Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Pharmacy

I'm thinking healthy thoughts at the moment. According to one of my students, if you think you're not sick, then you won't be.. so I'm trying it out. That, along with some Chinese antibiotics I picked up (without a prescription) from the local pharmacy. That was an interesting experience.. I went by myself, which I never thought I would do 2 months ago and handed the guy a paper with the drug on it and explained that I needed it. He asked me some questions I couldn't understand.. I told him I didn't understand. He proceeded to pull out 2 boxes with 2 different types of pills that are apparently the same drug, just different forms (and in case you're worried, the drug name was on the box in English). I buy the cheaper one, and then he tries to explain the dosage. I understand him, but he can't understand me telling him that I understand. So he just keeps explaining. And I keep telling him I understand until he finally writes it down (in Chinese characters, of course), which I explain that I cannot read. Finally, I ended up just telling him I would ask my friend. The 3 older ladies who were there at the same time were definitely talking about and laughing at me. I heard them saying something about English.. I was probably their entertainment for the morning. It's become so common that I just figure they can enjoy a good laugh and it doesn't even bother me anymore :) It definitely has given me a great perspective on foreigners in America. I don't think I would be half as patient with someone walking into my store.. if I had one.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Dear Sinus Infection:

I don't like you. You can go back where you came from. Thanks.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

China Miniature-Oven Cooking Adventures, part 1: Granola

It costs almost $10 for a bag of good granola in this country, so I've decided to try to make it myself. The only problem is, I can't read the label on some of what I'm using and my oven is the size of my hand. Although my hands are quite man-sized, it still makes my oven ridiculously small. My first attempt was not an absolute failure, but it was not quite worthy of eating. I have tweaked my method, and my second batch is cooking as I type. After living here for 2 months, I'm starting my baking adventures today! Stay tuned- if this one works out, I'll move on to snickerdoodles :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

$100? Or 200 Magnum bars?

Magnum bars. I've been searching for the perfect way to describe the ice cream bars that beckon my soul each time I walk into the foster home cafeteria. But, alas, words alone can't capture the wondrous, chocolately essence that is Magnum. I don't know what it is about this country that makes me this way, but I seriously have a problem. I eat them every day, sometimes twice. And although they're cheap by American standards (especially considering how delectable they are), I have decided to make serious efforts to end my compulsion and try to be a better steward of my dinero. Although, I didn't follow through exactly as I planned, seeing as how I bought a snickers after lunch instead for the same price. Baby steps.. baby steps.

My roommates are not helpful. In fact, 3 of them are eating ice cream as I type. And when I told them about how I recently had $100 deposited into an account for me, the only thing they said was "$100? That's like 200 Magnum bars!"

This is ridiculous.

ps- I'm not feeling so hot (maybe I'm having withdrawals already?), so please keep me in mind. Most of the kiddos at my site have colds, and stupid me bragged the other day about how I hadn't been sick since I got here. I feel like it might be inevitable now. But I'm hoping for the best.

pss- I don't want to misinform the public, so I have to let it be known that this is actually NOT a picture of a Magnum bar. It is, however, me eating ice cream in my apartment. And, as you can see, my roommate Anneli seems to have a similar problem.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hitchin' a Ride on a Rickshaw

There are many interesting ways to travel the 1 1/2 (I'm convinced it's closer to 2) miles to and from work at the foster home. Usually my roommates walk and I ride my bike. Sometimes a kindhearted coworker (or even a stranger) gives us a ride. We've hopped on the bus with our Chinese coworkers for an escape from a cold day. I got a lift once by the water man in his tricycle cart thingy alongside his water bottles. And a sympathetic nanny from my location let me hop on her scooter on a particularly cold day. Every day holds the potential for new, fun transportation experiences. I would have to say, though, that the rickshaw is hands-down the most interesting way to travel in the village. A few nights ago, my roommate and I were not excited about the half hour walk home, and found the solution stopped right in front of us, as someone got out of a little red cart with a hunter green top on it. We flagged down the driver, and I used my amazing Chinese skills to tell him that we wanted to go to our apartment. Apparently, he understood and after fifteen bumpy minutes, we arrived safely at home. This is Jess's documentation of our little adventure in the village. Hope you enjoy :)
a rickshaw ride home

Friday, March 5, 2010


I am overwhelmed. 5 girls, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. 70 new students with varying levels of English speaking skills. Hundreds of Chinese words I want to learn. Zero alone time. 7 nannies and 6 orphaned children at the foster home. 3 birthday parties (including my 23rd) in 3 days. 22 foreign and Chinese people crowded into a small village bbq restaurant. 1 month to plan a trip to my 2nd foreign country after my first 90 days in China. 1 real day off. 4+ loads of laundry to wash. 6 English classes to prepare for conversation corners next week plus 5 days of English lessons to prepare for the nannies at the foster home. Only One who will help me make it through this.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Frolicking in the snow and other things

In case you're wondering (because I did), I did not misspell frolicking. It's just a naturally ridiculous-looking word, I guess. Anyways, moving on. Today I frolicked in the snow with my 9-year-old friend Catherine from the Healing Home. I think she's still deciding whether or not she likes the new girl in town (or I guess country for that matter), but something about mass amounts of fluffy, white goodness sprinkled across the ground seems to break down barriers. The only thing that matters on a day like today is taking advantage of the unusual opportunity (for both of us) to build a snow man, throw snowballs, and listen to the crunch of clear, fresh snow being dominated by our feet. For a short while, I almost forgot how dirty it is around here for the clever white disguise. That is, until I picked up a layer of snow to reveal the underlying truth..

Check out our awesome Chinese snowman of questionable sanitary quality, accompanied by the high-maintenance, though indisputably adorable, Catherine.