit one of our neighboring cities with Western food and an IKEA -- Cheng Du!! It was a wonderful little break from our city. We spent most of our time at Ikea, and while we were there I kept thinking of the Ikea scene from the movie "500 Days of Summer." As you watch the clip, I think you'll see what I mean...It's the fourth one on the site.

After a couple of hours of speed shopping and decision making, Miller, April, and I came away with lamps, chairs, a rug, and some kitchen utensils! We could not be more excited about those purchases. I think our mothers would be proud!

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Wild Bill Right Over!

Wild Bill, or "WB" as I have dubbed him, cannot quite be fully explained unless you see him in person. But let's just say he keeps all of us entertained each time we head over to the main shopping and eating area of our town. Wild Bill can be frequently seen red-rovering couples, drinking teas dug out of the trash can, and running aimlessly down the street. Most recently, he has mustarded up the courage to pat both Anna B and Miller on the back! Eeeekkk!!

you can stand under my SUNbrella, ella, ella...

On those rare days when the sun shines, you can bet that almost every girl will be carrying around a sunbrella! In this culture, the girls try to keep their skin as light as possible. They even have skin products here that lighten skin color! Check out some sunbrellas in all their glory...

Hey, I'll take a sunbrella over an umbrella any day of the week!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wish Upon a Strawberry

It's funny how things can change within a year. Since I was here last summer, many things have changed. Lots more buildings have been built, construction of a subway system into the city has started, and my favorite tea shop has closed. Sometimes it feels like I have never been here in my life, and other times it feels exactly the same as how I left it...

In many tea houses and restaurants, people will stick post-it notes on the walls with their wishes on them. Last summer, some of my friends and I posted our wishes on the wall of a favorite tea house. I thought it was a really fun and unique way to fit into the culture. We went around and explained what we wished for, and it was just so neat.

The other day, Anna and I went to that same tea house to get out of the heat for a little while. I wondered if my post-it note would still be there, but doubted it since had been over a year...Well, to my surprise, my little pink strawberry post-it note was exactly where I had left it! What are the odds of that?! I could not even tell you how excited I was -- what an awesome reminder that no matter how much things have changed, there is One who cares about every little detail and will be the steady constant in all the many changes of life.

Chinese Take-Out

Since I was a little girl, I have never liked Chinese food. When Dad use to bring it home for dinner, I would pull my shirt over my nose and go eat Burger King in my room. I just could not stand it.

Well this past week, we hit a milestone. I had Chinese take-out for the first time in my life.

The boys got take-out from Momma G's, which in and of itself is hilarious. I don't think Chinese restaurants around here have truly mastered the art of take-out like American Chinese places have. The boys had quite the time transporting our fare. haha. But we so much appreciated eating in. We even thought that the food tasted better because we were in our own apartment.

Maybe, just maybe, when I get home this summer, I won't make Dad stop at Burger King for me when the family wants Chinese.

Dinner by Flashlight

One night a couple of weeks ago, the girls went to Momma G's for dinner. All of the sudden while we were eating our food, the lights in the whole place went out. And it was pitch black.

Fortunately, Miller, Lauren and I had our handy cell phones with flashlights to shine a little light on the subject. And the sweet owners brought the only flashlight in the whole restaurant for us to use. Let me tell you. Eating with chopsticks in the dark is not an easy feat. Especially when I can barely eat with them in the broad daylight. Haha. This place is FULL of unexpected surprises!

Word of the Week: Ting Shui

I thought it might be beneficial to include posts every now and then that enhance your vocabulary and give you more insight to the culture. So, the inaugural word of the week is Ting Shui, pronounced "Ting Sh-way." It literally means "stop water," and that's what happens over here. Randomly, the water will just be cut off with absolutely no warning. You realize just how much you rely on water when you don't have it for an extended period of time. Last weekend, ting shui went on for 48 hours, and let's just say it wasn't pretty.

Lesson learned here. Take a shower whenever you can. You never know when your next one might be.

The Year of the Tiger

So, this year is the Year of the Tiger! Pretty fitting for a group of people that loves Auburn A. WHOLE. LOT. Don't ya think? We have done a few things to make living over here somewhat feel like home.

For instance, we have named several establishments around the city after our beloved Auburn.

The restaurant closest to our apartments is now lovingly known as "Momma G's."

We go to class in the "Haley Center"--a huge building that anyone could easily get lost in.

The bus system we take has been referred to as the "Tiger Transit," although you can't track it online unfortunately.

Gamedays are really bittersweet for us here. It's so fun to be together watching our team from across the world, but at the same time it is sad to be so far removed. The last couple of games, we all rolled out of bed around 6:30 or 7:00 Sunday morning to watch kick-off. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and chips have been replaced with biscuits, waffles, and bacon. Orange and blue dresses and polo shirts have been replaced with orange and blue pajamas. It is quite a sight to behold!

No matter how far away we may be, we believe in Auburn and LOVE it!

"To me Auburn is not in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn is the people who care about Auburn, the people who love Auburn. Wherever they are, that’s Auburn. Auburn is in your heart."

-Reggie Torbor

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"it's like a vacation...but it's not!"

well, i've been here in east asia for three weeks now, and i think one of the things i am really having to tell myself is that this is not just a short six-week trip like last summer...this is my life for a year! ahhhh! it's hard to wrap my mind around that concept at times, but i am really excited about what the year has in store. my apartment is starting to feel more like home with newly hung curtains and picture frames. we are learning how to buy food and ingredients at the grocery store and use our asian appliances to make american meals. the group is getting to know each other better each day and we laugh all the time. class starts next week and i am looking forward to learning the language, so i can communicate with the locals. as much as an adjustment it has been, i feel incredibly blessed to be here!