19 April 2008

Bike Repair

Currently listening to: Eyes Open by Snow Patrol

Currently watching: Vitus (a Swiss movie about a piano wunderkind--very good!)

So a few weeks ago, I rode my bike to the local supermarket. I had two locks--one that is attached to my bike and a normal one that can be taken on and off. My bike had sat for a time during the cold winter months, so I'm not sure if that was the cause or if it just decided it was finished, but when I came out of the market, the lock that was attached to my bike wouldn't open. I probably tried for 15 minutes to force the key in but to no avail. Finally, I got so fed up that I just ended up putting my bike in the back of a taxi and taking it home. I had the taxi driver drop me at the back gate where I knew a key maker usually sits. As luck (or providence, I guess) would have it, the key maker was there and I showed him the broken lock. After looking at it, he told me it wasn't good and to wait until he was finished with someone else. So I took a few pictures to show what life on the street corner is like as a businessperson.

The bike/cart of one of the other vendors on the corner. Check out the hand brake on the bar of the bike.

His business all set up for customers--complete with a stool to sit on and wait.

In the bag are a bunch of blank keys ready to be cut.

The tools of the trade.

His solution for my broken lock was to unscrew it from where it was mounted on the bike and then to take a saw to it. Now I have a U lock that isn't mounted--live and learn and then find a skilled key/lock cutter :)

Tomorrow we are headed to the countryside to visit our company's adventure site. Right now we are Thinking about the weather--the current forecast includes a 60% chance of rain. Also, please continue to lift up the preparations for the carnival next weekend.

Seeking the Kingdom,

16 April 2008

Belated Easter pictures

Currently watching: Popmart--U2 Live from Mexico

Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

So it's been a while since I've posted. The obvious understatement is that I guess life has been a bit crazy. Here's an update through pictures.

Easter was amazing. We had some of our university friends from English corner over to dye eggs. Also, during Easter weekend, many of the new staff participated in a pr@yer walk of the city.

Egg Experimenting:

Zach and Noah giving a demonstration to our local friends about how to properly dye eggs.

The girls' eggs at the varying stages of being dyed.

My friend proudly displaying her egg.

A work in progress!

The girl on the right is Family--please Think of her--that she would have boldness to share with the other members in our group.

I've learned that postcards from America make great gifts (they are small so they travel well and they show pictures of my hometown/state).

Out and About in the City:

On our city tour we stopped by the Taoist temple on Ancient Culture Street. Outside they were doing some sort of time period performance.

Check out the shoes--talk about high-heeled!

Aren't they just beautiful?

Randomly at one of the upscale hotels in town we stumbled upon real, live Easter bunnies.

Being an Olympic host city is giving many areas of town a nice face lift (but it's also causing major traffic in our neighborhood as they dismantled an entire market area and are widening the streets and bike lanes)

In the old British concession area, red telephone booths still exist.

I love the graphic on this sign!

As you might have come to gather, celebrating major holidays looks a bit different living overseas. While a traditional Easter meal in the States (at least in my family) would normally include a honey-glazed ham , scalloped potatoes, and a green bean casserole, a "traditional" meal for us in China has come to include ribs. The most tasty, fall-off-the-bone rib meat is found at a restaurant maybe 30 minutes from our house. This meal in all of its glory (including fried apple and pineapple pieces for dessert!) has come to be our meal for celebrating. This being said, the above picture is of Mia and I outside the rib restaurant on Easter morning. The best part of it is that Mia is wearing my dress I used to wear when I was her age. My aunt bought Laura Ashley dresses for my cousins and I in London many moons ago. It's so fun that she can now wear it! :)

Please Think about our upcoming carnival. It's quite a big event and hopefully will raise enough money to support all of our summer trips.

Speaking of trips, in one month, I will be on our 7th grade spring trip in Shandong province, and in two months, I will be in Inner Mongolia for our middle school summer trip. Oh, and only 20something more contact days with students. If those last two sentences aren't amazing, I don't know what is...

In gratitude of His goodness and faithfulness,

15 March 2008

A Picnic at the Water Park

Currently listening to: Remedy by Dave Crowder Band

Currently reading: my students' persuasive essays

Here's an update from a few weekends ago that I just haven't gotten around to:

The middle school sleepover party went quite well, although I thankfully didn't spend the night. The kids did a great job with the lip sync--it was really fun to watch. Middle school parties always include a rousing game of I Have Never. I love watching them try to slide into chairs on a marble floor!

Intermission between lip sync acts included toilet paper bowling.

Also from a few weekends ago--we took a picnic to the Water Park. I have a year pass now, so I imagine that I'll be using it quite a bit. It's just a short bike ride to get there and soon it will be full of flowers and greenery.

The sledding hill from February is quickly turning to a lake--a lake with a cabin.

Climbing on the rocks is always a highlight for the kids.

Enjoying a wonderful picnic lunch.

Beautiful Mia smiling wide!

Trying to problem solve how to get the Frisbee out of the tree.

The TV tower reflecting in the water.

We rode the Ferris wheel--it was quite the adventure! It took a whole 12 minutes to complete just one revolution :)

Looking down on the park from the top of the ride.

The third quarter is quickly coming to an end. Please think about:
  • All of the teachers as we finish up comments and grades this week.
  • The sharing that will occur next weekend with Easter.
  • The preparation of the students that will be participating in Model United Nations in April in Beijing--they have a lot of work to accomplish in the next few weeks in order to be ready.
  • The ongoing planning for our trip this summer to Inner Mongolia.

Hosanna in the Highest--Let the King of Glory enter in!

27 February 2008

Lantern Festival

Currently listening to: 2.24.08 Sunday teaching from FEFC

Currently reading: Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds by Tom Davis

The elevator at school really doesn't like me. Episode one: In the fall, I managed to get stuck in it (alone!) with the computer cart. Apparently a paper clip chain attached to the wheels on the cart jammed the doors so they opened only a few inches. I was rescued when our science teacher pulled the doors apart after I went up and down the five floors multiple times.

Episode two: Yesterday. I got the DVD/TV cart from the library and wheeled it into the elevator. Another woman was in it and when we got to the fourth floor, the elevator jolted a bit. Then the woman reached down and handed me the DVD player because it fell off the cart. When she handed me the DVD player, the cord was only about 2 inches long. I freaked out but tried to contain myself because I still had to get the cart off the elevator. I tried pushing the cart but to no avail. Why? The elevator missed lining up properly with the floor by about 4 inches. Try as I might, I couldn't pull the cart up over the gap. Then the same science teacher from episode one walked by and again came to my rescue. I took the DVD player to my principal and explain what happened. While I was worried about it, the teacher side of my brain was thinking that I had a classroom full of students waiting for me and the bell was going to ring any minute. As we were getting started for the morning (this all happened before 8 o'clock!), I told them how I severed the cord in the elevator door and how awful I felt. Then the science teacher came in. In his hands he had the severed cord that was stuck in the doors from the third floor. Apparently the ayis saw it and were getting ready to call the building maintenance because they thought it was a broken cord from the elevator itself. He kindly explained that it was ok and that it was only a broken electric cord. I wish I had a picture of the cord. It was a good foot and a half long and the tail end was completely stripped of the plastic coating and showed all the frayed copper wires. The best part of the story--how the maintenance workers at our school are so awesome that with a little electric tape and some patience, they were able to salvage it--only in China!

Last Thursday was the official end of Chinese New Year celebrations (read: the last day for everyone to set off fireworks). Lantern Festival has it own set of cuisine and my Chinese teacher was kind enough to invite me to celebrate with him and his family in his new apartment. After a wonderful dinner, we went to the Amusement Park (the Chinese name for this park is the Happy Garden) where an impressive display was set up. It was quite crowded--very different than the last time I was there in June. We walked around the park for a while and then returned home to multiple amateur firework shows (AKA neighbor pyros just having fun).

Three sided dumplings and fried sticky rice balls, among other happiness.

My language partner, our teacher, his daughters and wife in their new kitchen.

The explosion of fireworks we set off near our compound as we left for the park.

The crowd of people buying admission tickets to the park.

In my imagination, this was what the whole park was going to look like.

In reality, this was what the displays looked like--more like beautifully lighted scenery that tells a story.

A close up of the ancient Chinese woman.

Nicole, Liu Laoshi and I enjoying the lanterns together.

A dragon is a vital part of all things Chinese.

An amazing replica of Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.

The ever-present fireworks.

The theme for this year's show was the Olympic venues from around the world (hence the orthodox cathedral symbolizing the 1980 Games).

An artistic attempt at capturing the lighted walk ways.

The trashed ticket stubs at the entrance/exit.

The entrance gates lit up in all their Beijing 2008 Olympic glory.

Trying to stay warm!

That light in the upper corner is a floating lantern. It works like a hot air balloon--there's a candle in the inside and a paper dome surrounding it and when it gets hot enough, they take off into the sky by themselves. The sky was dotted with them that night. They were so magical. My goal is do (make?) one myself next year! As we were walking back, we saw one that caught on fire. It looked like a shooting star because it burned up before it hit the ground.

The debris left over from the fireworks outside my gate.

It wouldn't be a complete post without some funny signs.

I spotted this at a restaurant this weekend.

How does a sandwich have eggs taste?

This weekend is our lip sync contest/sleepover. Please Think about our sanity as we deal with 100+ middle school students in the wee hours of the night.

Trusting in His strength,


17 February 2008

Guo Nian Hao!

Currently listening to: The Stage Names by Okkervil River

Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (About 5 years too late, I know, I know)

Happy New Year to all! I am safely back in China and enjoying my last few moments of freedom before school starts. I've just been laying low but it feels great not to have a whole lot on my plate. That last statement dissolves tomorrow at 7am. I had two goals for the weekend--I had to finish my grading (mid quarters are due on Tuesday) and I wanted to post about my time in America. It looks like they will both be accomplished. Three cheers for achievable goals!

The Monday before I returned to the States, my language partners and I took our Chinese teacher out for a nice American meal at TGI Fridays. Those are the first two pictures I have to share. The rest are from my trip. I was excited to see real snow and lots of it, so there are a few nature pictures, but most of them are from our family outing to the Denver Art Museum. Being in an environment like that brings out the artsy photographer in me, so hang with me, there's a few of those pictures. And, of course, some family pictures--it was, after all, a family event that brought me back.

Enjoying a nice western meal together.

Our teacher tasting his first jalapeƱo burger--he still claims it wasn't hot.

Our snow-covered street and big, blue sky.


Even the pastry counter at Whole Foods was celebrating the Year of the Rat.

The street lamp on our corner in the middle of a snow storm. It was a good test for me to see if I can still drive in snow. (BTW, I can!)

The beautiful result of scary snowstorms.

A slightly grainy, yet super cool picture of a nice display at the art museum.

The Meyer women back together again.

This artist filled up a wall-length linen canvas with words--it was quite the effect.

Another great sculpture made of metal rods put together to form a human figure.

I guess even hubcaps are art.


A view of the snow-covered Rockies and the Front Range from inside the museum.

The cute newlyweds!

I had one--beer is growing on me, slowly.

Colorado's capitol building, complete with a gold leaf roof, exactly 5280 feet above sea level. We aren't called the Mile High City for nothing :)

My favorite picture from the trip.

Our family after the memorial service.

Well, Lantern Festival is on Thursday, so I'm sure that I'll have something exciting to report then.

In this season of Lent, in steadfast faith, embrace and hold fast to the unchangeable Truth.