Wednesday, August 29, 2007

China Pictures

Instead of keeping them all over the place, they will all be in Picasa. These are most of the recents pictures with descriptions.

China: Pingxiang August 07

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pictures, Finally

I wasn't able to access my usual photo album so I hope that you all are able to see these pictures. I ended up getting this week off instead of having to do any training (it's postponed until September) so I am trying to explore the city while I have the days to myself. I hope that you enjoy! Keep your fingers crossed that I get my own internet soon!


Sunday, August 26, 2007

China Day 3: Many unanswered questions

Today is supposed to be the day I start my training at the middle school but I haven't heard mention of it since the day I got here. All Bob said then was that I was doing training with a guy and that it would start today. The only other guy here right now is Tim who is sure it isn't him. The other 2 guys that are coming aren't coming until the end of the week.  I figured my best bet was to get up and be ready in time for breakfast should Bob appear and expect me to be ready to leave.

They are slightly military about the eating schedule here. Breakfast is at 8, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5.  The last 2 days the food has been free so I have been doing lunch and dinner at least but it's hard to work up an appetite when you spend your time doing nothing. As for the food, it is good and we are curious to see if the food that is in the teacher's cafeteria is any different. We are supposed to start eating there this week. There are some things that are going to take some getting use to. Namely, most of the meat we eat still has its face. The whole fish is bearable, the shrimp was a little difficult, but the chicken was almost too much.  Don't believe what they tell you about Chinese food being good for you either. Most of what we have had has been drowned in oil or fat or grease of some sort.  It is also expected that you just stick whatever in your mouth and then spit onto the table whatever isn't edible such as skin, bones, and faces.  We don't get plates, only little bowls, so it's hard to keep all of the waste stuff in there when it's what you are supposed to be eating out of. I finally got to where I will set stuff on the table, but I am not to spitting things out of my mouth yet. I also clean off the table when I am done which is apparently quite comical. I have also refrained from the shoveling method of eating at this time as well and talking with food in my mouth. They also do not use napkins or such. Oh how Chinese restaurants in America have use fooled. We will see who wins out there in the end. Silly Americans.

It is pretty darn cheap to eat here though. My bubble of specialness was burst yesterday when Adrianna and Tim told me they are getting paid the same amount I am. Granted, I didn't tell them what I was getting paid, they just mentioned their salary. I took it from Bob that I was getting paid "based on experience" as the program said I would be. Granted Tim and Adrianna have been here for a month working with middle schoolers, but they are both fresh out of college. Moving on though…apparently the average middle class family of 4 here lives on 1200 yuan a month. We are making about 4000 yuan a month. At the store, 1 liter of milk cost me about 4 yuan. That is approximately 50 cents based on the dollar conversion I last saw of 1USD to almost 9 yuan.  Produce lovers should be shocked to hear I bought 3 Asian pears for 50 cents as well. For anyone who has never purchased these or sold them for many years, in the US they run about $5 a piece.  The meat here is pretty cheap as well, but I am not too sure about it. They have many different things that look like sausages that are unrefrigerated and they had all of their raw meat on tables with ice under them.

I am still waiting on getting my computer fixed/replaced but other than that and some minor issues trying to figure out the plumbing, all of my sinks work now. I might have lucked out and picked the only apartment that has a hot water shower – hooray! The highlight of yesterday, other than sleeping in until 10am, was watching the end of Harry Potter in English and Finding Nemo in Chinese.  Tim bought a bunch of ripped off movies here so I am sure I can work my way through those as well.  I am just hoping that things get rolling a bit so that I have a way to pass the time. Where it's at now, I am a bit of the odd man out. The other 2 Americans met each other 2 weeks ago so they tend to keep to themselves pretty much all though if I am using one or the other's computers, they will invite me to join them. The Japanese woman is shadowed by another teacher who works here and is going to teach Japanese. Her English is pretty limited so lengthy discussions are out of the question anyway. One more American and a British guy are arriving this week too. It was slightly disheartening that the 2 teachers I have spoken too said they don't really like working at this college and one straightforwardly asked me why I chose to work here. Well, I am here now so I would say there is no reason for second guessing. Getting my own internet will be a big bonus. Fingers crossed that it happens soon!

I have already thought of some things I would love from America but I am going to keep it and work on it for a bit before I make any requests. I am going to try to find what I need here, or an equivalent, first.  On a side note: are crickets lucky? I have had one by kitchen sink for about a day now and I am trying to figure out it is some omen or if it just can't figure its way out. Thoughts?

China: Day 1

I spent the morning trying to get my place put together. I have made another video for your viewing pleasure. The computer doesn't work and actually gives off small shocks if you touch it the wrong way. Despite the 3 blankets I put on the couch it's still hard as a rock. Bob did not seem to like my idea of throwing out the useless stuff the last person left so I stuck it in the cabinet. The place was so gross! Imagine living in your current residence for a year or so and not really cleaning it then moving out without taking everything or cleaning. At least I only ended up with 1 razor and some random stuff. The woman upstairs had some very strange personal items left behind including about 5 used tooth brushes. I wonder if part of it is that the people that live here are fresh out of college and have never had their own place. Plus, no lease, no cleaning deposit, what does it matter to them?

I talked Bob into letting me put the refrigerator in the kitchen area but he said I had to put something up so sun wouldn't get on it. Yesterday they were able to fix the toilet so I don't have to shut the water off when I am not using it and then turn it back on when I need it. The bathroom sink dumps water straight onto the floor so that room is a mess. The shower system works okay, and with the open setting, it gave me the opportunity to try to clean the bathroom at the same time.  One of the pipes under the kitchen sink in broken and supposedly they might fix that as well. The wok that was underneath it is totally spent though.

Breakfast was in the student cafeteria again. Cindy, the resident foreign teacher aid who herself is Chinese and teaches English here, informed me that today my fellow countrymen arrive. Hooray. I meet the first guy, Tim, right after breakfast. Jeff and Brian would have loved it: he was wearing a shirt with a huge American flag on it. Other than that, he wasn't very pleasant. Tim and another girl who is here, Adrianna, have been in China since July teaching English to middle schoolers. They have informed me that these apartments are pretty nice compared to what they were in before so I will get over myself.

I tried again with my computer and after getting shocked a couple more times, I decided to try elsewhere. Tim was nice enough to let me use his and he seemed to be in a better mood. I have learned that despite Bob informing me that the internet wouldn't be on until next week, I seem to be the only one without. Save for Tim's shower not having the hook the head sits on, everyone else's apartments seem in perfect order and their previous tenants left them great things like brooms and pots that weren't rusted out. Bob did take me to the store on campus yesterday though and bought me soap, toilet paper, a broom and a towel. It was actually pretty super.

At lunch I met two more foreign teachers, Adrianna who I already mentioned (from upstate NY) and a Chinese man here to teach Japanese. At lunch, we talked Cindy into taking us into town to go to a bigger store to get some necessities and in hope of greater selection from the stuff at the campus store. Trying to buy food when you can't read labels is harder than it sounds. Even cleaning supplies and personal supplies are hard because sometimes the pictures don't make any sense or the translated English is wrong. It was nice to have Cindy there though to help me figure some stuff out. The aisles were lined with workers just hanging out and whenever I got left alone they would push things into my arms and tell me long winded explanations as to why I need it (I am guessing) in Chinese.  A bunch of little kids were also trying to pretend like they weren't following me around the store. In case I have failed to mention, this is one of those places where being white is interesting. People literally stop dead in their tracks to stare and to talk about the crazy white girl (I am guessing). Heaven forbid I do anything scandalous in public, like sneeze for example.

ANYWAY, Cindy asked if I would be doing my own cooking and I am sure I will eventually but right now I was at such a loss in the store I didn't know what to do! They don't have jelly or peanut butter, they don't have refrigerated milk or know what soy milk is. They have about a billion types of eggs, none of which are refrigerated, and some of which were blue or black and coated with strange materials.  They have stuff that looks like bread but I am not sure about it yet. What I thought was yogurt was more like flavored milk type stuff.  Perhaps China will be the ultimate diet plan.

I talked to Bob again about the computer issue.  All he did was reiterate that I was the only one without one. Great.  Now what can we do? I only brought one movie with me – The Inconvenient Truth (go figure) so I have been hoping internet would distract me from watching it already. Adrianna said I can use her computer though so I am going to wrap this up and try to get it online to you guys.

Here is something for you to think about until next time. They give us heaps of food - WAY more than we could ever eat. Would it be rude to take a container with me and bring some home? This is from the school cafeteria… Apparently it's considered rude to not give people more food than they can eat. I don't like it though because I think it's a huge waste. At least we are served family style so I am not the only one held responsible.

Also, once I get internet in my apartment I will look into getting Skype so I can call people. If you have any desire, look into it now on your end to see what needs to be done.

China: Getting There

After 30 hours of traveling, I finally arrived in Pingxiang City. We stopped to get lunch before heading to the college so we ended up not getting to our rooms until around 4pm. Before I get too ahead of myself, let me tell you how I got here.

Mom was there to see me off in Medford and I went straight to LAX. I had a 5 hour layover there which had the possibility of not being terrible, but was ended up being just slightly bearable. After I checked by bags (and was surprised at not having to pay extra for the weight) I decided to go to my gate. I passed all of these restaurants on my way there thinking there would be plenty to eat on the other side. Boy, was I wrong. There was a deli where I could have purchased a salad for $10 so I decided to just wait. I passed some time making phone calls and talking with some people. Then it got too late so I thought I would try my luck with free WiFi. No such luck. Damn you LA. I had to pay for the internet, but it helped me pass the last little bit of time I had before takeoff.

We had to take a shuttle out to the plane as it was too huge to come up to the gate – Boeing 777. As per my usual, I fell asleep before take off at midnight and woke up around 1am just in time for dinner. I then promptly went back to bed and slept until 1pm when we had breakfast. They kept the cabin dark until then so it was easy to sleep. It helped that there was an empty seat next to me…and I am wee so I fit in airplane seats pretty well. 1pm west coast time is 4:30 am China time…hence the breakfast. I am not sure why there were no other meals. The trip was 15 hours in total to get to Guangzhou. We first flew up towards Alaska, then over and down. I figured we would jus t go straight across the ocean but apparently I have no clue.

In LAX, my bags were checked through to Changsha so I thought I just had to take care of me at Guangzhou. Of course I don't realize my error until I have gone all the way through customs and am getting my boarding pass at the ticket counter.  I then have to go all the way back through and get my bags. I totally confused the customs man who spoke no English and, strangely, didn't remember seeing me 10 minutes before.  The people at the ticket counter were confused too when I returned with a boarding pass and bags to check. I know I wasn't the only American on my flight, but seriously? We are talking a 5 minute attention span here. Disaster avoided, I got to my gate okay. I did see a McDonalds at the airport, but I didn't partake. Little did I know that was the last I would see of America.

The flight from Guangzhou to Changsha was only 50 minutes and this time I was the only American.  There was a woman on my flight that had been on the LA flight so we talked a little. She was from China and had no idea what Pingxiang College or Pingxiang City was for that matter. When she told me this, I tried to not panic…this can happen in America too…this place DOES exist, etc…

Bob and another man from the college met me at the airport. They were picking up another woman who will be teaching at Pingxiang as well. I am slightly confused there as she is older, Japanese, and speaks so little English we couldn't discuss where we had just flown in from. The irony comes in the fact that she too will be teaching English.  Pingxiang City is only 140km from the airport but it took us a good 3 hours to get there. For the last stretch we were driving on a road that was torn apart and had huge bumps and potholes in it. Apparently it is the National Highway and it is going to be fixed, it just has to wait until after a new freeway is built. Apparently there was a typhoon in this area about 5 days ago so the destruction along the road was still amazing. Lush green rice fields were bordered by piles of bricks that use to be workers houses. Bob said many of the houses and business that were next to the road the government tore down so they can widen the highway to 50 meters.

Pingxiang City was damaged a bit from the typhoon as well. It rained for about 30 minutes as well as we were coming into town and that was enough to flood most of the streets with about a foot of water. At the place where we had lunch, I was able to experience the non-Western style toilet. It is basically a porcelain basin buried in the floor. I wasn't too sure what to do with it, so I made do.  I am still debating whether or not Chinese women pee while standing.

 ANYWAY, back to the streets. With their terrible condition in mind, here are some things that do not seem to matter while driving them: seat belts, right of way, yellow lines that divide traffic directions, safety space cushions (4 seconds or more), bike helmets, detours, and speed limits.  Some additional things that make navigating the roads exciting would have to be the fact that there are no rules governing what cannot be on the roads so there are pedestrians crossing highways, people walking along the road, bicycles, 3 people per motorbike, rickshaws pulling carts full of goods, and goodness only knows what else.

We quickly drove through the campus to our apartments. The campus definitely wasn't as pretty as it looked online (as shown in previous blog entry) but I am not sure if that is due to the recent typhoon or just the passage of time. Standing outside, we were told to pick which floor we wanted. This was without looking at the rooms so I picked the 2nd. Not ground floor so I didn't have to listen to people in the courtyard but also not too high up as my suitcase was heavy. The apartment was…not what I was expecting. I took a video of how it was when I got here for your benefit. Bob said they were supposed to clean but because of the typhoon many of the workers were not on campus. I suppose this is understandable, but the typhoon was 5 days ago, no one has been living here since June, and they have known we were coming. I ended up spending most of my first night cleaning and putting some stuff away.

Oh yes…my fellow non-smokers will love this: they smoke everywhere! There is an old man who I think is like a landlord here and he came into my apartment and sat on my bed and smoked at least 2 cigarettes. I wanted to cry. At least in the car I got them to roll down the window and at the restaurant my companions were nice enough to not smoke in our room. Totally gross though!

Dinner was in the students' dining hall and wasn't too bad. Yes, every meal I have had, including on the plane, had rice. Now I think I am going to head off to my rock hard bed and try to get some sleep.

NOTE: I cannot upload my videos to YouTube as they are too big and I have no video editing software. I am attaching them to the email.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Moving to China

Commencement is a strange word. How can a word mean both the end and the beginning? Silly English language... Despite this conundrum, I find myself sitting in the international terminal at LAX waiting for my flight to China and I can't help but think something is commencing.

It's been a long year that has brought me here but it has managed to fly by in my memories of it. In the last year I was able to experience a new and different city as a member of its daily rat race and I came away with some great memories and good friends. It already feels like it has bee a hundred years since I left and at the same time I feel like I should be headed back there any minute now. It's hard coming to terms with a life upheaval. It is slightly unnerving as well to realize that I am not really sure what adventures, trials, tribulations, and life-changing moments lay ahead of me. The realization that I will be going about this life changing time solo is hard as well but perhaps that is what will make it truly life changing. Perhaps I should find another term for "life changing".

In the 12 days since I left NYC quite a bit has happened. I spent my first 2 days back camping on the Columbia River with Jhanna and Tara. What happens when 3 people who have known each other since they were 14 come in contact with the Devil's water? Nothing good! It was great though...camping, river, waterfalls, chocolate muffin...all of it.

I was also able to spend some good times in Seattle visiting people I needed and wanted to see. The weather there was beautiful for the 5 days I was there. It was the kind of weather that happens in Seattle when its residents begin to seriously plan their exodus if there is another gray day.

Sadly, my time in Medford could have been better spent. While I did get to visit with the family I babysat for when I was 14 and their kids were little, and I did have a great birthday dinner with mom et al...I spent 5 of my 6 days visiting my grandma at the hospital. She had a heart attack...albeit small...and she got a stint put into one of her heart vessels. They thought all was good and they sent her home on Sunday but she was only out for a day. Mom just updated me that she is back home now so hopefully all is well. If you can, send positive, healthy vibes to Grants Pass OR.

So now I am about 2 hours away from heading off to China. My phone will be gone at that time. I was hoping to keep my account on hold but that isn't possible. No more Seattle number. I will try to figure out some way to call while I am China but let's not kid ourselves...if we weren't willing to use free nationwide long distance to stay in touch up until now, will we really go to all the effort of making an international call? I think not. No hard feelings. I am guessing I will have email and internet access, communist rule and running electricity willing, so I plan on that being my main method of contact.

Other than that, try not to miss me too much and I will promise you the same.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Further Proof that Canada still hates U.S.

Today, I obtained my China Visa. Finally. As this has been a process, I don't want you to think it came to an uneventful end, so lend an ear and I will fill you in.

Grandpa George and I headed out this am at 6 so that we could get to the Chinese Consulate General in Vancouver BC by the time they opened at 9. This alternative was suggested after 1. China feigned that they couldn't possibly get me my paperwork sooner despite having it for 4 months, 2. China told me I would have to go to LA or Hong Kong to get my Visa, and 3. China told me that as I wasn't willing to do either of those things, I would HAVE TO stay in the NYC. In the end, they told me there was a consulate in BC, a mere 120 miles from Seattle, so that is what I did.

ANYWAY, we get to the CCG at 8:45 without incident. Now, this bit of hatred is going to the Madre who made the flippant comment, "Now watch and there will be a million people there!" There were roughly 100 people waiting in a line that went throughout the building, down the hall, down the stairs to the parking garage, and then winding back. As Gpa so adeptly pointed out, "there are billions of Chinese people in the world, so it only makes sense". Well said.

The good part was that we got my application in within the hour. Now, we get to the "China-hates-Americans" part. Some of you may remember the whole "Insane levels of Canadian Pride at Sasquatch" last summer, if you don''s too harrowing to relive. Just thinking about any Canadian you have met, and times it by a country. For some reason, as of March, the CCG has put in place a $60 fee for applicants for Chinese Visas that hold US Passports. No reason is given for this, it just is. And, it just as easily doubles the extremely high visa fee.

If ever I was to think the hate stopped there, when we returned in 2 hours to get the Visa, the girl shook her head at my debit card....(and that was it). Not knowing what this meant, I say "It is debit, not credit!" I figured this was the problem as the nearby sign said NO CREDIT. She then says "Try it then," and throws the handheld debit machine at me. The card doesn't work. I look at her and she just smiles.

Thank goodness some man behind us spoke up (he must not be a native Canadian) and says that US debit cards do not work in Canada. He then allows us to pay him Canadian dollars and he puts my Visa on his debit card. <b>HE</b> was amazing...the girl behind the counter was a straight up hater. We thankfully left "Our Friendly Neighbor to the North" after some decent sushi and some good times at the BC aquarium without much further incident.

Thinking that all I had to do now was try to figure out how to get the last of my errands completed and lighten my suitcases, I have been thrown another curve ball. As many know, I have no concept of geography. This comes into play during many times, but none so great as tonight when I attempted to look up airfare from China to Egypt for the Forum in November. Apparently they are actually quite far away from each other and it's going to involve multiple modes of transportation, multiple layovers, and multiple dollars. The good news is I think I have something worked out that just might require me to spend two nights in Paris. Wait, what was I complaining about?

Long Live the Queen. God Bless America.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

How to Not Visit Vegas

Usually I don't have problems with flying. This is mostly due in part to rarely having trouble with my flights. I apparently have some sort of flight karma though because all of this easy going flying is occasionally punctuated with INSANE flight problems. I am sure the flight problems of this evening are only more greatly bad after the crap day I had today.

It all started Wednesday night actually…. Jackie, Yashmeen, and I went out to celebrate my last night in the NYC. This turned into quite a late night and I didn't get home and in bed until about 4am. I then was supposed to get to work by 8:30. Completely groggy me thought I could get up at 8:15 and get there on time. I apparently suffer from bouts of utter stupidity. So, I get to work 30 minutes late and it's a mad house! The last day of summer school was supposed to be easy. Teachers were just supposed to come in and pass out their report cards. I was foolish to believe that 1. Anything at 390 would be easy and 2. That anything at 390 would be organized.

The short version is that report cards weren't done, and then they were being completed randomly and thrown at myself and a high school worker (whose aunt is the Assistant Principle). Not all of the people were making the necessary copies of their report cards; they were filling in stuff after they had made copies, etc. Apparently this nephew had never done anything organized before as he just piled these report cards by class instead of grouping them in anyway by grade. EX: there were 4 different piles of 8th grade report cards. I took the said 8th grade report cards as I wanted to get my kids out of there so I could go run all of my errands. This seemed like a totally novel idea to my co-worker. We attempted to hold the students off for as long as possible, but that only lasted until 10.

For once our security guards were useful however and managed to keep most of them at bay outside of the school. The next frustration then came with realizing how truly difficult is was to look through 8 billion stacks of papers for the students cards. We also found out the hard way that some teachers had failed to do reports for some students. Super. Note: This "short version" is getting rather long, isn't it? Why didn't you say something sooner?! To conclude: everyone was stressed, I was stressed and sleep deprived, moments away from breaking down into tears, and finally just left around 1130 as I couldn't handle the chaos any more. Did I mention no other teachers were helping? Well, they weren't!

From there I had to go to the Dr's and get my last shots and travel prescriptions. I know what you are thinking, "Way to wait until the last minute!" In my defense, my doctor told me to come on the last day as I was rushing one of my shot rounds. When I called last week the office also told me to not bother making any appointment. Second note: do not listen to people when they tell you that you do not need an appointment. I then waited two and a half hours to be seen by a doctor. He at least said he was sorry!

Did I mention yet that this was my last day in NYC? It was. I had a small list of things to do and it was getting pretty close to the wire as my shuttle was supposed to pick me up at 5pm. So, I leave the doctors at 3 something and head about….126 blocks north to go to the PO by my old apartment to get some box that was sent to me. Then, I had to drop off my prescriptions. I was stressed there too knowing that they don't always have vaccinations on hand. The good news was they did. The funny news is as follows. There are apparently 2 different kinds of malaria medicine prescribed in the US. One you only have to take once a week and the other you have to take daily. Sadly, the downfall of the weekly is that it causes severe and intense hallucinations, nightmares, and periods of psychosis. Only once a week though. Humm….let me think. So, Dr. Man prescribes me a year's worth of the dailies – about 380 pills just for good measure.

Now, back to the pharmacy: they about had a heart attack when I gave them a prescription for almost 400 pills then said I needed whatever they could do right then as I was leaving for the airport in one and a half hours. As it turned out, my insurance actually covered this medicine (they don't cover vaccinations after the age of 18) but only would do 90 days. So, my 90 days worth was originally $700 but I only paid $40. I think that made up for my $100 typhoid vaccination. The best part was when the assistant told me if they filled the full prescription, it would run me roughly $3000.

I have now done all but 2 of my errands and I have an hour to get it done before the shuttle. I rush home and Jackie and Yash help me carry my last, very heavy box to the PO. It is then about 4:30 and I realize I have yet to eat. We get back to the house, I finish packing the last of my stuff, and we get it all down stairs by 5:10. My shuttle ends up not coming until 5:45 so I had just enough time to each the quick snack Yashmeen has made for me before jumping on the shuttle. The shuttle driver was strange, as per usual. He complained about my bags saying they were too heavy and he didn't think he should lift them. I think it shut him up with I told him us 3 girls brought them all down from the 3rd floor just fine. Granted, they were heavy, but it's your job dude. He was grumpy the whole ride but I got to sit up front with one of my bags so that was fine with me.

At the airport, I reread a sign I had seen before that said you can have suitcases up to 100 pounds if you just pay extra. I get to the counter and weigh the bags. One is 65ish and the other is 97ish. The lady tells me that I can't take them. I tell her I read a sign that says I can if I pay extra so that is what I do. The exchange went something like this:

Me: I read the sign that says I can pay extra if they are overweight.

Lady: What? What sign? Where is it?

Me: Ummm…right there at the end of the waiting line.

Lady: No. There is no sign. You cannot take these bags.

Me: I don't have a choice; they have to go with me. I can get the sign and show you.

Lady: (goes to get something) This is the luggage regulations.

Me: (Internal dialogue: "It's the same damn sign you daft twit!") Okay, well, it says I can have up to 100 pounds so I will do that and pay extra.

Lady: I will have to check with my manager.

Me: I will wait.

Then the porter tells me to take some out of the 65er once it is off the scale and he will tell the lady it made weight (50 pounds) so that I don't have to pay extra for it. He apparently is not a daft twit. So, bags get checked. She complained about their weight as well… Dude, I know they are heavy, but they are my burden, not yours. I am not asking you to carry them across the country for me, I have not made you lift them or move them, so get over it. First the Super Shuttle guy and now the airline rep?! I fear this will happen on my next 2 flights as well. Super.

Right, where was I? Ah yes, the airport. So, I get to the gate to only find out my flight has been delayed an hour. I then prove that I am a dumb twit as I have convinced myself I have a 4 hour layover in Vegas before Seattle. In reality, I had an hour layover and with the delay have missed my flight.

That brings us to know. I am here, in the Las Vegas airport. The good news is that I did get on a flight today. The other good news was the flight they transferred me to, which got me to Seattle at 9pm (vs. my original 3am) was NOT the only flight. I am now waiting about 9 hours for a flight to Phoenix and will get into Seattle around 4pm. My question for you is this, "How does this crazy city of sin that never sleeps and doesn't use clocks not have a 24 hour place to get food in the airport?" The answer: they are haters.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

NYC: A Year in Review

While I am looking at just about 24 hours left in the Big Apple, I thought it was the perfect time to sit and reminisce about the year I have spent on the East Coast. I arrived here last August not fully knowing what to expect. I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was taking the 4 train to the Bronx and wandering through the sweltering heat to 390 for my interview. The 182 days of school went quicker than expected in reality. It is hard to remember the dark days of the fall when I wasn't sure I would make it - and for that I am thankful. Summer school has gone by quickly too, which I am eternally thankful for. Attempting to "teach" pain in the butt 8th grade balls of hormones in the raging heat really isn't the best way to spend one's summer before leaving their friends and family - despite what you might have heard.

I have decided that living in a big city isn't always that great. For the year that I have been here I might be walking away with a handful of people who I will stay in touch with. Better than nothing and I suppose it should be expected mildly as I am moving to a different continent. Sadly, living in the midst of 8.2 million people hasn't drastically improved my love life. It has however taught me that the world does have nice people in it though even if the majority of them will stay strangers.

I wish I could think of more to say that was witty and sincere, but I can't. I am exhausted. I have moved, and packed, and repacked, and repacked. Honestly, it's just too hot out to think let alone do anything else. I am amazed at myself for how much I am NOT taking with me to China. While to the outsider it will look like a lot, and I am sure to my 3 up coming airlines it will look like enough for extra fees, I am only checking 2 suitcases. I have whittled down my extensive wardrobe into 2 suitcases. This amazes me. I know I will survive without all of the extra clothes, and I don't have to be a fashionista at every turn, but deciding on the Chosen Clothes was an arduous task. Anyone who knows me well will get this: I am only bringing 8 pairs of shoes. 2 of those are running shoes. I think I might die. Or perhaps I will just have to find a place in Pingxiang where they can accommodate my giantess feet.

I feel like the next 14 days are going to blow by me. I am looking forward to being in Seattle, even if it is to say goodbye again. I am still frustrated at the fact that my dates got moved earlier so those of you in So Cal that I had planned to see got shut out. While my time is busy, as of yet it still remains relatively free. I will say for one last time, if you want to see me, call me when I am in your hood. If you chose to not make time to see me or you feel you are too busy to give me even an hour of your precious time...I don't really know what to say. It's not like I am MOVING TO CHINA or anything. I am sure we can catch up later. If I am able to mend my broken heart and decide to continue speaking to you at that time that is.

This concludes my final NYC blog.

08.06.06 to 08.09.07
big, dirty, busy, home