Saturday, September 26, 2009

School... not getting any easier. But I suppose if it were easy, everyone would do it-or at least that's what people tell me.
Here's a quick rundown of the classes I have going:
  • Newspaper Production Workshop: This class produces the weekly newspaper, The Journal. Some people write 2-3 articles a week, but because I have 2 8-week classes I've decided to only take on one/week until they are over. I want to be able to devote myself entirely to something and I don't feel like I can do that if I'm stressing over something else. I think this is a wise choice, because while I may not have as much for my portfolio, my articles will be good quality, hopefully.
  • Copy Editing- Woah. This class is tough. It's not so much that the work is hard, but there's so much. There's an unbelievable amount, to where even one of the editors of the paper (who is in my class) stresses about it. We have weekly quizzes, which is good, but not fun. I have a lot more respect for copy-editors now.
  • Layout/Design- This class uses InDesign to create newspaper/ magazine layouts. It's tough, but only because I'm still learning the program. I decided to purchase the program for my laptop so I can work on it a lot more, and not just at school. I really like doing it, and I like the finished product, but it's very time consuming. We also have quite a few quizzes in addition to the layouts.
  • Media Law- This is one of my 8 week classes. It's not so bad. A lot of what we're learning (libel, trademark, privacy, etc.) has been drilled into us since day 1. Of course, we dig a little deeper into the issues and discuss how they affect speech. I really like this class and the teacher is awesome.
  • Investigative Journalism- The teacher of this class is also awesome, very tough- and that's what I like about him. We are working on a project, which I won't tell you about until it's finished. Ten of us have 8 weeks to complete an assigned investigation. The investigation isn't really that cool, but I'm learning a TON! Most recently, I learned a very important lesson that I should have already known. I'm not going to tell you about it though, because it's embarrassing.
  • Introduction to Dreamweaver- This class was the very basics of Dreamweaver, which is used to build websites. It was a 1 credit hour class that I took last weekend. It wasn't too bad, but a little slow. I wish we could have done more. I definitely think it could be an 8 week course, with as much as there is to know.

I'm still working on the weekends. During the week I have class from 1:30-9:30 with just a short break in the evening, enough time to eat dinner. Luckily, I only have class on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Friday and Sunday I work. Wednesday is my day off, but I usually spend it interviewing for my assigned newspaper article.

In 3 more weeks I will have 2 fewer classes, and have completed 7 credits in 8 weeks! Like my sister says, "It's like eating an elephant, you have to do it one bite at a time." I like that.

Friday, September 18, 2009

China Trip 19- Time to move on

I've been blogging about my China trip, trying to get out all of the amazing awesome things we did while we were there. But there's not a whole lot more, so I'll try to sum it up quickly. The rest of school was pretty much the same.

The kids ended up really liking me and I felt bad when I told them goodbye and they kept telling me they would see me tomorrow. Some of them brought me really thoughtful gifts and since their parents weren't there, they just had to make do. One girl gave me fer favorite doll, another a pink (kids) necklace and bracelet set, a fan, little notes, and an ear cleaner. Like I said... they gave me "found" items. Most likely something they wouldn't miss, but very, very sweet.

I brought cookies for my last day and tried to teach them "heads up 7 up" which they didn't even get a little bit, even after we went down to 3.

The night before we left we had dinner with Junior and the 2 girls we met at the coffee shop earlier in our trip. But one of the girl's grandmother was sick so they ended up having to leave. She looked very sad, which was quite a contrast to the perky girls who insisted we go karaoke. Understandably.

We went back to Brittany's room and watched a movie and talked for awhile.
I really liked those guys.

We had an amazingly long bus ride to Shanghai (6 hours!) where a lady threw up on the bus and they laid her in the street and moved on. And i had to use the most disgusting "bathroom" I've ever seen in my life. ew. There weren't even doors. Just girls squatting, some facing each other, some facing opposite. I decided I couldn't do it and went back to the bus. But upon finding out that we still had 3 more hours and it was the only stop we were making, I had to use it. I went back in and used it alone as about 40 Chinese people stared at me like I was... well, I don't even know. But I could tell they thought I was ridiculous.

We went to the Broadway Mansions again, and had trouble with our reservations. They said they didn't get them, but we had a printed out reservation. But they didn't have our room available so they decided to upgrade us. I knew this would be a problem and that they would want the extra money, but that's not how it works. They did, but ended up letting us have it for the price our room was supposed to be.

On our last day in Shanghai it was Barb's birthday. We decided to go all over Shanghai and some places downtown. She wanted to go to the aquarium first, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium.

The aquarium was really awesome. I took pictures like crazy, because G really likes fish and I knew he would appreciate it. I used almost all of my battery taking video. There were 4 stories of fish with a Jetson's style conveyor belt to keep traffic moving along.

We were in the gift shop at the end and I was trying to pay. I had my wallet on the counter and I was getting money, when I felt something. I just reached back and brushed it off though. Probably just a kid rubbing up against me...

I didn't want to turn away from my money to see what was up. But I should have. Someone stole my camera right out of my purse. Security took my name and number (more for my sake than theirs) and said they were sorry. That's it. They didn't want to call the police and Barb thought we would be there all day trying to expalin what happened. We walked around a few hours looking for "suspicious"people and I still think I might have saw them.

Two young Chinese guys were looking at a cell phone. They had a fanny pack (full of stolen things?) and when they saw me looking at them they hurriedly put it back in their pack and walked away really fast. We tried to follow them, but China is big and it's easy to lose a Chinese person when they all have black hair...

We looked for red cameras (there are surprisingly few) incase they had already sold it, and mused that they wouldn't be able to even read anything on it.
I was very sad that I lost my camera. It was new. I had just gotten it for Valentines day this year. And I was sad that I lost all of my pictures. Luckilly, I had just uploaded all of my other pictures the night before, so I just lost the aquarim pictures; there were a lot, but at least I didn't lose them all.

I had to wait 5 hours to call G and cry about it. The hotel was very nice and let me use the internet for free to call via Skype. G was really understanding and said I was lucky I didn't lose my passport, which is true.

I was too sad to do anything else and hung out in my hotel room the rest of the night. I feel bad that I ruined Barb's birthday, but she was okay with watching HBO in English in our room. After G made me feel a lot better and after I talked to him I was able to take Barb out to dinner.

When I got back, within 2 weeks, someone broke into G's car and stole his radio. I'm not bitter at the Chinese, these things happen everywhere.

The flight home I couldn't do much except sleep. I was so worn out and exhausted. And ready to be home. I was so happy to see G. He brought me a COLD soda and Sprees (my favorite) to the airport, which was wierd because I was just saying I wanted some Sprees. I don't know why, but I was amazed that Junior had never had candy... wow.

I was super happy to see Vin and scooped him out of his bed and slept by him. I couldn't sleep much, because of jet lag. It was only 4pm in China!

So. There's the condensed version of the rest of my trip and now I can move on to something else. I hope you guys enjoyed taking a trip to China through my eyes! I will add pictures later. I have a weekend class to go to.

Friday, August 28, 2009

China Trip 18-Italian Dinner!

Today when I arrived at school they told us we were going to go on a field trip. Just like that... no permission slips, or extra supervisors. We just walked to... guess where....

The Zhou Enlai Memorial Museum. They told us that we were going to go in the afternoon, but it might rain, so we were going to go in the morning. If you remember, I had already been there twice, but it was fun to go with the kids. They got to run around by themselves, mostly. And this time there were TONS of pictures. They wanted to take pictures to use for the school website (that even though they told me they would email me the address to, they never did). We were being filmed and everything... luckily... I looked really cute that day :)

We also took class pictures, but unfortunately the person who I asked to take a picture with my camera couldn't figure it out, so I didn't get them. And Tommy said he would send them to me, but didn't... like he would do anything he said he would.

We called Guseppi and made arrangements for dinner.

Guseppi's power went out, so we had to make dinner plans later than we thought, 7:30. He came to the hotel up the road to pick us up...

But finally, we found him. He took us to his business and dropped us off and told us someone would be there to pick us up., he had to run really quick to get two more friends. Ha! This part was a little creepy, and we did think about leaving. But before we could, the lady who was with Guseppi the day before came calling up the drive. It turned out he lived behind his business in a HUGE, beautiful house (with several guard dogs tied to trees).

All the kids were running around all cute, stealing my camera and taking pictures and dragging me around to show me something or another. I fell in love with one little girl and wanted to take her home.

Oh yeah. We found out that all of these cuties were orphans who Guseppi took in for the summer. The girl from the car was his nanny. Guseppi was married (maybe 2 times, or maybe to two different women, I'm not sure). But his wife was killed in a boating accident 6 months ago (or maybe 12).

He got back with 2 Chinese women and we began dinner. It was so, so good. We had some really good white wine called "Franchello." We had an Italian dish that was to die for. We had cheese! Two different kinds of cheese! It was hilarious. They don't eat cheese in China, so it was the Chinese ladies first cheese experience. I was sitting next to one of them, and she almost gagged when she tried the cheese! One kind was really strong, but it was still funny.

It was a really enjoyable night. We talked, and laughed...

The kids ran around and lit cigarettes, made us expressos, kissed Guseppi, served us wine. It was amazing.

Guseppi talked about how important the dinner was that there were so many different cultures together, which I also thought was cool.

Guseppi had adopted one of the children. He was fluent in 4 languages. I almost died when he lit a cigarette and started smoking though.

Anyways, the night went by really fast, and before we knew it, it was midnight.

I said we had to go home, and he agreed to take us.

But before we left, he gave each of the ladies a designer purse from Italy. I got a Prada. Brittany got a Coach. I'm not sure what the other ladies got. But it was an awesome night.

Guseppi said he had a friend in Italy that he got the purses from for cost...but still.
Muy Famoso.

Ugh. No one is looking.
The boys in one of my classes
The girls of the same class
Group shot of those of us who were awake at midnight.
The cute adopted oneHe took my cameraAll the ones with little fingers the kids took, or Barb, she's good at that too.This little girl to my left is the one I wanted to keep. She's 4.

Friday, August 21, 2009

China Trip 17- An Odd Meeting

Sunday, July 19

My birthday was pretty much a normal day, since I had to teach. My kids were very sweet and some of them even gave me gifts. I got a fan, a hangy thing, a necklace and bracelet, and some other small, sweet things from my kids.

During break, Barb and I were walking around (like always) and this car stopped and there was an Italian man inside, and a Chinese woman (who we thought was his wife), and 7 Chinese kids! He asked if we were American teachers. We told him we were, and he said he would like to have us over for dinner. Thinking back, I’m sure this was just one of those things that you offer, but never really think will happen. The guy gave us his business card. He told us he was a business owner in China and that he had moved here about 4 years ago. His business card said something about “Cold Forming Machines” and later we found out that part of what he made was (small) Fararri parts.

We rushed back to the hotel to tell Brittany what had just happened, which I could tell she wasn’t too thrilled about. She really tried, but I think we woke her up. L But, she did agree to go to dinner at his house with us.

At this point, we were so hungry, and an Italian meal almost seemed worth losing our kidney (as our families were worried about). G didn’t want us to go. My mom didn’t want us to go. But I felt like I could be a good judge of a person’s character. For one, his children were so cute and happy looking, jumping around and chattering in the back. For two, he just looked nice and legitimate.
We decided we would give him a call.

School was pretty much going the same as it had been. I was bringing in more pictures and magazines to look at, and I feel like the kids were getting used to me in a way where they knew when they were pushing too much. I’m starting to really like some of the kids and feeling sad that I have to leave them. I was sad about that, but ready to come home all the same.
Oh yeah! On our walk we also found someone to play pool with. They were playing in the street and we just walked up and joined. They seemed amused that we wanted to play, and were happy to let us. Barb swore she was good, but didn't make one ball in. She didn't let me even have the stick once, so I didn't get to try...

Afterwards, I was making fun of her because she said she was good. She insisted that she was good, but she didn't want them to lose face if she beat them. Ahahaha!

Monday, August 17, 2009

China Trip 16- Celebrating my 23rd Birthday in Style!

Since my birthday was on Sunday, and we had to work, we decided to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. For some reason, Brittany didn’t hear her phone when Junior called (several times… oops), so we didn’t catch up with him until later.
We shopped (of course), watched barb dance in the street, went with Brittany to get a camera. Then, we got some “cake” which was almost cake, but not as sweet, or nearly as good as real cake.

After we met up with Junior we went to the club, Club Maya. Heh. There were only like… 8 guys there and immediately many of them swarmed over to us. I let Brittany and Barb finish 1 beer before we left to find somewhere else to go.

A guy followed us and told me he would buy me flowers if there were a flower store nearby. Aw. Barb practically shoved him away and told him he was being inappropriate as she held up my hand to show him I wasn’t available… since my ignoring him wasn’t working. I felt a little bad…
We didn’t really know a whole lot of things to do, so we decided to go to KTV again. We had fun the first time and figured why not? We wanted to find some people to go with us, but there weren’t any good prospects, so we partied alone. The first time we went we only drank tea, but this time we had 2 cases of beer (which Junior and I drank none of), watermelon, other snacks, soda, etc. When it came time to pay it was super expensive… and Junior had left before us, so the three of us were left to pay for it. I was fine with that, but I think the others wished he would have chipped in. I really don’t think it was too expensive either, because the other ladies drank a lot, but for China, and the currency in China, it was super expensive (about 650 RMB or about 100 USD).

When we went to get a rick-shaw back to the hotel, Brittany fell out. It was hilarious and she swore she wasn’t drunk, which made it even funnier. But we made it back to our hotel in one piece and in enough time to get a good night’s sleep before teaching in the morning.

I accientally put all of the pictures at the bottom... you'll just have to deal with it ;)

They're exercising in the street. Some of our groupies at Times Extra when we bought Brittany's cameraSome employees who helped us with the purchaseI like this one...My Birthday cakes!

Me eating my birthday cake. It's HOT outside! Barb enjoying her cakeAnd Brittany...My "night" setting on my camera didn't work too well. This "club" had a stripper pole and a stage, but no band or women. hmm.Junior and his Sprite... talking about something.Junior and Barb dancingBarb with a cute girl we met at KTVMe with the same girlI danced with the guy standing at the door. He just grabbed me and started dancing. He works there, so I'm sure he does that often.

I wish I had some more pictures of myself, but no one else had a camera, or used it... and I'm the only shutterbug of the group.

China Trip 15- City Center

July18- Maybe?
The day before my birthday (it’s negotiable, because these pictures are actually after my birthday pictures… but who’s counting?), Barb, Brittany, and I went to the “city center” to shop. There are more shops there, and generally just more to do. I got some cute socks and some other small things (a coin purse, a wallet, a keychain. I was disappointed, though; because the cool, cheap fan store was closed (they were fixing something). Everywhere else wanted at least 3x as much, which I didn’t want to pay.

We walked around, watched cute little dancers, and ate at Pizza Hut. Before you ask… no, it’s not the same. The pizza is way smaller and they have odd toppings such as salmon, shrimp, various types of fish, squid, different veggies, etc. We settled on a ham and pineapple. We asked for ranch dressing, and even pointed to some on a salad on the menu, but the girl brought us ketchup. We tried explaining again and thought she understood when she walked off… but she returned with… a second plate of ketchup. It was hilarious. We didn’t want the first plate of ketchup, but we wanted the second… They also had other things there; I specifically remember onion rings because even though they were expensive, I ordered some. Mmm!

Aren't they cute?

They weren't shy

Night timeLook at all of those bikes/motorcycles (electric bikes).This is how you know you are in the "city center" (or how I knew at least).It changed colors and patterns every few seconds. At one point it looked like a Christmas ornament.We discussed how painful it would be if Superman acidentally speared himself on that thing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


One thing that I love about my G... is that he can do pretty much anything. Decorating included.

Our room was super hodge-podge. The walls were green. Our curtains were blue and brown (like in the pictures), and our bedspread was purple with flowers (it was a quilt). As you can imagine, it wasn't pretty.

Some redecorating was in order!
What did we do?
  • painted the handles on our dresser to match the room
  • Painted the walls
  • painted the celing
  • got a ceiling fan that matched our room and made it look more sophisticated
  • painted the small table in front of our bed
  • rehung pictures
  • organized my dresser (it's ALWAYS cluttery, it's our catch-all)
  • got a new comforter
  • got new sheets
  • Built floating nightstands
  • got new accent lamps and an alarm clock that matched
All of our (and by our really mean G's) hard work paid off, because our room looks great and I love it!

We got the curtains first, from Lowes and ended up having to decorate everything around them. I found a really pretty comforter at, but when I went to look at it in the store, it competed too much with the curtains. It ended up not matching even a little. I'm glad I didnt' order it online!

So we found this classic stripe comforter in brown on clearence. We also got the sheets from JCP on sale.

Here is the picture on
View from the doorway.Gary built the valance thing to cover our curtain rod. It matches the ceiling and bed.
Here is the table at the end of the bed. Gary put a top on it, and I didn't like it...
Here it is without the top. We got the table for $5 at a yard sale a few years ago. It was white. The "antiqueing" is on purpose. It's G's style.

We already had the throw pillows from other parts of the house. We got them from Garden Ridge. The sheets are called "Ogee Brown" from JCP.

We already had the lamp, but got a new shade to match the room. We got the clock to match from Walmart for $8. G built the floating nightstands. I love that they take up such a little amout of space.

Light blue walls. They look almost white, except next to soething white. We plan on putting pictures in the "window" thing. It will be awesome.

Organized dresser. I made some of the bowls in my ceramics class, my sister made the blue one, his sister made the awesome one, and we had a few just around the house. G made the shelf to display.

G insisted that he hated our fan with seperate bulb cover things. We wanted one that blended into the ceiling, had 5 blades instead of 4, and had a single bowl instead of spererate ones. We got this one from Lowes. It meets all of the requirements and ties the room together.

Painted dresser handles.
I love the collage, the last row needs to be moved to the left a little, and I need a few more pics.

There are still a few small projects that need to be completed, but overall, I love my new room!


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