Thursday, November 19, 2009

My favorite clothing store. Ever.

I just wanted to give a shout-out to my favoritest (yes, I know that's not a word) clothing store. has pretty much the coolest shirts you can find that also have a Christian message. Instead of corny shirts that alter brand logos, you can find shirts that proclaim "In the beginning was the Word," "Be the Ant" (that one's out of print, but I own it, it's based on Proverbs: Go to the ant...), "Made by God and made for God," "Peace Love & Hope Gentleness..." The shirts (which are my favorite thing to buy) are stylish with a strong message for Christ. I think of it as a quiet way to shout to the world that I'm a Christian.

(They're having a 48 hr sale right now, and they frequently have good sales, if you're thrifty like me.)

I have a wishlist, if you all want to check it out:

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Beginning of the End

I'm about to begin my final year of college. There are still a lot of things up in the air, such as whether certain funds will come thru, and therefore, whether I live on campus or at home. There are some perks to living at home... Youtube access being one of those (I've gotten hooked on Youtube over the summer...), but I've lived on campus for the past 3 years, and it's an enjoyable challenge, living with strangers who become friends... or something. I haven't prepared much to move back on campus... or resume school, but I'll need to buckle down posthaste, since school begins in one week, and I've got some challenging classes this semester.

I'm together with all my sisters. There are 4 of us, and one has been missing for more than a year (living overseas, yes, H, who I visited around Christmastime), and the other 2 were gone for awhile over the summer. I'm enjoying the vibe from being around 3 others who think much like I do. Don't get me wrong, we are very much individual, but we share similar thought patterns and "Oh, that makes me think of - "s. We only have a few weeks left before H leaves again, but we're milking our time for all it's worth.

Today we (we meaning the four of us) went across town to one of the Asian food stores in the area. I now have enough instant noodles to last me all semester (if not all school year!). I'll have to exercise self-restraint when I'm around more instant noodles. We decided to lunch at a favorite spot down the road, but through a wrong turn or something, we discovered a Middle Eastern restaurant, and J freaked out from excitement when she saw falafel on the sign. (She visited Israel and Jordan in the spring, and discovered that she loves falafel and schwarma.) (If we had seen a sign for haggis, I would have similarly reacted, I discovered I love it when I was in Scotland in May... It tastes much better than it sounds like it would taste!) We ate a bit at the initial place, then hit up the Middle Eastern restaurant, then sighted a spot a few doors down that has Asian-style teas (Bubble/Pearl/Boba tea and milkshakes... J fell in love with Pearl Shakes while in Micronesia this summer) (Yes, we're a travelling family.) It was a great time for us all.

I've discovered I like Twitter. It sends texts to my phone... This way, I don't realize at the end of the day that I haven't used my phone at all. It also lets me "follow" my favorite Korean pop celebrities and other random people. If you wish to follow me, I am EmJayeM8. Don't expect completely logical or non-fangirl tweets, you may or may not get them. However, I only have 2 followers... so more followers would be cool... (If I have followers on Twitter, does that make me a leader???)

The hour grows late, and I need my beauty sleep. (I discovered this summer that the dark circles under my eyes weren't permanant!!!! I want to keep them away.)

Signing off,
Miss Chatters

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Current things

It's been awhile since I've updated... yeah, 4 months probably rates a "quite awhile," but "awhile" is pleasantly vague.

Things have happened since I was in China... Shocking, I know. An entire semester of school passed by. It was a good semester, and I learned a lot. Speaking of learning, I've progressed in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean... There are positive benefits to enjoying Asian tv, especially when there are subtitles.

I've also learned about being a parent. For those of you who don't know, I work at an aftercare during the school year. Many of those children are poster kids for "I don't want my kids to turn out like that" and they're only in 1st grade. I've also been babysitting during the summer, and have experienced the triumph/relief when a little one finally (!!) falls asleep for a nap, especially if they were being fussy... When 1 year olds are tired, everything becomes a dramatic tragedy. Lord willing, I will be a parent someday, but I definitely am not ready to be a parent now.

Also on the whole "parent" topic, my brother is going to become a daddy in December... The whole family is really excited. He and his wife will be great parents. It's slightly weird that my brother is going from "Dr Martin's son" to "So-and-so's dad." (Of course, he's also known as himself, so it's not a complete long jump, more like stepping stones...) It kinda means that it's not that far off for the rest of us. (Relatively not far off... I'm in no rush.)

Around March, I started to listen to Korean pop music. It's fun stuff, and an extra plus side is that if I don't really like the lyrics in translation, I can ignore the lyrics and enjoy the music, 'cause I can't tell what they're saying! One song I could listen (with a completely kosher translation) to forever is Smile by KyuHyun - listen here.

I'm planning to conduct some experiments this summer: Bleach and Color - how far does it go? I'll be testing some cheap (colored) fabric with different solutions of bleach and water. When I feel confident regarding the different outcomes, I'll have some fun with some clothes I got on clearance. I'll probably act scientist and create a report on the effects of the solutions, as well as my finished products.

I went to Scotland in May. It was pretty. It was cool. I enjoyed the rainy weather, most of the time. One of the outstanding benefits from the trip was afterward: I had to read short stories by Scottish authors for the Lit. class connected with the trip, so I elected to re-read stories from The Golden Key and Other Stories by George MacDonald. Wow. The Golden Key is officially now my most favorite fairy tale... It's certainly not a Disney fairy tale, but the layers of brilliance and insight are untold. I wrote a paper for the class about the subject of Death in The Golden Key, I'll just say, in light of The Golden Key, and the Christian perspective that it is written from (and I share), I'm ready to die. It might sound morbid, and I assure you I do not in any way wish to hasten my death, but The Golden Key presents an outstanding perspective on death which is rare, especially in fairy tales. Look it up, the copyright has long expired, so it's easy to find under public domain. The Golden Key by George MacDonald. (By the way, his other fairy tales are certainly worth reading, as well.)

Life is slow right now, but I'm content. It's nice to not have an alarm clock buzzing under my pillow every morning.

I have waxed eloquent long enough. Signing off for now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Christmas in China

My apologies for the extensive delay in the continuation of my travelogue... I could blame schoolwork... Okay, I'll blame schoolwork, it's a handy excuse... better than "I've been lazy..."

We left off on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day after H got back from class, she wrapped her presents for me and then we opened them. It didn't take that long, but it was fun, especially as she opened 2 for every one of mine and I got to see her excited responses to the different things. When she opened J's calendar, she basically started crying... I had to convince her not to... but it was definitely one of her favorite Christmas presents. Another was the webcam... I guess we mostly hung around during the afternoon, we might have watched something on the STAR movie channel (they show the most random English-language movies with Chinese subtitles). I think it was Home Alone 3. For Christmas dinner, we went out for dumplings with five others. It was my first time really trying dumplings (I would write the Chinese name, but my Pinyin is rotten...), and they're definitely on my list of favorite authentic Chinese foods. We had a great time conversing and stuffing ourselves with dumplings (so good!!!). H brought along the calendar to show off, which was fun for her. After we got back in, we connected the webcam and video Skyped with the family. It was funny, because for them it was somewhat early Christmas morning, whereas our Christmas was almost over. We chatted for awhile and showed them around the apartment. It was good. A great memory for all of us, especially those on the US side, who hadn't seen H's face since July. Afterward, we went next door and watched an old 90's Christmas movie I'd never seen before. It was corny, etc, but it was fun to watch it with the others in the group.

Well, that was Christmas. I'll focus on remembering the rest of the trip so that I can finish the account in upcoming days.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Update - Incomplete... Written on Jan 7

Right now I am sitting in the Beijing Airport... I just lost my handy HSM2 hand sanitizer (why they wouldn't allow it on the plane, I don't know...), and my super-cool looking water bottle (when you try to fill a plastic water bottle with scalding hot water, it'll shrivel and shrink... RIP, water bottle). The flight has been delayed about an hour, I believe. There was trouble with the incoming flight (It was late), so we're bumped back some. I've been moved from the back of the plane to the front so that I can get off quickly to make my connecting flight... I hope it works... If not, I've got friends in NYC, so I'll try to spend the night with them... unless the airline offers to put me up at a snazzy hotel... snazzy hotels are fun... But it would be more fun (theoretically) to chill with some friends... we'll see.

So, what's been going on that I haven't written about? Lots of stuff. I've had a much busier (in a good way) schedule in China than I ever would have in the US. (Totally random thought: I wonder if OSU beat UT or the other way around...) Parties, meals, shopping... good times. I already realized that I forgot some things at H's: my little black dress (sniffle... that was a great dress...) and my Dublin jacket (it was so cozy and warm in FL...). C'est la vie. I think I updated you all until the Monday before Christmas... So we'll start there.

That Monday, I taught the writing lesson for the 3rd and 4th times, in the last class, one of the groups did a really excellent job - not only did they look up the assigned words, but they tied them to descriptive writing. It was ery exciting. We did not meet with H's Mon. afternoon Listening class - the English teachers were expected at a department party. The party was interesting. There was much more in the way of entertainment than there would be at an American dinner: Some of the English faculty did a "fashion show", some played instruments, one read a poem. Everyone was essentially expected to contribute to the festivities. As thanks for their contributions, gifts of detergent, toothbrushes, hand cream and other practical things were given. Plate after plate of food was brought in. It was the first 'feast' I'd been to. Only one thing was difficult to eat: cold noodles in gelatin... I definitely gagged on that one... I didn't try the fried chicken stuff because I wasn't certain where the meat was. I tried everything else, though. Some stuff I enjoyed (like the flaky coconutty bread at the beginning), some stuff I didn't (one of the soups). Alcohol was flowing, the other tables got involved in drinking games or something... I held my cup under the table when they came around with the beer, H and K were not so fortunate, so they toasted, but didn't imbibe. My protest when they went to fill my cup was that I was underage... They thought that was pretty funny. We paid our respects and left before the others became too drunk... I wrapped the presents after we got back, even though I was quite tired... I was pretty cranky by the time I was finally finished.

Tuesday... On Tuesday, we had class again I talked about Christmas while H gave the Oral exam, and wound up telling the Christmas story, which was pretty exciting. In retrospect, it was like skiing - I wasn't certain if I was doing it right, but I couldn't stop, and I didn't want to. I also got to meet the rescheduled Listening class. Tuesday evening was the party when I got my Chinese name. I also got to try a lot of neat snacks, including some I didn't like quite as much... I again went solo to the convenience store for drinks (for the party), this time, I found the grape. There were about 30 girls there, evidently guys don't do parties so much...

Wednesday was Christmas Eve. I don't recall what happened, exactly... No, we went shopping - My first trip to Gui Lin Lu (pronounced - Gway-lynn-lou or low)(It's not unlike Canal St. in NYC). H got a headache too quickly, and I tried one of her curry restaurants. After GLL, we made a stop at War-Ma (aka Wal-Mart), then headed home. There was a small gift exchange with some others when we opened our stockings. It was quite fun. (That was when I got my cool water bottle that just died...) H and I had been invited to Christmas dinner in the flat of a couple from the company. It was tasty, but I felt a bit guilty eating things I could get in a few weeks when the others hadn't enjoyed some of the dishes in months. Afterward, we chilled upstairs singing Christmas songs with some of the others. We also watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Thursday morning I decided to stay put when H taught her 8 AM class. Soon after we got up, we found the Skype video cards from the family, which we thoroughly enjoyed. (Especially a certain point when K made a perfectly-timed comment that would only cause hilarity in our family.) While H was gone, I cleaned in the kitchen. Kind of a Christmas present, I guess.

**At this point, it was time to wait to board the plane. I was able to make the connecting flight with time to spare, in case you wondered (despite a bit of fun with customs...). More to come, honest!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Ow. I am in pain. This pain was not caused by falling 5-10 times, nor by slamming into some random Chinese guy while traveling several mph on skis. The pain was not caused by walking several miles, nor by hauling skis up a slope 3 times. No, this pain was caused by attempting to slide down a huge pile of snow which had a notch carved into it not big enough to fit my hips... I'm certain I'll feel pain from everything else later, but for now, I feel bruises forming on my legs...

Today was a good day. I got up at seven, put together a lunch and piled on several layers. Then I walked out to the main gate, took a taxi to the Ching-way (sp!), and waited to meet a friend around 8. This girl is from H's company, she is from Singapore, which was a very good thing, since she speaks (and reads!) fluent Chinese, since everyone else is initialled, we'll call her R. So we met in the Ching-way station around 8 and took the train away from the main part of town. We rode (not really meaning to) to the end of the line. Our stop was the next to last stop, but the doors closed before we could get out. We just waited awhile for the train to go the other way. We got off, R had some trouble since she only had gotten a 2 kuai ticket, but needed a 3 kuai one for the distance she had travelled. We walked from the station to the park (we paid 30 yuan at the entrance), then over the lake (so much fun! Though it turned out to be less efficient to have done so... It was quite cold, too... so cold that our breath frosted the stray hairs near our faces.) to another part of the road, then down the road to the skiing area. (Our purpose overall was to go skiing, it was her 2nd time and my first.) Our first inkling that something was different came when we got to a stretch of road that had Chinese police posted every 10 feet. It turned out that today was a huge skiing festival/international 50k cross-country ski race that lasts four days. By the time we got there we were quite cold, and ready to warm up a bit. We went ahead past the ski lodge (sorta) to the area where the race fun was going on. On the way, we stopped at a vendor and got tea eggs. I was a bit hesitant about these strange brown eggs with bits of black stuff sticking to them, but I went ahead, shelled my egg, and tried it. It was good! I'm going to try to make them when I get home, but that was a good egg. (Essentially, tea eggs are eggs boiled with water and tea leaves.) It was also hot, which helped warm my hands for awhile. We wandered around the race area for awhile. Twice, people had their picture taken with me (random, but fun), and we took our picture with the mascot fellow for the race: an Alpen grandfather type guy. We walked some more, seeing the random things, including some neat snow sculptures, ice bikes, little sleighs drawn by reindeer without horns, little dogsleds with room for two people. We tried some food from another vendor: it looked like a piece of wood, but it broke easily and turned sticky in your mouth, R and I thought it might be frozen molasses, we're still not sure. We made a loop and wound up near the ski lodge, we bought 5 more eggs (2 for her, 3 for me (I told you, they're good!)) and went in the lodge. We discovered it was 200 yuan to ski (100 to ski, 100 deposit) for two hours. So first we had our odd lunch: Tea eggs, little orange creme filled cakes, lemon cracker sandwiches, and beef-flavored Cheetos (I also had a cup of nai cha (milk tea)). I didn't like the Cheetos as much as I thought I would. C'est la vie. After we were thoroughly fortified, I bought a pair of gloves (the ones I've been wearing were letting too much cold through, so we layered those over my new ones, and we went to ski. It took a little while to get suited up, get a locker, (me to learn how you put everything on... I was quite helpless at first) and get out on the beginner's slope. We stood in line for the ski lift, (I'll insert here that standing in line in China is about as cutthroat as you get, if you don't aggressively move toward the front, all kinds of people will just go in front of you... As I was hapless/helpless on my skis for awhile, it was a challenge...) which isn't a lift, rather there's a disc that goes between your legs connected to an overhead line which draws you along. As you take the lift, you aren't sitting on the disc, you're sliding along on your skis, so if your skis go the wrong way (say, out from you in a V), you're going to have some problems. Guess who had problems! I fell off, which was the second time (I'd already committed the V error getting to the lift), so R got off, too. There was some fun getting up (you have to take the skis off to get back up, and I kept trying to get up with them on...), and we coasted back down, allowing me to get used to the skis. We decided to just walk up the slope instead of standing in line again. Walking with ski boots is plenty of fun... They're not exactly traction-oriented, since you're supposed to be wearing skis under them, so you have to walk carefully, nay, nearly gingerly to get somewhere (and trying to ski up the slope was not an option, since to do that you have to pull yourself along on your ski poles, which is murder on the arms...). We finally reached the top, put on our skis, and rode down. It was at that point that I understood why people ski. I was sort of trying to go slower, to keep my skis in an inverted V and not let them get to the error V, but I flew along, all the way to the bottom of the hill. It was fun. We hiked back up, after trying for awhile to pirate a ride on the lift from people who fell off, and we went again. This time, I was trying to be more controlled, and to go slower, keeping a larger inverted V, but with that as my focus, I wasn't trying as hard to sort of steer, which is when I slammed into the random Chinese guy... yeah... There was a chain reaction: I slammed into him, we both slammed into the ground... It was kinda weird, 'cause it almost seemed like he was standing there waiting for me to run into him... He and his friend helped me back up, and I had gotten my ski back on and was fixing to coast down the rest of the way when some girl got tangled up with me, and I met the ground again. Finally I coasted back down (By that time, R had come back and helped me up) the slope. R decided to try the intermediate slope, while I gave the beginner's another shot, by this time we were 35 min away from 2 hrs. My final ride was great. I sighted early on where there were gaps in people and focused on a. staying up and b. not running into people. I decided against another run, even though there were 25 min left, and made my way back to the ski lodge. It was slow going, and I asked a Chinese lady on the way to take a picture of me on skis. It took a couple tries, but we got a good pic. I waited for R back at the lodge, since she had our shoe claim tags. I tried to claim mine, since time was running out, but the guys behind the counter, amid Chinese, asked me to "Wait a moment, please." I went back out to wait for R, and finally saw her. We got our deposit (and shoes) back, then went to try out the snow slide that other people (mostly kids) had been having fun on. We chickened out for the higher one, opting for the one that had the too-narrow notch... We learned our lesson and went down the big one next... it was terrific fun. We were tired from the skiing, so we started to walk back to the entrance. We hadn't gotten far before a taxi van driver asked us if we needed a lift, so we took the fast/easy option and took the van to the Ching-way station. After I got back in the room, I decided that a nap was in order, but it took a loooong time before my legs stopped emitting cold and I was able to sleep comfortably. I woke up later, started to write this post, then H and I went out with some friends and had a good (big) dinner, then came back, and now I'll probably take a long hot shower to forestall the aches which are sure to come (or as Jamaicans would say, "Soon come."). I'll do my best to catch everyone up on what else has been going on over the next few days, but for now, tsai chien (phonetic spelling), or goodbye, from China.

Check out pictures here: