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Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I know it has been a while, sorry. Classes are busy and I have started my finals.

I survived Christmas in China! It was really hard, much harder than Thanksgiving. Luckily, I have some amazing people here who helped. Plus, I got to talk to all of my family. It made me miss them much less.

On Friday of Christmas (Christmas Eve Eve), there was a Christmas party for all of the Foreign Experts in Nanjing. The party was thrown by the government and was really nice. It was at a hotel downtown. We had entertainment- little kids of some of the teachers & students from the Arts College. There was a ton of food! The food was an interesting mix. They tried to have both Chinese & foreign food. It was pretty delicious. So I enjoyed it. It was a good night, we hung out with the other teachers from Jinling and two Korean professors from Nanjing University. After the party was over, we both got pandas as a door prize.

My Christmas Eve kind of stunk. My electricity ran out (again, after only 5 days!) I had stayed in Pukou Friday night, so I woke up freezing. I had to go downtown to meet up with Danielle for the weekend. After I showered and was getting ready, I found out there was a student for me to tutor at 2:30. I was running late because of the electricity thing and left the dorm around 12:45. I waited for almost 45 minutes (in the cold) for the bus! It was really busy, tons of students were going home to celebrate. (I don't really understand that. They don't celebrate Christmas, but all of my students talked about being with their family for it. It was confusing.) After I got on the bus, there was really bad traffic. It took another hour to get across the bridge. By then it was 2:30. I finally made it to school & met the student around 3. He is a little older than but hasn't practiced his English much. So I spent the time just figuring out what his level was. By the end of that, I was exhausted & hungry. Thankfully, Sherry took care of me and fed me! DK had more classes, but I was finally done for Christmas.

Since Christmas was a Sunday this year, we didn't have to work. We me Sherry in the morning for a movie. We saw The Flowers of War. It is a new movie about the Nanjing Massacre. It was really good, but violent and bloody and sad. Maybe not the most Christmas-y movie. It was neat to see it in Nanjing, it added to it. One of the actresses (she played Mosquito) is a student at Jinling. After the movie we collected ourselves and went to Sherry's house to celebrate Christmas. Her whole family was there and they are so wonderful. They ordered Pizza Hut so we would feel like we were at home. As always, there was a ton of food. We had pizza, cheesy bread, wings, waffle fries, bacon wrapped tomatoes, meat on a stick, and soup. Plus, Sherry's mom made some Chinese dishes. We had melon & pork, potatoes, radishes, and duck. Plus we had tea & Tsingtao. It was all very delicious. They spoiled us so much!

After our amazing dinner, it was present time. Sherry bought us stockings full of chocolate & candies. We gave Sherry her gifts from home & she loved them. Finally, it was time for Sissi to open presents! Sissi is absolutely adorable, so we were very excited to spoil her! We had her presents sent from home & she loved them. We bought her a coat, a dress, pajamas, markers, silly putty, Old Maid, and candy. She loved the clothes, they were pink- her favorite color! She put on the coat & it fit her great. It is adorable! She was totally intrigued by the silly putty. She loved playing with it!

After presents, DK helped Sissi & Sissi's boyfriend, Ton Ton, make cookie-dough balls. She had done this with her younger students and they loved it. The balls were really easy & they didn't have any eggs, so they were totally safe. It was a big hit!

Once I got home on Christmas, I set up our presents and trees for DK & I to celebrate. We both talked to our parents on Skype & opened our presents. It was nice to still be able to share the holiday with them! We both were quite spoiled & got tons of awesome gifts!

I got to talk to the Lyon family during Lyon Christmas night. I love being able to see my cousins & Grandma! Technology is so impressive. Today I talked to the Buckley side. Again, I love being able to see everyone. It makes the distance so much less!! I am sad to have missed my family celebrations, but it makes for great memories. I can't wait until I can tell my children or grandchildren about when I spent Christmas in China!

There are new pictures up on our photo page! Go check them out!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Tonight was the Christmas party for English Corner. English Corner is the English club & I go sometimes to talk and hang out with the other American teachers.

It was pretty great. The two guys cut down a part of a tree and brought it in for the Christmas Tree. Students decorated it and at the end they wrote their Christmas wishes and put them on the tree. We sang Christmas carols & watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I took a few pictures. I put them on my photo website here. This is the one with the other American teachers (Sam, Xiaodi, Me, DK).

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Mom has been asking for a post about Chinese clothing, and I am finally giving in. The clothing here is hard to describe, but it definitely interesting. Most students dress pretty normal. Their outfits just seem a little odd each time.

A lot of students here dress like "hipsters" in America. However, in China, it is not being done ironically. I believe they actually like the clothes. There is a lot of plaid, on boys & girls, whether it matches or not. Big, thick rimmed, glassless, glasses are really popular too. Most people in China have real glasses (they genetically have poor eyesight as a people). So the ones who don't actually need glasses must have felt left out. To make up for it, they are wearing terrible, huge glasses that were only cool on nerds in the 80s.

The brands here are pretty similar to those at home. The only brand that has really stuck out to me as odd is Teenie Weenie Bear. The clothes are really preppy, polos & such, with a huge teddy bear embellishment. This brand sees themselves like Brooks Brothers. They are quite expensive ($100 for a shirt) and extremely popular. EVERYONE wears it. If I saw this at home, I would assume it was a children's brand. But no, my college students come to class decked out in T.W. Bear all the time. He is on coats, pants, shirts, gloves, everything. There are even knock offs of him available for those who don't want to spend the money on the real deal!

DK said, and is totally right, that you can sum up China's fashion in four words: "fur, glitter, rhinestones, and fringe." There are plenty of pieces that I think are cute, until I see the back or see the bottom. Then there are crazy rhinestone hearts on the heel of the shoe or startling pink glitter fringe on the cuff of the red coat.

In Chinese, red & pink are very similar words. As a result, people think they are basically the same color & wear them together all the time. As anyone who knows me knows, I HATE red & pink together. I think it is totally atrocious. Yet, my eyes are assaulted by this daily.

Also, in China it seems to be "cute" for boyfriends and girlfriends to wear matching outfits. It's a bit odd, kind of like Britney & Justin in 2001. Except, often the outfits outright match, not just coordinate. It's like they are on a team or something… Strange, but it makes it easy to tell who is dating.

One other thing- China is not afraid to mix patterns. They are fully content to wear stripes with bigger stripes under a plaid jacket. Multiple floral patterns are fine together. Mixing red plaid with big green plaid is totally acceptable.

Until I get a better collection of pictures, here are two sites that I think depict Chinese fashion perfectly! and

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Last Week's Update!

It has been a while since I updated, sorry. I did add new pictures from my daily life to my photo site. So hopefully those will keep people entertained a bit.

Nothing too exciting has happened since Thanksgiving. On the Sunday of Thanksgiving, we went to dinner with Sherry & her family. They took us out for Beijing Duck. It was wonderful! Just like a real Thanksgiving, there was way too much food and DK & I both came home stuffed. We didn't even want to think about eating again for about a day! It was delicious and a great substitute for a real Thanksgiving Dinner.

Last week was pretty low key. We stayed downtown all weekend, we have a dorm at Nanjing University now. On Monday I had Kindergarten, like always. Sissi, Sherry's daughter, was there. She is adorable! She is 4 years old & easily my favorite Chinese kid! On Tuesday I stayed home while DK went downtown to meet a friend. I had some really bad nosebleeds (fun, I know) so I just had a lazy sick day. 

Classes went well last week. In our conversation classes we played Jeopardy. The students on Wednesday LOVED it! They thought it was so cool & fun. They are naturally very competitive and enjoyed all of the trivia. Some of it was surprisingly difficult for them, but they were good sports. My Thursday class didn't know many of the answers, but they still had fun. 

Next week, week of the 12th, is the last week of normal conversation classes. Then we have two weeks of finals. That class finishes early because it is not a major-related course. This allows the students to focus on the "important" classes during regular finals.

In Marketing we talked about Social Media last week. It was interesting, especially comparing Chinese & American sites & platforms. That was my last lesson for marketing. Now they have 3 weeks of group presentations. Then we review for a week & then have the final! I can't believe the semester is almost over!

The weekend was normal, DK taught a lot & I had time off. Since my adult class finished, I do not have any classes on the weekend. Next semester I will probably pick up some tutoring. But for now, I enjoy the downtime. I can finally get caught up with grading my students' papers.

The weather is pretty blah here. It has been raining on & off for the last week. It's also gotten a lot colder, about 40-50. Wednesday of last week it even snowed! The snow didn't stick at all, the ground is too warm. But all of the students were really excited. Maybe that is why only half of our conversation students showed up last week!

New photos

I added some new pictures to our photo site! Check them out here- Life in Nanjing & Chinglish!

Real post will follow tomorrow, I pinky-promise!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was my first holiday without my family. Unfortunately, my first holiday was my favorite holiday. Therefore, today has been pretty hard. It has been a great chance for me to think about what I am thankful for. I am thankful for so many things.

I have the most amazing family & friends. First, I want to say that I am extremely thankful for Danielle. She is the best friend & I am so glad I am in China with her. She is one of the only people in the entire world that I could imagine being here with. I'm thankful that she has the same sense of humor as me. We both think the same thoughts (often at the same time) and totally understand each other. I'm thankful for her skills in Chinese. She has been so helpful to me just getting through daily life! Also, I'm thankful that she is here with me, having the same experience, so there is someone who understands how I feel and what I am going through. I am incredibly glad to have DK in my life, especially China, and she is one of the things I am most grateful for!

Also, my family has been wonderful to me this year. They were so supportive as I made the big decision to move to China. Now that I am here, I have been lucky enough to be able to talk to them almost every single day. My parents are always interested in my day and want to hear even the littlest details. I'm thankful my mom will get on Skype just to answer a silly cooking question at 8 in the morning! Additionally, I am thankful that they are always so excited to talk to me and that they often let me Skype with the puppies! I also am able to talk to my other family members on Skype & Facebook. Plus, I know many of them read my blog regularly. It is great to feel so loved while I am far away!

Another thing I am thankful for is my friends at home, especially Big Danielle & Chris. Due to the craziness of their schedules, they are often online while I am up during the day. As a result, I get to talk to them often. They always seem interested in my day and the latest stories from my students. They are always there to listen when I need to vent or complain about China. Big Danielle has been particularly great with keeping me involved in her life, so I don't feel out of the loop. I love when she Skypes me with just a normal fashion question or gossipy tidbit. Chris has also been great, I talk to him almost every day. He was really helpful when Danielle was having computer problems. Aside from his tech skills, he has been great for just listening to me when I need to talk about the little things. I am so thankful for all of my friends and how wonderful they have been!

Within China, I am thankful for so many people. Sherry has been such a great help to us and I could not have made it this far without her. She is our translator, guide, teacher, boss, and friend. Having her around has made our transition to living in China much easier. Plus, she is a great friend & I am so thankful that I have gotten to know her!

I am also thankful for all of my students. Now that we have been together for a few months, we are starting to form a closer connection. They are so wonderful and fun. When I am having a bad day, at least one of my students will do something unexpected that makes me smile. Today one of them gave me 12 Sprites (still not sure why), one gave me a coupon for cake, and all of them told me Happy Thanksgiving! Plus, two of DK's students told me that they loved me yesterday. I'm in a pretty good mood regarding all of my students!

I am also thankful for my computer with Skype & email. Without it, I would feel much more homesick and left out. I love how well connected I am to my family & friends.

There are tons of other little things I am thankful for: my pink coat, my heater, cheese, the good exchange rate, my Kindle, etc. Overall, while this might not be the ideal Thanksgiving, it has been an interesting one. I really have had a chance to think about everything I have that means a lot to me, especially the people.

Next year, I can only imagine how thankful I will be for this experience!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life Update

I have officially started learning Chinese!!! Sherry, my favorite person here, is teaching Danielle & me. I have "class" on Thursday and Saturday. To start, I am learning pinyin, not characters. This week I learned all of the initial sounds that start words. I also learned all of the final sounds. I am pretty excited about learning more. I will finally be able to talk to my kindergarten students about other things!

Today I started meeting with my thesis students. As part of the English department, I am advising 6 seniors on their graduation theses. My students all have business/marketing/retail topics. I am pretty excited to see how they do. I, obviously, have never written a big thesis, so I am a bit nervous. But, I think that my big papers in college are pretty similar. Also, as a native speaker, I can focus mostly on the language.

The only other big thing that has happened lately is the midterm. I graded them and handed them back today. The highest score, without the curve, was a 94% and the lowest was a 39%! I gave them a 6% curve (I was feeling generous). The average, with the curve was an 82%. Overall, I think it was pretty good. Some of them complained and said it was too hard. But, I expected that. The students who actually come to class and participate each week did well.

Last week I forgot to mention that I got 2 packages in the mail! It was a great week! I got one from Aunt Linda & one from my parents! They both sent me candy & magazines & goodies. Aunt Linda even made me cookies and mailed them in a Tupperware! They were fresh and delicious when they got here. No more excuses for not sending homemade cookies! ;) I ate the last cookie this morning. I tried to share, but it was hard. I think DK only ended up getting 3, I loved them too much! I gave out some of the candy to my students. I gave candy to the two students with the best grades on the midterm. I figured they really deserved it! I also was super excited to have American magazines to read. I can see what all the trendy fashions are. Clothing here is crazy, so it will be nice to see something more like what I am used to!

All in all, life is becoming very routine here. I love China and am really enjoying my time. Life is just finally settling down, and sometimes I even forget I am in a foreign country! There are a lot of times that I feel like this is where I belong. I feel like I am part of this new place. That never lasts too long, I still get plenty of stares just for being white & can't understand 99.9% of what people are saying.

Today, 11-11, in China is "Singles Day." It is basically the opposite of Valentine's Day. People celebrate being single & spend time with their friends. It's a pretty cool holiday. Apparently, it originated at Nanjing University in 1993. So it is a local tradition! This year, there are a lot of people getting married on Singles Day. There were 3000 registered weddings in Nanjing today!

I locked myself out of my room today, so I went downtown and spent the evening with DK. She has a key to my room and when we got back she was able to let me in! Thank God we thought ahead and swapped our spare keys. I didn't plan to go downtown, but it was nice. I bought a sandwich at our favorite western cafe. Then I sat in on DK's lesson with the middle school kids.

I should head to bed. Daylight Saving Time has messed up my schedule, even though China doesn't change. It's harder to talk to people at night now, for me. Luckily, I have been able to stay very well connected with Skype & email!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Forgot something

OO, I forgot one of the best things from the week! On Sunday we went to lunch with Sherry. She took us to one of the famous Beijing Duck restaurants in Nanjing. It was soooooo good! I loved it! You take the duck, add some onions & cucumber shreds, put on sauce, and wrap it up in a little pancake. It's kind of like American Moo-Shoo. I ate so much! We also had duck broth soup. It was really good too. I think duck tastes a lot like turkey. So the soup was basically like chicken broth, just a bit saltier. I took a picture of the duck layout. Now you can imagine how delicious it was!


It has, again, been too long since I posted. Sorry!

Today was midterm day for my marketing students. It was the first time I have given a test, felt pretty powerful! I had a big lecture hall, it was kind of intense. Only two students were missing. One student, Sleeping Beauty, was apparently sleeping instead of taking the test. I am truly not surprised at all. He sleeps during class every week. Overall, the kids finished quickly, most were done within an hour. I started to grade the multiple choice, sadly they didn't do so well. But I will see how the rest of them did. Maybe the ones who took longer will do better.

Other than the midterm, my week had been quite low key. I had kindergarten on Monday and we learned the parts of the body. Then we did a craft project. Glue might be a bit over their heads... It was fun though, and they told me they loved me! Definitely made my day! I'm glad they put me in a good mood. When I got on the bus to go home, there was a crazy traffic jam. It took me over 2 hours to go 10 km!! So, 3 hours after leaving, I was finally home. Then, after I finally got home on Monday, Danielle made me spaghetti! It was quite the adventure. First, we found out that our hotplates are induction hotplates. So the cheap pot we bought at Walmart won't work! Next, while making the sauce, we learned that our tomatoes were not actually tomatoes! They were persimmons! Quite different, but they look exactly the same! Danielle ended up making a delicious sauce with the tomato paste, onions, and mushrooms. In the end, the meal was great! It was a nice, home cooked, "American" meal!

tricky persimmon!

Tuesday was a great day off. DK has been feeling a little sick, so we just hung around the apartments. I got some work done grading papers for my writing classes. Now I only have one set of papers to grade and hand back next week and then I will be all caught up!

Wednesday, after classes, we had English Corner, the English club. I stayed in Danielle's last class, so I got there late. But the other teachers had brought in pumpkins for the students to carve! It was really cool, they seemed to love it!

After English Corner, we went to dinner with the two other American English teachers. They are Sam & Xiaodi. Sam is about our age, from up east, and has been here for 3 years. Xiaodi was born in China, but grew up in Florida. He has also been here for 3 years. They are both basically bilingual. Xiaodi's Chinese is obviously better than Sam's, but they both speak perfect English. Xiaodi is a bit older than us, he's almost 30. This is the last year in China for both of them. They were both psychology majors in college. Xiaodi has his masters in psych too, I think. When he leaves at the end of the year, he is going to get a masters in English. When Sam leaves he wants to work in green-tech. They are both pretty interesting and make us laugh a lot. It's nice to have other Americans just a few doors down.

Yesterday was the day with both of my writing classes. I had them do peer editing, so hopefully that will help the papers be a bit more polished before I see them. Their thought processes are great, they just have some problems with getting the thoughts into English sentences. But, I can already see some improvement. Luckily, they are quick learners.

That's really all I can think of right now. Hopefully my weekend will be good. I plan to try and go shopping on Sunday. Now that it is getting old, I want to buy some boots! I just hope I can find some that are my size & aren't too crazy!!

Friday, October 28, 2011


For only teaching 20 hours a week, I am super busy. Sorry!! I did upload some pictures to our picture website.

Today DK made me delicious soup for dinner! It was the first experiment with our new crock-pot and it turned out great! We did chicken & mushroom & noodles. It wasn't anything too "home-y" but it was nice to have food not from a restaurant. There are a few pictures on the photo site. They don't do justice to it, though!

My week has been pretty routine. I think kindergarten went well on Monday. We did shapes, so it was finally something new. They seemed to do very well with them. But I will see how they do when we review next week. On Tuesday, we went to a dinner for foreign teachers at Nanjing University. It was just a casual get together. Wednesday was English Corner. I enjoy hanging out with the students there. They are all very excited to speak English and talk to an American. So, it was quite fun. Thursday was my long day, as usual. All of my classes went well, it was just exhausting not being back in the room for almost 12 hours. On the plus side, we went to lunch with Sherry and her friend. I tried new foods, not sure what the names were for everything. I had some sort of pork knuckle(?) that was kind of greasy and chewy. It was alright though. We also had egg custard, pureed peas, turmeric chicken (delicious!), beef & noodle hot & sour soup (very good), purple sweet potatoes, rice covered pork rib, fish soup, lotus root with sticky rice, and rice (of course). I loved the turmeric chicken the most, but I also really enjoyed the rib & the purple potatoes. The lotus root was really interesting, it was sweet, but crisp, with sticky rice in the holes. I liked it, but it wasn't something I could eat a lot of, too sweet.

My Friday night has been quite low-key, just doing laundry and prepping for class tomorrow. In the spirit of St. Louis & the Cardinals, we are going to talk about baseball tomorrow. I have a clip of the winning homerun that I want to show them. We are going to go over the rules of baseball and I want to try and explain it to them. I figure it is a good way to feel more connected to home & hopefully get the guys more involved.

Time for bed, tomorrow morning will come too early! I hope the game tonight goes well!! GO CARDS!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I promise to write a longer post in a little bit. But, I just bought 2 coats and I am really excited about them. So, I wanted to show off some pictures! I got them for 700 RMB (about $110)!! One is a bit nicer, for if I need to be dressy or professional. That one is also thicker, so it will be nice when it gets super cold! The other one is SOO cute & pink. The color on the photos is a bit off. It is actually a perfect Barbie pink! I think the coats will do a great job of keeping me warm this winter. Plus, I will be so stylish! ;)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Recap

It's Sunday night, so I figured I should update my blog! I had a pretty good week. It seemed like it lasted forever! I guess that's what happens after having a week off.

On Monday in kindergarten, we talked about clothes. I brought in some of my clothing to show them. We learned "coat" & "pants" & "shirt" & "shoes" & "slippers" & "scarf." They colored and some of them got to play dress up with my clothes. It was fun, they are always adorable!

We finished watching Groundhog Day in my A/V English class. Then we talked about the news. This week they will present 5-7 minute segments of the news. I think it will be really neat to see what they do. I assigned segments but they get to choose the topic. The focus has to be on the US. Otherwise, I told them to be creative. I'm excited to see how they turn out.

In Marketing we are working on branding. The class is 2 hours, so for the first hour I lecture on info from the book. I try and have something more fun and practical to do for the second hour of class. On Saturday last week (when we made up for National Day) we played brand bingo during the second half of class. They really enjoyed the game. This week we talked about the branding process. They came up with a brand and a logo. Some of the students were very creative and had great ideas. Others, the boys, were typical boys about it. But it was still entertaining. For the second hour, we talked about idioms. The idioms lesson was good, it should help them with sounding more fluent.

On Thursday I also had my writing classes. Last week we did descriptive writing. This week we worked on persuasive writing. In class we brainstormed on a topic that I had them write about for homework. The prompt was "Students in the USA should learn Chinese in elementary school." (In China they start learning English in 3rd grade.) I was surprised by the different reasons they came up with, both for and against learning Chinese. A lot of them thought that it was good so people can learn more about China's history and culture. Also, they said it would help for doing business internationally. The students that thought it was a bad idea said that either Chinese was too hard or that students wouldn't ever use Chinese in their real lives. I'm excited to read their papers and see what else they came up with.

My conversation class, Kouyu, focused on maps and directions this week. We watchedI showed them Google Earth which they really enjoyed. Then we talked about how maps are different in China vs. the US. One big difference is the way we say directions. In Chinese, you would say "east south" instead of "southeast." Also, we talked about how to give good directions using landmarks, time, distance, turns, etc. DK & I had bought maps a few weeks ago and we used those this week. We handed them out to the students and had them give us directions from one place to another. Then they did dialogues of helping a lost tourist. It went pretty well.

I was really pleased with my reading class this week. We are still working on Joyluck Club and it has been taking a while. We were finally able to have a discussion this week. Usually it takes most of class just summarizing what they have read. Our discussion was about fate and superstitions. It was a slow start, but I think this could be a good beginning. For the rest of class I had them work with their project groups. Their project for the book is to act out a scene from the book. They can either do it live as a skit for class or tape it. I also told them that they need to write a script. I'm excited to see what they come up with. I think it will be a good chance for them to be creative.

My adult class went well this weekend. They will all be taking a test later on their oral English. So we were preparing for possible questions. We talked about how to describe pictures, a frequent question on tests. I showed them pictures from my trips to London and Paris. Then I showed a picture of Grandpa Lyon and Margaret at a lake. They loved the picture! They said it was like a picture from Roman Holiday.  After the pictures, we talked about idioms. I told them about English idioms and then had them tell me about some Chinese idioms. I love learning about their expressions and language!

After classes on Saturday, Danielle and I went out with some friends from our school. They are members of English Corner, the English club. We went to a pub near Nanjing University in Gulou. It was really fun, they are great people. Their English is phenomenal so it is easy to talk and have normal conversations with them.

Today has been really low key. We came back from downtown and have been working on class stuff for this week. 

Hopefully I will update again soon, I will try not to wait so long between posts!

One of my students asked me to write a little article for the Foreign Language Newspaper at the school. She asked me to write about a place in China that was interesting for me. I wrote about Summer Palace in Beijing. I hope they like it. I'm not sure when the paper comes out, but I will be sure to get a copy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

National Day Break

Yikes, it has been a while since I wrote anything. Sorry!

So, it is National Day right now. This is basically like Fourth of July, but the Chinese don't really have any traditions for it. Everyone just gets a week off of work and spends time with family. A lot of students went home for the week. So life in Pukou is pretty low key.

Bad news first, my cell phone was stolen on Sunday. Danielle and I were walking near Nanjing University and someone took it from the front pocket of my book bag. They also took my baby orange! There is a span of about 20 minutes when it happened, but these thieves work fast. Luckily, my students are awesome and I am all set again. I went to the store with one student and he helped me buy a new phone. I got a LG Android. It's pretty nice and it was about the same cost as my deductible on my old phone. Then, today, I went to the cell phone store and got a new SIM card. I was able to get my same number back. So that is great. I still lost all of the numbers on my old phone. But, luckily, DK has a lot of them. The others are mostly students so I can get them back easily. I'm pretty upset they stole my phone. I really liked that phone. And it had some great pictures on it that I hadn't uploaded to my computer yet. Oh well, I guess I have learned my lesson.

Considering that getting my phone stolen is the biggest tragedy of the trip so far, we are doing pretty well.

Yesterday, Tuesday, DK and I went to Purple Mountain. It was REALLY busy because of National Day, so we didn't stay for too long. But we climbed all 392 steps to the top where Sun Yat Sen's mausoleum is. The line was really long, so we decided to come back a different day. Now that we know how to get there, it is not a big deal to go. And, it was free to see on Tuesday, so we didn't waste any money.

Most of our break has been spent just relaxing. We are working on lesson plans so that we can be ahead of the game for the week. We have our Thursday classes on Saturday this week & our Friday classes on Sunday. So, we will be busy. Plus, Danielle has her Friday & Saturday classes on Thursday & Friday.

I am excited that I have started having my freshmen writing classes. I didn't have them the first two weeks of school because of military training. I really like the students in the two freshmen classes. I am the first foreign teacher some of them have ever had. They were all really excited to do introductions and get to know me and the other students. Because they are just out of high school, their English is very good. I have been quite pleased with how well they can speak.

This week in writing we are going to talk about the writing process and plagiarism. Plagiarism is not a big deal in China, so it is something totally new to them. But, as an American, it is something I don't put up with. It will be interesting to see how the lesson goes.

In my Marketing class we are going to play Brand Bingo this weekend. I have them make a Bingo sheet and then write down different brand names. Then I will show a logo on the projector and they get to cross off that brand. I thought it would be a fun game to help them get back into the school routine. And, it will be neat to see which brands they can recognize. I mixed between Chinese brands & international ones.

My reading class is still working on The Joy Luck Club. We watched a movie on Friday, it was the day before break and no one wanted to focus. So, I hope they are prepared to discuss on Sunday.

The weather in Nanjing is finally getting cooler. My A/C has been off for the last few weeks and I have had my windows open. It is nice outside, even a tad chilly at night. My back has not handled the changing weather very well. But I made a heating bag out of rice and that is helping.

I will probably write more tonight after dinner. I want to tell you all about my students. I have had some very interesting experiences with them. But now, I need to do some real work!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I am officially a Nanjing resident! I am so happy that everything is finished and it worked out well! It is such a weight off my shoulders to know that we are now official residents!

It is finally my weekend! My week was pretty good. My marketing classes went well, they seem to be understanding everything well. I am quite impressed, I doubt I could understand marketing in a second language. My two conversation classes went well this week. They were interesting. I loved my AV English class on Wednesday. The only difficult class was Reading on Friday. The class is ridiculously chaotic. We met as 1 big class two times and they don't seem to understand that now we are back to being two separate classes. Once we finally got that settled, we started to discuss the book. We are reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I think the book might be too advanced for the students, it was really difficult to make any progress in discussion. Hopefully next week goes better.

My adult class today was interesting. We did tongue twisters to work on pronunciation. Then we talked about manners some. My students all work for the same company and are preparing to take an oral exam for the Jiangsu province. I do think we are making some progress!

I have kindergarten again on Monday. I am really excited to see the kids again! My first class in kindergarten went well this week. We sang and danced and did our ABCs. I feel much more confident about that class and am excited to see them grow!

This week in most of my classes we talked about manners & etiquette. It was really interesting to hear what the Chinese students thought about American customs. They enjoyed learning about how we greet each other and our table manners. After we talked about American manners, I had them tell me about manners in China. I learned a lot of interesting things I did not know before.

Some of the things I learned:
Do not give the following as gifts: clocks, pears, shoes, bells
Don't borrow money on the first day of the Chinese New Year
Don't say thank you to friends or hug friends often
Don't say sorry in public
Don't ever stand your chopsticks up in your rice
Refuse any gifts 3 times, then take and thank them, DO NOT open in front of the giver
When "cheers"-ing with someone who is superior to you, clink your glass below theirs, say "gan bei" and drink all that is in your glass
Chinese say "have you eaten?" as a form of Hello, not as an invitation for lunch/dinner/etc
Don't name a baby after an older relative
Don't pat a baby on the head

I learned a lot more, but I don't have all of my notes with me. It was really interesting. A few things I had done or seen done and never understood why. Now it makes more sense!

Last time, Laura asked about pancakes. Since I eat a pancake for dinner almost every night, I should explain. In China, a pancake is not like an American pancake. It is more like an omelet or a crepe. It is made on a griddle, with an eggy batter. Then they add and egg an whatever you want. I usually get cilantro, green onions, peanuts, spice, and some tan stuff (not sure what it is). Then they put a sauce on it and fold it up. You can have them put hot dogs, fried egg, other meat, or anything you want on it. I love pancakes! They are pretty simple, but they are delicious!

Danielle and I are downtown in Gulou tonight. So we are going to out! I can't wait!

I hope everyone has a good Saturday at home!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One month in

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. Real life is much busier than I expected! I am really enjoying everything I have been doing. We are almost done with getting our Resident Permit and being real residents of Nanjing! When we had to turn in our paperwork on Friday (the last day) we stood in line for 3 hours! It was ridiculous! But, now it is almost over. We will have to celebrate once we get our permits!

I can't believe I have been in China for a month. It feels like I just got here, yet it also is starting to feel like my new hometown. We have gotten to know the area and have our regular places. We go to the Muslim place for lunch usually. Or sometimes we go to "Cold Noodle Lady" for lunch on hot days. For dinner we go to "Pancake Couple" several times a week. Pancake Couple is so nice, Pancake wife knows what we want in our pancakes and is really excited every time we come by.

We got paid this week. So we did a little shopping on Sunday while we were downtown! I am going to buy a router, then I will finally have wireless internet in my room! Then I'll be able to play Words With Friends again!! Next time we go shopping, I think I will buy a vacuum! Oddly, I am super excited about it!

This will be my first week with all real classes. We won't be doing introductions or getting to know you games this time. So I will see how everything really goes. I think we will be discussing etiquette & manners in classes this week. It will be exciting to see how they react to American and Western etiquette rules. After I tell them about how to behave in the west, I will have them talk to me about Chinese etiquette. It will be interesting.

Now I need to work on my lessons for the week. Hopefully I will be better about posting now that I am getting into the swing of things here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What a crazy week!

Wow, this week has been eventful! I started classes this week and am still settling into Nanjing. We opened bank accounts this week. I was really worried that it would be stressful, everyone says banks in China are the worst. But, it was actually really easy. We were taken to the VIP area (only time that will ever happen in a bank) and it was quite simple. Now we can get paid! I can't wait! We have also been dealing with getting our Resident Permits for Nanjing. The Health Certificate has been difficult, but will hopefully be done soon. I am really getting settled into my apartment. I am totally unpacked (this is amazingly fast for me) and have started to decorate. I'm also getting used to doing all of my wash by hand. It's kind of a pain, but I will get used to it.

I had 4 of my 6 classes this week. My two writing classes start the last week of September because they are for freshmen. The freshmen just moved in this weekend and then have two weeks of military training. I have one class of Spanish majors and all the rest are English majors. They speak English very well, I'm impressed. I had 80% girls in my classes, just a few boys. Everyone has been very friendly and nice. My students are really great with helping me understand everything. One of them helped me at the post office. I was so glad she was walking by at the right time!

All of my classes are 2 hours, once a week. They are kind of long, but I think that I will be able to fill the time. My easiest class will probably be A/V English with Spanish majors. I have about 40 students right now, but was only supposed to have 19. The course is mostly conversation and some movies, skits, etc. I think it will be a lot of fun! I'm also really excited for the Marketing classes. They are each about 50 students. During the first day, I asked the students what they wanted to learn. So I have a ton of ideas about what to teach and fun ways to get them involved. It is the first time this class is being taught in English, so I hope it goes well. My other class this week was Reading. The class is huge, 90 students, but I have a co-teacher. It was a bit chaotic on the first day, but I think that it will get better once we get into a rhythm. Luckily, a lot of my Marketing students are also in the Reading class. So I will have fewer names to remember and a better chance to get to know them.

Aside from classes and Nanjing assimilation, the week has been pretty boring. We went to Fuzi Miao (Confucius Temple) and did some shopping. You can read about the history of the temple here. We didn't go inside the temple. We just shopped at the little stalls and enjoyed the view of the lake. We made some friends there. There was a group of students who came over and wanted to take pictures with us. They were really sweet and made us feel like celebrities.

Back home, my Aunt Lisa had her baby this week. It's a girl! Her name is Mia Elizabeth and I can't wait to meet her. I'm sad I won't see her for almost a year, but I will hopefully get tons of pictures!

I'm excited for my four day weekend. I definitely could get used to this!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Nanjing Life

We have been so busy now that we are settled into life in Nanjing! I am really loving my new city and am enjoying getting to know all about it!

Last time when DK was here, she made friends with Sherry, one of her supervisors. Sherry is the one who picked us up at the train station this year and has been such a great help. She, and everyone we have met, has been wonderful to us. I am completely in awe of how far the Chinese will go for someone they barely know. Everyone has been so nice and inviting to us.

I got my class schedule this week. I have 6 classes, 4 different subjects. I am teaching Audio-Visual Oral English to Spanish Majors, Reading on Western Culture, Writing, and Marketing for English Majors. I will be working 12 hours a week across 3 days. I am really excited for my schedule, I still get a good weekend but will be busy enough that I shouldn't get bored.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with the English department, so I will learn more about my classes then. I have a co-teacher for the reading class. I met him on Tuesday. He has been here for 3 years and is really nice. He is from China, but grew up in Florida, so he speaks Chinese and his English is terrific. I think he will make the class more fun and easier for all of us.

This week, we have had a lot of time to explore Nanjing. I have ridden buses, taxis, and subways. Yes, the subways are just as crowded as on the internet videos. It is quite an experience. We also walk a lot. Luckily, this is good exercise to work off all of the great food I am eating. It feels like I have not had a single moment of hunger since we arrived. Between street food, little restaurants, and Sherry, we are very well fed. My favorite foods are baozi, pancakes, and hot pot. I definitely won't have to worry about starving while I am here.

In addition to all of the great food, we have gone shopping a lot. One of the best places we have been is Fashion Lady. It is an underground mall with hundreds of stores. Everything is really cheap and there is some super cute clothing. I bought an umbrella there and we all got our nails done. Gel nails were only 40 RMB. That is less than $7! Also, today I bought a wallet at Sanfu. Sanfu is a lot like Forever 21, but with more accessories and random add-ons. It was really neat and I am so glad to finally have a wallet.

Yesterday we met all of Sherry's family. We met both of her parents, her husband, and her daughter. Her family is wonderful! They fed us dinner last night and lunch today. It was so delicious. DK and I were both stuffed by the end of the meal. Sherry's daughter is named Sissi and she is 4 years old. She is absolutely adorable! She is learning English and sometimes she will say words to us in English. Her name means princess and she is definitely living up to it. We absolutely adore her!

After lunch with Sherry today, we went and got massages. They were so great. $10 for 45 minutes! I feel so much better after the massage. I definitely could get used to this! After massages, we went to Hunan Road and walked around. There were so many restaurants and food stands. It smelled amazing. We shopped a little bit and then got dinner. We had hot pot for dinner with Sherry. Hot pot is when you have a pot of soup and you add in any veggies/meat that you want. It all boils and mixes and then you eat it. Mine was delicious!

After dinner, we said goodbye to Sherry's family and headed home. Today was pretty exhausting. I am ready for a shower and then to pass out. I need to make sure I am rested for tomorrow's meeting!

Hopefully everyone has a good weekend! I miss you all very much!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Great Wall

Great Wall pictures are up!


Finally here!

from Monday (8/29)
We made it! We have arrived in Nanjing! I am so glad to finally be in my new home. We are all settled into our apartments and are getting acquainted with our surroundings. The university has taken great care of us. They sent another teacher to help take us to our apartments and to show us around campus. Her name is Jesse and she has been amazing. She knows so much about Nanjing and Jinling and has helped us immensely. She took us to get our cellphones set up and to get internet. Also, Danielle's friend from last time, Sherry, has helped us our tremendously. She picked us up at the train station and got us set up in a hotel for our first night. Then she showed us around the downtown campus, Gulou.

Our apartments are so nice! We are both surprised and impressed. I will post pictures of everything very soon! We live in the foreign teacher's building on the second floor. We are next door to each other, of course! Our apartments have an inclosed balcony where we can hang our clothing to dry and can just sit and enjoy campus. We have a small kitchenette in each of our apartments. It has a fridge, microwave, hot plate, and water boiler. We don't intend to do much cooking, so it should be fine for us. The main area of our apartments is very big. I have a wardrobe, china cabinet, bed, tv, and 2 desks. We do have cable on our tv, but obviously most of the channels are in Chinese. So, we intend to mostly use the tv for movies. We each have our own bathroom. They are basic, the two highlights are the shower doors (very rare) and a light that heats up the room in the winter.

We live on the Pukou campus of Nanjing University. It is across the river from the main campus, but it is newer and very nice. Our campus is huge and well equipped. We have 3 or 4 convenience stores on campus plus a school supply store and a grocery store. We also have a few ATMs and a little area with a phone store, electronics, books, hair salon, fruit shop, stationary, etc. Not much is open yet, but once it is we won't have to leave campus too often. Right outside the main gates of campus is a little area with even more stores and tons of little restaurants. We ate at one of the restaurants with Jesse on the first day. There are also street vendors where we got pancakes for dinner Monday night. I definitely think we will be ok. There is also a larger grocery store there and a Super 8 Hotel.

The Pukou area is about an hour away from the downtown campus by bus. It is more recently developed but is still rather industrialized. We will probably spend our nights out in Gulou. Today we are going over to Gulou to look around and try to find internet. The internet for our apartments won't be installed until Wednesday morning. So we don't have access yet. However, there are a lot of places in downtown Gulou that have free wi-fi so we will be ok until then.

Classes start on September 5, so we have a few days to just get acclimated and figure everything out. I'm so glad to finally relax, we have been going nonstop since we got here.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Almost finished with TEFL!

We finally have our train tickets to Nanjing! We leave tomorrow, Sunday, at 6pm and arrive in Nanjing at 10:30pm. It only takes 4.5 hours to go over 1000 km!! I can't wait to see how it is being on the train. More important, I am so ready to be in Nanjing. Our hostel has been excellent, but I want to unpack and just settle in!

Today, Danielle and I both presented our lessons for our TEFL class. Mine was on sports idioms in business and hers was on holidays. They both went well, and most importantly, both are over! All we have left is our test tomorrow morning. Luckily, I think it will be ok. Can't wait for it to be finished!!

Jiangsu, the province where Nanjing is located, is similar in size to Ethiopia! Can't believe how big my new home will be!

Time to repack everything so we can leave tomorrow! I promise I will take pictures of our hostel so you can see where I lived for 10 days! Hopefully internet in Nanjing will be better and I will be able to upload some of the pictures I have taken.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

TEFL Course

I started classes yesterday. This is not my actual English class at the university. Right now it is my training class required by China. We started our TEFL course yesterday. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. A few weeks before we left for China, we were told that we needed to take a course about teaching. I thought it was going to be a big waste of time. I'm happy to say, I was quite wrong! Our instructor, Chuck, is a former university professor from the States. He has been in China for 14 years. He used to work in Nanjing & knows people over there! There are 6 other students from the class who are going to various universities in Nanjing. I'm so glad that there are some other people there that we already know.

We have been learning a lot about all the differences between teaching western students vs. Chinese students. Chuck has given us several great ideas for lessons and activities with our classes. He has made me excited to start teaching. I definitely feel more prepared than I did even two days ago.

We learned IPA today. IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet. The whole time, DK and I kept thinking about Big Danielle. All the years of her silly words are starting to pay off! ;)

This class is 8 hours a day, so I am surprisingly exhausted. I'm glad we did our touring before we started class. I wouldn't have any energy left otherwise. As it is, I'm pretty worn out. I walked 4 miles today just going to and from the subway station! But, the exercise is good for us and it beats a 30 RMB taxi ride.

Bed time now! Yes, we are calling it a night early.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Palace

Today we went to the Summer Palace. It is so huge! It makes the Forbidden City look small. If you don't know what the Summer Palace is, check out Wikipedia. It is really impressive and just gorgeous! We took tons of pictures and climbed up a lot of hills & steps. Not a good day for a skirt & flip flops... There are signs all over the rocks that say "no climbing" but people were doing it anyway. That definitely wouldn't fly in America. We walked to the very top of Longevity Hill and got some beautiful views of the lake and Beijing. After that, we took a boat ride across the lake to the other side and then ate lunch. We had dumplings at a little restaurant inside the palace. They were ok, but not as good as baozi or my pancake this morning.

Summer Palace is huge, so we were exhausted from all of the walking. We decided it was time to the hostel. We tried to take a taxi but they were being jerks & didn't want to turn on the meter. So, we had to walk to the subway station. By the time we got onto the first of our 3 subways our feet were killing!! We finally got back to the hostel and rested for a bit. Then we had to walk to the bank. Finally, we are back. We plan to stay here most of the night, except we will need dinner.

So, one weird/exciting thing in China is that we are basically celebrities. All of the Chinese people stare at us constantly. They like to take our picture and usually try and act sly about it. The brave ones will come up and ask us to pose with them. This happened like 6 times today at the Summer Palace. It is pretty entertaining. I assume that after a while it will get annoying, but it still is funny now.

Our class starts tomorrow. We have to wake up super early because we need to be at the class by 8 and it is an hour away by bus. That means it will probably be a early night for us. We sound super lame, but I swear we aren't. We are just doing so much during the day that we don't have much energy to do stuff at night.

Nap time! Have a great Monday, America!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 3

So, today we went to the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. I really enjoyed the Forbidden City. It is absolutely massive. Like beyond all belief, huge. I can not imagine what it would be like for that to be your house. Thank God they had people to carry them around!!

I took a ton of pictures there. When we first got there, some Chinese lady asked to take her picture with me. Being an American is a novelty to them. We went to the Hall of Clocks & Watches and I took like 60 pictures there alone! They had the most amazing pieces. There were clocks that were at least 12 feet tall! I will put up the pictures soon. My internet is a little wonky, so I can't load pictures very well. Sorry!

We made friends in the Forbidden City & some lady tried to grab Danielle. It was interesting just from the people aspect. One of my favorite things to do here is look at all of the crazy clothing. I am blown away by what they think is appropriate to wear. I think that I am going to work on posting pictures of the crazy clothes. That way everyone else can see what craziness I am experiencing.

I got fainty at the Forbidden City because I slept through dinner the night before. We had baozi for breakfast, but they were small. However, they were delicious!! So, after we finished in the museum we came back to the hostel. We grabbed some lunch (dumplings) and lounged for a bit. We did a lot of walking at the Forbidden CIty.

Once we were rested, we headed out to the Temple of Heaven. We somehow completely missed the East Entrance directly to our right and ended up walking all the way around to the North Entrance. So, that kind of made it start out poorly. After that, we bought tickets & I bought water all by myself!! I was really proud of that. We walked through and it was pretty big. It wasn't as awesome as some people said. But it was still cool. Not as good as the Great Wall or Forbidden City.

After the Temple of Heaven we went to the Pearl Market. It's basically a huge flea market. There are 5 stories with all sorts of stuff. The first floor is watches, gadgets, and scarves. You can buy an "iPod" there! The second floor was purses and clothing. Danielle & I both bought purses. Hers is a Hermes knock off & mine is a Jimmy Choo knock off. We got pretty good deals on them, we are proud!

We came home and chilled and then went to dinner. The hostel had free barbecue tonight. It was pretty good, just a lot of food on a stick. But it filled me up, surprisingly.

I think tomorrow we are going the Summer Palace. So that will be exciting. Danielle said it is beautiful!

Friday, August 19, 2011


So, the Great Wall was really impressive. We went to the wall on a tour with our hostel. We had a Chinese tour guide who spoke really good english. She took us to the Mutianyu section of the wall. It is the newest section, from the Ming dynasty. We took a chair lift (so scary, held on super tight, but I made it!) up the mountain to get to the wall. We walked from Tower 6 to Tower 11. It was so cool seeing the towers where the guards used to live. We took tons of pictures of the wall and all of the stairs. Sadly, none of the pictures do it justice. All of the stairs were at different heights and were just a little bit slippery. After we were done on the wall we took a toboggan down the mountain! It was pretty cool, definitely better than walking.

After the wall, we went and had lunch with our tour group. Our restaurant was named "Mr. Yang's" and was pretty good. We had 11 dishes and ate family style.

Then we got back on the bus and had our 100 minute trip back to Beijing. Our driver was crazy! He kept weaving in and out of traffic, passing on the shoulder and in oncoming traffic, using his horn constantly, and getting so close to other cars. But, we survived. It was definitely a fun trip. We met other people on the tour: 2 girls from England, boy from Holland, boy from England, girl from Canada, girl from Japan, mother & daughter from Madrid.

After the Great Wall we came back to the hostel. We intended to nap for an hour and then go to the night market. That didn't work out as planned, we just woke up at 4 am. Guess we were more tired than expected.

That's all for now. I'm going to try and go back to sleep for a little bit. Then we are off to the Forbidden City & Temple of Heaven. We are going to eat baotzi (steamed buns with meat inside) for breakfast & I am super excited!!

Here is our picture site for the year: I haven't added Great Wall pictures yet, my computer is about to die. But I will soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


So, just a really quick post, but we made it!! We got in yesterday around 6 China time. We went to sleep pretty early. Now we are up to get ready and see the Great Wall. I will write a real post later today when we get back. I just wanted to let everyone know that we survived the flight and are all checked in to the hostel!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yeah, so, freak out time!

5 days, that's all I have left in the states. I guess this marks the start of my inevitable freak out. I'm so excited, but I'm still very scared. I am leaving everything that I know. I'm leaving every person I have ever known (except Danielle) and going to a foreign country where they do not speak English and I don't speak their language. I won't be home for a year. My connection to the internet is still only hopeful. I should have access, but I don't know to what or when. Bottom line: I'm scared!

I am more than excited about this experience. It will be so worth it, I'm sure. But, I know that it is going to be completely outside my comfort zone and totally different than anything I have ever done before. I am so grateful that I have the freedom to take advantage of this opportunity. I know it will completely change my life.

Despite all the good stuff, it still terrifies me. I am half-way done packing. I have one suitcase full and the other is partly finished. I just need to cram it with shoes and random clothing and goodies.

Tonight was my last "happy hour" with the bf & his work friends. Yeah, I have only been with him for 6 months, but it is still so incredibly hard. It's sad to say goodbye to his friends. We left dinner & there were definitely some tears. I can't imagine what it will be like to say goodbye to him on Wednesday. I need to make the most of the few days that we have left. They will help me get through the tough days in China.

Right now, I just need to vent about my fears and get it all out. The next few days will be a roller coaster. I know that in the morning I will be extremely excited again. And at my family goodbye party, it will again be tough. I am going to miss the birth of my 15th cousin. I will miss cousins starting school, grandparents settling into their new home, aunts & uncles visiting, and so much more. But, the best part about family is that I know they will be there when I get back. I can't wait to come home and tell them all about my adventure.

This post might seem like a downer, but it is how I am feeling. Mom told me I need to post more, so I am. At the least, now you know how I am feeling! I just can't wait to write about all of the exciting and new things in China!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

15 days!

Holy cow, two weeks from tomorrow, I will be on the plane to China. We got our Visas back in the mail today. I guess this means we are official!!

I can't believe how real this is getting! I am working on organizing everything so packing is easier next week. Luckily, I think I have bought almost everything that I will need. Now I am just trying to make lists of what specific items I want to bring.

Soon, I will send out an email link for anyone who is interested in following my journey in China. You can have updates sent to your email inbox by entering your email address in the box on the right. As I upload photos to my Picasa album, they will be shown on the bar up top.

That's all for now. I'm trying to spend as much of my remaining time in states with my family & friends. Tonight it's family time with Mom & Dad.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


So, I'm going to China! I will be using this blog to keep everyone up to date on my adventure once I get to Nanjing. Until then, I thought it would be nice to detail my preparations. If no one reads this, that's ok. Nonetheless, this will be a good thing for me to have when I'm old and want to remember what all of this was like.

I have started a list of things I need to buy before I go. It's mostly electronics. I should be able to find most items I will need in China. I am going to be in Nanjing and there is a large expatriate community there. I am going to finally go over to the dark side and buy a Mac! I'm going to wait on that purchase in hopes of taking advantage of the graduation/back to school bundles they do. I also need a new camera. I want to be able to capture pictures of all the amazing people/sites/food/etc that I encounter. I also need luggage. I need two big suitcases that I will cram to 49.9 lbs each!

Packing is going to be another delima entirely. I can only bring a carry-on, backpack, and two 50 lb suitcases. How do I fit everything I need for an entire year into that little amount of space?! I plan to mail over my textbooks for my classes. But, mail is expensive, so I don't want to have to send much. I know I can buy a lot in China, but I have been told I probably won't fit into their pants or shoes. I could fill an entire suitcase with just shoes!!

As if packing and prepping just to live in China isn't enough, I also have to plan two entire courses. I am going to be teaching an introductory class on management and an intro class on marketing. My students are in the English program and are interested in international business. This is good because they will be relatively conversational in English. Considering I know about three words in Mandarin, this will be very helpful. Also, the courses are very introductory because these are not business students, just students interested in business.

I intend for my classes to be heavily based on conversation and interaction. I want to cover all the basics, but I mostly want to help them develop confidence speaking English in a business context. I am having a hard time planning the curriculum because I have not yet chosen a book. The textbook company hasn't gotten back to me about getting review copies, so I don't totally know what I will be covering.

So, that is all I have for tonight. I do want to actually keep up with my blog this time. Considering it is about China I have a better chance than when it was just about my daily life here.

Word of the Day: sheng yi (shung e)
this means business, so I thought it was quite apt