Friday, August 28, 2009

So Much to Blog About, So Little Time...

Things have been busy here the past few months, and blog worthy subjects have been adding up. So...I thought I'd take a few minutes and catch up a few from the past week.

Yesterday was my birthday, but rather than celebrate it I got to be at work from 7:00 AM to 9:30 was our Back to School Open House Night. That's okay though, because I love social events and actually enjoy meeting my students' parents. (I know, I know, what a nerd am I!) My students were very sweet all day and I got many birthday wishes and even some flowers from a parent!

From August

And my wonderful, absolutely amazing husband surprised me with a brand new digital camera! It is so awesome! I love love love it. Thank you Darling!

From August

My chinese learning has slowed down since I haven't had lessons in so long, but I was still able to have a whole conversation with our helper on Wednesday. I had been wanting to ask her to buy, wash, and cut up some fruit for us to eat at school. Since we have to really wash our fruit well and always work, we almost never have time to prepare fruit to eat even though we really like it. Well, she asked me what kinds of fruit we liked, and I listed the ones that I know the names of in Chinese. I'm not sure what all I said, but this is what we came home to today:

From August

In case you can't tell, that's five containers of fruit. Watermelon, grapes, apples, peaches, and something else. There's also mangos and more peaches in the drawer. Oh, and we'd already eaten a bowl of pears at the time of this photo. Oh, my! We may have some translation issues.

Today was Color Day at school. Every student and staff is put in a "House" when they come to our school (essentially lifelong teams) that compete every year in various competitions. We are in the green house (I know, our name is Greene, why do you think they put us on that team?) and for color day you're supposed to wear as much of your color as possible. The elementary principal may have gone too far... :-) I just had to take a picture (with my BRAND NEW CAMERA!). I think he's actually glowing.

From August

The teams take things quite seriously, and pranks went on all day. Here is a photo of one our team pulled. The sign behind it previously said "Welcome to QMIS"

From August

The building I work in was remodeled over the summer, and my classroom is now awesome. I love it so much and one day will have pictures of it for you. The newest improvement to our building though was completed just yesterday--a brand new Fine Arts Macintosh Lab! Ahhh!!! It's so pretty...I am now able to teach Photojournalism and Art and Technology without having to fight MUN for lab space. Yay! And the screens are so big it gives me a headache to look at them!

From August

From August

From August

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We've become parents! (of a teenager)

Tuesday night (late!) Jillian arrived! Yay! For those of you who don't know, Nathan's cousin Jillian is living with us for a semester as an exchange student and is attending our school! It is so much fun to have her here, and we are excited about having family with us.

Jillian arrived at 10:00 PM, and by the time she got luggage, take-out KFC, and the driver took us home, it was well after 11:00PM. I think we crawled in bed sometime after midnight. Jillian was a trooper and still got up at 6:00 AM to head off to school! We didn't stick her in class, but we got to take her around and introduce her, get her schedule, and show her the school.

It will be different having a teenager in the house. Poor Nathan has to share his one bathroom with two girls now. We also currently only have one set of keys. But we're all flexible and so far things are going great. It's going to be a great semester for all of us. :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Missing Friends

So, a friend got married last week. Or at least I think it was last week. Pictures were just posted online in the last couple days. Since moving to China, it's so easy to let friends slip away. The time difference makes it nearly impossible to call home, and who really writes letters anymore?

I guess that's why I've become so addicted to facebook. Every chance I get I pore over my friends pictures and notes. Each picture is a glimpse into their current lives, and a sweet reminder of what used to be. I cry over the baby pics and smile at the birthday parties, try to guess how old their kids must be these days, and wonder how they're really doing. And in a small way, it gives me the chance to be a little, albeit very little, part of their lives.

This current wedding was a friend of ours from college. I knew he was engaged, had been for awhile, but it was exciting to see the awaited event had occurred. What saddened me, or at least was emphasized through the pictures, was that we were the only ones from our group not in attendance. Even our friend who had moved at least five states away was part of the event, and I know it must have been a wonderful time for all of them to see each other again. How much I wish I could see them all again, even just for one night. I might even let them talk me into playing smash brothers with them! :-)

Most of the time I love living overseas. Times like these,'s hard. Very hard.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Back to School

Today was the first day back to work. It's so hard to believe the summer is actually over. Where did it go? Oh, that's right. We visited four different cities (one of them twice), had my parents visit, had Nathan's friend visit, and moved. Not to mention four weeks of intensive Chinese. :-)

I came home from work today on the early bus today, and yet I'm so exhausted tonight it's all I can do to stay awake until a reasonable time to go to bed. We've had a terrible time getting our bodies back on an early schedule (once school starts we'll be getting up at 5:30 every morning), which is probably part of the reason I'm so tired. The other reason is that I've had a head cold for the past week and a half and I can't seem to quite get over it. Tonight has been the first I've been able to swallow without wincing.

I guess it's not unexpected then that I'm having a hard time getting excited for the school year to start. Not to mention, I'm already finding out that I'm teaching a larger load than I was expecting. At least one more prep than last year, and they're thinking about adding another. Who knew that teaching Sex Ed makes you a candidate for teaching MS health?

On the other hand though, my classroom looks fantastic! I am so excited about it. Over the summer the school completely remodeled it. I now have cabinets on two walls of my classroom, an entire cork board wall, a fresh coat of paint, colorful blinds, and two sinks directly in my room (two new ones next door too!) Hurray!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Welcome Home!

Today Jacquelyn and Lucas were discharged from the hospital. To welcome them "home" (or rather, to the house we're staying at this week in Beijing), Anna and I decided to bake them a cake.

Simple, enough, right?

Here's about how the next hour went. True thought process.

I brought a gluten free chocolate cake mix with me from Qingdao, I bet we can make that. Hm...I forgot to check the other ingredients this cake mix needed--guess we'll have to do without lemon juice and vanilla. Hm, don't think we need the whole cake, and these mixes are a bit expensive, so we'll just make a half batch. Ooh, wait, we don't have measuring cups. Guess we'll just have to guess about half. That looks about right. Oops, we don't have butter either. Oh, well we have oil. Just add a little less oil than it calls for butter. Oh, wait, we do have butter. Oh, well. Too late. No beater, so I'll just have Anna stir it for a REALLY long time. Keep stirring Anna! I'm still washing the dishes. Okay, ready to put it in. Wait, forgot to start the oven. How many degrees Celsius is 350 degrees Fahrenheit? Quick, look that up on line. Okay, about 175 Celsius. Wait, I don't have a pan. Hm, this is a real problem. (Sorting through kitchen) Ah ha! Maybe this will work. Sure, it's really for a toaster oven. And it's only about five inches by eight, by one. Guess we'll have to make two small cakes. Here we go. That looks about enough for the first one. Man, the oven is taking forever to heat up! Maybe this indicator light doesn't really work. It's been about a half hour, should be long enough. Here we go. Hm, how long does a five inch by eight inch by one inch take to cook? We'll just see how it goes.

(15 Minutes later)

Well, that doesn't look exactly right, but hopefully it's tasty! Welcome home didi!

From Lucas Carman

I'm not sure where the weird bumps and holes came from. Maybe from the lack of lemon juice and vanilla or "approximate" proportions, maybe from the wrong temperature, maybe from the use of oil instead of butter, could be the funny pan, or even the cooking length! Oh, well, it's the thought that counts. And, by the way, it was quite tasty. Even Jeremy said so, and he's not used to gluten free foods!