Well, hello little blog after a short hiatus! I thought I had purchased a VPN so that I could freely use the internet. (facebook, blogger, and other social networking things are blocked over here). Well it turns out that I was actually on a free trial and the trial ended so I have been without internet communication for awhile. I finally got it back up and running last night. whoohoooo freeeedomoomomo.
Well the last week has been incredibly eventful.
Last Monday two of my classmates who live in Shanghai surprised me with a visit!
On Thursday I set out to Shenzhen to see The Crew (my dearest classmates and traveling buddies). I bought a ticket for the 17 hour journey but did not realize that I had bought a STANDING ticket and would not have a seat. Luckily, Chin.ese people are highly amused by large redheads who speak crappy Chin.ese and shared seats with me most of the journey. I only stood from the 3-5am hours and mostly because I wanted to let those poor people sleep. It was a fun experience traveling alone under such uncomfortable circumstances. Another memory for the grandkids, that's for sure.
Here is me and the sweet 18 year old girl who shared her seat with me for hours and hours. She gave me a hair clip and is traveling to Shenzhen to find a job because she "has difficulty". She slept on my shoulder in the night time and I really hope that wherever she is today, that she is employed and at peace.
The weekend was spent in Shenzhen (the Mainland city that borders Hong Kong). I got to follow J around her school and meet her awesome friends. We KTV'd on Friday and went out dancing on Saturday for Halloween. Sunday we went for a hair wash at J's favorite salon. Hair washes are life changing and this was the best place I have been to in Ch.ina. (not that I've been to that many....but seriously...it was awesome). We laid down on a bed thing and little Chinese men washed our hair and massaged us then blow dried our hair straight. It's a dream.
Here's me and the girls at KTV on Friday:
Well, Sunday night I had a flight back to Hangzhou because I have 8am classes. I packed all my bags and said my goodbyes and rushed to the airport with barely enough time to make it. I ended up missing the check in time and had to wait in line to try to change my flight. I thought it might all be ok because there was another flight to Hangzhou at 10pm. Well, after much hullabaloo and me surprising myself with my ability to change a flight ticket in Chinese (Hallelujah PTL), they ended up holding the flight for me. I went to the VIP security line and begged to go to the front, only to fin out that I had forgotten my passport and my foreign expert certificate was not valid enough to fly. So I left the airport wondering how the heck I would get home.
I met the girls for hotpot dinner and one of them had the brilliant idea to go to the 24 hour spa. After the shenanigans at the airport I was all for it! We got oil massages and then took a relaxing dip in the hot pool. The only thing about the hot pool is that to enter it, you wear one-time use paper underwear and bras. Paper. White paper. I am a large American. Don't picture it, but the experience is too hilarious not to share. The four of us girls, two Chi.nese, two American, sat around in the pool in our see-through paper undies and laughed. It was worse than the spa in Korea where everyone is naked. Because in Korea they are bigger people and not so critical of foreigner's bodies, and I think it's better to be naked than in a see-through, ill-fitting, paper bra. Oh, Ch.ina. At one point J looked at me and said, "how can we blog about this?!" Well, this is my meager attempt. No words can ever express the hilarity of Chi.na life.
I ended up canceling my classes on Monday and taking a 22 hour bus from Shenzhen to Hangzhou. The bus was disgusting, but after so long it began to feel like home. I refused to use the blankets because I thought I would catch a disease, and one of the 3 drivers pulled out the lining of the blankets and gave it to me, since it was clean. The drivers treated me to lunch and we chit-chatted as we drove. They gave me the front bed because it is the longest. I felt a little bad getting given so many privileges because I think they noticed my inner hissy fit about the state of the bus when I boarded. I boarded the bus at 9am on Monday, and exited at 7:30am on Tuesday. I arrived in Hangzhou, took a cab home, and had enough time to brush my teeth and change my clothes before I got on a school bus to Xiasha to teach my classes. It was a whirlwind but I was just happy to be home, safe, and laughing at the experience.
This week I am teaching my students international proverbs. I have proverbs from many different countries and we are going over them and then they are presenting them to the class in interesting ways. One of their favorites is, "Every cloud has a silver lining" because they interpret it as "every person has something special about them." I like this different interpretation. An interesting thing is that most of my students do not agree with this quote, "The older a person becomes, the more beautiful life is." They think that when you are old, you have experienced the harshness of life and you are not young and naive anymore, so how can life be beautiful? Interesting perspective. I think it'd kind of sad.
Tomorrow I will be working on my thesis all day and then Friday I am leaving on (another) train with one of my students who invited me to her hometown for the weekend.
It never stops. Life is not boring, that is for sure, but boy could I use a 45 hour nap.
Also, I have quit diet coke. Cold Turkey. All coke/carbonated products to be exact. I have no grand scheme or reason for this action. It began as an idea for a fast to become closer to Gawd, but then I decided just to discipline myself off of it all together. It is not about health or weight, it is just about me wanting to discipline myself. I said no more, and I am sticking to it. It has been 10 days. Sometimes the headaches are unbearable, so I keep powder coffee in my house for those moments when I think I might explode or my eyes might cross together. But so far, so good! Zai Jian my beautiful bubbly beverage, we will never meet again.