Monday, November 28, 2011

China Memories: Classes

since I am leaving soon I wanted to do a series of china memories, mainly for me, but also so you can see an overview of my time here. this is the first of (hopefully) many installments.

Class J (S30) Co-facilitating with Kyle, was my first class! You made it so easy for me to be a facilitator :) You also taught me my first Chinese (after TIP of course :) )

Class D (S31) My first class facilitating by myself. You were a huge blessing to me and I will always remember how caring you all were after I was sick.

Class D (S32) Co-facilitating with Naomi and my first Christmas and birthday away from home. You guys made it so special and I loved celebrating with you and will always remember my "surprise" birthday party!

Class B (S34) Co-facilitating with Cassie, who everyone thought we looked alike! By the end of the session you could tell us apart and always made sure we took care of ourselves, especially Cassie who was pregnant!

Class A (S36) You made one of my hardest months at TIP so fun because you always had a great attitude and just wanted to have fun!

Class B (S41) Co-facilitating with Adam, you were my class of all women! You were so helpful and encouraging to each other.

Class C (S45) Co-facilitating with Karen. You were my smallest class, but you made up for it with huge smiles and so much love for everyone.

Class B (S 53) Co-facilitating with Kara. I loved seeing you come together after a rough start to become an amazing family

Large Group (S 54) I never really wanted to do large group, but out of necessity found myself having to do this for a session. It was so much fun seeing the students enthusiasm and excitement each day.

Class B (S 55) My last class. You made the end of my time at TIP so special and showed me and the rest of the class so much love and compassion.

I loved each of my classes so much and an so thankful God gave me the opportunity to spend 20 days with hundreds of students, encouraging them, laughing with them, loving them, and praying for them. I am beyond blessed! 


Thanksgiving was great. We had an awesome meal and a great time of conversation. It was a great way to spend my last holiday in China!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WCBA Game!

About a week ago one of the facilitators was able to get tickets for a WCBA game. Her aunt knows one of the players (who plays in the WNBA) and she was able to hook us up :)

Most of us who went

the awesomely hilarious cheerleaders in qipaos and bunny outfits

and of course WE were the halftime entertainment!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Class B game time :)

Game time is always fun. It's a great break for the students because they don't have to think about speaking English. Badminton is one of their favorites and the trust run (where students run through the line and the other students raise their hands right before they would hit them) is a great team building exercise!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


In China you will see signs for KTV's all over the place. And if you talk to a Chinese person it is likely that they LOVE going to KTV. KTV is pretty much karaoke without the random strangers. You get a room for you are all your friends and sign (on our case) ridiculous songs, have fun, and laugh a lot.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Panjiayuan has become one of my favorite places in Beijing, so I had to be sure to go again before I leave.
 I love the colors of the items from Yunnan. This market is unique because it is a flea market. 

 People come with handmade items, antiques, and so much more.

 Everyone can easily find sometime they LOVE and it's easy to spend money on quality items.

 Some are neatly displayed, others thrown into piles begging to be searched through.

 But, if you are willing to search there are hidden gems waiting to be found.

 If you want mass produced items, go to the silk market, don't come here

 here you find minorities from Tibet, Yunnan, and other provinces selling items you can watch them make. They happily tell you that "I made this!" and you happily buy it knowing that you have a truly unique item.

I think I'm gonna miss this place...

Ni Hao Yall

Sunday, November 6, 2011

1 Month...

I am leaving China in 1 month...

I'm not sure how I feel about that right now...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Advice for returning to America from my teammates

  1. Do not chew with your mouth open. Do not make smacking noises with your lips. Do not slurp your soup.
  2. Do no spit food (bones, fat, other inedible objects) directly onto the table.
  3. It is not considered normal to spit on the side of the road (or the middle of the sidewalk)
  4. You can't wear the same outfit everyday. You can't even wear the same outfit every other day. Wait at least 2 days before wearing the same outfit because then you at least give the appearance of it being washed.
  5. It is not considered normal or appropriate to walk down the street holding your friends hand.
  6. If you talk about the people around you there is a 99% chance that they will understand you.
  7. It is not considered polite to yell for the waiter at a restaurant.
  8. Hacking is not appropriate in any circumstance. 
  9. Flushing toilet paper is totally expected and even encouraged.
  10. Drinking water out of the faucet will not kill you, it will not even make you a little bit sick.
more to come... 

    Sunday, October 30, 2011


    This morning when I was brushing my teeth before church the water starting coming out very slowly. I thought to myself, the water must be out, I'll get some drinking water to finish brushing my teeth and it will hopefully be back on sometime in the afternoon.

    Upon returning from church this note was on the board (please note is wan't translated until late evening)
    Well, it must be a bigger deal than I originally thought, and something is going on, but I'll survive.

    Fast forward to around 9:00 in the evening. Still no water, no timeline for when we will have water, so...a water truck arrives on campus! The following pictures are a few snapshots of what happens when a campus full of people (thankfully most of our students are home already) need to get water.

    So, we now have containers full of water to use for important things like flushing the toilet and a pretty awesome story to tell about that one time when the whole campus was out of water and everyone was going crazy wanting to get water and it was cold and we got wet and oh yeah, it was a crazy adventure. Now its time to see how long it will last...

    Sunday Snapshot

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    3 Country Concert

    After last session ended I received a phone call from one of my students asking me if I wanted to go to a concert at the birds nest with her. I had no plans, and it was at the birds nest, so of course I said yes. I didn't have any expectations because I had NO idea what the concert was, but headed out with Kara, my co-facilitator for the session and our student Jane.

    Little by little we found out about the concert. It was called the 3 country concert and was sponsored by CCTV to foster friendship between Japan, Korea, and China. It was taped to be televised on National Day, October first (yes, I am very late with this post). There were popular singers from each of these 3 countries.

    Kara and I, and Jane and her TIP roommates
    I was pretty excited to be in the birds nest. Probably more excited than I thought I would be. I had been to the Olympic park several times, but never actually inside. Our seats were amazing. They were 3rd row and much to my excitement we were right in front of the long jump pits. I took a minute to imagine what it would have been like to sit there during the Olympics and just soaked the moment in. This just made me realize how incredibly blessed I am and how many amazing opportunities God has given me during my time in China.

    The concert itself was actually pretty cool. I recognized a few of the songs and it was pretty hilarious to see Chinese going CRAZY about the groups. I was also introduced to Super Junior (from Korea) and Super Junior M (their counterpart from China) and let me tell you, they are a BIG deal. Girls anywhere from middle school to college age were going crazy. Think boy band from the 90's, but maybe about 100 times more crazy. Yeah, it was a lot of fun!

    All in all it was a great night and just a remind how blessed I truly am!

    Sunday, October 23, 2011


    IKEA is always a fun place. I recently went there with one of my new teammates so she could get some things for her room. As we were walking around I told her to be on the lookout for people sleeping in the beds, and we finally hit the jackpot with this little girl. Please note her clothes on the bedspread, her underneath the covers on a pillow, and the book on the bed. Her mom was sitting in a chair "reading" said book.

    more coming...

    Normally when I don't blog for a month, there really isn't anything to blog about. After being here for so long things that used to be exciting aren't and life is pretty normal. However, in this absence I have actually had several things to blog about, so my goal for the next day or so is to actually do it! Hopefully I accomplish this and with that my parents will be able to (for now) stop asking me to blog about everything I have told them about!

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    59 ways to tell if you're new to Beijing

    I thought this list was pretty funny, and after living here for 2 years find most of them to be true :)

    1. You can’t believe you’re supposed to put used toilet paper in that tiny trash bin in the stall.
    2. You freak out when a nicely dressed young woman snorts mightily and hawks a lugie the size of a baseball into the street, raising clouds of dust.
    3. You’re terrified to cross the street – even with the green light and a crowd of people.
    4. You don’t know about VPN and your Facebook friends think you’ve died in China.
    5. You have “This is China” moments five times a day.
    6. You buy a “jīn” of everything.
    7. You believe the air pollution ratings on the news.
    8. You read the People’s Daily daily.
    9. You buy movies from the iTunes store, not at the local DVD shop.
    10. You think CCTV 9 is just China’s version of CNN.
    11. You’re stuck in chapter 1 of book 1 of Practical Chinese Conversation.
    12. You say “xiè xie” to everyone for everything.
    13. You buy Tylenol™ Cold, not the local equivalent at half the price.
    14. You feel relieved when you see another foreign face.
    15. You challenge the logic of “èr” vs. “liǎng” in counting things.
    16. You pay for software.
    17. You need tissues to blow your nose.
    18. You let old ladies cut in front of you in a queue.
    19. You think you’re dying when you cough up black stuff in the morning.
    20. You attend “networking” events hoping to make useful connections.
    21. You wonder what’s in those “sex shops” you see all over the city.
    22. You think people actually sing in KTV lounges.
    23. You are dismayed when the non-smoking section is right next to the smoking section.
    24. You think Chinese women naturally have perfect complexions.
    25. You have yet to identify what that funny smell in the air is.
    26. You can’t believe it takes five people to put their seals on 15 pieces of paper to do any transaction at the bank.
    27. You still think eating Peking Duck is a special treat.
    28. You think the suit you bought at the Silk Market will last a lifetime.
    29. You don’t have a wallet bursting at the seams with point cards.
    30. You email folks back home with newly learned Chinese words in pinyin with tones indicated by numbers – “ni3hao3” – and they think you’ve lost it.
    31. You can write things like “Beijing is a vibrant city, bustling with energy, and new adventures to be found around every corner” without bursting into laughter.
    32. You don’t know who Kaiser Kuo is.
    33. You don’t have at least three “shānzhài” clone products.
    34. You can’t say “Běijīng” with the correct tones.
    35. You can’t say “Sanlitun” like a pirate.
    36. You think people will laugh at your jokes about Beijingers sounding like pirates.
    37. You actually carry your passport and work permit with you at all times.
    38. You “face” all the bills in your wallet.
    39. You’re not sure why the bank runs 100 RMB notes through the bill validator before they give you the money.
    40. You know Jenny Lou’s is expensive but you shop there because they sort of speak English.
    41. You think you might find true love on a Saturday night in Sanlitun.
    42. You can’t say your cellphone number in Chinese.
    43. You have your bags scanned at subway security.
    44. You desperately need your hair styled but you’ve heard one too many horror stories about hair salons where staff doesn’t speak English. (females)
    45. Your hair is always cut a bit too short because you’ve discovered those stories about barber shops are true. (males)
    46. Your Chinese name doesn’t mean “hairy monkey with hemorrhoids.”
    47. You believe it when Chinese people compliment you on your Chinese.
    48. You think “gee, that’s cheaper than back home” means it’s actually cheap.
    49. You lack the courage to try whatever it is locals are eating for breakfast near the subway station.
    50. You think pinyin was designed specifically to drive foreigners crazy.
    51. You haven’t found a favorite “jiǎozi” place yet.
    52. You have only one mobile phone number.
    53. You desperately hope someone will compliment your skill with chopsticks.
    54. You’ve bought 1000-year-old eggs, hard-boiled salty eggs, and then finally fresh eggs.
    55. You’re shocked to discover that brand names like “Starbucks” in Chinese sound nothing like they do in English.
    56. You don’t know you’re supposed to have the vegetables weighed and price-tagged before you pay at the register.
    57. You believe you’ll finish reading The Analects of Confucius.
    58. You are fascinated by the old guy on a bike slowly pedaling his bird somewhere.
    59. You self-censor your emails … just in case.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Class B!

    I am so thankful I had the opportunity to be a facilitator for class B this past month. It was a huge blessing to get to know all of my students who came from Shenyang, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang. Being able to help them, instill values, and give them hope always leaves me overwhelmed with joy by the end of the session.  Class B is Brave! Class be is the Best! We love Class B!!!

    Sunday Snapshot

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    2 years...

    As of today I have been living in China for 2 years. I really don't know where the time has gone. I can remember the day that I arrived. I was nervous, excited, scared, tired, but also confident that this is where God wanted me to be.  I remember walking off the airplane knowing that they spoke a different language, but thinking hola in my head instead of ni hao. I remember being so relieved when I finally say two people holding a sign with my name on it, knowing they would take me to campus, where I have spent the past two years.

    But now I am in the middle of winding down. For the present time I have just over 2 more months in China and then it is on to time spent at home with my family and friends and then whatever God has planned next. I never imagined 2 years ago that would be here today, which makes me excited to see where in the world I will be 2 years from now.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011


    I was reminded about clarity today, and how so often we are not able to see things clearly when we are in the middle of them.  As you probably know, Beijing is not what you would call a clear city. In fact most would call it one of the smoggiest cities int he world. However, every once in awhile it is blessed with a clear day. Today happened to be the clearest day I can remember experiencing during my time here. When it is clear you are able to see the mountains  Today you could see the layers of mountains that surround the city. That along with the bright blue sky made it a breathtakingly beautiful day.

    Wanting to take advantage of the beautiful day I had to make a trip to Yuan Ming Yuan, which is probably one of my favorite places in the city. As I sat and watched the boats go by I was overwhelmed by thankfulness.  I am beyond thankful that God has allowed me this time in China and chooses to bless in me in ways that I couldn't even imagine. 

    It also made me think more about clarity in my life. I think a lot of time you think things are crystal clear only to find out later that they could have been so much clearer. Living in Beijing I often forget the magnitude of the mountains surrounding the city, just like living my life it is far to easy to forget the magnitude of what God is doing each and every moment. This was a great reminder that even if I don't see things clearly, God does, and as long as I follow him clarity will eventually come.

    and, just because my mom complains I never post pictures of myself...

    Finally, I am linking up to a blog I LOVE, Ni Hao Yall and her awesome Sunday Snapshot posts :) I've only been meaning to start doing this for a year now!

    Sunday Snapshot

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    B is for Badminton!

    I love having a class again this session.  They are a great group and it has been so much fun getting to know them and helping them.  A few days ago we played badminton, which I am not very good at, but they are :)

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Summer's over

    Well, the summer sessions are officially over and the last of the summer facilitators are preparing to return to America.  It has honestly been an amazing summer and I can't let it pass without putting some of the highlights down so I can remember them forever.

    • We had over 1500 students during the two months.  We went into this summer having no idea of how we were going to make this work.  We had to alter our schedule, increase class sizes, use every classroom available to us, the list goes on and on.
    • We originally only had 3 extra facilitators coming for the August session.  We put out what was pretty much a desperate plea for more people to come and thankfully 10 people answered the call with less than 2 weeks notice in most cases.
    • Most notably is one facilitator, Jennifer.  She had to renew her passport, a process that usually takes several weeks.  Then she still had to get her visa and have the money to buy a plan ticket, all in less than 2 weeks.  That is something that just doesn't happen.  Yet, she got her passport 2 days later, her visa the next day, and bought her plane ticket.   You can't tell me that God didn't want her to be here.
    • Amazing friendships that have been a have blessed me beyond measure as I have entered a time of transition and change.
    • Countless students who asked questions, wanted to know more, and showed an amazing interest in learning more about what being a Christian really is.  Students interested in knowing how they could serve others and be a volunteer in their everyday life.  
    • Students asking if there is anyway they could have a Bible.
    • Countless seeds planted, watered, and nourished.  
    • New members added to the family :)
    As you can see, God has worked in HUGE ways these past two months.  It has truly been a blessing to watch everything unfold and look back and see how He answered every single prayer and concern that we had.  This summer was a blessing to everyone who had a part of it and I am thankful for every single one of them.  I am especially thankful that God put me here for this time and allowed me to see His perfect plan unfold.

    August team (wish I had a pic to the July team too!) You guys are all awesome :)

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011