Beijing… kinda

Tonight we arrived in Beijing and we are exhausted. We had a long day with a lot of walking, new blisters, and American Food. We were so tired… and then we got a jolt of energy when we arrived early for our flight. You know why? I’ll tell you. Because we were early, we were able to catch an earlier flight… then the wonderful attendant upgraded our tickets to first class. Awesome. Rock Star status. Happy Babies. Dear China Eastern, you are now my new favorite airline.

My happy toes in first class. I even got slippers! And food, and drinks. Sweetness. I’m down with that sickness.

Someone lost their appetite after a few too many chinese meals… so then we found her appetite again. And guess what? Nope, not chicken butt… McDonald’s here, taste the exact same as it does in The States. Just as delicious or familiar… or whatever.

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Today I am thankful for: a wonderful upgrade and double cheese burgers. Now, it’s night-night time.

Celebrity…

Y’all, I’m among the famous. Today we were walking along The Bund and all of a sudden a tourist comes up to my sister-in-law and grabs her to take a photo. It was bizarre. Julia didn’t understand why… but it’s because she’s white. Often Chinese people look at Americans as if they are celebrities. Just look how happy they both are!!

Now look how happy the woman is when my brother gets into the picture! Ha. I thought this was hilarious. My friend and I were cracking up. There are some strange things going on in China…

In other news… we went to the river town, Qibao, today. My roomie told me that he went to a river town before and the only thing there was a small town with a small “river” that runs through it — well that’s kinda what this was. They have made a tourist attraction out of something that isn’t really touristy. They have lined the courtyards and small alleys leading up to the area in shops… kinda like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence… but on a smaller scale, less classy, more street food venders, and the occasional haggler. If that’s your thing — go for it. I will say though, the food was pretty tasty — unless you order stinky tofu. GROSS. Which, my friend TR did… and Julia quickly found out after one quick bite that she has about as much appreciation for it as I do.

But y’all know me… I’ll always find something good to eat.

Ok, this is random… but whatever. What y’all may not know about me is that I love fashion. While I may not exude it — I have a true love for the fashion industry. I follow a ton of fashion blogs and find them so inspiring what some people can do. This lady right here, deserves to be on a fashion blog. She exudes confidence. I love it. I also love, that what you cannot see, is her Adidas tennis shoes. It cracked me up. Stylish, yet practical. My kind of woman.

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Today I am thankful for: having a week off of work. I won’t be back until next Wednesday. Why, you ask? Because I’m going to the big city — Beijing, here we come!

 

On top of the World

I ate on top of the world of the world tonight! Okay, maybe not for real — but it sure did feel like it. We had dinner in one of those super cool revolving restaurants. This one sat on the 38th floor of some building around People’s Square. That’s about all I know. I let my friend, TR, choose the restaurant and he chose oh-so-well. He was kind enough to take my bro and sis on a tour of the city AND they are going to a water town tomorrow. That sounds pretty freakin cool. He’s awesome. Here are some pics from the evening.

I love that TR is wearing  a Kappa Delta (KD) shirt because that just so happens to be the sorority that my sister-in-law was in. What are the chances, huh?

 

 

One of the dishes we had this evening. Somehow, Julia wasn’t too fond of these things looking at her… but they were really quite tasty. AND I’m super proud of her for trying. They are just little fried fishies. I think my father would have loved them. He’ll eat just about anything.

One of my favorite pictures from the evening. Très beau, Julia! — All in all we had a wonderful evening — as well we should. 13 course meals don’t come very often in Alabama… well, unless it’s BBQ time with all your fixin’s and whatnot — I digress. We were all full and had big ole food babies in our bellies. It was so delicious. We had braised pork ribs, and yummy beef in a peppery sauce, and a wonderful fruit salad with some kind of yogurt on top, the little fishies, some other stuff that I can’t remember the name of, taro rolls, noodles with beef, pork, some other things, some glutinous rice with duck, and this absolutely dE-vine wonton soup (but we were so stuffed we couldn’t possibly eat it all). Oh my goodness. It’s a good thing we don’t eat like this every day! Just for the next few days 🙂 OH, Food Baby!!!!!

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In other news… guess what’s growing in the backyard back home?

Did you guess Mator’s? Cause you’d be right! My mother has gone on a gardening rampage this year and she will soon have a house full of mators. Oh, I can’t wait for Momma’s Sauce!

She also planted some wild flowers. These have grown to be over 6 feet tall!!! When they sway in the wind, Mr. Porcini barks at them because he thinks they are trying to attack him! What a baby. I love that little guy. But doesn’t everything look so beautiful? Good job mom. You’re about to have a full house!

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Today I am thankful for: my big old food baby AND getting to see the best view in town… my family.

 

 

What a day!

Say what?! That’s right I had lunch today at the Shanghai Google cooropate office. My sweet, sweet friend Vicky is an Illustrator there. And you know what, It was the bomb-dot-com. Their office is so cool. I couldn’t take a ton of photo’s–because, you know, it’s Google… but I did sneek a few in.

This is their cafeteria and everything is provided for them. I thought the food was delicious… but apparently some of the workers complain. I thought it was awesome. I loved the super fresh watermelon — yummy. Google also helps promote healthy living. They had so many healthy items to choose from AND they also offer yoga and tai chi classes twice a week! Maybe they should start providing this in school — we wouldn’t be such fatties! And you know what else they have? A masseuse. They have their own private masseur. Gosh, that sounds so lovely. Apparently at the California office that have a manicurist that has a cart and goes desk to desk — Where do I sign up? Work should be play.

I love this shot. And look at that crazy transformer building right there. This is the view from the office. It must be nice.

My beautiful friend Vicky. She’s so awesome. You should see her work. This is a pic of Vicky, Eric (my roommate), and me just inside the bullet proof doors.

Eric and me on a Google high! We were being such nerds but it was so much fun.

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Guess what, y’all? THEY MADE IT! They are here. They are safe and sound. And I am so so happy to see them. Isn’t my sister-in-law b.e.a-U-tiful!? This is a picture of us post-Dim Sum dinner. That was super yummy. We all got milk/bubble tea. I love that stuff. I am officially addicted. Unfortunately, I spent too much time talking and not enough time taking pictures. But you know, life is for living — not stopping every 5 seconds to take a pic. And we had fun catching up.

In a pathetic attempt to keep them awake, I took them here. We walked around for a good bit and tonight they learned one of their most important phrases, “Woh boo yow” — I don’t want. They were getting haggled for everything… from getting photo’s taken to roller blade sneakers to purses and watches. Oh, this is gonna be fun. I love watching their reactions. Eeeeeek! They are here! They are IN China — With me!!!!

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Today I am thankful for: my wonderful family making it into town with zero complications. (Yes, Mother we will be safe… and No, we haven’t gotten into any trouble… YET.)

Oh yeah, have you been to my blog recently? She got a little facelift yesterday. I wanted to try out a little something new. I really like the change. I hope you guys do too. (This is for everyone who has an email subscription or an RSS feed). Have a great day everyone. Did I mention how excited I am that my family is in town?? Yippee!!!

 

Do unto others…

So in China they do things a little differently (to say the least), but one thing that I would like to bring back to The States is this; when something good happens to people they bring friends and coworkers gifts. So… if someone gets engaged, married, or has a baby — then they give you something to celebrate with them. Good things have happened to them and they want to share those good things with you! One of our manager’s in the office got his marriage papers (so he’s engaged) and he brought all of us these lovely little chocolates! How wonderful is that? I really like the thought and I appreciate them including me in this custom.

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Today I am thankful for: a 3 day week AND that in 14 hours and 45 minutes my family will be in town!

Baby Got Back…

That’s right, y’all. I got my BABY computer back!! And I got to visit this super cool place at the same time! Now, I know people feel differently when it comes to Apple products and I know that Apple owners come with their own stereotype… but regardless of all of that… this place was still pretty freakin’ cool. I appreciate good things and I like to share those good things with you. So check out this beauty…

 

 

 

I know this is hideous… but I did get my first Chinese pedicure today! It was delightful. The tootsies no longer look that bad. I promise.

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Yep, and then there’s that thing behind me. (Note: that thing is called the Oriental Pearl TV Tower) I hope everyone is having a good weekend. BTW… I have 1 day and 15 hours until my family is in town. But you know… I’m not excited at all… OR maybe I am… just a little!
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Today I am thankful for: happy friends with happy bellies. We went and ate at Pho Real again. It was delicious. As always. And then I got to speak a little Italiano at the Gelato place down the street called La Creme. Always a good day when you can do that.

 

 

Rough Day

The past 15 hours were pretty shaky — at best. I got back to the apartment after work yesterday and my computer wouldn’t turn on. It broke down and then I really broke down. Now some people might think that’s silly. It’s just a computer. But no. My computer is a life-line of sorts. It’s the one thing that connects me to my loved ones back home — who I talk to daily.

Luckily for me, I made an appointment at the Shanghai Apple Store immediately and found out that I need a new logic board and power adapter… and the best part — It’s still under warranty. For 48 more days. I had my entire family up in arms, had everyone flipped upside down worrying about this. And naturally, Apple took me in, told me it would all be okay, and that this is an in-house repair and I should have it back within 3-5 days. I can last 3-5 days without a computer, right? I. Can. Do. It.

And last night I caught myself talking to myself… it’s only a computer. We made it through grad school together and that was a blessing in itself. And apparently neither of us are going to make it out of China without going to the doctor first. So my baby computer is at the doctor. I’ll be away from blogging for 3-5 days. But you know what… my brother and sister will be here in 3-5 days. And that will make my summer! I cannot wait to see them.

Today I am thankful for: my wonderful family for putting up with me through this crisis.

Jiang Zhiqiang: The Space Between Real & Unreal Body

I went to the Shanghai Sculpture Space today — and finally, it was open! Note to self: they are not open on Mondays and they close at 4 p.m. Long story short — this space is really amazing (longer post to come). There were a bunch of pieces that I really loved, but this one was my absolute favorite. I love her expression, her stance, her… color. I think there is something really beautiful about her. And there’s something really nice in her eyes. It’s like you can see an iris yet she’s all one color — LOVE IT.

Artist Statement: The molding of [the] human body constitutes a relationship between real and unreal spaces. With the rapid andvance[ment] of human society, man is giving special concern over the space man relies on to survive.

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Today is my Momma’s Birthday!!! Today, (6/18) I am thankful for my Mom. She has to be one of the most wonderful people in the whole wide world. I love my mother sooooooo much. There is nothing stronger than the love my mother has for my brother and me — we have been so loved. Momma, Happy Birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day. I wish I was there to spend it with you.

 

 

Sichuan Folk Restaurant

A sweet coworker took my roommates and I out to eat at a restaurant that serves food from his hometown — which is near and dear to his heart — he is from the Hunan Provence. Have you ever eaten Sichuan food? It’s HOT! Well…. it’s a different kind of hot — regardless, it was hot for me (which isn’t saying much). My lips felt like they were bright red and on fire. Luckily, I ordered a Lg. Pepsi to go along with my meal (I know, I know… there was no Coke). This is unusual for me — I’m not going to talk about the meal I ate that night… although it was both delicious and interesting (one dish was Pig’s Foot Soup…), Nope, I’m going to share with you my entertainment that evening…

Watch the video above or check it out here! This was great. The audience was treating this character like he was a Hollywood Star. While the music was still playing he came out into the audience and shook people hands and posed for pictures… and some of the people in the audience were interesting as well. I just had to get a picture of the guy sitting behind me.

Okay… I know I’m being ugly… but… the 80’s called and they want their shorts back! And what y’all can’t see that I tried so desperately to capture, is that the back of this guys shirt said SLEEK. It’s really difficult taking sneaky pictures of people. Anyway… he really made me laugh whether it was intentional or not. I will say, you’re pretty ballsy if you’ll go out in public wearin’ this get up. (look Mom, I spelled wear correctly today :)) I have a feeling y’all might not think that this guy was as funny as I thought he was… but that’s okay.

These were my left over plates after dinner. Notice that the Pigs Foot Soup is the only thing still standing…

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Today I am thankful for: seeing my roommate push someone out of the subway train. This jerk was shoving people so that he could fit into the subway and this time… there really was no more room. So my roomie just shoved him back and the doors closed. Ha. Okay– that’s a crappy thing to be thankful for… hmmmm… I’m thankful that it’s Friday. There ya go.

One Month in Review: Weird Things In China

This is almost exactly what I saw the other day. A man carrying an insane amt of Styrofoam on his bike.

So it’s official, I have made it in Shanghai for a month — and just barely. I’ve been wanting to report about some of the really strange things that go on here from an American’s perspective. I wish I had more photographic proof of all of these things… but that will just have to wait for my second month in review. So here ya go… Weird things from an American female’s perspective…

  • First, people spit — with disgusting gusto. And it doesn’t matter where you are… outside, inside, in the subway… they will hauk-a-loogie anywhere. And sometimes towards you. Oh, and I give that, “eat sh*t and die” look any time that happens.
  • While we’re on disgusting bodily habits — people are completely open about peeing, farting, and burping in public. Yep, I’ve seen or heard all of these things.
  • People where their pajama’s out everywhere. AND I’ve heard that these aren’t their real pajama’s, they are their “going out pajama’s”. It’s been explained to me, that people want to appear as if they don’t have to work… therefore they go out in their pajama’s.
  • Oh Lord, get this… we’ve seen this phenomenon often… Couples Shirts. That’s right. That’s when a boyfriend and girlfriend dress alike and where the same t-shirt. Sometimes these are even specially designed.  Here is a site trying to explain this phenomena — God, bless them.
  • OH gross… Long fingernails. Men have them and women have them. And they are long and ovally — like any good wicked witch in a Disney movie. But the men especially have one long pinky nail. I’ve heard that it’s suppose to be some sort of aristocratic symbol. A symbol that you don’t do hard labor. But I’ve also heard that it’s for dope, and picking your ear and nose.
  • While we’re on that discussion… I saw a girl in the subway picking her boyfriends nose–like digging in his nose. Now my momma raised me right and we have a saying in our house, “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friends nose”. But people here… publicly pick their nose. Ewe.
  • This is common. Women wear these sunshades devices all the time. Especially if they are on their bikes or moped’s commuting.  As well as the cape thing you see on her arms. I’ve even seen some that have built in gloves — Watch out — they gettin’ fancy.
  • Ha. Women’s fashion… well their is a lot to be said about this.But one of the strangest things that I’ve noticed is how much they enjoy wearing hosiery. Girls in my office where knee-high’s like it’s not unusual at all. Girls of all ages where the little sock hoses. Yahoo Answers tries to make sense out of all it here.
  • Men, late in the afternoon, can often be found where their shirts halfway up their belly. Like they roll them up to under their armpits.
  • Have I mentioned that people don’t run in China? It’s really rare that you will find someone exercising out on the street. Like running on the road. They will; however, dance in courtyards at night or do tai chi… and they play music really loudly really early in the morning.
  • Oh my goodness, I almost forgot… Chinese baby split pants — I have honestly seen a woman holding her poor little child, spread eagle over a trash can, while the child uses the restroom.
  • Everyone has a uniform. From the guy who collects money for watching your bike on the side of the road, to the subways workers who look at the scanners, to people working in the grocery store… if you have a job where you talk to people — you probably have a designated uniform.
  • Oh, people at work often where one or two outfits a week. Sometimes they will change their shoes and where a special pair in the office.
  • It’s completely common at work to find people taking a nap at their desk. They will turn off the lights and close the blinds… cuddle up with their pillows and put on their eye shades and zonk-out for about 30 minutes.
  • Pregnant women where smocks. I don’t know why. Someone said it was to reduce UV rays. Say what?
  • Hair cutting places are open really late here. But I guess if a majority of the population works 12 hour shifts… you gotta stay open a little later.
  • People talk on their cell phones really loudly. I think my mother must be part chinese for this little antic. It’s ridiculous. They are sooooo loud. I think Americans are often apt to being more quiet when they talk on their cell phones in a public space… but the chinese talk louder. I mean, come on dude, the whole subway is listening in on your conversation — chill out!
  • People sit on tiny stools. I don’t really know how to better explain this…
  • Oh, and last but not least– HONKING! Honking is like another language here. People honk all the time. Where I’m from — it’s rude to honk your horn. Here, they honk to let you know they are behind you, they honk to let mopeds know they are coming around them, they honk to let pedestrians know where they are .. and they do it all the time. So you know when you’re walking to work… and your still kinda sleepy… and then you hear this loud screeching horn in your ear… or when you have a headache… or whenever… ughh–it’s just not what I like to hear all the time.

Want to read about more weird things that I’ve seen in China. Click here. And you can see my Second Month in Review: Part II

Unfortunately… like everything else, I’m getting used to it. I know a lot of these sound like complaints… but it’s just the stuff you have to deal with when you enter into a new culture. I’m sure I do things that make Chinese people turn their heads as well — well, I guess we all know that’s true — but it’s part of traveling and learning new customs and how people deal with everyday life. I am still very thankful to be given the opportunity to be in China.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ll try and take my own pics of all of these things so you can see them from my perspective. These are only the things I could remember, I’m sure tomorrow I’ll think of a million more… I’ll start jotting them down for you guys. Is anything weird going on with y’sll? Update me on life, I’d love to know how everyone is doing! Is the summer heat back home killing everyone? Does everyone have a nice tan? Is anyone out there?
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Today I am thankful for: the best sister-in-law in the world! She has given a fool proof regiment for me to conquer my sinus infection! I’m feeling much better. I just think I need one full nights rest and maybe I’ll be back to normal tomorrow. For those of you who know me well… I’ve been walking around with a box of tissues and my nose is chapped from blowing my nose so often. Being sick in China is no fun at all!

Note: The source for all photo’s can be found in the title of the image — you can see this when you drag your mouse over the picture.

Yikes… I don’t need to talk and type… I’m still catching grammatical errors and I need to learn to proof-read. Do excuse them — I’m sick.