Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The south and north of China


My adventurous soul has been really happy these past couple of days. The first day here we took a boat ride down the Li river. We had four of us on a little bamboo raft with a Chinese man sitting at the back of the raft with a a beat up engine, propelling up through the water. I loved every second of the ride. Then we headed to our hostel- which was great! We walked around the night market which was right outside our hostel door.

The next day we rented bikes. Our whole group- 15 of us went together! It was so much fun to be able to ride a bike through the beautiful hills of yangshou. We biked for about three hours and then stopped and we all went swimming in the Li river! It felt so wonderful. It was really cool because people around us where on bamboo rafts going down the river and we just stopped and swam. We got some funny looks.

Our last day in yangshou we went to the mud and water caves!! I was so excited to go here because all growing up I had heard about these caves and moon hill from my aunts. It was so much fun locking all of our stuff up in lockers and walking I too a cave in your swimsuit. The mud was so cool and we could not sink in the mud. It was such a strange feeling. After we rinsed off we kept walking in the cave to some hot springs. They felt so wonderful and we could be in them for a half-an-hour and we definitely stayed the whole time. Once we got back we walked around the cool street markets and hung out in the park.


We were in Guilin for one day and it was fun to walk around with Brian, Sierra, Kristen, and Heather.  We saw a small glimpse of the elephant trunk hill- because it cost 75 yuan to go in and see it. Lame. Then we walked around and saw two beautiful pagodas. We had a fun night seeing a big lake all lit up and walking around a neat outdoor night market. This is where I got my chop!

Sitting in the guilin airport blasting the little marbles, a Swedish rock group. It seemed fitting to me to listen to Swedish since I am in a foreign country. I find myself wanting to speak Swedish all the time. It is funny to me that my brain reverts to the only other language I know.

I just watched a mother have her toddler pee into a water bottle in the airport. All babies and toddlers have pants with slits in them for the baby to always have easy access. This is definitely a foreign country in every sense of the word.

I am sitting on the bullet train home to nanjing right now. It will take us 4 hours to travel home and I have never been so excited to get "home". This trip has been everything I have ever dreamed of. It just seemed to be one day too long. But, that's life. We flew into Beijing and got to our hostel late at night and opening the door to that hostel is something I will never forget. It was like I stepped back into time. It was set up like am old western bar. En we walked around the corner to our sleeping area and I felt like i had gone back into time again- this time to when Mao had his red army. It was basically a big tent with concrete walls. The bunk beds were nasty. The next morning it was my goal to get us out of there. I have never felt so sick to my stomach when traveling. They also had no where that we could lock up our bags during the day. So, luckily I found another hostel for us to stay at for the last 4 nights. We stayed at Mao's camp for 2 nights and I hated it.

When we showed up to our other hostel somehow they had double booked. So, for one night we got to stay at a really nice courtyard Chinese house. Then the last three nights we stayed in a cute old house. I really enjoyed my time at this hostel. They also treated us to a dumpling making party on Monday night and that was really fun.

Here is a list of what we saw:
 Hutong walking street
Behai park
Tinanamen square
The lama temple
The summer palace
Had a delicious hot pot meal
The Olympic stadium
The silk market
The Great Wall of China
The imperial palace
Forbidden city
The temple of heaven
The pearl market

My ten day vacation has come and gone. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be teaching English here. Traveling and living in china are two very different things. I love being able to experience china in both ways.

The best thing about visiting Beijing was the cute tour guides that we had. The night before I left to china I went to FHE and meet Jonathan a Chinese guy who had just moved to Utah for law school at BYU. He is from Beijing and told me to tell him when I would be going there  and he would help set me up with some of his friends to take us around. The first day two girls meet us and took us around. Then the next two days the same girl took us around- she was so sweet and bought all four of us lunch and dinner one of the days! The next day I bought her lunch.

This was an amazing trip and I will remember it forever.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

District conference in shanghai

What a great weekend!! I was very blessed to attend district conference in China this weekend. While at the conference I came to realize how blessed we are to be able to meet as saints in China. To be able to have a meeting that big in mainland China is a miracle. I know Heavenly Father is watching out for His saints all over the world. I love the gospel!

I got the chance to stay with the wonderful Hayden's and attend the conference with them. I can see why my parents are such good friends with them. They emulate the spirit of Christ and their home felt so good. I am so grateful for good people all over the world. Elder Toronto from the Seventy spoke to us. My favorite message was that of feeling at "home" wherever you are living. Bring the spirit with you wherever you go.

Because of the conference we didn't really get the chance to see any of Shanghai. So I am already planning a trip back to visit the Hayden's sometime in November or December. I did get to visit a neat little old water town called Qibao. That was fun and it was there that I got myself those cute Chinese shoes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The yellow mountains

Going to a national park in China over their mid-autumn festival was a bad idea. I have never waited in so many lines just to get inside a park. The bus left our hostel at 6:20am and we got to the base of the mountains around 7:30 and then we waited in line for about three hours before we saw anything! So, crazy.

My little group decided we wanted to take the cable car up and then hike down. But, once we got to the top we could not find the way down by hiking so we had to take the cable car back down. Oh well. Just to get inside the mountains cost about 60 bucks! But, it was worth it. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty that I saw in those mountains. They were like no other mountains I have ever seen. Plus, hiking with a million Chinese people was quite the experience. And in the sea of black- haired people, older Chinese men were carrying older people around on chairs. Insane!!

Ancient tunxi was the city about 40 mins away and that was where we stayed. It was such a beautiful city. Our hostel was right downtown and I loved that! Seeing the full moon here was breath taking. The fishy pedicures was such a strange feeling. Not sure I want to do that again. I could not stop laughing from the moment I stuck my stinky feet into the water. I am sure I was quite the spectacle for the Chinese. My feet did feel heavenly after I took them out. So, it was worth all the tickling.

I would say that my first vacation here was a success. It was a good one to see the difference between living at a school in China vs. traveling in China. They are very different. All the bathrooms are squatters and smell really bad and take some talent. Haha. I had my first experience with dropping my whole pack of tissues in the hole without being able to use it first. Yuck. I am going to be much more careful from now on. And I have never gotten so many stares. Seriously, I am sitting on the train back to Nanjing right now and I have three Chinese men just staring at me. Oh, boy. Hand sanitizer is my best friend. Oh, and trying to buy clothes here that fit me is quite difficult. In fact last night I had one Chinese women run after me saying she had "big red pant" for me. Haha. I didn't want them. People here call me big all the time. I think it is super funny. And that's all folks!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2nd grade VS. 7th grade

I know now that I will always prefer 7th graders to 2nd graders. Chinese 7th graders are soooo cute. They are very respectful and stand up when asked a question. I love them. Every week I will have the chance to teach two seventh grade classes and I can all ready tell that they are going to be my favorite part of my ilp teaching experience. We have them for 40 minutes and teach them English out of their workbooks. We also will get the chance to play games with them and tell them all about America. 

Second graders are fun, but they just don't listen as well. And we have to plan out some kind of fun activity every day to do with them. This week and next I will be teaching drama. We have six different categories that we teach; gym, games, art, kitchen, drama, and shop. Every week we teach a different subject. 

Yesterday, I taught the three little pigs story. I had them all make little pigs out of paper and put them on Popsicle sticks. They really enjoyed doing that. Then I put on a "wolf" mask and acted like I was going to catch them all. That was fun. I had all eight of them screaming and running around. Haha. Then we made houses to protect them. That was a fun lesson. At one point in the lesson though I looked down and had all eight of them grabbing onto my legs acting like little pigs. Haha. Priceless. 

Life here is good. I love being a teacher and being with the kids every day. 

Last night I went out on the town with a couple of the other teachers and found the best store! Everything was super cheap and I was told that I could even barder cheaper! I am learning. I got myself a cute yellow bee shirt for only $5. I think I will go back tonight! I love it here. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Chinese 2nd graders

Wow. That was harder then I thought it would be. Chinese kids like to speak English and I could tell that they just wanted to impress me. And because of that they would yell at me saying, "teacher, teacher look at me!!" Class was very loud.

I had a great lesson plan with props and such. But, It felt like I didn't get through it all. Tomorrow will go a little better. After the first day we all looked like zombies walking to dinner. And the worst part about that was we all knew what our dinner would be. Not good. Chinese cafeteria food is pretty interesting. I never know what I am eating. There is always some strange meat, rice, and tofu. Yum.

But, on the flip side I did eat my first moon pie today and that was great! I had a dessert one and a meat one.  We also went grocery shopping and I got fruit!

 I am super tired tonight. So, I think that is going to be all I will write about my first day teaching. What a day. Night!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Adventures in china

Wow. It has been almost two whole years since I have been home from my mission! And it's about time for me to get back into the world of blogging.

For the next four months I will be living in Nanjing, China. And I will be updating this blog for those who want to hear about my crazy adventures. Enjoy!

First impressions of china:

Smog. I finally saw the sky for the first time this afternoon, after being here for almost two whole days.

Crowds. Chinese people have no concept of space. You have to push yourself anywhere that you want to go.

Humidity. I feel like I never get dry from my shower. Still feel wet.... Like right now.

Toilets. Toilet paper does not exist and when you use your tissue to wipe you have to throw it away in the trash. Smelly.

Animals. They are everywhere. I have seen tons of dogs and cats roaming the streets.

I am really excited to be able to travel this amazing country. It is like no place I have ever been. So, next weekend we have a three day weekend and we have all decided that we are going to take advantage of that and go to Beijing!! I am excited to see the forbidden city, Great Wall, temple of heaven, tinanamen square, and the summer palace.

Then the next weekend we will travel to shanghai for our district conference. I will be staying with the Hayden's. :) and they told me that the YSA's have lots of activities planned for us.

And then our ten day vacation is October 1-7 and we will be traveling down south to Guilin, Yongshou, and Longshen.

And we start teaching on Monday!! I will be teaching 2nd and 7th grades. I am looking forward to being with the older kids. It will make me miss Dixon. We have had training all day yesterday and today.

I believe that is all for now! Until next time! #talisainchina

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Talisa is home!

This is Tonya, Talisa's mom. This will be the last time I will update Talisa's blog. I just wanted to say how happy I am she is home! I'll give control of the blog back to her now. What a wonderful experience she had in Sweden. Keep reading, I'm sure she'll have many more adventures to come.