Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting Ready for Cambodia...

Tomorrow we leave for Phnom Penh, Cambodia with 15 other youth and adults from our church! We leave Hong Kong tomorrow afternoon and will return Monday May 3rd. We've had lots of fun preparing for the trip and raised over $2,000 US dollars between bake sales, hot dog after church lunch, and T-shirt sales. We are using the money we raised for activities such as feeding a group of about 100 children lunch one day, buying some soccer, volleyballs, and jump ropes for the kids, and we're also taking about four suitcases filled with donated lightly worn children's clothes, toys we've purchased, and a school supply kit.  We have a music team and a puppet show team who will be doing a little program during our visits with the children. We have a packed four days and plan on seeing over 450 Cambodian children during this week. Please be in prayer for us as we embark on a great adventure to share God's love during this trip.

Here's a link to some quick facts about Cambodia: http://www.visit-mekong.com/cambodia/fast_fact.htm

Thank you so much for your prayers!! Can't wait to blog again soon and share everything with you!

God Bless,
Tyler & Jordan

Friday, April 23, 2010

"I've never been bowling before"

Last night, we went bowling with some of our friends/co-workers from school. We started the evening at a Northeastern China style restaurant and then went bowling. On our walk toward the bowling ally, we stopped for a photo shoot with these large bull statues that are randomly under one of the walking bridges. Bowling was a blast, especially watching two of the three Chinese girls learn how to bowl! We played girls on one team and guys on the other and I took a picture of the girls score board after the first round. Note: I am bowler #2...but please check out bowler #4's score... =) It was hilarious!!! Besides the fact that the bowling ball weighed as much as them, trying to explain in English and Chinese how to bowl was an experience. We finally reverted to the picture that was on the wall with the directions. What a night! I spoke with the girls today, and they all complained of being sore from such physical activity. Oh China...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flat Tire

Last Friday, Jordan and I were going to dinner with some new friends, Rosemary and Bruce. They’re another married couple from the program, who’ve been here for three years now. We grabbed a cab and I was really excited because it was the first woman cab driver I’d ridden with (it’s the little things that I get excited about obviously). The four of us had just gotten into a cab and were about halfway there when the cab driver pulls over. She had noticed something wrong and of course, we have a flat tire. So we pay her and were about to leave when Jordan looks at her and asked her if she needed any help. You could tell she was relieved when he asked her and at the same time a little confused. And so the 15 minute cab ride to dinner was suddenly stalled. Jordan and Bruce began to help this little lady change the tire. It was quite the experience to say the least. Rosemary and I just held the guys things and took a few pictures to remember this great event while sharing our frustrations and joys about China. So here we are on the side of an eight lane highway in China changing (or watching them change) a tire. The guys got the tire changed with minor/temporary setbacks. After they finished, she insisted on taking us to the restaurant (for free). It was an interesting, yet fun start to another Friday night in Shenzhen.

*In the first picture, Jordan has taken off his Polo (no, he doesn't just wear an undershirt...=) )and is getting everything out of his pockets. Picture 2, he's trying to figure out where to put the thing to raise the wheel (as you can tell, I know A LOT about cars...haha!) Picture 3, You can see the back of Bruce and Jordan's face as he's trying to loosen the bolt? I think that's the wrong term again... and the last picture is the finished product! =)

The Joy of Public Transportation

This year overall in many aspects has been a very humbling experience. I’ve definitely learned that I don’t need all the things I’m blessed that I have. One thing that we couldn’t have done without is the public transportation system. Shenzhen has thousands of buses, a metro line that is still being built, and of course taxi’s. Out in our neck of the woods, buses are really the only practical way for us to get anywhere. So of course we have had many stories with running to catch the bus or broken English conversations with locals or the fact that 8 out of 10 times I get on the bus I fall asleep…the list goes on…but right now 2 recent incidents stick out as memorable.
1. I had been shopping a few weeks ago and after a fun packed girl’s day I was on my way home. Jordan had enjoyed having the afternoon to himself. I was headed home at a relatively busy hour just minding my own business. There’s this one stop “Dongmen”-in the shopping district- where traffic is always bad, half the bus usually gets off, and about as many get on- I always dread this stop. All of the sudden I hear this really loud whistle and I begin looking around to see what was going on. About that time, the bus begins filling up with about 20+ teenagers on ROLLERBLADES…I kid you not…they skate onto the bus and roll around grab a couple of seats, but mostly their just chillin’/rolling on the bus trying to stand still. I hear them say where they’re going and of course they’re getting off at my stop...from that stop we had about another 25 minute bus ride and as we got closer to the stop, I started making my way through the crowd to avoid being rolled over at the stop. I couldn’t believe that I was actually witnessing this…it seems like there are some things that only happen in China…
2. The next story happened about a week after the rollerblading encounter. This year I’ve learned a lot about Jordan and he’s definitely learned a lot about me one of those things being how inobservant and hard of hearing I can be and I’ve learned what a good sense of direction he has. Jordan and I were on our way home one night and the bus was fairly crowded. We managed to both get a seat (next to each other at that) which is quite a feat! So we’re on the bus probably have at least 30 minutes before getting home and Jordan starts laughing. The bus is loud and there are a lot of people on it so I’m thinking he’s got to be laughing at something he just saw. He tells me to look at the lady directly across from us and see if I notice anything. So I look at the lady, don’t notice anything (surprise!) except her head is down and she looks like she’s going to get sick (normal for China) At this point Jordan’s like, “C’mon you’ve got to notice it. That lady’s humming (making noise- not humming a tune or anything) to keep her distracted from getting sick.” **Side note: the Chinese are TERRIBLE when it comes to motion sickness. They even have little baggies on every bus for those just in case moments.** So of course I try listening to her and I’m pretty convinced that it’s not her, the bus. Jordan ignores my stubbornness and lets me think what I want, but the humming continues…So we’re about 3 stops away from our stop and we catch a red light. The determining factor that it really was the lady, was when the bus driver puts the bus in park, gets off the bus to figure out where the noise is coming from…even HE thought it was the bus…gets back on, walks around, tries adjusting a few things, and the humming continues. At this point everyone on the bus is looking around, and slowly everyone begins to notice what Jordan heard all along- it was the lady…

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Mystery Dish

One Friday night a few weeks ago after I finished tutoring, Jordan and I went out to grab some dinner. We decided to hit this little restaurant that serves great meat on a stick, crinkle fries, and other great little snack type foods. I need to note that as you're walking inside, they have a couple of fish tanks outside with different sea creatures in them. There's this bucket with what looks like snakes, but our Chinese friend swears that it's some sort of fish thing...We're always a bit confused by this but we chalk it up for it being lost in translation somewhere. But the snake fish things are so distracting while walking in, I can't help but scoot as far away as possible and squirm! So anyways, Jordan was ordering our meat sticks, some eggplant, and crinkle fries and the guy who's taking our order tries to offer us something else. Jordan doesn't really recognize the name but the guy is pretty adamant about this food. Jordan agrees but really has no idea what's going to be placed in front of us...So then Jordan looks at me after the guy's walked away and after looking on the menu to try and figure out the dish he says, "I've got bad news." Well, needless these really weren't the words I wanted to hear so of course I say, "What?" He proceeds to tell me that he thinks he's ordered one of those snake things and that the waiter has picked up one of the snake fish things (my back is to the door)...OH JUST WONDERFUL! So at this point I'm dreading our dinner...Great...I quickly and calmly tell Jordan that this "special dish" will NOT be placed on the table. He can put it on the floor or on the bench beside him, but I do NOT want to see this. Jordan's laughing at this point, our other food dishes begin arriving and as I'm eating I'm dreading THE DISH that's being cooked...So the first few dishes come out and it's exactly what we wanted. We're waiting for the mystery dish...
Well much to our surprise the guy brings over a plate of OYSTERS!!!! WHEW!!!! We both die laughing and enjoy the oysters and the rest of the evening. =)

Duck in a bag

Tuesdays are my busy days. I teach four classes in the morning and the afternoons I teach 2 grades in our auditorium. This is usually much more relaxed than the classroom and I can show movie clips, etc. During the English Show, Jordan has a weekly meeting with Mrs. Chen who helps make sure we're being properly taken care of. Well about two weeks ago, Jordan's meeting had been cancelled so he decided to come and help make a special debut to the 3rd and 4th graders. While we were watching a clip from Toy Story, Jordan got a call from Mrs. Chen who said she needed to see him. He exits quietly, while I'm curious to what's going on. About 5 minutes later he returns with a bag. Now of course I'm really curious. I quickly asked him what was in the bag and much to my surprise he says a duck. A DUCK?!?! Well dear friends, it wasn't a live duck. This happened to be a duck for cooking. It was the whole duck- head and all pre-packaged. It took all I had not to burst out laughing and be totally grossed out all at the same time. I had to finish the lesson I was teaching and not be distracted with the fact my husband was sitting there with a duck in a bag! Of course duck isn't one of those meals that I cook or ever plan on cooking, so we had a little photo shoot with the duck, then properly placed him in the garbage can. The price tag was on the duck which converted into about $7 US dollars, which we justified pretty quick that it was ok to throw away. Now duck is a very special meat here so we did feel bad throwing it away, but we were pretty sure that Mrs. Chen was "re-gifting" this so called delicacy and didn't feel as bad. If Chinese lady didn't want it, it’s ok if we throw it away right?!?!
Picture 1- The duck outside of our door
Picture 2- The duck (GROSS!!!)
Picture 3- Jordan and the duck