Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What kids remember.....

I teach a girl, Vanilla, on Saturday mornings. She is about 11 years old. Vanilla has always been one of my best students, because she really likes English and wants to learn......it also helps that she really likes me.
About a month and a half ago, I was teaching her class a grammar lesson. We were going over the various kinds of nouns, adverbs, verbs, and pronouns.
Ivy, another student in the class, thought it would be funny to make me wear her scarf while I taught. She lovingly wrapped her scarf around me and told me I was beautiful. I kept the scarf on for almost five minutes before I pulled it off and said, "I'm sorry, Ivy, I don't like it when things touch my neck. But, thank you for letting me be beautiful with your scarf."

Well, it seems that out of everything I taught that day.......this was the only thing that Vanilla remembered.

Helena is Vanilla's mom. I teach Helena on Sunday afternoon. This past Sunday, I was teaching about the importance of descriptions and visualization.
So, I prepared a little game. I filled a cup with strips of paper. They had to pull out a piece of paper and describe the word to us.........pretty standard game............
At one point, Helena pulled out a piece of paper and said, "this is something that ladies like to wear in the winter. But, maybe Leah doesn't wear one because she doesn't like things to touch her neck."

I sat there for a moment thinking, "I didn't put turtleneck in there.......oh, wait........"

"Did Vanilla tell you that?" I asked.
"Yes. She said that you really don't like things to touch your neck. She could tell your words were true by your face."
"Huh," I said/grunted.

The word was scarf, duh.
But, the point is........out of my whole class, the thing that stuck with Vanilla was the scarf incident. And she went home to share the story with her parents.

She still can't tell me what a common noun is..............................

SIDENOTE: I do own scarves. If you ever notice me wearing one, you will know that I'm REALLY COLD. But, you can also know that I'm screaming in my head.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful 2013

The time has come....here we go.......

I'm thankful for Skype. I've been able to chat with my parents just about once a week. I also get to see/chat with my sister quite a bit.
Skype has made my time in China much easier. Thank you, Skype.
I'm also thankful for Google Hangouts....we didn't use this much. But, one time we had a big family chat and I got to hear all (except for Chris...college boy...) the voices that I love.

I'm thankful for my family (duh). These people........YOU GUYS! They are magic and I often think about how lucky I am....cause they are mine.
I'm also very thankful for my sister and my dad sending me packages of American things.
I'm thankful for my brother Mark for making Internet communication easier for me (outside the Great Firewall of China).
I'm thankful that I come from awesomeness.

I'm thankful for Jessica. China has been......interesting for me. And no matter what happened, or what drama was invented, she has stayed my friend through it all.....

I'm thankful for Chinese food, but I'm also thankful that I will be returning to a land with SO MANY food options. I'm thankful that I will eat a burrito in less than three weeks.

I'm ALWAYS thankful for cheese.

I'm thankful for my friends (duh). I have such talented and amazing people in my life. You are all works of art and I love you to BITS. I'm so lucky to have my peeps.
I'm also (*sigh*).....I HAVE to be thankful for Facebook. Because it has let me stay up to date on the doings and wonderfulness of all my peeps.

And lastly, I'm thankful for the last two-ish years of my life. I did it, you guys. I came to China all by myself and I taught English. I lived a dream. I LIVED A DREAM!
It didn't turn out to be what I thought it would be. But, I'm so..........I'm wordless. I can't believe I actually did it.
I kept promises to myself. I kept promises to my students......and I fought through all the crap and I DID IT.
Maybe you don't know about all the crap. I didn't talk about it much outside my family.
But, this was hard.
And I didn't give up. That's all I need to know. I'm thankful because I KNOW that I don't ever have to give up.

Oh. Chocolate. Thank you, chocolate.

Happy Thanksgiving, my peoples. I love you to the moon and back.

SEE YOU SOON!


Monday, November 25, 2013

No No

This story is about Jason. That's Jason.


I'm not sure how much I've talked about Jason in the past (almost) two years. But, all you really need to know is that we mostly argue about Mariah Carey. 
I understand she can sing. It doesn't mean I have to like her.
He DOES NOT find this acceptable.

Another thing you should know about Jason is that all he wants to do is go to gay bars. He has two friends that perform in gay bars (lip syncing and dancing). And if you hang out with Jason, you have to be prepared to end up at a gay bar to see the show and say hello to DouDou and MuMu.

Well, Jason moved to another city a few months ago. But, he wanted to come back to Kunming and take me to dinner to say goodbye......
But, he also wanted to say hello to DouDou and MuMu. So, after dinner, where did we go?

A new gay bar called No No.

I spent most of the night laughing.......and TRYING not to laugh so hard that I drew attention to myself. 

Funny #1 

DouDou and MuMu dress mostly in the traditional dress of ancient Chinese women. Then, they sing a song or do some sort of traditional Chinese dance. There is also an occasional Lady Gaga song.
And the whole time.....the WHOLE night.......they looked bored to the point of falling asleep on stage. It's hilarious. I've been trying to accomplish that level of boredom all week. But, I can't quite keep the grin off my face. 
Bored dancing might be my new favorite thing. I will master it.

Oh, and the choreography for the occasional pop song IS SO BAD! (I will master this also.)

Funny #2

This new bar has a group of straight guys that come on stage every night and dance with their shirts off. 
Well, dance.....I shouldn't say dance. 
Some of them flex their muscles, some of them shuffle back and forth, and one of them........

Try to imagine someone attempting to make the truffle shuffle a sexy dance. 

I sort of felt like I went to an unintentional comedy review.

Funny #3

Jason: Leah! Do you see there is another foreigner here tonight?
Leah: Yeah.
Jason: Let's invite him over.
Jessica: No. Let's leave him alone.
Jason: But, we should invite him over for Leah.
Jessica and Leah: No.
Jason: But, Leah! Don't you want a man for the night?
Leah: Jason. First of all. NO. Second of all...you brought me to a gay bar.
Jason: Oh. Yeah. He won't like you.


The next time you see me, ask me to show you some of the choreography. I WILL master it.

*sigh* I wish I had video of the "sexy" truffle shuffle.

Dinner and a Movie

So, I teach a class on Saturday that I love to the moon and back. In fact, that class is why I stayed in China for another year.
The sad thing is...the class has lost a lot of students for various reasons. As I'm getting ready to leave, I'm now down to four boys.
CRAZY BOYS!
Three 12 year olds and one 9 year old monkey boy.
This last Saturday was the day we invited their parents to come.....my boss wanted to talk to them about their options for teachers after I leave.
So, moms came, Andrew talked, Jessica talked, I talked (Jessica translated), I got really emotional and started crying........
I brought a cake. I told them that I wanted to share a cake with them to celebrate how great our time has been together. (And then I lost it.)

Anyway, the class is usually 4 hours. But, of course, we couldn't ask their busy moms to sit there for that long. So, this Saturday the class was only 2 hours. But, the boys were not happy about going home.
Kolin was especially displeased about going to be bored at home. He kept begging me to teach them. I kept telling him that I didn't want to trouble his mother.

Well, I guess the three 12 year olds didn't go home. Apparently they all went to Jonny's house. Cause Jessica came to my office and said that Jonny wouldn't stop calling her because they wanted us to go to dinner and a movie with them.
I said sure, but I wasn't hungry.
Jessica's class finished at 7pm. The movie was starting at 8pm. Jonny would NOT stop calling Jessica to see where we were.......(he might be a really annoying boyfriend one day....)

The boys were already done eating when we arrived. So, they spent the next 20 minutes serving us food and walking around the table like our personal waiters.
Jonny wanted us to go upstairs to meet his dogs. We met three of the four dogs and both Jessica and I wanted to steal the puppy. (WANT.)

Then........movie time. "Gravity" was the movie that fit our time needs. But, hey, I'm not going to complain about George Clooney (unless he is dressed as Batman).

 Owen, Kolin and Jonny
 
WHAT is that face? Stop it, Leah. I don't think partial-kissy-face is a thing...

I had a great time. The movie was good. TENSE.......I need a massage. But, I really enjoyed it. AND, the company was great. 
Man, you guys, I'm going to miss that class like crazy. I hope they all come see me in America one day. I'll return the dinner and movie favor. :D 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I can't walk...or something...

Sometime in September...I don't remember the exact date, I got off the bus at a brand new stop. It was dark.
Sidenote: I always watch where I'm walking in China. I probably look like I'm constantly staring at my feet, but you really have to watch out for poop. I'm talking animal and child poop. Just......on the sidewalk........
I was watching my feet. I actually have no idea what I tripped over. But, I fell and I hit my left knee hard.
In fact, I landed on my knee and hands SO HARD, I just froze. Stunned. On my face.
I don't know how long I stayed like that, but eventually, I rolled over. I was greeted with a group of faces.
Just. Staring.
No one offered to help. No one laughed at the lady that fell over. They just stared at me.
A woman pushed her way through the crowd and helped me stand up. I was still a bit stunned, but I think I thanked her before I started shuffling away.
I was covered in cement dust. COVERED! It's kind of funny now that I think back on it. But, at the time I was in too much pain to really think.
Anyway......I fell. I don't know how. I was kind of embarrassed about my lack of walking skills.
And, much to my dismay, my knee is still pretty messed up. I can't put too much pressure on it. At times, I wonder if I did some kind of permanent damage to the muscle. *sigh*

Sometime on the morning of November 20th........I was walking home after helping Jessica get some things moved.
I was watching my feet. But, that must have been the problem. Because I should have been watching the barrier I was stepping over. (I don't know if barrier is the right word. I don't know what to call it. It's not really a wall, but also not quite a tiny fence....)
I heard the ripping before I felt it. Something along the top of the barrier/tiny fence/non-wall ripped through my skirt, and then my tights, and then my skin. I had to pull my leg off......OUCHIE!
Well, lots of bleeding started (this is my right leg this time.) and I started to panic a little. But, then I remembered there was a pharmacy really close.
I walked in, lifted my skirt, did a waving (panic waving and heavy breathing) Vanna White type thing....and both the ladies behind the counter jumped into action.
They cleaned me up, sort of bandaged me, and were giving me rapid fire instructions. So, I called Jessica to get a translation. I paid them for all the stuff they used (and took a moment to be shocked at how cheap it all was) and then limped home.



You guys. It hurts. But, that isn't the point.

The point: I can't walk....or something............

After doing a number on both of my legs, I hope I can keep the rest of limbs safe during these last few weeks.

Wish me luck! (Sheesh.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boots.

My brother, Michael, had these boots.

If you know my brother, you probably remember the boots. In fact, if
you ever met my brother during my college years, I'm sure you saw the
boots.
They were big. They were sturdy. They were ugly.

I never understood my brother's fascination with these boots. I'm not
sure you could call it fascination. Maybe it was love........the great
boot love.........I don't know.
But, they were old and ugly! I didn't understand why he didn't get rid
of them. He would not let them go.

Well, it took me over ten years. But, I finally understand. I get it.

Because now I have magic boots. :D

In October of 2011, I was trying to put together a Halloween costume
for my work. All the employees were dressing up and we were all
working together on Halloween.
So, I had to think of something, but I didn't want to spend much
money. Luckily, I had almost all of the clothes to put together a
somewhat believable "rock star" outfit. I just didn't like my shoe
choices.
My sister started looking on the Internet...and she found some pretty
rad looking boots.
They cost less than $50, but I don't remember the exact price. I just
remember that we both thought it was a good deal.


       2011

I never liked boots. Cause I don't like anything made of leather. I
don't like the look/stiffness of new leather. And, most of the time, I
think old leather looks gross and dirty. (The only exception was a
couch we had while I was growing up. I loved that couch and chair. I
never thought that leather was ugly....but, I HATED sleeping on
it....)
But, I figured I could make myself wear them enough to make it all worth it.
So, they came.....I wore them for Halloween..........and I did not
wear them again.
In America.

I came to China in January of 2012. I started wearing the boots more
because my feet were getting a bit too cold in my Chucks.
I guess they became my winter shoes. And I loved the way they looked.
I just hated wearing them.

Okay. It should be stated here that I hate shoes and socks. I would
live like a Hobbit, if I could. I always want to be barefoot.
So, I didn't understand my brother's obsession with his boots because
they were ugly.....and they were feet prisons.
Boots are PRISON for feet.

*shudder*

It is finally cold enough in China that I have to start wearing more
on my feet again. I can't get away with sandals and Chucks anymore.
*sigh*
So, on Saturday, I put on the boots and I went to work. I didn't
really think about them for most of the day...I didn't really notice
until I was standing at the bus stop.
The boots were finally perfect. I had finally worn them in enough that
they fit my feet just right. They didn't hurt anymore. My feet didn't
feel trapped anymore.

I had reached boot perfection.

I finally understand why my brother held on for dear life. He didn't
let go of those boots until they were taken from him.
Because, sometimes, boots are magic. Sometimes you find a pair of
boots that FINALLY fit your feet in such a way that you don't ever
want to break in a new pair. Ever again.
Why go through the pain again.....WHEN THESE ARE PERFECT?
Of course, it's been two years. Maybe my boots are ugly now too. I
don't know. I'm sure someone will let me know when I get back to
America.

But, good luck getting me to get rid of them.

I have the boot love now.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

14-Year-Old Dream...

Well, almost 14 years....

Since December of 1999, I've been having the same dream AT LEAST twice a year.

In the dream, I see clips of my life. It all starts in the hospital with me giving birth to triplets. I have three little girls. They all look like carbon copies of me....but, they are all red heads with big blue eyes.
The dream gives me random life scenes until the girls are about 6 or 7.

Then I wake up.

Sometimes the random life scenes are different. In one dream, I will get a first day of school scene. In another dream, I'll get a first steps scene for one of the girls.

But, no matter what scenes change, the names always stay the same.

Sebastian Mae
Sadie Jane
Sheridan Lee

I love those names. I love those dreams! So much joy and laughter...

I can't have more kids. But, the dream has been going on for so long.......it seems like it is telling me something. Maybe it has nothing to do with the children. Maybe I've been focusing on the wrong part of the dream?
I don't know.

Still love those names though.......

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nature Lovin'.........?

I may have mentioned this before, but...............Jessica is CRAZY about taking pictures. She loves pictures. She gets excited about it and I really think she should turn that love into some kind of career.

Dear Jessica, BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER! Or something.....

Sometimes, I get to go on these little adventures/photo shoots. The last adventure/photo shoot was also Mid-Autumn Festival AND the second day we celebrated Jessica's birthday. (Her birthday is 10.2, but she won't be in Kunming. So, we celebrated Jessica Day a few times this month. She's so nice...celebrate her twice! Because!)

Here's the thing. I don't like pictures as much as Jessica. I'm not really a fan of getting my picture taken. AND, sometimes, I have a really hard time taking her pictures seriously. Actually, I have a hard time taking any picture seriously. (Full disclosure.)

For example, Jessica wanted to take a picture of us standing by a tree. I was having a really hard time keeping a straight face around the tree. She was posing with the tree between us like it was our friend, or something. Well, I'm not sure what she was doing. I probably should have asked. But, I couldn't stop thinking about the new tree friend.
So, I started goofing off a wee bit......



I couldn't just take a normal picture. I practically started playing patty cake with her. So, I don't really blame her for commenting on my weirdness. She just wanted her good picture!
But, I told her I couldn't do it. I told her I couldn't take a serious picture with a tree....I had to...I don't know....vogue...................
And that is how this magic happened:




You're welcome. 





Monday, September 23, 2013

Student Conversations (2)

Well, ye olde fan page is going to retire this week. Because having two pages on Facebook is twice as annoying as only having one page on Facebook.
So, here are the rest of the fan page conversations with students. If there are future funny conversations (before my triumphant return)...look no further than ye olde profile.


June 5:
Me: I'm sorry this is your last class, but it has been an honor and a pleasure to be your teacher.
Elena: Leah. You were born in 1978. I was born in 1977. I am only older one year. You are not my teacher, but now we can be sisters and friends.


June 13:

Sunny: Steve, come here. Leah. Leah, will you shouting? Will you shout - Sunny and Steve, shut up!
Me: Ummmm....(shouts) Sunny and Steve, shut up! (normal voice) Like that?
Sunny: (turns to Steve) See? Is so loud. (walks away)
????????????????

June 18:

Me: (Reading) That's dangerous.
Jack: (Singing) DANGEROUS! Michael Jackson. He is die.
Me: He is dead. He died. Now I'm sad.
Jack: MICHAEL JACKSON!
Me: ................Let's keep reading..........

June 25:

Me: What animal do you like?
Her: Cat. I like cat.
Me: Cats. Okay. What color cats do you like? I like orange cats. And you?
Her: I like pink cat.
Me: There are no pink cats. What color cats do you like? Brown, white, black, orange?
Her: (gets real serious) I want like pink cat.

June 27:

Me: Mickey, what are you doing? Please sit down.
Mickey: No.
Me: Why? Don't you want to talk to me?
Mickey: (sits in my lap and hugs me) I do. But, today I will also kill you.
Me: What? Why?
Mickey: (stands up) I will kill you. (PUNCHES ME IN THE THROAT)
Me: OW! WHAT THE.........OW! WHY?
Mickey: (giggles)

July 2:

Me: Do you understand?
Him: Yes. I know exactly your means.
Me: *sigh* 
Him: What?

July 13:

Me: Can you tell me something you like to smell and something you don't like to smell?
Him: I like smell flower. I not like smell sh*t.
Me: Ummm.......right. I....I like to smell....I don't like to smell......the grammar.......infinitive.....(and then I started laughing and someone asked me why my face was turning red.)

July 19:

Text: Leah, Vanilla gained the first prize in this spoken English! We should say "thank you" because you make her loves English and learns happily!!
..........THAT is why I'm still in a place that makes me cry all the time.........I live for moments like this.

Aug. 13:

Student: I have pet turtle.
Me: Cool. Does it eat pizza?
Student: What? NO! Turtle not eat pizza.
Me: I know four that do.
Student: ...........................no.
Me: ........................yes.

Aug. 16:

Me: Can you please listen? Focus.
Student: No. Okay. Yes. No. Yes. No. No. Yes.
Me: You won't like me when I'm angry.
Student: I not like you happy.
Me: ................That......that was a pretty good response.

Aug. 26:

Her: Leah, my birthday is 9/11.
Me: Cool! That is so close.
Her: But, is not a good day for you.
Me: Well...that doesn't........and?
(See how profound and deep I can be?)

Sep. 12:

Student: Hello, Leah.
Me: Hey. How are you today?
Student: I'm fan....I am fantas.....fantasteric.
Me: I like your new word.
Student: What?

Sep. 13:

Him: I kill zombies on computer.
Me: Could you kill a real zombie?
Him: There is no zombies in China or America.
Me: But, when there are...are you ready?
Him: Ummm....yes. Zombies must be die. Zombies is dirty.

Example...

Last month, I wrote a post about one of the (many) cultural differences. Remember? In this country, girls can basically go pants free and no one bats an eye.....but, cleavage?

Nay, you naughty vixen.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

Jessica and I were out for lunch and a drink and she took a picture of me with my gigantic espresso (that made me crazy/hyper for the rest of the day).
After she took the picture, she leaned over the table and pointed at my cleavage in the picture. "Oh, so deep." She laughed. I laughed. (Possibly for different reasons....)


Because.....what? Hahahahahahahahaha. You guys, I CANNOT wait for her to come visit me. I really hope she comes to visit me in California. Her eyes are going to POP out of her head.

Oh, Americans.......you naughty vixens..........

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NOT ALLOWED!

I don't have a kitchen. I have a balcony with a sink and a hot plate. I never thought about missing something like counters, but man......I miss counters.

Anyway, my lack of counter space is not the point.

This is what happened today:

I pulled a tomato and some Chinese cabbage out of the fridge. (I love Chinese cabbage.) I grabbed a pot and walked out to the balcony. I set the pot on top of my tiny washing machine and washed the tomato. I cut the tomato......washed the cabbage.....put it all in the pot.

Just like yesterday.

I walked back inside to throw something away.

Just like yesterday.

I walked back out to grab the pot and fill it with water.......................

NOT LIKE YESTERDAY: A bee flew out of my cabbage and into my face.


THIS IS NOT ALLOWED TO EVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

I would like to thank my hands for not dropping the pot or throwing the pot off the balcony. I would like to thank my vocal chords for not making any weird noises. And even though I'm pretty sure I had three heart attacks....I would like to thank my heart for not actually stopping.

I don't like bees.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fresh.

Okay. Here is a confession:

I don't really pray anymore. In fact, I don't remember the last time I prayed. I just.....

Now is not the time for that tangent! FOCUS, LEAH, FOCUS!

This is my bedtime routine:

Bathroom
Wash face
Brush teeth
Turn down bed
Remove glasses
Turn off light
Apply hand cream
Get in bed
Stare at ceiling

The other night, I got to the point of applying hand cream. I walked toward the bed and stood there for a moment.
Thoughts:
I haven't prayed in a long time. When was the....I don't remember. Should I pray? I talk to God, right? I'm not totally....right? Should I pray? What would I say?
I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there....I'll tell you.......
*sigh* THAT'S NOT A PRAYER, LEAH.

So, I got in bed. I stared at the ceiling. I tried not to......................but, I finished the song.

A is Okay...

I'm living in a culture that doesn't have the same kind of modesty "rules" that I grew up with. Can I call them rules? Understandings? Expectations? I don't know what to call it.

SIDENOTE: I've been living here for just over a year and a half. I have discovered that during that time, my vocabulary has shrunk. I'm forgetting words because I haven't used them.....it makes my face burn with shame and frustration.

K. In America, if you see a girl wearing nylons and a skirt so short you can see her butt cheeks and/or underwear......what do we think? I know a lot of people that would think hooker. But, I also watch too much TV and listen to A LOT of 80's music. So. There is that.
LOTS of leg is a very common style over here. I see a lot of butt cheeks and a lot of underwear. Girls and women like to wear white skirts/white tights with brightly colored underwear...really short shorts/skirts.....
(One time I was walking home from work and a boy was walking in front of me with his girlfriend. Her dress was like a long T-shirt. He pulled up her black dress so that he could play with her blue underwear. ON A CROWDED STREET.)

Also, it is perfectly in fashion to wear a see-through shirt and a fancy bra. Granted, this shirt is buttoned all the way up to the neck....leg skin is not a bother, but.......
One day, I was waiting for the bus and a girl walked up to stand next to me. She was wearing a peach dress. It had a high neck and dropped all the way to her toes. She was also wearing matching peach underwear and a peach bra...which I could see....because the dress was made of some gauzy material....

Here's where we come across a cultural difference that I find silly-

I have a collection of shirts that are of the V-Neck variety. I will admit that I have about 4 or 5 shirts that show a bit of cleavage. I have 1 shirt that I feel I HAVE to wear a tank under....otherwise I feel like I'm putting on a bit of a show. So, I wear the tank and bring the whole business back to a smidgen of cleavage.

People on the bus will look at me like I'm a dirty trollop. Girls on the street with cheeks hanging out of their shorts will look at me like I'm a strumpet. HOW DARE YOU, LEAH!!!!!!
You guys, I have to bend over for any cleavage to actually be seen. These are not daring shirts in any way shape or form.....you have to be standing really close to me to see anything (or sitting next to me).....and yet, HOW DARE YOU, LEAH!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I guess the problem with cleavage is that the skin can be seen clearly.........? Is that the issue? I don't understand.
Like I said, some things I find silly.......other things are totally fascinating, but....sometimes, I just don't understand.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Trapped?

I had an adventure today. It almost sent me into a full on panic attack. Would you like to hear about it? 
OKAY! 

Backstory: Charlie bought an apartment. The construction is supposed to be finished around October. 

Charlie called me around 5pm and said, "Leah. Are you chilling around your house?" I paused to ponder if watching Alias on Netflix was "chilling" enough, decided it was, and told him yes. He said, "they furnished my apartment. Would you like to go over and look with me? I don't want you to be bored."
Well, that sure is nice of him! He said he would meet me downstairs in 20 minutes....so, I had plenty of time to put on pants. 
I met him downstairs and said, "so, they have already furnished your apartment?" He told me that, yes, they put in closets and the kitchen. 
That is not the same as furnished, but my life is full of lost in translation type stuff.....it's all good.

So, we start walking. I'm finding myself grateful for a little extra exercise. I don't remember how long were were walking, but it had to have been less than 20 minutes.

The building was CLEARLY still under construction. Charlie talked to a man in a hard hat and I was SUPER SURPRISED when he directed us to the hole (doorway) in the side of the building. 
We get to the elevator and there is a woman sitting inside of the unfinished lift....she takes us to the 15th floor. We get off, I notice that there are no buttons for the elevator. 
Suddenly, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, I carry on. We carry on. 
He thinks his apartment is 1505, but SURELY NOT! He is so confused. It is so big. So, we go look at 1507. It is full on in construction mode. I mean, the walls are painted, but.....I have a serious feeling that we should not be on site.
He wander around 1507 and he is sure that this is the size that he paid for, but the contract says 1505. He just knows it. So, I tell him we should go look at the big one. Just for kicks.......
It is going to be stellar. It is going to be beautiful. We walk through the master to the bathroom......
"Charlie! I haven't seen a tub in China! IT'S A BATHTUB!"
He walked up behind me and said some happy swear words. (Swear words in a happy voice....)
"Wow," I said. ".............look at the view!"
"I will have to have sex in this tub," he said.
"...........................okay. Yes. You have to do that.........." I rolled my eyes and he laughed. I chuckled. 
The picture doesn't do it justice. This view was amazing. If he really is moving into 1505, he should always watch the sun set while taking a bath. 
And then we turned to the mirror......


Can you see us through the construction dust? Oh, sweet, goofy and innocent us........just before we realized WE WERE TRAPPED!

We go back out into the hallway and back down to 1507 so he can take some pictures to send to his mom and dad. He asked me to come onto the balcony to see if I like this view too. I hear some sort of saw above us and a mist falls over my body. 
AND THEN THE MIST STARTS TO BURN!!!!!!!!!!!! Charlie says, "why does that burn? THAT HURTS!"
I've decided I have acid all over me. But, even though I'm in pain and starting to freak out....I remain outwardly calm.
Then, we are back in the hall and I'm staring at the elevator. I'm letting the NO BUTTONS start to sink in.
So, we decide we can just take the stairs down. He has a light on his phone and I have a small flash light that gives off......a glow. It's horrible as a flashlight. My Glo Worm gave off more light. But, it got me down the stairs, until I hit a wall. 
They blocked the stairwell. We wander around the floor and decide we are on the second floor. Charlie yells out the window to try and get someone to tell the girl in the elevator to come and get us. 
They don't help. 
We find another stairwell. Also blocked.
We go back up to the third floor and find a man. He tells us to go to the fifth floor. The elevator door is open on the fifth floor. Charlie tells me to wait and he wanders away.
I don't read Chinese, obviously, but there is a sign in the elevator with times. It says 13:40-18:10. 
My phone says it is 6:30. I take deep breaths. I scratch at my still burning skin and go find Charlie. I ask him what the sign says-
"No service after 6:10."
"Well, it's 6:30.............so...............are we trapped?"
"I'm sorry."
I feel it coming. I feel it starting just under my breast bone. I haven't have many panic attacks, but they seem to start at my CPR button and work up until I can't breathe. 
Charlie starts scratching at his acid misted skin and says we should just wait until someone comes.....
Then I hear a voice. We go search for the voice and find a man multi-tasking with his dinner and cigarette. 
He has the key to the elevator. 
He sets us free.
We walked home and I showered off the burning.
I almost lost it. It seems I have an issue with being trapped. You know, like ya do. But, the view was nice.........


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Boredom = Danger!!!

Okay, Peeps...it is official. I am no longer sitting on the fence outside of Crazy Town. I'm at the Crazy IKEA getting all the stuff I need to furnish my Crazy Apartment.

PROOF:

The other day I got bored and looked at the scissors. "Hey," I thought. "It's been a while since you cut your own hair. Wait....NO! That's not a good idea. That NEVER turns out well for you and you always have to have a professional fix it. DON'T DO IT."
So, I started looking around the apartment for something else to do.

I read for a while. (NORMAL ACTIVITY)

I watched something on Hulu. (NORMAL ACTIVITY)

And then.........I picked up my tweezers and tried to see if it is possible to remove a freckle. (The answer is no.)

I tried to rip a freckle off of myself. (NOT NORMAL ACTIVITY)

So, this country and pushed me over the fence into Crazy Town. I'm now a resident. And I have to come home before I move into the Insane Villas over on the west side...............

NOT NORMAL!

Monday, July 15, 2013

George.

WARNING: Delusions to follow...............

Mr. Clooney is single again. *sigh* He probably won't be for long...
But, a girl can dream. And for those that know me well, you know I've been dreaming for a very long time.
My first Hollywood love was Corey Haim. Corey didn't last for very long because I discovered Christian Slater. Oy....Christian Slater!
Then, I had this odd Billy Idol/Andre Agassi phase (the Billy Idol phase didn't actually ever end.....).

But, then I was at a friend's house watching Rosanne..........and things started to change. By the time ER came along, I was done for. I couldn't handle it anymore.
And it keeps on evolving. It isn't just the looks, the acting (cause he isn't always good.....WORST BATMAN. EVER.), or all the other Hollywood junk. It was him as an activist and a person.

Now, here is the sad thing. EVERYTHING I know about him is media based. So, maybe my whole dream of him since I was 13/14 ish is all a lie. That would be crushing. :P

But, instead of dreading the dream dying a horrible death...........I'm going to continue dreaming. I'm going to continue living in my Clooney bubble.

Cause we all know the real reason he never re married is because he hasn't found me. *wink*

(It's nice here in my bubble. I have cookies.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Oh, should I teach? Sorry...

It was Saturday morning, I had just finished teaching a class from 8:30 - 10:00. Then I made my way down the hall for my 10am - 12pm class.
When I walked inside the classroom a few kids were doing homework...and a few kids were doing something kid like. I don't know, I'm not a big fan of this class. They were doing things that I wasn't paying attention to.......
I usually start this class with a music video of some sort. So they have time to put things away, sit down and (hopefully) shut some pie holes. (This class never shuts the pie holes, but, I still live with hope!)
The music videos are American pop music....I play Adele and Katy Perry a lot, because I think Justin Bieber may be one of the signs of the apocalypse. (IT'S POSSIBLE!) But, alas, sometimes I have to let the kids choose the song. So, Justin Bieber happens in my classroom. SADFACE!
Anyway, the "warm up" period of my class is about 5-10 minutes long. It depends on the length of the video. (Cause some kids REALLY like the new "We Are the World" thing...and that video is LONG.)
This particular Saturday, one of the kids had chosen a video before I could get to the computer. I shrugged, sat down, and started thinking about being a Transformer. (I'm trying to decide if I want to be a car or a plane. It's important!)
The song ended, and I was about to stand up and call the class to order. I mean, I was about to stand up and beg them to listen to me......but, one kid ran up and clicked on another video. I looked at the screen and saw a man in a white suit running down a blue looking alley way. I gasped. The whole class looked at me funny and then went back to whatever they were doing...
I have no idea what was going on around me for the next 10 minutes. All I could see was the "Smooth Criminal" video on the screen.....the Moonwalker version. 
I was sucked in. I've always been a fan of Michael Jackson. But, there is something about that video, I could watch it FOREVER. 
In the last few seconds of the video, I noticed that my Co-T was moving closer to me across the classroom. She looked at her phone and then at me a few times. I finally tore my eyes away from the screen and looked at my watch.
"Oh, should I teach? Sorry.......I really love this video. I could watch it all day. Sorry. Let's get started!"
SHOULD I TEACH? I said that out loud. For the love.....



ANNIE ARE YOU OKAY??

Monday, June 3, 2013

Student Conversations...

I have a fan page on Facebook (for my English Teacher in China persona). I've been posting random little conversations and things.
I'm not sure what will happen to ye olde fan page when I return to better cheese. I mean America.

I don't want to lose those conversations.........so.......copy and paste, ENGAGE!

3/30
Me: What did you do this week that made you happy?
Student: Homework.
Me: That made you happy?
Student: No. There is no happy.
Me: This country is depressing.
Student: What means?

4/6

Me: What is the setting?
Student: He home.
Me: His home.
Student: His he home.
Me: JUST HIS HOME.
Student: Then where is he home?
Me: You have a pronoun problem. 
Student: I not understand.
Me: I can tell.

4/12

Student: How old are you?
Me: *sigh* How old do you think I am?
Student: Are you 43?
........................and that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why I died a little inside. Send in the clowns.

Student: Leah. I love you. (pause) LEAH. I LOVE YOU. (pause)

Me: Andy, I love you too. Claire and I are talking.
Student: THEN I DON'T LOVE YOU!
Me: Why?
Student: No why. I don't love you now.
Me: Because........whatever. Go sit down.

4/14

I asked the students to give me sentences with adverbs. This is what I got:
My dad's run is quickly.
My dad's work is loudly.
I is play outside.
I can swim is slowly.
My mom is quickly.
Leah talk is loudly.
I'm trying to figure out why these kids want to put 'is' in EVERY sentence.......

4/25

Me: What do you like to eat?
Student: Ice tream and hamborgder.
Me: That was so cute! I almost don't want to correct you.
Student: (giggles) Ting bu dong. (Don't understand.)
Me: What is your name?
Student: I am name is Emily.
Me: You are so wrong and SO CUTE!

4/28
Me: What's the weather like today?
Emily: Today is sunny day. [Ballerina arms in my face]
Me: Do you like sunny days?
Emily: [Frantic ballerina arms] Yes! Sunny day I is eat ice tream!
Me: You are KILLING me, Smalls!
Emily: [Stops flailing] Am name Emily.

5/3
Me: The bear likes to eat in the dining room. See the bear in the dining room? Where do you eat?
Student: Hamburger.
Me: Not what. Where do you eat.
Student: I like hamburger.
Me: WHERE! Three years, Tom. Three years of English. How...
Student: No. I see one bear. I see one cat.

5/23
Emily: Do you like my two tress? It have dreen butterfies.
Me: Do you mean cool dress? Your cool dress?
Emily: Yes. Two tress.
Me: *sigh* With green butterflies? What sound does G make? Green.....
Emily: Well, a little bit dreen and a little bit boo.

5/24
Student: Are you a penguin?
Me: Why? Oh. Because I'm wearing black and white?
Student: Because you are fat.
Me: First, that is rude. Second, penguins aren't......whatever. Is your mom here yet? Go home.

5/29
Me: Hello, Emily. How are you?
Emily: Not otay.
Me: Why?
Emily: Today is no ice tream.
Me: I'm so sorry. Why?
Emily: (looks sadly at the floor for a minute) I don't know.

5/30
Student: (singing) The stars of your love remind me of bus.
Me: Bus?
Student: What?
Me: I like your version.
Student: What?
Me: Nothing.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I guess I'll just say it.......

...........and I never thought I would say it.

But........here we go.

Fashion in this country (China) has finally made me understand the importance of the thong.

I said it!


That's all.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Well, that's not cool...

So, I got out of my Thursday class. I DO NOT LIKE MY THURSDAY CLASS! But, this blog isn't about those kids sucking out my soul and spitting it in my face.
This is about what happened after.....you ready?

I got my things out of my office and went to wait for Jessica at her desk. Jessica came in after her class and was gathering her things. Another teacher came in and started a conversation with Jessica in Chinese. Jessica looked like a deer in headlights for a minute and then turned to me.
"We have to wait for other teachers and parents."
"Okay." I was playing a game on my iTouch and didn't really think too much about it.
"There are gangsters down on the seventh floor demanding money. They don't have guns, but they all have knives. Sharp knives."
I stopped my game. "Really?"
"Yes."
"Well, that's not cool...."

So, we waited for a crowd. We all shoved on the elevator and the doors closed. 
"Well, at least now the gang members can't get on the elevator with us."
Jessica cleared her throat and said, "They are all around the building."
"How do you know this?"
"A parent told one of the teachers to tell everyone. To be safe."
"Great........"

At this point, I started to get nervous. I've had people try to pick my pocket before. In fact, I've run into three thieves on the bus. But, this was new to me. This was the first time I felt like real danger was possible.
And I discovered that I really don't like that feeling. 
Anyway, the elevator stops on seven and the doors open. There they were. I could see six men from where I was standing. And they looked like gang members...like they were following stereotypes on purpose. They looked pretty angry that they couldn't fit on the elevator.
Honestly, I've felt uncomfortable in this country. I feel uncomfortable all the time, really. But, today was the first day that I felt a bit scared.

We got to the first floor....and the rest of the gang was in the lobby. They watched us all walk by and leave the building. I asked Jessica what was on the seventh floor, but she didn't know. 
Then she says, "I was kind of hoping they would be wearing suits."
"That's the mob. Those were gang members."
"Gangsters. I like the ones with suits. They look nicer."
"Jessica, that doesn't mean they won't kill you. They just look very nice in the suit while they kill you."

Then we laughed. Then I felt better. Well, mostly. I really wish I knew what was on the seventh floor of our building. I wish I knew if there was a chance of them coming back. Cause I did NOT like this feeling. Not cool. Not fun. 

So, how was your Thursday? Just peachy? 

INTERNET HUG!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Le Freak Out.

It is Saturday afternoon. I'm home sick. I should be teaching my favorite class right now. But, instead, I'm in bed waiting for the next time I have to sprint to the bathroom.
Being sick in a country where you don't understand the medicine.......not fun.
But, that is not the point of the post. The point is: I just had a full on freak out.
Full on freak out about.............zombie flies.

Let me explain.

So many flies. When I open the door to my balcony...I swear they are all lined up outside like my apartment is a fly club. They just can't wait to get in AND I DON'T HAVE A BOUNCER!
So. They come in. And they annoy me. EVERY. DAY.
They annoy me for a few reasons. 1. They think my apartment is the place to be. 2. Flies in this country are slow. They meander around the apartment. I don't think you can call it real flying. They meander and drift about....occasionally run into things.......drunk flies! Maybe that is the problem!

Anyway. Like I said, I'm home sick today. So, I'm in bed, staring at the ceiling when...........
FREAK OUT!
It went something like this:

These flies are so annoying. WHY ARE YOU SO SLOW, FLIES? Where did the third one go? To the bathroom? I hate you guys. You don't even make fly noises. You are slow and quiet and.........
WAIT! WHY DON'T I EVER SEE DEAD FLIES?
(I got up and checked under the bed. I walked slowly around the apartment staring at the floor. I rushed to the bathroom and then returned to the bed.)
WHERE DO YOU GO TO DIE? WHY ARE THERE NO BODIES?
WAIT! There are always three of you. Why are there always three flies? Are you the same flies? I thought flies only lived for like a day. ARE YOU THE SAME FLIES?
What if it all starts with flies? Fly zombies. Fly zombies eat dead animals and then land on people's food..........THAT IS HOW IT BEGINS!
WHERE ARE THE DEAD FLIES?
I must be tired. It's hard to get rest when your body won't stop going to the bathroom. That must be it. Right? There are no fly zombies. I'm just tired.
WHO IS TIRED AT 4PM? IT ALL STARTS WITH THE FLIES!

And then I had to rush to the bathroom again. By the time I came out of the bathroom....well.....I'm pretty sure I've calmed down.
I still don't see any dead flies. So, I'm pretty sure I've calmed down. Maybe.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Leah English?

Did you know that was a thing? I'm starting to think that Leah English is 
beautiful and majestic dialect. 
Example......

Today I had one of my classes write a short story using personification. I wrote an example story about a talking orange that was afraid to go to school. 
(The other fruit kids made fun of him and called him a fatty grapefruit. So he hung out with a watermelon to feel smaller. QUALITY stuff.)
I gave them about 20 minutes to write, we took a break, and then they shared the stories with the class. (Only 4 boys came today. The two girls in the class were absent.)
So, of course, most of the stories were about things killing things. But, VERY CLEVER!
I told one boy that his idea was very clever, but his grammar was so bad that I had a hard time understanding some of the sentences. So, we need to work on his grammar....cause the ideas are there! Communicating the idea....not so much....
Later on in class, the bad grammar boy said something that peeved another boy. Peeved boy turns to bad grammar boy and says, "well, maybe if your grammar was better, Leah wouldn't want to punch you in the face."

My first thought: I should watch what I say around kids.
My second thought: MY BABIES ARE LEARNING!

The end.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lame? Broken?

I worry a lot. I think too much. I know these are problems. There was a time in my life that I longed to fix these problems. But, at some point you just have to embrace who you are and deal with it.
So. I'm dealing with it by admitting that I worry a lot and I think too much.

Got it?

Good.

Here is what I think too much about and worry a lot about lately:

I read reviews and blogs from other teachers that have come to China. I read about other experiences. And I'm starting to think something is wrong with me.
Is it possible that I'm just totally missing the magic of all of this? Am I in the wrong city? Is it the wrong school? IS IT ME? AM I BROKEN? Do I not know how to have fun anymore? Do I not know how to roll with the punches?

I've been thinking about this a lot this month. I don't know what is wrong, but I'm not having anywhere near the kind of experience that I read about.
So. I've gone lame....or something. I don't know. Is this country making me crazy beyond my normal level of crazy?
I don't know.
So, I think about it. I worry about it. I stew over it. And now I blog about it........

*sigh* *cough*



Monday, April 22, 2013

My Birthday

So........another year older. That happened. I don't feel older. Should I?




Nah.

This was my second birthday in China. The first birthday in China was quite a party. I had moved to Kunming around February 1st. I started hanging out with a group of teachers......and I thought we were pretty tight. Things were going okay. So, for my birthday, I invited my group of "friends" to celebrate with me. We went to a Western restaurant for dinner and then went to a KTV for hour and hours of karaoke. It was fun.
Side Note: In China, you pay for your own birthday. If you want to have a party...you invite all your friends and you foot the bill for the whole thing. This was new to me!
So. Last year was fun. Last year got a little expensive. HAHAHAHA.

In December of last year.......that group of friends was no more. No explanation. They just stopped talking to Jessica and I. One day we were all hanging out.....and then it was gone. Now they only talk to me if they have a question. No explanation. It is weird and it drives me crazy. I want communication! WHAT HAPPENED!?!

But, whatever. So. This year my birthday was small. Me. Jessica. I got a text from two other teachers, but..............
This year was was so much better than last year.
The day before my birthday, I mentioned to Jessica how different this year was going to be. I made a comment about all my friends disappearing. She said something like, "last year you had only been in China a few months before your birthday. How could you have known in that short time who was real and who was fake? This isn't your fault. They were fake and they were not true. This year we both know better."
She was right. And I loved the way she said it. So, I decided to put away my sad feeling about the "friends" I lost..........even though I still want to know why.

The birthday came. I woke up and had some bread and bananas for breakfast. Then I did some laundry. BECAUSE IT WAS LAUNDRY DAY! I doesn't matter what other day it happens to be.........laundry must be done.
Jessica and I had decided not to have lunch. Because we knew that face stuffing would be happening.
We met downstairs at 2pm and took the bus to the mall area of downtown. We did a bit of birthday shopping. Jessica bought THE CUTEST summer dress. I don't usually like summer dresses, but this was.......I told her I would be mad at her if she didn't buy it.
Then we went to pick up my tiny Tiramisu cake. It was so cute! It was my present from Jessica! THANK YOU, JESSICA!!!!!!
Then we went to Pizza Hut.
That may sound weird to you, but you have to understand two things:
1. China does not make good cheese. You have to go to foreign restaurants to get good cheese. And pizza is covered in cheese, so it seemed like an obvious choice for me.
2. I really like Pizza Hut in China. It is a nicer place than the Pizza Huts I remember in America. And the menu is HUGE!
We were there for quite a while. We did a lot of talking after all the eating was done. We had: Chicken Kabobs, Chicken Wings, soup, Peach Tea (for me), Milk Tea (for Jessica), and pizza. The pizza had cherry tomatoes, corn, onions, ham, and bacon wrapped shrimp. The shrimp didn't have legs or heads. It was perfect!
And there were two kinds of cheese upon it.................it was perfect.
We then went home to rest. I watched an episode of The Voice UK (TOM JONES) online and then went down to Jessica's apartment for the cake.
Then, we watched "My Best Friend's Wedding."
Random. I know. But, at dinner, Jessica had been telling me about a Chinese movie she saw in the Theatre last week. I said, "so much of what you just said sounds like it was stolen from an American movie." I told her a bit about the movie and she said she wanted to watch it.......so we did. She hated the ending.

So. That was my birthday. It was just what I needed. YAY! GO ME!