A First

bya Gabrielle at 10:22 PM

Today I did something that I’ve never done before.

After discovering the six Hershey candy bars that my brother had just purchased from Kroger were missing, I hoped in my car and drove back to the store. I wanted to see if I could find the bag that we had somehow left in the buggy. I went back to where I had left the cart, but it had already been moved. I knew that I had to go inside to see if any kind soul had returned them, but I was hesitant. Why? Well, I was wearing my pajamas.

I stared at the store for a minute and then said, “What the hell, I’ll just pretend I’m back in China and that wearing my pajamas around town is totally normal. It will only take a second, right?”


I ended up spending a good 10 to 15 minutes standing in front of the store in my Joe Boxers, Freddy VS Jason t-shirt, and an old pair of sandals. Hey, at least I wasn’t wearing my gigantic Cookie Monster slippers.

People looked at me strangley as they checked out. I expected it, but you would have thought I was dressed like a hooker instead based on their wide eyed expressions. I’m just glad I don’t embarrass that easy.

Finally, the manager showed up and asked what I needed. I explained how my candy bars had flown the coupe and how sad I was. She was very nice and let me get six more even though it was all probably my fault. I really don’t remember leaving anything in the buggy, though. I doubt Wal-Mart would have done the same. Wal-Mart has horrible customer service.

With my candy bars in hand, I walked back out through the parking lot, and drove back home.

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Lots and Lots of Postcards

bya Gabrielle at 12:11 PM

This past Friday, 4 postcards showed up in my mailbox. And then on Saturday, another came. All I have to say, is that postcards from around the world beat a bill any day of the week. :)

Card # 1

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. Looks pretty. I really like the old buildings. So medieval. I’d bet money that the sky in this particular photo isn’t real, though. Take a closer look. What do you think? I can’t figure out why someone would photoshop a fake sky into a postcard.

I found it funny that she didn’t spell out China all the way. Interesting stamp, too. I imagine I’ll be getting many history lessons in the near future. I’ll have to look up his name to see what he did in order to be deserving of a stamp.

Card # 2

Mikkeli, Finland.

Anna-Lisa wrote with a very interesting pen.

Some letters are dark blue while others are light blue.

Is that a moth or a little butterfly?

Card # 3

Sibel lives in Manisa, Turkey, but this postcard is representing Uchisar, Nevsehir – Turkey. Sibel was the first person to receive a postcard from me through Postcrossing. She wanted to send me a postcard in return, so I gave her my address. Turkey seems like a really cool place to visit. I’ll have to put it on my places to go before I die.

I like it when postcards have a lot of writing on them. I’ve always wanted to fly in a hot air balloon. Had Phil and I had the money to do it in Yangshuo, China, we so would have.

Card # 4

I was expecting one postcard, not two from Sibel. I was pleasantly surprised.

All of these postcards are making me antsy. I’ll need to travel somewhere soon.

Card # 5

This fighter jet came all the way from Dayton, Ohio, from Emily. It’s actually her photo, not something she bought. This is something I am going to start doing soon – taking and sending my own postcards. I’ve got over 5,000 to choose from just from spending a year in China.

This is the first card I have received from America. I doubt it will be the last. Something like 18% of Postcrossing users are from America.

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Phil’s Journal

bya Gabrielle at 7:00 AM

Several weeks ago, Phil was cleaning up what used to be his room at his parent’s house, when he came across a stack of journals he had written in elementary school. I think they were from the 4th grade, but I can’t remember off hand, and Phil isn’t sitting here to tell me. All of them were addressed to his teacher, who he called Mama T. I asked him why he called her that instead of Mrs. So-and So, and he said that it was what she told everyone to call her. There must have been 30 or more journals that he’d written, but I’ve only scanned the one below for your reading pleasure. Maybe if you leave lots of awesome comments, I’ll be able to convince Phil to let me scan the rest.

If you read all of the journals back to back, they tell the story of Phil and an eraser called Evil E. They do all sorts of things together. They travel through space and time, all the while causing lots and lots of trouble. Most of the entries have little drawings of Evil E. doing something bad, whether it is holding a gun to someones head or beating someone up. I thought they were pretty funny.

If you want a glimpse into Phil’s young mind, just take a look below, but be very, very afraid. Heh.

Phil would have been called in by the authorities, had he drawn this in school today.

Ah, the world has gone mad – mad I say!

YouTube Preview Image

Mad World by Gary Jules

I don’t know whether Phil was trying to say Damn School or Dumb School.

I think Damn School is funnier, so I’ll stick with that. :)

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First Postcard

bya Gabrielle at 9:09 AM

Horray! Last Friday, I received my first postcard through Postcrossing. It came from a 9 year old boy living in Veikkola, Finland. It took about 8 days to travel 4701 miles/7566 kilometers. If you want to get a history lesson on Finland, go here.

I think this is the strangest water tower I’ve ever seen.

I think Oliver’s mother transcribed his message for him.

Either that, or Oliver has the best handwriting ever!

Cool stamp. I used to have a collection of frogs when I was younger – figureens, not real ones.

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Disturbing Searches

bya Gabrielle at 3:58 PM

A list of disturbing searches that have lead to my blog . . .

1. naked babies

2. naked chinese student

3. sweet chinese naked

4. show some pictures of naked baby girls

At first, I was dumbfounded as to why these type of searches were leading people to my blog and then I remembered – I posted this some time ago. And I am sure now that I have written those specific phrases, more freaks will undoubtedly find themselves here.

For those of you who have blogs, do any of you get equally disturbing searches?

Here are some rather strange searches. Some of them are self-explanatory, but I wish I knew why some of them were typed into Google in the first place.

1. does the dead come back

2. head around corner then gone

3. how to find a misplaced cell phone that is turned off

4. over due goats

5. pictures of a dead pigeon

6. story of princess lives misplaced in a jungle

7. video of person using squat toilet

8. how to get spiders and roaches out of car

9. satan caught on film

10. shenyang whore

11. i am not taught anything at my school

Categories: America,Humor
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My 3rd Grade Journal Part 2

bya Gabrielle at 7:00 AM

Here are a few more of the entries from my third grade journal.

Haha, I was giddy.  I’m surprised I knew that word.

I think I was an angry kid. I’ve found a lot of entries where

I’ve said that I was mad at someone.

I remember nights when I would sing until I got sleepy.  I was a weird kid.

I can see why I never became a famous artist.

I think I actually remember being mad about this.

How dare someone not tell me they are moving!  The nerve! :)

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My 3rd Grade Journal

bya Gabrielle at 9:07 PM

When I was in 3rd grade, Mrs. Lane, my teacher, had me and the rest of the class keep a journal throughout the year.  Phil laughed his ass off when he read through it and thought that I should post a few of them on my blog.  I’ve gone through and taken pictures of the ones I thought were humorous.

How I ever became an English major is beyond me.  My spelling is absolutely atrocious, as you’ll see.  I’m still not that great of a speller today, but at least I don’t spell diary 4 different ways.  :)  Hey, at least I tried, right?

If you can figure out what I’m trying to say in them, well, you must be special.  Phil had to have me translate a lot of it for him.   Most of it is understandable, I think.   Anyway, I thought it might give you a laugh and make you smile.  I’ll post some more later.

And if you think these are funny, wait until I post the funny journal entry that Phil wrote when he was in elementary school.  I’ll try to get that one up, too.  Enjoy.

Apparently, this was my first day of school.  I don’t remember writing any of these at all.

Of course, this is coming from a kid who really wasn’t afraid of anything that had more than two legs.  My parents had to constantly tell me to be careful what I picked up.  I got bit more times than you can count.

Math was never my strong suit.  I cried over my multiplication tables.  Still do.

I spent many weekends at my grandparent’s house.  I don’t know why I wouldn’t have wanted to go.

I wonder if anyone has every died from laughing.  Sounds painful.

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bya Gabrielle at 7:00 AM

I got bored. And then my batteries died.

I’m not particularly fond of any them. I just thought I would post some pictures.

I couldn’t decide if I liked this one . . .

or this one better. Eh. Neither one is fantastic or anything.

And this one isn’t fantastic either. I don’t really know why I am posting it.

This Wisteria was not cooperating with me or my camera.

I would have taken more photos, but Phil looked perturbed.

I don’t know why, but I really like this one.

Phil and I were driving around one Sunday. We managed to drive to Camden, SC somehow.

I thought this sign was interesting. I’m not sure why there is an Indian on it.

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We’ve Got Beans

bya Gabrielle at 9:29 PM

And you know what that means . . .

Beans, beans, the magical fruit.
The more you eat, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you feel.
So eat your beans with every meal!

Aren’t they just precious.  I think they are the cutest beans I’ve ever seen.

I’m such a proud mother.

This picture shows just how small they are.

Our plants are so small, it isn’t even funny.  I don’t think any of them are more than a foot tall.  Perhaps we bought midget plants or something. I think it has to do with the lack of light that they get. We have to put them outside soon or else I’m quite certain they are going to bite the dust.

I want to build a little garden area in my backyard, but I don’t even know where to start, and my brother informed that I am probably going to have to spend a few hundred dollars on soil.  How depressing.  Also, my backyard sorta sucks – there is really no good place to build a little garden.

I guess I’ll figure things out eventually.  I’ll have to, or the 80 tomato plants chilling on my back steps are going to run off in protest and plant themselves elsewhere.  I never intended to have 80 Beefsteak tomato plants, but since I have such awesome “greenhouse” light in my office, every single seed I planted in my grow kit sprouted.  I really don’t remember planting 80 seeds, but I guess I did – or else they were magic seeds and they multiplied.  Hey, anything is possible.  :)

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Once Upon a Time in China Part 6: The Story of a Birthday Cake

bya Gabrielle at 11:20 AM

One evening, in Fuyang, Phil and I were invited to attend one of Phil’s student’s birthday party. For the life of me, up until 5 minutes ago, I couldn’t remember the name of this student. I’m sure that you don’t care, but it was about to drive me mad. I hate when I can’t remember stupid stuff. Anyway, the student’s name was Alan, it was his 16th or 17th birthday, I can’t recall, and he wanted his two new foreign friends to celebrate with him. We gladly accepted the invitation, of course. Alan was a good student and actually seemed like he wanted to be our friend, unlike many others who just wanted to tote us around and show us off like we were an exotic breed of dog.

Alan told us to meet him at the school gate after class. He didn’t live too far away, so we all decided just to walk to his parent’s house. When he finally got to the school gate, he looked very troubled and sad. Apparently, he had somehow lost the 200 yuan(RMB) that his parents had given him to use at KTV – Karaoke TV – later that night. He thought someone in his class had taken it, but since he didn’t have a clue who, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do about it. We offered to give him the money, but he politely declined. Some of his fellow classmates, who were also going to be in attendance at his party, were going to help him out. He made us promise not to tell his parents.

We first stopped by his grandmother’s house – at least that is who I think it was. She was old and they seemed related. We sat there for a while basically staring at each other. She didn’t speak any English, and our Chinese was limited – conversation was almost impossible. Alan translated a little for us. She gave us some tea, and when we were done, we walked a few more blocks to his house.

We arrived to find Alan’s father cooking in the kitchen. If I remember correctly, his father was a cook in a local restaurant, but don’t quote me on that. His parents, like his grandmother, spoke no English – besides hello. They greeted us with huge, happy smiles on their faces. Phil and I sat down on the couch and started sucking on some sugar cane that we saw cut up in a bowl on the coffee table. I always expected sugar cane to be more, well, sugary, but this kind wasn’t. I wonder what they call a coffee table in Chinese since many of them don’t drink coffee. Hrm, I never thought of that before now. :)

Phil had brought his computer with him so that he could play some American music for everyone. Music always makes a party better, didn’t ya know? Well, the music that Phil played was a bit different than what they were all used to. A lot of it was harder than the typical music played on Chinese radio. If you’ve been to China, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t, most of the music, at least what I heard, is very soft and slow. I’d say a lot of their songs have a rather strong lulling effect. I tried picking out some softer music for them, and they seemed to like that a bit more.

After Alan’s father finished cooking and had all of the dishes placed on the table, both of Alan’s parents said goodbye and left. I was very confused. I asked Alan why his parents were leaving, and he said something like his parents didn’t want to bother us. Phil and I shrugged our shoulders and started digging into the feast that lay before us. All and all, it was an okay dinner. I wasn’t particularly fond of any one dish. Like at most birthday parties, the one thing I couldn’t stop thinking about was the birthday cake.

Birthday cakes in China are a little different from what us westerners are used to. The cake is more spongy, and the icing just tastes different. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. Also, a lot of the cakes come with fruit on it. Is it good? Yeah, it’s alright, but I still prefer the western cake a little more.

Well, soon after we polished off our table of food, someone brought the cake out of the refrigerator. In Fuyang, every time you bought a cake, you got a cool ass Lotus candle. (I’ve got a video of the one that was on my cake. I’ll post that soon.) It starts out closed up like a bud. A wick sticks out of the top. You light the wick and when it burns down, it lights all of the other wicks on fire. There are wicks on each of the petals. When all of the wicks catch a flame, It opens up like a flower blooming and sings Happy Birthday to you. It’s absolutely awesome and looks very pretty with all of the lights off. I haven’t seen anything like that here in the States before. Well, the flower bloomed, we sang, and the when started to cut the cake.

There is a tradition in my family, or rather, a cruel joke. Whenever we eat something that is mushy, like cake, ice cream, or mashed potatoes, we like to get a little bit silly. I’m sure everyone reading has probably seen it done. It goes like this. You hold the mushy substance close to your nose, smell it, make a face like it smells like something died, pick a target, and have someone come smell it for you to make sure that it really smells as bad as you say. When they lean in for the sniff you shove said substance up their nose. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.

Well, more or less, that is what I told Alan, who had just cut himself a huge piece of cake. For a second he let the words settle in and then without any hesitation, turned and shoved the entire plate into one of his party guest’s face.

I was shocked. Phil was shocked. Everyone, especially the person that just had cake smashed into his face was shocked. And then war broke out.

The boy that had just been creamed, picked up what was remaining of the cake and threw it into Alan’s face. Alan took what was left and threw it at one the girls in attendance. Her silky black hair turned white and she started to scream. She retaliated and threw her piece back – not caring who it hit as long as it hit someone. Cake was flying everywhere. It was madness. All I could do was laugh and watch. I had tears rolling down my face. The apartment had been trashed.

“Oh, his parents are going to kill us, ” was all that I could think.

This must have gone on for several minutes before it finally calmed down. The girls had locked themselves in the bathroom – 1) to protect themselves from further attack and 2) to clean themselves up. They hadn’t looked so hot going in.

I had been smart, and saved my piece of cake. When all was said and done, I ate it.

We made sure to clean up the place a little bit. I really didn’t want his parents coming home to see what the Americans had let unfold in their absence. I’m sure they would never have been able to understand. I made a mental note to never tell a person who didn’t speak English as a first language my family’s little joke ever again. :) I found it funny that he skipped the whole, “Hey, smell my cake,” and just threw it. You really had to be there. It was crazy.

Once we had everything cleaned up, we left the apartment, hopped in a cab, and went to a local KTV to sing for the next several hours. Nothing else crazy happened that evening, besides seeing a woman fall flat on her ass as she walked over a bridge. It was old and slippery – made of marble or something like it. Poor thing broke her tail-bone I think.

And that is the story of the birthday cake. The moral of this story? Be very careful if anyone ever ask you to smell something. :)

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