Jul 29, 2010

freak job nut case.

I've been a freak-job-nut-case for the past 24 hours over a boy who hasn't been mine for over 10 months.

I'll spare you the details.

This brings me to my idea of the day: I want to write a book about dating in China. It would be so entertaining. I imagine a cover with a bouquet of sparkly stuffed bears a la Asia and a title somewhere along the lines of: You Had Me at Karaoke: And Other Tales of Asian Love or Honey, I Burned the Rice, Again. This is now being added to my life list of "awesome fun things to maybe do in your lifetime if you feel like it, but no pressure." (I don't believe in bucket lists).

I emailed a friend and she responded with a perfectly appropriate (possibly googled) response from a fave childhood sitcom:

"Maybe part of loving is learning to let go."

-the wonder years. (classic, eh?)

Let that soak in awhile. I know I am.

Walk slow. xoxo.

Jul 28, 2010


Lately I've been helping my mom prepare for the beginning of the new school year. Summer went by way too fast! I'm going to miss having my mom around while she's at work. Since we came back from China 4 weeks ago, it's been "Jessica and mom's great adventure." We fill our days with randomness and it's been really wonderful to relax and be together.

Today at mom's work, (3rd grade), as I sticky-tacked, scissored, and stapled; my thoughts drifted to my PhD thesis (I'm weird). I just got to thinking about how colorful my mom's classroom is. It's vibrant and encouraging for children's imagination, creativity, and wonder. It's presh. I won't completely bore you to death with the random thoughts I have about education, culture, blah blah blah. I've just been getting nervousioso about starting school again in September after several months off - so I've been mulling over my proposal in my head at the most random times. Poor mom having to listen to me, ha.

BUT I do want to show you this precious video I took in 2009. This is the primary school across from my apartment for the past 2 years. As an assignment in my masters program I had to observe English classes of different age groups. My classmate just walked into this school and asked them if we could go in. They told us to come back the next day. After a random, half-understood in Chinese meeting with the principle, we ended up being excorted to the back of this 3rd grade classroom...

The kids were learning the colors in English and were using a computer graphic as a teaching aide. As they said a color, they would paint a little man on the screen. They kept painting the man's face yellow - as opposed to white or black. Sitting here in Amer.ica, I realize this wasn't the most politically correct thing to laugh about - but at the time it was hilarious to us as the kids kept painting the man a flourescent shade of banana. ha. It was entertaining to say the least.

"Red and blue, they are wonderful when you are children, yah." Fun. Cute. Ha.

Notice how many kids there are in the classroom and the way the classroom is set up - highschool style. Very unlike my mom's class of the same age kids. The red bandannas around some of their necks are symbols that that child has been tapped to be a member of the Comm. Party when they are older. Each year is a chance to gain or lose the 'danna based on behavior, grades, yadda yadda.

I had to come home and re-watch this video just for fun after a day in mom's classroom. Hope you like it too.

Walk Slow. xoxo.

Jul 20, 2010


Dear passengers in Delta flight *** seats 29 A and C - leaving tomorrow for Seoul via Detroit and Tokyo,

You're Welcome.

I'm glad to give you the extra leg room.

That middle seat is mine, but I won't be needing it. I'm staying home a little while longer. Because of complicated immigration laws passed in July, I can't join you in this overseas journey - but no worries, I'll be joining you in Asia in a month.

Give Ko.rea a big kiss for me. And tell her I hope to visit again someday. Make sure you eat bim bim bop, go to the DMZ, get scrubbed down at a jimjilbang spa and pay your respects at the Kore.an War Museum. You won't regret it. Enjoy.

Do you believe everything happens for a reason? I do.

Have a nice flight!



Jul 19, 2010

Big Cats.

My parents and I went to the Tampa Big Cats Rescue last week. We took a tour given by a passionate old french dude whose accent made every bit of information more exotic sounding. "Zis is not a Zhoo. Zis is a Sanctuahhry." It was as fun as it was informative/interesting.

We trudged through dirt in the Florida heat to learn about wild animal breeding, captivity, and the dangers of exotic pets. Moral of the story: don't buy a tiger/bobcat/panther for your child as a birthday gift. It ends up in a "Sanctuahhry" when it should be in the jungles of Africa/Malaysia/Canada. It was sad, but good to know these people are doing such great work.

All the proceeds from the tours go to helping the animals. And the sanctuary is directly across from an Olive Garden. Everybody wins.

Their website is: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Here's some cats:

I hope things are good wherever you are in the world. Things are dandy in sunny Florida.

Walk Slow. xoxo.

PS- still can't figure it out, Linds. Oh well, thanks tho!

Jul 18, 2010


Like my new blog? Thanks, Liz for the suggestion!

So, my blog has decided to move all my "gadgets" (pictures, bio, and such) to the bottom of my blog. How can I fix this to return to the right hand side like it should be? After much ado, I can't figure it out.

Any suggestions, bloggies?


Jul 9, 2010

just for fun.

I'm sitting here wasting away hours by looking through old pictures, as I'm inclined to do after a big trip.

sidenote: A really exciting thing I've noticed is that uploading pictures is so much easier in Amer.ica (no VPN necessary)!

As I look through the pictures I keep giggling about the people we met along the way. So, in the spirit of documentation...here is a random assortment of the people we interacted with and were lucky (or creepy?) enough to take pictures of.

Maybe I'm just abusing the fact that I can upload so many pictures here in the US, but nonetheless, these people are worth remembering. Giving faces to Chi.na is what makes it real for family and friends back home - well then, here's Chin.a.

1. My nail girl, Xiao Hua (across from me). I love her. I have been going to see her every Monday since October. My co-worker Rebecca and I would spend half of our 2 hour lunch break getting our nails re-painted and practicing Chin.ese. She's from Sichuan, has 2 older brothers, and came to the outskirts of Hang.zhou with dreams of hitting it big. I consider her a friend. Sometimes we would sit outside the store together and watch the store owner's pet turtles walk around. I give her my old magazines when I'm done with them (can't read them, anyways. haha). She's cool and mom and Jen got to meet her and her co-workers. Fun times.

This man was the most jolly food seller on the Wangfujing Food Street in Beijing. I'm not sure how he conjurs up such joy - considering he was peddaling bugs on a stick.

This lady was one of many people who thought that me and my family eating lunch in a cafe by the window was a kodak moment. Unlike the rest of them, however, she also decided to walk up to the window for a closer look - caged animal style gawking. Of course, we had to take some photos of her too to remember the moment - Look! A Chin.ese person! Get out the camera!

We met this little dude while on a boat ride on the West Lake. He and his cousin were causing a ruckus - perfect examples of the Chin.ese "little emporer" syndrome that has stemmed from the one child po.licy. Both kids spoke some English and were obviously enrolled in one of the uber expensive english learning centers for rich brats - I mean, kids. He was so cute, though. We went over colors and numbers and he asked me how to say, "boat." When I asked him how old he was he answered, "wo shi six!" (I am six). It was a fun boat ride.

This is Annie Peng. I called her Penny for half the trip up the Great Wall. Oops. Her and her sister are native to Beijing and run a tourism company. The hostel we stayed at hires her out to take groups of travelers to the Wall. (It's much easier, efficient, and cost-effective to go to the Great Wall as part of a tour because it is so far out of town with no public transportation to get there). She was super precious, chatting with my mom in the front seat the whole way to the Wall. If you ever find yourself in Beijing check out her company: www.youseechina.com .

These siblings sold us pearls in the Beijing Pearl Market! They gave us dirt cheap prices after chatting a bit. (less than $3 for pearl necklaces - $1.25 for pearl earrings). If you ever make your way to Beij for some pearls check out stall 50 in the market. They are so fun and reasonable. We enjoyed watching their handiwork as they individually strung and knotted each pearl. As a side note, my mom and I were in JCPenny's and saw pearls from Chin.a in their jewlery case for hundreds of dollars! Don't do it! Go to the source.

I met this man inside the Summer Palace in Beijing. He was writing with water (common art for old people) and I just wanted to snap a photo and go back to my dumpling lunch. No such luck, homeboy spoke English. Turns out, this man was a government worker during the Cultu.ral Revo.lution. (dun dun dun). He was sent with 11 others to London to learn English from 1972-1973. (cue: he was a spy or other official). He refused to say exactly what his work was saying, "it was in the past." He was so much fun to talk to. His English is pitch perfect and his humor is uncanny. He was very interested in me as a PhD student in Chin.a, and I was very interested in him, what an amazing (though ambiguous) life story he has. He taught me some poetry on the sidewalk and we attracted quite a crowd. He left me with this saying his English teacher in London gave him and told me to figure it out: "Time flies? But I can't, they're too fast." Can you figure it out? :)

This is the bread man's family. I have been a loyal customer for two years and mom, Jen and I ate breakfast here each morning we were in Hang.zhou. Their onion bread is to dieee for.

This is Mei Nu. I could never remember her name (darn Chin.ese) so I just call her "mei nu" (beautiful lady). She is the cleaner in the hall where my classroom was. Every morning we would chat and she would bring me sweets from time to time. She's mimick my English when I was talking to my students and would laaaaaugh about it. ha. She would show up to work in a little flirty outfit with high heels and prance the hall before changing into her blue work jumper. Her children (a daughter and son) live in her home province (Jiangxi, next to Zhejiang where we live). Her greatest concern is that her college age daughter is not married yet. Her greatest pride is her son. One time I gave her some home-made cake I had baked for my students. She asked me to teach her how to make it so I had a student translate the recipe for her from English. The problem is - not all of the ingredients can be found in Chin.a and she has no oven. booo. She has one of the coolest personalities of middle-age Chin.ese people that I have encountered. She's just so cool.

This guy was my sister's foot massager two days in a row. He was so embarrassed to have her again because she, "is so pretty." He was so nervous it was precious/hilarious. His hands shook. I wonder why the girls didn't trade with him? I think they just wanted to tease him.

This dude was also visiting Tiann.enmen Square in Beijing. He followed us until I asked him what he needed. He wanted to take a picture of my mom taking a picture (she took this). She was wearing the awesome flower hat (see previous post) and he had this idea I guess of the picture he wanted to capture. haha. He never showed us the picture, he just scampered off. I wonder what it looks like. hahaha. No matter - we got this gem of a random photo.

This man was just chillin' at the Summer Palace. Wearing an Ameri.can flag outfit and a rice hat accessorized by a Canon Rebel camera and a Jes.us beard. What the crap? Of course, I had to talk to him. Jennifer and I hesistated a bit and he noticed me looking at him - ha - so I just waved and marched over. The tables were turned as I asked this dude to take a photo with me and Jen - pay back for the million photos we had posed for with random Asians. His voice was so deep and he resonated gentleness. He was just so kind. We chatted for awhile after taking the group shot (at which point my mom took this pic). I did't get to learn much about him though, he really just wanted to know how I speak Chin.ese. I told him in Chi.nese, "Your clothes are Amer.ican." To which he replied, "Really? No." (not sarcastic). hahahaha. I really wonder what he was doing there. He never moved from that spot and lots of people kept wanting to take pictures with him. He had a camera - so he was just another tourist? Who knows. OIC (only in Chi.na).

It's the people who make a place. And each of these people made our trip oh-so-interesting.

Jul 3, 2010

Twelve Days.

My mom and sister came to China:


...spent 6 days in Hangz.hou where we visited the doctors, held orphans, visited tea fields, saw a show on the West Lake, rode a boat on the lake, went to a temple, saw Buddhist carvings, ate dinner with groups of my friends, got our hair done, had 3 foot massages, got our nails done, and spent the day in Xiasha visiting my workplace/students:

...spent 3 days in Beijing so mom could have her request granted to, "see the things people see." We went to the Summer Palace, Great Wall, Forbidden City, Wangfujing Food Street, Tiannenman Square, 2008 Olympic Park, Ming Tombs, and Pearl Market.

...spent the last day at the World Expo in Shanghai, USA! USA!

Jen gettin' her hair did by my favorite shui ge's in Hangz.hou...

We ate about 300 million dumplings (and 2 green tea blizzards from Dairy Queen - mom's orders).
Mom only had a minor freak out when we left her alone for 10 minutes in the Hangz.hou train station...
Mom showed us once again why she rocks when she purchased this flower hat and wore it around the Forbidden Palace/Tiannenman Square. We had about 698 pictures taken of us as a result.

I moved out of my apartment :(

On the Mutianyu section of the Wall...

Best mom/sister quotes:

"I do not want to eat noodles. No." -mom
"Can we eat at that place where we keep seeing foreigners?" -mom
"Do they have post offices here?" -mom
"This whole country needs to be pressure washed with clorox." -mom
"Jennifer, she has a stuffed cat in her bag." -to a random stranger, - mom
"I like to talk to my dogs on the phone." -to a random chinese person - mom
"I just saw a man taking a dump in the trees." -Jennifer, while riding the public bus
"After this, I really love Amer.ica." -mom

It was fast. It was surreal. It was fun. We are now all home together. PTL.