Jun 30, 2011

lost in translation.

Last night I watched the movie, "Lost in Translation," with some friends, (mostly to make fun of the lives of foreigners in Asia and shout out things like, "that's soooo true!" when there are shots of Bill Murray standing a head taller than everyone in the elevator - but I digress). I then walked the 4 miles home at 1am carrying a basket of waxberries that was given to me by a student. (random fact, random life.)

Anyways, I got home to this message waiting for me on my Chi.nese instant messenger thing:

八百度 11:46:18
Hello recently in the literature of how the
八百度 11:47:46
You busy?

Seriously....my life is lost in translation...

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 29, 2011

It. Is. Finished.

To quote my main man, Jesus. IT IS FINISHED. whoohoooo the longest semester in the history of mankind is now o-v-e-r.

To quote capitalism, "with Chin.ese characteristics,"


Not sure how those two thoughts relate completely, but this pic cracks me up. I was lost wandering around the city trying to find a restaurant a few nights ago and passed this message. What is awesome is that the wall is cracked, the area of town is dirty, and behind that wall is a football-field sized area of rubble. Sure, Ch.ina, keep telling yourself that.

I'm going to celebrate the end of my year-long Chin.ese study with a step aerobics class. Then off to work tonight and after, a blind massage (being beaten half to death by blind people = my weekly entertainment).

And it's raining like mad up in here, so rain boots might be replacing work heels for the time being. And I'm taking the bus instead of biking. Because rain ponchos while biking = not sexy. But wearing rainboots on the public bus smooshed between natives who don't use soap = sexy.

Pick your battles. Fortune is coming.

My brain is scattered, can you tell? ha.

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 27, 2011

Ting-a-ling's Photo Shoot.

Graduations in Chi.na are celebrated a little differently than home. Families don't come to graduation, gowns are borrowed from the school instead of purchased, and the main thing that students do to celebrate is take pictures with each other around campus.

My friend (and teacher) Ting Ting just graduated with her Master's from my university so today in the afternoon between tests, a few of us met up on the lawn at school and took some pics to celebrate her graduation!

Ting Ting is one of the most precious people I know, I'm really glad to be her friend and that we've gotten closer since she's been my teacher. (I have her class's test tomorrow!)

Here's some of my fave's from the photo shoot!

Nate, Hannah, me, Ting, Dan. (I am forever the person between two couples...)


Ting got creative and passed around her hat for the photo shoot. Then I got butt-bumped by my teacher. hahaha.

While we were taking pictures, Ting saw my gym bag from this morning's yoga class and asked if I was going to the gym. I explained that I already went this morning and went straight to my test after my yoga class. "So American," she said, "Chi.nese students would never do that." "What do you mean?" I asked. "They would study the whole morning, then go take the test," she answered.


Happy Graduation to Ting Ting!

walk slow. xoxo.

Faces of the HSK.

Well, the big scary standardized test that has been looming in my brain for the past year is now officially over.

*cue the angels*

I can't believe it. I'm processing the experience, so until logical words can be used, here's a walk down the HSK emotion path via self-portraits. :)

Saturday morning: heading out in the rain to the gym for a last minute stress sweat-out...feeling the pressure already -

Saturday late afternoon train ride to Shanghai - the nerves have piled up and we're not feelin' too hot! (pass the Pepto!)

Sunday morning - how I felt immediately after the test - waiting in the hallway for Angel's room to finish, feeling like the Chin.ese language just grabbed me by the balls -

Another train home, and we decided we are awesome because we can take a standardized test in Chi.nese (level 4 out of 6!) Who cares if we pass, we are awesome!

haha. And there you have the many faces/emotions of my (first) HSK experience.

Embrace emotion. :)

*HSK stands for "Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi" which means "Chine.se Language Aptitude Test." It is the standardized test for foreigners/overseas Chin.ese. It is required for foreign college students and jobs that require Chi.nese proficiency. And I've taken it. :) weee.

I've got 3 more tests this week. Lord have mercy.

walk slow. xoxo

Jun 23, 2011

Thailand Dreamin'

Lately I've been dreaming of far away places...

like Thailand....

Anything to escape my present reality which is not exotic or adventurous in the least bit - finals and HSK week! dun dun dunnnnnn.

When I registered the for the HSK that was being held smack-dab in the middle of finals week I must have been high on life.

Bad idea, Jessica.

I'm going slightly mental; my emotions are whacked. One second I'm super content and happy, the next second I'm shaky and a spaz-attack. One moment I could care less about these tests and the next moment I'm acting like my life depends on them.

I've had a massive study block, which means the amount of actualy time studying has been almost nill. Oops. Can't go back in time now.

My next few days look like this...

Tomorrow afternoon: grammar test
Saturday aftenoon: train to Shanghai
Sunday: HSK!!!!!!!!! then return to HZ in the evening
Monday: reading test
Tuesday: listening test
Wednesday: speaking test
Thursday: pass out

Here goes nothin'......

At least I have these memories of a time not long ago when the only tests were tests of will...

Oh, vacation, we will meet again soon. But first...a few tests.

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 21, 2011

600 hours.

Today at 2:30pm I felt that familiar anti-clamatic feeling...

Another chapter is ending, people are leaving, another set of routines and familiarities is changing.

Today was my last day of Chi.nese classes. We now enter finals week (and I will be taking the HSK smack dab in the middle of it on Sunday - talk about test stress).

Technically, the semester ends next Wednesday with my last final, but for all intents and purposes, today was the end. Many foreign students peace out on finals week and go traveling before heading home to their countries. I must take the tests since I am a university student.

I've been waiting for today. I'm thankful this year of intensive Chine.se learning happened, and I am just as thankful that it is over (just being honest). I want to continue learning Chi.nese for the rest of my life (I believe language learning is never-ending), but I want to do it on my own terms, in real-life situations. I want to learn from the people, not an out-dated Commie-slanted text book.

After class this afternoon I marched out these doors...

took a few memory snapshots of the foreign student building (I will have my PhD classes at another campus about 20 minutes away beginning next year)...

hopped on my trust/rusty pink bike with a broken bell and questionable tires...

took a few "yippeee!" shots to the amusement of the Chine.se students around me...

and peddaled away.

20 hours a week for 30 weeks = 600 hours of Ch.inese class in 2 semesters.

That's a lot of learnin'.

walk slow. xoxo.

Woogie Woo turns 22.

A year ago today my mom went to a Chine.se grocery store and stared at the eel/snake/creature things in buckets for like 10 minutes.


Also a year ago today, my mom, sister and I were galavanting around Hangzhou in the rain trying to find my sister the best Chin.ese birthday cake ever. (this was a serious task).

She was 21 and we were together in Chi.na. It was bliss.

Today, the little monkey turns 22. Now, I've never been really good at math, but I'm pretty sure the fact that my baby sister is 22 makes me like 97.

Happy Birthday to the little one! Who I guess is not so little anymore...

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 20, 2011


Sometimes all you need in the world is the company of your favorite lovey-doos.

In the craziness of life, I haven't seen the doctors in foreverrrrrr. Tonight we met up for dinner after I bribed them with Pizza Hut promises and threatened to never text message them again if they didn't hang out with me for 2 seconds. Lucky for me, they obliged. :)

I love these monkies.

Go hug your lovey-doos today.

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 18, 2011

no foreigners allowed.

Yesterday morning I got into Lin's car expecting to head to the Haining orphanage an hour away. Our plan was to deliver the funds for the 2 air conditioners that chrch had purchased for this lesser-funded orphanage.

I hopped into her car at the butt-crack of dawn and started rambling on in Chin.ese. Me: "Weee, I can't wait to see the Haining orphanage! I wonder how many babies are there!"

Lin: "Oh, we're not going to Haining. We're going to Huzhou."
Me: "Um, what? Why?"
Lin: "Haining won't let foreigners in so we gave the money to Huzhou."

My heart sank into my belly.

The Huzhou orphanage is freakin rich. They just built 3 new buildings to care for the elderly. they have tv's, a karaoke room, and plenty of local help in the form of foster care and teachers.

Our money should not have gone to Huzhou. It should have gone to Haining. But because the government does not want foreigners to see the "less-nice" places, we had to suck it up and see our donation sucked into an orphanage that is fully-funded by the Commies.


The last time I was at the Huzhou orphanage was in October, 2008. Yesterday when I hopped out of Lin's care the orphanage director remembered me and shouted out my name, "Xiao Mei!"

We toured the new facilities and got to see some babies for like 2 seconds. But no pictures were allowed because apparently if it's not recorded, then I can't tell you about orphans in Chi.na and they can pretend they don't exist. But while we were not allowed to take any pictures, a man followed our every step taking pictures of us.

I tried not to have a break down when the 50 something year old nanny used her pinky nail to dig boogers out of a babies nose and kept flicking them on the floor. She then held my hand as we left. That my friends, is how you get Tuberculosis. Trust me on that one.

We went to see the air conditioner and 3 washing machines they purchased. They had stored them in their karaoke room. I wanted to barf.

Why does an orphanage need a karaoke room, complete with strobe lights and a sound system? While the babies are tied with strings to their cribs and get 0 medical care because they are almost all mentally handicapped in some form. And mentally handicapped here = trash. (yesterday we saw 2 downs babies and a cerebral palsy baby. It was really sad because the CP baby for sure could be rehabilitated, but instead will just rot in its crib for life).

My heart broke as it usually does for the babies but there was another layer in this trip. A bureaucratic layer. Because we are foreigners we had to give our money to an orphanage that doesn't need our stuff - they need education in how to rehabilitate and care for children. It's missplaced giving. Chi.na is so paranoid and prideful that it hides its problems from the world. You see the Beijing Olympics on tv and shiny pictures of Shanghai in magazines...I see Chi.nese leaders smiling to my face while telling me I can't go to the other orphanage because I am white.

I left with this feeling of helplessness. Chi.na can't help itself. It knows nothing but economic charts. But it won't accept help either. Not any help that makes a difference - education or materials in the poorest areas. The individual is not valuable in a country of 1.3 bil and as I hold the tiny fingers of orphans I feel so small.

I have so many resources - and so much good has come from these sources in the 3 years I have lived here. But yet I have this deep feeling that so muchmore could happen. Websites could be made, foreign donations accepted, children's medical care sponsored...but the system does not allow this because my last name is not Wang or Wu or Chen.

So I must visit babies. And give where I don't think is necessary and then tell myself who am I to judge. And then cry a little for the burden and desparity of it all. Good thing my mom is a good listener and calls me every day.

Here's some pics, of course no pics of babies because Ch.ina doesn't want you to know they exist. Uncless of course you want to buy one for 20 Grand, and then they'd love to have a chat.

Our group in front of the donated air con and washing machines (in boxes):

The main building of the orphanage:

the two ladies who recieved us, giving us framed drawing by the kids:

the usual "after orphanage visit" relationship-building lunch:

"A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us."
Henri J.M. Nouwen

The trip was happy. We enjoyed each other's company. We deepened a friendship with an orphanage's leaders and I was invited back in the fall so there will be more chances to communicate and share. Good was done, but it wasn't the kind of good we had hoped for - we weren't really caring for any needs. But that's how this kind of work goes, huh? Nothing is expected, nothing is logical. My concluding thought on the whole situation is that we must plough on.

We must plough on.

And I will make it to Haining with a donation before I leave Chi.na. Hold me to it.

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 16, 2011

observations and randoms.

It's that time of the semester where everything is spinning.

I take the HSK next weekend so panic has officially set in. Like - can't sleep, awkward sweating, losing things in plain sight...panic. Bah.

Next week is finals week and so all my classes are wrapping up. Many of my classmates are checking out early (skipping exams, lucky ducks) to go travel before returning home, so there are a lot of goodbyes going on.

But what's most recently been going on in my brain is disecting my interactions at work.

Last night at the hospital we were doing a speaking activity I not-so-cleverly named, "Talk Three." Basically, I ask a question and students must respond with 3 answers. Like, "what are three things you can't do?" Then a student responds with, "fly a plane because my eyesight is too bad, go to bed wihout washing my feet, and lie to my parents." (actual answers).

One of my pre-planned questions was, "What are three things you like about yourself?"

Homeslices could.not.answer. this question. Like, it was a good 15 minutes of awkwardness and quietness and misunderstanding.

I gave them the example, "I like my hair. I like my ability to learn languages and I like that I am sentimental."

Sweet doctors and nurses just could not do it. I got a lot of responses like this, "I like sports. I like cooking. I like when my son hugs me."

I would explain over and over that it is not things they like, but rather things they like about themselves. I explained it in Chin.ese. I explained it in English. But they could not answer correctly.

Finally one outgoing female doctor raised her hand, "I like my small eyes. I like my strong body (she is bigger than the average girl here). And I like that I can swim."


I have several ideas about why this was so hard for them. Still processing those.

In other news, I've been given the task of giving English names to the hair washers at my hair place. So far we have my two hair-washer besties who are now known as Glen Wu and Joey Chen. ahha. Names are serious business. But giving names to people who don't know the least bit of English is funny. I keep leaving them messages online, but then I get phone calls soon after with them proclaiming, "How do you read that name?" hahahaha. Sweet souls.

Well, another random update complete. There's just too much going on. I'm sure you can relate.

Here, have some pictures for sitting through all this randomness!

me and TingTing, my friend turned listening class teacher

one of my fave fast-food meals. fried egg and veggie noods. yummy yummy. This whole bowl of warm mushy sometimes-diarrhea-inducing goodness for only $1.75.

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 12, 2011


Truth: Half the time I want to go screaming and running towards the woods (the hypothetical woods, like when I get called too fat to be on a stair stepper, just sayin').

Another truth: My relationships with students past and present are the ties the bind, glue that holds, strings that secure me to Chi.na, more specifically, Hangzhou.

My dear presh-head student Sophie is spending a few months living on my campus studying under some famous professor in Computer Science. I ran into her randomly on campus a few weeks ago and planned to have a meal together. Today it happened.

She brought along her friend, Gary, who graduated from HDU - the school I used to teach at, and is now a Master's student at ZJU - my current school.

We met on campus and walked to Hangzhou's most famous string of restaurants, "Grandma's Kitchen." It's my fave place to eat in town - there are many locations but the menu is the same at each one and there's always a long wait. Tonight we were lucky and only waited like 10 minutes.

We ate tomato fish soup, rice dumplings, greens, clams and eggs, and mushrooms cooked with fish balls. It was glorious.

Me and the presh-heads:

We talked about why Chi.na blocks facebook, that they don't feel any danger in saying anything outloud, "unlike 30 years ago," that they only speak dialect with their parents but feel they can express themselves in dialect and Mandarin the same. We talked about traveling in Chi.na, our families, summer time, and getting bikes stolen. I told them some funny stories of my saying stupid things in Chin.ese on accident and showed them my class text books to which they replied, "Your level is high, but your writing is poor! heeheeheee." We talked about the struggles of learning Chi.nese and English (English has more words, but Chin.ese has tones). We talked about accents in America and what countries I've traveled to.

One thing is: I still can't get Sophie to stop calling me, "Jessica Teacher." In Chi.nese, the standard way to address a teacher is to place the word, "teacher" after their last name. Because I went by, "Jessica," as a college teacher, my most polite students resorted to calling me, "Jessica Teacher." I tried and tried to get them to stop (it sounds so weird to me), but dear, precious, Sophie clings to her respectful nature.

It was a great way to spend a Sunday evening.

After 3 hours of chit-chatting in a wonderful mixture of Chin.ese and English, we headed back to campus.

The next time I want to holler like a banchee - I'm going to remember these lovebugs. Gary and Sophie. I was so much happier as a teacher, students breathe life into me. There's is so much purpose when you are a teacher - especially a teacher in another culture.

Thank God for reminders of the ties that bind. And tomato fish soup.

walk slow. xoxo.

jg - 0, chinese fat comments - 758934754.

It's Saturday - which means weigh-in day for me. I got a little nervous as I stepped onto the scale in the gym. I've plateaud at the same weight for the past 2 weeks and really wanted to see the scale lower. (I've been getting tons of compliments, but those mean nothing to me if the number doesn't change).

And it was lower. By 2 pounds. I have now lost 10 pounds in the past 3 months. I was so happy.

Fast forward 15 minutes.

I was hauling butt on the stairmaster when the foot pedal completely broke off the machine, sending me flying towards the floor in a sweaty panic.

I called over one of the workers to show him the broken machine. After inspecting the foot-step-thing he turned to me and said in Chin.ese, "You are to fat to do this machine."

AWESOME, THANKS CH.INA, LOVE YOU, TOO. (of course the broken pedal has ntohing to do with the fact that all Chin.ese equipment is shoddy and ill-kept.)

I went to the locker room and cried. And called my gym-buddy/classmate/fave british person, Steph for some moral support. "I broke the machine and they called me fat, I can't ever go here again. I'm so fat," I said.

"You are not fat. Get your butt back on the machine and don't listen to those ignorant people," she said.

So I did.

It's hard to be called fat to your face every day of your life.

It's really, really hard.

Come on, Ch.ina....grow up. You embarrass yourself....not me.

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 9, 2011

Good News and Bad News and No News.

Sorry for the lack of blogging - all 2 people who read this bloggy. :) I've been sticking with an, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," policy - thus, my e-silence.

But here's some small life news for the blogosphere:

Good News:

Work and I have come to an agreement after much hoo-hawing and tears (from both sides) and blahh-y-blahhhing. I will still be the English teacher at the hospital next year but will reduce the class load to only one night a week. (Approx 4 hours with commuting).

I might be crazy.

But I just can't leave those monkies. I love them too much and the money is good for the little work that it is. I thought about time and importance of relationships and the ultimate reason that I am in China and concluded that I cannot severe the relationships that have been built at the hospital. So next year I will have 4 main roles - PhD student, Concordia Uni Professor, Orphan Program Manager, and Hospital English Teacher. (I might die.)

We'll see how it all pans out, but I am very happy and content with the decision to not fully quit. It was too heartbreaking. I'd miss them too much. There's so much more to talk about.

Bad News:

The verdict is in on the Great Major Change Debate and it's a no-go (and I'm an evil, rude American).

I have decided to stay here and pursue my original major - Comparative Education, but to change my advisor because my relationship with my current advisor (who I still have never met face to face) will be hard to built with such a negative foundation.

Leaving is very tempting.

But where to? I have no where else to go. I'm solidified here. I need this scholarship in order to stay in Ch.ina and do work that I love. So I stay. Half-heartedly and with bitterness in my guts.

I blame my red-hair for my aggressiveness, but here is a nice little clip of my last visit in the office:

(reminder: this conversation took place in Chin.ese, not English)

International degree-seeking students manager: "If you want to change your major, you must give up the scholarship and pay tuition."

Me: "Pay tuition? If I wanted to pay tuition I would go to America and get a real PhD."

Ha. Um...at least I'm honest?

So that's that. Other things have happened recently like dinner dates and foot massages, step aerobics classes and school assignments. Things are trucking along until summer. I can't wait. This semester seems never-ending.

So work life is great and school life is rough. I have a feeling that's how the next few years are going to be. So goes (Ch.ina) life.

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 6, 2011

Dinner with the Shen's.

Last night one of my students at the hospital, Shen Jie invited me to her family's home for dinner. Shen Jie is an ER nurse and has really great English. It's really rare that I get to hang out with a Chin.ese family (most people I interact with are young married couples or students) so I was stoked to be invited over!

After Sunday afternoon tutoring, I hopped on a bus (no biking because it's been raining heavily for several days) and met Shen Jie at a bus stop close to my gym. Her family is wealthy and lives in one of the nicest apartment complexes in Hangzhou. Because she is not married (she's 28) she lives at home while she "looks for a husband."

Shen Jie considers herself lucky to be able to live with her family because many other young nurses must rent shoddy apartments together because the salary for nurses is reallyyyy reallyyyy low. (300-400USD a month).

Our meal was served in traditional Chinese style. I've come to expect what will happen at these dinners. The woman will be almost absent, will eat little, and will bad-talk her cooking. The man will also bad-talk her cooking (and in this case, his daughter's English). I must eat more than I physically should/can in order to make them happy and think I like everything. (cue: take small bites). I must compliment every dish at least 2x and never stop smiling. I will be told that because I am fat and tall, I should eat more. I must take these comments with a smile.

All questions about America must be dodged and or explained in a general fashion (cue: any negative feelings towards Chi.na are left outside), "Hangzhou is not like American cities, but both are good....etc." I will be told that I am brave and outgoing and that the American way is better - to which I must respond, "No, no, every culture is different, there is no best way." I must bring a gift, (this time, green tea) and should not be surprised when I am given a gift as well, (this time, dried fruits).

And then, after all these steps are taken, another cultural bridge is made. And hopefully the path to true friendship can be formed.

Shen Jie's parents went a little further by telling me that I needed to be Shen Jie's best friend so that her English would get better. Poor girl got all red in the face.

We gabbed in Chin.ese during dinner (even though I was super nervous) while Chin.ese opera played on the tv in the living room. After dinner, Shen Jie showed me pictures of their recent family trip to Yunnan and we talked for awhile before I left. I was really thankful to be invited over, they were a cute family and were very kind to me.

Being with them made me miss my family (and a little jealous of people who get to live at home as adults!) There is a certain atmosphere in families that can't be re-created elsewhere.

Shen Jie's mom and dad, aren't they super cute?

Me and Shen Jie...

dried fruits as a parting gift (these will be re-gifted to my listening teacher. Chine.se dried fruits taste like vinegar....blah)

Another day, another cultural experience, another chance to speak Chin.ese, another opportunity to share.

walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 5, 2011

I'm not afraid of storms. For I'm learning to sail my ship.

~Louisa May Alcott.

Jun 3, 2011

Mamaw and Gramps.

55 years ago today my Mamaw and Gramps pledged their lives to each other.

Happy Anniversary to two of my favorite people on the planet: Mamaw so full of class and poise and Gramps so full of wisdom and kindness.

J'taime, joyeaux anniversaires!
我爱你, 结婚周年快乐!
I love you, happy anniversary!

Jun 2, 2011


Today was one of those days where something really awkward happened every 15 seconds.

Some highlights:

This morning I was walking to school and realized I forgot to put on deodorant. Because I live in Crazyville and social norms are totally disregarded here, I reached into my gym bag, whipped out my deodorant, reached into my work dress and started applying away while walking down the street. (Hey- if I can see people pooping and spitting every 2 seconds, I should be allowed to apply deodorant in public. haha. That's my rationale).

Only 2 seconds later, with my arm in my dress, I look up to see a whole group of European businessmen in suits looking at me oddly while crossing the street towards me.


Later on the bus, I was munching away at my bag of banana chips and they kept falling down my dress. When I stood up to get off at my stop, banana chips crumpled to the floor, garnering some strange looks from my fellow passengers.


Tonight when I was in a taxi riding home from a date at the blind massage place, I looked out the window and made pro-longed eye contact (he stared, I stared back with eyebrows raised) with an elderly - obviously loaded - Chi.nese man in the car next to us at the red light. It took me a few seconds to realize that Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" was blasting from his car interior. Hearing "I wanna ride that pogo stick" while being stared at by a Chinese man...

That was awkward.

I forgot my towel at the gym - which meant I had to join the naked parade.


There was a guy in the gym wearing a cowboy hat while walking on the treadmill.


I got hotcupped and scraped today. It was my first time getting scraped. Apparently, my "chi" is bad. I have too much "ying" (hot) in my body. This could be from personality, frequent working out of the muscles, or general tiredness and exaustion. Ding Ding Ding to all of the above.

Scraping means you get an elephant tusk comb thing scrapped on parts of your back, neck, and backbone until you bruise. It is supposed to draw out the heat.

After getting the crud scraped out of me, it was time for hotcups. She put more cups on me than I have ever had. They went down my upper arms and past my pant-line.

I basically look like I got beat up all around my spine...

I told the ladies I was going to take a picture and tell my family Ch.ina is so dangerous that I get beat up all the time. haha. They were amused.

I was amused too, until I heard the "click" of a mobile phone while I was laying face down on the table with the cups on my back.

My massage lady was taking my picture on her camera phone while I lay helplessly strewn half-naked across the massage table.


walk slow. xoxo.

Jun 1, 2011

16 hours later...

My morning started with a 6am bus ride to the train station. My mission for today: get to Shanghai, find the school I am taking the HSK at, pay the fee, then make it back to Hangzhou in time for work at 4:30...

The train station was normal - people, interesting smells, migrants lounging on plastic bags with zippers the size of a small child...

I have a confession...I love train station food. This right here is the breakfast of champions. An egg pancake thing wrapping 3 Youtiao's (bread-like long, flaky things). It's savory, plain, and so so so so yum. I swear to you when I finally leave this place I will go through street food withdrawals. This breakfast was enjoyed on the high-speed train. It was my first time on the "G" train - a 45 minute ride to Shanghai which is a 3.5 hour drive. The train got up to 351KMH...it was fast!

After a subway ride and asking 3 people, I finally found the university where I'm taking the test, found the room in the university I needed to be at (needle in a haystack), made copies of some papers they wanted, waited in more lines, then paid for the test and went on my merry way. This pic is my celebratory, "yay I can read signs and get crap done in Chin.ese," picture.

With 2 hours left to kill before my train ride back to HZ, I make a quick decision to go the opposite way of the train station on the subway and hit up one of Shanghai's tourist destinations: the Yu Yuan Gardens.

I wandered around taking pictures for about 30 minutes of things I already have pictures of (the header for my blog was taken there in October, 2008) And just had fun watching all the tourists and looking at overpriced things I used to contemplate buying but am much too wise for now (tourist traps are soooo expensive).

Me...existing in Chi.na.

After taking the train back to HZ and an hour on the public bus back home, a 15 minute nap, clothing change and make-up re-do, I was back on the bus to work. Shwooooo.

One of my favorite students, Zhuang (English name: Sherry, the head-nurse of the outpatient department) brought me tea eggs. I usually buy one at a convenience store on the way to work, and she home-made me some and brought them to me! Sooo thoughtful. I love her. She is one of the reasons I am depressed to be leaving my job.

After work, I stopped for a quick chat with my hair-guys by the bus stop (the store is literally behind the bus stop) but I'm so tired my Chine.se was all mumbled and my grammar structures were all off. They just laughed and filled in for me when my words were off. ha. Then it was back on the bus for the 4th time today. Home.

When I got home I found out that my bike had been moved by the dorm watchers to inside the boiler room. My bike lock broke yesterday and I've had no chance to get another one so I hid my bike in a shed behind my dorm. Well, these professional stalkers saw it was unlocked and knew it was my bike - in order to protect it, it is locked in the boiler room til I ask them for it. I think that is both thoughtful and entirely creepy.

And with that the day ends. And I have a test tomorrow at 8am. Geez, life doesn't slow down, does it? Gotta keep up.

walk slow. xoxo.