Zhongguo Zai Jian! (Goodbye, China!)

26 06 2010

Well, we’re off in 12 hours. We’ve been naughty about updating the blog in the past two weeks so there might be some residual catch-ups (not that any of you will care or check but we have a sick desire to complete the task.)

As a goodbye present for all of the wonderful people on our street who we buy food and drinks from, fix our shoes, wave at us, etc. etc. we printed out some “greatest China moment” photos with a thank you message (Thank you very much! From your laowai friends.) We gave away four on our way home and they earned us enough guangxi to live with free room and board if we return and 2 free nai chas to enjoy immediately!!) Seriously, they were a Twilight sized hit.

At the Ming tombs in Nanjing.

At the Temple of Heaven.

In Yangshuo.

In Yangzhou.

In Qingdao.


Jeremiah Heals The World: Part 153

25 06 2010

OK, my last post on teaching in China. I just wanted to highlight my final few weeks. So for finals, I had the kids meet with me for one minute, where they would discuss something that interested them, in this case, either the World Cup or their favorite movie or song. I liked doing this for the final for a couple reasons: First off, it left me not having to worry about constantly shushing the kids while others gave presentations in front of the class, something that was a big problem in the last round of finals. Secondly, it gave me a chance to evaluate the English level of the kids, which is always fun for me. Anyway, finals went fine. I think only had one girl in all my classes who didn’t take the final. I did have something funny happen, though, where a girl came out and said “I have a secret, but please don’t tell anyone. The song I told you about, I like it because it has the same name of someone in class who I am in love with.” (I’ll refrain from exposing her here on my blog, but the name rhymes with Heephen. Anyway, I thought that was cute, and no, I didn’t tell him when he came out to take the final.

After the finals, I had a class where we played games and the kids signed a little yearbook I bought. I also took a couple photos, the best of which I will attach here. The comments in the yearbooks were funny, so I thought I’d highlight the best of them:

Lucy in Junior 1 said: “Jeremiah is HANDSOME! I love you! I’m your fans!” Alex (Junior 1): “Cross my heart, you are a true favorite teacher. Don’t forget me.”
Annie (Junior 1): “I miss you Superman!” (They do the Superman stuff a lot in Junior 1)
Ethan (Junior 1): “I miss you and your beer.” (I think he meant beard…) O’neil (Junior 1): “If you have some phone number, please call me at my new service. ****3865511. Please don’t forget me. Happy
everyday!!!” (The ‘Happy Every Day’ thing I got over and over from kids)
Amanda (Junior 1): “I don’t want to say anymore, or I will cry. Well I hope you can be happy every day. I will miss you.”
Nucleon (Junior 1): “I hope you can come back and teach next year! And I hope you have a happy marriage!”
Bill (Junior 1): “Mr. Jeremiah: You are a good teacher, my best friend. See you next year!”
Hillary (Junior 1): Next time I meet you, I hope you can be more handsome! P.S. Bring your wife to us!” (Not sure what she meant by the ‘more handsome’ thing, but it’s nothing a bit more hair loss won’t take care of.

The next few are from the Junior 2s, and they tend to occasionally stray a bit more into “I don’t care/I am going to ramble about something incomprehensible” territory.

Amy in 9A: “You look a bit like my uncle, I dare say. Do you know Phaeton?” Annie in 9A: “Happy. I like what I like. Twilight!”
Henry in 7A: “You are your fate. Now it’s showtime!”
Peter Chen in 7A: “I love Chelsea, Arsenal, AC Milan, Lazio, Juventus, Real Madrid, Marseille, Parma, Porto and so on … And of course, Aston Villa. Good luck, Jeremiah!”
Sky in 7A: “Lord. Saint. God.”
Rick in 4A: “We’ll go to another place for Junior Three. We’ll go back someday, I miss you.”
Crossing in 4A: “Government. YK. SC. Forever deep.”
Jessica in 3A: “Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night. Good … every day. Happy every day! We all love you. Our teacher.” (This was followed by a picture of a potted sunflower with a beard wearing sunglasses)
Selena in 9B: “To be open to international understanding in a modern world while maintaining your/their Chinese soul. You have nothing to say. Bingo!” (Is she dissing me? She’s totally dissing me, right? Oh, the first part is the school slogan. But after that? Totally dissing me.)
Teddy in 11A: “You can call me by my new English name, Stephanie. Jeremiah, I’ll miss you. I still want you to come back. Will you remember me?? Hope you have a wonderful holiday. And we’ll always keep the faith.”
Miranda in 1A: “You are a very wonderful man. This is my email address. I hope you can send email for me.”
Elle in 1A: “I like India, Spain, Brazil … and AFRICA! They are wonderful!” Bill Pan in 1A: “I see you everywhere. You inspire me a lot. I’m glad to communicate with you.”
Cyndi in 1A: “I like you very much! And I like Super Junior!” Henry in 5A: “Hi Jeremiah. I’m Henry, the one who always plays mobile in class. I hope you can enjoy yourself.”
Wendy in 5A: “I think you need to be thinner. And you have more hair than me.” (Oops Wendy, I accidentally changed your final grade to an F. Sorry!)

There were many more responses, some of them very sweet, but I don’t want to bore you with 300 more.

Lastly, here are some pictures:
1. Class 4A, Junior 1
2. Class 5B, Junior 1
3. Me with some students from class 9A, Junior 1
4. Class 5A, Junior 2

Good luck, kids!

The end is nigh… and passion fruit.

21 06 2010

In keeping with my previous post, I’ll catch you up to date and introduce you to a new favorite fruit.

Today we are going to an engagement/wedding party being thrown for us by our Nanjing friends. The theme is Made in China and prizes will be awarded for the best Chinese costumes. I found a sequin appliqué of a panda talking on a telephone in Hong Kong that will attach beautifully to my new silk cocktail dress. Pictures soon.

We need to recap our trip from last week but I’ll tide you over with my new fruit obsession-
Purple passion fruit. For 1.5 quai (25 cents) the lady lops the top off and hands you a spoon. AMAZING!!!

And, just for fun, look at this little guy after a hard day helping his grandma in Yangshuo.

love, Missy


13 06 2010

I figured you lovely blog followers deserve a quick recap.

We get married in less than 1 month.
We leave China in less than 2 weeks.
I (Missy) turn 30 in 5 days.
We leave for a 6 days trip to Hong Kong and Guilin in 1 hour. Holy crap!

In other news- In China, produce follows the seasons. I know, pretty wild. Pineapples that were everywhere a month ago have vanished and trucks bearing watermelons have replaced them. I’m not a watermelon fan, I never have been, but there is an amazing YELLOW variety that I am obsessed with. It’s about the size of a cantaloupe and when you buy them, the lady cleavers it into halves or quarters before you take it home!

More from the Expo

8 06 2010

I just can’t get too excited about a long blog detailing every minute detail of the Expo. Instead, I will talk a little more about it and include some pictures.

Spain (Even with the giant animatronic baby), Denmark (Cool
architecture, plus the little mermaid), Mexico (Mmmm…Mexican food. Fun interactive site), Canada (The bikes are neat), Vietnam (Best small pavilion we saw)

Africa (Lots of Chinese people getting stamps without seeing the sites. Very strange), The Philippines (Good food, music playing all the time), Venezuela (Which is in the South America combined pavilion), Czech Republic (Not much about the country, but interesting art)

Myanmar (Surprise surprise), Iraq (Not open for business), India (Open from 3-8. What?), New Zealand (No stamps unless you have a passport? Boo! Besides that, it was OK)

USA, China, France, Italy, South Korea, the UAE, about 200 others … Sorry, the three-hour wait time is just too long.

A word on the stamps: They had this deal where you could buy a passport-looking thing from the gift shops and get it stamped at all the sites. Chinese people would go around ONLY getting the stamps and not looking at actual sites. Nothing like seeing people scurrying from Mali to Burundi and fighting off fellow Chinese to get all seven of their passports stamped. We felt for the people working as stampers.

All in all the site was great. It was pretty hot during the day, however, and some of the waits were super super long (as detailed above). Here are some more pictures:

1. Riding the bike in the Canada pavilion
2. Spain pavilion
3. Denmark pavilion
4. A line waiting for their passport stamps in front of Zambia


Tour of a Chinese house

5 06 2010

I don’t actually want to devote a whole blog to it, but here are some photos from the apartment where we made jiaozi. I also want to add that Missy and I are fighting over the proper pronunciation clues for jiaozi. She says Geeow-ztah, I say Gee- (as in “Gee Willikers”) Oww-
Dzuh. You may pick whichever you wish, though I routinely have people tell me “Ni de zhongwen bucuo” after I order Chinese food. But don’t let that sway you. Too much.

Chinese living room. Looks more or less like a Western one, doesn’t it? Except cheaper.

In this particular house, they had a flat screen TV in every room. Not bad for two teachers’ salaries, eh?

You may have noticed the wedding photo in the background. They love weddings in China. As a side note, when our host saw that I had a camera out, she turned all the lights on in the whole house so as to facilitate picture-taking. No joke. Here is a picture of me watching our lone English channel, CCTV 9, or as I like to call it, “The Boringest TV Channel Ever.”

One more picture. The girl on the left was our gracious host.


Jiaozi Journey

5 06 2010

My “teaching assistant” (a horribly inaccurate title for Sarah, the teacher assigned to help me with all things I can’t do by myself, i.e. things that require Chinese language skills like ordering drinking water) invited to teach us to make dumplings a few months ago. Last week I got an email saying, “Are you free tomorrow evening? We may start our dumpling journey.” Sometimes, Chinglish reveals language gems.

Jiaozi (Geeow-ztah) is the Chinese name for these delicious delights. We usually buy them downstairs, either boiled or boiled then fried.

We were invited to Sarah’s best friend’s apartment. It was only our second time in a Chinese home, which is always a treat. Jeremiah might have to do a tour of the house in a future blog. There was Sarah, Fiona (Sarah’s roommate who we’ve met a few times), our hostess, Nancy, and two other friends of theirs. Nancy’s husband was working late but dropped by to shake our hands. I guess it was a BIG deal to them because we were “the first foreign friends” who had visited their apartment.

Of course, being that all of the women were only children who are never required to do anything but study, none of them know how to cook, let alone make jiaozi! They confessed it was the first time any of them had ever attempted to make it. Luckily, they invited one girl who knew how to cook. She told us her mother wouldn’t let her or her sister eat if they didn’t cook well! I guess that’s a common philosophy in the northwest where she’s from. We were also told that there’s an old saying that if you have a strict mother, you will be a good girl. (Or at least a hungry girl!)

The dough is made by adding water, with a pinch of salt, tablespoon by tablespoon into plain flour. Our expert mixed it patiently with chopsticks until decided it was ready to knead and then wrap in plastic for 5-10 minutes so it could ‘rest and get sticky’.

Then the dough is sliced into logs and rolled into a circle. It’s chopped again into small, dumpling wrapper sized clumps. Next comes the rolling. THESE ARE MY HANDS! I was a natural dumpling roller. You hold the edge with one hand and keep moving it in a circle instead of the doing the “pie crust” american method.

Detail photo of my newly acquired skillz.

The filling was Chinese leek (this was the translation of the vegetable they found but both of us are not quite sure leek is the best word), chopped scrambled egg, and chopped fried tofu. After the first batch they added some salt to the mix. I will add a heavy dose of garlic in my future attempts. The place downstairs does that and it’s awesome.

Filling the wrapper. Note the finished ones on the placemat.

I have watched the ladies on our street and they pinch the top together, the push the sides in like wrapping a Christmas present and the squeeze the whole business with both thumbs. Ta-da!

The pinch.

Well done, Fiona!

Toss them in a boiling wok until the float and then pull them out with a slotted spoon.

Jeremiah demonstrates his traditional Chinese plastic shoe protectors and how to eat jiaozi with vinegar. Mmmm…

Members of the Jiaozi Journey. I took this with my teeny pocket tri- pod and the self timer. It blew their minds.