Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pumpkin Party

Here in China, they take some things very seriously. Some of those things include families, respect, dumplings, and… Halloween. Most of China doesn't celebrate Halloween, but when they do, they go all out. Last weekend we had a big pumpkin carving party with the kids and it was a lot of fun. It was exciting to get all dressed up with the other teachers. And it was fun to see the cute little kids all excited running around and doing face pain on their cute tiny hands. Not very many kids showed up, but it was still a ton of fun and actually helped cut down on the craziness. Now onto our haunted house which is in a week… that's scary!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Best View of the House

The Shanghai skyline! The Bund is the largest TV tower in China and it looks pretty weird but also pretty cool. Because we went there on the busiest day of the year (literally) it was a bit of a task getting to where we could actually see the skyline rather than the back of people's heads. The pushing, shoving, and putting my bag under my shirt to keep from getting robbed was worth it in the end. It is a gorgeous skyline!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What I am thinking...Elephant Style

Ok, I gotta take a selfie of me on this elephant. You can't really see the elephant in the picture but that's ok

Wahoooooo no hands! This isn't scary and this will be a cute picture.

Yusssss I'm wearing my elephant pants that's so perfect!

Cool. I get to feed this elephant! He'll love me forever.

Oh my gosh, I did it! He took the carrot!

Oh. My. Gosh. I'll buy more carrots and feed it with my mouth!!

I'm kissing an elephant. This is the most exciting thing I've ever done. I love China.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mid Autumn Moon Festival

Our pre-dance selfie. The school had us preform the hokey pokey and "if you're happy and you know it" with our students on stage in front of about 600 people… so fun! And actually quite nerve racking. Totally worth it though!

 All these seats were filled, plus many, many people standing. It was a full house! 

I won a moon cake eating contest on stage in front of the aforementioned 600 people… that's what you get for being an exuberant American that raises her hand without hesitation! I won a selfie stick and a water bottle… good win!After I got on stage I remembered that moon cakes are really not my favorite. Thankfully the ones for the competition were super yummy! No black means or suspicious meat inside.... Thank goodness. I'm a fairly adventurous eater but I don't like hidden surprises. 

Our super cute student dancing their little hearts out. I love these kiddos!

Where the Rice Rows Grow

So one amazing thing about China, and Guilin and Yangshou in particular, is how they grow rice. They have a lot of people to feed and not enough land, so they literally grow rice on the side of mountans. The thing is- rice grows in water, not just in the ground. Solution? Rice terraces! 
Rice terraces are like stairs of water, and so beautiful! Last time I was in China I was disappointed I never got a chance to go to Yangshou, so when I had the opportunity to go this year I was estatic! Yangshou truly lived up to my imagination, it was just so wonderful. When taking the bus to the rice terraces, I was surprised at how far up the mountain we had to go. It was a long, misty, and windy road to get there, but worth it!
One fun thing that happened while at the terrace was me getting separated from my group. I have asthma, so that combined with the high altitude made the hike up the terraces not particularly fun [or possible]. I decided to sit down and tell Brenna to go on without me, but after a few minutes I realized how worn out I was. Long story short, I was separated from them for about three hours before being happily reunited, bought six scarves, and made friends with a plenty of interesting people. I'll have to write up the long version of the story, or just put my video documentary of the whole even together… it's pretty impressive. 

The greenest place I've ever been!

Rice: up close and personal.

Toxic Toads

The awkward moment when.… a few weeks ago, I saw some really cute frogs hopping around outside our apartment, so I of course had to pick them up. I have always loved frogs, so I was excited to learn that we had some living near by. Tonight I was outside and Kallie pointed to the ground and was all excited because there was two adorable ones hopping around. I made a dive for them and was super excited to walk around holding the cute little froggies. After a minute, I showed an older chinese woman and she smiled and told me the Chinese name for them. But then when I showed her them again but more in the light, she gasped, told me a different name for them, and started urgently telling me to wash my hands. Turns out, the frogs are actually poisonous and shouldn't be picked up. When I told Daisy the story she said "Oh, well yes, people here don't pick up frogs…"  Moral of the story is don't pick up frogs no matter how cute they are. 

**Update. Found out this creature was a toad, not a frog. His name is also Todd. I saw Todd hoping around outside and it broke my heart I couldn't pick him up. Poor Todd, he needs love.**

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Train to Guilin

Train rides... I've been on a few, and they're always interesting. Some highlights always include:
Everyone on the train taking pictures of us. 
Everyone on the train surrounding us as we tell them about our lives and teach them English. 
Everyone laughing at us as we awkwardly look for the bathroom. 

So as you can assume, all of the above happened to me during our 7.5 hour ride last night. 

When we got on the train, it was a little tricky to find our seats. Mostly because it was just so crowded you had to push through the crowds. Once we found our seats, we discovered that we were a little spread out. We were within talking distance (well, shouting distance) but we were all mixed in with the Chinese people on the train. After about 5 hours I broke the ice with the people across from me who spoke a tiny bit of English. They were some nice guys who were both 20. By the end of the train ride I had shown them a bunch of pictures of my family and life and they had shown me pictures of their girlfriends. It was so funny! I love "talking" to people on trains because it shows that even if you can hardly speak any words to each other, you still can be friends and have fun together.