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Monday, September 29, 2014

You Know You're in China When...

Paco and I have been under the weather what with coughs and sneezes and rumbly stomachs and all.  I found this in our kitchen supplies and decided to brew myself some tea.  I'm not sure if it was kitty litter or tea...

The sun came out, and we all grabbed our cameras!!!!  This is our neighborhood inside our wall.

I spotted this gal knitting and selling booties here on an overpass.  If the teaching doesn't work out for me...

How we 'uns here in China dry our clothes.  One thing I have yet to experience here is a breeze. I just realized that!!

 Pay Day!!!!  Even teaching serfs get paid after all!  It was such a hefty wad that my first impulse was, "Geez!  Now I can buy Boardwalk and put a house on Ventnor!"  We have learned to feel for the ridges on Chairman Mao's collar to detect counterfeit bills.

For 32 cents we can take a jolly bus to see the largest panda preserve in the world here!  It was GREAT!  We saw about 40 pandas.  And Americans too!  Real Americans!!

 "Pre-adults" or so said the sign.  I can spot shenanigans anywhere!  No need for signs!  Teen agers!!!!

And a teaser.  Next time--What we eat, how we cook it, how we eat it, and where we buy it.  We will discreetly omit any information about where that food comes from (although we have our suspicions...).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sights and Sounds

 Little did I realize back in 1971 as I entered BYU as a freshman Heritage Hall-ian and passed this sign on the edge of campus, that one day I would encounter these words again in an apartment in China...and in that same vein let me pause and pay homage to my brother John.  1).  In his eyes there WAS no other university, and therefore BYU was the only place I applied.  2) He told me eye to eye last Christmas, "Yes, unequivocably you should apply to BYU China Teachers."  Although last week I was a flea's hair follicle's distance away from walking home via Mongolia, Russia, the Bering Strait, Alaska and Canada (figuring I could call a friend from the Idaho border there and bum a ride home), I think this was a good choice.  These are flowers from last week's Teacher Appreciation day.  The little package with the orange bow was a gift from a student--little round Hello Kitty chocolate balls in a tin which I shared but mostly hovered over facing a corner growling when Jerry chanced too close.

Yeah, I know...right?

 Check out the ancient hand held scale.  Multi multi generational I'm sure.  This lady mans a space in the very lively street market a block or so from our home.

I love this logo.  And the name!  I'm threatening to book Paco here if he gets out of order.  Please feel free to leave your imagined treatments in the comments block.  I'll start it off--hair implants.

I've been wanting to post about what I hear daily just through the windows of our apartment.  Today is Sunday.  I've been wrestling a bug for several days, so I opted to spare my fellow church members and bypass church.  The windows are wide open because it is still hot here.  Without further fanfare!  WHAT I HEAR FROM MY APARTMENT:
  •  a dog barking--the same one daily.  I recognize him and have even thought of taking him some scraps!
  • two cats...well...caterwalling!  They go at it around the clock.  May the best man win!  I hope she's worth it!
  • throat clearing and expectorating over and over and's a national sport. I would hate to miss the Throat Clearing "Wimbledon" by accident.  I hope the finals are advertised. And over and over and over and over...Whoops, there's another!  Loud and clear!!!!
  • vocal practice--usually about 4 hours a day.  I always think of sirens, Die Lorelai--that sort of thing.  Pleasant.  Has become an anticipated part of the days I'm home.  She's really very lovely.
  • children laughing and playing--a hum, constant white noise
  • women calling to children and each other
  • the Whistler!!  I think my father was reincarnated as a Chinese peasant!  Yet something else I anticipate.
  • an ever constant ripping sound.  It sounds like cardboard being hand shredded.  How?  Why?  Riiiiiiiiiip.   Riiiiiiiiiip.  Repeat 300 times a day.
  • I was warned about this one.  Early in the day you may hear a barbaric YAWP of sorts which is, as close as I can translate, a cleansing yell.  The first couple I heard startled me until a church member clued me in.  Don't try this at home without sending around a flyer or something!
Someday I'm going to scale the stone wall between our complex and the whole world just over it.  It seems centuries away from the rather calm neighborhood where Paco and I live with other teachers from UESTC,  a few emeritus professors, and some scattered families.  When and if I ever do scale that wall, I hope they greet me as their long lost family member because I will know them all so intimately. Surely, they will consider me kin.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Round Round, Get Around, I Get Around!"

"Yeah, get around round round-- I get around!"

"From town to town!"

"Get around round round I get get around!  I get around!"

"I'm a real cool head! I'm making lots of bread!"


"I'm getting bugged driving up and down the same old strip."

-----"I gotta find a new place where the kids are hip!  I get around!"

We think this is sugar cane.  They peel off the outer layer with a large knife and then put it through that machine in the middle, and then (as evidenced by the cup stack) drink it!

Car seat!  For Season.  Who says Baby #3 necessitates a new car?

 A shoutout to my favorite dog who had to stay in the U.S. even though this could totally have been a genealogy mission for him!  Incidentally, shih tzus are basically unheard of here.  Mugsy would not only have had to explain WHO he was, he would have had to produce copious paperwork authenticating his roots as to WHAT he was!  Furthermore, he'd have probably had to relinquish some blood  to complete strangers, pee in a cup (a trick on three legs,,,), AND bear things!!!  Shudder....

 "I get around, yeah WOOOOOOOO!"
"My buddies and me are getting real well known.  Yeah, the bad guys know us and they leave us alone!  I get around!" 

"Wah wa ooo.  Wah wa ooo.  Wah wa ooh.  Wah wa oo.  Wah wa ooo. Wah wa ooo.  Ah...."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Out and About

This was my first introduction to the library on our  campus.  It spoke volumes to me!  pun.

The real view from where we stood.  Is this beautiful?????  (psst...dirty little was raining, and there were drip buckets all over just outside the range of my camera.  I'll bet someone is ticked.  Three year old building????  Sound familiar, Bear Lake??)

Chairman Mao welcomes us to Chengdu!  This picture makes him look short.  We were waaaaaaay across the street!

I bought this at our corner street market.  Silly me.  I thought I could just peel it and call it a cucumber.  Au contraire!  This (I learned) is bitter melon--you have to cook it!!  And even Chinese only choke it down because it is brimming with superhuman nutrition. 

This one sat sneering on the cupboard for a few days as I wondered if I could stomach that much nutrition.  It darkened a little, and we parted company.

Clyde working on his guanxi (rough translation:  working the crowd, goodwill) with the local kidlets.

Welcome to the Global Center--the largest building in the world!
Eat, shop, shop, shop, ice skate, swim, slide, watch movies, surf, jump waves, shop, eat, buy groceries, stay overnight or for a week, get free 1 year anniversary cake, people watch, enjoy Texas bar-b-q, walk across a clear walkway and look down 5 stories, and cross it off your lifelist!  At no extra cost, I witnessed a mother holding her baby over a trash can to do his business.  Yes, I did.

Take your breath away glitz!  Square MILES of marble floors!

We didn't, but we WILL!! 

And you can get Tupperware...without all the stupid party games!

Move over, Mr. Disney!!  The thing of it is, is that I've been getting up and going about my duties for 61 years and had no CLUE all of THIS was going on over here on this side of the clue.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley