• 17Jan

    Well I’ve officially returned to China!  (Yes it’s been about a week since I got back)  It has been nice to come “home” to all the “comforts” of China.  The freezing cold weather was the first thing to greet me here and immediately put thoughts in my mind of returning home.  I was told that there was a little bit of snow in the afternoon of the day that I arrived.  (There hasn’t been any here since).  It’s not so much the cold weather outside that’s the problem, it’s the fact that NOTHING here is heated.  There is no central heating in any building.  You can use space heaters but by the word “space” they mean the 6 inches directly in front of it.  The heat just disappears after that, either out the windows without seals, to the tile floors or to the concrete walls.  So as my frozen fingers are typing this I’m currently wearing 5 layers.  Brr.

    I’ve also been welcomed “home” by “driving” my roommate on my bike, been STOOD on, yes STOOD on, while on the bus, gone to the craziest place in all of Kunming, and been a part of the best “Christmas”.

    Let’s see I’ll start with going to the craziest place ever.  It’s called Luo Si Wan.  It’s a huge wholesale market.

    luosiwan

    Looks like your average (well bigger than average) mall right?  So the set up is sort of like a mall.  All sorts of stores under one roof.  But this place doesn’t just have two rows of stores that go around a courtyard thing.  This place is all business.  No play yards, no food courts… it has 5 aisles of stores that are about 1/4 the size of our average mall store.  It’s basically a small little 10×10 room where the people only sell one kind of thing.  So there are pants stores, shoes stores, backpack stores, purse stores, watch stores, etc… and all of these stores are in their specialized sections.  So there is a kid shoe section, so there are 4 rows of 20 shops per row that only sell kids shoes!  Needless to say, it’s crazy.  And there are SO many people there.  I have no idea the full size of the place as we only were looking for a few specific items but I’m not sure you could see it all in one day.  The prices were pretty cheap in some places and normal in others.

    On the way home from this place we took the bus.  It was a pretty full bus when we left the station.  We let a few more people on as we went down the route but then the driver stopped opening the door for new people.  And then for some reason we got to a stop and she decided to open the door to let people on (mind you no one has gotten off the bus this whole time).  Well at this particular stop there was a group of 6 people who were all together.  The leader shoved the money into collecting bin thing so then it was guaranteed that they all could get on the bus.  There wasn’t even room for 2 people so then naturally there wasn’t room for 6 people!  Now I was standing in the front of the bus where we were already crowded so this one lady decided that standing higher up on some of the metal bars would make for room (which was kind of true).  But then she got tired of that position and proceeded to STAND on me!  So then I start to inform her that this is NOT OK!  Eventually, much to her disappointment, she moved.  What a great “Welcome Back to China” moment!

    Yesterday was a much better experience though!  I got to accompany my roommates to Da Chen Elementary School (where I had been teaching English).  Their task for that day was to bring a lot clothes, toys and books and pass them out to the most needy kids in the school.  The teachers lined up the kids and one by one they came into the little room and picked out their new gifts.  It was a true blessing to get to see the faces of the kids as they proudly ran out of the room with all of their new goodies!  The smiles on their faces were like kids on Christmas morning!  After everything was distributed I went to a few of the classrooms to visit with the kids.  They were all anxious to share with me all of their new treasures.  Some of the girls got stuffed animals and I asked them if they loved their new friend and they emphatically shook their heads yes.  It didn’t matter to these kids that these toys were second hand or that they were a little broken or dirty they were proudly showing them to me as if they were worth a million dollars.

    I’m back to my exercise regimen of 7 flights of stairs and walks to the bus station.  It’s amazing how quick you can lose all the endurance that you’ve built up.  More painfully, my rear isn’t used to my bike seat yet!  Ooof.  But there is one advantage to climbing all those stairs, it gives you a little heat to your feet and body!

    My classroom version of my Chinese class finished the week I got back.  I still have 20+ hours left for my one-on-one to finish up.  I guess I’ll be taking care of that once I get back from celebrating Chinese New Year.  This year I’m heading back to the same place I went last year.  I’m excited to get to see Ruth and Susanna’s family again!  I heard that it snowed there yesterday!  So it looks like I’ll be going from cold to colder!

    This weekend I’m heading off to Wenshan.  Hopefully we’ll be able to find an apartment!  And hopefully I’ll be able to look at a school down there.  It should be a fun few weeks!  I’ll update you all later as soon as I get back from all my travels!

    Until then, enjoy some more fun sights around China.

    image0094

    This was the Shanghai airport.  It was weird with all these white thingies coming down from the ceiling.

    image0096

    While shopping at the crazy place I saw this.  Go Dodgers!  The only problem was that the logo that’s behind the words Dodgers is the Yankees logo with the hat on the bat…This outfit even had the LA logo on the front!

    image0095

    Only in China is it ok for electrical wires to be dangling close to the sewer water and even IN the water.

    Write when I get back!

    Lup

   

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