Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And so it begins...

All day long I have been hearing the boom of fireworks. As I sit on the couch writing this blog there is another show going on right outside my window. It is fun being up on the 29th floor of our building. Most of the fireworks that people are setting off are right at eye level for us. Its pretty to watch them all now, but I've heard that the fireworks will not stop for the next week. We'll see if I still like them as much when I am trying to sleep. I'm mentally preparing myself now for the next few days when the fireworks will only be more and more constant for Chinese New Year.

A cute picture of CoCo just because:

More Chinese Art

We headed back to the Chinese folk art exhibition before it closed and got a few more things. Our house is finally starting to look lived in. Before we had so many white walls it was kind of overwhelming to start decorating it. I really like the things we found though. The first is a watercolor and the second is something called straw weaving.

We have found so many cool pictures like these lately. My only worry is that by the time we leave China I will be tired of everything Chinese looking and I'll want to decorate with something else entirely...then what will I do with all these paintings and artsy things we're collecting?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meet CoCo

We decided before we went home for Christmas that we wanted to get a dog. The week after we got back to Dalian we headed to the dog market. We looked at all the different puppies and picked CoCo not only because he was cheap, but also because he looked the healthiest. He is a brownish/black mix, and apparently Chinese people want their dogs to be all one color so he was only 500 RMB.

He is 3 months old and super fun to play with. He is a small dog, which is good for our small apartment. We weren't sure what kind of dog he was, but after extensive googling, we think he is a Havanese. He is a super smart dog and learning quickly, he was a little sick the first 2 days we brought him home. Probably because they aren't fed very good food at the market, but he is doing great now. He is super social and loves people. He will follow us around the house all day long.

I decided I wanted to name our puppy CoCo before we ever went shopping. I figured if it was a girl she would be named after Coco Chanel. However, since CoCo is a boy he is named after Conan. I've gotten a lot of crap from people for giving him a girl name, but I also found the name on this list of boy dog names. (Look at number 60) Besides, CoCo is easy for Chinese people to say.

First day at home. He was terrified of the taxi, and a little hesitant when he first came in, but now he runs around and explores everywhere.

Watching TV with Nick
CoCo's first bath at home
Playing tug of war. Mostly I just drag him around the floor while he holds on tight and growls at me, but he loves it
Trying so hard to get up onto the couch to see what we are doing. He has to stretch his whole body out and his head can barely peak over the couch cushion.

CoCo has been so fun to have around while Nick is traveling for work. He is good company. He loves to follow me around the house, or will sit and sleep on my feet while I watch TV. Last weekend while I was sick (the flu or food poisoning, its hard to know which here) he even laid by my side and cuddled me all day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Our new decoration

Our apartment has been pretty plain since we moved in 4 months ago. We love the furniture, but the walls are white and bare. This week at the mall by our house they are having an exhibition of Chinese folk art. In one corner of the mall, a bunch of local artists brought all their stuff and set up tables. We have walked by it a few times, there are so many cool things. Some of the things we can't afford right now, like the carved gourds or the paintings on the inside of bottles, but I still love to go watch them work. We did find something awesome though, that I couldn't pass up.

There was this little old Chinese lady who did paper cutting. She had some really cool stuff. It was all really intricate and I can't imagine how she even begins to do it. She had this dragon cut-out already framed and everything. Only 150RMB. I loved it immediately, and not just because its green. She told me something like this only takes her an hour to finish! It would take me a week.

We found some other cool pictures by a lady that does something called straw weaving. It was a little expensive, but they are there all week and I might be tempted to go back and get it. It was beautiful! Nick also found a market that is supposed to have people selling all kinds of cool things made here in Dalian. We are going to go check it out this weekend.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Quit!

I quit my job last week. I decided on Wednesday that I just couldn't take it anymore. For weeks I hadn't done any of the work that was in my job description, instead I had been filling my days learning random things on wikipedia, and doing other odd jobs they assigned me. Until they asked me to start spending my entire day on google, searching for new companies and email addresses to add to their database so they could send them 1,000,000 spam emails every day. No joke. The company I worked for was ridiculous.

One day at work I discovered an article about companies that offer fake conferences...a scam to get peoples credit card numbers. Well, the company I worked for is real, but all the comments on the article I read were about this company were people who were 110% convinced it was fake because of the poor English and the sheer amount of crap they sent out everyday. People had copy/pasted the whole email they'd received from my company into the comments section and then proceed to make fun of it. I tried a couple of times to tell various people at work that I could help them out and fix their emails, but no one wanted any help. They had done it for years without me and figured they could go on just the same. Here's the article I read if anyone is interested.

I lasted less than a day once they assigned me to this new job. I came home Wednesday night and told Nick I had to quit. Thursday morning I talked to my boss. I was going to give 2 weeks notice, but was informed that they really didn't have any work for me to do, so that could be my last day! That was great news! The longer I worked there the more I realized I was just a face. They wanted to take my picture and make promotional videos, and be able to bring people to meet me when they visited the office. I didn't do any real work after the first week I worked there, even though there were plenty of things they needed help with. Oh well.

I have an interview for a part time teaching position tomorrow. I also have a couple other opportunities to tutor. I think I'll be able to keep myself busy, and make just as much as I did at my job, but with a much more flexible schedule.

It felt so good this morning to sleep in til 7 and not have to face the cold, or an awful commute.

Friday, January 14, 2011

St Thomas Christmas 2010

After our trip to Idaho we got to spend a week in St Thomas with my family. Nick learned quickly that a vacation with my family revolves around FOOD! Every meal we are all planning and talking about what we are going to eat next. We talked it up quite a bit, but I don't think he was disappointed. I got to eat all my personal favorite beach vacation foods including lots of nachos, yummy fish, and fried banana cheesecake with chunky monkey ice cream.

In between meals we also had a lot of fun too. We went scuba diving one day and saw tons of cool things including: some sort of shark, a turtle, a couple different eels, and of course lots of fish. We would both love to get certified if we can ever find the time/are in the US long enough. I don't think my Chinese is ever going to be good enough to take the class here. We took the ferry over to St. John one day where we got to do lots of snorkeling. We spent a day shopping, and driving around St Thomas, and all the rest of our time was spent at random beaches around the island.

Walking down the beach.

Snorkeling in St. Johns

Sapphire Beach I think. We had a few cloudy days, but the sun did come out after we took this picture, and overall we had pretty good weather for our whole trip.

Picture of our room from the beach. It was on the bottom floor, right behind the orange umbrella.

Dinner at Oceana...It was the restaurant recommended by our scuba guide. Delicious.

Thanks Mom and Dad for taking us on such a fun vacation! It was just what we needed to prepare us to come back to the cold in Dalian. We had a great time with everyone.

Nick's new love


Nick enjoyed a pina colada every chance he got. At meals, on the beach, and just about anywhere else. I think he even went through withdrawals our first few days back here in China...or maybe that was from the Diet Coke...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christmas in Idaho

We started out our whirlwind trip home for the holidays in Idaho. We got to enjoy a "white Christmas" while we were there. It was so fun to hang out with family, play in the snow, and eat lots of good food. Unfortunately I didn't get too many pictures. I like to think its because we were having too much fun to remember the camera!

We got to open presents a few days early since Nick and I were leaving for St. Thomas. In the first picture you can see the little trainer chopsticks Nick found one day in Beijing. They were a hit. I think Ava and Kira spent an hour trying to eat goldfish with them. The bottom picture is Kira modeling the dress we got her. I think I'm going to get myself one just like it for Chinese New Year.

Nick got to go with his Dad a few mornings to help a neighbor feed cattle. I went along for the ride and watched. I felt so rugged afterwards! Ha!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back in China

We had a crazy trip home and we loved every minute of it. We counted on our way back and found out that we had been on 14 planes in 3 weeks. Now we are fighting jet lag and getting back on a normal schedule. Nick had to go right back to Beijing the day after we got home, and I had to go in to work. That night we both fell asleep at 6:30 pm and when I woke up at 2am and turned on my computer Nick was also awake in Beijing. We are slowly getting adjusted back to normal sleeping times, it just takes awhile. I have lots of pictures from our trip, I just need to get our house organized and find my camera cord.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year everyone! 2010 was an eventful year for us and we are excited for 2011.

To keep myself accountable I decided to post my New Year's resolution so feel free to ask me how I'm doing.

This year I am going to learn Chinese, or at least study it more diligently! I'm going out to buy a study book today, yes I have lived in China for 3 months and have still not purchased a single thing to help me learn Chinese, but better late than never. I was just starting to be able to pick words I knew out of conversations rather than hearing a jumbled mess when we left, so hopefully I haven't lost that in the past 3 weeks at home.

Also, together Nick and I have made a resolution to be better at budgeting and keeping track of our expenses. Living in China where everything is so cheap we have become a little lazy and have developed a tendency to just buy what we want when we want it. I know that can't last forever so we are going to try to kick the habit now.

My last resolution is to become the best tour guide in China, so to help me out with that we need lots of visitors! Maybe it could be your resolution to see a new part of the world?