Monday, August 29, 2011

Coach K in the BJ

Duke came to play a friendly with the Chinese olympic team! While it wasn't very friendly in most parts, it was fun to watch. Went with some friends and it was awesome. Yao Ming gets an award from Coach K.
Doc Rivers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His kid plays for Duke. I happen to be a celtics fan.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Bookworm

The Bookworm is quickly becoming one of our favorite places to hang out. We discovered it our first week here in Beijing, but haven't been back much since we both have our Kindles we haven't needed to buy/borrow books there. But lately, they have been having some really cool events.

This week we went to two of them. The first was a classic movie on the roof. It was Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Neither of us had seen it before, but we both really enjoyed it. The weather was perfect and we ordered sandwiches and Diet Coke from the bar to snack on while we watched the movie.

The second event we went to this week was a Beatles cover band concert. These guys play all over Beijing and we had heard good things about them. The only bad part was they started over an hour late, but we had dinner on the roof (where they showed the movie a few nights before) and visited with friends while we waited for them to start playing.

The concert was great. They sounded really good. Nick is a big Beatles fan and even he was impressed. They played 2 sets and even had a costume change in the middle. They started with the earlier Beatles songs and then switched to Sergeant Pepper costumes and played more of their later songs. We had a great time.

Sorry for the poor picture quality. We didn't have our camera so we had to use Nick's phone.

My day as a "Rent a White Person"

When I first moved to China my brother Dan, sent me this article from CNN. I just laughed about it and got my first job as a proofreader. A year later I had my first opportunity to be "rented."

Nick called me last Wednesday and said an English school he had been working with wanted to know if I could attend their graduation ceremony on Friday. I had no plans, and the pay was decent so I agreed to go. All I can say is I wish I had my camera with me that day.

I got to the university where they were holding the ceremony about 8:30am. I was one of 4 foreign teachers. There was one other American, a guy from India and another from Pakistan. We were given corsages and led to the front of the room. The ceremony started at 9 so we had a few minutes to observe the kids. They had all participated in a big English contest the past few days and this was the final event.

This was a very big deal for these kids parents. They have all spent tens of thousands of dollars on their children's English training so they want to see some results. The kids were all done up in some of the craziest get-ups I have ever seen. I will try to describe them, but I don't think I'll be able to do some of them justice...

First of all I have never seen little boys wearing eyeliner and lipstick before, but there were at least 5 0r 6 there with it on. The girls were in all kinds of glittery, big, puffy dresses. I saw a boy in tight black spandex pants and a red top...looked like Michael Jackson. I think the closest thing I have ever seen to the way the kids were dressed up is the show Toddlers and Tiaras.

So the event started and there were a lot of speeches in Chinese. Then the awards started. Each of the foreign "teachers" had to take turns presenting the awards to the kids. We put flower necklaces around their necks and handed them plaques and then smiled for pictures.

After about 2 hours of awards we had to gather for a big group picture. Then the madness started. All the parents wanted pictures of their kids with me. No idea why when I hadn't really been their teacher, but I just smiled and posed. Some of the kids have been studying English for years, and I watched their parents forcing them to ask me to take a picture. Some of them couldn't get the words out at all. That must be so frustrating.

The event ended with interviews. The company had hired a guy to film the whole thing, and at the end he wanted to know how we felt watching the kids. So we all pretended we were really proud and that their English was really good.

Overall it was a pretty good morning. I had fun people watching, and I got paid for it. I can't wait for my next "Rent a White Person" opportunity!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Trashman

This week I went out shopping with a big group of friends from church. Our first stop was referred to as "the Trashman." Apparently this guy has been collecting random things he found while going through recycling and now he has a store to sell it. The prices are great, but you have to be willing to sift through a lot of junk to find the treasures!

You can see in this picture just a small section of his store that we sifted through. I have socks in my hand because we were warned by people that had been here before that we would not want to touch anything... they were right! Things are just piled on top of each other throughout the whole store. A lot of it is covered in years of grime. I did find a few really cool things. I ended up only buying one of them, but I love it.

I bought the big yellow vase in the picture. It caught my eye from across the room full of junk. When I made my way over to it I saw that it had a lot of fun details on it that you can only see close up. I tried to take a picture, but its kind of hard to see. There are different pictures of mountains and Chinese scenes all over the vase.

I brought it home and scrubbed it up really well and now I'm trying to decide where I want to put it. For now its on the floor since its heavy enough CoCo can't knock it over. The gourds you can see in the picture of the vase were free. The "trashman" gave them to me after I bought the vase. He also gave me a random incense holder that was absolutely gross. Pretty much everyone that made a purchase had some random thing he knew he would never be able to sell foisted on them.

After the trashman we stopped at a really cool lamp boutique. The guy uses cool Chinese things to make lamps. I only took one picture there, but I'm in the process of convincing Nick we need this birdcage lamp. Everything in this store was so well made and fun. Sorry the picture is sideways, I tried 3 times to turn it, but it didn't want to cooperate today so I gave up.

The last stop of the day was a furniture store. It was a huge compound. There were so many cool things, but I don't really have any more space in our apartment. They do make custom furniture though and I saved the card so we can go back someday.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm a little behind...

This week I cooked with quinoa for the first time. It was delicious! I made a Mango Black Bean Salad. Nick and I both loved it. So now I'm looking for more recipes with quinoa.

Do you have any to share with me?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beard Envy

A few weeks ago Nick took CoCo in for a haircut. He was looking pretty shaggy and all that hair was definitely too hot for summertime in Beijing. Last time we got CoCo groomed they shaved all his hair off except around his ears. I did not want that to happen again (he looked like a funny poodle for awhile) so I told Nick to make sure they cut the hair around his ears.

Well when Nick brought him back from his haircut this was the result. They had definitely cut the hair around his ears, but Nick had them leave him a little beard! I laughed so hard! CoCo has a cute little white patch of hair there and Nick loves beards so he thought our dog should have one. Maybe make him a little more masculine?

So many people do double takes when they see CoCo on the street. I see them all pointing at his beard everytime I take him out for a walk. He is definitely enjoying having shorter hair though... it has been a hot muggy summer in Beijing!

A few days after CoCo's haircut Nick decided he needed a beard too. He tells me its to make him look older, because he is tired of Chinese people telling him how young he is in every meeting he goes to. I know the real reason though. He was just jealous of CoCo!

Billy Ray Scooter

That's my scooter's name. Billy Ray Scooter. I was tired of the walk to work. So i got me a hog. An electric hog.

This baby goes 60km on 1 charge with a normal sized person on it. So i get about 30km. When dana and i are both riding it, we get about 15km on a charge.

But we really enjoy it! I can ride all over Beijing. I drove all the way down to Tian'anmen the other day. We go out to dinner and just cruise around. It's great.

Tops out at about 45km/h. No license required.

I'll film my drive to work and post the video soon.

When i took the picture, i told Coco, one day, this will be yours.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Artist Friend, Lili

Nick works with a girl named Lili. She is an artist. She does a lot of designs on the computer. He really likes her pictures, so he asked her a few months ago to make something for our house. It was all a surprise for me. At first he thought she would do something simple, but she turned it into a big project and did these oil paintings:

They are so fun. I was so excited when she brought them over. My favorite is the one of CoCo. He was so confused when we first put them up. He thought it was another dog in his house and barked at it for awhile.


I haven't written on our blog in awhile, we have just been enjoying summer. Beijing is hot and humid and the air quality is crap, but we've managed to have some fun. We finally got to see the last Harry Potter movie here in Beijing. They delayed the release a few weeks to cut down on the number of illegal copies on the street. It was still available before it came to theaters, but we held out and waited to see it in the theater. Other than that, we have been eating a lot of ice cream and trying to find things to do indoors.

Last week we went shopping. We heard about a market that was closing to remodel, so all the vendors were trying to get rid of things at great prices. We didn't really need anything before we left, but once inside we found several things we had to have, including this:

Nick as wanted a toy helicopter for awhile now, and this one was cheap. He has had a great time flying it around the apartment and scaring CoCo with it. CoCo is starting to get braver, but he still eyes the helicopter warily whenever he hears it. At first he would not get within 10 feet of it, now he will get a little closer and bark at it.

We got a few other little things:
  • a cute little tea set
  • a new LeSportsac bag
  • a new "Prada" wallet for me
  • Crocs for Nick (He was excited to find shoes that actually fit him here)
  • Passport holders
  • A big scroll with a cool picture on it. I want to get this one framed eventually.