Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our House!

I’ve uploaded some pictures onto facebook of our house! I hope you enjoy seeing our “little home” =)

Make sure to copy the whole link! =)


East Asia Games!

Hong Kong was the host of the East Asia Games this year and the weekend of December 12th Jordan and I went to Hong Kong with some friends to watch the championship game for soccer. Our tickets let us in around 2 pm and we were able to watch North Korea vs. South Korea play for 3rd place and then the championship game which was Hong Kong vs. Japan. We took a bus into Hong Kong, stopped at the hostel where some of the gang was staying that night, and had some Indian food…not my choice, but it was decent. I was in the mood for a big juicy burger that you can only find in HK. Oh well! We headed over to the stadium afterwards anxiously awaiting two fun games ahead! Our seats were first come first serve on the ground level and since we got there early, we ended up sitting on the front row on the 50 yard line. Some guys who were there saving seats for their friends who were cheering for Hong Kong invited us to join them, but only if we were cheering for Hong Kong during the second game. =) South Korea beat North Korea in penalty kicks which made the game even more fun. We loved every minute especially during the championship game. We were “sitting” aka standing in the college section the whole time yelling and cheering until our throats hurt! Our section was super fun and all the press guys were constantly in our area, loving not only the fact that the crowd was wild, but there were eight white Americans on the front row! =) Hong Kong beat Japan after two overtimes and then won by penalty kicks! We made it into the news that night a couple of times! Some of the guys were even interviewed before and after the games! It was a day we won’t forget during our adventures in China!

Tyler and Jordan

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Happy "Sanks"giving!!!!!!!

On Thanksgiving day, we went to dinner with one of the “head honcho” ladies from our school. She’s actually a retired teacher, but works for the local education bureau and comes twice a week to our school. If we need ANYTHING she gets it for us. For instance during the extreme weather change, she hooked us up with a space heater and multiple blankets for our room! A huge help! We meet with her on Tuesday afternoons for about an hour and she gets to practice her English. She has three children, two of which live in the states, so she loves talking about that and comparing lifestyles. She’s been to the states numerous times so at least we have something to talk about. She took us to a great restaurant about thirty minutes from school and we had the ever so delicious Beijing roast duck. It reminded Jordan and me of Christmas 2007 when we had roast duck for dinner in Beijing with Mitzi & Katie. So now, it almost seems normal to have roast duck on special holidays! We ordered a pumpkin dish and a green bean dish to help make it feel a little more like Thanksgiving. It was a great evening, other than the fact that Jordan had been fighting a bad cold and was a little under the weather.

What makes me laugh about the whole night or whenever she takes us anywhere, our school driver drives us in his personal car as opposed to the school van. Apparently he picks her up every Tuesday and Thursday and takes her home too! So if that tells you anything about her “rank”… Her husband accompanied us to dinner along with our driver. Neither the driver nor her husband speaks English which just makes dinner even more interesting. At some point in every conversation, the driver, her husband, or I do not know what’s being said.

Friday night we got together with some others from the group in our area. I mentioned before that there were a lot of couples here and about eight of us got together for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. And when I say traditional, I mean the whole nine yards! EVEN a TURKEY! I know you’re thinking, “Where can you find turkey for Thanksgiving in China?” Well, no other than SAM’S CLUB of course!!! Yes, there’s a Sam’s Club right here in good ‘ol Shenzhen!!!! So our Friday night was complete with mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, bread, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, apple pie and even a pumpkin pie! We each brought a dish or two for the festivities! WE WERE STUFFED!!! It only seemed right to have this large meal on Friday since it would have actually been Thanksgiving Day at home! =) One of the guys that came to the dinner is a huge NFL fan and bought some sort of ESPN package that allows him to watch the games overseas. He brought his laptop to the dinner and we all sat around afterwards to watch the Texas vs. Texas A&M game!

Saturday, we had a pot luck style dinner with the whole group at one of the schools were a couple of people from the group teach. Jordan and I decided that we should let our Southern roots show and provided some fried chicken and mac & cheese! Jordan did a great job frying up the chicken in our wok! The chicken was a huge hit at the afternoon dinner and delicious too! =) After eating, Jordan and some of the guys played a game of football on the school field and they loved every minute of it! It was hilarious to watch all the Chinese guys go up to the sideline and just stare!

Sunday, we did our normal Sunday routine which is to take the bus into Nanshan and go to church. It has been such a blessing that we’ve not only found an English church, but the friends we’ve made there too! After church we usually make a quick stop at some Western grocery stores (which when I say grocery store, try to imagine a 1990ish style convenient store food/candy section only…(nothing as large as a QuikTrip) packed with ceiling to floor shelves and over crowded with boxes even on the floor! =) It’s crammed, but a familiar feeling of home goods! After grabbing a bite to eat we get back on the J1 bus and head home so I can tutor in the afternoon.

We love you and hope you’re Thanksgiving was a wonderful time with family and friends.

We so thankful for each one of you! Lots of love,
Tyler & Jordan

From 70º to 40º and back to 70º!

Yes, I know it’s been over a month! It’s a weird concept, but our everyday routine has become a normal thing for us now and I don’t feel like we’ve got much news here. But of course my mom reminds me all the time that I haven’t written and I should just talk about anything! So this one’s for you Mom! =)

About two weeks ago a cold front hit us hard! It went from about 70 degrees to about 40 degrees overnight with winds about 30 MPH! It was ridiculously cold and windy!! I mean, yes we had been complaining about the heat, but overnight coldness- we just weren’t ready for! We had been told that the weather here in Shenzhen is perfect from about November through January- fall-like temperatures and a few cooler days here and there. Everyone (I mean the Chinese folks) kept telling us how rare this was and how special the weather was since it hadn’t happened like this in over 100 years! Of course, “special” wouldn’t have been my choice of words…Beijing has already gotten two large snowfalls, which the first usually doesn’t happen until January. And everyone’s concerned with global warming…China should be concerned with global cooling. =) So with the limited amount of luggage we brought, our winter clothes were left behind…So during the extremely cold week, we went to Wal-Mart (near our Chinese class) and bought us a few things to keep us warm! Yes, Jordan even found a fleece jacket that fit him. We also bought some toboggans, long-sleeve shirts, & scarves- for me =) Jordan and I have been waking up and running around 6:15 AM each morning and we needed some extra clothing so we wouldn’t have an excuse! Jordan thought the weather was perfect and I basically made him buy the jacket. He was walking around in a short sleeve polo and khakis and compared to everyone else, he looked really out of place! It was probably the first week that he didn't sweat at all while teaching! The funny part of the whole story is the day after our shopping spree and since then, it’s been warm. I think I’ve worn my jacket twice now. So we’re back to the glorious fall weather we were told about and enjoying everyday!

I’m sorry that I’ve had writer’s block for the past month, but promise to get back into the habit!

Loving the current weather,
Tyler and Jordan

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birthday fun and pictures!

Hey guys! I know it's been a week or two, but we've just gotten in that same 'ol same 'ol routine...

This weekend we celebrated my 25th birthday! Ahhh! It sounds so old, which makes me feel old! Haha! Jordan cooked breakfast for me and then we headed over to hang out with our friends Emily and Murray. We killed time Saturday afternoon by going to a nice mall nearby their apartment and then went out for dinner to The Terrace. It's a great Western restaurant and I had an amazing bacon cheeseburger and I ordered some Thai spring rolls. Jordan went for the pepperoni pizza (with amazing cheese...a rarity here) and spinach artichoke dip! YUMMMM!!!! We were stuffed!!!! Sunday we went to church and enjoyed meeting some new people and enjoyed their fellowship for a bit afterwards. I tutor on Sunday afternoons, so we left around two and headed back into Yantian (YAN-ti-an). Overall a great birthday weekend! =)

I put some pictures up on Facebook of our Philippine travels... if you don't have Facebook, just click on the link below or you might have to copy and paste it! =)


Lots of love,
Tyler (and Jordan) =)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Philippines Trip!

We’re back from the Philippines! While we were hesitant to travel there after the typhoon that hit Manila, we decided to go and get the heck out of Manila asap! The trip was an absolute blast and everything went very smoothly…here are a couple of highlights of the trip:

After arriving in Manila, we had to buy plane tickets to Palawan- where we wanted to go for majority of the week. Palawan is an island south west of Manila which has lots of beaches and great places to relax! So we started at the Philippine Air desk, since that’s what we flew on our way there. We had looked up prices ahead of time, but the cheaper airline wouldn’t let us purchase online. So after being quoted about $50 more than the other airline we decided to try and go to that particular airline’s desk. The guy actually went ahead and reserved our ticket for Philippine Air just in case we came back…We hopped in a cab and had the funniest experience in search for cheaper tickets. Our driver Mike was super nice and spoke great English. English is the country’s language along with Tagalog. Anytime we’d ask him a question he’d end it in, “Yes, that’s right Boss.” We laughed the whole time we were with him. Since he was an airport taxi driver he was much more legit than the other street cabs and he was able to show us around. The Manila airport isn’t set up well and there are 3 separate parts of the airport so we were on our way to another when we told him why we were going there. So he thought he could make it easier and take us to just a street ticket office. Well that wasn’t the best idea…after realizing that it wasn’t very “maintained” by that I mean the computer wasn’t set up and they didn’t have a phone, were having to call the airlines by going next door, and the price was $50 more than what was quoted we headed BACK to the Philippine Air at the airport. Thank goodness we had reserved the seats because in the hour we were gone, the price went up by about $75! Mike was great and stayed with us the whole night taking us wherever we needed. He ended up helping us find a hotel close to the airport since we would be leaving Manila at 8 am. So we stayed at this hotel…which was ok, but I didn’t want to walk around barefoot… =)

When we arrived in Palawan on Friday morning, we found a great little bed and breakfast. They took us from the airport, which by the way had a single strip airport but our huge 777 jet landed on… and we booked our rooms for the week. It was a great place, only two weeks old, super nice employees, and only cost $22 USD a night! We had air conditioning, hot showers, double bed, lock safe in the room, and free WiFi! We were definitely satisfied! After settling in, we took a city tour of Puerto Princesa and went to a crocodile farm, butterfly garden, saw a very old Cathedral, and enjoyed the afternoon.

The biggest thing about Palawan right now for tourists is the longest underground river in the world. It is currently in the top 20 of the new 7 Wonders of the World that is being voted on by the world. Saturday we took the tour and it was really cool. We had to drive about 2 hours before arriving, but we were able to see some very rural areas of the country. Thatch houses and areas without any electricity…it just seemed to foreign especially since about two hours away they had everything…The river tour was really neat. The whole river is in this cave which is about 8 km long. The tour is only about 1.5 km and we saw lots of stalagmites, stalactites, and a lot of bats- which I could have really done without! I was just waiting for one to fall on my head…even with a helmet! After the river tour we had lunch and then went swimming. It was absolutely gorgeous! One of the best views I have ever seen! Beautiful mountains all around, gorgeous white sand, green palm trees, and crystal clear water! You wish you were there don’t you?? =) If it’s any consolation, we didn’t want to leave… After we got back we went to this great seafood restaurant where you had to take off your shoes before walking on the beautiful hardwood floors. Next, we decided to go to a little restaurant for some dessert and we met a group of girls who lived on the island. They told us about this place we could go dancing and hear a band so headed off there. We had a blast and enjoyed meeting some new friends.

Sunday we went island hopping on Honda Bay. The tour included snorkeling, lunch, and three gorgeous islands. The weather was absolutely wonderful and had the sunburn to prove it! Yes, Mom I did wear sunscreen…I just forgot to reapply! =) Sunday night was low key and we had dinner close by and came back and played UNO.

Monday we took it easy and slept late since we had been waking up early for the tours. A little before lunch we decided that we wanted to go to this waterfall called Estrella Falls. Our hotel has a van and driver that we rented for the afternoon. After about a 2 hour bus ride through absolutely no where, we made it to the falls. It was nice, not anything grand, but it was fun just playing in the river for a couple of hours.

I don’t think I’ve given the roads in Palawan the description they deserve. First, while they may be paved, it has ruts and huge holes. There is a ton of road work, but none of it seems like there’s any rhyme or reason to it all. The road would have a newly paved road and then out of no where it would just end. No one drives on a particular side of the road either. Needless, it’s always an adventure.

We left Puerto Princesa and headed back to Manila on Wednesday morning. When we got the airport, our friends Emily and Murray decided to change their flight and head back to China. Jordan and I stayed because we had plans to meet up with Abi, who was in Jordan’s class in Beijing when he was there in 2007. Abi was so great to us while we were there for the night. She picked us up at our hotel and took us to this great Philippino restaurant and to an amazing dessert café called, Chocolate. Jordan and I split the best dark chocolate, thick, milkshake! It was to die for!! Jordan and I had been craving a good chocolate milkshake which is IMPOSSIBLE to find in China. Thursday morning Abi graciously picked us up first thing and took us to breakfast and then showed us the family business which she works for. The business is in Manila’s China Town and of course we took a walk through! It was a lot of fun and Jordan really enjoyed hanging out with Abi. After a fun morning, she took us back to the airport. Our flight was delayed about an hour, but we made it back to China without any problems.

I know this ended up being another long novel, but thank you for your prayers and concerns during our travels. Our break overall was very relaxing and to top it off we got to add another stamp to our passports!

Lots of love,
Tyler & Jordan

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh China!...

Things that make me go “Oh China!...”

- When our contact teacher needed to make copies of our residence cards, I had them in my teacher bag (which is always with me). I ran into him right before class and tried to give them to him, but he said he didn’t have time. No big deal, I just put them back in my bag. He proceeded to interrupt me during my next class and told me how I needed to keep the passports in a “secure place”. Ok, makes sense, but the only reason I had them with me was because he asked for them. I thought it was nice of him to care, but later when he did take them, he sent them back to us via a STUDENT at school! Oh China!…

- The students do morning and afternoon eye/relaxation exercises between two classes. There is a recording that plays throughout the school of this lady counting in Chinese and the students rub their temples, below their eyes, etc. I thought this was interesting and also a slight bit of entertainment for me twice a day…well they’ve stopped doing these exercises last week. When we asked them why, they simply said, “That’s how H1N1 is spread.” Eye exercises!?!? Really? Oh China!…

- Our headmaster thought it was too far to go to the Philippines for our 8 day break. He signed our paperwork saying we could go, but to avoid being around people in fear of us getting sick. Avoid people? Hummm…Oh China!...

- Our bathroom/shower with no shower curtain and height difference in the floor…how we can technically (not that we actually do this…promise!) wash our hair, sit on the toilet, and brush our teeth ALL at the same time! Oh China!...

- How we can be 5 minutes early to something, yet be 5 minutes late at the same time? Oh China!...

- Have to hang our clothes out to dry. Oh China!... (That one’s not bad, just annoying!) Can Maytag dryers be shipped here…?? Just kidding…

- Sell Red Bull and it not have any carbonation. Oh China!...

- It can be 85 degrees, raining, and that’s enough reason to turn on the heaters…Oh China!... just because it’s 5 degrees cooler than most days doesn’t need a heater.

- Have no air conditioners in the classrooms because that’s “how students get sick”, but never teach the students to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze OR have soap in any soap dispenser. Oh China!...

- When a student comes running up and gives me a great big hug and says, “Hello Ms TIGER” Oh China!...

Oh just some of the funny things that we’ve experienced since we’ve been teaching! Some days it’s just an “Oh China!...” kind of day!

Travel update: Trying to figure out if we’re actually going to go to the Philippines. Manila was hit super bad with a tropical storm/typhoon…80% is flooded, but the airport is still open…trying to get a refund…we’ll see and keep you posted!!

Tyler & Jordan

Monday, September 21, 2009

Shekou Fellowship Church

Over the weekend, Jordan and I stayed with our friends Emily and Murray. We had a great time visiting the more Western area and completed the weekend with visiting a English speaking church about 15 minutes from Emily's apartment. Jordan and I were excited to check it out. We got to the church, which is at an international school's gym, and saw that it was not only was it packed with good 'ol white folks, but also with those from all around the world!!! There were probably about 150 people there, which was more than I ever expected. We were asked to introduce ourselves and tell where we were from, so that was fun. A couple that was sitting in front of us, introduced themselves and were very welcoming. Jordan and I were overcome with emotion and had a hard time keeping it all in. After being there just a short time, we knew that we would gladly make the hour and half bus ride to be in this atmosphere every Sunday and surrounded by those who love and worship our Heavenly Father! There are also many ways for us to get involved- teaching Sunday School, Bible studies, etc. We were introduced to a family who lives about 25 minutes (by bus)from us who are getting a Bible study together. What a blessing!!! God is so good!!! Matthew 18:20- "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them." (Even in CHINA!!!)

After church, we found some Western grocery stores- expensive, but we broke down and bought a couple of things like Bisquick and syrup for pancakes, Starburst, Rolos, Goldfish, Mt.Dew, and Heinz ketchup!!! It was a little slice of home!!! The grocery stores were tiny and packed full! We had lunch at Subway where a few more families from church were eating. We met them and were able to find out a little more about the church and the families and how they ended up in China. It's fun to hear everyone's stories. Reality check when we got back to our neck of the woods...Oh yeah, we're still in China... =)

I started tutoring yesterday for two girls, Sarah and Sally (7&8 years old). It was a lot of fun teaching a smaller amount of kiddos.

Other than that nothing else is really new around here. We teach daily, use chopsticks 3 times a day, say "hello" to kids all over the school about 100 times a day, and sweat more than imaginable!

We'll have October 1st-8th off from school for the Mid-Autumn holiday & the 60th anniversary of Communist China. Jordan, Emily, Murray, and I are planning a trip to the Philippines. China has announced that next Sunday is a working day along with Saturday Oct. 10th. So we really don't get that long off, since we have to make it up, but we're looking forward to the opportunity to travel and add a stamp in our passports! =)

Hope everyone is doing great! Miss you!!
-Jordan and Tyler

Shipping Info

Just thought I'd update you with a little mailing/shipping info that I have received.

Couple of things:

1. Don't use UPS...Stick to the US Postal Service. Flat rate boxes maybe easiest...not quite sure on that one...maybe ask USPS before packing up a box...just a thought...

2. It's probably going to be expensive. From the sounds of it at least $40...so maybe a letter would just be nice =)

3. Caroline's mom would always write on the customs form to fill out that the package was worth $10 or less, just to avoid "others" opening it and helping themselves out first. She would also write that it was "Personal Items" to lose interest of the "others" too.

4. I'm not sure how long it (mailing or shipping something) will take either.

Basically, as I've read what I just wrote- I don't know much at all. Ha! Maybe I'm not as helpful as I thought I could be... =)

Our address is a few blog entries below!

Lots of love!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Johnny's Burgers

There are two reasons why Wednesdays & Friday's (Chinese class days) are going to be amazing.

1. We get to see everyone from the program, speak with native English speakers, make plans for the weekends, and learn Chinese!

2. Johnny's Burgers. Words can't even describe the delicious almost American burger and fries we ate on Wednesday afternoon. Yes, there's McDonald's here- and granted it's good, but Jordan and I had been craving a "real" burger with lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup...the whole nine yards. As we arrived to class we kept seeing returners from the program with "real-looking" burgers and we knew immediately where we were eating dinner after class!! It's less than a half a block from class and the owner spoke remotely good English. They had single cheese burgers, double double cheese burgers (yes, that's what they're called) and even a triple triple cheese burger!!! The fries were ALMOST like The Varsity fries!!!! To top it all off they gave us a WHOLE bottle of ketchup!!!! We were in heaven!!!! China is pretty stingy when it comes to giving out any sauce/ketchup. Usually only 1-2 packets and they are very annoyed when we ask for more...but my meal just isn't the same without a LOT of ketchup! I've even gotten less picky about having to have Heinz...ANY ketchup makes my meal better!!! =)

Because of where we live, we have less options for Western type foods and Johnny's Burgers EXCEEDED our expectations!!! Our hands smelled of hamburgers the rest of the night! It was wonderful!!! We even did a double take to make sure we weren't at home...but it didn't take long to notice that we were the ones standing out! =)

So next time you grill out hamburgers, just think of Jordan and me and how we could devour it!!!

Until the next burger =),
Tyler and Jordan

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our Address!!!

We officially have an address now!!! =)Just thought I'd share it with you... =)

Tyler & Jordan Chambers
1011# Haijing 2nd Road
Shatoujiao, Yantian District,
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

I have no idea how long or what it costs to mail a letter or ship anything here...

**I've asked my friend Caroline, who was here last year, to help me out with giving you instructions with what can/can't be mailed, the best service, and cheapest way! I'll update you with a list of "things we miss..." as soon as I find out more details...until then you at least have the address!!! =)

-Tyler & Jordan

Teacher's Day, Weekend, Typhoons, etc!

Hi guys!! Just thought I'd update a little more of what's been going on the past week.

Thursday Sept. 10th was Teacher's Day in China. (Similar to Teacher Appreciation Day in the US.) If you're lucky, some schools only teach half a day!!...but we had a full day... The students began the day by having a ceremony for the teachers during their morning outdoor exercises. A group of students recited a poem and a few kids spoke. Then selected students gave each teacher a bouquet of flowers...a bouquet just like at home...it had lilies, baby's breath, roses, etc. It was very sweet and all day long the kids would come by the teachers' offices and give gifts, flowers, candy, cards, etc. The funniest card Jordan got was a "recycled" wedding card! On the outside of the card it mentioned "Good luck with your future together"-rough translation...and the inside cover the kid wrote over what the card said, "HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY!!!" We kept this one! Our school had a dinner for all the teachers Thursday evening. It was at the same restaurant where we met our headmaster for the first time, except this time there wasn't any "strange- I don't want to eat this" type of food. =) There were many tables in the back rooms that the school had reserved and somehow someway I ended up being at the all guys table…it was actually probably better that way because more of the guys speak English and Jordan and I met a new Chinese friend/teacher, Andy. Andy teaches in the upper grades with Jordan and speaks faster English than I do!! I really have to listen to catch up!!! After dinner Jody (the other foreign teacher guy at our school), Jordan, and I went to Andy’s house to hang out. We had a great Teacher’s Day here in China!

Friday after school, we hung out with Jody and Andy. We went to a new restaurant and ate and then went bowling!!! It was a lot of fun. I’m pretty sure that at the bowling ally is the ONLY place where I have ever seen something made in the USA…all the bowling balls have it on them-by the same company at home!! =)

This weekend was a lazy weekend for Jordan and me. We cleaned the apartment (or should I say room?) and washed clothes and of course went to the DVD store and picked up a few new movies…Chinese TV is terrible…besides the fact that I can’t understand a word, the soaps are just over the top! =)

The weather here’s been a little better…but lots of rain and a possible typhoon was in the picture for early this week (September 14-16)…

Monday night, one of the guys who lives close by had a surprise birthday dinner at our favorite restaurant. Jordan and I went and after dinner we went back to their place and had a mini-moon pie type of dessert. While we were there, the bottom fell out from the sky!!! It POURED down rain and the wind was CRAZY!!!! When it was time to go, we realized how bad the storm actually was…there wasn’t any lightening or thunder just POURING down rain and crazy wind…we had about a 15 minute walk back, which broke one of the umbrellas and we were SOAKED! During the walk home we saw that many tree branches had fallen…and then we realized that we were probably walking through part of a typhoon…oooops! =) No worries, we made it back safely!!! Yesterday, (Tuesday) I woke up, got ready, and walked down to the main building…it was very quiet and raining so I knew something wasn’t right…the school is NEVER quiet…anyways, I stopped by the cafeteria to see if people were there and then they kindly explained, “No school today because typhoon.” Ohhhhh…a phone call would have been nice…but oh well! No school! So we had our first inclement weather day due to a TYPHOON!!! It was definitely like a Georgia snow day…because the weather yesterday was absolutely fine. Occasional rain, but it was mostly just humid…but hey, we all deserve a day off every now and then right? The typhoon that was coming toward us, ended up shifting and missing Shenzhen…although we did get a little piece of it Monday evening. Our friends Emily and Murray came over for the day and we hung out which was a lot of fun!

Our Chinese classes begin this afternoon…because of where we live (a little further out from the city) transportation is provided for us, so our school driver will take us into the downtown area today. Jordan and I are both excited and ready to continue and begin our learning of Mandarin! It should also be fun seeing everyone from the program…we haven’t seen EVERYBODY since the contract signing day! Enough for now!!!

We love y’all! –Tyler & Jordan

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Pictures!!!!

This site only allows me to add a few pictures at a time...here are a few more!!! Some are more from The Wall and one is of our friends, Emily and Murray, and another of Jordan and me before our closing banquet in Beijing when we received our TEFL certification!


Here are some pictures from The Great Wall and the last two are pictures from the acrobats show. The weather was beautiful on our trip to The Wall...enjoy!!

Monday, September 07, 2009

A little bit more...

After living in a hotel for the past month Jordan and I were getting stir crazy. Our hotel lacked Internet (I didn't know that it was even possible not to have Internet in a hotel...haha), and the heat here is hotter than anything I'd ever experienced before, and we were in an area we were still trying to figure out...here’s how the week went:

• I woke up Sunday sick (no voice and I was pretty congested). We went to lunch at Laura’s family restaurant and then to a pharmacy and tried some Chinese remedies- which worked, might I add!

• Monday we decided to go visit our friends Emily and Murray. They live in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, which is about an hour bus ride from us. Nanshan looks like Florida on a map…We stayed at Emily’s apartment and hung out with them for a couple of days. While we were there, we met up with a large group from our program and went swimming, went to Starbucks, had Tex-Mex, went to a school supply store, and found a restaurant that had Coldplay music playing and ate there!!!! It was a fun couple of days and it got us out of the hotel!

• The coordinator who is in charge of Yantian and another close by district came called us on Thursday saying he was going to be around and wanted to show us some good places around to eat. We took him up on his offer and he also showed us some places like where he gets his hair cut and a great DVD store! Of course I’m not sure if the DVD’s are actually legit, but they’re 6 kuai ($1) So we’ve spent some money on DVDs, but when they’re so cheap it’s hard not to. They even sell 8 in 1 DVD’s for on 15 kuai ($2)!!! I bought an 8 in 1 chick-flick DVD and Jordan’s bought a few but his favorite being all 4 Indiana Jones and 4 Rambo’s!!! We bought a DVD player and the last 2 seasons of Lost to catch me up before the final season begins! With it being so hot and not much to do, we would wake up around 10 am, get ready, go to lunch, and come back to our room and watch movies until it was cool enough to get back outside. Have I mentioned yet how happy Jordan is being in South China? Haha! I mean it really is bad if I’ve sweated through my clothes…but triple or quadruple that amount of sweat for Jordan!! =)

• Friday we got a call that the teachers at our school we’re having a back to school meeting and they wanted us there to introduce us. One of the teachers graciously picked us up so we didn’t look like we’d been swimming during our 10 minute walk from the hotel to school. We got there, they introduced us and told us to give a 2-3 speech about ourselves (on the spot) and then told us that the “Chinese meeting” was about to begin and we were to leave. Basically they didn’t want to translate for us (I mean me =)) Oh China!

• Sunday, my contact teacher Louis called me and told us that our apartment would be ready to move into on Monday August 31st and to be ready after coming to school Monday to get our teaching books. Jordan and I were excited!!! FINALLY out of a hotel!!!!

• Monday- We went got to school around 8:30 am and met with my contact teacher who explained our teaching schedules, received our books to teach from, and met the other foreign teacher at our school, Joe, from Canada. He isn’t with our program and has been teaching at our school for three years now. We left school, went back to the hotel to grab our things with our driver and came back to campus to see our new apartment. It was a lot less of what I originally imagined. It’s kinda like a loft style room and we have a sliding glass door which leads to our kitchen (about twice the size of small coat closet) and washing/multi-purpose area. We have a leather couch, TV, 19.8 liter water cooler/dispenser, fridge, queen size bed, desk and large built in wardrobes. Apartment bathrooms in China are probably the funniest things of all. They’re one room- shower, toilet, and sink- no curtains. Basically while in taking a shower the toilet and sink get wet…hummmm…Oh China! Our house was pretty dirty and it was all a bit overwhelming. I’ve adjusted a lot better since cleaning. I just started tackling the kitchen this week. We have a rice cooker, hot pot, microwave, and a few dishes/pans. The school has offered to get us some more kitchen utensils, so I’m making my wish list tonight. So, it wasn’t what we (or maybe just me) expected, but it’s working for us. Pictures after the kitchen is in better shape! We did get a brand new computer in our room- which isn’t in our contract, but we’re extremely grateful for!!!

• Actual teaching is going pretty well for both of us…basically my kids (especially my 1st graders) don’t speak any English. I do have a Chinese English teacher (or co-teacher) in my class. I actually plan with my 2nd grade co-teachers and that is nice. I pretty much just jump around and smile big and use my hands to communicate orally. All the classrooms have ceiling fans, no AC, and smart/interactive boards. I’m thrilled with the technology here!! Some of our other teacher friends in Shenzhen aren’t so lucky with technology. Jordan is getting used to the whole teaching thing. He’s doing great, although he isn’t as confident in himself yet. Everyone has had nothing but great things to say to him. He was bummed because they have silly books and workbooks that they want him to teach from, whereas he’d rather take another route…but he’s making it. I’m teaching from this basic oral English book and all they’re really stressing is oral English in the younger grades.

• This past weekend, Emily and Murray came over Friday afternoon. We showed them around Yantian, took them to the DVD store, and went to the beach all day Saturday. We all got burned, even with our umbrella that we rented. We had lots of fun showing them our favorite restaurants and hanging out for the weekend.

• Babies/toddlers poop and pee everywhere…it’s really getting on my nerves. A toddler at the beach pooped in this hole right in front of me…I haven’t gotten over it yet and am still paranoid that someone is going to step in the poop! The kids wear these split pants and no diapers…probably better for the environment, but hence all the masks in this silly country!!! I’m starting a diaper company!!! If only I was an entrepreneur…

This officially catches us up for now!!! If you have Skype and want to talk, our screen name is jordan.tyler09 We’re 12 hours ahead and would love to stay in touch!! Keep on praying for us…some days are much easier than others and on the not so great days we find a way to make it to KFC/McDonald’s/ or anything else Western we can find!!!

Lots of love!!!
Jordan and Tyler =)

August Update: Shenzhen, China- Part 2

I know everyone was so bored by the end of my last blog but I’m just enjoying the fact that I can communicate again with everyone at home!!!

We took a 25 hour train ride to Shenzhen China. This was probably one of the worst things I’ve ever done. We were in hard sleepers which meant 6 people in an open room…triple bunk beds on each side of the wall. The ride began around 8pm on Tuesday and ended Wednesday night around 9pm. We brought bread, peanut butter, fruits, noodles etc. for the long long long ride. The ride didn’t start bad, it was just when they turned off the lights and our air didn’t work did the night seem to drag and drag and drag!!!! I managed to sleep about 5 hours, but they were and poor Jordan maybe managed 3 hours or so. Throughout the day we played cards, read, and napped. The day definitely wasn’t ideal, but we made it. Oh I forgot to mention the nasty bathrooms that smelled like a port-a-potty and had squatter toilets. I know how glorious I’m making this sound…don’t you want to come visit?!? I PROMISE that I wouldn’t make ANY of you go through this!!!! =)

After finally arriving in Shenzhen (pronounced: Shin-Jin….remember these are MY pronunciations…) we were bussed to another hotel where we stayed for 3 days. We checked into our rooms, grabbed a quick snack, and headed to bed. We had to be up early Thursday morning at 7am for breakfast and then had to go to a Shenzhen hospital for a very thorough physical examination. This examination is required by the Shenzhen Education Bureau and makes it possible for us to get our work visas. We had X-Rays of our back, blood tests, height and weight checked, eyes, ears, and nose checked, a sonogram, and gracefully had to give our urine to China! Wow! What a day!!! When we got back to the hotel, we had to fill out visa paperwork which was very tedious, meet some of the members of the Education Bureau, and then given our placements for the following year. Jordan and I were placed in the Yantian (Yan-tea-ann) district at Yantian Foreign Language Primary School. *Quick fact: Yantian has the 4th largest port in the world and very quick access/boarder crossing to Hong Kong.*

Friday August 21st everyone was bussed to their district of Shenzhen and had to meet/be interviewed by the police in their district. Jordan and I were very pleased when we arrived in Yantian- gorgeous mountains surrounding us and the beach is only 15 minutes away!!! Friday afternoon we went out with friends to an electronic market nearby while others bought cell phones. We had to pick up new SIM cards…Thank you Caroline for the phone!!!! =)

The contract signing ceremony was Saturday morning around 10 am. Jordan and I met our contact teachers (each person in the program is provided a contact person to help them out with anything…). My contact teacher is Louis and Jordan’s is Eric. Both were very welcoming and excited to meet us! The actual ceremony was long…China loves ceremonies and banquets anytime they can schedule one…they introduced each one of us and the school where we’d be working. We were both presented each with a beautiful arrangement of flowers from our school. After the signing, we went next door to a large banquet hall and had lunch. During the lunch, our contract teachers told us that our living place was on campus, but it wasn’t ready because the school was getting a face lift (or they said construction, but when we saw what they were actually doing it was equivalent to a face lift). We were also told that classes didn’t begin until September 1st, so we’d have the next week off. Needless to say to hear we were going to be in ANOTHER hotel indefinitely was disappointing. We were just ready to begin our time in China in somewhat of an apartment. When the banquet was over, we had to stay at the hotel because our driver wouldn’t return until later…so everyone else left around 1 pm and we didn’t leave until around 2:30. On our way into Yantian, we had to stop at the police station for more visa work, got to see the outside of our school (which overlooks some of the water) and were taken to our hotel. They dropped us off and told us they would pick us up in about an hour to go meet our headmaster for dinner. At dinner we were accompanied by some of the other English teachers, some high rank school personnel, contact teachers, and our headmaster. Dinner was very interesting and somewhat long. It had been such a busy, slightly disappointing with the news of the hotel again day. We were in a private room- which many restaurants have in China with numerous dishes that were ordered ahead of time for us…one of which included boiled chicken feet that they practically forced us to eat…I kind of just put it up to my mouth (remember that all this is with chopsticks…) and acted like I ate some of it and put it down. I just wanted to crawl under the table and hope that our dinner would be better than this appetizer…which it was!! =) After dinner we shown another restaurant which a student from our school’s parents own. It was very close to our hotel and convenient. Laura, the student, took us for a walk and showed us some grocery stores and places along the street. She was very sweet and helpful and it made me excited about our students we would teach!

Whew!! I’ve rambled on again after saying that it would be short…please forgive me!

Update of August: Beijing- Part 1

I am going to try (hopefully successfully) to update our month in China so far! Bare with me- I will post each significant part of the trip separately.

Part 1- Arriving in Beijing
When we arrived in Beijing after the 14 hour flight and almost missing our connecting flight we were exhausted and tired. We made it through what Jordan and I call the “Swine Flu section” successfully, after “indirectly” having our temperature taken at least 3 times. We were some of the first of the group to arrive and found one of the coordinators who pointed us in the right direction to wait. There are about 90 new teachers with this program and all of our flights were landing within an hour of each other. After everyone arrived, we were then escorted to our hotel where we would stay for 2 weeks. The ride to the hotel was fun to see all the changes since Jordan and I had been in Beijing right before the Olympics. The smog was still there to welcome us to China. After freshening up we went to dinner at a Japanese restaurant-yes, we know we’re in China… =) and bought SIM cards for our phones. It’s a pay as you go society here. We were both exhausted and came home early and slept like babies! Our training for the program began the next day, August 4th and we were immediately in classes for the next two weeks. Our days would begin at 8 and we would have teaching classes for our Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL in China) certification, Chinese class, and everyone taught for one hour a day. Our days ended around 4 pm, but then were usually followed by meetings with the program about odds and ends little things to prepare us for the next stage in Shenzhen, China. Needless to say at night we were tired, had to lesson plan for the next day, and eat.

During the two weeks of training Jordan and I were able to find some time during the evenings to meet back up with his buddy Joe who is another fellow NGCSU alum and Jordan’s old roommate from Tsinghua University in 2007. Joe’s girlfriend Linda cooked dinner for us one night and then I made a fool of myself attempting to play Nintendo’s Wii. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed getting peak at Chinese apartment style homes.

The weather was incredibly HOT, humid, smoggy and rainy while we were in Beijing. It was depressing how very little we actually saw the sun. We did have one day off during the two weeks that was scheduled for the Great Wall. Jordan wasn’t as excited to go back for a third time so I made a deal with him. If the sky was smoggy we’d stay at the hotel and rest or if the sky was “clearish” we’d go. I’d already seen the Wall on a smoggy day and had the pictures to prove it, but I ended up winning the deal…the sky was absolutely BEAUTIFUL that day and I’m so glad we went! I’m pretty sure I have more pictures of the beautiful mountains all around the Wall than us actually ON the Wall. Pictures to follow ASAP!

One night the program paid for us to all go see an acrobats show. It was absolutely amazing! It was children performing from about 8 years old to 18 year olds. It reminded me of watching a travel channel documentary! We saw 12 girls on 1 bicycle circling the stage! 3 girls balance and switch about 15 umbrellas back and forth…with their feet!!!! Some very flexible and muscular guys jump and flip over pole vault like pole but without the stick to lift them!!! It was incredible to see how determined, focused, and talented each performer was while on stage- and to think that this IS their life. I tried to take pictures during this wonderful event, but was quickly reprimanded by the staff! Oooops! =)

I’m going to briefly (ok, I know I get carried away with details) highlight some other fun parts during the training…

• We had to be observed during our training three times according the Shenzhen Education Bureau before proper certification could be received. Jordan and I both received excellent evals, except they always told Jordan he did great, but sounded like a redneck. We both just laughed it off and decided that China wasn’t worth losing our “roots” to and we would speak like true Georgians! =)

• In this program there are quite a few couples- only two married ones that are new, us being one of them. We have become good friends with Emily (from Ohio) and Murray (from Pennsylvania) who went to Queens University in Charlotte. We have enjoyed hanging out with them on many occasions. Of course we’ve made other friends too, it’s just funny how people were standoffish toward us at first when they learned we were married. Then when they figured out how cool we really are, they haven’t stopped saying “You’re our favorite married couple ever.” Or “You two give me such hope!” Oh me!!!!! I like to agree with their comments =)

• Narnia.- Near our hotel we all found this little side street/ally type area, but the only way to get to it was to go through one entrance of a store and through the exit. We called it Narnia since we had to go through the store. Close enough to a wardrobe we figured. Here we found some of the greatest dumplings, called jiaozi (pronounced like jow –rhymes with “chow” d-za. Jowd-za) Please note that this is MY interpretation and pronunciation. This is probably 80% incorrect. Haha, but I’m trying!!!!! The owner of the dumpling restaurant had the cutest baby girl…*Aunt Grace, I even held her for a while!!!…and when it was time to go back to her mommy, she cried…Jordan wouldn’t let me hold her ever again…No babies in China he said!

• Our program provided a closing banquet for all of us at a nice restaurant the night before we left. We were given our official TEFL in China certificates and some great Chinese cuisine. Finding food we’ve enjoyed eating hasn’t been the real issue for Jordan and me, but our stomachs would definitely disagree. Oh well, we have to eat- and with chopsticks…I’m almost a pro. Definitely will be by June!!!!!

Ok enough of Beijing! I think I've hit the maximum word limit for a blog! Sorry so long!!! I will update about our arrival in Shenzhen next!!! Love to all!!!

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Hello Family & Friends!!! When we arrived in China a month ago, many websites including our blog site have been blocked. Jordan and I paid for a server that will allow us to use the blocked sites! We're very excited to be connected again with the rest of the world!

We started teaching this week. Jordan is teaching 5th and 6th graders and I have 1st and 2nd graders! They are precious!!! Everyday we hear "Herrro" =) at least 1,000 times! =)

I promise that I will send a detailed update very soon! We are walking out the door to go to the beach which is about a 15 minute bus ride for us!

Can't wait to update regularly!,
Jordan & Tyler =)

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Well and so the adventure begins! Jordan and I just arrived at the hotel and are getting really excited about tomorrow! Today was a busy day, but this afternoon we were able to visit with our family before we left. Oh how we will miss them tremendously! We're exhausted and ready to begin this crazy adventure! Pray for safety for us! =)

We love you,
Tyler & Jordan

Friday, July 24, 2009

Getting ready...

10 days and counting! We cannot believe that our departure is approaching so quickly! It feels as if there is so much to do, people to visit, and necks to hug before we can begin. We appreciate all the prayers, love, and support you've shown us toward this journey. Jordan and I are excited and ready to begin our life in China!!! Crazy!?! Yes, but we know this what God wants us to do for now. We both see this adventure from completely different angles- Jordan is looking forward to improving his Chinese so that he can fluently speak the language and make some contacts to where he can work from the United States end and me, well I'm excited about the teaching aspect of it and the daily challenges that not knowing ANY of the language and not a whole lot about the culture. Jordan definitely has the advantage. =)

Our departure date is August 2nd and we'll fly from Atlanta to Washington D.C. and then straight to Beijing, China! We will have about a three week training in Beijing and will take a 10 hour train ride to Shenzhen, China, where we will be for the next ten months. Shenzhen is about thirty minutes away from Hong Kong. The weather will be hot to warm all year long...it's about like Miami temperatures. Pray for Jordan! ;)

We hope that you will enjoy reading about our upcoming adventures as if you are there with us!! Enjoy!!

Tyler & Jordan

* I'll be writing most of these, but I'll make Jordan's stories are told!! -Tyler =)