Sunday, November 5, 2017

Real talk and Lily update 


Okay so it's been a minute since I've written because our wifi situation has been scary lately. But I figured it was time to update!! It's been about 2 weeks since our last update and things have been a little more intense here. 

My sweet sister Lily has been having really sharp stomach pains, and we have gone to the ER twice and 4 hospitals total. Each doctor has diagnosed her with something different, but none of the meds have worked yet. One crazy thing that happened at the first ER visit was around 3 am and we realized that they put the Iv in her hand the wrong way...so the fluid went into her skin and inflated like a BALLOON! It took a couple days for the swelling to go down but it finally did! The doctors remedy for the swelling was to rub it with a potato...not really sure how that was supposed to help hahaha. So she hasn't been able to teach and I've just been trying to help and so has everyone here. We will give updates as they happen, but she will be okay!

Besides that, things have been cruising along here! I feel like I have painted a picture of what I want china to be but some days it's actually really hard! The kids are so cute, but definitely a little psycho, and the rice and squatters are getting soooo old. But the important thing for me to remember is that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just need to find reasons to smile and laugh every day! 


Today is Sunday and we had a devotional with all the girls here and we talked a lot about gratitude! So that is something that I'm doing to do a lot more for our last month and a half here. I really am grateful to be here and for all of the people who have supported us in this crazy adventure! 
Shiqi- (ser-Cheee)







We discovered a new city that's about 45 minutes on a bus away, and it is EXACTLY like California. We were so excited because it had a really cute walking street, and everyone was so friendly. The buildings were all white and pastel colors, and behind them was a hugeeee park with a pagoda (Chinese temple) on the tippy top! It was literally picture perfect everywhere. 

We were only about 5 minutes down the street and we saw this man making cotton candy, so we had to get some!! It was the BIGGEST treat I've ever seen. Watching him make it was so mesmerizing. Sometimes, when my students are extra crazy I show them this video to get them back to focus hahah. It was so yummy! 

One of my favorite parts about china is the shopping because it's SO cheap! I'm talking chunky sweaters and denim jackets for like 7 bucks. And they are good quality. So we have figured out how to bargain and that has been really helpful! We shopped around for a few hours and then stopped at a restaurant called YOLO for some drinks and the smoothies were SO GOOD. After that we hiked up to the pagoda and the walk was sooooo green and beautiful. There were families all around and it was a gorgeous sunny day. It was under construction, but it's been there for 3,000 years!! I thought that was pretty cool

We have gone there twice now and it is just as beautiful every time! It literally feels like we are in a different world when we go there, so I'm glad that it's only a bus ride away. We are going to a new city next weekend and we are so excited! 


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Duck tongue, and chicken feet oh my! 







This is a recap of the week after our vacation! The first day when we got home we celebrated the moon festival at the school with all of the teachers on top of the roof at night. We had no idea what to expect so as they were setting up we ran around with the little kids and sing songs and danced with them. After about an hour, we were served a ton of food. we had a lot of Ramen noodles and yummy drinks, but then there was an added surprise. It is a delicacy here to eat duck tongue… And I knew that I wanted to try that before going home, so I figured since it was free, why not?! I have to say it was seriously the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten and, keep in mind that I ate a lot of weird things on my mission and Honduras too. Including iguana, dove, pig ears and possum! So I honestly didn't think it would be a big deal, but it was so gross I had to spit it out! But for some odd reason right after I tried the dock tongue I was presented with chicken feet, so I decided I might as well try that too. It also had the same effect… It didn't go over very well.

The rest of the week was fun though, we finally figured out how to watch some TV because everything is blocked here. But we found the Chinese version of YouTube and watched an entire season of Project runway. It is definitely going to become a reward for us to be able to watch it, but who knew I had a designer side?! Haha Teaching was good this week, I was in charge of games so that was really fun for the kids! 


At the end of the week we we are finally able to go to church! We haven't been able to go for a little over a month because it is hard to get there. So he took a two hour bus ride and ended up being really late because of the rain. We made it to the last 10 minutes of Sunday school and all of relief society. It was nice to be able to feel the spirit and connect with other people of our faith because it is so rare here. After that we went to the best Mexican restaurant that China has to offer! It was decorated so cute in there and the food was really yummy, we were in heaven. After a couple hours we headed back home. It ended up being a 10 hour day, so we were pretty tired. But I am so grateful that we got the opportunity to go!
Accidentally flying First Class  



The day we traveled back home to Guzhen  was a day that I will definitely never forget! We had an early flight, so we had to leave our hostel around 530 in the morning. We jump on the metro, and ended up having to take an extra one to get to the airport. We arrived there around 7 o'clock am, and our flight left at 8:15. The Shanghai airport was one of the craziest that I have ever been to. So, we were running around from check-in desk to check in desk trying to print out our tickets, but we kept running into problems. We would run to a kiosk and try to print it out but it didn't work. So by this point it is literally 7:40 and we still hadn't gone through security yet… So we finally found a man who spoke English, sort of, and he helped us print out all seven of our tickets.

 We ran up to the guy at the front of security and showed him our tickets and how stressed we were. He let us go through a VIP line and we got through security around 7:50. They were going to close the gate at 7:55,  so we had to sprint so so so fast across the airport with all of our bags to get to our gate. We got there at 7:53, with two minutes to spare! Then we jumped on a bus that took us to our actual plane. We walked up the stairs to get to the plane and they directed us to the left, towards the front. We were so confused because we bought normal seats in coach. The lady showed me the number on my ticket and it turns out that we ended up in FIRST CLASS!!! 


It turns out that because we got to the airport so late all of the other seats were chosen. We were so beyond thrilled, excited, and exhausted from running around all morning. It literally felt like a dream. They came out with drinks every 10 minutes, we got served an entire meal, we got slippers, a down comforter blanket, a pillow, and were able to watch endless movies! Clearly, I had never been able to fly like that so it was such a dream!! I seriously felt like royalty, all of us did it was amazing. Then after we got off reluctantly, we found a bus that took us two hours back to our city. I was actually really happy to be home once we are finally there. It's crazy that this little town has become my home in such a short amount of time. Our flight today was the perfect end to a crazy vacation! 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

DISNEYLAND 




The happiest place on Earth ♥️ this is what we had been looking forward to ever since we got here!! I hadn't been to Disneyland in over 3 years, and so I figured why not go here?! It was so fun running around singing and dancing and going on all the rides. 

When we got there, everything was decorated like Halloween and we felt like we were home! We ran to the Tron ride, which is a rollercoaster, but you lay on it like a motorcycle and it was so futuristic and fun! Then we watched the parade and after, zippidy-do-da came on so we started dancing in the street and got a hugeeee crowd of people filming us and taking pics, we felt like we were part of the parade. It was so fun! 

So like everyone else I am absolutely OBSESSED with their churros, especially since we eat pretty much just rice every day, i had literally been dreaming about them. So we made sure to load up on those and treats all day. All of the rides were so fun and unique. Another fave was pirates because it was from the second movie!! And much faster than the original one. We also saw a pirates play and jack sparrow flew over the audience, and we went wild!! The special effects were amazinggg even though we didn't even understand one word haha. 


After the play the lines were crazy so we decided to go to CHEESECAKE FACTORY. If was exactly what it's like in the states, so. Yummy. I should post more pics of what we actually eat every day because I want people to understand why we are obsessed when we get yummy food. But then we headed back to the park for a couple more hours until they kicked us out. It was seriously the happiest day!
Shanghai Wild Life Park 


Today was amazing!!!! So one of Lily's life long dreams was always to ride an elephant. I wish that you all could see her freshman year dorm room to see that the obsession is real. But we were so excited for this day because she would finally be able to live her dream!! Of course I was soooo excited too, but I was way more happy to see her do what made her happy. The elephants were so cute, we just hugged and kissed them and the whole minute on them was worth the hour long wait and couple bucks. 

This zoo was seriously SO big! You could rent bikes to ride around to get to everything but we just walked/danced every where because it was more fun for us that way. The weather was amazing and we were all in good spirits that day. It was so refreshing! It was fun to all all of these families with their little kids and grandparents all together for the Chinese holiday. We saw so many animals, but my favorite was the baby tigers, I left a piece of my heart with them there that day. Their moms abandoned them so they get to hang out in the nursery until they grow older. 


After a fun filled day at the zoo we headed back on the metro and got back to city.
We headed straight to this awesome restaurant that we found the night before because they had REAL burgers and AUTHENTIC tacos. We were seriously in heavennn. ALSO the hostel we stayed at had Diet Coke and that was the first time that I've had it in 6 weeks. I literally shed a tear because I was so excited haha. We went back to the hostel and I played pool with my new French friend Maxim and I actually won fair and square! What a day!
Great Wall Tour 

This was my favorite day in Beijing by far! We decided to call a tour bus company the night before around 9pm to see if they had any openings for the following day, and we got lucky and they had enough room for us! We woke up around 6 am after only getting 5 hours of sleep and hopped on the giant tour bus. Our tour guide's name is Emily, she is a native from China and so so so sweet. Our first stop was at the jade factory. We learned about how they craft this beautiful stone into amazing jewelry and artwork. It was so interesting! 

After that we headed to an emperors tomb, the park was beautiful where it was and we were getting closer to the mountains. Sadly we didn't plan our outfits very well because all of the other days had been really hot so we dressed for summer, but surprise. It was FREEZING! We were the only ones not wearing huge coats and scarves, so we were running around trying to get warm. After that, we headed up the mountains to the wall! 

We ate at a really yummy place for lunch and it's kind of like a buffet, they keep bringing you plates of food on a round spinning table until you're full. Lily and I made some new friends and chatted with people from the U.K. And Australia, they were very nice. After that we bought our tickets to take a ski lift up to the top of the mountain and then to slide down! It was raining and soooo cold but we were so excited!  Lily and I sang the whole way up and said hi to everyone passing by. 

Once we were up there, we had two hours to explore, climb through the watch towers, and take pictures. It was seriously breathtaking. I felt like we were on top of the world! It was crazy because the stairs were so crooked so you had to watch every single step and stop every couple to look up and enjoy the view. But it was amazing!!! We met a lot of new friends and then as we were about to slide down, found out that the slide was closed because it was too wet so we took the ski lift back down. It was still way worth it though, and now I can say that I have been to one of the 7 wonders of the world! Now I have a goal to make it to the other 6. 


After the wall we went to an ancient tea party palace. It was so cool to watch how they would make it and seeing what they used! My personal favorite was the Jasmine Flower tea...for obvious reasons ;) haha. It was nice to warm up after being freeing all day. Then we headed to bed and packed for Shanghai the next day!