Monday, January 26, 2009

Chinese New Year

Last night was Chinese New Year. We heard fireworks going off all around our house and decided to venture out to see what was going on. This is a picture of the side of a building down at Seaworld. It is the year of the Ox so they have pictures and toys of oxen all over the place. We were expecting a big firework show but found out that it was just people randomingly setting them off. At midnight it really got crazy. We had gone back home and were ready to go to bed. It sounded like a warzone. The sky was lit up all around us. It continued all night long and we even woke up to them going off this morning.

The legend is that a monster came on New Years Eve several thousand years ago and destroyed a village. The next year it came back and did the same thing so the following year they were prepared for it. They let off fireworks all night long to scare the monster off. It worked so the people spent the next few days celebrating. That is why they have fireworks going off all night.

Another belief about the New Year is that if your house isn't clean and in order by New Years Eve your family will have bad luck for the entire next year. My Ayi spent the last week really cleaning my house. Not a bad idea.
This is a picture of the plaza at Seaworld. It was decorated with red lanterns all down the center of the Plaza. Red is an important color at New Years. I was told that it scares the monster away.
It was pretty cold last night when we went out so we had to bundle up.
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Splendid QSI Chinese New Year Performance

Most of the students at QSI take Chinese language classes and each year they put on a performance for Chinese New Year. The teachers, staff, and students all participate. Nicole was chosen to be one of the MC's for the elementary performance. She had to speak in Chinese for part of it. She has really picked up the language and enjoys being the center of attention so this was perfect for her. She did a great job.
Some of the teachers performed this Chinese dance. Maybe next year Gavin and I will do it.
The costumes for the performance were really cool.
Vika had a performance at her school and wore her Chinese dress.
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Splendid QSI Chinese New Year Celebration

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This is just a little taste of the Chinese New Year Performance.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Punky Bike Thief

This is a story you have to read. Go ahead and laugh even though it was really irritating at the time.

Last night Gavin and I rode our bikes down to Old Shekou. We had to get a few clothes for Vika and they have some pretty cheap stuff down there. Old Shekou is lined with all kinds of shops. Sometimes we just like to go down there to window shop.

We came to a shop that Gavin wanted to go into so I decided to stay out with the bikes. I didn't lock them up because he wasn't going to be very long and I was going to stand watch. Gavin had found some pants and had tried them on. He came up to the front of the store for me to look at them. I turned around and took a few steps toward him and BAM. Someone jumped on my bike and started riding away. I was only a few feet away but had my back to it. Gavin watched it happen and being the track star he is, bolted out the door and started chasing him down the street. He still had the pants on from the store but we didn't care. It was like watching a foot race on a cop show or something. All the Chinese people came out of their shops to watch the amazing chase.

They were weaving in and out of traffic. Gavin is pretty fast and got close to tackling the guy off the bike but this guy was booking. He must have seen the determination on Gavin's face. Unfortunately, he didn't catch the guy but he put on a good attempt and show. I know for sure that the poor little Chinese guy would really be hurting right now if Gavin had caught him.

We had been warned this would happen. They target the foreigners, so we were told to be careful. This was the second bike we had stolen this month. Our electric bike was stolen in front of Walmart and it was locked up with an alarm. Once they are stolen there isn't anything we can do.

Can you believe the nerve? This guy stole my bike right in front of us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol

We are so excited that they are showing the new season of American Idol here. It is a big deal here. Sunday they had a marathon of the last season of American Idol so we all curled up on the couch to watch. Tonight we are watching the new season. Yeah!!!!!

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It's COLD!!!!!

Yes, believe it or not we are cold here in China. You would think these Utahans would be used to the cold but that's not the case. The high in the day has been in the upper 50's and gets down in the low 40's at night. Normally this would be bearable but the buildings aren't insulated very well and they aren't equipped with very good heaters. Our home is all either hard wood or tile which gets really cold. Each room has a small heater but it doesn't seem to help much. My classroom doesn't have a heater at all and is right next to the main stairwell so I am always getting a cold draft. I am always cold during the day. We didn't come prepared for this and left most of our warm clothes back in Utah. You can bet what is now on our list to bring back next year. We had to go out and buy a few things to get us through this year. Amazingly enough, they have some really nice winter clothes here and they are CHEAP.
Vika is all bundled up in her new coat for school.
My scarves have come in very handy in keeping me warm.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

My niece, Heidi, has the cutest little boy that is the same age as Vika that comes up with the funniest things to say. Heidi posts them on her blog and one of his sayings is "Whoa, your butt is cracking". I'm not sure the story behind it but my kids think it is the funniest thing.

The other day we were playing around and being silly. Vika's pants were falling down and I said to her "Whoa, your butt is cracking". She got real serious and with a scowl on her face said "My butt doesn't crack". We just died laughing. Then of course she got upset with us because she thought we were laughing at her, when it was really at what she said.

Kids say the darnedest things. I love hearing the things they come up with. If you care to share any, please do.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dress Up

Last week we took the family to an amusement park called "Happy Valley". It is about 30 minutes from our house and is China's version of Disneyland. We were a little hesitant about going but actually had a really good time and will probably get season passes. They have a huge water park there that looks fun when it's hot. Right now it is a little too cold for that. When we were there they had a stand with costumes on it. The women working there ran over to Vika and Nicole and dressed them in these costumes. Then of course they said it would be 10 RMB ($1.20) for us to take a picture with our camera or 20 RMB ($2.40)for them to take a picture. We didn't take our cameras so we ended up paying them. Immediately the other Chinese people passing by started taking pictures of them and they weren't even charged. I felt like charging them myself. I would've made the 40 RMB back plus if I did.

Nicole painted this picture of herself from the picture taken above. I thought it was pretty good for an eight year old.
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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tripping Stories

My niece Heidi just posted some funny stories about tripping. She is the sweetest girl but never trip around her because she will just bust up laughing. She thinks it is funny to see people trip and loves hearing stories about it. So, these are for you Heidi.

When I was in Jr High I had to ride the bus to school. Yeah, I wasn't a very cool kid because of that but anyway, one day I was rushing to catch the bus home after school. I ran onto the bus and tripped on the second step right there in front of a bus full of my peers. Of course I tried to make face and just stood up like nothing had happened. I walked to an empty seat and quickly sat down. After a few minutes of trying to ignore the pain, I pulled the leg of my pants up and my sock was soaked with blood. I still was trying to act cool even though I wanted to scream my head off. I road the whole five miles to my house in silence and just casually walked off the bus. When I was a few feet away from the bus stop, I just broke down in tears and limped the rest of the way home. When I got home I pulled my sock down and saw a big gash in my leg. I'm sure I probably needed stitches but I didn't say anything and just cleaned it up. Not the funniest story except that I still have a huge scar on my leg from that trip. It's more like a hole in my leg because the skin was scraped to the bone, but I didn't cry in front of my friends and saved face. That's the most important part.

Another time when I was pregnant with Rachel we had the cutest little dog, Mele. We lived in an apartment near ASU and of course when you live in an apartment with a dog you have to let the dog out to take care of business at any hour. One night Mele needed to go outside. It was about 2:00 in the morning and I was the one to hear her so I got up. As soon as I opened our door she took off running and I had to chase after her. Here I was 6 months pregnant, in my pajamas running around the complex trying to find her. It was dark and I tripped over the sidewalk and went tumbling in the grass. I just layed there crying. I'm sure that was a sight. A pregnant women laying flat on her back crying in the middle of the night in her pajamas. All that because of a dumb dog. Of course I couldn't stay mad at Mele for long. She came running up to me and started licking my face. She was the cutest but dumbest dog ever.

I loved Heidi's story about Josh slipping on the ice in a parking lot. Living in Utah we've seen that happen many times and even could share our own stories. If you want to read her stories, check out her blog on the right under The Justice's. Thanks for making me laugh today Heidi and hope you enjoy my stories.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Skating the China Way

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We took the kids to a park close to us where you can rent skates and skate on this outside rink. It only costs 8 RMB (about $1.10) for the skates and use of the rink. It's not the best looking place but it sure was fun. As soon as we got there we were mobbed by the other kids. They are always so fascinated with our kids. We feel like celebrities because they crowd around Vika and want pictures of her. Sometimes she gets irritated by it all but usually she is a good sport. The people here are so nice and friendly. They would take Nicole and Rachel by the hand and skate around with them. We only stayed for about an hour but had a lot of fun.

The park is right next to where the new High School is being built. It has an outside track, basketball courts, tennis courts, skating rink, a huge soccer field, and a workout area. Gavin goes to play basketball at least once a week there. We will all be going more often with him.

Shekou Walmart

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We've talked about how crazy and different the Walmart is here so we put together a little video of what it's like. We wanted to capture the crowds we usually have to face but we went on a Monday morning this time and it was considerably quiet. Next time we will go on a Saturday so that we can capture the craziness. We try to avoid going unless we absolutely have to.