Friday, February 21, 2014

Week 1 in China

***When commenting, please remember to hyphenate r-ligious words to keep me safe!***

Hey Everyone!

So I’ve been in China for one week now. =) My heart is so happy to be back in the land that I love, that sometimes I get so overwhelmed by how much G-d is blessing me and I start crying. For as long as I can remember, all I’ve wanted to do is be a mixxionary, live in a foreign country (preferably in Asia/10/40 region), live life with the locals, learn the language/culture, and dance. And I’m getting to do all of that!

 Leaving Kansas City.....arriving in China 36 hours later!

 Kirsti and I making our way through the Houston airport.....Air China even had menus for us!

 Ms. Anna who I sat by on the plane from Houston to Beijing

 Beijing Airport

 Definitely a southern girl!

Life is exciting learning new things and finding where everything exists. Some things I have done this week include: setting up life in a dorm on campus, shopping at the local Waka store (sort of like Walmart, but much more hectic—and fun!), getting Chinese minute by minute cellphones, exploring food street, exploring campus, ordering dinner in Chinese, auditioning for placement in the dance program, registration with the school, overcoming jet lag, meeting lots of people, calling some friends that live in a different part of China, and continuing with B-ble school homework from KC. 

We arrived on the last day of the red lantern festival

 Rock garden on campus and Waka store (like Walmart)

First dorm meal and train track on campus 

We live in the international co-ed dorm on campus also known as Russina Square (other squares are Italian Square and Spanish Square). There are many little stores on campus to eat at as well as shop at. We have met Indonesian, Korean, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, and Philippine friends. Our Indonesian friends took us to eat dinner the first night and to get cell phones. We also had breakfast in our dorm this morning with our Korean friends. Getting to hear all the languages and cultural nuances from all these nations is a blessing!!!!

Russian Square-the international co-ed dorm

View from our dorm window and first dinner in China with Indonesian friends

 Exploring China to find lunch!

 A spanish restaurant!!!! (I think I found the only one in all of China!-we will see how it tastes) and the East Gate to campus

 The gondola at the top of way to many stairs....and an exotic looking bird 

 Palm trees on campus near the gymnasium and swimming pool......and the soccer/track stadium behind our dorm 

I ordered my first meal in Chinese on our third night here. I was able to ask for fried rice and chicken. Later I took Kirsti and Grace (other American dancers here for the program) to the same restaurant. We got rice, broccoli, and fried corn with sugar on it (kind of like corn bread-really good). We had asked for a small chicken plate (or at least that’s what we thought we had ordered) and thought that they had just forgotten it. Later during the meal they brought us a huge pot of soup (really yummy broth, mushrooms, and leeks!) that had chicken in it. But I doubt you could call it chicken! It was more like chicken parts!!! None of the parts were identifiable….but it was yummy!!!!! Haha….it was quite the experience. =) Plus they lady gave us a discount because she remembered me. The Chinese are so sweet and patient with us as we point to pictures and try to order in our broken Chinese!

The chicken 'parts' soup, broccoli, and fried sugar corn! (And newest roommate Grace!)

Last night I was able to eat joutsa at Food street (an amazing street with lots of restaurants, local street vendors, and street vendors from other parts of China! Really yummy food!!!). I’ve missed this food for 3 years since I had it last time I was in China. Usually the meat in it is pork, but this time it was donkey! So I get to add another strange food to my list. It was so yummy!!!!!!! We’ve also eaten a pretzel type bread with yummy meat on the inside from a street vendor. Never fear though, I have eaten normal foods like peanut butter, apples, kiwi, granola bars, cheezits, chicken, green beans, potatoes, rice, and eggs. (The foreign faculty teachers blessed us by giving us a bag of imported foods—cheezits are gold here!) We even made scrambled eggs in our rice cooker. You invent new ways to do things when all you have is a rice cooker!

Though most of the food is unrecognizable to us, we still manage to find more American looking dinners!

The dance studios are amazing and beautiful. I am so excited to be able to dance again. We will be taking Chinese traditional dancing and Chinese folk dance in addition to our normal ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, and rehearsals. I am so excited to learn traditional dancing!
View of campus from the roof of the Dance building....our dorm is the pointy tower near the middle of the picture

River walk right behind the dance building

View from a small hill on campus.....exploring campus on a sunny day!

You either walk, or ride the bus to get anywhere in China. Riding the bus is fun because you get to meet more locals! Since we are Americans, anywhere we go we get stared at, pointed out, and gawked at. It's unnerving at first, but you get used to the stares and giggles. One little kid in Waka the other day inhaled sharply and said, "Meijoren!!!!" which means, "Americans!" like he had just seen the President. Haha. You also get your picture taken....often. Sometimes they will just sneak a picture and then other times will come up and ask if they can take a photo with you. It's definitely different than just blending in with everyone else in America!

 Cute little kid with his Grandma.....Do you have lion statutes in your grocery store? :)

 The Three Self Church near campus across from Food street....Everyone's bedding drying out on the don't see that in America!

A couple days ago it was really cold and snowed, but usually the temperature has been in the mid 30s and 40s one day. So It’s not too cold. =) Except we didn’t have running water for 3 days, so that was fun…..and cold! The foreign teachers building we call “Little America”. When you step through the doors, it literally is like walking into America. It’s nice to have the comfort of a quick ‘normalcy’ fix, but I really like living in the Chinese way of life!

Most of the snow was gone by lunch...much like a Georgia snow!

Pr-yer requests:
1) That internet would be sustainable when I go to take tests online for the B-ble school in KC. Living in a 3rd world country, the internet is very spotty and slow. I’ve had several tests lock me out because my internet crashed while I was taking it and had to reload internet and so it logged me out of my tests. 
2) That I would adjust well to Chinese culture—Crossing the street here is like a video game. There are no real rules in China and so people drive whenever they want to and wherever they want. So safety as I re-learn how to cross the street. And also grace to accustom myself to the way things are done here. Usually things take 4 times as long as they need to. We just spent 3 days without running water, but we have water again, so that is nice!
3) That when dance and language classes start next week, we would be able to balance our schedules well
4) That finances would come in—there have been many large expenses that were unexpected that the Chinese forgot to tell us about. So my budget for the trip was way under what it needs to be.
5) That my body would adjust well—In China you walk everywhere…..which is great for physical health, but the first couple weeks of adjustment time is hard on your legs and feet! Also the air quality is not as good here (lots of smog), so exercise is hard to do outside. With lots of dancing coming up I want to be able to be in shape but haven’t had much time to exercise. Pr-y my body will be strong, esp. my knee that I tore my ACL in last March. In addition, I have started to get a slight head cold. Pr-y that it would clear up quickly.
6) We have 4 roommates in a tiny room. Pr-y that we would be able to adjust well to close living quarters and be wise in giving each other the space that we need. 
7) Language barriers to be broken and for me to learn Mandarin Chinese quickly!
8) That we would be walking, shining, bright lights for J-sus. We really are only here to proclaim Him and want to do that with excellence!

Riding in a tuktuk with Kinah :)

Thank you so much for keeping me in your thoughts! Love ya’ll lots!!!!

***When commenting, please remember to hyphenate r-ligious words to keep me safe!***


  1. Thank you for the wonderful 'taste' of your surroundings and of your time acclimating to this new culture. I am pr-ying much for you and your roommates and for the impact you will have on the many lives you come into contact with. In my 'spoiled rotten American-ness' I don't know whether not having water for 3 days would be worse or not having heat in your room. I am very comfortable with heat. And water. I love you. I am excited to see how G-d moves through you and around you.

  2. I wish I could see this for myself. I am not sure about the "donkey". You seemed to have mastered everything already, so proud of you. I hope the weather stays on the warm side and the water keeps flowing. Scott has started his job with Atlanta Gas it is 4 day work week 10 hours. Good money so he is happy. Love you sweet girl..GMa

  3. Wow! What an extensive update. I really enjoyed all the photos and descriptions along with them, and seeing "life as it is"--not the travel brochure photos and descriptions that hardly ever accurate. I remember the time Nana and I were in China and the smog was very much like that in some of your photos--really bad, but then there would be beautifully clear and sunny days!

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  5. Wow!! Such a beautiful place. It makes my heart both happy and sad to see you in your realm. I sat next to Dr. Chuck M in a leadership meeting at work. I was going to update him, but he left as Allen began to do his thing to close out the meeting. He read about 70 palms, focusing particularly on the last 3 parts. I felt that these applied to your circumstances. I am proud of you! Eating donkey, huh? Remember, chicken parts is still chicken (this from an old chicken guy). However, this is reminiscent of the lamb on a stick trick. Ms Lynn, Mr. Tom, and half of Gvu told me that they FT'd you with Mallory Saturday night. I am jealous. Can't wait to see that beautiful face!

    I love you,