Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shopping Requests


I can't believe it's already April. I am super excited for Dan's wedding next week. I will probably go shopping one last time before I come home. So if anyone wants anything let me know now. I'm getting to be a professional at the markets here.

Nick doesn't like when I go to the Silk Market. I don't need anything when I go in, but I come out with lots of things. I am starting to really like the bargaining and I get such a good deal sometimes I feel like I have to buy things.

I have to go back to the Silk Market this week. I told a Korean girl in my ward here that I would take her there and help her out. She hasn't quite gotten the bargaining down yet. It will be much better for me if I go there with a list of things to buy for someone else. I won't have as much time to wander around buying things I don't need.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

1st Haircut

I didn't get a "before" picture of CoCo before Nick took him to get his haircut. He was starting to look pretty shaggy though. His hair was at least 2 inches long and super thick. I was at a church activity when Nick picked CoCo up from the groomer and I couldn't believe it when I walked in the door. He looks like a completely different puppy. I was expecting him to still have a little hair, maybe half an inch, but it is all gone! I laughed for a minute just because it was so unexpected, but I'm starting to get used to it. He is so skinny, but we couldn't tell under all his fur. I think CoCo likes his new look though.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Great Wall

Nick had a busy week at work, but he got to take a break this weekend and we went out to the Great Wall with Dave. He is an accountant for Nick's company and it was his first trip to China so we got to take him to do a little sightseeing. We hired a car from a list of good drivers I had gotten from someone at church. He showed up at nine Saturday morning in this sweet old white van. The drive out to the wall was about an hour and a half from our place.

Nick and Dave with the driver and his van. This is on the street in front of our apartment complex.

We rode a chair lift up to the Great Wall. We were glad we did too. We wouldn't have had the energy to climb on the Great Wall if we had to make the hike up to it as well.

Coming down the mountain was a little more exciting than going up. We got to ride in toboggans.

That is one long wall!
Nick climbing on the part of the wall that was re-done.

They had these guard stations all along the wall. Here the part of the wall that had been re-done ended. We walked into that building on the newer part of the Great Wall. The older part of the wall branched off to the side. I jumped out one of those windows to get to the older part of the Great Wall. The part that hadn't been fixed up. (I only did it after watching about 10 other people do it first) The real Wall was crumbling more, and had trees growing up the middle.

There was a little path cut through all the trees. We only walked up it for about 10 minutes, but there were people going much farther than us. It would be a fun hike someday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

6 months!

We have been in China for 6 months now. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. I feel like we just moved to Dalian yesterday, but in those 6 months we have:

Spent 3 weeks in the US for Christmas
Visited Dandong
Fed the sea lions at our aquarium at least 15 times
Moved to Beijing
I had 4 different jobs at different times
Nick went on about 2,354 business trips
and we managed to see some things in Dalian and make a few friends.

I'm excited for the next 6 months here in Beijing, although I might change my mind after I experience a hot and HUMID summer. Last weekend Nick and I spent the morning in the silk market and had a good time bargaining. I haven't been that excited to shop in a long time (probably not since I was home last). I found a couple cute new pairs of shoes, a tablecloth, and some other silk bags that I'm excited about.

I need to work on my bargaining face/skills. Nick's face is so good, but its hard to describe unless you've seen it. He basically looks at the little old Chinese ladies like they are completely crazy. It's pretty funny. I'll try to get a picture sometime. I don't know if he would dare let me alone in the market right now. I start to feel so bad for the little old ladies that I agree to outrageous prices. I know its bad for foreigners who come to shop after me, since they then think they can get those prices again. It's something I'm just going to have to practice. I guess that means there's a lot of shopping in my future!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Getting Settled

We have been in Beijing for a week now and it has been crazy. We have had so many little things pop up that need to get taken care of right away to make us comfortable here. I feel like we have been running around non-stop. Things are finally starting to slow down now though. Thank goodness! Our internet connection here has been a little slow, but hopefully it will speed up now that some big meeting that was going on is over. I will try to post pictures soon, for now I'm just thankful I can check my email.

I have a job interview today. It's for a Chinese company that teaches SAT prep classes. I had to take a practice test to prove I know whats on the SAT and am capable of teaching others about it. It was a little crazy to use that part of my brain again. Hopefully I did okay or I can say bye bye to this job.

Nick is busy with work. His office is close to our apartment so he can just walk over in the mornings. It's weird not having him around all day. I still called him today to have him order my lunch for me. Slowly I'll learn my way around Beijing and be more independent. It took me a little longer in Dalian to find all the good import stores and restaurants I like. I have already found a few here in Beijing. I like to tell myself its because I'm really good at China, but its probably due to the fact that there are more expats here in Beijing so they are catered to more.

Our first Sunday was good. We like the branch here. It's a big, diverse group and we think it will be a lot of fun. There's a good mix of American, Taiwanese and Korean people so there was lots of translating going on. I might even get a chance to practice my Spanish here! There is one family that speaks Spanish in the branch and hardly any English so the meetings are translated for them. One guy has been doing it, but I heard he could use some help. That would be fun, and good practice for me.

That's all for now. We love Beijing!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Friends and Family:

We are in Beijing!

Dana will post pictures!

No tsunami in Beijing.

We have a bed with memory foam. King size. First new bed of my life.

Founds limes. And diet coke.

We have found some good food around here including Chinese tacos. And lamb kabobs.

We had Cold Stone last night with some friends. Cake to the batter!

Found a great market right by our house. Sells great cheese!

Everything is great.

Come visit.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

I've found the perfect job!

I was online tonight looking at classifieds for jobs in Beijing and came across this one...

I told Nick I was going to apply. Since they don't say that you actually have to sing well, I fit all the criteria! I'm seriously thinking about emailing them just to see if I have a chance. I think it could be hilarious. This could be my big break.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pictures of our new apartment

I just took these really quick while we were in the apartment with the realtor the other day. A few things will be changed before we move in (they're buying us a new couch, taking out some of the extra furniture, etc). The apartment is 186 square meters, 4 bedrooms, and 2 baths. It is a little older, but it was a really good price, and since it is so bare we can decorate how we like. We are also really excited that the clubhouse fees are included in rent so we will have access to the tennis courts, pool, and gym for free!

We move in next Monday and will have a lot of work to do to make it comfortable and homey. I welcome all decorating advice, since I'm not as creative as I'd like to be. These are all out of order, but I'll post better pictures after we are moved in and it looks cuter.

After walking in the front door. That couch will be replaced by Monday. The door on the right is the entrance to the kitchen. The door Nick is walking through is to the sunroom/screened in patio. That will be CoCo's new home.

The front door and table. The table will also be replaced with something bigger and nicer before we move in.

The kitchen. I still won't have an oven, but it is so much bigger than the one here in Dalian. I am trying to get motivated to cook more often. That will be hard to do in Beijing with so many yummy restaurants so close, and so cheap. I'm going to try though.



1st bathroom. They will be putting a toilet in the corner there. It was a Chinese "squatter" before. I'm sure glad they are fixing that!

2nd bathroom.
Bedroom 1. I think we are going to move the desk and put another small bed in here.

Bedroom 2. We are taking the queen bed out of the master bedroom and putting it here for a guest bedroom.

Master Bedroom. We bought a bed at Ikea to replace this one and are super excited to not be sleeping on a rock hard Chinese mattress for the first time in months!

Bedroom 3. We are going to take the bed out of here and put the ancient TV from the front room here once we replace it. This room will have a desk and maybe a few comfortable chairs. We're still deciding exactly what to do with it.

We will have lots of space for visitors! Anyone is welcome to come out for a trip. There are so many things to see in Beijing close to our house. Plus, there are so many more flights into Beijing than to Dalian! Hope this convinced at least a few of you to come out. I'll post after pictures once we are settled. I was also serious when I asked for decorating advice. Help!