Day 169: Coming home, coming home tell the world I’m coming home 3/31/2016

Wally

This morning Syd and I booked just about everything we need on our journey home. We have our flights and places to stay! The only thing we need to worry about is what we want to do at these places. It’s really exciting knowing what date we’ll be back in the states! I’m so over seeing the sea of yellow people.

I went to work and we had a stupid easter egg hunt team building activity. Usually these things are freakin pointless and aren’t any fun, but I caught myself getting into it. We were split into teams and we had to hunt down our specific colors eggs. Each egg had a clue that led us to the next one and they were actually challenging. We sped around trying to collect our eggs we were on 9 of 10 when we were stumped by the word association puzzle. Each word would give you a letter that would ultimately spell out the final clue. BUT GUESS WHAT! MY IDIOT BOSS FUCKED UP ONE OF THE CLUES AND WE WASTED OUR TIME TRYING TO FIGURE IT OUT AND WE ENDED UP LOSING!!!

I had bought Syd a birthday present and I spent an embarrassing amount of time wrapping it up and tracing Harry Potter images onto the wrapping. I had gotten her stupid Disney themed couples shirt that you see people walking around with. Her reaction I’ve quoted for you verbatim

Read this as though she was laughing her ass off the whole time

OMG THESE ARE SO FUUUUCKING RETARDED!!!

WE’RE GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE STUPID FUCKING COUPLES THAT WALK AROUND WITH THIS SHIT!!!!

Needless to say she loved it and I would never have guessed that she would have that type of reaction.

Sydney

Woke up and we were supposed to Skype Aunt Dianne and Uncle Neal but unfortunately we had to reschedule for tomorrow. We decided to finish booking everything and we officially have a date that we will be back in the states July 12. We will land in Phoenix late that night. We have not decided what day we will be back in Cali just yet but we know when we’ll be back in ‘merica ;). It was really cool to see all of our travels laid out and we are working on a google doc to help us see everything in one place. I can’t believe we have so much booked and will be going home so soon. I am excited, nervous, and scared.

The rest of the morning was pretty boring since we spent so much time doing that and I was supposed to start at 1 (my normal time) but my class started at 12!!! Well I did not see that until 12:15 luckily I was still able to get in and I still was able to teach without it hurting me. I have 4 group lessons today which is so many!!! It will make the day go by faster which is night.

During my classes one of my students told me that a student in her university committed suicide because he failed 1 exam. JESUS!!!!! Chinese people are crazy! I had a student whose name was Elsa and she said it was from FROZEN then decided to sing 3 songs from the movie. It was awesome. I had another student who asked if I could help her 5 year old daughter with coms English and this little girl had the most amazing English I have ever heard. I would have never thought English was her second language. She was adorable and I loved her. Her name was Amy and she was born in the year of the dragon as she informed me.

During my break I went to the cheap market to pick some stuff up the Kylie had asked for. It was a pretty quick trip and I was able to make it between rainstorms which was nice. I painted my nails and started to pack for Hong Kong since we work and have my birthday party this weekend. I still can’t believe I will be 26 tomorrow. UGH, so old.

On my way home something interesting happened. Let me set up the situation I am walking and it is a decent size crowd of people and I am about a block from home:

Chinese Guy – (pointing at me, speaking in Chinese – How much?

Me – Looking confused

Chinese Guy – (Still in mandarin) HOw much?

Me – I do not know what you are saying (granted I do know what he was saying but I was not in the mood)

Chinese Guy (now in English) – How much you cost? All white girls pay money have sex

Me – WHAT THE FUCK?!?! NO

Chinese Guy – WHy? White girls pay money have sex!

Me – Fuck off and I walk quickly up the street

Why is it that Chinese dudes think I am a hooker? I had a black long sleeve on and jeans. NOw looking at it, it was funny but stuff like this does not happen when Wally is around and I prefer that.

So Wally already explained my reaction to the birthday gift. It was really funny and really sweet. My card was adorable as well. I am the luckiest girl. I am glad I was able to open a present and early as well 🙂 YAYAYYAYA presents

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Day 168: Job Hunting! 3/30/2016

Wally

I spent most of my morning looking around on edjoin for potential jobs. A couple of automated responses have gotten back to me already so hopefully that’s a good sign. I did get a rejection letter from another. Silver lining is that at least now I know that I’m not fucking up the applications and people are seeing them. I’m really hopeful I have something lined up for when we get back. I’d hate to have to sub and tutor just to make ends meet.

I haven’t been feeling well and my energy levels have been zapped and it’s been difficult to make it through the day. But I needed to get out of the house and do SOMETHING, so I accompanied Syd to the cheap market to pick up a couple more things for her friend and some people back home. It was the same ol same ol and it’s gotten to the point where the stall owners are actually really friendly to us.

We came home and did some more planning and booking for our trip back home. We’re booked through Paris now and we’ll be doing London tomorrow!!!

I downloaded some Naked and Afraid for pure mindless entertainment and it’s just as bad as the first time we watched it. Why are you naked? What are you proving to the world by accomplishing the challenge? Did you know that they don’t get anything out of it? No money, no reward, not even a participatory ribbon! They’re doing it for shits and fucking giggles!

Sydney

This morning I Skyped Kylie and it was so great to talk to her and catch up. Her jaw looks amazing, I didn’t even know I was skyping the same person ;). We chatted and she told me some things she wants from the cheap market so I will be making a run later. It was a great chat and it had been so long it was nice to talk.

Wally and I got ready and headed out. I needed to pick up some more things and it was nice to get out of the house. It really is irritating constantly sitting on the bed and not having a proper place to sit other then our almost broken folding chairs at the desk. We walked around and explored some of our area. The cheap market went pretty quick but I will have to go back tomorrow to get a couple more things.

We came home and ate some dinner and relaxed and watched Naked and Afraid. Also it was so great to plan more of our trip. I sent my dad an email so he could see the airbnbs and put in some input for Paris. It is exciting planning that leg of our trip and also the fact that we are getting closer to having a day we will be back in the states.

This has been an awesome, relaxing weekend and I cannot wait for HOng Kong next week.

Day 167: Shanghainese Food 3/29/2016

Wally

This morning Syd and I booked a whole bunch of stuff for our journey home and by Syd and I, I mean Syd. It’s pretty daunting looking at all the logistics of what it’ll take to take us from place to place and I don’t want the responsibility of having to book things and have it end up on the wrong date. So, in order to be helpful I gave Syd some foot rubs and tried to entertain her with my charm. It’s really exciting to think about all the things we’ll be seeing and doing. I know that part of my vows stated that whenever I look at Sydney all I see are possibilities and here we are in Shanghai planning a world trip. We’ll have flown over the Pacific and back home over the Atlantic by the time we get home. She makes all things possible and I wouldn’t have this amazing and fulfilling part of my life without her.

In the early afternoon Syd had to go to the cheap market again to help pick up a few more things for her friend. I decided not to go today because we had been so much recently and I’m so burnt out by it. WHILE THE WIFE’S AWAY THE BOYS WILL PLAY. I watched Step Brothers and ended up taking a nap. I know I’m wild!

Later at night we met up with Sandy and Eddie for dinner. Sandy is a good family friend that ran an after school program that Eddie and I attended. She met us up and took us to a Shanghainese restaurant. We ate some great food and the service was EXCELLENT! We’ll take a few sips of our tea and then all of a sudden they’ll be refilling it. We don’t even get this kind of service back home! Turns out Sandy is a regular there and she actually tips them and well! We sat around and chatted for a bit about things you can only see in China.

The Chinese are a resilient race of people, they’re like rats/roaches. They’ll thrive and survive off of anything you throw their way. We threw away one of our multi-clip hangers because the main hook had broken off. Well a few days later it was hanging from our neighbors rack. They had repaired it with some metal wiring and used it for themselves. Eddie talked about a trip where they had to hike up a steep hillside, but had A LOT of stuff with them. So, at the bottom of the hill there was a “taxi” service. These Chinese men put him and his stuff on a stretcher type thing and hoisted him up above their shoulders and they carried him up the hill. That’s their freaking livelihood! It’s just nuts.

Sandy ended up treating us to dinner which was really nice of her and she even shared a cab with Syd and I back home and ended up covering the cost. She’s awesome! I wanted to end the night with a nice cup of coffee, so Syd and I got a cup at Starbucks and we ended up just chatting away about our future. We’re both a bit concerned with the uncertainty of our immediate future, but we keep reminding ourselves that we’re two very capable human beings and in the end we’ll be ok. Hopefully the end isn’t too far away.

Sydney 

Woke up and watched Cupcake Wars. Nice to have mindless entertainment. Wally made some breakfast and we got ready for the day. We ended up booking a lot! We finished up the middle east and all of Greece. Our next task is to book our flight from Santorini to Paris. Hopefully tomorrow we will have the rest of the trip booked. Unfortunately all the RyanAir and other cheap flights for day trips to Mykonos from Santorini were sold out, so we will not be able to go. I am pretty sad since I was looking forward to going to another island while we were there and just making a day out of it but as Wally pointed out we are seeing and doing so much.

Jennifer gave me another list to go shopping with so I headed out to the cheap market while Wally stayed home. I have been going a lot lately and he is burnt out. I grabbed a coffee at Coco’s and for the first time tried the white chocolate iced from there since it has been so cold I usually get hot coffee; it was really good. I did all more shopping and even picked up some things for myself. Well tragedy struck, after I spent the money I was walking out of the metro and heading to change lines and this guy bum rushes me and I drop the Buddhas I had bought; 4 had huge pieces break off and 2 others come off their base. The ones that came off the base I can super glue on but the other ones are broken beyond repair. I was so sad. This is why I can’t have nice things. I have to go back tomorrow so I will pick up more and this time I am bringing Wally’s backpack so nothing is in my hands. I am so sad since the Buddhas were really cute and some were gifts.

When I got home we got ready for dinner with Sandy. It was sprinkling a little but not too bad. The restaurant we went to was in Jing’An Temple area, Nanling Authentic Shanghainese. It was probably some of the best Shanghainese food we have had but it is still so heavy. The peking duck was to die for and the service we received was phenomenal. We found out the Sandy goes there a lot and they know her, that is why we had a table with a beautiful food and waiters constantly at our beck and call. It was Sandy, Eddie, Wally, and myself (Eddie and Wally used to go to the tutoring center Sandy ran back in the day). Dinner was so much fun and the food was great. It is nice because the restaurant had pictures so we were able to point to what we liked and Sandy ordered. We were there for quite some time then we all headed home. Sandy lives near Wally and I so we all shared a taxi and we got dropped off then she headed home. Wally wanted to continue the evening and have a cup of coffee and sit and chat. We went into Starbucks and got a little treat, I had a caramel french bread and a salted caramel macchiato. I did not even come close to finishing everything because I was so full. We just sat and chatted about the future. It is scary to think we are going home without jobs as of now. We do not know what the future holds but as long as we are thinking about it and not blowing it off then I know we will be ok. I am excited to see what the future holds but I am also trying to enjoy the present as much as possible.

After Starbucks we went for a little walk then came home and relaxed. It was a great Saturday and I am getting more and more excited for Hong Kong in 6 days 🙂

Day 166: It’s our Friday 3/28/2016

Wally

Ended up talking to Matt today it was nice catching up with him and talking business regarding his trip out there. I’m getting really excited for his visit. I always hear stories of Syd’s journeys with her friends and it would be nice to do a bit of traveling with Matt as well.

I headed into work and really dreading it because I knew I was going to put in my letter of resignation. I had a meeting already scheduled with my boss and when we went in she already knew what was up. She was really chill about everything and was totally understanding about it. We talked about my appraisal and all in all I feel that I did pretty good.

Class was class nothing special there, but I did get a new TA today whose english was actually really good. I didn’t have to grade my language or talk slowly to her and she understood everything. I asked if she had studied abroad or visited the states, but she hasn’t. Turns out she has a lot of foreign friends. Ah! That explains it!

Yeah my day wasn’t exciting…

Sydney

Woke up to my alarm because I was supposed to Skype Kylie but we had to reschedule until my Wednesday morning. I look forward to speaking with her now that she is recovering more. Wally and I ended up Skyping Matt and catching up and talking business since his trip out here is in a month. It was so great to talk and catch up but we were having connection issues then all of a sudden it froze and we were unable to speak with him again after. I am excited for his trip and I look forward to skyping him again soon.

So in Beijing I stole some little jelly jars from the hotel (people who went to my bachelorette party, the jars from the Bellagio). SO Wally mixed a jar into his oatmeal for more flavor and it was really good. We ate breakfast and watched some Netflix since we seem to have it today. I really wish we had VPNs on our phones, I miss having access to social media and the internet. We try and watch Netflix whenever we have it so we can save our shows for when the internet does not work.

I watched Trainspotting for the first time today and it is a really good movie. I can see why it is such a cult classic. I am excited for the sequel.

I talked to my dad for a little bit and we talked about his upcoming trip to Paris. It will be crazy that the next time I see my dad will be in France. We were discussing some logistics and plans for the trip. It is going to be here before we know it. It was nice to talk and chat for a while. I am glad he finally finished his model. He has been working on that thing for so long.

I was feeling a little homesick and decided to open my birthday letter from Katie, it was so sweet. I love my sister. The card really made me feel better and I love all the pictures that I had opened last week. It is nice to have that piece of home.

Some highlights – I had a student named Sherlock. He was awesome. He was telling me he picked the name because like Sherlock he sees all the details everywhere. Hilarious! The rest of my classes were pretty boring but I had a ton of group lessons. They are easy but sometimes the students just do not want to talk and it makes it hard. One of my group lessons started and I had only one student and when I told her we will wait for more students she said if I am the only one then it is ok, I will close the class and book another group lesson. It was nice to have that cancelled and have a free hour. My last class was about endangered animals and I was asking the student what China does to protect the animals and she said that, “the government has to protect endangered animals because as Chinese we eat everything. If it moves we eat it, nothing is safe.” I had to mute my microphone I was laughing so hard.

We are supposed to skype my aunt and uncle in the morning but unfortunately they had to reschedule. So we do not need to set the alarm which is nice. We will be skyping them later this week. I did a shit ton of laundry and we finally finished all the laundry from my mom’s visit. I miss dryers….

We looked more at the schedules for Matt and B’s trip and moved some things around since we noticed how crazy places get on the weekend. Once the trips get closer we will skype with them and finalize out the details.

It is crazy that we will be leaving in 2 months. Anyways, tomorrow is the weekend. YAY!

Day 165: It is not the weekend….3/27/2016

Wally

Same shit different day…

I do put in my notice tomorrow though so I’m a bit nervous for that. The timing of it isn’t all that great because tomorrow is when I also get my appraisal and that essentially is just a way to gauge how I’ve grown with the company and whether or not I get a raise. Either way I’m not too happy with the DOS because she doesn’t seem to know how to do her job and the direction that management is going makes it appear as though everything will be under Nazi control.

Sydney

Well, I woke up this morning and thought it was the weekend and it was not. Wally’s alarm just had not gone for for him to go to work. I woke up so sad when he said he was just about to get up and go to work. I hate mornings that start like that. He got ready and left and I went back to sleep. I woke up a little later and did the chores around the house. We are still doing laundry from my mom’s trip but I will be finished hopefully today.

I skyped my dad and we chatted for a while and caught up on everything. I am glad that he finally finished his model and he will now be focused on our upcoming Paris trip. It was nice to talk and I miss my dad. I am looking forward to Paris. He has some of the best reactions to the blog and everything that Wally and I talk about.

After talking to my dad I did some more chores and watched some of my shows then it was time to work. My classes were almost all repeat students so it was a pretty chill day. The classes   went by really fast.

Side note: I watched the final reunion episode of the final season of Mob Wives and I am really sad. Big Ang died 2 weeks after the episode was filmed and it was so sad. It was one of my favorite shows and I am really sad. The reunion was amazing and I am sad that the show is now cancelled.

I have students today whose English names are Corn and Crazy. They are the funniest girls. The rest of my classes went by and then Wally came home.

I showered and got ready for bed during my break and worked the rest of my classes all comfy in bed and in my pajamas. Tomorrow is Friday!!! Yay!

Day 164: Tired as FUCKKKKKK!!!!! 3/26/2016

Wally

Man…..

With only 3 hours of sleep we made our way to work. I had a Red Bull and 2 cups of coffee before my first class and another cup of coffee around noon. I still managed to fall asleep on my desk for a little over half an hour and woke up abruptly with a snort and blinking unevenly as my eyes attempted to adjust to the light. I immediately put on my stunner shades and sank back into my chair as I allowed the blood that has pooled on my forehead to slowly work its way back. I looked amazing today….

After work we headed to Mr.Pancake because Summer heard it was international pancake day and wanted to take part in it. Summer, Inga, Bryan and I headed over to the restaurant right by our place and Sydney joined us. We ate and chatted for a bit until finally calling it a night.

I’m so looking forward to a gooooood nights rest.

Sydney 

DAMN ALARM!!!!  Whatever yolo, last night was so much fun!!! We got ready and went down to have Chinese breakfast burritos and  head to work. I walked with Wally to the metro then we said bye and I headed to work. The walk seemed to last forever but then I finally made it. I got all situated and went downstairs to get a coffee. I tried the new salted caramel macchiato from Starbucks. It was amazeballs and made my morning ten times better.

My morning classes were pretty easy but I had 2 group lessons back to back so that was pretty annoying. Once my set of morning classes were over I went and turned in my letter of resignation. We officially have a quitting date,  Saturday May 21st. It is so crazy to think about. My team lead, Chris, said no worries, he is sad to see me go but he never expects anyone to stay. He wants to get a job teaching back in the states again but after the recession and not being able to find a job for so long he says he is nervous.

I was able to skype chat Lily for a little and catch up on everything. I am hoping to set a skype date with them so we can really talk more and see the kids. She told me they are getting so big. My favorite little ones in the world. I miss those adorable faces. Also, I spoke with Melissa and it was so amazing that we both actually caught each other when we were both free and had time to talk. We have been playing message tag and date tag, haha. So it was great to talk. Miss that lady. Fingers crossed she gets the job at Mastros ;).

Jennifer got us lunch today, we just did the Melrose Pizza deal 2 cokes, and 2 10 inch pizzas for 99RMB about 15.20 USD. It was a tasty lunch, then she had class. I thought I would lay my head on my desk, welp I fell asleep for about 30 minutes and i was out like a light. I am still sick so not sleeping last night was not the best. I woke up to a pool of spit on my desk and an imprint of my huge watch on my forehead. IU went to Jenns desk and she was laughing at me. She said she was bout to wake me up since I had class soon. So when I woke up my eyes were so fuzzy that it took about 20 minutes before I could see clearly and there wasn’t that haze.

We found out that there is a Central Perk in Shanghai and it is an exact replica of the show. So we decided that’s where we will start my birthday party next Saturday. I am so excited since it is one of my favorites shows. EEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She gave me another list to do at the cheap market, so money in the bank, woot woot. We said bye and we will see each other next week.

Wally messaged me that everyone was going to Mr. Pancake for National Pancake Day so after work I walked there instead of home. Seeing everyone was nice and they are all coming to my birthday party next weekend. This is the first time we have been to Mr. Pancake that is was actually pretty decent. I did not get sick and Wally and I just split the food. We all chatted for a while then went our separate ways. Wally and I walked home got cleaned u and headed to bed. Ironically we were going to go to bed early or at least relax and lay in bed but we ended up going to bed the same time as the nights we both work late. Oh well, YOLOOOOOO ❤

 

Day 163: Happy Birthday Katie! 21! 3/25/2016

Wally

Happy birthday to well… my sister! Big 21! Enjoy it! Literally no other birthdays matter from here on out. Well that’s a lie, now it’ll be every 5 years. 25, 30, 35, so on and so forth.

 

So today both Syd and I experienced vacation blues… It was weird waking up and not having R&L in the other room. I know most people don’t enjoy their in-laws, but I can honestly say they’re good company and their time here was awesome and they’re missed. We had Ayi come and clean our place this morning and we caught up on our blogs.

I was dreading going into work because this is the Friday I have my shitty classes… Luckily for both classes they had tests, so it was relatively easy going. Today was also Bryan’s last day. He’s a Canadian who’s a bit pig headed, that’s putting it lightly, but he’s a cool dude all around. With him gone there will be only two men in the office and one of them is on vacation right now. So yay! I’m the only guy…. I joke that I’m going to sync up with someone’s menstrual cycle.

After work Syd and I went to M2 to see Steve Aoki. We had bought these tickets thinking we’d be good to go after our vacation, but we were a bit ambitious… Either way we had to be there before 10 and I got off at 9. As soon as my class let out I rushed to the metro. I had to change to 2 different metro lines and one of them is a larger metro station. I was full sprint through them and took the stairs 2 at a time. I reached Syd at 9:50 and we rushed into the club just in time.

When we got there it was relatively light and we found a nice spot by a low divider on the dance floor. We had learned from Tiesto that you want to be able to create your own space to escape the smell of smoke and people. The opening DJs were actually pretty good and the crowd was behaving, but as the night wore on and Aoki was getting closer and closer to coming on things began to turn. People began surging forward shoving by us and just being rude. Syd nearly got into a fight with a group of people in front of us dancing rudely and purposely bumping into us. That’s one thing about clubbing here in Shanghai, there is no club/dance etiquette. You shouldn’t violently  bump into people in order to create space or try to shove past people when there is no space. However, in China, everything goes and it’s everyman for themselves.

Aoki was awesome! He put on a great show and his set was duUuUuUrRrRrRrRtY!!!! We tried to stay in the front for a bit, but decided to just take some pictures and leave the dance floor. before it got too chaotic. We found a nice corner with space for us to dance and we left around an hour after he had come on. I wish I had it in me to stay till 4 am, but I have work bright and early tomorrow.

 

Sydney 

First, Happy Birthday to my little sister Katie!!! I can’t believe you are 21. I hope you enjoyed your midnight drink. Love you and happy happy birthday! I can’t wait to have a drink with you when I am home XOXOXOXOX

Woke up this morning early because the ayi was coming to clean the house. We did some laundry while she cleaned and she was talking to Wally to let us know that when she is walking in the park she looks to see if our curtains are open to know if we are home. It was really creepy. Whatever she is the best ayi. Today she did not do the best job but we needed the house cleaned so whatever.

After she left Wally and i were trying to update the blog and add pictures but we were having such a hard. After about 3 hours we were able to add everything and the blog is updated finally! I skyped with Bianca a little bit to let her know about Beijing and let her know everything that happened. We will need to skype soon to actually have time to chat and catch up and talk more about her upcoming trip. I wish her luck through the rest of tax season and to have a happy Coachella :).

I said bye to Wally and he headed into work. I am lucky today that I get to work from home and just leave from here to Steve Aoki. I got to Skype Katie at midnight and wish her a happy birthday while she was at a bar. I hope she had a fun night.

My classes were pretty boring today but all of my students had great English so it made the day go by faster. ET messaged me to let me know she liked her birthday gift and has now requested more makeup and things from China. I guess I will get to go back to the cheap market more. YAY Haggling.

I got ready at home and after my last class I raced out the door to catch the metro to meet Wally and M2 to get our dance on.

I waited at the top of the metro for Wally and when he got there we raced into M2 and made it just in time. These guys were trying to listen in on our convo but they could not translate fast enough. HAHA Wally explained that to me after we got off the elevator. Being inside was really cool and much better the Myst when we saw Tiesto. Like Wally said we danced and took the pics when he came on stage but because of the idiots bum rushing the stage we came off to the side and just had so much room to dance. We stayed a while then headed home. It was so much fun and hands down the best performance. The beats were dirty, the music was loud and there were a lot of glow sticks and confetti flying. Not a bad Friday night. It was another WTF moment, I am in Shanghai with my husband watching Steve Aoki. A great night and we came home and passed out. Our  alarms are going to go off soon.

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Day 162: The Last Day of Vaca 3/24/2016

Wally

Today was the last day that R&L were here. It was all a bit bitter sweet, but all good things have to come to an end. We woke up this morning and toured them around a nearby street food place. We strolled around picking and snacking on different breakfast/snacks they had to offer. I gotta say Ralphie is really good on trying everything and anything at least once. After the snacks we headed for YuYuan Gardens.

It’s one of the few places in Shanghai that feels “Chinese”. The architecture there is what you’d expect to find in China. We meandered through the streets and gardens snapping pictures along the way. I did get lost at some point. There was a bit of miscommunication on both parties. I told Syd that I was going to listen to an American tour group in order to learn some stuff about the gardens, but I only meant it as while they were near us. She took it as I’d be following them. Well in order for me to eavesdrop on them I leaned against a column and looked at the Koi fish swim by. Whelp Syd, R&L walked right past me and for about 15 min I just sat there waiting for them to show up. Eventually Syd showed up to save the day!

We went back home and while the ladies dropped off our stuff Ralphie and I went to pick up a late lunch/early dinner. There has been this place on Syd’s street that we’ve been wanting to try out, so we picked up Syd’s favorite pork dish, a sweet pork dish and Chinese meatballs. R&L seemed to enjoy most of the meal and afterwards we sat around and reflected on their trip in China. As they were packing I called the taxi service to come and take R&L to the airport. It’s weird I give them my address, but they never seem to be able to find exactly where I live, so when they arrive there’s always this confusion of where are you?

The taxi arrived 15 min early and abruptly ended our conversations. We grabbed all the stuff and headed towards the main street. I was having an extremely difficult time trying to track down the driver and ultimately I found another cab to take them to the airport. The other cab driver was blowing up my phone, so I finally just turned that guy off. We said our goodbyes and watched them drive off into the distance.

It has been an amazing vacation and it’s sad to see it coming to an end. We had been looking forward to them coming out for so long and now it’s all over. Silver lining to them leaving is that they kicked off our many journeys leading to us coming back home and next stop for us is HONG KOOOOOOOOONG!!!!

Sydney 

Street food was so tasty. I am glad mom and ralphie liked it. Ralphie was a trooper and tried everything. He liked more than mom did but surprisingly mom liked more than I thought she would. I was sad that my favorite bun lady was not open so they could not have those but we tried everything else. I cannot believe that today is the last day. I am so sad. This trip has been amazing and I am sad it will be over this afternoon.

We all finished up eating and went to Yuyuan Gardens and they picked up the last of their gifts for people and we explored the gardens. It is so peaceful in there and it was nice to see it on a day when it was not raining. We walked around and headed to the cheap market to get a few more items and get E and mom glasses. Ralphie was going to get a pair but they would take 1 day and there was not enough time. I love haggling. It makes me so happy.

While we were walking home we talked about lunch and realized we had time so Ralphie and Wally went to pick up food while mom and I headed home. I started on some chores while mom finished packing and putting away souvenirs. It was nice to spend some last minute time with it just being mom and I. Ralphie and Wally came home with the dishes and they were not as good as Wally’s Popo cooked them but they did the job and we ended on a nice Chinese meal.

I want to thank Wally especially for all the translating, calling the taxis, and all around awesomeness. He has to translate and put up with so much being ABC in China and I am just so proud of him.

The last couple hours flew by and then all of a sudden in the middle of our conversation the taxi was here. I was so sad but we grabbed everything and headed out the door. We had trouble finding the taxi but Wally just grabbed another van taxi that was driving by and we got mom and ralphie situated and on the way to the airport. Wally and I decided not to take them since it would be an hour and a half just on the metro for us to get home. We waved by and headed back upstairs.

The rest of the night was boring and we did our chores and got ready for our first day back to work and Steve Aoki tomorrow.  I think we were a little overzealous with getting the tickets since I am still sick and we are so tired but whatever yolo!! It will be so much fun!

This trip was amazing and I cannot believe it is over. Up next Hong Kong!

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Day 161: Forbidden City 3/23/2016

Wally

 

We woke up early today in order to squeeze in the Forbidden City before we had to take off. We arrived at the gates around 8:15ish and navigated our way to the ticket booth. You know the Asian tour groups you see at Disneyland? You know how they always have these stupid flags or matching hats? Well there’s a reason for that, in China it’s so ridiculously packed at tourist destinations that it’s necessary and I suppose they continue this odd tradition amongst tour groups for some familiarity. That being said it was fun looking out at the sea of people and noticing groups of red, yellow, blue and flannel hats bobbing around.

The Forbidden City only allows 80,000 people in a day and without exaggerating looking around the courtyard nearly half, if not over, was already in attendance. With just the sheer number of people I can honestly say that the city wasn’t that great. There was no room to just sit back and reflect on what it was you were seeing or walking through. For example, upon walking up to the first pagoda the last emperor’s throne sat there and there were HORDES of people gathering just to take a picture. People were pushing, elbowing and fighting their way to the front to try and get a clear shot of the throne. It was every man, woman and child for themselves there was absolutely no sympathy given to the little old women getting jostled about. I saw this and took it as an opportunity to do the same. I fought my way up just to take a stupid picture of the throne to look at and admire later. Also, I want to add that Loranna embraced the fighting. Watching her fight through the crowd she almost looked Chinese and I’m convinced that a part of her enjoyed it.

 

We walked back to the hotel and gathered our stuff and took a taxi to the train station. Ralphie and I got some beef noodle stew while the women got some McDonalds. We enjoyed our lunch and headed towards our gate. I must say that navigating the train station was easier than the airport. We boarded the train and got our spots. The rows were only 3 wide and I was the one that got separated from the rest. I was only one row back though, so that wasn’t so bad.

The train ride itself was really smooth it traveled up to 302 km/h and seeing the countryside of China was really cool. We were whizzing by smaller provinces and farmlands. People looked like insects toiling away in the fields. I couldn’t help but appreciate my 9 to 5 a bit more looking out at them. I also couldn’t help but to think that I’ve probably seen and done more in my short time here in China than any of these individuals will do in their lifetimes. I gotta say traveling and doing this has offered a different perspective on life that I can honestly say I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Some of the fun/interesting things I saw along the way home. A man floating in an inner tube in a pond in the middle of freaking nowhere! Like what are you doing on a Wednesday at 2 in the afternoon that allowed you to do that! I saw a river bank lined with women doing laundry, just like the good ol’ days.

We got back and showed R&L East Nanjing and the Bund all lit up. It truly was a sight to behold! But something tragic happened while we were there…. I broke a small piece of my backpack off…. I bought this thing 4 years ago and it has been with me through all of my journeys. I hope that I’m able to find someone to fix this thing. I want to continue to bring it with me through my travels.

Sydney

Good Morning Beijing! Today is our last day in Beijing then we are headed back to Shanghai. We got up 6am to get to breakfast and head to the Forbidden City since we are on a time schedule today to catch our train back to Shanghai. Breakfast was again amazing and totally worth it. Thank mom and ralphie!! We cleaned up and grabbed our stuff and out the door we went. We got a taxi to take us to the entrance and then had to sit through a crazy security line. We took some more pictures and went in to get our tickets. While mom and ralphie got the tickets Wally and I waited on the side. A couple of girls came up to me and asked (in English) if I spoke Chinese, I answered in Chinese, a little bit. They asked if they could take a picture with me because they loved my hair. It was super curly today and in a French braid. I said sure no problem and they both took pictures with me. They were so sweet and I did not mind. Then another Chinese guy is staring at Wally and I and as soon as I speak English he is asking in perfect English if we speak English. You can tell he is an ABC since his English was American English and he was just curious if we knew how to buy the tickets and everything.

Once mom came back and we had the tickets we went into the palace. There was so much pushing a shoving but we finally made it through. The Forbidden City lets in close to 80,000 people a day. Well I would say a quarter of that was there this morning, it was nuts. We walked up the steps to the throne room and as Ralphie put it is was like a scrum in Rugby. I straight elbowed some fucker because he wouldn’t back up and Wally later told me it looked like he was going to hit me. Wally had is first ready if the guy came near me. J such a good hubby. After we all pushed and prodded our way around the sections of the city and saw some of the imperial jewels and just walked around. The city was eh, and honestly not worth it. I would have rather done the museum where you see Mao’s preserved body then go back to the city. It was cool to see and we would not know we don’t like it unless we did it so we have that. I was able to get a small replica of the Forbidden City Palace which was cool and it is something I will cherish.

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After we walked out we headed back to the hotel. The walk back was less than 30 minutes and was able to see the sections of Beijing that are the oldest in the city. We got to the hotel and packed up and it was time to head to the train station.

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I cannot believe our time in Beijing is over. It went by so fast but I truly appreciated being here and doing what we did. I am inspired by The Great Wall and what mankind can accomplish. It was breathtaking and something that I will always Cherish. I saw sites that most people only read about and see in movies. I stood in the Forbidden City and was lookout for my husband while he pissed on the wall. Glad he got to cross that off his bucket list. 😉

During the taxi ride to the train station I saw a woman stick her head out of the car and vomit all down the side of the taxi and spit then sit back in the taxi. It was so disgusting and I was flabbergasted by what happened. The rest of the ride was uneventful and getting into the train station and to our platform was so easy and painless. Mom and I got burgers and ate with the boys then walked around until our gate was open and we could get on the train.

Our seats were the first 2 rows so we had so much leg room and could even put our feet up on the wall. The train was comfortable and I have been on worse. This will do the job no problem. It is exciting to be on a bullet train. I fell asleep the first hour then just watched the countryside pass by. It was beautiful in some places and other places looked like little shanty towns. The differences are incredible to see.

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Also, I forgot to mention yesterday the section of the wall we hiked was in a different province so on this trip to Beijing we have been to 2 different provinces. While we were driving through the border they checked our passports and got stopped by the police. Thank God we brought our passports because who knows what would have happened if we didn’t. That is the first time that we have had our passports checked while out and about.

The rest of the train ride was cool and one of the stops was in Nanjing. Wally and I will be there in a few weeks. It was cool to see part of the train station and know we have travels coming up. Once we got into Shanghai we got on the metro to East Nanjing so mom and ralphie could see the bund (the picture that is on our blog where it says wangtower) they thought it was cool and it was nice for us to see since we have not been down there at night in a while.

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On our walk back to the metro we found a little place that had xiao long bao.I wanted them to try it since it is one of my favs.  They both liked it and mom burnt her mouth again. She needs to listen when we say it is hot haha. It was so windy and cold so we headed back home. The places we were going to go for dinner were closing so Wally and Ralphie picked up food from our street. Mom and Wally and noodles and Ralphie and I had dumplings. It was nice relax and just chat about Beijing. We all cleaned up and headed to bed. I am still pretty sick and honestly do not feel as though I am getting better. I have felt worse and worse everyday. Hopefully I start to feel better soon as we have Steve Aoki Friday, and Hong Kong in 10 days.

Even though I feel like shit this trip has been amazing!!! I am so sad it will be over tomorrow.

 

Day 160: The Great Wall of China 3/22/2016

Wally

 

Woke up this morning to Syd’s alarm, but if that hadn’t woken us up the military drills right outside our window would have. I’m not really complaining though it was pretty cool. The breakfast buffet we had was amazing. It had Asian dishes, but also had some western food that was actually done right. Got to say it was nice having a bit of a taste of home goes a long way.

We met up with our driver, Mr.Wong, and guide, Barry, in the lobby. We got into the car and headed towards the Great Wall. The drive itself was alright roughly 2 hours. It was pretty cool to see some of the countryside of China. Funny enough a lot of it reminded us of southern California driving through Riverside, Chino or Corona. Seriously if it weren’t for the Chinese signs you wouldn’t know the difference. Upon arriving at the entrance gate you’re able to see parts of the Wall. Might I also add the weather today was amazing! Clear blue skies and fresh clean air!

The hike up to the Wall itself was freaking exhausting! It was stairs after stairs after stairs. We wound our way up the side of the wall and eventually reached it. Standing right at the base of the wall itself was humbling to say the least. Reaching out to touch it was so surreal… Standing on the wall itself looking out into the horizon and watching it wind its way through the mountain side was amazing. People actually built this thing! The part we were on was over 400 years old, I don’t think we have any building that old in all the US. All of it was awe inspiring and I didn’t think I was going to have the reaction I did. Just staring out into the expanse trying to soak it all in. Unfortunately… There was this pushy old lady trying to sell souvenirs. She would not stop hounding us to buy a shirt, a magnet or a book. God dammit woman! Let us enjoy one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments! We ended up buying a few shirts off of her in order to get her to stop bothering us. Of course we didn’t pay full price.

The hike though the Great Wall was exhausting! It was only 6 miles, but we were going up and down STEEP steps some were thigh high. On top of that the some of the steps were barely wide enough to fit the width of a foot. Even when there was even pavement the angle of the path was so steep at times that I was leaning back at a 120 degree angle in order to not fall forward! Every watch tower we made it to gave you a beautiful and unique view of the wall and each one had its own backstory. Luckily for us it wasn’t peak season and there really weren’t that many people on the wall. We ran into the occasional tour groups, but for the most part there was no one out there. It did allow us to appreciate where we were and what we were doing.

My favorite part of the hike was when we sat down and had a snack together. There we were just the four of us sitting on top of the Great Wall of China snacking on Ritz, M&Ms and gummy snacks. We literally had a discussion about how crispy M&Ms were better than the pretzel ones while sitting on top of the wall! Like I said it was surreal. I couldn’t stop thinking about how someone I’m distantly related to had something to do with the wall. Whether or not they were a soldier, a worker, a politician or something else entirely different somewhere down the line a part of me is connected to this thing and here I am walking on it, touching it and looking out upon it. That’ll definitely be something I’ll never forget or take for granted.

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After the hike we were supposed to eat at a local restaurant, but we were all so tired and wanted to get back to the hotel as soon as possible. The drive home was uneventful and we made it back to our hotel in one piece. We took R&L to fancy Pizza Hut for dinner and devoured everything! We then retreated back to our rooms for a well-deserved shower and some r&r.

Sydney

I slept like shit last night since about every 30 minutes I would wake up because there was so much spit in my throat it would close over and I could not breathe. I was so mad because I wanted a good night’s sleep before The Great Wall. Oh, well let’s hope breakfast is better.

Mom and Ralphie got a 2 for 1 at the hotel buffet and it was to die for!! OMG we ate our weight in food. I had salami, brie, bread, French toast, waffles, fruit, and so many things that I can’t even remember. This was definitely the best type of meal to have before our big day. We ate for a while then had about an hour to kill before the guide would be at the hotel to pick us up. We chilled in the rooms and made sure that our bags for packed for the hike. My mom came and got us and it was off we went to The Great Wall.

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The guide was kind of weird but it was fine. We had a van that drove us all the way to The Great Wall; I was a little car sick on the way up. After the initial traffic the rest of the drive was pretty easy. We made a stop at a convenience store for some snacks for our hike. When we got out of the car the wall was right there on the side of the street. So crazy!!! We all got back in the car and headed to the start of our walk.

The first hill was such a bitch!!!! The thing that sucks about hiking for me is that my body is fine and I am not sore or tired but my lungs make it feel like I have dump truck sitting on my chest because it gets so tight. I felt like I was slowing everyone down but I was able to catch up and keep a good pace. The view reminded me of San Bernandino mountains or hiking in Wrightwood. Then all of a sudden you would see The Great Wall. When we got to the first watch tower it was incredible. The view, being on the wall, and seeing and touching history was insane. This old lady kept trying to sell shirts and I said ok I will buy one then she said no no no buy later. So I am thinking that she will be at the end of the hike and we will get one there but she keeps bugging us and then not letting us buy anything. All of us were super irritated and finally she let us buy a shirt. We all got corny souvenir shirts that say I hiked The Great Wall. My mom asked which section was the 2,000 year old section and we found out that we were on a different hike then the one we booked. Well….it was irritating that we were not on the hike that we wanted but our guide said that this was the hardest but most beautiful section of the wall to hike and this is what he recommends to people. Even though we were a little disappointed that we would not see the 2,000 year old section we did see the 500 year old section. Either way it was old and really cool to see. We all just took in the sites and it was beautiful. Then it was onward. The hike was amazing and it is crazy how people would be up here even in the winter since some of the steps are so steep and hard to see, I have no idea how people would do this in snow. After a couple hours of hiking we stopped and had our snacks that we picked up earlier. Here we are sitting on The Great Wall of China eating cookies and Ritz. It was a major WTF moment. We weren’t talking; we were just sitting and looking out on thousands of years of history. It was pretty surreal. The rest of the hike was not that bad and then all of a sudden we were done. Barry, our tour guide, as we said bye at the hotel said to Wally and I, I hope you are married the next time we see each other. I do not know how many times we have said that Wally and I are husband and wife and he still thinks we are not married. In the beginning he thought that Wally was the adopted son of mom and ralphie and that we were siblings. It was weird. I do not think he did the best job and anything he told us was stuff we already knew.

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Being sick did not stop me even though it made it 100 times harder for me to breathe but this was a once in a lifetime adventure. It was cool to experience it for the first time with mom and ralphie. On the last little walk to the car before we drove home I haggled for moms souvenirs and I got Wally and I a miniature replica of The Great Wall, it is so cute!!! The car ride back home I fell asleep for a little then was awake the rest of the time. We got home about 2 hours later then we were originally scheduled. We were all so hangry and we had to go to the bathroom so bad!!! We decided to go to fancy Pizza Hut for dinner. The temp dropped so much and it was really cold. This fancy Pizza Hut was not as good as the one by us but it did the job of feeding us. We all got DQ Blizzards for dessert and sat and chatted for a little. Mom and Ralphie headed to the hotel and Wally and I wanted to walk around a little more. We headed towards the foreign bookstore and as we walked over and the guard saw us and aggressively closed the door then locked it. So RUDE!!! Since it was now closed we headed back towards the hotel. I took a bath and a shower in the best bathroom ever. Wally and I started to watch “Men, Women, Wild” on Discovery. I LOVED IT!!! Unfortunately I was still feeling like shit and fell asleep but Wally stayed up and watched it. The great thing about this bed is I had my box of tissues and water bottle propped up next to me in bed and they never fell over and Wally never hit them. I cannot wait to get a California King for our own room. Today was a great day and The Great Wall so amazing!

Side note: I got sunburned on my shoulders and face because it was so clear today. I did not even think to put sunscreen on but I know from now on to wear it outside. Man, when we are on the beaches in Thailand I have to be careful and double up always! My skin has been bundled up and has not seen the sun in months.