Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Can You Feel It?

The last week and a half has been great for me, but not so much for rest of Asia. The earthquake in Japan was an unfortunate tragedy and the news of the nuclear issues has dominated reports. What I do find encouraging is the compassion of the Chinese people I have talked to about the quake, despite their general dislike of the Japanese.

Many people have asked me how I’ve been affected by the quake here. So far there has been little or no affect on China, except for a few small aftershocks. No radiation has made it across the sea to China, although that has not stopped some from worrying. In fact a few days ago, someone in China must have read about the iodine add to salt in the west, because there was a massive rush to buy salt in all the stores around many Chinese cities. Apparently they had not been informed that iodine is not added to the salt in China.

Another unfortunate incident occurred a couple days ago when I woke up to a large number of police and a reporter outside my building. Next to the guard station, on the ground was a dead body. Unlike the bodies found in the USA, it was not quickly covered and the area was not cordoned off. Apparently someone had jumped from a window on the top floor of my building.

Ok, now on to the good. I recently had the opportunity to visit my friends in Hangzhou for a couple nights. The trip was wonderful and the food was good. I got to spend a couple days hanging out with my friend Ivy, but unfortunately my other friend Elva had to go to Shanghai for work, so my time chatting with her was limited to about an hour one night. Instead of telling you about it, I figured I’ll just share some photos again.

A picture of my friend Ivy in the Trees at Westlake.

A view from the street in Hangzhou.

The afternoon gaming grew under a bridge in Hangzhou.

Go to my flickr page to see more from the trip. Click on the Hangzhou set to see more.

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I Am A Lighthouse…

“The Lighthouse’s Tale”

I am a lighthouse
Worn by the weather and the waves
I keep my lamp lit
To warn the sailors on their way
I’ll tell a story
Paint you a picture from my past
I was so happy
But joy in this life seldom lasts

I had a keeper
He helped me warn the ships at sea
We had grown closer
‘Til his joy meant everything to me
He was to marry
A girl who shone with beauty and light
They loved each other
And with me watched the sunsets into nights

And the waves crash around me,
The sand slips out to sea,
And the winds that blow remind me
Of what has been, and what can never be

She’d had to leave us
My keeper, he prayed for a safe return
But when the night came
The weather to a raging storm had turned
He watched her ship fight
But in vain against the wild and terrible wind
In me so helpless
As dashed against the rocks she met her end

And the waves crash around me,
The sand slips out to sea,
And the winds that blow remind me
Of what has been, and what can never be

Then on the next day
My keeper found her washed up on the shore
He kissed her cold face
And that they’d be together soon he swore I saw him crying
Watched as he buried her in the sand
Then he climbed my tower
And off the edge of me he ran

And the waves crash around me,
The sand slips out to sea,
And the winds that blow remind me
Of what has been, and what can never be

I am a lighthouse
Worn by the weather and the waves
And though I’m empty
I still warn the sailors on their way

I make no claim to writing this. The only claim I make, is to say that it still speaks to me…

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You Live, You learn…

Another week gone by, without a lot happening. This week has been fairly standard. MY goal of joining the gym and quiting going out has worked. The only problem so far is lack of motivation to actually make it to the gym. I really need to work on that. Fortunately a couple of my coworkers have memberships to the same gym. Maybe I can find some accountability through them.

In addition to working, I finally got the Chinese lessons sorted. My first lesson turned into more of a meet and greet on Tuesday. However, we met again on Wednesday for our first lesson. Most of what we covered was familiar to me, but my pronunciation certainly needs work! I’ve also begun learning to write the characters as well. In fact I’m taking a little break from my practice now, to write this post. I have my second lesson tonight.

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m heading to Hangzhou to visit my friends Ivy and Elva. I’m hoping the weather hold up. It has gotten a bit warmer the last few days. After that trip and a little more shopping next month, I’m hoping to limit me spending to food and Chinese lessons. I’m getting closer to a point where I’ll have to think about a new laptop in the next couple months, so I should start saving now.

Ok, well that is all for this short post. I’m hoping to get some good news from my sister in the next couple weeks. (And some pictures!) If I do I’ll pass it along. Anyone reading this back in the states, feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email to let me know how things are going. I’ll post again after my Hangzhou trip with more pictures.

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Suzhou In Pictures

Yesterday I took a trip to Suzhou to visit my friend Maria. The train ride from Wuxi took a total of 12 minutes. It is amazing how smooth the ride is at 320 km/h. Instead of telling the story, I thought I’d tell the story in pictures this time instead.
Confucious Garden
A Confucious temple.

Lakeside View
Lakeside at the Chanlang Pavillion.

A courtyard at the Chanlang Pavillion.

In The Bamboo
Maria on a bamboo pathway at The Chanlang Pavillion.

In Bloom
Early blooms on a tree at the Couples Garden Retreat.

Despite the chilly weather, the trip to Suzhou was quite enjoyable. I’ve put up a few more pictures on my flickr page.

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Another week gone by… This week has been eventful and interesting. Two of my classes this week were held at Papa John’s, making pizzas with kids from the school and teaching them about the various ingredients and steps. As a bonus I got to make my own pizza twice and eat it. It is probably the only time I’ll be able to eat pizza with enough tomato sauce while I live in China, at least until I get a place with a proper oven! Once I get pictures from the event, I’ll do a blog post full of pictures.

Wednesday was my one day off this last week. My friend Liang, from Seattle, has been in Shanghai visiting his family for Spring Festival. On Wednesday, he took a train over to Wuxi to visit for the day. It was certainly nice to see a familiar face and the irony of him coming to China to visit me was not lost on us. Despite the rainy weather, we took the opportunity to tour Xihui Park here in Wuxi. The park is known for having one of the few 9 Dragon Walls outside of Beijing, and The Second Spring Under Heaven.


As usual my weekend was full and extremely tiring. Generally speaking I am at the school teaching from 8am to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Today is a much lighter day for me, with a teacher’s meeting this morning and an adult class tonight. Tomorrow is my one day off and I can’t say how much I am looking forward to it.


Anyone interested in seeing more pictures can check out My Flick Page. I’ll be adding more soon.

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Due to the GFW (Great Firewall) of China, I’ve been forced to move my blog to this location until I get a solid VPN up and running. I will have much more to add later today, but for now I’d just like to say welcome!

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