the one with the ocarina & my body weight in skewered dishes

this weekend was a winner.
not only did we get to view the school assembly, which was a big ocarina concert (yeah shelb you'd love it),
bethany and i got to hang out with one of our cutest students, teddy, and his friends and family.
we got to go to teddy's grandma's apple farm where we were each given a bag of 30 apples by grandma, 
who was sorting apples on the ground with a red hat sideways on her head.
other highlights were the fact that teddy, a seven year old, has his own pocketful of tiny fireworks and lighters. we lit those off.
i also ate my body weight in chinese food for lunch and dinner with them, as well as a big barbeque the next day at another family's house.
huge, head-on shrimp? check.
oysters and a whole fish? check.
an array of unknown meats on skewers? check.
dumplings half the size of my head, italian meat flavored potato chips, persimmons, and for REAL chinese orange chicken (it exists!)? check check check check.
also, they had cheesecake. cheesecake!!
after we left the restaurant we saw a dalmatian wiener dog. 
and i found a chicken foot in my lunch today at the cafeteria.
china can be weird.
love it.



alex walked into class this morning and said, "tee-cha, you are beautiful!"
i said, "thank you, alex!!!" what kind of sweet six year old says that? let alone in a second langauge?
he said, "teacher, i lub you too! i lub you too!"
(we tell each other how much we love each other all the time)
and annie ran up to me and said, with big eyes, 
"teacher! i love you ELEVEN!"

oh. how will i ever leave them?


my chinese family

chinese people are very generous. and they seem to like allie & i, which means that we get to go on lots of real authentic chinese adventure with them.
may is the second grade teacher whose classroom i teach in. monica is her daughter, who is also one of allie's students. they are the sweetest family and they take us to do things at least once a week. 
i could give you a million stories about our times with them, but to keep it short here's some photos and explanations.
1. me fishing at the beach on national day with doug (another second grader)
2. that one time when allie and i biked may, monica, and the father of the family (who speaks no english which means he has a name we cannot pronounce) up a seaside mountain on the tandem bike car thing.
3. beautiful little monica on the swings we rode at the beach carnival.
4. kevin. the most adorable little boy. he is my buddy when we go to do things with the chinese families, but he is too shy to talk to me.
5. me with alex, doug, and their mothers from when we went fishing.
6. classic treats at linhai park: dates on a stick & cotton candy.

1. us at the buddhist temple on weihai's holy mountain, with monica and mary.
2. classic picture. a) the random asian who asked for pictures with us b) allie in her grass skiing gear c) me getting my helmet strapped on by the employee of the grass skiing place, who is either excited enough about me to want to help me with everything, or thinks i'm one of those dumb americans who doesn't know how to do anything.
3. me and my dumpling. we went to the beach with may and a few other families, and the women taught us how to make dumplings.
4. favorite chinese treats: dark chocolate and coconut milk. may knows me so well.
5. kevin & i on our toboggan.
6. my chinese friend whose name sounds like "john wayne" ducking out of the picture of me riding the conveyor belt up the gradual incline which i was about to grass ski down. yeah it's a thing. i could literally be a professional athlete here. and you know how coordinated i am.

china. as good as ever.

i love chinese families. there is so much love for everyone within them. the marriages seem so solid and both parents are completely devoted to their child. of course there's problems here, but aside from everything wrong, they have the most loving, solid, supportive families i've ever seen. the entire society revolves around family. it is the core. so wonderful to see.