Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Round three

It's new classes, a new apartment, two new roommates, a new walking route to campus, new books. It's a new semester.

And a new semester means that everything is different.

All of this school hoopla is stressin' me out.

I just want to be here:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jet lag

4 days after flying back from China and I'm still experiencing a hardcore case of jet lag.

It seems these two kids are feeling the same way:

8:30 on a Friday night. This is what flying back from China does to you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Let me see Datong

There's no way I can go on blogging without telling the story of my visit to Datong a few weeks ago. It is worth setting aside all of the unpacking and craziness to write this down.

My roommate Jordan came to Shanghai to visit for a few weeks right before we came back to school. My friend Kevin and I greeted her in the airport with a giant sign and a dragon costume. The next day it was off to Beijing and Datong for the three of us. We had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into when we began the trip.

I've had been to Beijing twice prior to this trip and was excited to plan everything and book the flights and hostels. I've always done the hotel thing with my family and was excited to check out the hostel world. After arriving in Beijing we checked into the hostel and set out to explore Beijing before we had to leave on a train at midnight. We ended up spending our time on treat street and daring each other into eating starfish, sheep balls, and penis. Quite the appetizing dinner. We then showered and grabbed a taxi to the train station.

The train was ridiculous. We were the only white people in existence and the only ones who didn't speak chinese. We shared a "cabin" with three chinese people and had to stay in hard sleepers that had just been slept in by other people. 7 hours later, we arrived in Datong to find our hotel that was, of course, under construction. We hired a taxi and headed to the sites. The ride to the Yunguan Grottoes was maybe one of the funniest things of my life. The road was dirt and full of pot holes so we were playing dodge the pot hole the entire way. We saw three wheeled cars and scooters with thrones on them. After this crazy ride we got to the grottoes, not knowing what to expect. There really wasn't an entrance since the tourism in Datong isn't quite on its feet. However, after we walked up to the mountain I was blown away. Thousands of Buddhas were carved into the mountainside. There were giant ones and tiny ones and they went on and on for ever.

We then headed to the Hanging monastery after another crazy taxi ride and we hiked up to it as well. Datong is a gem. If not for the sites, for the adventure. The next day we took the train back to Beijing and hung out in the hostel (I'm a big fan of hostels now. They are cheap and a great way to meet people...even if the rooms smell like sewer). On our last day we walked on and slid down the Great Wall and explored the Forbidden City. We ended the night by taking the bus to the Olympic sites and playing a round of cards. We thought the craziness ended then after we said goodbye to Kevin (who headed back to Shenzhen). However, we were wrong. At 5 the next morning Jordan and I took a taxi to the wrong airport and had to catch another one across town to the airport in the middle of nowhere. Literally, I've never seen an airport so tiny. Only one airlines flies in and out and no one speaks english. We picked a line and after getting to the front, we were told that I had booked the flight for the wrong month. Yes ladies and gents, I did that. Ridiculous. Luckily, China is nicer than America and let us on a flight at the exact same time that day without charging us. I think they took pity on the two blonde Americans.

Jordan and I then spent a week of relaxing and city living in Shanghai.

Now I'm back in Provo. I am so lucky that I got to spend two months in China with my wonderful family. I guess it's back to real life now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Land of the free

Hey America and blogging world, I'm back!

I'm currently in the San Fran airport and I'm so happy to be on blogger and facebook without using a proxy.

Ok, so there's so much I want to write about. I think I'll keep this one short and simply talk about my last night in Shanghai.

My world got smaller once again when I met up with Hunter Klie and his Dad for dinner in the city. My roommate, Jordan was also there with me. There I was, sitting on the Bund with my best friend from college on one side of me and one of my best friends from high school in Arkansas on the other. We ate dinner on a rooftop overlooking the city. It was one of those moments in life where I just think to myself, "this can't be real". I've had an incredible amount of those moments this summer. I am so lucky.

So here's a "then" picture and a "now" picture of dear Hunter and me.

We've come a long way since our band days. I love seeing people that mean so much to me.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Most days are normal days and I go about doing my normal things.

But somedays make me stop. And realize how un-normal these normal things are. Today was one of those days.

I was lucky enough to stop. And realize how crazy it is that "normal" for me is living in Shanghai. It is normal that I have friends that work at the World Expo, normal that my family has no idea when they will be returning to the United States, normal that I am a minority.

Somedays don't feel real.

And I am grateful for those days.