Sunday, January 2, 2011

hoppy year of the rabbit!

xin nian kuaile!
i can't believe it is 2011 already! the year of the rabbit! time sure does fly when you are having fun, and i sure did have a lot of it this year.

from teaching and traveling around europe,

to graduating from auburn,

to standing beside my best friend on her wedding day,

to living life in china,

i have been amazingly blessed by all i have had the opportunity to see, experience, and learn!

i rang in the new year with a spontaneous haircut! my first one since i left atlanta in august! i was a little nervous because of the language barrier, but it turned out really cute!

i counted down to the new year with millions of my closest friends! it was hilarious. here are some pictures of the very chinese celebration!

may your 2011 be full of much immeasurable amounts of love and joy!

'tis the season to be merry!

We had so much fun celebrating Christmas! We had lots of fun parties with friends from other parts of the city! Here are a few pictures from our White Elephant and Christmas Eve parties!

Christmas Day was spent just with the classes here in the University Town! And we have 3 newest additions! Welcome Home Chris, Anne Marie, and Baby Maddox! What a wonderful gift for us to finally have them here!

On Christmas Day, we got up and cooked until about 10:30 when we had a BIG brunch, complete with Jeff's omelettes, Anne Marie's cinnamon rolls, muffins, my fruit salad (requested again!), bacon, and MORE!

Then, we had a relaxing day watching Christmas movies and TV shows, playing games, lounging around on the "Big Green." :)

In the evening, we opened our Secret Santa gifts and stocking stuffers. My Secret Santa Phillip was so sweet to get me a Starbuck's Travel Mug and a verse written in Chinese!

Although it was much harder being away from my family on Christmas Day this year, I felt lots of love from everyone at home calling me, skyping me, and e-mailing me! Y'all are the best!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I love y'all!


Our Thanksgiving was just so wonderful. I was really worried about being away from my family, but I felt a real peace about being here...

On the morning of Thanksgiving Day, we woke up and made a yummy breakfast of hot chocolate, pancakes and bacon. Our neighbors from upstairs, Phil and Owen, came to join us and it was really fun. Then, we started cooking!! I felt so grown-up making food for Thanksgiving. I made (and ate) my first ever Sweet Potato Casserole. It turned out GREAT! And I also made our family's favorite fruit salad, which was exactly what I needed to make it taste like I was at home.

For dinner, we put three tables together at Nolan, Matt, and Jeff's and all 13 of us ate dinner together. Anna made name places for us and we had candles on the table and festive Thanksgiving plates. While watching dinner, we had on a football game that was downloaded from the week before.

The one rule for Thanksgiving was "No T-shirts Allowed." haha. So, we all dressed up! Everyone looked really nice...especially our sweet boys!

After dinner, we all sat around and enjoyed each other's company and watched "A Christmas Carol" to start off the Christmas season.

I am so thankful for all the many blessings I have been given, especially the opportunity to live here and the incredible people I am experiencing this year with!

a picture tells a thousand words.

therefore, no captions needed.

miss scarlet with

I haven't dressed up and had this much fun for Halloween since I was a kid! My class dressed up as the characters from the board game Clue and we all had a fake weapon, too. We looked really great, if I do say so myself. Haha.

Matt as Professor Plum with the Candlestick
Miller as Mrs. Peacock with the Dagger
Nolan as Reverend Green with the Wrench
Anna as Ms. White with the Rope
Me as Miss Scarlet with the Revolver
Jeff as Colonel Mustard with the Lead Pipe
April as the Confidential envelope!

On Halloween night, we went into the city and ate at Papa John's! What a treat! Other classes from our city came, as well --- the Smurfs and the crew from Harry Potter!

You can be assured that we drew a crowd...maybe not so much the Clue characters--that doesn't really translate too well, but Harry Potter was HUGE!

shengri kuaile!!

we have had lots and lots of birthdays this semester! and since we are family/friends/everything else rolled into one, we always have a big celebration!

1o.21 phillip's birthday
eating chinese barbeque

10.27 anna's birthday
cowboys and indians party

11.5 owen's birthday
he celebrated with his class on their weekend getaway!
(sorry, no pics!)

12.16 haviland's birthday
elf party

12.22 miller's birthday
night in and night out on the town

12. 24 nolan's birthday/christmas eve
dinner and cake at his favorite restaurant

our dam cruise!

So, I couldn't help but quote Chevy Chase from Summer Vacation (and my family) when we went on our Three Gorges Dam Cruise in October..."Here are the dam restrooms. Let's take a dam picture..." haha. That never gets old.

Well, I can't really describe in words what my first ever cruise experience was like...but let's just say that it included a PA system in each room with 6 am wake-up calls, a bathroom/shower combo, and lots of instant noodles...

Here are a few pictures from the trip...Enjoy!

Me, Matt, Jeff, and Miller on the Dragon Boat at around 7 am

Our Humble Abode

Me, Miller, Jessica, Haviland, Anna, April at one of our stops

Me, Lauren, and Anna in front of the world's largest dam!!