just a short note

I don’t really feel like writing a whole thousand words like I usually do, just wanted to let you all know it was Sabrina’s real birthday today, we went out after dinner, bought some clothes and then went to Starbucks.
Was one of my favorite moments, when we were sitting at the little table eating our slices of Marble Cheesecake. Hope you’re all having a nice day(:
Posted new pictures on flickr, I encourage you to look at them: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bright-
Will post pictures of me in new dress as soon as I’m looking decent, possibly tomorrow.

I really talk about Sang Min too much

Last night was fun. After school, Sang Min and I decided to go to McDonald’s for dinner because it was Friday, so we took the bus with Moritz, Gulia, Pauline and May. For the first time when I’ve been at a McDonald’s, they had burgers! What a miracle, a Mickey D’s with burgers. Who would’ve thunk it! I got a double burger, despite the fact that I hate McDonald’s burgers. I’m sort of at the point where anything that tastes like home I’ll go for—today I bought Sun Gold Raisins just because I can predict exactly what they’ll taste like. Anyways, Sang Min got a Big Mac, which until then I had never actually seen someone eat. Even though the burgers in China are smaller, that was still pretty big…I finished mine in about 30 seconds, which shocked Sang Min. He thinks I don’t eat enough, but I felt very satisfied with my double burger, medium fries and medium Sprite. After a mediocre McDonald’s experience, we decided to go back to Tongshenghu to just walk around. Dan (an American teaching at our school) had said there’s whole apartment complexes that are built with no one living in them and it’s really creepy, so naturally I wanted to see.
Now, on a side note, let me tell you that I am a big McDonald’s fan. At home I eat it much more than a healthy person should, and pretty much fulfill the stereotype of “Americans eat lots of fast food”. I throw people off though, because I don’t fulfill the second half of it, “…and are really fat”. I was saddened to hear that all the other foreign students assumed that all American’s ate lots of fast food and most of them were fat, which made me really angry. I honestly know very few obese people, and I eat much more fast food than anyone I know. Most people in our area I think are pretty anti-fast food, trying to be all green, organic, healthy and what not. Super Size Me really did not help America’s global image at all. I say the McDonald’s in China is mediocre because:
1. There is too little salt on the fries. I know that in America most people think we have too much salt on fries but I personally love our amount of salt, I find it quite satisfying to my taste buds.
2. The fries aren’t as full. They have that “old fry” feeling, the ones in California are much fresher. I know what you’re thinking, “It’s McDonald’s, there’s no such thing as fresh” but let me assure you, there is a BIG difference.
3. Everything’s smaller. ‘Nuff said.
4. The sauces for dipping McNuggets in here are given broad (and stereotypical?) names such as American Sauce, Thai Sauce, and like Greek Sauce. Something like that.
5. There are more Chicken Sandwiches on the menu then burgers. It’s just wrong.
Anyways, back to Friday night. Sang Min thought we could take the bus, so I got out some small bills and we started walking. And walking. And walking. After a while I finally thought to ask “uhm, are we going to get a bus? Or taxi?” and he told me that he didn’t know where the right bus would be (even though we were literally just at the bus station…) and he would try to get a taxi if we saw any, which of course we didn’t. So we kept walking on and on..this giant stretch of wall and sidewalk and road, there were lots of large buildings under construction but nothing that was presently being used seemed to exist. After a while Sang Min suggests we cross the street to walk on the other side, so we do, even though you can’t get taxi’s on this side of the street. He felt like the side with the wall was creepier though, and I agreed. Now we had the road to our right and a gross looking river to our left…Sang Min suggested we swim across jokingly, and was like “you go first! You’re a good swimmer, right?” but then, after what I think was seriously considering the thought, he said “no wait we can’t, that’s Alligator River”. I don’t know if that’s true or not…but wow. We found a bridge and crossed to the other side of the road (the roads here have a large physical divider between cars going different directions for the most part) and then crossed again.
Sang Min said he wanted to “go with you to a flower shop”, even though it seemed highly unlikely that a flower shop would be open at 7:30 pm. I think that was around what time it was…whatever the time, it was dark. We came upon a huge nursery and went inside a set of gates, where to avoid the mud we walked on a low brick wall, Sang Min leading the way. He’s so much like a little kid sometimes, he had his arms out like a balance beam and almost fell over once. We walked along a row of small nurseries, all of which were of course closed. I thought the place was a lost cause but he knocked on the door of one and a boy came and let us in…he looked about our age. Sang Min pointed at a plant and said he wanted to buy one. Apparently they’re called Sansevieria? He wanted them to “make the air better” in his house, so we picked out two. Then he said “maybe I want more” and we both got in with the plants and picked out a bunch, ten in all. I paid for them because he didn’t have any money, and the lot were given to us in large bags. Now we looked pretty funny, the two of us walking along the sidewalk holding bags of plants, we crossed back across all the roads and the river and finally caught a taxi. Whenever we’d cross the street (jay walking, because this whole time we had not encountered one crosswalk) I’d be like running and skipping and Sang Min would laugh at me because I find it a little exhilarating. He’s too used to the fun things in life, he doesn’t think they’re fun anymore.
We got a cab, went back to his house. Dropped the bags of plants on the floor to be dealt with the next day, and just hung out. Sang Min bought these horribly old-lady-like slippers the other day, which I gave him lots of grief for wearing. He went through a cycle of activities:
-look at dirty room, say how dirty it is, start cleaning
-during cleaning, see puzzle. Stop cleaning to work on puzzle
-get frustrated with puzzle, take out frustration on magnetic dart board surrounded by pictures of blond models
-sit down, not knowing what to do
repeat.
We made some progress on the puzzle, and I learned that I’m decent at magnetic darts. I ended up staying till like 10 (oops!). Time flies when you’re having fun.
So now for today. I know, you thought this post was going to be over, didn’t you? I’m sorry, dear readers, but I must ask for even more of your precious time. I hope you’re not using this to procrastinate doing something you really should be doing…actually I sort of hope you are. That means I’m more interesting than your homework or job! But enough about you.
Today I slept in till nine, took a shower, and was on the computer by ten. Karina’s birthday is on Saturday and we’re throwing her a surprise party, so I was brainstorming what to make her for her birthday. She loves My Chemical Romance so I thought I’d do something relating to their newest music video from their upcoming album Killjoy (which she named her dog after). I’m watching the music video for Na Na Na (the song’s name) and talking to my real mom when in walks my dad who tells me “put on your shoes, now go shopping with Mommy!”
[side note: I absolutely hate when my family here refers to my host parents as Mommy or Daddy. They say the words in a way that sounds like a four year old, and it’s just really unsettling and makes me antsy]
So right now I’m wearing a baggy sweatshirt and running shorts, my hair’s still wet, and I’ve sort of got my whole morning planned…I try to protest, because I’m going shopping with my friends at 2 anyways, but no no apparently I must go shopping.
Before I know it, I’m in the car headed who knows where. I threw on a decent outfit and put on some makeup, so luckily I didn’t look like crap. Then we’re pulling up to a hotel that I’ve never been to before, and just my mom and I are going in an elevator (my dad was just going somewhere on the ground floor of the hotel?) and we’re at a hair salon. No idea how getting my hair straightened is equivalent to shopping, but oh well. My hair was once again straightened, but these people didn’t talk to me and when my hair was getting washed for the second time today it didn’t feel nearly as nice as when L had done it for me, but oh well. I don’t think they did as good of a job either, but who was I to complain? Wasn’t my idea, but I didn’t have to pay for it. I watched part of Harry Potter 5 on a tv while he did my hair…there were subtitles in both Russian and Chinese.
Then I was taken to my dad’s coworker’s daughter’s 100-day-old birthday party. The whole thing was sort of odd and I didn’t know anyone, but the food was fine. The baby was adorable. I have a feeling that whenever I’m meeting “important people” from now on, I will be spontaneously taken to have my hair done, although this is just a hunch; it’ll have to happen a few more times before it can really be true.
I met with Sang Min, Karina, Pauline and May at the bus station, where we had some ice cream at McDonald’s before embarking on our journey. Destination? Carrefour, a French version of Walmart, pretty much. I had no idea that it was spelled Carrefour because I just kept hearing Pauline say what sounded to me like Garfoo. Sang Min said he didn’t know where it was, then he said he did. Turns out the latter was correct, and I knew where it was too—right next to my favorite Watson’s, KFC and Lucky’s Cake Shop. We were looking for Nutella, which we found, but in an expired, liquid form. I bought some brownie mix, hot coco mix, and popcorn for the Halloween party we’re having at Sang Min’s. That’s a whole different story. We went to different supermarkets, stopping at Starbucks, searching for things that would be good for our party, mainly candy but also pumpkins. We found a tub of Snickers and a thing of M&M’s, which is good enough for now…we each got our own mini-pumpkin. We’re all going to carve our own at the party and then put them on Sang Min’s balcony, it should be nice! I got pretty much everything we need for the party (I’m planning and buying everything because I’m the only one who really celebrates Halloween) except candles. Hopefully those won’t be too hard to find.
Pauline went home, Sang Min stayed out shopping longer, which left Karina, May and I to go home to Karina’s house where we played with Killjoy, the little puppy they found and adopted. Then we had dinner, took Killjoy for a walk, and started getting hyper…
Karina and her real mom live in the teachers dorms at Tongshenghu. Her mom teaches English and Spanish, so she has these old-looking learn-English posters. One had pictures of people doing their occupations, Miss Lens the photographer, Mr. Post the mailman, Mr. Brown was wearing all brown, Miss Write the journalist. Then there was this running guy named Dick… maybe a male prostitute? We could not stop laughing…I swear I have not laughed that hard in a really long time…
By the time Sang Min came back to Tongshenghu, I was wearing a masquerade mask and brandishing a plastic sword, having defeated Karina and May in a mop-lightsaber-war. We headed out singing theme music to go “avenge him ditching us”…look: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bright-/5086084881/ It was…it was really a fun night.
Our duel: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bright-/5086268143/ Karina and I
there’s another one but it’s not done uploading yet. By the time you read this I’m sure it will be.

Mountains and Turtles and Hair, oh my!

I’m home alone again, and happily surprised to see that my computer and wordpress have worked through their conflicts for the time being. I don’t quite know what to write about, mainly because today and yesterday have been extremely uneventful. I’ve been unable to will myself to do anything productive beside read…I started Factory Girls yesterday by Leslie Chang. So far, so good.

I went on a long vacation (well like four days) with my American relatives, Uncle Jonathan, my aunt Xixi, and my cousins Bohan & Nina. We went to the Zhangjiajie mountains, which is where the movie Avatar was filmed. I mean, alot of Avatar is CGI, but still, the mountains here are prettymuch Pandora. It was beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip..I don’t know if I have much to say about it though because now it’s been three days. all I can think of is that I cried when I saw them all because I was so happy, and cried when I left them..not necessarily because I was so sad, but because I don’t know if I’ll see them again until next summer, and they’re very important to me. I feel like I’m ripping them off, though, four crazy days of Disneyland-worthy lines just to see nature and I can’t even write a whole post about it? You should just look at pictures. I think they speak for themselves: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bright-

The second day I was back home, I lazed around for the morning, then was told we were going out to lunch, finally the whole family. My hair was in a I-just-woke-up ponytail and I had been wearing sweats, so I quickly slipped on real clothes and decided not much could be done about my hair. I needed a shower, but there wasn’t time. So I went out looking okay, but not good enough to meet anyone in.

We go to lunch and the first thing I’m given is my own personal turtle to eat. I…just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had about two bites, which were good I’ll admit, but the fact that all of it’s organs were there and it’s shell and my family was EATING these things…I just couldn’t. When my father asked why I told him “my friend has a pet” and then I pointed at what they were eating. I don’t think he really understood, but I didn’t get in trouble or anything. My mom ate my turtle. The eating of the shell was the nastiest part to me…okay I’m going to stop writing about this because it’s putting bad thoughts into my head. There were other food options brought out so it’s not like I went without lunch or anything.

After this, I thought we were going home, but realized we were driving through unfamiliar parts of the city. I was told we were going to get Sabrina’s hair cut…something that sounded incredibly dull to me. Many of us have gone with friends when they get their hair done and we sit, awkwardly reading the random hair magazines placed on the waiting tables, watching and listening to the endless “frrrr”-ing of hairdryers. I was not looking forward to this. All I had on me was my phone, which I’ve become quite bored of.

However, when we arrived, it became clear that apparently I was going to get my hair done, too. They asked if I wanted a haircut and I quickly said no–not that I didn’t trust the skill of these hairdressers, this was a pretty nice salon, but because I was almost certain that no one there had ever cut naturally curly hair before. As you can probably imagine, curly hair and straight hair are completely different to cut and style, and if I was given a haircut that’s intended for those who do not have ringlets, my hair would probably become a Jew-fro of some sort. That said, I protested. And was listened to, thankfully. One guy at the salon spoke English, and offered to wash my hair, which I couldn’t refuse, seeing that I looked pretty crazy. I don’t know why, but this always seems to happen–whenever I see hairdressers, my hair is always at it’s absolute worst. Usually it is extremely tangled, in a ponytail of some sort, has old shampoo and dirt in it and is frizzy. This gives these people the impression that I walk around like this all the time, which I try to avoid. It happens, but it’s not ideal. They always ask me “do you have such-and-such hair product? do you have this? or this?” and usually I do. I actually managed to find a curl cream here which I use on a regular basis and has proved to work quite well…but of course when I went to the salon, I hadn’t used any. I used the “I just got back from a giant mountain range” excuse as to why my hair was dirty, pretending I only washed it once in four days (because when you’re in the mountains, that’s allowed) when in actuality I had washed it two or three times. I just can’t use hotel shampoo. I can never rinse it out. No idea why.

Anyhow, I need to stop rambling and get on with my story! I’m already at over 870 words and I’m not even to the good part !

The guy who spoke English was the one who washed my hair. He was very nice; a little shorter than me with spikey (but not gelled) poofy black hair (although I’m guessing you assumed it was black, since he was Chinese). He had red-rimmed glasses that we a little nerdy and a little fashionable. He wore all black, and his English name was L. He told me that was “because it’s easy”. He reminded me a lot of Ramie, because of his height and mannerisms and voice and personality…I don’t know. He was a pleasant guy.

I must say this: that this hair-washing experience was definately the best of my entire life. It was not your average lie-your-head-back-while-your-neck-hurts-and-the-waters-too-hot-and-getting-on-your-shirt deal, no, this was much much better. I don’t know how they did it, but my chair was incredbily comfortable and even though L told me to completely relax my head and neck, the sink didn’t dig into me at all. I don’t even remember if my neck touched the sink at all…I just remember it was incredibly comfortable. L talked to me the whole time, asking where I was from, why I was here. Everyone in China thinks I’m a college student when I say I’m studying here…he thought I was 18 for the majority of our encounter. He held my head the whole time, and as my hair was being washed, I got a head and ear massage. Also, I got my ears washed and my face washed. I don’t know how the face wash thing worked, I think some machine of some sort went over my eyes and forehead and streamed water down onto it…whatever it was, it felt like a blanket made of flowing water. While my conditioner was sitting, I got arm and hand massages also, which were fabulous. Like…wow. L was amazing ! He asked me if I had a boyfriend, at which point I realized he sort of had been flirting with me this whole time, and I said I had one in America, to which he replied “oh, I guess I don’t have a chance”, followed by nervous laughter when I didn’t say anything “just kidding”. He really didn’t believe I was 15…throughout my whole time at the salon he kept saying “you don’t look fifteen!” He was super nice though…I got my hair done straight. I was offered a straight perm but declined, even though everyone here thinks my hair looks better straight. “Before is….bad.” they say, but I think they’re just jealous none of them have natural curls. L also thought I had a curly perm and didn’t really know what to do with naturally curly hair. I got my bangs trimmed also, which made me glad I didn’t get all my hair cut when the girl made them slightly lopsided..oh well, what can you do? I looked pretty, and kept getting compliments. And that’s all really I could ask for.

Picture of straight hair:  http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j195/teddygeiger_luver/1006002151b.jpg

“Skyping with Midori”

My official favorite person to Skype with is… (sorry everyone!) …..

Midori.

Oh. My. God. That girl is even more hilarious behind a computer screen I swear.

The first time we Skyped was Tuesday. My computer has been having…issues with my mic and webcam, thinking that I’ve “disconnected the USB”, when alas they’re connected internally. So I’ve just been typing and not able to talk, sometimes people can see me and sometimes they can’t. Anyhow.

I was told Midori that I was going to New York in March. Before I did though, I said “guess what?” which confused her. ‘I also go to New York! What mean is guess?’ she asked. I used Google Translate to say in Japanese and she replies with “OK!! I LOVE AMERICA!!”. You know what? I’m just going to copy & paste the funny parts of our conversation, I think that’ll work better. To warn you, sometimes my English is modified to second-language-English, which is a simpler version of English that works best when communicating with Midori. Also please note that the changing usernames are Midori’s…first her name in Japanese, then Chinese, then English. I don’t know why she keeps changing. OH and Bianjinzhu is Klaus’ Chinese name. Some of the strange things in parenthesis are smileys on Skype, also.

[9/28/2010 6:02:55 PM] みどり: OK!!   I LOVE  AMERICA!!!!
[9/28/2010 6:03:04 PM] Miranda Shakes: ME TOO!!
[9/28/2010 6:03:10 PM] みどり: I KNOW!!!!!
[9/28/2010 6:03:25 PM] Miranda Shakes: you are so funny! do you love japan?
[9/28/2010 6:04:12 PM] みどり: thank you!!!!!  yes!!! I LOVE JAPAN!! but I LOVE KOREAN!!! haha
[9/28/2010 6:04:38 PM] Miranda Shakes: haha yes someday YOU WILL MARRY A KOREAN !
[9/28/2010 6:05:13 PM] みどり: Of course!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i must marry a korean!!!!!

….

[9/28/2010 6:08:52 PM] Miranda Shakes: oh ): he is very cute
[9/28/2010 6:09:06 PM] Miranda Shakes: do you have many korean friends?
[9/28/2010 6:09:11 PM] みどり: yes
[9/28/2010 6:09:32 PM] みどり: but only girls…. i want to cry!!
[9/28/2010 6:10:20 PM] Miranda Shakes: aw !! i have two korean friends in california but they are both girls
[9/28/2010 6:10:20 PM] みどり: ah!! sangmin!!haha
[9/28/2010 6:10:28 PM] Miranda Shakes: ahh sangmin and bianjinzhu!
[9/28/2010 6:10:40 PM] Miranda Shakes: my only korean friends that are boys
[9/28/2010 6:11:03 PM] みどり: we are same!!!
[9/28/2010 6:11:11 PM] Miranda Shakes: haha
[9/28/2010 6:11:14 PM] Miranda Shakes: we should go to korea
[9/28/2010 6:11:40 PM] みどり: yyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssss!!!   Let”s go!!!!!!!!!!!!
[9/28/2010 6:11:47 PM] Miranda Shakes: that would be very fun!!
[9/28/2010 6:12:22 PM] みどり: yea!!!!  i want to trip with you sometimes!!!
[9/28/2010 6:12:32 PM] Miranda Shakes: yes! very very fun! (:
[9/28/2010 6:12:54 PM] みどり: we are forever friend!!!!!!!
[9/28/2010 6:13:07 PM] Miranda Shakes: (: yes! when we are old ladies we will be friends!
[9/28/2010 6:14:14 PM] みどり: i am very glad and happy everyday!!!   because you are in here!!!
[9/28/2010 6:14:30 PM] Miranda Shakes: you are so kind! i am happy that you are here also!
[9/28/2010 6:14:36 PM] Miranda Shakes: you make me very happy (:
[9/28/2010 6:14:56 PM] みどり: i crying in my heart!!!
[9/28/2010 6:15:03 PM] Miranda Shakes: so cute!
[9/28/2010 6:15:42 PM] みどり: moved to cry!!! ← can you understand??
[9/28/2010 6:15:55 PM] Miranda Shakes: yes, i can! you speak english very well !
[9/28/2010 6:16:28 PM] みどり: 謝謝!!!! I ALWAYS LOVE YOU!!
[9/28/2010 6:16:38 PM] Miranda Shakes: I ALWAYS LOVE YOU TOO!!!
[9/28/2010 6:16:47 PM] Miranda Shakes: forever friends!
[9/28/2010 6:17:30 PM] みどり: whatever happen, i will alway love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[9/28/2010 6:17:40 PM] Miranda Shakes: same!! (:
[9/28/2010 6:18:06 PM] みどり: i feel very good!!!!!
[9/28/2010 6:18:15 PM] Miranda Shakes: me too!! we are the same!!
[9/28/2010 6:18:56 PM] みどり: YES!!!!  always thank you!! you always helped  me!!
[9/28/2010 6:19:12 PM] Miranda Shakes: and you always make me smile! we are a good team
[9/28/2010 6:19:31 PM] みどり: I WANT TO CRY!!!!!!!
[9/28/2010 6:19:49 PM] Miranda Shakes: you are so cute!
[9/28/2010 6:20:17 PM] みどり: thanks!!!!!    you don”t like 15 years old!!!!
[9/28/2010 6:20:27 PM] Miranda Shakes: how old am I like?
[9/28/2010 6:20:35 PM] みどり: gess??
[9/28/2010 6:20:42 PM] Miranda Shakes: i don’t know
[9/28/2010 6:20:42 PM] Miranda Shakes: !
[9/28/2010 6:21:02 PM] みどり: maybe…….. i think 25!!
[9/28/2010 6:21:11 PM] Miranda Shakes: sangmin thinks so too :O
[9/28/2010 6:21:18 PM] Miranda Shakes: i dont understand!!
[9/28/2010 6:21:26 PM] みどり: :*
[9/28/2010 6:22:00 PM] みどり: it”s OK!! because you are so beatiful!!! everyone think!!
[9/28/2010 6:22:14 PM] Miranda Shakes: oh thank youu! you are so kind! i am not beautiful, you are beautiful!

…..

[9/28/2010 6:28:02 PM] みどり: you made me my smaile
[9/28/2010 6:28:13 PM] Miranda Shakes: you always make me smile!
[9/28/2010 6:28:30 PM] みどり: really??? (inlove)
[9/28/2010 6:28:54 PM] Miranda Shakes: really! even when i am sad you make me smile
[9/28/2010 6:29:43 PM] みどり: i cry in my heart!!! ←really!!
[9/28/2010 6:29:48 PM] Miranda Shakes: me too!!
[9/28/2010 6:29:55 PM] みどり: ;(
[9/28/2010 6:30:18 PM] みどり: my haret heavy rain!!
[9/28/2010 6:30:24 PM] Miranda Shakes: downpour!
[9/28/2010 6:30:33 PM] みどり: yea!!!
[9/28/2010 6:30:40 PM] Miranda Shakes: you speak english very very well
[9/28/2010 6:31:21 PM] みどり: tahnk you very much my teacher!! i eat dinner!! good bay!! see you again!!

……

(we had been group chatting on Skype for the first time, a bunch of the foreigners)

[9/28/2010 8:22:08 PM] 王爱心: oh…..  ah!!  morilz in here??
[9/28/2010 8:22:12 PM] Miranda Shakes: no
[9/28/2010 8:22:46 PM] 王爱心: pauline!!
[9/28/2010 8:23:01 PM] Miranda Shakes: no, right now just us. They are online but they cannot read this
[9/28/2010 8:23:19 PM] 王爱心: oh!! OK!!
[9/28/2010 8:23:34 PM] Miranda Shakes: do you have their skype names?
[9/28/2010 8:24:11 PM] 王爱心: no!! but i discoveryed!!

……

[9/28/2010 8:37:40 PM] Miranda Shakes: ninja
[9/28/2010 8:37:49 PM] 王爱心: do you know????
[9/28/2010 8:37:57 PM] Miranda Shakes: yes!
[9/28/2010 8:37:59 PM] Miranda Shakes: everyone knows!
[9/28/2010 8:38:02 PM] 王爱心: WOW!!!!
[9/28/2010 8:38:07 PM] 王爱心: (h)
[9/28/2010 8:38:09 PM] Miranda Shakes: in america very very very famous
[9/28/2010 8:38:26 PM] Miranda Shakes: there is an american game called “ninja” that many teenagers play
[9/28/2010 8:38:38 PM] 王爱心: yes!! japan very very famous!!
[9/28/2010 8:38:49 PM] 王爱心: japan have ninja!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[9/28/2010 8:38:53 PM] Miranda Shakes: i know!!
[9/28/2010 8:39:01 PM] 王爱心: oh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! good!!!!!!!!!!
[9/28/2010 8:39:11 PM] Miranda Shakes: in school I learn
[9/28/2010 8:39:24 PM] 王爱心: really????? so funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[9/28/2010 8:39:36 PM] Miranda Shakes: why funny?
[9/28/2010 8:40:11 PM] 王爱心: usually don”t learn!!! so funny!!!! funky!!!!!
[9/28/2010 8:40:34 PM] Miranda Shakes: haha okay! in america everyone knows about ninjas ! everyone loves
[9/28/2010 8:40:47 PM] 王爱心: i am very happy!!!!!!!!!!

……

(I don’t even remember this part)

[9/30/2010 10:42:47 PM] Miranda Shakes: how are you?
[9/30/2010 10:43:20 PM] midori: sooooooooooooooooooo  FINE!!!!
[9/30/2010 10:43:46 PM] midori: now my teeth so white

……

The other quotes are from when her microphone finally worked and we were all group chatting (well for some of these)…I wrote them down because they were so funny. Like, I was laughing so hard my sides hurt and no noise came out.

I was telling her about seeing my family and she says “Your heart very happy? Your heart jump jump?” and then told me that she and her boyfriend Skyped for three hours “my heart very jump jump! My whole body jump jump! High jump!” and when she said high jump she put her hands above her head and jumped out of her seat. Ohh my gosh she’s so cute.

Dylan emailed me that he got hit in the face by a flying peach, and I told Midori. She kept saying WOW over and over (it’s one of her most used phrases) and then told me (I had to have her repeat it because I needed to make sure I was hearing correctly) “I think peach good because if he hit onion maybe he die and then you cry”. So apparently Dylan couldn’t survive getting hit by an onion? Moritz laughed and told her that you could survive being hit with an onion. Maybe not “a stone” but an onion yes, and she said “but onions make you cry!”, which is true.

And to round them all off:

me: “my camera is not working”
Midori: “maybe on holiday?”
me: “no, just not working”
Midori: “I think maybe it is sleeping”

“For lack of a better title, Buying Things”

“For Lack of a Better Title: Buying Things”

Once again I apologize. My computer has taken to being ridiculous when it comes to wordpress, and so I can only post at school…I’m going to email this to my friend Tyler and he’ll post it for me. Fun stuff.

Today, October First, is the first day of China’s National Holiday, which is an awesome week off from school where most people go and travel around. Two days ago, Wednesday, the foreign students were told that we had only a half day of school, so we went…but were told that we didn’t have any classes. We were planning to go out to lunch anyways so we just decided to all go out and explore the city together. I changed into street clothes, as did Moritz. Then, we were off to we-didn’t-know-where because Sang Min is/was in Korea (Klaus, also, but he never comes with us). We took the bus, and got off at the depot, where we walked around for a bit, took another bus and ended up in a giant book/dvd/music store. Technically we went to Walmart first, but there really wasn’t much to do there…we ate KFC and Midori bought a school bus pencil case with nonsense-English on it. I also bought my first perfume ever ( !! ), Nina by Nina Ricci. The bottle is shaped like a little adorable not-symetrical apple. It’s sort of a mix of fruity smell and what I call ‘couture smell’, which is that really strong “fashionable” or whatever smell. Burberry tends to be couture smell, same with Juicy. I’m personally not a fan, but because this is also fruity I like it. We ate lunch at KFC and when there I opened the perfume to put some on…only to realize I had absolutely no idea where you’re supposed to put perfume. I mean I know when you’re trying on perfume at a store you put it on your wrist…so then with Pauline’s help I put some on..my wrists and chest. It smelled for like, a few minutes but then I stopped smelling it. Is that what’s supposed to happen? Or is it a bad perfume? I do not know.
We left the shopping center and started walking in one direction randomly, but the street we went down didn’t have any stores, so we hopped on a bus Moritz knew went to a large store he had told us about on multiple occasions. This store turned out to be a mall of sorts filled with randomly assorted DVDs, CDs and books. Yes, most of it was pirated. In fact, I’d say…90% of it was. You could see the dvd’s being burned right there… pretty crazy stuff. It wasn’t shady at all though, very open and lots of customers. I bought Juno (which according to my housecleaner is not pirated), seasons 1&2 of Pushing Daisies, seasons 1-3 of Weeds, and a bunch of CDs: Recovery (Eminem), a Snow Patrol compilation, three cd’s of Glee music and Congratulations (MGMT). I’m nervous to put some of it in my computer, so as of now all of this lies untouched on my desk. Also, please take into note, I have very little experience with piracy so when I bought everything I didn’t know it was pirated. I’m not even sure if it’s technically illegal here, because there’s very few copyright laws as far as I can tell. In all honesty, I don’t know what most of the laws in China are. It’s hard to tell sometimes…my host mother finally returned home that night, which was really exciting because she’d been gone two and a half weeks.

Anyhow, after we were done walking around the giant store (it literally seemed endless), all of our feet hurt like –insert curse word here- and we were hungry also. After walking down the block and realizing we couldn’t read any menus, we decided we should go to Pizza Hut. Of the group of us, only Karina had been there since coming to China, so it was relatively new. We considered grabbing a taxi, by this point it was only Moritz, Karina, Midori, May & I, but figured we could just take a quick bus to walking street. We walked to the Papa John’s (close enough, right?) Karina and I had gone to briefly with Sang Min on another occasion, only to find it boarded up. Desperate and tired, we settled for McDonalds. Upon arriving, I promptly fell asleep at the table, and was woken up x-number-of-minutes-later by Karina, saying we were all going home. I said I was taking a taxi and headed off to the best place to get a taxi on walking street (it’s nearly impossible) but then kept walking to this shopping center, where I…

Got my eyebrows done!

I can’t even express to you how amazing I felt afterwards. At home, I’m supposed to get them done every two weeks but hardly manage that…but regardless my eyebrows were a mess. When the foreign students had previously gone shopping, we had walked by Benefit (for those of you who don’t know, a makeup brand from San Francisco, there’s one in the Stoneridge mall) and I was really excited…I had seen it yet another time when I was by myself buying spaghetti, because it’s in the same building as that supermarket. The sight of the familiar manikins with their cursive speech bubbles was very comforting to me, as well as the sign reading Brow Bar. I spoke a little Chinese to a woman standing there, very very basic with lots of pointing. At first she was saying that there was no one there to do my eyebrows for me, but after me saying over and over I only understood a little of what she was saying, she yelled “WHITE PERSON!” and a woman came running, who then did my eyebrows.

Yesterday Sabrina had school, so I awoke to..no one home. Again. Story of my life here, haha. Anyhow, my mom had tried to wake me up for school but I told her I didn’t have school so I got to sleep in, which felt amazing. I lazed around all morning, not really doing much of anything, on the computer and listening to music. Ate mostly waffles (bought a bunch at Walmart the previous day). At one got a text from Sabrina “at two mother take you airport see your uncle”, so I jumped into action, taking a shower and doing my hair, trying to make myself look presentable. I thought Jonathan, Xixi, Bohan & Nina (also Xixi’s parents) were coming on Friday so I was taken completely by surprise.

Waiting for them at the airport..was insanely exciting. You have to understand that my cousins, Bohan and Nina, are probably two of my favorite people in the whole world. Of course, I love my other cousin Ray just as much, but he wasn’t visiting me, was he? I also usually get to see him more often than Bohan and Nina because he lives much closer. I stood staring out the glass at people spilling out of doors and down escalators…all Chinese. I was searching for small children and the tall bald head of Jonathan. Waiting, waiting…and then there! Nina wearing giant glasses, hands clutching a bright pink backpack, talking to Xixi, Bohan with Jonathan. I waved and Nina saw me then everyone else did..honestly I was so happy I almost cried. I love them so much! That and the fact that I’m five thousand miles away from home and can still see familiar faces in the flesh. When they came through the gate, I think I might have physically been bouncing a little. The first hugs I’ve had in weeks. Euphoria.

We all went out to dinner, which was fun. Tomorrow I’m going on vacation with them to some national park, it should be beautiful. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures. Today…

I exchanged money! Finally! I’ve been here six weeks exactly, and at last I have my own cash to spend! It’s a great feeling, let me tell you that friends. The fact that I literally have giant pile of money like in movies helps this, but also I’m just very relieved. Until now the not-exchanging-money situation had been pretty stressful, so I’m glad that it’s over and done with. All of my traveler’s checks have been exchanged.

After this exciting momentum, we all went shopping. I bought a really cute black skirt…it has layered lace over a black fabric with roses..I’ll try to post a picture when I get a chance. Oddly enough, most of the stores were playing songs in English…I heard a lot of Glee and Justin Bieber. I’m honestly pretty scared that I caught myself singing along (with correct lyrics, mind you) to Justin Bieber today…it’s not something I ever intended to know or be able to do. After more shopping and lunch and more shopping (unsuccessfully attempting to buy an iTouch) we went home. A fun day.