• 28Mar

    Hurrah for rain.  The past few days we had a few brief rain storms.  It’s great since they been calling this the 60 yr drought.  (Meaning the worst drought in 60 years).  Booo that rain brought me a mini-cold… I’ve got a yucky sore throat that I can’t seem to shake.

    Some fun/interesting events from the weekend:

    -A few weeks ago I had an encounter with our 1st floor neighbor.  The synopsis was that the building door wasn’t working properly so we (myself and our friend from Singapore) had to ask the 1st floor people to buzz the door open.  So the daughter comes out and is soooooo excited that my friend is from Singapore and that I’m American.  In fact she even tried to hug my friend.  So she wanted someone to hang out with so this weekend she actually called and wanted to hang out.  I went to her apartment and we mostly talked about her trying to learn English.  I have a feeling that she wants me to give her free English tutoring help… but I never offered.  Hah!  She’s currently going to college to study to be a Chinese teacher for foreigners.  I figure… she’s enrolled in an English class at her school… if she wants help she should go to her school!  HAHA.  Plus through talking to her… it sounds like she’s a little bit lazy about her studies.  I told her that she should practice with her classmates, and she proceeds to tell me that they like to talk in Chinese.  So I suggest that maybe like 1 hour a day or week or whatever they should only speak English (since they’re all in the same class)… and she proceeds to tell me that they’re shy.  Uh ok.  So I told her to watch tv shows or movies in English… she then tells me… that she likes to put the subtitles on in Chinese!  So I tell her to put them in English so she can learn what they’re saying.  She then tells me that she won’t know everything that’s going on then… uh…. hello?  this is called learning.  I guess I’ll see how this all pans out.  “Luckily” she’s only in town during the weekends as she’s living at her college during the week.

    -On Saturday I went with the girls to the elementary school that we built a library at last year.  They work with the kids 2 times during the week and sometimes on Saturday.  It was fun to go and hang out with the kids.  I played basketball with some of the boys and was mostly the photographer for their event.  This school had invited a different school over for fun and games.  They did games, crafts and songs.  I stayed for a few hours as I had to get back home to meet the neighbor, but the few hours there were really fun.


    Here the kids are practicing their dance song thing.  It’s pretty cute to watch!


    This was one of the relay races.  On the way out you and your partner had to stand back to back and keep a ball in between the two without using your hands.  Then on the way back the kids had to each use one arm to together carry the ball back.  This boy in white was so cute.  I was playing basketball with him earlier and he was actually scoring baskets.  The other kids… not so much.


    The kids in yellow are the visiting school.  The girls had their school go over to the other school’s group and find a new friend.  So cute to watch as you could really see extroverts vs introverts!  In the end everyone found a new friend!  They then proceeded to play a super fun game of Rock Paper Scissors.  You and your new friend played and whoever won was in the front… then your pair went and found a new pair to “fight”.  The losing team then had to trail the winning team… creating a long “snake”.  Eventually there were two long “snakes” “fighting” for the last battle!  It was so fun.


    Another game we played is pass the marble with chopsticks!  Crazy hard.  Some of the kids were sooooo smart though in inventing ways to pass the marble and receive the marble.  As you can see here… they resorted to balancing the marble instead of pinching it.  So smart.  Marbles were flying everywhere though!

    -Today’s bus ride was an adventure.  I think the bus driver thought it was “don’t touch the gas pedal” day or some variation of that.  Basically he would accelerate to 3rd gear, then shift to neutral and coast until either a red light or the next stop only pushing the gas pedal a little to give us the final momentum that we might need to get to the stop.  It made for an extra long bus ride…

    Lastly a competition!  Who can tell me what this ad is for… no cheating by reading the Chinese… (not that I know it would help).. luckily the picture quality isn’t that good so you can’t read the English…this is taken on the bus and this ad is found on the hand things for the people who are standing on the bus….


    Happy guessing!


  • 26Mar


    Well I figured out why it was skipping gears… it’s because the gear shifters are backwards!  The gears for the back of the bike are on the right hand and the gears for the front are on the left.  So now that I have that figured out… it’s been working a lot better.  It’s still not perfect as it still has a little trouble down shifting… but it’s way better.  It’s 4.3 miles from my house to school one way!  3+ miles from school to the office..  and 2 miles from the office to our house.  Lance Armstrong watch out…

    You can see the nice comfy rack thing on the back.  That’s where Xiao Lu sits when we’re riding together.  She likes to sit in a side-saddle fashion, which makes it really complicated sometimes to control the balance!  Add her wearing a heavy backpack for extra fun!

    Classes have been progressing well.  I’m definitely learning new things every day.  In my class we’re going over basic grammar and a little bit of vocab, but in my 1-on-1 class we’re going over sooooo much vocab!  So it’s great to combine the two of them… they compliment each other very well.  I’m a little sad because the lady Carol who was in our class and at a similar level as me quit the class because it was going  too slow for her and she already knew a lot of what we were learning.  So on Tuesday she switched over to private tutoring instead of our class.  I’m happy for her though because she seems a lot happier with it.

    Not much is new around the house.  I’m being fed really well.


    Here’s a picture of our dinner last night.  We had company over, but I’d say that our daily meals are pretty similar to most of these dishes, just not all of them all at once.  It’s a good thing I’ve started biking or else I think I might get fat here! Haha!

    That’s all for now!


  • 22Mar

    I thought I’d share a picture view off my journey to school today.  I know that before I came to China I really had no idea what it was like here.  So here’s an actual view of the area I live in, the buses I take, the streets I walk and some funny stuff I saw on the way.  Some of the picture quality isn’t that great, but I was trying to be discrete as possible!

    img_3372 The dreaded 7 flights of stairs, but at least right now we’re going down!

    img_3373 And out the building’s front door.  It’s sort of an interesting door as the key you put in deactivates a magnet that keeps the door closed.

    img_3375 Walking still in my complex as a the water man passes me on his motorcycle.  No huge water trucks here, just individuals riding motorcycles that hold around 4-6 water bottles depending on the bike.  You call when you need a new bottle.  They’re open from around 8am-9pm 7 days a week.  The great part is that they walk up the 7 flights of stairs!  It’s 5 RMB for a 5 gallon bottle ($0.75 US!!).

    img_3377 We now turned left out of the complex and are headed down the street.  This street has restaurants on the side that I’m walking on and shops on the other side of the road.  My “friend’s” restaurant is on this street at the far end from where I am now.  This street also has a vegetable and fruit market on it behind me in this picture.  I can almost get everything I need on this street.  I only wish that my bank were on this street!

    img_3380 Here’s my first bus stop.  We’re almost at the end of the line (just 2 stops after this) so the timing of this bus is lame.  Usually 3 and even sometimes 4 of the same bus will be one after the other… meaning that you sometimes have to wait forever until the bus comes.  My rule of thumb is if there are 4 or more people waiting for the bus then wait, but if there’s no one… then walk.  The next bus stop is the one I need.  It’s about a half mile walk… so if you catch the bus it’s way faster, but if you walk it’s not the end of the world.  Today I waited for 15 minutes… meaning that walking would have been faster.  You just never know.  Murphy’s law works here too!

    img_3379 While waiting at the bus stop I thought I’d share with everyone the lovely river thing.  At first glance that might seem like a nice river, but then you realize that the water is black and green and smells.  So then you realize that it’s some form of open sewer system aka one of the many “poop canals”.  Luckily here the smell is not that bad as it is at other canals.  This is also the water that is pumped into trucks that water the street and the plants that are along the side of the road.  Once again re-enforcing the concept that if you see a puddle don’t step in it.

    img_3405 Time to take out the bus card!  It has some chip in it so you just put your card up to the card reader and it deducts your bus fare (usually 1 RMB) and it also keeps track of when you got on the bus so that if you transfer to another bus you don’t have to pay another dollar.  So not only do you not have to carry a bunch of 1 dollar bills, but you get to transfer for free.  If you pay cash, no free transfers.

    img_3382 A view from inside the bus.  These buses are pretty cool.  They all have at least 1 TV in it, if not 2.  It shows basic news, weather, music videos, and LOTS of commercials.  I would have to say that about 60% of all the commercials are for hospitals.  That would be accurate for all advertisements as well.  Here it’s a little bit different in the sense that the hospitals tend to specialize in different areas.  Some that I’ve seen are heart specialty, women’s, men’s, and gastro… (stomach).  There are multiple for hospitals for each category too!  For the most part the buses are nice.  There are 4 basic kinds of buses: newer ones like this one, double deckers, old ones and short buses (that hold maybe 15 people).

    img_33861 Here’s my stop.  Confucian Temple.  Or as the bus says “Confusion Temple”… hmm subliminal messaging?  This stop is a good 10 stops down the street.  It takes about 20-40 minutes to get to this stop based on whether we make the lights, how many buses are in front of us and how many cars get in the way by using the bus lane.

    img_3388 This is in front of the building that the school is in.  The school is simply renting an apartment like office that has 4 rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom.  My one on one met in a different office today so I couldn’t take a picture of it.

    img_3391On the way back from class now… across from the bus stop you have your choice between KFC on the far left (off the picture), Pizza Hut (in the middle), a ramen noodle place, and Dairy Queen to the far right (also off the picture).  Hehe.  I’ve only been to a KFC… one day I’ll have to see what the others offer.

    img_3393 Here’s the bus!  Watch out for those mirrors… they’re tricky… they’ll whack you in the back of the head if you’re not paying attention!

    img_3396 Something fun to see on the way back home.  KFC delivers.  And on a bike.  Fun!

    img_3398 I decide to walk home the last half mile instead of waiting for another bus.  It’s a rather nice walk.  They’ve made a really nice pathway here next to the railroad.  I think it’s purpose was to encourage people to not walk on the tracks, but that fails.  Haha.

    img_3400 This is the path next to the previously mentioned “canal”.  It looks like a warzone in some spots.  Here the theory is that if it’s in the way get rid of it.  So in order to put the walking path in some of the buildings were partially destroyed.  It’s really bizarre as there are still things on the other side of these walls.

    img_3401 Ah back to the main street I live off of.  My apartment in down this street and to the right.  But I think I’ll make one more stop before going all the way home….

    img_3402 My favorite spot!  My “friend’s” restaurant.  The lady is so cute.  She likes to talk to me like she thinks I understand… and I just stand there and say I have no idea what you’re saying.  Hahaha!  Today I asked if she had potatoes (in Chinese) and I guess I suck at saying that… because she had the same look on her face that I have when she’s talking to me.  But then I said it again and she guessed what I was trying to say and went to the back and picked one up.  Woohoo! So then she said do you want to eat blah blah blah blah blah blah… no clue.  I ask.  “Hao chi ma?” meaning is it good?  She says “yes”.  So I say “Ok!”.

    img_3403 She was right!  It WAS good food.  She brought me a bowtie seaweed soup with pork chunks in it.  The dish on the right is thinly sliced potatoes, Chinese ham, and a type of pepper on top of rice.  The little plate is full of pickled cabbage and pickled radish (my favorites, they’re really really really good here).  All this for 7 RMB.  You really can’t beat it!  Plus it’s super tasty!

    After my huge lunch I headed back home.  It’s nice to be able to eat so much food knowing that I’ll probably burn off at least half of it going up the stairs!  Hah!

    I hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into my daily routine.  China isn’t all that different than most places… sometimes I forget that I’m in China, that is until I can’t understand what people are saying or what’s on the signs!

    Bike picture to come soon!

    Please pray for rain!  It’s in the forecast for Friday!  Pray that it stays!


  • 20Mar

    BICYCLE!  Bicycle races are heading your way… on your mark, get set, go!  **ring ring**

    Hurrah, yesterday I was able to get a bicycle!  It was actually a relatively easy process!  Surprise surprise.  Ruth and I went down to the shop that was closed the last time I tried to buy a bike and found a mountain bike with a rack over the back wheel for someone or something to sit on.  It definitely has some “made in China” qualities to it… as I haven’t been able to progressively go up and/or down all the gears one by one yet… usually it skips one or two… but I’ll take it because most of the bikes here don’t even have different gears… so even if I only have half of the 15 gears it’s supposed to have, it sure beats having only one!

    The adventure(s) of the day came after we bought the bike.  One of the main reasons I bought the bike I did is because it can “seat” someone on the back… primarily for XiaoLu as she can’t ride a bike so if Ruth and I were to go somewhere by bike she can come along.  This is perhaps a decision that my legs didn’t quite want to sign up for!  Yesterday I biked around a total of 8 miles BUT 5 of the 8 miles were with either XiaoLu or Ruth sitting on the back.  Thank goodness the road is relatively flat, but what a way to break in a bike!  It’s a very weird feeling to have someone sitting on the back of the bike basically being dead weight.  Plus as an added difficulty that extra weight sometimes shifts or moves forcing you to re-balance the bike.  The toughest part is going from a dead stop and trying to start up again.  It’s hard because you can’t stand up to get more power as that would probably result in the person on the back falling off!  Hah!  That would be funny though.  And now that I think of it… the bike ride might not have been the hardest part, it’s the 7 flights of stairs AFTER carrying someone on the back of the bike that is killer.

    I haven’t decided whether to ride it to school or not, as I’m not sure how much I want to take my life into my own hands.  Riding a bike during rush hour a) is very crowded with tons of cars, scooters, motorcycles, buses and bikes b) is not always faster as the previously mentioned crowds can make it go slow c) people are unpredictable on their mode of transportation here… whether it’s to stop your bike in the middle of the road to answer your cell phone or people suddenly stopping because they’re lost… there is a lack of common courtesy here for anyone who is following you and d) the rules of traffic are sort of bizarre.  People who turn right never stop even if it’s a red light… you just turn and assume that the oncoming traffic sees you and will yield to you.  So as a bike rider that means that even when the light is green to go straight you have to watch out for the right turn people coming almost full speed into you as they merge… hmm maybe I shouldn’t have my mom read this!  Hahaha.

    It’s all a in good fun though!  Defensive “driving” or “cycling” skills are a must!

    School is going really well still.  I love that most of the things I learn in class I can almost immediately apply or practice at home.  It’s fun to understand more and more of what my friends are saying to each other… given that they aren’t talking super fast!  It’s great to use less and less English words in my Chinese sentences =)

    Hope all is well wherever you are!  I love the comments keep ’em coming!


  • 17Mar

    In an attempt to buy a bike I found myself stuck in another “adventure”.  Susanna, XiaoLu and I went towards downtown to check out a bike shop.  I was able to see the bikes, the only problem was that I was looking through a metal gate… they closed just 30 minutes before we got there.  No problem, there was a Walmart just down the street.  In fact, I was thinking that it might even be better to go there… just so that way I could buy it without haggling.  Walking in we found out that the bikes were sold on the 3rd floor.  We go up and take a look around.  After trying out about a half dozen or so… we hit the jackpot… a mountain bike style, with multiple gears, and a rack thing above the back wheel where XiaoLu could sit on the back.  We were so excited to find this bike that it wasn’t until I lugged the thing down the 3 flights of stairs and was standing in line… that I then noticed that the back wheel brake wasn’t connected properly.  So we asked at the register if they could fix it there.  She said yep, just buy it and take it to the customer service area… off we went to the customer service desk… there the lady informed us that the repair man was up on the 3rd flight in the bike department… so we had to go back up there…  we’re now back upstairs where we find the customer service people on that floor.  This lady tells us to go by the bikes and that she’ll call the repair guy.  Meanwhile, I’ve reattached the brake… but I don’t like the way the brake pad is barely sitting on the wheel… so I figure that the guy can fix that.  A worker then walks by and says that the bike fixer guy isn’t here today and that we can fix it ourselves with the tools that are by the bikes.  Strange I know, but I figure I’d give it a go since it’s been over 50 minutes of shopping in the Walmart already and I had already done the bulk of the work.  But for some reason the “bolt” thing that needed to be loosened to adjust the location of the brake is not your typical nut.  So the tool that I really need is a vise grip… and there no such tool to be found in the tool box.  Go figure.  Hah.  So we decide that since the back brake is probably the most important, we’d return it and maybe come back a different day, when the bike guy is there.  So we go to the 3rd floor customer service to get a refund… she says go back downstairs… we go downstairs… that lady says go to the OTHER downstairs customer service… the one that’s a door between the two yogurt refrigerator coolers… OH that one?  Sure enough.  Smack dab in the middle of the yogurt section, there’s a narrow door that apparently handles returns.  So after about 2 hours at Walmart I managed to buy a bike, go down and back up 3 flights of stairs, reconnect the brakes of the bike, and return the bike.  I think I should send them a bill.

    I wonder how many other things I can buy and have in my possession before returning them the same day.  Something tells me that this might not be the last… hah!

    Some updates:

    -Ruth’s Mom’s pig died =(  It was their biggest pig and worth around 700 RMB.  So please pray for their family as they try to find a way to make up for this in their budget.

    -The crazy animal meat picture that I posted earlier is a Donkey.  In case you were still wondering.  My Chinese tutor and I were studying “food” and on the worksheet there was Donkey listed as a meat choice… she mentioned that it was sorta common around here to eat… so I quickly whipped out my cell phone and showed her the picture… she confirmed that it was Donkey.

    -Speaking of school.  It’s going really well.  I really enjoy my private lessons.  We are usually speaking only in Chinese, except of course some vocab that I don’t know yet… but I feel like I’m getting somewhere.  My classroom class is good too because that teacher is really focusing on word pronunciation which I really want to get down.  My other classmates are progressing so I think we’ll all be on the same page in due time.

    Some pictures:


    Here’s my first time eating at KFC (or any other “western” place for that matter)… menu is a little different.  It includes “fish sticks” that you can see being held by the hand, chicken wings that are more like buffalo wings, and apparently KFC is famous here for their egg tarts (in the box up top).  Overall very tasty.  The fishsticks aren’t all that great.  I think that the chicken was tasty and that the egg tarts were pretty good for egg tarts.


    Here’s Susanna eating shaved ice and strawberries.  Yum.  It’s really good here… it’s more velvety (milky) ice.  So it’s very soft rather than the grainy Hawaiian style.  Only 10 RMB ($1.50 US)!  Pretty good deal.


    Here are my roommates!  XiaoLu in the green jacket and Ruth in the white jacket.  We’re at the park having a good time watching people dance, rollerskate, sing, and play badminton.  The park here is really fun to go to at night.  A lot of people go there to get exercise in all the afore mentioned activities.  The dancing is probably the best stuff to watch.  There are some people who do ballroom/pair dancing, old people who are doing more like exercise/aerobic style dancing, and my favorite is that all the young people LINE DANCE (it’s not to country music but it’s the same concept where rows of people are all doing the same moves!).  Good times.

    More pictures to come soon!


  • 13Mar

    Praises!  I finally have internet that I can get everywhere!  While it’s not the fastest internet I’ve used it’s better than the almost zero internet that I had been getting.  As I type now I’m no longer confined to the small spot on my bed!  For which I think my butt is extremely grateful!  The fear of losing the connection if I even moved an inch caused for a sore bum!

    One on One lessons that I have Monday and Friday have been going really great.  We’re working on more conversational/useful things rather than text book dialogue.  I’ve already learned telling the time and on Friday we were working on directions such as up, down, east, west, inside, outside… things of that nature.  I’ve already used several of the phrases that we studied in normal conversation!  The classroom lessons are going alright.  Last Thursday we had a tea party.  Which was fun in the sense that it wasn’t boring studying stuff, but it wasn’t all that useful as far as language.  It was sorta neat to learn about the different teas.  Plus the teacher brought yummy snacks too!

    Today when I walked back home I stopped by my “friend’s” restaurant just to say hello and ended up getting a free ice cream out of it!  It’s good to have friends!

    Please keep Ruth’s pig in your prayers.  It’s still not doing great, but her mom was so encouraged to hear that even people in the States were praying for her pig!

    Last but not least I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my best bud!  Happy birthday Syl!


  • 09Mar

    And now for your update on what’s going on over here…

    We’ll start with the “What’s Strange in China?” Update!

    A common theme that’s found around China is to learn patience in waiting for things that you want.  People here talk about the need to be flexible as things don’t always work the way you think they should.  A few examples include…

    The bus system:  overall the bus system here is pretty good.  But the crazy thing is that sometimes it seems that the drivers don’t seem to understand the concept of spacing.  You might be waiting for awhile for your bus and sure enough it shows up with 2 of the same bus right behind it.  It makes for a comfortable bus ride in the sense that you’re guaranteed a seat, but not that great in terms of getting to places in a timely manner.  In other words, if you think it should take 30 minutes to get somewhere, give yourself around an hour.

    Shopping: The concept of running into the store and picking up something doesn’t ever really apply.  You must allot time for bargaining, walking away, coming back, arguing the price some more, and then finally purchasing the item.  Always bring additional patience when shopping with a local as this process takes twice as long with them.

    Buying Internet Access:  This comes to the main part of this blog… This story really starts from almost the first day I got to my new apt.  I knew I wanted/needed access.  It took until Feb 27th to get someone from the “Time Warner” of China to come out and try to connect my apartment.  However, the worker man informed me that my lovely neighbor has both of the internet lines that were wired up to our floor wired into his apartment.  So there’s no wiring that can go to my apt… Isn’t that nice?  So fast forward to last Saturday… I went with my friends down to a computer shop area where they had a friend who was going to help me buy Internet services.  We arrived and heard all the different plans that were offered by the different companies.  I picked one.  He called, found out that plan is “sold out”?  Ok no problem, pick a different plan.  He calls, success.  That company sends a runner (more like a biker) with the chip and the 3G USB modem thing (it’s like wifi for everywhere).  We take some time to set everything up and get it working.  I even sent a few emails from the store just to test it out.  Everything was great.  I was pleasantly surprised with how fast it was (compared to what I was expecting not compared to a cable internet line).  I packed my things and the group headed towards another counter as one of them was interested in buying an MP3 player.  While we were at that counter, the friend came back and said that the other company misunderstood what I was buying, so it was going to be 50 RMB more (less than 10 USD) for the first month but the remaining months would be the same quoted price as they were giving a discount, but couldn’t now based on the misunderstanding.  All whatever.  I didn’t care.  I would have paid 100 more!  I just wanted the net.  So then my friends tell me that our friend’s boss is not happy that this company decided to change the price.  And he doesn’t want to use them.  So basically they’re asking me if I could use a different company.  I figured, well I don’t want the friend to look bad so ok, no problem, let’s just go with another company.  So I hesitantly give it back… and expect us to go and find another provider.  Wrong.  It’s time for lunch.  Ok.  Eat them come back and work on it?  Wrong.  We’ll get back to you in a few days.  What?! Um.  Ok.  Fast forward to today.  The friend is over at our house and we’re briefly talking about me going down to the store tomorrow to try to work on the Internet thing.  He suggests waiting till the end of the month so that way I don’t waste paying for the 10 days of the month that have already passed.  Um. No. I need the Internet now!  I don’t care about the 10 days… I’m not waiting 21 days!!!  Hah!  So we’ll see what happens tomorrow… cross your fingers for me!

    Now for your “How’s Lup’s Chinese class going?” update: Classes are going alright.  On Monday I had my first One-on-One 2 hour study/tutor session.  That was fantastic.  It was great to just work on a variety of things at my own pace.  I think that the teacher and I still need to work on finding some type of structure for our sessions, but we’ll get there with time.  Speaking of time, I was learning how to tell time in Chinese.  I think I’m gradually picking up things from Ruth and Xiao Lu too.  It’s nice to have it being spoken around me all the time.  Plus the girls and I are watching a Taiwanese drama show that is only in Chinese with Chinese subtitles!

    For your Kunming weather update…  we had a sudden weather change.  Yesterday it was a high of 70+.  Today a high of 40+.  Quite a swing in temperature.  We’re praying for rain here, as this is supposedly the worst drought here in 60 years.  Some parts of the country are really struggling without water.  Please pray for rain for us!

    For your prayer updates: If you can remember to also pray for Ruth’s family.  Her dad is off working a temporary job that’s involved in some type of mining and so her mom is left to tend to the family crops and animals by herself.  Ruth’s second sister is helping to take care of little WeiWei as their mom works on the field and goes to the market (over a 2 hour walk) to sell their produce.  Ruth’s mom called today to say that their pig is sick so she’s really worried about that too!  Please keep them in your thoughts as they need strength and faith.

    I love all the comments!  Keep them coming!  You can email me too at lrorex@gmail.com if you want!


  • 02Mar

    As promised here’s some pictures of my place!


    This is the complex that I live in.  It’s called “A Beautiful New World”.  This is the view that I have from my balcony.  We’re in building number 29… so it’s a pretty big complex with lots of buildings that look just like this one.


    That’s the front door… the door on the left is the office and on the right in Xiao Lu’s room (as you can see them in this picture).


    The office.  Which really serves more like a closet.  Apparently here you don’t have closets… as none of the rooms have closets nor are there any for coats and msc things… so we use the office.


    Xiao Lu’s room.


    This part of the tour is taking you back into the middle of the apartment, where we can see our couch and in the distance the dining room and in the far far distance you can see the kitchen… we’ll be going into the dining room first…


    The dining room with my great new table.  The curtain that you can see in the left of this picture is the girl’s bathroom.


    We’ve now entered the kitchen.  You’ll notice no oven… most people here don’t bake so ovens are very very rare.  Everything is cooked on our stove top thing or steamed in the rice cooker.  On the right you can see a sliding glass door.  Now at first I thought it was strange…. but it comes in quite handy in keeping smoke, oil, and noise out of the rest of the house when we’re cooking.  My only fear is that one day I’ll walk into the glass thinking the door is open… Our next stop is behind us in this picture…


    Here’s the mini balcony that houses our washing machine… and isn’t much bigger to do anything else.  To orient you a little more… above the washing machine (the very left of the picture)is a window that goes into the girl’s bathroom… a little peculiar but it’s there… at least it’s frosted glass!

    Now back to the middle of the house and the other rooms…


    Here’s a view of the living room and balcony.  The front door is to the left of this picture, but our tour is taking us to the right of this picture.


    Here’s Ruth’s room… she has a super mini balcony out the door on the left.

    And directly behind us goes to my room…


    Here is my bathroom… which is inside the door to my room… and last but not least we have my newly decorated room… with NO ORANGE!


    The location of my computer is precisely the only place in the whole house where I can get steal internet… it’s rather convenient in the sense that it’s in my room… but I’m getting a little tired of having to sit on my bed to use the internet… you can see in the corner the bookshelf I bought.  On my bed is my Dodger blanket!  Only 30+ days till baseball season.  The other day the girls were asking me why I have my name on everything (shoes, calendar, pens, shirts, socks)… and I was super confused… but then they’re like everything says LA!  HAHAHA.  I love my Dodgers!

    That’s the apartment.  I think it’s pretty nice.  Now if only I could fly up the stairs!

    Here’s a few more pics that I thought would be fun…


    Here’s how I rode back from the store… hahaha.  The tailgate ALMOST closed… so the whole ride I was holding the door closed… we fit a tv stand, a bookcase, 6 chairs, and the dining room table in there… PLUS 4 people!!!


    This is our first meal eating at the table!



    That concludes your tour!  You should come see it for yourself!


  • 02Mar

    My first day of class is complete!  We have a nice small class of 4 total.  There is a couple who is from Atlanta, Georgia and another gal from France.  I’m definitely the most exposed to Chinese out of all of us.  The others have had very little practice or study prior to their arrival here in Kunming so everything is very very new to them.  They’re going through the typical trials of figuring out tones and hearing the differences between the different sounds.  I’ve got a definite head start on them, but it’s nice that the class is so small that the teacher can still correct me when I’m wrong.  I’m hoping that the 3 hours of one on one study that I’ll have will be a place to really challenge me until our class gets to more difficult things.  Today our homework consists of practicing writing 6 characters (little, not, what, king, person, and word) all of which I’ve already studied… but at least that’s makes homework easy!

    The teacher is really nice and I think good at making sure that we’re saying things correctly.  She tries her best to not let us move on to the next word until we have proper pronunciation of the current word.  It was seemingly a little discouraging to my classmates, as this is the first that they’ve heard of the strange concept that every word has four different ways to say it.  Not only that but “qi” sounds like “chi” and “chi” sounds like “chur” and “xi” sounds like “she” and “she” sounds like “shuh”.  Haha!  I think my classmates were a little overwhelmed after 3 hours of basic confusion.

    After today’s class I feel so fortunate to live with two locals.  It’s really super helpful.  Especially when I think about the fact that when I practice the words I have a native ear to hear and correct me.  Where as I worry for my classmates that they might go home and practice but to no avail as there is no one to help correct any mistakes.  Plus it’s way fun to teach my housemates English!  Ruth and I are currently “reading” Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  My favorite is when she says “Dopey” it sounds like Doppie like poppy seed with a “d”.  It’s super cute.  We’ve been getting along really well.  It’s becoming really nice as both of our language skills are growing daily… so we’re able to talk about so much more.

    In prayer news, please pray for a few things if you can.

    Xiao Lu just received news that her classmate was burned in a hot water accident while at work in a factory.  The doctors are doubtful of any form of recovery for him.  She was telling me to make matters worse, his relationship with his parents is very sour, so she doesn’t even know if they’ll visit him in the hospital.  Please keep him in your thoughts.

    Also I had a really cool conversation with Ruth today on our walk home and the salvation of her dad and his family is weighing heavily on her heart.  We are hoping that the Lord can reach their hearts and help them to have ears to listen to the Good News.


    I’m up to getting to the 5th floor without losing my breath!  Only 2 more flights of endurance!  Tomorrow I’ll try to post some pictures of my place now that we have all this great furniture!



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