Vacation Just Around the Corner

bya Gabrielle at 4:03 AM

There is no use in apologizing, so I’m not even going to try.  Let’s face it.  I suck at blogging.

I will however play the blame game.  The internet here just blows.  Some days it works and other days, well, it doesn’t.  What is a blogger to do?

Well, tomorrow is our last day and then it is VACATION TIME!!  A whole two months worth.  Why can’t we have awesome vacations like that in the States?  Oh, wait, we do, but you have to be teacher.  Hrm.  I suppose possibly being knifed or shot could almost be worth two months of vacation, but not quite.  :)

Our vacation is going to go something like this:

Linyi to Shanghai – Stay in Shanghai for 3 days, possibly see the Expo, get some good food.

Shanghai to Hangzhou – Spend a few days in Hangzhou, reminisce, eat some Dairy Queen.  Yum.

Hangzhou to Fuyang – Hang out with our good friend Jin for a few days and reminisce some more.  I am sure Fuyang has changed a lot since we left.

Fuyang back to Hangzhou – Catch a train or bus to Nanjing and see what Bo and Nashville have been talking about.

Nanjing to Guilin – We have to take a plane.  There is no way I am spending 24 hours on a train, even if it is a few hundred yuan cheaper.  Stay a night or hop on the first bus to Yangshuo.

Guilin to Yangshuo – Relax for a week and take in the sights.  Yanghshuo is mostly definitely the most beautiful place I have ever seen in China. Phil did say he would foot the bill if we stayed longer . . . so who knows how long we will stay.

Yangshuo back to Guilin – Catch a train, bus or plane to Kunming. I hear it is a pretty nice place.  It will be the first time Phil and I have been there.

Kunming to Dali – Once again, I have heard nice things and we have never been there before. It is always nice to adventure and see new places.

If at this point we aren’t completely broke, we may try to make our way to Qingdao, spend a few days there, experience Beer Street and then come back home to ever so wonderful Linyi.  If everything costs what we think it is going to cost, we are going to have to eat rice and noodles and nothing else for an entire month before we get paid again.  :)

Okay, moving on . . . Last weekend Phil decided it was time to have a new Chinese experience.  So, we went to the massage parlor down the street and while I got a standard oil massage, he got ba guan.  Ba guan is when the chinese take glass cups, light them on fire, and then stick them to your back – 16 of them to be exact.  They suck up your skin and break every blood vessel known to man.  After 5 or 10 minutes, they take them off.  It looks something like this . . .

Since I was getting a massage, I couldn’t take a picture of the glass cups on Phil’s back, but I took a picture of a friend who did it a week or so ago.  It was her first and last time.  I have no idea how she got the courage to do it.  There is no way in a happy hell that I would ever submit to it.

Song Hui and ba guan

And this is what it looked like after Phil had his little procedure.  It looks likes someone either sucker punched him over and over again or took a purple marker and went to town.

Phil and ba guan

A close up of the damage . . .

Phil - Ouch

And another . . .

Phil - Ouch - 2

I don’t think that Phil will be getting it done again any time soon.  And not because it hurt, at least he said it didn’t, but because he didn’t really feel he benefited from it.  It is supposed to suck out the toxins from your body.  They tell you not to take a shower for 24 hours afterward, but I am not totally sure of the reason.

Oh, and although this has nothing to do with vacation or self-induced pain, I thought I would post it any way.

There is an Australian in our building who has decided to turn the roof into his very own garden/farm.  He recently just added 4 baby chicks that he will either use for eggs or if they suck at that, he’s gonna eat them.  I really hope they are great egg layers.

Here they are . . .

Baby chicks

When he tends to the garden, he lets them out of their cage so they can run around.  They run so fast.  He says they are easy to catch and put back, but I don’t know if I believe him.

And the garden . . .

Roof garden

If I have internet connection during our travels, I will try my best to keep whoever it that reads this blog of mine up-to-date.  I can hardly wait.  This vacation is going to be a blast!

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What are the odds?

bya Gabrielle at 7:53 PM



Last October, I received the above card from a Postcrossing user located in Germany.  Like normal, I registered it, thanked the sender, and went about my day.  And that was the end of that.  Or so I thought.

Fast forward several months.

Yesterday, on my day off, I started to flip through all of the postcards that I have received through Postcrossing – which as of today is 92.  That is a small number compared to some.  There are users who have sent more than 1000 postcards.  Of course, they have been members since Postcrossing began back in 2005.  If I keep participating, I wonder how long it will take me to reach that number. Or how much money I’ll end up spending.  Eek!

Having uploaded my postcards in no particular order, I had to go through each country set and post to figure out which ones hadn’t been featured yet.  That was a task, let me tell you.  I’m glad I did it now and not 500 postcards from now.  When I first scanned them all in, I wanted to scream!

Once I had them all organized, I started picking out a few that I thought would make interesting posts.   I typically upload four or five, and come back to them during the week when I feel motivated to say something about them. I like to upload a variety of postcards, but since the majority of my postcards, like so many other postcrossers, come from Finland, Germany, and the USA, that can be hard.  Officially, I have received postcards from 26 countries.  Of the remaining 23, I have received no more than 4 postcards per country – many of them just one.

So, I picked out a few, this one from Germany being one of them.  I flipped over to the back and read it again since it had been awhile.  Something written(printed rather) on the back caught my attention.  The sender said that he lived on the north sea. Then I looked at the return address, and the name seemed familiar.

Last week, I sent out a batch of new postcards, one of which went to Germany, particularly to a fellow who lived on the North Sea.  I remembered this because he said so in his very short profile.  I immediately signed into Postcrossing.  I had to see if the person who had sent me the postcard in October and the guy I had just sent my postcard to were one in the same.

“What are the odds?” I thought.  “That out of 86,000+ users, I randomly selected one who has already sent me a postcard.  It can’t be the same person.”

I clicked on Sent Postcards, and then on the user ID number.  Thankfully, it will still tell me the Postcrosser’s address up until the time the card is registered.

I looked at the name and address that popped up on my screen and back to the return address on my postcard.  I looked again.  I even double checked the spelling of the name, street, and city.

“Holy crap!”  I shouted.  It’s the same freaking person!”

I am really curious if this has happened to anyone else.  It has to have happened to someone, somewhere, right?  I can’t be the only one.

I wouldn’t be as surprised if the user had sent more postcards than he had, but he was only showing 90 postcards sent.

Phil told me later that I should play the lottery.  Maybe I should.

Sadly, I don’t think the person I sent my postcard to will ever receive it.  He hasn’t signed on in over a month, and the last postcard he registered was in November of 2008.  If he does, though, I will be curious to know if he realizes who I am.

Oh, and for those wondering, the postcard artwork was done by Karin Blume.  Apparently, this postcard came from a collection that she made.

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Umm . . . Thank You

bya Gabrielle at 4:51 PM

Last week, an applicant walked into work.  He had been in a few days earlier trying to find a job.  Regrettably, we didn’t have any positions that he qualified for – like a lot of people.  With the economy the way it is, there aren’t near as many jobs available as there used to be.  I thought that he may be coming back to see if any new positions had become available, but that turned out not to be the case.  Instead of using our computers to surf for jobs, he took out his wallet and handed me a folded up piece of paper.  “I wanted you to have this,” he said.  It was a poem he had written.  Why he wanted me to have it, I don’t know, but I thought I would share it with you guys – misspellings and all.


life hasn’t been good

with god’s leadership u have hope

u have the ability, determation and willingness

in spite of the odds

i’m here and willing to help anyway possible

i don’t promise it’ll be easy

i know u can find joy, happiness and freedom

with hope and faith u will suceed

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Dreaming in Chinese Again

bya Gabrielle at 6:15 PM

It happened last night.  I dreamed in Chinese again.

For some reason, it sounds like something that I would say to a shrink.  And no, for the record, I do not have one.  Although, I am sure there are countless people out there who think I need one.  :)  I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

The dream itself is rather fuzzy, but the little I can remember may amuse you.  I always ponder who all the yous are.  The stat counter Phil built says 50 some odd people come every day, some longer than others, but other than the few that leave comments on any sort of regular basis, I have no idea who they are, and if they care a wink about me.  I guess I never really will.  Oh, well.

So, yeah, I dreamed again in Chinese.  In this particular dream, I was at a big celebratory venue.  I am not sure if it was the New Year or if I was reliving a piece of the Olympics that I never witnessed in person, but it was big.  And there were lots and lots of fireworks.

The only reason I can remember that I was in this stadium like place was because it was also the start of new school year, and I was in charge of the freshman class.  I had to speak to them once the celebration came to a close – about what to expect and all that jazz.  This made me nervous in my dream just like it would have in real life.  I hate speaking in front of people.  How I managed to teach 30 some students nearly every day for a year is beyond me.  I guess I just got used to bull shitting on a regular basis.  :)  (Yes, Mom, I just used the BS word!!)

As soon as the event was over, everyone started heading for the exits, all except for me.  Something distracted me and kept me back.  Well, before I knew it, everyone had left and I didn’t know which door to take.  I called up the stair wells, but no one could hear me.  I was too afraid of getting lost that I stayed there hoping I would figure out where to go, but my dream said I had to stay. Slowly, I noticed that my surrounding were changing.  It was getting darker, and the walls were turning into stone.  Lights on the walls turned into torches, and bars with electricity came down by the doors, keeping me from trying to run away.

I looked around and started noticing that there were some Americans chained up along the passage ways.  I ran over to them and begged them to tell me how to get out, but they wouldn’t unless I would unchain them.  One even handed me a key, but I told him I didn’t want to get in trouble.  I have no idea why a prisoner with a key would still be chained, but he was.  What can I say?  My dreams are weird.

At about that point, I heard some noise behind me.  The prisoner told me that I should hide, but I didn’t listen.  I ran to see who it was in hopes that they could help me.  The noise ended up being a line of freakish monsters.  The one in front looked like Skeletor from He-Man.  Behind him were some wickedly evil creatures that only my mind could create.  Insert you own creepy guys and you’ll know what I mean.

He looked almost exactly like this!

He looked almost exactly like this!

Well, since my dream was in China, the creepy guys had to speak Chinese.  This made everything super frustrating.  It is times like this I wish I had studied my Chinese a little more because I have no idea what they said to me.  It was all comptlete gibberish to me.  I’m sure they were saying something like, “How did you find our secret dungeon?” And, “We must kill you now.”  I just kept saying over in over in Chinese, “I am American.  I am a teacher.”  I added some “help me” in English, but they didn’t seem to care that much about my presence.

I was feeling pretty helpless, but for some reason I did not run.  I just kept standing there pleading with them hoping we’d finally be able to understand each other.

And then Phil’s snoring woke me up.

Part of me was greatful that I didn’t have to deal with Skeletor anymore, but I was mad that I wasn’t going to be able to find out what was going on.  I quickly closed my eyes and hoped that I’d be able to go back to the same dream like I am sometimes able to.

Fortunately, I was, but the interesting part of my dream was gone.  The little man operating my dream center hit the fast forward button.   I entered the dream looking over a lot of paperwork – all of the stuff I had missed while being stuck in a secret Chinese prison.   Hey, at least I didn’t have to speak to the freshman class.

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The Go! Team

bya Phil at 8:00 PM

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Why would I post this?  Because I can! Go!!!! Go! Team

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