Monday, May 30, 2011


Today is a special day....


Happy birthday to the best mother out there!

I am so grateful for my mom!  I love the relationship that I have with my mom.  Not only is she my mother, but she is also my best friend.  As I have gotten older, I have realized how much she has done for me.  My mom is always sacrificing herself in order to make sure that I am happy.  She is the most loving and kind person I know!  She is always serving those she comes in contact with and is a very dependable woman.  People know that they can always count on Chrissie Walker.  My mom is a very busy lady, but she always has a smile on her face.  I never ever hear her complain!

In getting ready to come to China, my mom was always there helping me.  She helped me get all of my supplies ready, turn in all of my documents, ran thousands of errands with me, and helped me pack.  My mom also kept our job back at home!  She is extremely busy doing other things, but she is now almost working full time.  I knew that when I left that it would be hard on my mom.  She and I are very close, and we spend a lot of time together.  Plus, she had to be stuck as the only lady in the house!  However, I have loved every moment of being able to skype with my mom!   I love receiving emails from my mom, and being able to get advice from her even though I am living on the opposite side of the world.  I am looking forward to spending time with me mom again!  I can't wait to be able to go to lunch with her, go shopping, watch a movie, and just hang girl time once again.

 She is the best mom that anyone could ask for, and I am glad to call her mine!  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicken's Foot

I did it!
I didn't think it would be appropriate to come home from China and say that I hadn't tried chicken's feet.
and so...
I FINALLY ate a chicken's foot. 
It took some time to convince myself, but after four months.. the goal was accomplished. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crazy Talk

Today is May 25th!
Do you know what that means??
In exactly one month I will be boarding a plane to Salt Lake City, Utah.
That's right... on June 25th, I will be in America.
I have only one month left in China! 
Which definitely doesn't seem like enough time. 
There is a lot that still has to be done, and we only have four weeks to do it all!
  • We have only one vacation left!
  • I still have yet to ride a motor taxi, and eat a chicken's foot...
  • We have to plan a program for 30 students.  Which involves singing, dancing, and MEMORIZING.  And they are performing in front of their parents!  Talk about intimidating. 
  • Go to a movie in a theater, particularly Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Go swimming... which involves wearing a swimming cap
  • Find an attractive Asian man
  • Lastly, have a ping pong tournament! 

Because today is our month mark, we decided to celebrate.  We of course, found ourselves eating at Subway for dinner.  I had a delicious sandwich.  It tasted even better knowing that we have been eating rice every single meal for the past couple of weeks. 

I also received a Chinese name today!  Sara, Katie and I asked Gloria a couple of weeks ago if she would give us one.  She told us that she would need some time and that she would get back to us.  After class today, she grabbed me and told me that she had decided on our names.  The name she gave me was, " Lin zi."  Which means, "Forest beautiful girl." 

It has been a pretty good day. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Kiddies

Wow!  I feel kind of embarrassed.  I haven't even told you about the precious children that I get to teach every single day.  Teaching is the whole reason I am here, and I haven't written a post about them yet.  I would like to tell you about my home room class.  I teach Grade 1, and there are three different classes.  In the morning, I teach each of these three classes but I am in charge of my home room class.  Because of this, I spend the most time with my home room class.  I love every class, but my students are by far the best simply because they have the best teacher. :)
When I first got here, I was afraid of Kevin.  He was really difficult to handle, and he never listened in class.  He was always goofing off and he really liked to do Micheal Jackson dance moves in the middle of my lesson.  I even had a nightmare about Kevin, and I was afraid to be his teacher.  However, as time has gone on, Kevin has become a really good student.  He is extremely funny and he always makes class enjoyable.  He is also a really good artist!  The other day, the kids were making fish out of play dough and instead Kevin made a pig.  The pig had so much detail, and I was amazed that he could make something like that. 


Tiffany is very intelligent!  She can speak English extremely well, and she even has conversations with me.  I am impressed at how well she can speak English.  With the ILP method, students are given tokens if they are speaking the correct English for that activity.  Tiffany always has the most tokens and is very proud of it.

Hal is a sweetheart.  He is very small and tiny, but is full of energy!! He has the best laugh, and loves to tease with me.  His birthday was last week, and he was so happy!  We sang Happy Birthday to him and he had the biggest smile on his face.  We also let him pick a sticker, and it was like he had just won the lottery.  He put the sticker on his hand, and through out class would point to his sticker and say, "Look teacha! look teacha!"

Jenny is very quiet and shy.  At the beginning of the semester, she wouldn't speak very much.  However, now she speaks all the time!  I was so happy that she started to talk more, and be more outgoing in class.  She is an extremely nice girl.  In the morning, when she walks in to class, she always runs up to me and gives me the biggest hugs!

aka Ladies man!  Justin has it going on.  All of the ladies are fond of him!  I think it is really funny because he has even told me that I am beautiful!  He speaks English very well, and he uses it to his advantage.  Justin is always happy!  He has the cutest little grin, and he is always smiling.  Like Jenny, Justin also gives me hugs.  Sometimes he doesn't like to let go, and so I will tickle him until he does.


Lucky was extremely shy when I first came to China.  She hardly spoke English.  In fact, I thought that something was wrong.  We made a new sitting chart, and Lucky changed into a completely different girl.  She now always speaks English and she will even yell the English words.  I am so glad that she became one of the students that now speaks the most.  She is such a cute girl!

LEE Lee is a stud!!  He is always saving his tokens for store, and he never wants to buy anything.  I show him all of the cool toys that he can buy, and he always decides that he wants to save!  He is a smart boy, learning to save at a young age!  For parent day, all of the parents came and watched their children in class.  Lee was so happy to have his mother in class.  He wanted to make sure that she knew he could speak English.  He was showing off a bit, but he spoke so much English that day!

During this semester, Dannis has been a hard one to deal with.  He has a really hard time focusing in class and he doesn't really pay attention.  I didn't really know how to get him involved.  It took some time, but I think that I have finally figured out how to make Dannis want to participate.  He seems to be more engaged in my lessons and I think that he now cares about learning English.
Alice is a really smart girl.  She can speak English very well and she is a very fast learner.  Tiffany is her best friend and they are always with each other.  They hold hands when they walk and they always both have pig tails in the hair.  Alice is also very helpful!! She is always helping my with the other students.  If they can't understand what I am trying to say, Alice will help explain things to them.

Sky is a special one.  He is different than everyone else.  No one has said anything to me, but I am pretty sure that Sky has autism.  I have had to learn to become very patient.  I have to take things at a slower pace with Sky when I am talking to him.  At the beginning of the semester, Sky was in his own little world.  He never spoke, and he just did his own thing.  Sky now will try and participate in class.  He will repeat things that I say, and he has opened up a ton since when I first came.  I am so happy about this and I hope that he continues to grow and learn.

I love these kids so much!  I am so glad that I had the opportunity to teach them!  I hope that I have had some influence in their lives, because I know for a fact that they have influenced mine! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

2 Eventful Days

I recently have had 2 very eventful days. 

DAY 1: On Saturday, a group of us decided to go and visit those living in Guzhen.  There are a group of ILP teachers over there and we wanted to go visit them and see what their city was like.  We hopped on a bus and it took us about an hour or so to get there.  The girls were very nice to us and took us to a place called Washy Washy.  At Washy Washy, we had our hair washed and then our head massaged.  Then, they styled our hair for us.  I have not blow dried my hair for the entire time that I have been in China, and this was the first time that I have had it blow dried.  My stylist did my hair straight and it was crazy for me to see how long my hair has grown since I have been here.  I had no idea that it had grown so long.  It also was weird to see myself with my hair straight.  I was so used to myself with curly and frizzy hair because that is what humidity does to it.  Everyone in our group was in shock when they saw me.  They said that I looked extremely different and that I looked like a completely different person.  Getting my hair done was a lot of fun and it made me want to do my hair so badly!  I can't wait till I get home in America, where I can actually get ready and do my hair again. 

DAY 2: Today, right before we had to go over to teach, it started to POUR!!! and I mean POUR!!!  I have never seen so much rain in my entire life!!  The rain was coming down hard and fast.  I grabbed my umbrella and ran over to the school as quickly as I could.  After we were done teaching, Sara and I grabbed our stuff and started to run towards our apartment.  As we got closer, four very wet girls came out of no where and started to hug us.  The four girls happened to be Katie, Talesha, Shelby and Kendra.  From then on, Sara and I were wet!! I gave up trying to stay dry and decided to just play in the rain.  The rain was a good couple of inches on the road.  There were huge puddles everywhere, and we even could swim in the gutter by our apartment.  A bunch of people were staring and we got a lot of second glances.  I guess people here aren't used to a bunch of American girls playing in the rain.  It supposed to rain every single day until Thursday.  Next time, I will make sure I am not wearing a white shirt.   


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Charlie!

Today is Charlie's birthday!  and it's not just a normal birthday.. today is his GOLDEN birthday.  He is turning 12 years old on May 12th.  This is a big day for Charlie!  He now will be in Young Mens and he will be passing the sacrament this Sunday at church.  I am so proud of him!  Charlie and I have a lot of years between us but we are still very close.  I love spending time with Charlie!  He is one hilarious kid and he always makes me laugh!  Charlie is an extremely great athlete!  Charlie plays soccer, football and basketball.  I love watching Charlie play in his sports games!   I am definitely his number one fan.  Since I have been away, I have been informed that Charlie has matured a bunch.  He is now taller than my mom.  Even though Charlie is getting older, he will always be the baby in the family.  I love you Charlie!!

Happy Birthday in Chinese:

zhu ni sheng ri kaui le
zhu ni sheng ri kaui le
zhu ni sheng ri kaui le
zhu ni cheng ri kaui le

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beijing and Xi'an!‏

I am home!  Well...home in Kaiyin that is.  I recently returned from my long vacation.  It was such a fun trip and we did so much that I don't think a blog post can do it justice...but I will give it a shot!  We packed up our luggage and hopped onto a 21 hour train ride on April 30th.  I definitely was not ready for this train ride.  It was as horrible as I thought it was going to be.  We were all crammed into a tiny space and we didn't have much room.  It was hard for me to cram my 5'9" body into such a small space.  We decided to save money and so we only bought hard seat tickets.  What amazed me was that some people bought standing tickets!! People stand on a train for 21 hours!  They just stand there.  Sometimes they sit in the aisle, and even some people lay on the floor in the aisle.  Definitely not a sanitary decision. 

Our first stop was Beijing.  In Beijing we were able to see:

The Summer Palace

The Temple of Heaven

Tiananmen Square

The Forbidden City

I loved going to and seeing the Forbidden City.  I felt like I was in Mulan.  Forbidden City is HUGE!! I had no idea how big the grounds were.  We spent a good couple of hours wandering through the ancient buildings.  In case you didn't know, the Forbidden City served as the home for the Emperors and their households for almost five hundred years.  It also was the political center of the Chinese government.  It consists of 980 buildings and covers 7,800,000 square feet.  Along with seeing the Forbidden City, we were able to see Mao Zedong's body.  When Mao died, the froze his body and put it in a glass casket.  During certain hours of the day, people can come and see his body.  We weren't allowed to bring anything inside with us, besides our passport.  It was crazy to see the way that people still respect him.  When you first enter, you can buy white roses that are placed by a picture of Mao.  We were there at 9:00 AM and there were already thousands of roses laid out.  Once led inside, you are told that you can not talk and that you must remain quiet.  You then enter the room where Mao's body lays.  His body looked like it was made of wax and his face glowed.

The Olympic Nest

My favorite was probably the Great Wall of China.  It was remarkable to stand on the wall and look out on the horizon.  I couldn't believe that I was actually standing on the GREAT WALL!  I can now say that I have been to and have seen one of the Seven Wonders of the World

To see the Great Wall, we did a tour with our hostel.  We had to take about a two hour bus ride through winding streets until we reached the entrance of the Great Wall.  I thought that you would see the Great Wall along the tops of the mountains miles away, but it wasn't until about a half an hour away that we could see the first images of the wall.  At the entrance, you had the choice of either taking a ski lift to the wall or hiking to it.  We decided to hike.  We didn't think that it would be that bad, but after about 20 steps I thought that I was going to die.  I definitely was not used to the altitude change.  We had to take breaks often...but eventually we made it!  As we drew closer, I decided to start running for the last stretch.  And then suddenly I licked the Great Wall of China... yeah I don't know what happened to me.  It was absolutely beautiful!  I couldn't help but think about how many long hours and work were put into building the wall.  Thousands of people died and were buried there as well.  It is such a historic landmark and now I can say that I have been there. 

Katie, Sara and I at the Great Wall

Another fun aspect of Beijing is the shopping!  In Beijing there is the Pearl Factory and the Silk Market.  Both places have brand named clothing, accessories, basically anything you could think of.  The Silk Market is six floors tall jammed packed of things to buy.  The first floor is ALL shoes and purses, the second and third floors are ALL clothes, the fourth floor is ALL jewelry, the fifth floor is ALL sunglasses and the last floor contains antique chinese items.  We spent a good amount of time shopping!  I have become a professional barterer and got some sweet things for such a good price.  For example, I bought four pairs of toms shoes for only $23 USA.  I also bought a Northface Coat for only $26 USA.  The other items I bought have to be kept a secret!

We left Beijing on May 5th and jumped on another train headed to Xi'an.  This time the train was only 15 hours long.  Even though it was shorter than the first train we took, it didn't help the cause.

In Xi'an, we were able to see:

The Muslim Quarters

...and the Terracotta Warriors.  Which was freaking sweet!  The Terracotta Warriors is a collection of sculptures depicting the armies of the first Emperor of China.  The sculptures date back all the way from 210 BC, and were discovered in 1974 by a local farmer.  There are three different pits that contain the Terracotta Warriors.  The current estimate of the three pits combined is  8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses.  The most interesting thing to me was that the figures all looked different because they each represented an actual human being.  The figures varied in height, roles, clothing, and weapons. 

The Terracotta Warriors
Our vacation was a success!  I had such a great time!  We then had to catch ANOTHER train to come home.  This time the train was 28 hours long.  I spent an entire day sitting on a train and I am not kidding.  I think towards the end we all had gone crazy!  It didn't help that our train happened to be 2 hours late,and because of this we missed our bus home.  Instead, we found a sketchy little van that was willing to cram ten people inside.  The driver had no idea where he was going, and we pulled over multiple times.  Luckily, after a good hour or two, Katie and I recognized where we were and we helped the driver by pointing which way to go.  We eventually made it back to our apartments in Kaiyin! 

Just a side note... I may or may not have eaten a scorpion and donkey meat!  On the other hand, I had wonderful street food including a CREAM PUFF, strawberries on a stick coated in sugar, and a ton of different little pastries.

Only 45 days left!!