Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chinese New Year

Here are some of my lenses about the Chinese New Year. Check them out to learn more about China, the holidays that China observes and how the Chinese celebrate the New Year.

All About the Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year's Red Envelopes
Chinese New Year's Party Supplies
2012 Chinese New Year
Chinese Holidays
Chinese Tomato and Eggs Recipe
Lenses About China

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lenses About the Chinese New Year

The 2012 Chinese New Year is right around the corner! Here are some lenses that I've put together telling about this spectacular, and noisy, holiday!
All About the Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year Red Envelopes
Chinese New Year Party Supplies
2012 Chinese New Year
Chinese Zodiac

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Blog

I've finally bought a domain name and hosting to have a blog that doesn't require me to first turn on a, sometimes unreliable, VPN in order to post. You can visit to read the blog. And hopefully, it will be updated at least weekly now.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year!

We're well into 2011 and so far there's been no lack of excitement around here. On December 31 we decided that we would sell our house and within 12 hours it was sold! But since then we haven't been able to find a decent place to rent from decent landlords. Everyone that we've dealt with lacks integrity and Santiago is beginning to wonder if he's too honest and kind. We've been told that we should ask for more money for our house, even though we signed a contract with the buyer. We just looked at three places to rent, told one that we wanted to rent it, told the other two "no thanks" and now the lady we planned to rent from has told other people that they can rent it. It's very frustrating. I can't wait till we have a place to live and get moved. Hopefully we will find a bigger house so that we can keep all of our furniture (nearly every rental house has all the furniture and appliances that you need) since there's no Craigslist or ebay to sell things on (Chinese don't like second hand things) and most of our stuff is still useable.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bible in 90 Days

Last Monday I began reading through the Bible in 90 days following the plan over at Mom's Toolbox. I'm already behind thanks to Nathaniel not wanting to take naps and the very poor lighting in our house, which means I can only read on the porch in the daytime. He's napping now and I'll take advantage of this time now. I hope those links work for you if you want to check it out.

I actually tried reading it when the were winding up their last session, but I was doing it on my mp4 and one day the book mark function decided to quit working. Not cool at all! I was over half way done but gave up after that. This time I will finish! It's much easier to find my place in a real book than a little electronic device!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Beijing- Part 1

Nathaniel and I went up to Beijing on the one and only day that Renqiu has gotten any snow-Thursday, December 23. We left before the time I had planned, but I didn't notice the half inch of snow till we were walking down the stairs. When we got to the street and there was not a cart or taxi to be found for well over 20 minutes.

I had allowed for an hour to get to the train station. Our train was to leave at 8:23 and at 7:45 we got into a cart. I prayed that we would get there safely as we have been avoiding carts because of all the accidents we have seen recently. They are not the safest mode of transportation. Secondly I prayed that the train would be a little late. It's not often on time so I wasn't really worried that we would miss it. And we didn't.

We got to the station at 8:10 and the doors to the platform were still locked with a crowd of people standing around. I went up to the person I deemed most able to speak English, should they not understand my Chinese, and asked (while showing my ticket) if my train had left. The young man looked at his ticket which was for the same train and told me "no" in English. He started talking to us and we found out that he works in Dubai and is quite fluent in English, having to speak it at work.

The train finally arrived, about twenty minutes late and he got permission for us to go to the car that he was in which is also more spacious (he had a ticket for the sleeping car where there are bunk beds, three high, and not as crowded) and we chatted for a good portion of the trip to Beijing.

Once in Beijing we got in a super short line (only 3 people ahead of us, unlike 58 on our trip in October) and got return tickets for Sunday. Then we found the bathrooms and I managed to keep our stuff safe while we went about our business in there. Then to the bus which takes an hour to get up to the north west side of the city where my friends live. As usual, Nathaniel fell asleep. He woke up in the process of trying to get off of the bus and me putting the backpack on. He refused to walk for any portion of the 15 minute walk to Teri's house. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement!

We ordered McDonald's for lunch (they have delivery via bicycle for 8 yuan extra!) and after a short rest went to Wal-Mart to pick up some stuff while Teri taught her last class before Christmas. Nathaniel loved riding up and down the escalators in the shopping cart (the store has three levels) and I was again amazed at how much Chinese and American Wal-Marts smell the same! We then took a subway to meet Teri and then a taxi to a small Italian restaurant. After dinner we went grocery shopping at Jenny Lou's a store catering to foreigners. Some cheeses were discounted, so I stocked up! On our way back to Teri's we went past some amazing light displays. Well, amazing for China considering they don't generally celebrate Christmas. But we were in a part of Beijing where there are lots of foreigners (and most of the embassies) and Chinese who have lived abroad, so it's a bit different than the other parts of the city.

On Friday we spent the morning at IKEA with several friends who were both buying lots of stuff for their houses. We were there for four hours and while on our way to check out, Nathaniel fell asleep. After we got home and he woke up, I took him to a local park where he played for just 10 minutes before he asked to use the bathroom. When we finally found a bathroom, it was too late. Of course there were no taxis to be found, the subway seemed too far to walk to. We waited, asked people where we might find a taxi, and saw two who refused to take us because "I am waiting for someone who will be here in just a minute." Ten minutes later they were still there. I finally got smart and started walking towards Teri's and ended up walking the whole way. Oh, in the middle of this, the IKEA delivery guys called wanting to deliver the furniture and I was supposed to let them in. Luckily they got lost and I was there long before they were. Teri was exhausted when she got back, Nathaniel was crabby and because of the taxi shortage, we decided to stay home from the Christmas Eve service. We wanted to order pizza but they refused to talk to us, then tried KFC and placed our order but then they said it would be delivered at 10:30 pm...three hours later! McDonald's was able to deliver in 15 minutes so that's what we ate.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

September-November 2010

Somewhere around Nathaniel's birthday,Santiago got sick with a bad cold and spent most of his non-working hours in bed reading on his iPad. Most of the extended family were out of town, so Granny, Gramps, Older Sister, and the three of us had lunch at the hospital restaurant. I made a cake from a Betty Crocker mix that I bought in Beijing. I really didn't want to eat Chinese cake and they don't seem to like my baking, so I figured a mix was the next best thing. Older Sis loved it! I decorated the top with M&M's to look like a truck. Nathaniel really liked that part. He LOVES chocolate. I'm not sure that I bought him a gift, probably not, but he got some money from relatives. He gets lots of toys from his older cousin and other random people. I'm thinking we soon need to go through them and find some to donate to the orphanage.

A week later, Granny's mom became very ill, so Granny returned to her hometown to take care of her. She was away for about three weeks and I think Nathaniel lost a bit of weight in that time! Gramps doesn't care for my cooking, so he'd watch Nathaniel while I cooked, then go home and cook his own food. i resumed teaching weekend lessons and though i had expected about 35 students, ended up with more than 60. a class of 17 chinese elementary kids is quite a handful.

Santiago told suggested I take Nathaniel to Beijing to spend a few days with a friend. He was still getting an IV twice a day so he planned to stay home-- until I had packed the bags and was carrying Nathaniel out to the street to get a taxi! He told me that he had actually finished the IV the day before (though he hadn't realized it til he went to the hospital and the nurses told him!) and didn't need to start taking more Chinese herbs for a few days. I quickly ran back home, packed a few things for him, he managed to actually get a ticket (this was during the seven day National Holiday when millions of people travel, plus it was the last chance people had to go to the big Expo in Shanghai). A kind man on the train let me sit in his seat and hold Nathaniel. Santiago stood next to us the whole way. We had a fun 2 days in Beijing. We went to Ikea, I had a $5 Dr.Pepper, Nathaniel got to play at a park without shoes. He saw two kids take off their shoes and socks and eagerly copied them. My friend and I decided that they must have lived abroad before as their mother even encouraged them and helped them roll up thier pants. Not your typical Chinese mommy. It was nice to be away but we were glad to get home to our own place. In Beijing they have more "western" style beds which Nathaniel and Satnaigo aren't used to and we were in a tiny house where two adults and a cat live, plus they didn't have electricity so were running several extension cords from the neighbors home to thiers to have just enough to heat the shower, cook and see in the evenings. Not exactly child proof and a little much for a curious two year old!

The rather uneventful month ended with Nathaniel getting 2 stitches in his chin after he fell off a stool while Santiago was getting him a tissue. I was teaching when this happened so didn't have to witness all the tears and screaming, but over the following two weeks I did take him to the hospital twice. Once they tried to remove the stitches after five days. He screamed the whole time and then the doctors decided it was too early. Two days later, we went back and the stitches were removed. Nathaniel got more than his fair share of chocolate. Both daddy and his aunt bought him a box of mini chocolate bars! Yes, he's a very spoiled little boy!