Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vacation Time!

That's right folks...tomorrow I am headed to BEIJING!  I know my last post was kind of depressing, it was a sad day for me.  But things are looking brighter because we have a ten day vacation.  We are headed to Beijing and then Xi'an.   Within the next week, I will have been to and seen:

The Great Wall of China

Tiananmen Square
The Forbidden City
The Silk Market/ Pearl Factory
A Chinese Acrobat Show
The Temple of Heaven
The Terracotta Warriors

And lots more!  I would keep going with the list, but I don't want to make anyone jealous.

I must say.... IT TOOK A LOT OF PLANNING.  I never imagined how much time, and planning it took to figure out a vacation!  We had to purchase train tickets, bus tickets, find accommodations at a hostel, figure out expenses, plan the details of everything we wanted to see, and so forth...

All I can say is that it will be totally worth it!  I am extremely excited, and a tad bit nervous.  Okay.. maybe way nervous.   

Monday, April 25, 2011


It is crazy how fast things can change in the matter of seconds, minutes, and even days.  Before we came to China, we had a training with ILP down in Provo.  At this training we learned about the ILP teaching method, and how we would live once we were in China.  I remember the Director telling us that every single semester, someone in each group is robbed of their personal belongings.  I told myself that this would never happen to me.  I wouldn't let this happen to me.  I have been living in China for almost three months, and so far so good.  No one had anything stolen from them and we all had been safe.  This is no longer the case.  Yesterday, I was robbed. Yeah me!  The girl who promised herself that this wouldn't happen to her.  In a matter of seconds, my wallet had been stolen.  Everything in my purse... gone.  This is how it all happened...
We were all out and about getting ready to buy our train tickets to Beijing.  We went to the train station and we were told that we couldn't buy our train tickets yet and that we had to wait until the next day.  So instead of buying train tickets, we decided that we were going to go shopping on "walking street".  Six of us girls hopped on a bus and we were on our way.  We got to "walking street" and found ourselves shopping in a little mall.  The mall had vendors up and down the sides of the small building.  We had previously found these leather belts there that we all really liked.  I was at the vendor's shop who had these belts for sale.  I found two belts that I really liked, went to buy the belts, reached to grab my wallet from inside my purse and it was gone.  My purse was emptyIt had just been there seconds before.  Someone had unzipped my bag, and had stolen MY wallet.  My stomach dropped and I have never felt anything like what I felt at that moment.  I was completely shocked and frantically started searching everywhere.  I was trying to talk to all of the vendors, wishing that they knew where it may have gone.  However, because of the language barrier, they had no idea what I was trying to tell them.  All of us started searching the mall.  While we were searching, Katie and Sara had met some girls who spoke a little English.  They led us to a security guard who called the police.  The police showed up and we were told to follow an officer to the police station.  By this time my heart was pounding, my hands were trembling and the tears started to form.  Why had this happened to me??  We were led to a neighborhood where the police station was hidden between houses.  Eventually we made it to the police station where we were told to sit on a bench and wait.  The officer who had led us there had left us alone.  After waiting for probably 15 minutes, a teacher walked through the doors of the police station.  We asked him if he could help us and fortunately he was an English teacher.  He talked with the officers and told me to follow him.  I was lead to a desk where I had to give my report to an officer.  The officer spoke very little English.  It took a while for me to give my report and for him to understand what I was saying.  He then had me sign my report and he took my finger prints.  I couldn't believe that I had had my wallet stolen, had to give a report to an officer, and give them MY fingerprints.  The whole ordeal made me feel violated.  I was a complete mess by the time we got back to our apartments.  I knew that I needed to talk to my parents as soon as possible because I needed to cancel my debit card.  I didn't know if my parents would answer because it was 3 AM back home.  I crossed my fingers and prayed that someone would answer.  Alissa, in our group, let me use her Skype credit and I was able to call my family through our computer.  I called our house phone, my mom's phone and Jesse's phone.  They all usually have their phones next to their beds and so I thought it might be my best luck.  Lastly, I decided to call my Dad.  He never sleeps with his phone by the bed and so I didn't think he would answer.  The phone rang a couple of times, and then I heard, "Hello?"  My dad had answered!  I told him to get on Skype and that I really needed to talk to him.  I was really upset and he could tell that something was wrong.  Immediately, both my parents were on Skype and they were there willing to help me.  Right then, my dad called and canceled my card.  By this morning, my dad had called my bank, the school, the DMV and had notified them of what had happened.  My mom called ILP and asked them what needed to be done.  They both made sure that I was taken care of.  I am so grateful for my parents and for their willingness to help me fix this huge mess.  I love them both very much!
So even though, this horrible thing had to happen,  I have come to the conclusion that even though a lot was taken away, I am grateful that they didn't steal the things that were most important to me.  I am safe, my family is safe back at home, my whole group is safe, and I still have my passport!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

Yesterday was a good day. 
I got my package from my family!!
It came at the perfect time and it made me extremely happy!
I am so grateful for my dear mom who got everything together for me! 
Inside my package was:
  • Sandals
  • Girl Scout cookies
  • POP TARTS  (I have been craving these, especially brown cinnamon sugar)
  • Oreo Cakesters
  • Crackers
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Trail Mix
  • Gum
  • And LOTS and LOTS of candy
I think we have enough candy to last us an entire year! 
We also got a package from Katie's mom.
My package + Katie's package = pure happiness. 
We LOVE moms! 

A funny story that happened today: 
Every Friday, Sara, Katie and I teach at a different Kindergarten that is interested in starting the ILP program at their school.
Today, we went to a Kindergarten that was about an hour away from where we live.
We had never been there before and we were excited to see what it was like.
It happened to be a really nice school and the kids were so behaved.  I was impressed!
After we were done teaching, it started pouring rain!
And by rain, I mean lots and lots of rain.
Huge droplets.  We are talking about a couple of inches of water on the street.
Our bus driver, Sparky, picked us up and was going to take us back to our apartment. 
We got stuck in a huge traffic jam, not a single car was moving.
Sparky decided that he wasn't going to sit and wait.
So instead, we ended up driving on the sidewalk.
You heard me correctly... Sparky took  our school bus on the sidewalk!
We ended up driving past every single car that was stuck, for a good 10 or so minutes.    
The best part of it is, no one did a single thing about it.  It was like everything was normal. 
In China there are no rules when it comes to driving. 

AND IN A WEEK FROM TODAY WE ARE HEADED TO BEIJING!!! We bought our train ticket to Beijing yesterday!  Unfortunately, the sleeper seats were all sold out and so we had to buy hard seats.  We will be taking a 21 hour train ride on a seat not a bed.  I guess it is all worth the experience! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Half-way mark

Yesterday was my half-way mark!!!  I can't believe that I am half-way!  Time has flown by, and I am sure that things will even go by even faster now that we only have a couple months left.  Here is a little time line of what is happening with me for the next little bit:

·                         In 1 day, Jared with ILP will be here to visit and make sure that we are teaching correctly, and that everything is going well
·                         In 10 days we are going to Beijing!!!!  and Xian!  (I am extremely excited about this, if you can't tell)
·                         We only have 33 days of teaching left... I am going to miss my little kiddies
·                         On May 9th I will have lived in China for 3 months! 
·                         I return to good ole' Salt Lake City in 67 days!
      I am starting to think that I don't have enough days here in China!  The past week was full of different adventures:

      FIRST, A couple of girls and I were able to see a Buddhist Temple.  There were monks worshiping and it was really neat to see.  They were making some kind of singing noise, that I have never heard before.  I don't even know if it is possible for me to make the noise they were making.   It sounded like a chant.   I tried to take a video of it, but the guards weren't very fond of that.  You think I would have learned the first time, but I didn't.  I had to take a picture of one of the monks!  I don't know if I will ever see a monk in real life again and I didn't want to regret not taking it.  I saw one walking up the steps, and knew that it was a prime opportunity to snatch a photo.  Right as I was taking it, the monk stared right back at me.  I uploaded the picture on this post.  It was extremely beautiful up there and you could tell that it was a special place. 

SECOND, Marine and Gloria took us out to KTV.  KTV is a place where you can sing karaoke and it is a pretty big deal to those that live here in China.  From what we were told, KTV is what a lot of the teenagers do for fun over the weekends.  You rent out a room and you get the whole room to yourselves.  They have a huge tv screen in the middle and you sing to songs.  It was fun because everyone got silly and we all just had a good time.

      THIRD, we were invited to go to an Art Exhibition at the Expo Center where Sharon works.  Sharon is the woman we met and we teach her and her son English.  Sharon is the Vice President at the Expo Center which means that she is a pretty big deal.  She receives a lot of respect from those that she works with and always gets VIP Access.  The Art Exhibition was really neat!  The Chinese paintings are absolutely gorgeous!  Since we were with Sharon, we were allowed to go into the private room.  The private room itself, had paintings that were hundreds of years old.  Along with swords, and very expensive jewelry.  We are talking about 8 karat diamonds here.  After the Art Exhibition, Sharon took us out to lunch.  Sharon always takes us out to nice restaurants and every single time we eat out with her, we are put in a room to ourselves.  We don't eat with anyone else, we eat in a PRIVATE room.  Most of the time, we have no idea what Sharon is ordering off the menu, and it is always a surprise to see what we are about to eat.  Well this time, our PRIVATE server brought out some soup that tasted just like turkey broth.  I was extremely happy and was slurping up every drop of this turkey soup.  We then decided to ask Sharon what it really was and it definitely was not turkey broth. Instead it was turtle broth.  I was fine with the whole situation, until the server brought out the whole turtle out on a platter.  Shell, head, claw, every part of the turtle that you can imagine.  However, I didn't let it bother me that much because I ate some of the turtle and actually enjoyed it.  I never thought that I would hear myself saying that, but it tasted good.  Along with turtle, I tried pigeon!  My mom had told me before I left that fried pigeon was considered a delicacy in South China.  I was surprised that I hadn't had or seen any fried pigeon.  I must have spoke too soon, because I tried fried pigeon.. and unlike turtle, I was not a big fan of it.  After we had been eating for a while, enjoying our food, Bill (Sharon's boss) called her from the room next door.  He asked us to come over and make a toast with him and those he was with.  We went over and I was introduced to some very important people of Zhongshan China.  I met the owner of a museum which holds a famous, ancient ship.  I met the Executive Secretary of the Zhongshan Government.  I met multiple millionaires, including one that had a Gold Digger as a wife.  He was an elderly man I would say, and his wife was a very young gorgeous lady.  I also met Bill's cousin who owned ALL of the paintings that I talked previously about that were in the Private Room at the Art Exhibition. 

Overall, I would say that last week was a pretty good week in China.  And things are only going to get better.  I have a package in the mail from my family!  And I leave for Beijing next week!! I am one happy gal. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Night Lights

My life is complete.. now that Tim Riggins is back in my life.

Tonight the first show of the last season of Friday Night Lights airs!
This is probably my all time favorite show and I was sad because I thought that I wouldn't be able to watch it.
However, the website is going to have the new episodes each week! 
My family all watches this show and we all love it.  I am sad that I won't be able to watch it with them, but at least we can talk about it over skype! ha!
I know, it sounds stupid... but I guess it is understandable coming from someone whose Mom is the top customer at the one and only Blockbustser. 
Us, Walkers love our television shows and movies. 

If you haven't seen Friday Night Lights, I highly recommend watching it. 
It may or may not change your life forever.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have the best roommates that anyone could ask for!  I am so grateful for these girls and for their example to me.  I am so glad that I get the opportunity to experience this upbeat culture with them!  I love you both! 



Monday, April 11, 2011


Our transportation here in China is mainly the bus.  We take the Kaiyin bus everywhere we go.  We have waited multiple times at the bus stop, the bus is usually late.  As we wait, we usually meet people.  They usually come up to us and ask us where we are from, what we are doing here, etc.  Whelp.. the other day, a young Asian girl came up to us and started talking to us.  She spoke English extremely well and was able to understand what we said.  We carried out a conversation with one another  She is 18 years old and is in her last year of High School.   Next year she will be starting University.  She enjoyed talking to us about America and where we were from.  There was a large group of us and we were all standing in a circle talking to this young girl.  I must have been really into the conversation because after about ten minutes of talking, the young girl looked at me and gave me a weird look. 

Then the conversation went like this...
Young Girl: "I feel that you are staring at me."
Me: "Oh sorry, I didn't mean to.. I was just talking.." (As I awkwardly scoot out of the circle, not knowing really what to say or do)
Young Girl: "You just really tall.  I small."

And at that moment, I realized that I am seen as a giant here.  This conversation made me put things in perspective and I had to remind myself that I am almost a head taller than every other person who lives here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Meet Niel

Niel is one of the teachers in our ILP group.  He is a very interesting character and by this I mean that he only wears green, ALL day... EVERY day. 
He only owns green, every piece of clothing that he has in his closet is green.
On a normal day, Niel will wear:
- A green shirt
- A green jacket
- Green pants
- Green socks
- Green shoes
- Green backpack

The only time that he doesn't wear green is when we have church.  He will wear a white button up shirt.  But he will have a green tie on and green pants.
We aren't sure why he decided this.  We tried to ask him, and he just said that green was his favorite color.
We thought it would be pretty funny if one day we all wore our favorite color to see if he noticed anything different.

To make things even more interesting... back at home, his younger brother wears only orange, ALL day... EVERY day. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Squid on a Stick...yummy?

Yup.. you guessed it... I definitely tried squid on a stick a couple nights ago. 
What is squid on a stick you ask??  Just like a corn dog... but with squid instead. 

I'm definitely not going to buy it again.  But now I can say that I tried it... right?

Next time they serve chicken feet at the school cafeteria, I am trying it.  It just has to happen.

Monday, April 4, 2011


This past weekend we were able to spend one night in Shenzhen!  We hopped on a two hour bus, not knowing much of what we were going to do there.  Our only goal, was to find the Shenzhen branch and attend church on Sunday.   When we arrived in Shenzhen a group of us decided that we were going to roam the streets and just find an adventure for the day.  It was so much fun!  We found a frozen yogurt shop called Hello Yogurt.  The owner rushed outside to meet us and gave us a sample.  His name was Ken and he happened to be from New York.  He was so excited to meet us and be able to talk to us about America, and Utah.  It was their opening day and everything was half off!  It tasted just like Red Mango or Spoon Me.  You can probably imagine how happy we were at that moment.  I also bought a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses for an incredible price.  That's right.. only 5 American dollars!  It was such a steal, and I was very proud of my purchase!  When it was time for us to head to our hotel, we had to take a bus to get there.  The bus ride itself was quite the experience.  There were so many people crammed onto that tiny little thing.  People were smooshed up against the door!  You barely had any room to stand, yet even breathe!  We decided that you have to have really good balance while riding the bus or else you will fall completely on your face. 

On Sunday, we got all dressed in our church clothes and headed to the Shenzhen branch.  We had a few directions, and just hoped that they were correct.  We asked a few different people if we were headed the right way and we were!  It was amazing to see how easily we were able to find the location.  The branch was located in a gated off community.  It was the nicest neighborhood that we have been in so far.  There were trees along the roadside and the neighborhood had a special calm feeling to it.  It was really neat because the Shenzhen branch was in one of these houses in the neighborhood.  It doesn't have a separate building, like our church at home.  Immediately as we walked in we were overwhelmed by the spirit and kindness of the ward members.  Everyone came and introduced themselves to us and made sure that we felt welcome.  The spirit was very strong in the room and it was good for me to see the hand of the Lord all the way over in China.  It was also interesting for me to see how many young, white families attended this branch.  Most had moved here for business and had been living here for a couple of years.  It made me wonder to myself if as a mother, I would be willing to pick up my life in America and move to China.  I admire these mothers who have the courage to do this.  I know that it would be a rewarding experience, but also very challenging at times.  I feel extremely blessed that we were able to attend Church and hope to be able to go back. 

For those who are interested, there are two districts in China and 12 Branches. The government does not allow the church to preach the gospel, distribute Books of Mormon or talk to the Chinese people about the church in China at this time, but they have however allowed LDS members of the church from other nations to be able to gather in branches. And we obey the laws of the land wherever we are. From talking to the people in the Shenzhen Branch, most of them seem to be young couples, families, and older couples working over here in China.  Brother Smith, a member of the Shenzhen Presidency, met with us after church and explained that we get to be a part of something miraculous.  We are at the forefront of the gospel here in China and it is a beautiful thing. 

It is amazing for me to see the little ways that the Church is being built in China.  Even though members of the LDS faith can't preach here, thousands of Chinese students attend Universities outside of China where they may have the chance of meeting a missionary and becoming a member.  I think about all of the people who are members of the Church who are working in China, or teaching, or have any close contact with someone living in China.  I know that these righteous people can be examples to those who reside here.  I am making an impact on those I become in contact with.  We make an impact and our examples are being watched, whether we know it or not.  I know that the doors are slowly being opened up and when the time is right for the Lord, the gospel will be opened up here.