Day 159: Beijing Bitches! 3/21/2016

Wally

We woke up balls early at 2:45 and called a cab to come and get us. The fare ended up only being 200 RMB, but the other day when we got a shuttle from the airport to our place it was 450 RMB!!! Whatever we wanted to make sure that as soon as R&L had gotten off we had a cab waiting for them and that they could take us straight to the apartment.

Once we got to the airport we had a hard time trying to figure out how to print out our tickets. We wandered around all over the terminal to no avail. We ultimately just waited in a random line. There were two girls in their early 20s and I asked them if we were in the right line. They reassured us that we were, but as soon as the other lines were moving R&L and Syd jumped them and I followed. We fought through the crowds and ended up in the front only to be told that we were to essentially go back to where we were. Man that suuuuucked, but luckily the girls were kind enough to let us back in the line. We went through security easily enough and it was a pleasant flight. We left on time and arrived early and we all napped through the majority of the flight.

As soon as we landed we noticed that the air quality here is FAR worse than in Shanghai. Everything you see here has a yellow tint to it and smells off. We took a cab and went to our hotel. On the way we saw these rundown buildings and it was shocking to see that people lived in them. There is so much poverty in this country and the gap between rich and poor is astronomical. We got dropped off a couple of miles away from our hotel because the traffic was pretty bad and we wanted to eat a Chinese McDonald’s breakfast. We all got a Sausage McMuffin, but tried a couple of their weirder stuff. They had what would equate to a breakfast burrito with eggs, ham and hoisin sauce. Ralphie and I thought it was alright, but the women didn’t agree.

After breakfast we walked to the hotel to get settled in. I’ve never stayed at a Hilton before, but good God! This place is Fancy with a capital F. I’ve legitimately have never stayed in such a nice hotel room before.

Since today was a bit of a free day we decided to check out the Olympic Stadium, Tiananmen Square and Wangfujing street.

The Olympic Stadiums were amazing to see. The Bird’s Nest up close is just….wow seeing it on TV really doesn’t do it any justice. Also, just standing outside the Water Cube, where USA dominated, was pretty damn cool. I definitely did a U.S.A chant in my head, or maybe out loud even. One thing though is where you’re standing there you can look off a great deal into the distance, but there’s so much smog that you can’t see the horizon or even the sky.

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Tiananmen Square was honestly a bit underwhelming. I know that there is a lot of historical significance, but it’s just a nice courtyard in front of a lot of governmental buildings. Tiananmen Square also opens up to the Forbidden City, but it’s closed on Mondays, so we just walked around the entrance and took some pictures and decided we’ll revisit it on Wednesday.

Wangfujing Street is the famous street in Beijing in which you can try out their delicacies. It was here that I ate a spider, silk worms and maggots. Honestly they fry them so much that you’re really just eating flaky oil. There was no real gag factor to it but I can at least say I’ve eaten those things. Also, I’m pretty sure I got ripped off by the food lady. I spent 140 RMB , $22, on a fat spider and small worms/maggots. Whatever it was the experience I paid for, at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

We regrouped at the hotel and headed out for dinner. We had McDonalds again the ladies had Big Macs and Ralphie and I tried one of their rice dishes. Now I know some of you may be thinking,” C’mon guys! You’re in Beijing you should try out some of the local delicacies!” But to be perfectly honest it’s just nice to be able to order something you’re familiar with and know what the hell you’re getting. We sat around and chatted for a while then got some DQ Blizzards for dessert.

At the hotel we went ahead and got some cocktails and lounged around their bar. We reflected upon the day we had and what we’ll be doing tomorrow. I’ve come to the conclusion, probably a biased one, that Shanghai is better than Beijing. The metro system here isn’t as user friendly as back in Shanghai, just the way the lines intersect and weave through the city doesn’t make much sense. Also, there isn’t much to do in this city. Unless you’re a huge history buff and enjoy site seeing. There really isn’t a night life or attractions to take part in. Lastly, this city does have a TON of history and walking around you see old buildings and walls that you know have been there for hundreds if not thousands of years. I can appreciate that, but at the same time it makes this whole place just seem dirty. However, I suppose that’s the charm of this city.

Tomorrow we’re off to the wall my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather built!

Oh and one more thing! The shower in this place is balls amazing!!! I took a 30 min shower just cause I can. The water pressure was fantastic! There were two options for the shower. One was your traditional removable shower head and the other came RAINING down on you! And it wasn’t like a gentle pouring of rain, it was a torrential downpour. Seriously, no exaggeration, this was the best shower I’ve had since living here in China.

Sydney

2:45 came so early this morning and I woke up really sick!!! I am losing my voice and my cough and runny nose are back. I think that I was not 100% and we have been doing a lot so my body just never fully recovered. The ride to the taxi was pretty cheap and the way to go from now on. We saw some weird snacks in the airport as well. Basically this trip for my mom and ralphie was a trial run for Matt’s trip then Bianca’s. Anything that goes wrong or right we know what to do going forward. I was pretty sick and tired on the plane so I slept most of it and woke up about 30 minutes before we landed.

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HELLO BEIJING!! Our first trip inside China. We all only had our backpacks and mom and I had a purse so we did not check any luggage. Ralphie and I figured out how to navigate the metro and streets but it would be about 3-4 miles before we hit the metro so we decided to take a taxi. We were starving so we had the taxi pull over about 2 blocks before the hotel and we had some McMuffins for breakfast and these delicious bun things that looked like Twinkies. We walked the rest of the way to the hotel and got checked in. This place is amazing!!!! There is a video below and I cannot believe that this is where we are staying!!!!!!!!! I cannot wait for Bianca and Greg to get here for it. Also, we got upgraded to the executive level and the views out the window are really cool. I am really happy we are in such a western hotel/room. We got cleaned up and packed up our purses for today’s adventure.

The first stop on our list was the Olympic Stadium. Ralphie and I really wanted to see this and it was absolutely worth it. We walked around and took pictures, we did not pay to get inside since we did not really want to and just seeing the buildings was good enough. The walk around was nice and then we were off to Tiananmen Square.

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I agree with Wally that Tiananmen Square was very underwhelming and I hope that on Wednesday the Forbidden City is better because if it isn’t I am not sure I would pay to get in again. I would walk around and explore the gardens some more. We sat and people watched and you can see how some of the apartment buildings have balconies that come over the water of the moat of the Forbidden City! How cool!!! Honestly that would be cool to see every morning waking up. We walked farther and ended up on Wangfujing and our hotel we discovered is maybe a 10/15 minute walk from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square which is awesome!!!

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While walking along Wangfujing Wally tried the nasty bugs, I was so mad that be paid 140RMB, this is why I carry the money and he can come and ask for it. You can haggle for anything in China and I have paid less for Beats and a Chanel purse then he did for fried bugs!!! It was so gross to watch and then he tried to trick me into kissing him! GROSS!!! We walked more down the street to see more food then came back to the hotel to relax for a minute. Yes, I know people are wondering but until you are out here and taste the food you have no right to judge, McDonald’s is needed. The Big Mac was amazing and we were all so tired that it was nice to sit in a mall and relax. We saw more of this city today then we thought we would so that was a nice treat. The DQ Blizzard was so sweet and we walked around the mall for a while then headed back to the hotel.

We went to the hotel bar and had a night cap. Well, like we have talked about everything is about 90% there in China. They do not have Kettle One so no dirty Shirley’s for me but I had a mojito. My drink was huge and I am the only one who liked their drink. Mom had a Mai Tai and it was all rum and she barely finished it. Ralphie had a margarita but it was disgusting so we sent it back and he got a Mai Tai instead and Wally had a Long Island. I am so proud of my husband for drinking the whole thing and he was not that red. It was nice to be in this little lounge and the colors and decorations reminded us of our wedding. Once finished we headed to shower and bed. I took a bath and felt like a queen with this huge bathtub then went into our rain shower and had a bathrobe waiting. It was so relaxing and I am never leaving the hotel, our apartment is going to suck compared to this. Well now off to bed and hiking the Great Wall tomorrow. XO

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Day 158: Pearl Tower/A Whole Lotta Lays 3/20/2016

Wally

Today was pretty good. We went to Ashley’s for their lunch buffet, but prior to getting there we showed them around Lujiazui and they took in the sites of the Pearl Tower and the other towers just east of it. We took a few pics and showed them around the Super Brand Mall. They seemed pretty taken aback by just how big it all was. We sat down and had a great meal with an amazing view. I know that the original plan was to do the Pearl Tower attraction and dine at their revolving restaurant, but ultimately we decided it was a bit pricey and that the whole thing was a tourist trap. In the end I believe we had a much better time and experience.

Following lunch we came home and gathered our stuff before heading out to the French Concession and Tianzifang. We hadn’t been there since around Christmas time and were excited to show R&L one of our favorite spots in the city, but good god the place is packed on the weekend. I’d equate it to trying to get out of Disneyland as it is closing. We were shoulder to shoulder waddling along. We had gone down the main alley and Loranna seemed to have had enough and just wanted to be away from the hordes. So we left Tianzifang and walked the rest of the French Concession. She seemed a whole lot better after that, guess she was getting a bit claustrophobic, who can blame her. The rest of the walk was really enjoyable and we showed them the historic architecture of the place and what gave it its charm.

We pretty much called it a day after that and came home to pack for Beijing tomorrow. For dinner though we tore into the $30 dollars worth of weird chip flavors. We had fried squid, garden tomato, yogurt, green tea, grilled squid, grilled duck wing, braised pork, sirloin steak and I’m sure I’m forgetting a whole lot more. Either way it was a lot of fun gauging everyone’s reactions to when they ate the chips. Ultimately in the end I ended up being the one that liked/put up with most of the flavors. I really think these things are made for asian taste buds. Loranna and Syd didn’t seem like to like any, but a select few and Ralphie was way more of a trooper and liked/put up with most of them.

Anyways we got to get up SUPER early to catch our flight out to Beijing.

It’s been fun having R&L jump in and guest blog, but for the next couple of days it might be a bit unrealistic. Nevertheless, I’ll try to get them to blog if not at the very least prior to them leaving they’ll have to wrap up their thoughts of their experience here.

Sydney

Today, we had a bit of a change of plans today and instead of Mom and Ralphie going into the Pearl Tower, we decided to just take some pics and go eat at Ashley’s. We should mom and ralphie around the mall and they were pretty overwhelmed with how many stories it can go. Brunch was amazing and even better than the last time Wally and I were there. They had delicious raspberry and lemon drinks. I cannot begin to explain on the amazing food. Some of the names are pretty funny like crap rose pasta (it is shrimp, angel hair pasta with a lighter marinara sauce). They also make coffees with designs on the top and I really cannot say more nice things about it! I love this restaurant. We headed back to the Shanghai Tech to return a pair of in ear beats that Ralphie got because they were not working and the guy exchanged them out no problem which was so nice. We came back home to drop some stuff off and relax for a minute before we headed to the French Concession.

Our first stop was Tianzifang and it was packed!!!! Mom was not having any of it and we decided to just walk around and get out of the little shopping area. I was not a fan of being there when it was so packed! It was awful. We walked more around the French Concession and they were able to see the walk that we went on a few months ago. We came home and decided to finish trying all our chips for dinner. We all had crazy different reactions to each chip. It was fun and we all could not stop laughing. Mom and Ralphie were pretty tired so we did not go back out, instead just hung out at home.

It was a lot of fun and it was a really great day. Oh, side note Wally and I went through our clothes to send more stuff home and we got rid of a huge trash bag full of things that do not fit anymore and we are getting rid of more after it warms up. It is nice to dwindle down our supply so we have less to travel with.

Off to bed, have to be up at 2:45AM to get ready and head out for our flight to Beijing. 🙂

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Day 157: Fluffy Assholes 3/19/2016

Wally

We woke up early and got ready. This place gets real small real quick with four people occupying it. We walked out and got R&L breakfast burritos and we made our way to Jin An. When we got there we saw some things and people doing things that we’ve never seen before. A man doing calligraphy with water, women working out with bongos and a dude doing soccer ball tricks. We sat around Dunkin Donuts and chatted for a bit while we people watched.

We walked down Nanjing together till we got to the cheap market. Syd shone so hard today. She wanted to show off to R&L and I’d say she did a great job. I’ve never seen her haggle as hard as she did today. I would equate this to when Jordan played in the playoffs with a flu, just inhuman.

We walked down to the bund, but unfortunately it’s really cloudy today so they didn’t get the full experience, but they enjoyed it none the less. We got home to drop off all the crap we got and relaxed for a bit then headed back out to Shanghai Tech to pick up some of the stuff we weren’t able to get at the West Nanjing cheap market. Here Syd tried to drive down the price of stuff even further. She knew what she was paying at it’s lowest before and she used that to her advantage. For 250 RMB, roughly $35, she got a beats pill, a holder for it, wireless beats headphones and beats in ear headphones. Seriously, for the rest of you coming to visit us just let Syd do the work.

After Shanghai Tech we went to Jinqiao to get some Taiwanese food. Ralphie was a good sport and tried everything at least once including pig intestines and stinky tofu. The stinky tofu was the one thing that did him in. As Ralphie described them,”They taste and texture of little fluffy assholes.” Well if assholes tasted like this I’d be tossing everyone’s salad! Loranna had a thousand yard stare I think the jet lag was hitting her hard, but at the same time we walked over 12 miles today. Gotta say both R&L are handling the jet lag extremely well.

Sydney

Chinese breakfast burritos are the perfect way to start the day!! We split them and then headed off to Jin’an. Dunkin was fun, unfortunately we couldn’t sit at our normal spot but we still enjoyed ourselves. We walked around the garden then headed down West Nanjing. As Wally stated I straight hustled bitches today. I did some of my best work. Mom and Ralphie for most of their shopping done and we made our way to the bund. Mom and Ralphie said I did a really good job and I even got better prices then I thought I would. The rest of the walk was nice but it was so weird being out on a weekend. There was so many people!!!!!!! I am so happy that our normal weekend is on a Tuesdays and Wednesday. We came home and relaxed and sorted out all our goodies. Today was so humid and not as cold as what it has been. After awhile we headed to Shanghai Tech to pick up a few other things. It started to get so cold and windy, the weather changes today were crazy!! Then it was off to the Taiwanese Restaurant, OMG again we ate like kings. So much food and my dishes were so tasty. Great conversation and an amazing night. Ralphie hated the stinky tofu so we ended up getting McFlurries after to get rid of the taste. Off on another adventure tomorrow.

PS Wally wrote more of what we did and I did not want to repeat it. 🙂

**We passed a place called Big E and made me think of Erin.

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Ralphie

OK, so I feel that everything about the day has been recapped.  I liked the breakfast burrito this morning.  Adding spicy sauce made it so much better than just the plain one that Loranna had.  Besides the anticipated cream filled donut, I had a green tea donut.  Interesting.  I don’t know that I would have it again, but it was good.  We took a lot of train rides and walked a lot, and I realized that if Syd and Wally weren’t there, I would have been totally lost!  Walking to the Bund was fun, a ton of people and felt like being in Times Square.  I had KFC for the first time definitely at least 5 years.  As it has been mentioned, we went to have Taiwanese food for dinner.  Wally ordered everything for us and then told us what it was after we had it.  Our rule is that if you haven’t tried something, you can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it.  So… besides the fermented tofu (fluffy assholes), Wally also ordered pig intestines.  I ate it and had more than one piece.  It was OK, and I could at least eat that.  It wasn’t my favorite, but it was nothing like the tofu.  It was so dry and bad tasting.  Michael, if you are reading this, Wally says that you make a mean fermented tofu.  I am sure you do, but I am going to have to pass!  I have tried it, and will not be trying it again.

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The cheap markets were fun, and I am glad that Sydney likes to do the haggling, because would not be my choice of things to do.  She saved us a ton of money and we have a full lineup of fake Beats products as well as other fun China things.  All cheap. Awesome!

After the half marathon that we walked today, I think we are going to take it a little easier tomorrow.  Traveling with a 50 year old, we have to slow things down a little! 😉  Loranna has already posted, so she won’t see this until later!  Shh, don’t tell her.

Loranna

Woke up this morning and knew we would be busy, but did not know we would be busy for 13+ hours and walk over 12 miles today.  I really enjoyed the people watching when we were at Dunkin Donuts.  There was a man doing water calligraphy on the ground, a guy doing special tricks with a soccer ball, couples dancing, karaoke singers… and young children with snowsuits open between the legs to take care of their business…very interesting 🙂

We walked all over the place and Syd and Wally have been great tour guides.  The amount of people has been shocking, but reminds me of Time Square in New York.  It has been a great day and I still can’t believe we are here.  I still don’t have internet access on any of my devices even though it says they are connected.  It is annoying not being able to text the girls back home, but I doubt it bothers the girls as much 🙂

Five best things from today in no particular order:

  1. Sydney can haggle like a Mo Fo!!!  It was impressive to watch her and deal  with the sales people and them yelling after her down the hallway when they finally gave in to her extremely low demands each time!!!  As I said very impressive!
  2. I have never seen a more packed bus…EVER.  There were so many people on the bus that the wheels looked like they were flat!
  3. The Salvadore Dali sculpture, only one of two in existence – pretty cool.
  4. China public bathrooms – what can I say about the inch of urine on the floor and strip of excrement on the side of the porcelain hole in the floor…it was fancy public restroom.
  5.  Wally ramming into the guy when we were getting out of the subway…as Wally said, “He was a grown ass man and he should have known better then to get on before we got off.”  Watching the little man be moved a few feet back was a little funny.

Well we are off to bed for more adventures tomorrow!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 156: The in-laws have arrived 3/18/2016

Wally

Woke up early today to get the home ready to go. Syd had an appointment with a waxing lady so when she arrived I went and fetched some flowers as a welcome gift. I went all the way to People’s Square, which is roughly a 40 min sub ride, and tried to hunt down the flower lady. There was a minor miscommunication in where we should meet, but we ultimately tracked each other down after almost an hour.

I got back and Syd had already finished up and was super tired from her lack of sleep from the night before. So I made her take a nap while I cleaned up the rest of the apartment. We saw that their flight was due to arrive an hour earlier than scheduled and hurried out the door, granted we ended up 3 hours early. Once we got there we navigated the airport easily enough and found where we were supposed to be. We killed 2 hours by people watching and talking trash. We saw that their plane had arrived and waited by the gate for over an hour and a half. We were worried that we might have been at the wrong gate and just as Syd left to ask someone for more details I see them.

We had booked a taxi service to take us back to our home. The man was a bit upset for having to wait a while, but that ain’t on me! The ride home was pleasant we talked about their flight in and caught up on events back home. The driver kept trying to chat me up, but with my limited Chinese we made some small talk. The dude seemed pleasant enough, but when we finally arrived at the apartment he had the audacity to ask for a tip. The culture here is that you don’t tip. Duuuuuude if you just chilled and waited you just might have had gotten one, but you just had to ask.

We showed R&L around our neighborhood and got those peanut dumplings and headed back home. We ate dinner and chatted for a while, but we got a big day tomorrow not entirely sure what we’ve got planned. Loranna asked me what’s going on and I just pointed at Syd and said I just follow.

Sydney

My waxing lady was great! Also, I did not take a picture of how I decorated the room before we moved everything but there are pics below of all the snack and flowers I bought them. On the metro ride over we did not get off the train in time so we had to go back one stop then go to the next one to change to a metro to the airport. My nap was amazing and it was the best 20 minutes of sleep I could have asked for. I also had a coffee on the way to the airport and it was tasty. Like Wally said we talked trash and people watched. I was so mad that the minute I walked away is when they showed up. We had been waiting for an hour and a half since the plane landed and I was starting to get worried. The guy that was upset was saying he was mad because there is someone waiting and  we need to take the taxi. DUDE calm down we paid you and I do not know where my family is. Finally we were able to get everything together and get in the taxi home. I was sad that the weather was not the best but now they are experiencing Chinese pollution. It was great to see mom and Ralphie and show them around. We had peanut dumplings, yum yum!!!!! Everyone cleaned up and we headed to bed. First day of their Chinese adventure starts tomorrow 🙂 Good Night

PS Thanks Daddy for my cookies and my note. They are amazing and I can’t wait to eat more with you in Paris.Also, thanks to my amazing little sister Katie, not so little since she will be 21 next Friday, for my beautiful pictures. They made me tear up. Love you!!!! That meant so much to me 🙂

Ralphie

So, after 13 hours on an airplane and probably less than an hour of sleep for the last 24 hours, I believe I am contractually obligated to add my 2 cents on the blog.  We had the pleasure of sitting in a row with a parent and a 2-3 month old baby.  As it goes, the baby was really not the problem, the parent(s) hovered over the kid for the entire flight, complete with bumping into our feet/legs constantly, trying to move our video screens that couldn’t move and other just general annoyances.  Getting through customs didn’t seem so bad, but Wally and Syd had been waiting for a while once we got out.  China has a different smell, it was overcast, but not raining, but definitely smelled like metal in the air.  I was surprised how many cameras there were as we drove probably 30-45 minutes, there were flashes going off at nearly every sign or overpass on the freeway.  It was nice to see the apartment in person.  It’s nice, but smaller than it appears in skype!  We had dumplings for dinner, I liked mine, but Loranna wasn’t as excited.  Can’t wait to try more exciting food tomorrow!  We can see some of the buildings that are at the top of the blog from the main street near the apartment, but with the clouds/pollution, we can only see about 3/4 of them!  I hope it clears up a little over the next few days, one to be able to see the sights more easily and two so we can breath for the next few days!  Overall, it was a good trip getting here and definitely the best part was getting to see Wally and Sydney.  We have talked to them a lot on Skype, but in person is much better.

 

Loranna

The flight was good, as Ralphie stated, except for these 3 people and the baby.  Here is some backstory… I had booked the bulkhead seats almost 6 months ago. We paid for the extra leg room  and at the time, there were only 2  other rows booked in the  aisle and window.  Well I did the same thing, hoping the middle seat would stay open, but no less than a week later, someone had booked the middle seat between us even though 80% of all the other extra legroom seats were open including more than 12 complete rows…there were complete rows empty up until the beginning of this week.  Now, to the flight….these 3 people came on and the one with the baby was the one that sat in the middle seat.  We offered to scoot over so she wasn’t in the middle, but the other lady said they were all together and wanted us to move to their back seats.  I said “no” but I was sure the man in their row would move up so they could all sit together…and they said “no”.   They did ask to sit by the window, so we gave up our window seat, and they set up a bassinet right in front of us.  The baby was great, but one woman in particular, we don’t think she was the mom, would just come up and step on our feet, kick our legs even though there was 5+ feet of room,  if the baby was sleepy, they would come wake it up in the bassinet, stand in front of Ralphie just chatting,  etc.  Anyway, they were unpleasant, but everything else about the flight was great!!

Customs was quick, at least we thought so, and it was great to see Wally and Sydney!!!    Smells are different, but it is just wonderful to be here!! It was nice to hear Wally talking to the taxi driver.  Also, it was great to see all these places around their apartment.  The apartment is cute.  The best part was of course has been seeing and hugging Wally and Sydney!!!    Can’t wait for our adventures tomorrow!!!

 

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DAy 155: Mom comes tomorrow 3/17/2016

Wally

Ugh… Had to into work…

We had another stupid meeting in which absolutely nothing pertained to me. Like literally nothing. It’s not one of those things that everyone bitches about when it comes to meetings. There is LIT-TER-ALLY nothing that pertains to me. So I along with some other teachers sit there and obviously play on our phones. I’m taking pictures of people and sketching inappropriate images for my own amusement. I send them in a group chat with the friends at work and we’re chuckling just trying to keep our sanity and our Director of Studies snaps at us and says,”If you guys want to take it outside you can step out.” We sit there and bite our tongues. I can’t stand this woman. She’s technically our boss, but garners absolutely no respect from anyone. She’s never on top of her shit and is constantly asking for help from Gideon, he lost out on the DOS job to her. He knows more about the ins and outs about the job than she does. She’s constantly bumbling about in her wording and just doesn’t know what the hell is going on. I look at her and a see a pathetic individual who will make this job her career.

Anyways I’m excited for tomorrow. This apartment is already small and it’ll feel a whole lot smaller with four people in it. I’m excited to show R&L around Shanghai and show off my Chinese cause when I think about it they never really heard me speak it all that often. Just a few sentences here and there.

Sydney

Talked to my dad a little bit this morning and he told me he dropped off the cookies to my mom. So excited!!! I miss my dads cookies so much. I went to log on to work and the internet was down for the site so I had to go in all day. I was going to go into the office anyways since I had to give Jennifer her stuff. She was so excited and wants me to do another run soon. I was able to talk to my mom, Ralphie, and Katie for awhile this afternoon. It was nice to catch up with my sister. I can’t believe she is going to be 21 next week!! OMG! I will have a shop for her in Shanghai. We chatted until I had class then I worked all afternoon. Jennifer and I had Avocuddle for dinner, ham and cheese panini with a cobb salad. DELISH! It was pretty humid today and it started to sprinkle a little bit. Wally came and we walked home together. It was raining off and on during the walk then about 2 steps before our door it came pouring down!!! There was also really loud and scary thunder. Cleaned up the house and now time to sleep since my mom gets in tomorrow. Let’s see if I actually can sleep.

Day 154: TAILOR MAID OVER EVERYTHANG! 3/16/2016

Wally

Today was a fun lazy day. We went to go get my coat, pants and blazer and I tell you what? Damn! I look good! Seriously Never having had anything tailored before, good gravy it’s good. Everything fits like a glove and it just feels right! What’s great about this place is that I can place orders and they’ll ship it to me back in the states.

We ended up taking a nap in the afternoon to make up for the lack of sleep we’ve been getting. Anyways only 48 more hours till the in-laws arrive!

Sydney

Wally does look amazing in his tailored clothes and it is crazy how skinny he looks. I also got some ridiculously awesome sunglasses. The nap was nice and then we went for a walk around the block.

I do love living in a city, it is cool and the fact that living in Shanghai, I save a lot of money and am able to send money home and still live it up. We can go out for a less than $5USD meal for 2 of us and be satisfied and then I can go have an “expensive” $30 USD meal and that is classy in Shanghai. Things can feel far but nothing is ever too far and this city does have it all. If we want American comfort we can have it, even though it does get expensive.

Anyways, just walking conversations. A lazy sunday and one more day of work until vacation :).

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Day 153: Shopping, shopping, and more shopping 3/15/2016

Wally

Did a bunch more shopping today for Syd’s friend again…. I don’t really like doing this all that much, but if I go with Syd I inevitably get something that I’ve been eyeballing or want and with Syd there I don’t have to haggle. I got myself a pair of wireless headphones and a LV wallet. Another good thing about shopping with Syd is that I get treats! She bribes me with food or sweets and I’m more than happy to go along with it.

Sydney

We started the day off with a work out and got ready to head out. My coworker gave me another list so I went shopping for her

***Gucci perfume, 4 25 piece makeup brush sets, 1 hoola makeup thing, 2 mac finishes, 2 lipsticks, 3 blush brushes, 1 liquid eyeliner, 1 pencil eyeliner, 1 D&G perfume, 2 bluetooth over the ear beats, 3 in ear beats…$350 USD. Without my skills it would have been close to $900-$1,000 USD. Ya, I am that good!

I am the best haggler. I am always chasing that high each trip is a new adventure for me to see how good of a deal I can get. 🙂 I am going to really miss it back home.

I got Wally KFC for lunch because every time I drag him to the cheap market he gets a treat for being a trooper. We chatted for awhile then headed home. I separated all the stuff and we realized we had to go back. I was going to go by myself but Wally came with. I got a coffee since it started to get so cold and we headed back out. The second time was to get stuff for us and I made another list of things I want to buy for myself.

Also, we did grocery shopping for my mom’s trip and spent $30USD on all the different kinds of weird Chinese Lays for them to try. I am so excited for them to be out here in just a few days. We ate some dinner then headed to bed. The suitcases are packed for my mo to take home and there are just a few finishing touches we will take care of later in the week.

Day 152: Mom comes in 5 days 3/14/2016

Wally

Today is our Friday and I only have two classes on this day. The first one is my Small Stars Blue. This class is comprised of toddlers ranging from 3-4 years of age. I honestly enjoy this class because these kids are sweet and they’re basically there to hear me speak English. However, every unit, which is roughly a month long twice a week, only has four words for them to learn. This unit is colors red, blue, green and yellow. That’s it…. Now these kids aren’t slow they pick up on these words after the first session. I have an hour with them to go over 4 words. I could teach a dog these 4 words given the amount of repetition and time we spend. So here was today’s lesson. I started off the class by singing our hello song and blew up the colored balloons. I then started to spike the balloons at their faces while screaming RED! BLUE! GREEN! YELLOW! I let them play around with that for about 10 min while they ran around screaming colors and batting balloons around. After that activity I took out a coloring page and they sat around doing that for roughly 20 min. I still had another 30 min to kill…. I went onto youku, their youtube, and looked up alphablocks. You guys should look it up it has actually grown on me each letter has a distinct personality and they go on random adventures spelling out words along the way. Anyways I kill another 10 min or so showing them an episode or two. 20 min left….. ummmm I threw the balloons at them again….. uhhhhh I think I sat there and just stared at them for the rest of the time after that. Yup that’s how a Small Stars Blue goes!

Onto my Small Stars A I inherited this class from a teacher that had left and he had absolutely no classroom management. Well these kids have learned to listen and obey me so it’s not so bad, but there are a couple of students that I believe are a bit slower. The way their lessons are set up they finish all the material, but still have a few lessons left afterwards. Today was more or less a wash of a day, but I still had to “teach” them something. I was told to teach them something from out storytellers material. So, I chose “Jack Be Nimble” it took me nearly 30 min to get them to properly pronounce nimble. None of them were able to memorize the 3 lines of that “story”. I ultimately gave them a word tracing exercise and a cut and paste activity and called it a day.

I hope you all enjoyed my week at “work”.

Sydney

Wally got us Chinese breakfast burritos and they were delicious. Then we Skyped Bianca for some time and it was great to catch up!! I miss her face. We also saw Gregory and I am glad that he is healing up before our trip. After a great conversation with some of my favorite people Wally and I got ready for the day. We watched some tv and he headed off to work. I worked from home again and all of my classes were pretty chill. I had a GL but the whole class dropped out because of tech problems so I had a free hour. It was nice. I had one student in another GL stay behind after all the other students left to tell me how amazing I was and that she would love to take private lessons with me, which was so sweet and nice. Her name was Kailu. Wally brought me home a Big Mac because he is an amazing husband and I think I have ramened myself out. Luckily my mom will be here on Friday so I won’t have to eat it for a week. I wish we had internet and I would love to actually post this blog to our site and use real non Chinese internet. It is so slow that it takes yahoo about 5/7 minutes to load sometimes. Fuck China

Day 151: So little time left 3/13/2016

Wally

All my classes today were bullshit. My first class they’re way too advanced for the material and they finished an hour’s worth of work within the first 10 minutes so…. For the next 50 min they did word searches and hidden picture worksheets. I had a life club to run in the afternoon as well. A life club is a way to bait parents in with a “free lesson”. In an hour these kids are inundated with a stupid amount of words that they won’t retain. Another thing is because they’re new they don’t know any English so asking for volunteers doesn’t really fly. I spend an hour having the kids color, cut and paste while attempting to get them to speak like a trained parrot. I did have one student there though that was really receptive to everything I was saying and had a genuine interest in everything I had to say. So I keyed in on her and made sure she got the most out of the lesson. We ended the day working out, eating dinner and watching some TV.

Sydney

I worked from home today and started to get the apartment read for my mom’s visit this week. I also started to pack up the suitcase she is taking home and all of our winter clothes that we do not need anymore. I am so thankful to be sending some stuff home. I can’t believe our time in China is almost over. We have about 11 weeks left. My classes were fine and I taught my first online group lesson. It was cool. They go by fast since the students basically just talk amongst themselves. Off to bed, 2 more days of work this week. We work Monday then have our Tuesday, Wednesday weekend, then work Thursday and finally my mom will be here Friday.

Day 150: Saturdays! 3/12/2016

Wally

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t mind my Saturday morning classes because I lucked out and have students that actually want to be there and put forth the effort in class and ask good questions. That being said I need to bitch about fucking Sara. Sara is a spoiled little shit. She wears glasses, has buck teeth and is constantly wearing a smug shit eating grin on her face. She’s purposely loud and obnoxious in order to garner the attention of every fucking living being in all of this fucked up country. She is a waste onto society and I’m not just talking about Chinese society, but that of the entire human population. Her parents have spent $2,500 dollars for 4 months of “education” and she walks away with absolutely no English. She sits there and doodles on her paper or fucking staring at her feet. I literally just covered something and asked her a minute later what it was and she was unable to respond. So I called her up to the front of the class.

Me: *over annunciating* Sara this is a pan. We fry things in it. CLASS WHAT IS THIS?

Class: IT’S A PAN!

Me: CLASS WHAT DO WE DO WITH IT?

Class: WE FRY THINGS IN IT.

Me: CLASS COULD YOU PLEASE TELL SARA WHAT IT IS WE JUST TALKED ABOUT?

Class: IT’S A PAN WE USE IT TO FRY THINGS.

Me: *in a lowered voice so only she can hear me* Sara… What is this?

Sara: *mutters* It’s a pan.

Me: Gooooooood. And what do we use it for?

Sara: *mutters* to fry things.

I continue on with this for ovens, grills and pots. Fucking spoiled only child bullshit. I’m going to single handedly break these kids and let them know that they are not the center of the fucking universe and I AM THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE I OWN YOU AND I DICTATE WHETHER OR NOT YOU ENJOY YOUR TIME HERE!

Also….

FUCK YOU STEVE FOR WAVING AT MY WHITE MOTHER!

Sydney

Woke up early so Wally and I could walk to work together. We also got Chinese breakfast burritos…OMG SO GOOD!!! I am going to miss them when we are back home. It was pretty chilly this morning but it was nice to walk with Wally. I skyped my mom in the morning for a while and talked about some last minute details before she flies out. My classes were good. Jennifer bought me lunch for doing another shopping trip, we had Melrose Pizza and it was amazing. I am going to do the last of her shopping over the next few weeks. Lunch was fun and I skyped my mom again and then taught my last classes. I walked home and Wally and I met at our metro stopped and walked the rest of the way together. Apparently our downstairs neighbor has a leak and the repairman had to come to our apartment to check our shower in order to see where the leak was. Well there was no leak so Wally and I watched the rest of The Hateful Eight and headed to bed.

Steve waved at my mom when he walked by, when I was talking to her at work.