• 21May

    Some pretty fun stuff has happened since my last post… not quite as entertaining as my last post… but still fun none the less.

    First off,  I got a new bike!  Yay!  Last Saturday I was able to make it out to the bike shop.  Here it is!

    img_3718

    Look familiar?  It’s the same bike as my last one but this one has a fancy purple paint job.  I bought this one from the same vendor as I bought my last one, let’s just hope this one sticks around a little longer.  While it’s the same model as the last one, I actually feel like this one rides a little smoother.  The gears change nicer too.  It’s been nice to have a bike again.  It makes it easier to head down to the elementary school to help out at the library and visit with my little friend.  On Friday I played with a bunch of the kids after school.  We played basketball, badminton and some fun game that was almost like combining the baseball game of pickle with dodge ball.

    On Wednesday after working at the library we had dinner with the boy who had the heart surgery and his family.  He’s doing amazing.  There’s no way that you’d be able to tell that he recently had heart surgery.  His cheeks aren’t rosy anymore (0ne of the side-effects from his old heart condition) but he’s still cute as ever.  I love that this kid is always smiling and laughing.  He’s so much fun to be around and play with!  Here’s a picture that we took at dinner.

    image0054

    Chinese class has been going well.  In my classroom class (which will just be me for the next two weeks!) we are almost done with the first textbook.  I’m guessing that at the end of the week we’ll be finished with it.  In my one-on-one class on Friday I got to learn how to use the old fashion paintbrush style of writing.  It so much harder that it looks!  First off you have to hold the brush in a sort of awkward position as well as sitting in a very upright fashion.  Then even the strokes that you’d think would be super easy like a “dot” have some crazy rules that you have to follow in order to write it.  Apparently I wrote a few ok characters but most of it wasn’t that good.  My teacher says that it’s something that takes about a year to acquire and be able to write really well and something that has to be practiced daily.  I’m not sure I’m up to that task but maybe one day =).

    Here are some fun pictures that I took around town this past week.

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    This one was a street vendor selling these very colorful things… and upon further inspection you find out that these aren’t toys or stuffed animals, but real live chicks!  So funny.  I guess in the States we have hamsters but here they have neon colored chicks.

    image0057

    I love seeing this kind of stuff.  It always makes me laugh.  Here’s a guy who’s setting up his ladder on some type of electrical wires in the middle of the road.  The wires are fairly loose in the sense that they sway as he’s putting the ladder on it… and I love that there is no one on the street helping to prevent cars, scooters or people from running into the ladder.  He’s about 4 ft from an intersection that has cars turning the corner at a fairly good pace sometimes… fun stuff!

    Please be praying for our summer camps that we’ll be hosting that are just around the corner.  They’re set to start in the beginning of July and run through all of the summer.  The girls have been working really hard on preparing curriculum and all the activities and games.  Please pray that there is a good volunteer base that signs up to help run these camps!

    I hope all is going well at home!  Drop me a line or two!

    Lup

  • 14May

    The other day I went to KFC.  Not my choice but we were meeting someone there so we grabbed a bite to eat… Here’s some fun pictures.  I figured I had to get something that was as similar to something that you could buy in the States.  So here’s my chicken sandwich…

    img_3639

    It was basically constructed the same.  Sad hamburger bun, breaded chicken, the random shredded lettuce, and the strange white mayo sauce.  I’ll admit it wasn’t awful, but at the same time it wasn’t great.  The chicken was on the dry side and there was definitely a lot less greasy oily goodness.  It was also a lot smaller than one that you would get in the states.  You could get this lovely sandwich with a coupon for 10 RMB ($1.50).  I think without the coupon it was around 14 RMB ($2.05).  Quite expensive for your average local.  Especially when that just includes the sandwich.  If you want to add a drink it shoots the price up to around 20 RMB.  Compare that too my huge plate of rice and meat and veggies with soup for 6-8 RMB… and you wonder why people would want to go to KFC.  Here’s a shot of the counter.  It really looks just like the states =)

    img_3641

    They sell chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches and what I can only guess is the equivalent to a “Crunch Wrap Supreme” at Taco Bell.  You can see that they also have the kids meals with Barbie and Hot Wheels toys.  There was also a mini play area towards the back of the restaurant.  To me the Pepsi tasted a little different, but that could also be because I haven’t had a Pepsi since I was last in the States.

    Overall it was a fun experience, but I think I’ll stick with my local food!

    Speaking of experiences… I had an interesting one the other day.  While walking home on most days there will be the usually stare down by a lot of the locals.  Mostly I think they’re staring at me because they can’t figure out if I’m a local or a foreigner.  I’m not all blonde haired blue eyed with fair skin… but my dress and the way I walk and my backpack scream foreigner.  So I see a lot of furrowed brows over the course of a day.  I think I’ll take it over the “drop jaw” that a lot of my white friends get when walking down the street.  I think if I wore more “Chinese” clothes… I’d get a lot less looks, as I’ve been told that I could probably look like some of the northern people.  There’s just something in me that can’t bring myself to wear stockings with my sandals, or sporting a solar shield visor (when I had a bike) or using an umbrella when it’s sunny outside.  Anyway… so I’m walking the same way I do everyday… when I pass by a guy (walking in the opposite direction) who’s giving me the furrowed brow… then he mutters under his breath “Wai Guo Ren??”  (meaning foreigner… directly translated to “Outside Country Person”)… sort of annoyed I just put my head down and keep on walking with a slight shake to my head.  But then the guy turns around and basically chases me down… says Hey… “Ni shi wai guo ren?” (Are you a foreigner?)… trying to get rid of the guy… I say “bu shi” (Nope).  Then keep walking… so then the guy follows and stops me and goes off about something… so I’m thinking… shoot busted… so then I tell him in Chinese… that I’m sorry I don’t have time right now I have to go… but then he keeps on talking!!  So then I tell him that I don’t understand what he’s saying… THEN he keeps on TALKING… so then I tell him again in Chinese that I don’t have time…. so THEN he keeps on talking… saying “don’t be afraid of me”… I say I’m not afraid that I really just have to go.  THEN he keeps on talking… I say I don’t understand… he asks what country I’m from… I say America… then say I HAVE TO GO!  So then he says “Oh” and KEEPS ON TALKING.  I say “I’m sorry I don’t understand”… he says “Oh you don’t understand”… THEN says it again using the SAME words and talking in the same speed!!!  THEN!!! He moves on to something else and this time I catch some of what he’s saying… as he’s asking me if I have a boyfriend.  WHAT THE?!?!  Um.  “Yes?”, I say because even though I thought it was awkward before… NOW it’s super awkward.  Random man!!  He asks “Where?”  Um…”In America?” I say.  “Oh”, he says.  I say one last time… sorry I have to go… I don’t have any time.  And I walk away….  Wow…. just wow… so I walk away… shrug my shoulders… and remember… TIC.  (This is China).

    What a funny place.  At least it makes for good blogging.  Hope you got a good laugh out of this one.

    Lup

  • 11May

    This last Friday, while at the migrant school (where we previously built a library), I heard the story of one of the kids there.  Wei Yao Qin (is her name), img_3649always has a great smile on her face, loves to read and is a great helper.  At first I thought that she would just stay after “after school library time” to help because she wanted to help us out… but Friday I found out that it’s not only because she wants to give us a hand but because she’s currently living at the school.  Yao Qin’s parents are currently working outside of the city on a construction site and are unable to have her live with them.  So, one of the teacher’s at the school is nice enough to help take care of Yao Qin and let her stay with her at the school (the teachers often live at the school at least during the week, if not for most of the school year).  After school is out Yao Qin is basically left all alone in the school with no one to talk to or play with.  I was also told that they don’t have a tv or a computer for her to use.  That night and Saturday I couldn’t help but think about how hard it must be to be 10 years old and not have your parents or grandparents or other family members around supporting you.

    On Saturday I decided to go to the bookstore and see if I could find some fun books to read and maybe some type of activity book with things like word searches or something… I ended finding some books that had an assortment of short stories and “princess” stories.  I bought 4 of them in the series.  Apparently one has moral based stories, one is more the “princess” type stories and I don’t remember what the other two were.  I also thought that my little friend could use her own little friend.  So I looked around a few shops until I found a cute little alligator stuffed animal.  (Here she is with it… we named her Faith).img_3707

    Since I knew that weekends were probably the loneliest for her, Sunday after church Xiao Lu and I went to the school after church.  We had a great afternoon together.  We started out by going to the market… buying some fruit and ice cream.  We went back to the school ate our ice cream and fruit, talked a bit then headed to the “park”.  (Here is Yao Qin and the principal’s daughter at the park… see more notes about the “park” at the bottom).img_3702After we were exhausted from the heat of the sun we went back to the school and read a little bit before it was time for us to go home.  It was a great day for all of us and it was fun to be able to play with her longer than the hour plus that we usually get to see her.

    So there are these kinds of “parks” all over Kunming.  At first glance you might think it’s just a regular park with jungle gym stuff… but really these parks are made for the older folks not the kids.  These parks are really outdoor gyms!!  The girls in the picture above are playing on what simulates an elliptical machine… they have something that simulates a leg press, a treadmill, and even a lat bar machine.  They have a bunch of other stuff there too!  It’s kinda cool… a free gym.  In the evenings and the mornings these “parks” are filled with older folks going out for their exercise.  Fun stuff!

    Everything has been going well for me.  I haven’t had a chance to go replace my bike yet, but the plan is to do it this week.  I was able to get some of my digital pictures printed and right now they’re at the frame store… it’s supposed to be ready on Friday!  I can’t wait to have things on my walls!

    A big Happy Mother’s Day goes out to all my Mom readers!  (especially my mom!)

    Lup

  • 05May

    After 48 days of bringing joy to my life… I have lost my good friend… my bike.  Some one else has decided that they were more worthy to own it and ride it.  We shared a lot of good memories together… a lot of pain and a lot of joy.  ::sniff sniff:: I didn’t even have time to find a good name for it.  Just as I was seemingly figuring out how to work all the ‘unique’ features to my bike… someone goes and takes it away from me.

    Today I was at a friends house helping them with some work they had for the upcoming summer camps.  I parked my bike in the stairwell and put my lock on it.  Thinking that we were leaving at 1 pm… and arriving at 9am… I didn’t even think much of it… as there were other bikes in the area.  We ended up leaving my friend’s apartment at 3:30… and lo and behold… no bike.  =(  I didn’t even get to say good-bye.

    And so the adventure begins on finding a new one!  All is good.  There is always His purpose to everything.  If anything I’ve learned to ALWAYS park my bike in the bike garage places… no matter how far or how inconvenient they may seem.  And perhaps with my next bike I’ll invest in multiple locks?  The only thing I can hope for is that whomever uses my bike next will like it as much as I did.  At least now I have an excuse to be lazy and take the bus to school.

    I’ll miss you bike!

    Lup

   

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