Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Warning, long post ahead.

Just so you know, I've got a lot to say and it's going to take a lot of typing to say it. So if you want the short version, here it is. I moved to China. If you want the long version, read on.

Let me begin at the beginning. Sounds logical enough. So last Friday I got all packed up and went to the airport. If memory serves me correctly, I got there around 1:45 for my 4:00 flight. I made it through all the goodbyes without tooooo many tears, made it through the metal detectors, and almost made it past the bag x-ray. Alas, my Starbucks mug looked suspicious and they had to get it out of my bag to make sure it wasn't a bomb or something. Of course, it was in the bottom of my bag so everything else had to come out, too. The whole time this is happening, in the distance I can hear Christy yelling "Don't go, Bubbaaaa!" I'm puffy eyed, Christy's yelling, and I'm just hoping the inspector guy doesn't get even more suspicious. But I made it through. I met up with 4 other China teachers at the gate, our flight left on time, and we made our way to Salt Lake City and beyond. We met up with yet more teachers and went to LA, where we met up with pretty much everyone else. Minus the Hills, who are coming to Shiyan with us. They missed their flight from Buffalo, or so I was told. I guess they'll be a few days behind us.

The flight from LA to Guangzhou was 15 hours and 32 minutes. During the course of the flight I was able to sleep for maybe 5 hours. However, China Southern Airlines was kind enough to entertain us with a French movie and some random Chinese TV stations. It made for quite a long flight. I did have the pleasure of sitting next to Wayne from Rochester. He was on his way to meet his son and his daughter-in-law. They've been in Kaifeng for two weeks in the final processes of adopting a baby boy. Now they're spending one last week in Guangzhou as they finish the paperwork. Wayne was very eager to hear about my job in China and all of the Teaching that I get to do. He asked me questions for me most of the time that we were both awake and I was glad to tell him all about it.

In Guangzhou I bid farewell to Wayne, grabbed my bags and made my way through the customs line. Then there was a 20 minute walk across the airport to our gate. We only had a couple of hours between landing and our next flight, so there wasn't enough time to get bored or anything in the airport. I did, however have the chance to finally put on a clean shirt. Greatest feeling ever! We made our last flight to Wuhan, where everyone was met by representatives from their respective schools. After splitting off from the pack, the four of us going to the Automobile School jammed our bags into a van, piled ourselves in, and settled in for the hour long trip across town to the hotel. The first time I came to China, we just caught a train to Shiyan the same day we arrived in Wuhan. Now the laws have changed and we're required to take a medical exam in Wuhan before leaving. So we got to spend the night and go to the foreigner's hospital at 8:30 the next morning. It wouldn't have been so bad except that we were told that getting our bags into the van was such a tough job that we just weren't going to bother taking them out again. So unless there were some clean clothes within easy reach, that's just too bad and so sad. Oh well, that's what happens when you move to China. You get tired and you smell and you put up with it until you can do something about it.

After making our way through the gauntlet of the medical exam (blood test, chest x-ray, ultrasound, vision test, ecg, and weight and height measurement) we grabbed a quick bite to each and had a 6 hour luxury ride down the new expressway to Shiyan. By the way, for the second time in a row I was too tall to be measured by the height stick thing on the scale. It's kind of weird when your doctor starts to giggle like a schoolgirl just because you're taller than the measuring stick. Anyways, we got here to Shiyan around 6, got into our apartments, and made our way down the hill to see Happy Guy. If you don't know, Happy Guy owns a restaurant at the entrance to our school. He's one of my best friends here. He was SO excited to see me. His kids saw me coming and ran in to tell him I was there. It was a good reunion. We sat and "talked" and ate for a while. I introduced him to Derek and Angelyn, who were with me. Cindy, the fourth teacher, had opted to stay at her apartment, so we took her some food afterwards. We had fun talking because I speak about as much Chinese as he does English, which doesn't seem like much when you're trying to have a long conversation. I think good times were had all around, though. Eventually he had to go work in the kitchen so we finished eating and came back to our apartments. After getting a chance to actually look around the apartment everything seemed in order except for the phone and the air conditioner. The phone just flat out doesn't work and the a/c blows out lukewarm air. I'm sure I've already lost 5 pounds from sweating. I'm in the midst of moving to the 4th floor since the air conditioner and phone work in that apartment. However, there's no remote control to turn on the air in that apartment and there's no way to get one until tomorrow so for tonight I'm just sort of in between apartments. I moved some of my stuff up there, but I'll sleep down here on the third floor tonight since the a/c at least turns on.

Well, I'm getting mighty hungry so I think I'll end here for now. There's more to come about our trip to the bank to exchange money and how we attracted a crowd of about 20 people while shopping today. But food comes first!

Monday, August 28, 2006

More haikus

I'm finally here.
That trip was forever long.
I should shower now.

Monday, August 21, 2006


I'm back in Nashville
Maybe I should start to pack
I'm leaving Friday

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hanging out in the heat.

Today was the second time I ever tried to hit a golf ball (besides miniature golf), and the first time I ever hit a golf ball and it didn't go the wrong direction into the neighbor's garage. I'm here in MS at my mom's and today I got to go hang out with my brothers and an old family friend as they played the longest round of gold ever. In 100 degree heat. I opted out of actually playing since my one previous attempt at hitting a golf ball went so awry (see above). But I did hit two or three balls off the tee. It felt quite good, I must say. And thanks to the miracle of sunblock I don't think I'm very sunburnt.

It's been nice to be here the last three days or so. I got to speak at church on Wednesday night and say a few words. It got a little difficult at the end, but I made it through. Basically I said thanks for all the help that's been given to me and please think of me often while I'm in China. Then last night my family had to go and get all sappy on me. My mom made me a big blanket to keep me warm since it feels incredibly cold in China in the winter. And alllll over it are verses that different family and friends chose and my mom sewed on. I think 14 or so. At the time it was almost more than I could handle. I mean, I'm leaving in a week, I don't really need much help to feel emotional!

Matthew is the only family member we lack, and he'll be rolling in tonight. The rest of the weekend should be filled with good food, lots of nieces running around making too much noise, mahjong, farkle, and me trying to get out of the chaos. Enjoy it while I can, right?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back in Nashvegas

Okay, here's the dealio, yo. My old blog started giving me weird messages and wouldn't let me post any new blogs. Then I discovered that it worked on certain computers. But I'm not sure what's so special about those computers that it will work on those but not on others. And since my computer is one of the not certain ones, I couldn't post anything new. So my mom was nice enough to take down a letter over the phone and post it for me. Thanks, mom!

On to the news. I've been everywhere in the country in the last week. Or at least I feel that way. I drove at least 1500 miles, that's all I know. Of course, the country is bigger than 1500 miles and I know this. Knitpickers. Anyhoo, after visiting Longview, TX, Carrollton, TX, and Fayetteville, AR, I am now glad to say that I'm back in Nashville, TN. That's a lot of commas in one sentence. Matthew and Jennifer successfully got out of their house in Fayetteville and all of their possessions now rest neatly in storage here. After a brief stint of living with Michael and Christy while they house/apartment hunt, they will experience the joy of moving all that stuff yet again. And that's a lot of stuff. Trust me, I know.

I've got a lot to do in the next 12 days, yet not as much as I expected to have left. Some final letters and farewells to get over and done with. Hate those. Some shopping to do. There's no deodorant in China (For the most part. Not worth mentioning, anyway). However, I did find out that the great city of Shiyan now has Miracle Whip and tuna fish. Now if only they could discover the joys of Reese's peanut butter cups. My life in China would be so much better and my family would pay much less postage! Anyhoo, for now I think I'll try and catch up on sleep from the last two days of driving and heavy lifting.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Another piece of the puzzle

I figure since I haven't been able to blog in a week or so I should probably start filling in the gaps in what I've been doing. Really, there's nothing too super exciting. Last Friday I drove 591 miles to Longview, TX to visit my brother Billy and his family. It was great spending some time with them and hanging out with the girls. Suzzanah is getting pretty good at testing her blood sugar on her own and everything. Now if only we can keep her from using Molly Beth as a trampoline! :-P We had some good times. On Tuesday I went to Dallas to visit my friend Jesse. He was at the same school with me in China, but he didn't return until a month ago. We had fun talking about China and catching up on things. It's kind of fun for him to be coming home and me to be going back to Shiyan. A sort of passing of the torch. Anyhoo, I drove here to Fayetteville, AR this morning (Thursday) and now I'm at my sister's. They're getting all packed and ready to move to Nashville this weekend. I have the honor of helping out. I think the truck will be here around noon tomorrow, so that's when the real work begins. And Matthew will be in class most of the day, too. How convenient. Saturday we'll make our way to Nashville. I believe that the plan after that is for everyone to go to Mississippi to my mom's on the 16th or so. We'll be having a family vacation extravaganza. Since it's the first annual one, we're going cheap and staying at mom's. Then we'll have a year to plan for the next one and make it more expensive. There will be two new kiddos at next year's, so it better be baby friendly. Anyhoo, that's all for now. I'm tired and I've been fighting storm troopers and clones on Xbox for the last two hours, so I think I'll just go to bed.

Yet another new blog.

Well, my computer doesn't seem to be compatible with my old blog site. I'm tired of messing with it, so... ta dah! New blog! I have a feeling that the overall satisfaction will be higher with this one. Let's hope. And isn't it a good thing that I put my old blog address on all those picture cards I gave out? Sure is!