Monday, August 31, 2009

"I can go ANYwhere.."

I found out this weekend the Reading Rainbow is finally going off the air after 26 years. Apparently, according to NPR, the only two children's shows that ran longer than that are Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street.
Even though I haven't watched Reading Rainbow in a few years... I think I watched it about 3 years ago when I was home sick from work one day... I always felt kind of happy and comforted knowing that it was still out there... and that Mr. Burton was still hosting it.
Growing up we watched it every day and I was so in love with LeVar Burton. :o) Actually I started watching Star Trek because LeVar Burton was on it haha.

But seriously. This show taught me to love books and to love reading. I remember I would watch it and then go to the library and try and find the books that I saw on the show.(even if we'd already read them). And every summer I would participate in the Summer reading program because of this show.

At our local Library there was always a table of "Reading Rainbow Books" that I would always check out b/c ... if they were reading rainbow recommendations they MUST be good.

Anyway, I'm defiantly going to miss Reading Rainbow. I really hope the DVDs come out so I can raise my kids with this show.

I'll leave you with the opening song of the show that I STILL know all the words to...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Count to 10 with ONE hand

Here's something fun and useful to know when you come to china. How to count!
Not only should you learn to speak and hear the numbers but China is awesome enough to have their own way of counting with their fingers without using both hands.

This is especially helpful when you are talking to people with strange accents and can't make out their Chinese.(like in Shanghai where the number 4 and 10 sound almost the same!!) OR if you have a bad Chinese accent.

So here's how you do it:

一 yi 1

二 er 2

三 san 3

四 si 4

五 wu 5

Now here's where they get tricky...

六 liu 6

七 qi 7

八 ba 8

九 jiu 9

十 shi 10 (this is the most common for ten... )

十 shi 10 (this is also sometimes used for ten)

Here's a video of all the hand motions as well as audio of how to pronounce the number.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As of August 1st 2009 William and I have been in China for 2 years!

Wow. So much has changed and happened in those two years. It feels like ages ago that we first arrived. I remember the day we left the states. I remember sitting on the plane and thinking "I can't believe I'm going to China" I was unable to imagine what it would be like.
Back then we thought we'd be back in the states in a year. wow. how things have changed.

Our VERY first day in China was August 1st. We arrived in a small town (of only 4 million people) where we planned to spend the next year. We spoke NO Chinese and knew nothing about what was around us. When it came time to eat Lunch we realized that we also had no food in the house so we ventured out side to see what we could find. We came upon THIS sign!

That's right. Our first meal in China was a Papa John's Pizza! We still laugh about it. At first we though "OH something familiar. They probably speak English here."
But when we first walked in we were shocked find out that Papa John's in China is a very nice "sit down" restaurant (as apposed to the shady run-in-and-order-a-pizza-and-some-chicken-wings-to-go hole in the wall that it is in states)
The second thing we realized is that no... they do not, in fact, speak English at Papa John's. Luckily they do have pictures on the menu though and oh what a menu it is. An actual Menu at Papa Johns!

So that was two years ago. We spent 6 months in our little town of Wuxi before moving to the modern and busy city of Shanghai and we've been here ever since(with one visit "home" this past march). Two thanksgivings, two Christmases, and two Chinese new years.And one baby on the way.
Wow. What an adventure it has been. People ask us all the time how long we plan on staying and when and where we think we will go next. We just don't know. We thought we had everything planned out about 2 years ago. But now I guess we are just playing it by ear. :o)

For our 2 year Anniversary date we went back to Papa John's to remember our first meal in China. And laughed about how frightened we were on that first day.

By the way. If you do happen to eat at Papa John's in China I suggest the Snow Kiss drink on the back page of the menu. It's sprite and Strawberry Ice cream and very good.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary!!

My parents have been married for a freaking long time! 32 years I think. (or 33). Look how cute and happy they look together!

Happy anniversary Mama and Dad! I hope you guys get to do something fun together to celebrate. (hope you get to take a break from moving and have a nice dinner somewhere) Or a movie! you should go see a movie together... no wait. dad might fall asleep.
oh well.


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Today I went to the swimming pool. I don't actually know how to swim that well and I don't actually LIKE to swim that much (I don't like getting water in my face) BUT I LOVE not feeling like I weigh over 60kilos (I'm not going to translate that to pounds because it makes me sad)
I joined a gym at a local apartment complex (my friend who lives there told them I lived there too...hehe) and they have a pool. I try to go every other day and William taught me a few things about swimming and bought me a kick board.

So off I waddle to the pool today to kick back and forth in the pool.
Now just so you know. Swimming is the most recommended exercise for pregnant women. (Yoga is a fad lately that is also suggested but I like the weightlessness of swimming. And it's nice on those aching joints)
I always get interesting looks when I go to the pool. First of all as far as I can tell I'm one of the only, if not THE only, white person that to go that gym. Secondly, definitely the ONLY pregnant woman that goes to the gym. (Remember that Pregnant women in China do nothing but sit at home all day, they don't even do house work much less
work out) The older Chinese women usually stare at me in the locker room and tell me I'm making the baby cold.
Today was particularly interesting though because when I got there they said that everyone who wanted to swim had to have a doctor take their blood pressure and get their eyes checked (no I don't know the words for blood pressure... I had to call a friend to translate for me). So, after I figured out what they wanted me to do, I sit down at the doctor's table to get my blood pressure taken and he starts freaking out because I'm pregnant. He asks me how many months I am and I tell him 7months and he gets all excited and tries to tell me that I can't swim. I smile and tell him yes I can because my doctor told me to swim everyday. He is very shocked at this and continues to speak very fast Chinese... I'm not sure what he said(not that it matters because in cases like this it's best to pretend that you don't understand even if you do)... but I'm pretty sure he wasn't happy with me swimming. I smiled and told him "yes I can"

I let him take my blood pressure, which was normal despite having walked the mile and half to the gym in the heat, and he wasn't happy that it was normal. He then walked me over to the life guard and yelled at them in Chinese about me swimming. The life guard looked at me sheepishly and said "be careful" in English. (I think he was supposed to translate more than that.. but he didn't hehe).
Then the doctor walked me back to the receptionist and told her again that I was too pregnant to swim. I pretended to ignore him and started walking to the locker room so he told her to go with me and help me. She held my arm till I got into the pool.

So that was my adventure at the pool today. I plan on going back more often now... just to freak them out. :o)


On the day that Miriam flew out of Shanghai another visitor flew in.
She stayed for 4 days and was here for the Total Eclipse.

(here we are in our special Eclipse glasses entertaining our selves while we are waiting for the big moment)

I know these look like pictures taken at night. But they were actually taken at 9:40 in the morning!
Sadly it rained that day though and the sun and moon dance was covered up by the clouds. Apparently the sun was just over this building.

William told me that it would get really dark like it was night time but I didn't believe him. I just thought it would get kind of gloomy. I was amazed when it got really dark and all the street lamps came on (at 9 in the morning!!)

It's VERY rare that you would see so many people walking around in the rain. Chinese people always void the rain. But every one was curious about the eclipse so we were all out hoping to get a glimpse of it.

So I didn't get to see any of the actual Eclipse but it was very interesting how dark it got and stayed (it was dark for over 5 minutes!) and it was fun to be in People's Square with every one else. We all clapped and cheered when it got totally dark. :o)

This site has some really great pictures of people from all over Asia watching the Eclipse.
You should check them out.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

OH SO close...

I found this on a site for a store here in China.
Can you see what's wrong with it?

That's Chinglish for you folks. :o)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Favorite moments with Miriam

Here's just a quick list of funny memories that we have from our visit with Miriam:

~I REALLY enjoyed when Miriam explained to the Chinese tailor at the fabric market how to make his seams look better.

~The fishing vest.
Ok might not have been a funny thing at the time... but it's funny now :o)

~When Miriam said with surprise"I haven't seen ANY dead bodies in China"

~William going through Miriam's purse and asking her why each item was in there (we were trying to help her make it lighter) Maybe I was delusional from a really long hot day of walking.. . but I couldn't stop laughing.

~When Miriam explained that she carried Aspirin in her purse all the time just in case someone had a heart attach when she was out at the store of something. I don't know why but it seemed really funny to me.

~My friend Lukas thought it was hilarious when Miriam said "a baby can survive with just his mother and a cardboard box. It would not be swell but he could survive."

28 weeks

Picture by William about 2 weeks ago.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Venice of the East"

On what was probably the hottest day of the entire summer we took Miriam to the water village Zhou Zhuang. (Pronounced Joe Jwang) Some people call it the "Venice of the East". Ok so they give that title to a few places around here... but this is definitely one of them. :o)

It's probably the most famous water village around Shanghai(some say most famous in China) but it's also the most touristy one. It's very pretty though and even though it is officially sanctioned by the government as a Preserved historical site it is also still an operating fishing village. (though mostly the residents rely on tourist for their income) The village has an active history of over 900 years!

You can take a boat ride through the village canals (for 80yuan a boat, up to 8 people can ride in a boat) and it's very beautiful and peaceful... even with all the people and the heat.
Also for another 20Yuan the person "driving" your boat (more like pushing it along with a big stick) will sing you 3 fishing songs.

One of my favorite reasons to visit this water village, even though it is the most touristy one, is because of how OLD the bridges are. There are bridges here that were built in the Ming and Qing dynasties. (1300 to 1600's) and you can still walk on them. I like to see how the stones have warn out over time and think about the millions of feet that have climbed the old stairs on the bridges.
If you go here you should definitely plan on eating. Make sure to order what ever fish the waitress tells you is good. It's probably a local catch. Also it looks gross but totally try the Pork Knuckle. It's actually really very good and it's a specialty in the area.
Also plan on doing some shopping here. They have unique things and you can get clothes or bags or shoes in the traditional water village blue and white fabric. Also I LOVE the water village candy! I would suggest trying all the food in the little street stands that you can. Don't worry... it's pretty safe .. especially in such a touristy spot it's going to be clean.
The prices here are cheaper than you can get in Shanghai but because there is so much tourism it's really hard to bargain here. I went about a year ago and was able to bargain OK towards the end of the day .... but this time they were just not willing to bargain and even didn't fall for my "walk away" tactic. Still. it was fun and I always enjoy this place. Some day I want to stay over night in one of the cute water village hotels with the traditional Chinese 4 poster bed. :o)
Also try the home brewed rice wine. It's very yeasty tasting and very yummy.