Saturday, August 30, 2008

Typhoon update.

We had several people ask about what happen during the typhoon so here are a few pictures. Not much happened around our house. We had a few large branches fall from the trees in our side yard and then lots of leaves were blown around. It wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be. Most of the afternoon and evening we had rain with gusts of wind but that was it. The amazing thing was that the next morning there were people out right away cleaning up the streets. They don't mess around and get right to work.
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rachel's Birthday

Yesterday, we celebrated Rachel's birthday. Since we are living in China we don't even know where to get wrapping paper, so we just had Rachel close her eyes and then we gave her one present at a time. This was her first present, she got knee pads for volleyball.
This was Rachel's second present. We bought her the movie "Step Up 2". We are watching it right now.

This was Rachel's third present. She got a cell phone, which she obviously liked. She started calling the people in the room just so she could try it out.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Typhoon Day!!!!

We woke up today ready to start our second day at school. We knew that there was a small typhoon coming in but they said that they rarely cancel school because of them so we all got ready like normal. Jonny and I left for school earlier than the others because we have to walk a few blocks farther. We walked through the main campus and it was really quiet. I thought that was strange but just blew it off that maybe people don't come as early as we were. We started walking down the street to the middle school campus and one of the other middle school teachers came toward us with a smile on her face. She asked if I was making Jonny go to school today. I thought yeah of course. Then she laughed and said that school was canceled because of the Typhoon coming but she came by to get her books to plan at home for next week. Jonny of course was so excited and ran back home to tell the others. I went ahead to school to get some of my things because if we are homebound for the day I might as get some work done.

I later found out that the Typhoon coming is a T3 category right now but they think it will be up to a T8 by noon. I'm not sure how the categories for Typhoons work yet but apparently it's bad enough that they canceled school. They haven't done that in over 6 years here. So instead of snow days we have Typhoon days. I went and got a few food items on my way home just in case and we have plenty of bottled water. We have water coolers in our homes because you can't drink the water from the tap so we had just stocked up with 4 new bottles. This might be an interesting day. We'll see how we survive our first Typhoon. (Coree)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I had the coolest experience today.

I had the coolest experience today. I went down to old Shekou to get a few things for my class today and I was looking for a fly swatter. How would you ask a Chinese person for a fly swatter? I went to this store and asked a lady if she had a fly swatter, but she had no idea what I was talking about, so I started using sounds and drawing pictures and using examples to communicate "fly swatter". She had no idea what I was talking about. So she went and got a guy in the next shop who spoke a tiny bit of English and I went through the same explanation using sounds and pictures and he thought I wanted a badmitton racket. He had no idea what I was talking about, so he went on his computer and went on a Google translation website and they figured out what I was talking about. A fly is called a "chwongying" and a fly swatter is called simply a "Pi". So, he calls another shop and tells me that he was going to go get it for me and he wanted to know how many I needed. He came back about ten minutes later with battery powered fly swatters. You put batteries in them and they electrocute the flies. So I had to tell him that I was sorry, but that I just needed fly swatters without batteries, so the guy gets back on his bike and gets four regular fly swatters. He came back asked for 20 rmbs ($2.90), so I said that was ridiculous; that he deserved much more, so I gave him 20 rmbs for the fly swatters and an extra 50 rmbs for helping me out. (Gavin)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


A few days ago Gavin was walking through Old Shekou with Vika on his shoulders and this women stopped him on the street. She asked if we would be interested in having Vika model here. Gavin was a little suspicious but after talking to her we found out she was legit. She worked at a modeling agency here in Shekou and said that they need American kids to model in catalogues. They could get paid up to 1000RMB's or about $150.00 for a three hour shoot. She asked if we could bring Vika in so they could take some shots of her to show their clients. Gavin told her we had three daughters and she said to bring them all in. They took a few shots of each, as well as, Jonny and we didn't have to pay a thing like most places make you do in the states. These are some shots of the photographer with Jonny and Rachel. They told us that Nicole would actually be the one that would get work the most because of her age and size. She could possibly work every week if we wanted her to. Vika would maybe get a job once a month. We were concerned about the times they would need them and she said it is always on the weekends and mostly on Saturdays but they try to make it convenient for us. We thought this would be a fun thing for the kids to do and they could make a little money to save and have fun with. Who knew they would come to China to be models. We'll see if it actually happens.

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Old Shekou

This is a picture of Old Shekou. The streets are lined with shops and people. We have found some real bargains here. They had some fake Adidas tennis shoes that looked really nice for about $5.oo. This is where we go to get our DVD's. A few of the stores have "back rooms" where they have pirated movies. The front of the stores sale electronics and when you ask for DVD's they take you back into a room and shut the door. We bought Ironman and Aladdin for 15 RMB that's about $1.50. They work so it's a good deal.
They have these outdoor fruit stands all over Shekou. You can even buy it from a guy riding a bike with a basket attached.
All over the city they have TVs on and people crowd around them. Especially now with the Olympics on. We could watch the whole thing by just walking the streets. At the mall near Walmart they had a huge TV screen on the side of the building. Kind of like something you would see in Time Square. We were there one night when China was playing basketball and there were at least 200 people just sitting on the sidewalk watching the game. That was one of those moments when we wished we had our camera.
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Food in Shekou

Here is your typical food on a stick stand. I'm not sure what all of it is but in the middle top row are octopus on a stick. They have hot dogs on the bottom row. I couldn't really tell what the other things were. I don't think I will be trying many of these.
This is a type of fruit they sale here. I can't remember the name but I was told that it is illegal to carry these on public transportation because if they break open they really stink. We've tried some interesting fruit here. They have something called Dragon fruit. When it is cut it is white with little black seeds like Kiwi. I thought it looked good but it really had no taste at all. One day I was walking down our street with our AYI. These guys were trimming this tree and she started talking real loud with them. They handed here these things that looked like furry grapes. They grew in a bunch and were about the same size. I asked if it was something to eat so she peeled the skin off one and it was this translucent slimy fruit around a large seed. It was really rubbery and again didn't have much taste. It really wasn't worth the effort to eat.
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Anniversary Dinner

Gavin and I celebrated our 18 year anniversary a few nights ago. We went out to dinner at a Thai restaurant called The Terrace. It is on the plaza at Seaworld and we ate on the balcony. It was o.k. food but the atmosphere made it all. We ate out on the balcony overlooking the plaza. This is the view from where we ate. It wasn't too hot that night. The temperature read 31C which is about 93 F. Add 100% humidity to that and you've got a typical evening in Shekou. Actually that was a cool night. We are about two blocks from the bay so we do get a little bit of a breeze every once in awhile.

The evening was fun. After we ate we walked to Old Shekou and Gavin got his hair cut. The hair places here stay open until about 11:00 each night. Someone had suggested this place and he walked right in. They took him back to wash his hair and asked if he wanted the head massage (which is an hour long massage and hair washing). He passed on that but they washed his hair and then had a hair cut. The guy was so precise and careful. It was amazing to watch him. After they cut his hair they took him back again to wash his hair and ears to make sure all the hair was off and then blew dry his hair. All that for 35 RMB which is only $5.oo. Can't beat that. You can go and get your hair washed and an hour long head massage for about 45 RMB ($6.oo) They will also style your hair before you leave. I've heard it is really nice.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Police Interview

This afternoon Gavin and I went to have our police interviews in order for us to get our residence working visa. We were told it was really no big deal. It really is just a formality they have to do in order for us to get our visas. We were warned though about the female police officer. They said that she can be a little tough but if you just act confident then you should do fine.

We went with a group of about 20 other teachers to the police station and they sent us all into a conference room to wait for our interviews. It was pretty nice with leather couches all around the room. I thought this shouldn't be that bad. They had two officers come into the conference room and they had us come up one by one and conducted the interview right there in the same room. They had another guy in another room as well. The female officer was in the conference room and I listened to her questions. She seemed fine, although she never cracked a smile.

Gavin went before me and was interviewed by her so I figured it might be easier to go right after him because we basically had the same information. I listened as he answered the questions and thought "no problem". After she finished with him she left the room so I thought she was done interviewing and I would get one of the other guys that were easier. The other teachers said that the guy in the other room didn't even ask any questions. He just looked over all your paperwork and would make a funny comment and that was it. So when it came my turn I was asked to go in the other room and I thought great I won't have to say anything but when I walked into the other room it was the woman. She did not make it easy for me at all. I thought she would make the connection that I was married to Gavin who she had just interviewed but she didn't. She started out asking if I came here with my husband and I said yes you just interviewed him. She then asked how we met. I thought that was strange. I wanted to say "Why?" because I didn't think it was relevant at all but I couldn't. I answered and she didn't understand at all so she kept questioning about how we met. I kept repeating through our church but she would ask another question and then say "So you met your husband at school?" I was like no I've told you several times at church. I think she was trying to test me to see if I would change my story or something.

She then asked if I came with my three children. I said "No, I came with my four kids". She looked puzzled and shuffled through my papers looking at the passport copies of our kids and then at my work permit that has their pictures in it with mine. She said "No you only have three kids here" I corrected her again and said I have four (I think I would know how many I gave birth to). She looked through the pictures again and was shaking her head. I finally realized that she thought Rachel's picture was me so I pointed out that she was my daughter and showed her the page with my picture on it. She finally got it and said we look too similar. That's a compliment to me but I really don't see how they could confuse us. They did the same thing at the border when we came. They were looking at Rachel's passport and comparing me with her picture. It took the guy a few minutes to figure out that it was Rachel's.

Anyway, it wasn't starting out to well. She then questioned why I wanted to be a teacher and why I changed my mind after getting my degree in Finance. She also asked if it was easy to get a job here. I said it really wasn't that hard and explained how we went to a job fair and interviewed with the school and they hired us. She then asked again "So it was easy to get a job?" I said it wasn't too hard. She then said "So they aren't very strict in their hiring?" I could see by now that she was trying to trick me again so I said "No, they are very strict but because we were qualified and experienced they wanted to hire us" I was getting a little annoyed by now but had to just answer politely.

Her last question was "Did you register your kids with the police when you got here?" I had no idea what she was talking about because the school had done all that for us. I said "I didn't know". She thumbed through my papers and said "Here is your registration with the police. Where are your children's?" I truthfully didn't know so I said that the school arranged all that and that they must have them. She didn't seem too satisfied and wrote something down on my application then just dismissed me.

I thought great! I'll be the one and only that doesn't pass because of some misunderstanding. I thought she was a little tougher and rude with me. She didn't seem that way at all with the others in the conference room and figured she went into a separate room where nobody else could listen in. I was very annoyed but had to stay quiet and just answer the questions. Of course we all passed as far as I know. The secretary from the school who arranges all this had to go back later to pick up our papers for us to take to the visa office tomorrow and I haven't heard anything so I'm assuming I passed. I asked her about the kids police registrations and she said she had them all but since our kids aren't interviewed she didn't have to bring them. I just wish I had known that.

So there's another Chinese experience that I will never forget. At least they only did a police interview and not a body search. I guess it could have been worse. (Coree)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More Beach Trip!!!

Rachel and Vika
Here is Jonny with the triplet boys. They are getting to be good friends and it's nice for Jonny to have a ready group of people to play sports with. Jonny brought his football and they played tackle football on the beach. I think it was the first time that most of those people had seen people playing football. People were taking pictures of them playing football.
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Pictures Of Them Taking Pictures of Us

This is the funniest part of living here in China. People are always taking pictures of us, well not me, but people are always asking to get pictures with the kids, so I took pictures of some of the people who are taking pictures of us. It's hilarious. The people are very friendly, and they will try to get their relatives to stand near one of the teacher's kids and they will try to get in a picture with the American kids.
Look at this picture. The guy with the white t-shirt got his wife (the woman with her right arm pointing out) to stand behind the American kids so it would look like he was taking a picture of his wife, but actually he is taking pictures of the American kids.
This woman got her friend to stand by Rachel and Vika so she could get pictures with the American kids.
This woman got her husband to stand by Vika who is floating in the pink tube. They were having a hard time getting a good picture so I just pushed Vika over by them so they could get a good picture and told her to smile in their picture then I slipped away in the background. They thanked me profusely and then went on their way. Inexplicably no one has asked to take a picture with me. While I was looking from the water Jonny was posing for a picture of his own. A family asked if they could get a picture with him so he obliged. We were at the beach for about 3 hours and there were probably 10 people who asked to take pictures.
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Beach Trip!!!

Today we went to the beach with a bunch of the new teachers from the school. We traveled about an hour north of Shekou where there are several beaches. It was hot and humid. We went with 2 bus loads full of teachers and kids. It was great.
Here are Rachel and Vika swimming. The water was about 75 degrees so it was cool enough to cool you off from the heat.
Here is a person parasailing.
This is a picture of Nicole and her friend McCall. McCall is the Redden's youngest. The Reddens are the family with the triplet boys who Jonny hangs out with a lot.
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Yesterday we got a tour of the Early Childhood Center where Vika will go to school. It's about 10 minutes from the school Coree and I will be teaching at.
This is one of the play areas on the side of the ECC.
This is the basketball court on the roof of the ECC. The middle school basketball teams practiced here last year.
This is Coree in her new classroom in the Middle School building. It's down the block from the Secondary School and it's about 100 meters away.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sea World at Night

We had a girls night (Rachel, Nicole, Vika, and I) at Seaworld. It's all lit up with lights and people just walk around. A girl from Beijing ran up to Rachel while we were there and was so excited to see an American. She came up to Rachel and asked "Are you American? I speak English. Can I talk to you?" She was so cute and spoke really good English. That talked for about 15 minutes about school, China, America, anything they could think of. When we were saying goodbye she put out her hand for Rachel to shake and Rachel reached out an hugged her instead. This just thrilled her. The girl was smiling from ear to ear. The people here are so friendly.
At Seaworld they have this little carts pulled by this robotic doll. It is so funny looking because these dolls are pulling the kids around in the cart. It really scared Vika the first time she saw it.
These were some boys playing with a lighted top that they would hit with a whip to keep them spinning. They were really whipping them hard. I would hate to get in their way.
This is another funny toy for the kids. The horses legs move back and forth and the kids scoot around the plaza on them.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coree's Foot Massage

Coree's foot massage started out with the same 10 minute soak in tea. While her feet were soaking number 150 gave her a back rub. Number 150 gave her a pretty soft massage, she said it was quite relaxing whereas mine was super hard.
This is number 150 giving Coree her foot massage. They are very detailed because they get into every single part of your foot.
This is a menu of the different things that you could soak your feet in. I just chose the regular tea because the ingredients for Marvelous wine didn't seem like it would help my health any.
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