Soft Sleeper Train Car to Shenyang to Beijing

bya Gabrielle at 8:00 AM

A long time ago, I posted a picture of what a soft sleeper train car looked like in China, but the picture was a little distorted and it was hard to gauge its actually size.  The video Phil took helps, but not by much.  I highly recommend forking up the money for one if you are traveling more than eight hours.  Even though I had a hard time going to sleep, it was nice to have a place to lay my head and be able to stretch out.

I was terrified that somehow the crazy snow storm that attacked Shenyang was going to freeze us on the tracks in the middle of no where and that we would ultimately starve to death because we didn’t have but a few snacks with us.  Thankfully, that never happened, because if it did, well, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.  :)

If you have plenty of time or you want to save money, trains are the way to go in China.  However, you can’t really plan ahead too much when it comes to buying tickets because they only sell them one or two weeks in advance.  I can’t remember how early you can buy them, but it is something like that.   If you wait too long, depending on the time of year, you may not be able to buy tickets and you’ll have to figure out another way to get where you want to go.

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Trapped in the Beijing Airport

bya Gabrielle at 11:29 AM

I don’t know how I ever forgot to post this particular video.  I mean, it isn’t a ground breaking video or anything, but it did make me laugh when I watched it for the first time in a long time.   As I mentioned in my last post, this was our third attempt trying to get to Shenyang. What was supposed to be an easy hour and a half flight, turned into 14 hours of hell.  It would have been one thing if we had waited in the lobby for 14 hours, but most of our time was spent on the tarmac, cramped in a small plane, filled to the brim with passangers.  I suppose the craziest thing was that we actually took off for Shenyang at one point, got half way there, and when they found out there was no room for the plane to land, we were forced to go back to Beijing.  It was at that point we decided to give up and go home and figure out another way to Shenyang,  but before we could go home, we first had to get our luggage back.  That was another nightmare all together.  Below is the video Phil took as we waited for Richard’s(Yuli Guo) luggage to be found.

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Driving in Snow in Beijing, China

bya Gabrielle at 10:30 PM

Flipping through my Chinese videos, I found a few that I had never shared before and decided to upload them for your viewing pleasure.  The first video is of the freak snow storm that hit us when we were in Beijing waiting to go to Shenyang.  You can read all about that special story here, here, and here if you have no idea what I am talking about.

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The Web of Lies WECL Weaves

bya Gabrielle at 7:00 AM

I remember faintly, while standing in the cold, dark corridor of Beijing WECL, Mandy, one of Yuli Guo’s(Richard Guo) lackeys, telling us how WECL had forged one of our coworker’s resume.  She said that it didn’t look very professional.   I thought at the time that maybe they had just added teaching experience or something like that and that it was rather hilarious that our school was lying to the Chinese government.  It made me wonder what they had done to my resume.

Well, a few days ago, I got a message from a guy who had contacted me about teaching at WECL.  He thought he would share some amusing information with me.

“Hey, I thought you would find this amusing.  I actually turned down the WECL job the other day but someone at the Qingdao office keeps bugging me for visa stuff.  Well they decided to “embellish” my resume and added an entire job as a behavorial therapist in Glendale, California back in 2007 while I was in college in Washington, DC.  I can’t believe they would just flat out lie to the Chinese government!  Talk about such a sketchy job!”

And now I know what probably ended up on my coworker’s resume.  Very interesting.

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Missing China

bya Gabrielle at 12:36 PM

I knew it would happen one day, but really, I didn’t think these sort of feelings would surface for a good long while. If you ever read My Chinese Headache Part 1 and 2, and many of you must have in order to make them my top two posts of all time, then you know why I didn’t think I would miss China, for a while – anyway.

Let me explain.

I don’t miss the crap I went through to get back home. Not in the least. Yeah, it made me wiser and stronger , and all that jazz, but I never want to have to go through something like that ever again. Ever. Nor do I miss the way I was treated by some of the people in charge of me, mainly Richard Guo, AKA Yuli Guo. That man is the Anti-Christ. My blood boils when I think of him. And I don’t particularly miss my first batch of students – except one or two, and I’ve mention them before. I don’t miss the dirt or the pollution either, but who does? Oh, and the lies. All of the lies and deceit were enough to make me go mad.

What I do miss . . .

I miss the daily excitement. Everyday was a new one in China. I could never expect the same thing to happen twice once I walked out my door. There was always a new obstacle, a new challenge. Yeah, it wasn’t always easy, but they sure made life interesting. And if I ever just wanted to get my heart pumping, all I ever needed to do was hop in a taxi and ride across town. A taxi ride in China was like riding a roller coaster, except without all the steep inclines and loops.

I really miss the street food, even though I’m sure some of it made me ill – very ill. I can forgive the street vendors though because they made some very tasty, cheap snacks. I had some awesome fried banana in Beijing. God, that stuff was tastebudalicious. Yes, I just made a new word. Also, I really came to love corn on a stick. I can’t think of a better way to spend 5 yuan. Well, maybe 5 yuan on lamb sticks. I could spend 5 yuan all day on that. There are many more street snacks, but if I went into detail about all of them – you’d be here all day. :)

Cheap DVDs – even if some of them didn’t work quite right – were awesome. I will never forget the hours I spent watching season after season of Smallville, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and House – just to name a few. To watch those back home would have cost me a small fortune, unless of course I pirated them, but I would never do that. :)

I miss being the center of attention. Yes, I’m an attention whore – hate me. Even though, at times it could be a bit annoying(all the hellos and what not), it was kinda cool to feel famous. I think I had my picture taken a few million times and I now have a few more crease lines on my cheeks to prove it. Hehe. On one occasion, someone even asked for my autograph. I’ll never understand that one, but hey, it was cool. And I can’t count how many free dinners I had in China. When I was taken to a banquet or even a simple dinner at a restaurant, I felt like a Queen. I have never seen so much food.

I miss how complete strangers would welcome me into their home and offer me tea and sometimes fruit, just because they could. Half of the time we couldn’t understand each other, but we didn’t have to.

So, I imagine one day, Phil and I will have to go back. I don’t know when that will be, though. And hopefully, China won’t change so drastically that we won’t be able to recognize it when do.

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Something I Missed in China

bya Gabrielle at 12:49 PM

When I lived in China, the one thing that I looked for as I perused the cities and very rarely ever found was water fountains.  I know the reason for this, but I’ve always been a fan of the fountain and the free access to unlimited gallons of water, especially if I’m thirsty.  In China though, the only places I ever found them were in the airports.  I found it funny that they had labels on them telling everyone that the water was safe to consume.  The one cool thing about the Chinese water fountain was that it produced cold water and hot boiling water, too.  It had two spouts.  I think it spat out hot water for the people that bought boxes or bowls of noodles.  There was a similar thing to a water fountain on the train from Hangzhou and Beijing, but it only produced scalding hot water.  Again, it was for the noodles, and not so much for drinking – unless, you wanted to make some tea.

Maybe one day I will be able to walk around China, whenever I make it back that is, and I’ll find the ever familiar silver contraption stuck to a wall somewhere other than an airport telling me it’s okay to wet my whistle.

On another note, work is still going well.  I’ve finally gotten in the habit of rolling out of bed at 6:30 a.m. and almost always wake up before my alarm tells me to.  Of course, this happens on the weekend, too.  I’m not quite sure how to tell my body it is Saturday or Sunday and that I don’t have to get up.

This weekend, I’ll take some pictures of the little garden that Phil and I have started.

Well, back to work, I guess.

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Once Upon A Time in China Part 2 – The Story of the Secret Passage

bya Gabrielle at 12:02 PM

If you’ve read at least ten of my posts concerning my experiences in China, you should know that 1) crazy things happened and 2) nothing was, well, easy. My first trip to a Chinese hospital was no exception. It is probably the most insane, embarrassing experience I had during my year and three days in China and quite possibly my life. With that said, I want to let you know that what you are about to read is extremely personal. If you don’t want learn about my experience in the gynecology section of the Shenyang hospital that I visited one fair day in March, I suggest you exit your browser now and come back in a few days when I have written about another memorable experience. However, if you decide to read on, and some part of your soul wants to learn what it is like to be a woman in China when her womanhood goes wack, I promise I’ve tried to take as much of the graphic grossness out as possible. One last warning, if you are still reading this – this story is personal, it’s a tad bit icky, and it will probably make you go EWWWW.

If you are still with me, thanks. Now on with the story.

I actually thought I had written about this long before, but when I searched through all of my old posts, the only thing I came across was the mention of my visit, but none of the details. Knowing I had written my experience down somewhere, I finally found it in my email. I had written home about it, but I had never made it public. Thankfully, the day that I sent the email was the same as the day I went to the hospital. Therefore, everything you are about to read is very accurate. I’ve gone through it though and added or taken somethings out because it was written during the time that my English had gone to super crap, but not too much.

Before we jump into the email I sent my parents though, I should go a little into the back story. It’s half of the reason I had to go to the hospital in Shenyang in the first place. Grr.

While we were being held against our will in Beijing, I somehow managed to get a yeast infection. I wasn’t all that worried at the time. I had had one in Fuyang, too, but with the help of one of my fellow teachers, I was able to get some cheap medicine down at the local OTC(Over The Counter – Pharmacy). Within a few days, I was back to normal and all was well with the world again. I meant to save the package just in case I had ever had another one, but when we moved, I lost it somewhere. Well, anyway, in Beijing, I discovered that I had another yeast infection. I went to the school there and asked Mandy, one of the school aides, if she could help me get some medicine. I showed her the word in my dictionary, but she didn’t quiet understand what was wrong with me. Finally, after some research on the internet, she thought she figured out what to tell the pharmacists and off we went. I would have just used the medicine that my mother had sent me some months back, but I had sent it on to Shenyang with all the rest of our stuff.

We walked into the OTC and Mandy started talking to the pharmacist for me. The pharmacists asked Mandy some questions and then Mandy translated for me. I tried to answer them for her the best that I could so she could correctly tell the pharmacists what my symptoms were. I think the pharmacists got the gist of what was wrong with me. She ended up giving me these strange blackish herbal things that had a horrible smell. I was instructed to put them where they hurt. I was sad that they didn’t give me the same medicine I had gotten in Fuyang, and a little scared that these smelly round things were going somewhere I’d rather not send them. I didn’t have much of a choice though, so I took them and prayed for the best.

Three days later, we arrived in Shenyang. The medicine the woman had given had done absolutely nothing except possibly make me worse. I could barely walk. There are just not words to describe how it felt . . . down there. After I got all of my suitcases and boxes unpacked, I was able to use the medicine my mother had sent me, but I was so far gone at that point that it didn’t much matter. It was time to ask for some professional help. And that is how I ended up at the Shenyang hospital.

March 12th, 2007 – An email to my parents.

Well, I just got back from the hospital. My yeast infection was driving me mad, and even though I took the medicine mom sent me, I thought that it was a good idea to go and get checked out. I feel better than I did this morning, but I think that I will take the new medicine I got to make sure that it goes away. This has been the worst yeast infection I’ve ever had. I mean, it’s painful just walking around. I’ve never had a yeast infection make me feel like I’ve gone horseback riding for eight days straight.

Hrm . . . where do I start? Well, I guess the first thing is that Chinese hospitals are very unlike western hospitals. I wouldn’t say it was clean, at least in comparison to the hospitals I’ve been to back home. All the paint on the walls was peeling and the floor was discolored and brown. It didn’t even have the typical hospital disinfected smell. I’m sure you know what I mean. I think that it had something to do with the bathrooms, but who knows. There was just so much to take in as we walked around. You’d really have to visit one yourself to know what I mean, although, I wouldn’t recommend it. I had to go though and I’m glad I did, but man, it was an experience for sure. Since there was no way I’d be able to get there and explain to a doctor what was wrong with me, I had Alice, one of the two teacher aides, take me. Phil tagged along for support.

It took Alice a while to find the gynecology section of the hospital, but after asking a few people she got it all worked out. Once we got to the right department, she registered me, but since she didn’t know all of my information, she wrote down a made up birthday, a name and her phone number. I don’t know why she just didn’t ask me. I would have told her. We then went into an office where they asked me what was wrong. The doctor asked Alice questions in Chinese and then Alice asked me the same questions in English. I gave her answers in English and then she gave my answers to the doctor in Chinese. This went back and forth for a while until they knew all of my symptoms. They wrote them all down in a little blue booklet and handed it back to me. (I’ve still got it somewhere. If I find it, I’ll take pictures and post them for you). It was hard for Alice to translate everything, but she did a good job with the limited English that she knew. I understood most of what she was saying. Then we had to wait for a bit. We got called back to the room for more questions, and then we had to wait again. Alice kept disappearing as we waited, apparently paying for services as we went or before we had them done. I’m not sure which, I just know she kept coming back with receipts. The only thing I figured out was that I wasn’t going to be able to leave the hospital until my debt was paid. China in general is very disorganized, so I wasn’t all too surprised to find the hospital acting in the same fashion. It was all sorta frustrating. I just wanted someone to make me better, and quick. Some time later we were called back into the room. And this is where it gets strange.

The room that we had been going in this entire time didn’t have a door. All it had was a door frame and a sheet to act as a door. On the other side of the drape, there was a desk where two doctor-looking people sat. They were constantly taking forms from people, filling them out and typing something into the computers before them. To the left of them was a half wall with an opening into what appeared to be an examining room, but it didn’t have a door or a sheet.

When it was my turn to be inspected, Alice motioned for me to enter the room. Before me was the ever wonderful examining table that I’ve learned to file under the adjectives invasive and uncomfortable. I heard the doctor say something to Alice, but didn’t understand. I looked to Alice for guidance, even though I was pretty sure what was about to happen.

“She wants you to take off your pants and underwear,” Alice said handing me a blue paper-like blanket. “And put this over you.” Hey, at least they gave me a blanket.

I was pretty familiar with this part of the act. I’d done it before, but usually there was no one else in the room. I looked at the doctor and Alice for a second, thinking that they would disappear so that I could disrobe in private, but the two of them stood there staring at me, waiting. I took it as a clue, and off came my clothes. Neither one looked the other way. Eh, I thought, I’m never going to see these people again, well, except for Alice, that is. I just met this woman yesterday, so you can imagine the embarrassing moment I was going through. I seriously doubt this was in her job description. I jumped up onto the table and assumed the position.

OBGYN Examining Table

My table didn’t look anything like this one,but it served its purpose just the same.

The doctor snapped on her gloves and didn’t waste a minute. She tapped the stirrups(the foot rests – see picture above) and I obliged. Alice is still standing there, staring at me, taking in all their is to see. I guess after an experience like this, I can say that we have bonded in the strangest of ways. Down below the blue paper-like blanket the doctors face went and almost immediately her face popped back up. The face of total disgust she gave me almost made me laugh and also made me worry – dear God, what is wrong with me?!!

The doctor started speaking to Alice, probably telling her that this was the nastiest white woman she’s ever seen, but I guess I’ll never know. After a short conversation, Alice looked to me and started translating, probably leaving out all the dirty things the doctor just told her about me. Although, if she did, he face never showed it. All of the questions she asked me were pretty normal. Does it hurt? How long have it been hurting? And a few other rather embarrassing questions I am sure you’d rather not read about. But it wasn’t until she started referring to the “land down under” as the “Secret Passage” that I just about lost it. By lost it, I mean laugh. Eternally, I was rolling, but it was really hard to keep a straight face. I don’t know if she was trying to be polite or if she just didn’t know the real English word for it. For those curious, vagina in Chinese is ??, or yi-n bù, just in case you ever need to know.

Who knows, it could be on Jeopardy one day when I am rich and famous. Answer: During her year and three day stint in China, author Gabrielle Cook went to a Chinese hospital to make sure this certain part or her body wasn’t about to die. Question: What is a yi-n bù?

Anyway . . . all the while, there are 2 or 3 Chinese woman peering around the wall at me. Maybe they had never seen a white woman before or perhaps they were just very concerned. I probably should have been mortified, but I think I took it all very well, considering.

Chinese Hospital

This is pretty much exactly what it looked like, including the nosy peeps staring around the corner as though I was the first magical unicorn they had ever set eyes on. Yes, I just referred to myself as a magical unicorn. I’m that special!

The doctor took a sample and then I got up and put my pants on. The 2 or 3 nosy peeps’ eyes had not wavered from the corner of the wall. They wanted to catch the thrilling finale of this five star movie. We had to wait on the results for like an hour and a half. Finally, we got the medicine I had been dying to get all day – all 4 different types of them – diflucan(which was a shock – I never thought I would have found that medicine in China of all places), some more monistat like things, some other monistat like things, and then some wash. If this doesn’t cure me, I don’t know what will. And that was my experience of a Chinese hospital. Not as bad as I thought, but then again, this was the best one in Shenyang. All in all everything cost me 267 RMB – about 34 bucks. That includes exam, test, and medicine. If only it was that cheap in America.

End of Email

And now that I have written a freaking novel . . .

I will try and ransack my memory banks for some more interesting stories, but I’m not sure any of them will be as crazy as the one you just read. Hopefully, I didn’t gross you out too much. Just remember, I did try to warn you! :)

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My Chinese Headache Part 2

bya Gabrielle at 6:35 AM

Okay, I know that it has taken me a long time to get the rest of this story down, but I guess late is better than never.  I’m not going to go into as much detail as I did last time because then I’ll never get this done, but I’ll at least cover the basics.

To sum up the story, my school, or rather, the president of my school lied and tried to get away with it.  The president, Richard – Yuli Guo, thought that he could push Phil and I around and get us to pay our own way home.  He thought that we would not fight for what was our legal right.  Apparently, he has pushed a lot of people around since he became the president of WECL and has gotten what he wanted more times than not.  I think that he thought we were young and stupid, but he underestimated us.

This is what happened in a nut shell.

The school tried to feed us the cock and bull story that there weren’t any tickets left, but the truth of the matter was that Richard just didn’t want to pay what the tickets cost.  They had known well in advance that we were going home.  They just waited until the last minute like they usually do with all other important things.  Once we found this out, we pulled out our contracts and read what was clearly stated on our contract.  Our contracts read in plain English that the school was required to pay our one way international ticket home.  Richard played dumb at this point and asked to have us fax a copy to him.  The funny part is that he personally signed and sent a copy of the original to me and Phil when we decided to teach a semester for him.

We sent him a copy of the contract as he asked and about a day later he told us that he wasn’t responsible.  He said that we should read the contract more carefully before we continued to harass him about paying for our tickets.  Well, we didn’t stop harassing him and that didn’t make him happy at all.  We started doing research to figure out how to get him to pay what he was supposed to.  We also saw at the bottom of our contract a beautiful statement that said if either of the parties broke the contract that between 10,000 and 100,000 yuan was to paid to the other party.  Whether we were going to get that if he didn’t pay for our tickets we didn’t know, but we were going to use it as a backup plan if need be.

For several days, Phil talked to Richard on the phone and argued with him that it was his responsibility to get us home.  At one point he said OK that he’d take care of it, but after talking to our support staff we found he had told them a completely different story.  He had no intention in paying for our tickets.   Richard knew that our visa was going to expire soon and that we would have to leave before that happened.  I think that he was hoping that we would get scared and fly home on our on dime.  Thankfully, our support staff was trying to figure out how to get an extension for us or a possible L visa if it came to staying longer.  We weren’t going to leave until we found out someone else had forked over the cash for our plane tickets.

At another point he said he would pay the cost of what our tickets would have cost if we had left in September because that is when they are cheaper or he would give us 5,000 yuan each.  Either way it wouldn’t cover the cost of what the tickets cost now.  So, we told him no and that we were only going to accept the full amount. 

As all of this was going down, we decided to contact the person who had originally sent us to China and ask her for help.  She gave us the contact information for a woman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing and told us good luck. We sent the lady at the Ministry an email and hoped for the best.  When we didn’t hear from her we contacted our agency again and asked if she could do anything else to help us out.  She then decided to send the lady at the Ministry an email herself.  The email she sent was also sent to Richard.  We weren’t expecting her to do that.  You can only imagine what her email caused. 

Bright and early the next morning our phone rang.  It was Richard and he wanted to talk to Phil.  For the next 30 minutes or so Richard let Phil have it for involving our agency and the Ministry in our problem.  I didn’t have to ask Phil what was going on because I could hear Richard perfectly.  The man was mad. Fuming mad.  Smoke was seeping from our cell phone.  He screamed at Phil that he was trying his best to find us our tickets and a whole bunch of bull crapity crap.  Although, it could be possible that as soon as he got that email he sent Joe, his lacky, out to find us tickets even if it meant he had to rip it out of some poor dead man’s hands.  I seriously doubt that though. 

For the next few days we called and harassed Richard trying to figure out when he was going to have our tickets, and eventually he stopped taking our calls.  Apparently, we were starting to annoy him.  We then had to direct all of our inquires to our support staff – which didn’t know a whole lot and couldn’t get real answers from him either.  I was starting to get nervous at this point in time because it was just a week or so until our visa expired.  I was just hoping that Richard would somehow come through and give us what we deserved. 

It wasn’t too long(a day or so) after this that we got a call from Joe telling us to go to the school.  He had faxed over our a copy of our e-tickets and wanted us to make sure that we were okay.  We ran to the school and ripped the piece of paper from the fax machine.  All of the information on it was alright so we called him back and gave him the okay to actually purchase them.  We saved the numbers and later confirmed them with United.  They were legit, thank God.  Richard bought us tickets that would fly us from Beijing to D.C and then on to Columbia.  I guess the Ministry possibly getting involved in our problem and the possibility of having to pay us 10,000 – 100,000 yuan – made him search a little harder for the supposedly non-existence plane tickets.

After we were done celebrating that we were going home, the thought of how we were going to get to Beijing crossed our mind.  Richard had mentioned that we would have to take a train from Xiamen and that the school would pay for it.  We thought it would be a good idea to go double check with the school and make sure.  For those of you who don’t know, Xiamen is 33 hours away from Beijing and 33 hours on a Chinese train is a long time, especially if you are in anything other than a soft seat.  Well, when we told the school they knew nothing about our train trip to Beijing.  Our support staff called Richard to find out what was going on and what they had to tell us wasn’t at all amusing.  Richard wanted us to take a 33 hour train ride with all of luggage to Beijing on a hard seat.  I think we hit the floor. 

The bad part was that there was no way we were going to be able to get him to upgrade us to a soft seat.  Richard was responsible for getting us to Beijing, but no where was there written down how he was supposed to get us there.  Thankfully, we were able to convince him to give us what he would pay for the train tickets toward whatever other transportation we chose. So, we each got a whopping 250 yuan credit each.

After some research, we found that the only way we could fly to Beijing from Xiamen with all of our luggage was by buying a first class ticket which would cost us 2350 yuan each.  The thought of dragging our luggage behind us all the way to Beijing didn’t seem fun at all.  We’d done that from Fuyang to Beijing and that freaking sucked more than you can think it did.  Desperate to get home as soon and as painlessly as we could, we decided to fork up the money for the first class ticket to Beijing.  What else were we going to spend that money on?  Even if we took it back to the states and had it converted, it wouldn’t be that much in American money.

The last difficult decision we had to make was how to get to the airport.  The school wasn’t offering to take us, so we had to think of a way to cart all of our suitcases to the main road at 5:00 o’clock in the morning to catch two taxis.  The one thing I’ve learned from coming to a foreign country for a year is to bring as little as humanly possible.  If I had known that before I had flown to China, I wouldn’t have brought three suitcases and a backpack stuffed full of crap. 

The night before we left Xiamen, we got a call from one of the support staff.  She told us that the school had arranged for two taxis to come and take us to the airport.  This made me happy.  It meant I was only going to have to tug all of my suitcases halfway to the main road.  Come that morning though there were no taxis like we were promised and we had to drag our suitcases to the main road anyway.

Two hours later we flying out of Xiamen and we thought all of problems were behind us.  Oh, how I wish that were true.

After waiting 8 hours at our terminal at the Beijing airport, they finally called us to board the plane.  As we handed over our boarding passes we were asked to step aside. I thought we were getting the random search, but it didn’t turn to be that easy or cheap.  The woman before us informed that no matter what we were told by a United Airlines spoke person had said, we were allowed to take only one carry-on and that we would either have to A) throw one away or B) pay $142.00 each to have one of them checked.  We couldn’t quite throw away the stuff in either one of our bags, so after arguing with one another for 15 minutes I handed over my credit card.

16 hours later I was back in Columbia.

It’s going to be a good long while before I head back to China.  Man has yet to invent an Advil pill big enough.

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That’s A Wrap

bya Gabrielle at 12:31 PM

The news that I have been holding off telling is that I am going home. I’m leaving China, and I am not coming back – at least not for a good long while. I am currently working on a post that goes into the details on why I made this choice, and I will be done with that soon. Like most of my experiences in China, the story that made me make this decision is slightly complicated, long, a bit difficult, and even at times humorous, but I’ll let you be the judge when you read it.

We will be leaving Xiamen at 7:15 AM on August 28th and flying to the city I love to loathe, Beijing, for our connector flight back to the States. My last impression of China will come in Beijing’s international airport as I wait eight and a half hours for my plane to show up and take me home. I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole thing right now. A part of me is jumping for joy that I’m going; I’ve missed home, my family and my friends. The other part of me is in a quandary. I’ve had a difficult time seeing the good for all the bad lately. Not that I haven’t enjoyed my time, I have . . . It’s too complicated to explain right now. It will take time for me to shift through my emotions and figure out how I really feel about the whole ordeal. Perhaps you will understand better than I once you have read my side of the story. I’ll finish that soon – before I leave.

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This Little Piggy Was Dinner!

bya Gabrielle at 2:31 PM

You’ve probably heard the nursery rhyme This Little Piggy, but just in case you haven’t, it goes like this:

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy went…
“Wee wee wee” all the way home…

That is what I thought of when I saw this picture in a window of Chinese restaurant:

Chris, our friend in Shenyang, told me that it translated into something like this:

“For you I will sit in the pot.”

I of course found it hysterical and had to take a picture. This little piggy may be willing to be dinner, but he sure as heck doesn’t look very happy about jumping into the pot of boiling water. I don’t think I would be very happy either.

So, maybe the nursery rhyme should go something more like this:

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy went…
“Weep weep weep” til the meat fell off his bones …

Whoa, I was just trying to be creative, I didn’t mean to get all Grimm on everybody. Heh, but it was a little funny . . . if just a little bit.

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