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 :)