Farewell Banquet

My table at the farewell banquet

My table at the farewell banquet

Ma ling and me

Ma ling and me

Dr. Jay, Yili, and me

Dr. Jay, Yili, and me

The boys

The boys

Picture of the group

Picture of the group

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Titanic!

A bunch of us went out and saw Titanic in 3D late last night. We met up, ate dinner at different local noodle shops, and headed down to Zhongshan Lu for the movie. We got ice cream, saw the movie, and after it was over we found a bakery that is open 24/7. Since it was such a nice night out, we ended up walking all the way back to campus (at least 3 miles, probably more). It was a fun night.

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Language

I have my Chinese 102 final tomorrow. I’m taking a break from studying right now. I get to update you all after a while, and i get to give my brain a slight rest. Two birds with one stone. Now I just need to switch my brain’s language track back into English at full force. This might take a bit, but I don’t want to get too far away from Chinese. I still need to brush up on my self introduction for the oral part of the final that is in the morning after this.

I was analyzing the amount of Chinese that I now know and weighed it against my knowledge of Spanish. I have come to the conclusion that my level of competency in Chinese and Spanish are about the same. I’m not entirely sure how much Spanish I remember/retained from 3 years in high school and that one semester in college. Chinese, on the other hand, is pretty darn fresh in my mind. But honestly with the amount I can communicate with others (very, very little. 一点点。muy muy pocito.) alongside my ability to grasp an extremely loose grip on what the situation is and what they are saying (provided that the situation is an extremely simplistic one, they are speaking slowly, and I can observe everything around me), I have to say that my Spanish level and Chinese level are about the same at this point.

So, for those of you back home, apologies in advance for the 3 language sentences. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty amusing hearing English, Spanish, and Chinese coming out of my mouth in the same sentence. My brain does a darn good job confusing them. Or I might be looking for a word that I don’t know in the language I happen to be in, so it gives me the word in another language. For example – wo me quiero dormir. My brain keeps mixing up “wo” and “yo”. If it takes me a while to say an extremely simple sentance…This is probably going to be the reason why.

Well, back to my studying. Laterz! (I went through way too many possibilities of saying goodbye…in too many languages. That’s it. Back to Chinese.)

Being Sick

Can I just point out that being sick away from home is terrible? Being sick when out of your home country puts a whole new spin on it all. One of the biggest noticeable differences is the difference in diet. It’s something that you know is there, but it is even more noticeable when you are sick and don’t have access to the foods you would normally eat when sick. I think that would be the thing that I found the biggest issue with being sick over here with my however many hour flu thing. I’m pretty sure it was a 24 hour bug, because I was playing Frisbee on the beach the next day after class. I’m doing fine now. Just an observation about being sick while in another country. Hey, it was better than “the plague” that happened during Mexico Outreach Spring 2011. I was able to stay in my room here. I didn’t have to go to class and got to sleep off the virus in my room. And now I’m better 🙂

Fair? Ahhh Family :)

Paulo aka Paus (my little brother here in Xiamen) – “I think my teacher is very fair. We get three chances. First chance, you have to stand up. Second chance, you have to stand outside the door by the window looking in. Third chance, you have to stand out by the gate of the school.”

Victoria (his mother, my mom here in Xiamen) – “That does not sound very fair to me!”

Paus – “It is very fair, I think.”

(pause)

Kristen and I bust up laughing.

A conversation that took place last night when Kristen and I went had dinner with our family. XICF (Xiamen Internation Christian Fellowship) started a program for families to “adopt” a student during their time here. Our family is Pastor Gabe, his wife Victoria, and their two kids – Jaisis who is ten, and Paulo who is six.

We’re back!!

We’re back!! No, I’m not back in the States yet. I still have a month here in China. Oh my gosh. I only have 4 more weeks here. Eep! Now that is an odd thought that I don’t even want to contemplate yet.

Well, got up nice and early to register for classes. Curses on the time difference between China and California. I had to get up at about 5:45 to fix my schedule so it would be set for registration at 6:00. After I got everything settled, I went back to bed for about 2 hours. That got me rested enough to start the day so I got ready and got breakfast downstairs. I packed everything up into my backpack and duffel. Yep. Even after buying everything that I did on the Trek, everything still fit in those 2 bags (and my little purse). Score.

All of us were stuffed into taxis and rushed to the airport. It took us quite a while to get there. If ANYONE in the States ever complains about traffic again…just..no. Not even. I’m pretty sure we almost died about 7 times. At least. I wasn’t paying attention to the minor almost accidents. That was the “we almost got crushed by vehicles twice the size of this taxi…We’re gonna die” incidents. But we all survived. We all made it to the airport. And we all got onto the plane on time. And that is all that matters. As Chase put it, “It was an adventure.”

The plane ride wasn’t bad, nor was the bus ride back to Xiada. Oh my goodness, the way everyone was on the bus compared to our first time making that drive from the airport to the university….nothing in common. This time, everyone was stretched out in any way comfortable, joking and totally at ease with each other. This is what happens when you stick a group of 15 people together and then have them travel around China together, experiencing the things that we did. It was kinda funny though.

When we drove onto campus, it was like…oh my gosh, you guys, we’re home! Even more so when walking back into our room. I seriously felt like I was coming home. That I am home. Xiamen is home for us. At least, in China it is. All of us have missed this place. Even better, we are going to get to have an entire weekend to rest and destress (and prepare!) before classes start back up on Monday. I’m going to be taking Chinese 102 in the morning, and EPR in the afternoon (Eastern Philosophy and Religion). I’m looking forward to both of those classes.

Well, it is getting later. I should probably find myself some dinner. I’m also really wanting to head down to the beach tonight. Spend some time alone on the beach, read my Bible, have a chat with God, and simply be. Sounds good to me.

I’ve caught you up on the entire Trek more or less. If you want stories, email me and ask. I’ll do my best to come up with some for you. I survived. I’m alive. And even better, I’m home.

I’ll update you all later. Maybe I’ll get around to posting some more pictures for you to see.

No longer a teenager

It’s official. I’m not a teenager anymore. Yup. I’m 20. Strange thought. Anyway..yeah. I got to celebrate my birthday here in Xiamen. I didn’t have an official celebration, but a group of us went out to Dim Sum for a late birthday celebration for Daniel. We went to a fancy hotel downtown. Oh my goodness. The food just kept coming and coming. A lot of it was similar to dim sum back in the States. So good. It was all you can eat and the food was super good. It cost 78 kuai per person! It was worth it, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford to go back. 😛

Aubrey, Quinn, Tim

Aubrey, Quinn, Tim

Kristen, me, Chase

Kristen, me, Chase

Daniel, Will, Yili, Janelle, Tim

Daniel, Will, Yili, Janelle, Tim

Some of the girls had presents for me. Kristen and Janelle got me these super cute socks, and Aubrey knitted me a headband. It’s funny; I think this is the most pink that I have ever owned at one time since I declared my dislike for the color many years back. I don’t mind it quite as much anymore, but I still find it amusing that all three gifts had pink incorporated in some way shape or form.

The monkey socks were from Kristen, the headband from Aubrey, and the koala socks were from Janelle.

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. Cutest thing ever. Yesterday morning (yesterday was Valentine’s Day for those of us here in China), Kristen (my roommate) opened our door and found 2 roses outside. Each had a Dove chocolate bar taped on it, and they had notes, one addressed to each of us. When we went to Chinese class, we found out that all of the girls in the group received one. All the notes were addressed to us individually, a sentence or two of encouragement, and a verse. We don’t know who it was. The writing is super neat and in pink pen. It was probably one of the guys on the team, but whoever it was, I hope they know just how much all of us girls appreciated their thoughtful gift.

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To celebrate V-day, most of us girls went out for some fun and dessert.

Kaylee and Steph

Kaylee and Steph

Tiana

Tiana

Aubrey

Aubrey

Me and Kristen

Me and Kristen

Lantern Festival

On the 8th, the majority of us took a bus to the mainland to go to the Lantern Festival at the Expo. Oh my goodness. It was gorgeous. Everything was absolutely beautiful. There were lights everywhere. Since we are students, we got in free with our ids. It ended up being a pretty late night, but it was so worth it.

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A Fixed Tooth, A Miracle, and a Thank You!

My tooth is fixed!

The inlay

The inlay

The inlay is in place and I don’t have to go back to the dentist until April 15th. Don’t worry, it’s just for a check up on the inlay. They want to make sure that it is fine in 2 months.

When I came out from the back, Tim made my appointment in April for me. Kept it nice and simple. It’s on a Sunday at 1:30pm. I got my money to pay and after a few quick words from the lady at the desk, Tim turned to me and told me that she had said that I don’t need to pay; it’s been taken care of. I looked blankly at Tim for a few seconds while what he just said sunk it. It wasn’t really registering in my head. He turned back to the lady, and the two of them exchanged a few words in Chinese. I took my appointment card, and the two of us left the building. As we walked down the hall, he told me that he had asked her who had done it and that her reply was “foreigners”.

I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t. Except for “Thank you, God.” There isn’t much else that can be said about that. Because of that person’s (those people’s?) generosity, I have money to live off of for the rest of the semester and figuring out how to get money out of my debit card (which, at the moment, is just about impossible) isn’t going to be as imperative a task as it would have been.

I thank you, God, for most this amazing day.