Sunday, September 25, 2005

Rugby Tournament in Shanghai

Yesterday, we left at 6:00am and traveled the 3 hours to Shanghai. Of course, once you get to Shanghai, it takes forever to get where you are going. It is a huge city. Rachel and Nicole had gone the day before with their Rugby team. We got to see them play. It was great. The tournament was at an American School. When we went into the gate, it was like we were in a mini America! There were houses everywhere that looked just like houses you would see in Canton, Michigan! It was so surreal. The girls played great! They had so much fun. It was a beautiful day, and there were teams from International Schools all over the area. It was fun to see the girls' different styles of playing. They had two teams from our school, so we had to be two places at once sometimes. I think I should mention that it was touch-rugby, so thank heaven, no tackling! The teams are co-ed, so I wonder if that adds to the fun for the girls.
After the tournament, we wanted to go get winter coats for the family. We went to Xian Yang Market. I don't think I've ever seen so many people in my life! We went bargaining, and got North Face coats for everyone. They could be fake, but they are the best fakes we've seen. They even have gortex, and waterproof zippers.'s an exciting thing...american sizing! (I am an amazon woman here! I can bearly fit into clothes, if I can find extra extra large. And only men's shoes) Anyway, we bought 7 really nice coats for less than 150.00 We were pretty happy about that. I really could have spent more time there, but unfortunately, our driver doesn't know his way around Shanghai at all, so we spent too much time lost. Then it was time to turn around and head home. It was a long day, but worth it!

Skiing in September

Rachel and Nicole went on an indoor ski-trip with the school. I'd never heard of indoor skiing, but sounds pretty fun...especially if it's hot outside! This is what Nicole had to say about the trip...

The ski-trip was fun and exciting! On the way there it was exhausting because we went at 5:00pm and got there at 9:45pm. We left on Friday after school. The hotel is a little wack. I mean, all over, there are pictures saying "Einstein came to this hotel" and "Jefferson Stopped By". That's not accurate on account of that Jefferson was in the 1700's! It had good food though. In each room there were four students (all either girls or boys) and a teacher. In my group we got there and after dinner we went into our room. There was a room in the back for the teachers and the rest was ours. We squashed our beds together and slept all together. I picked up this gigatic towel and walked into the bathroom so I could shouwer, but the teacher said that the huge towel was my blanket! Gross!! I couldn't take a shower...I mean I wouldn't take a shower, because, UGHH, I'm not even going to mention the bathroom shower! It had brown blobs all over! (I guess she changed her mind :-) In the morning we got ready at 6:30 and ate a buffet at 7:00. I was really tired. When we were done we drove to the ski place. It was huge! It's the second biggest indoor ski lodge in the world. I decided to snowboard. when we got in the cold snowy hills, I did level one for a while. I fell a couple of times. Then I rode this thing up to the 2nd level. It a long pole with a wooden circle. I never rode one before, so it took a while to get it. While I was suffering, a man came up to me and asked if he could take a picture for and advertizement (they were doing a shoot for the brand Quicksilver where pro's came and were snowboarding for the add). I said no. He said,"please". I refused again, but he took it anyway! I was upset but to make it worse, he said"thanks, I need you for my advertisement!" UGHH! At the end I got better, but when I fall it's not only a's a historic fall. I mean these falls burn and hurt like heck! Not only that but they make me look like 100% clutz! I had a great time though, and next year...I'll go again!-Nicole
Well, unfortunately, The girls were afraid of ruining the camera inside the resort. So no pictures of inside. Here's our Nicole on the Train. Maybe next year...

Silk Worm Factory

I got brave and signed up to go on a Silk Factory tour with the International Club. The brave part wasn't going, but the fact that I had to take Eli with me. We traveled on a bus of about 35 people to a small village about an hour away from town. The area was beautiful! The tour-guide then gave us each a large bag and told us to fill them with leaves from these bushes growing next to some buildings. He told us that this was the time of year that the worms eat constantly. Wow! We had never hand-fed worms before, and many of us wondered how big these worms actually were! We then met the worm-farm owner, who took us into the buildings. They were lined with big shelves full of worms!!!! And, we were only supposed to put the leaves on top of the worms. Eli was pretty disappointed, but tried to hand-feed them anyway. We got back on the bus, and then spent thirty minutes trying to back out of this little village. It was a narrow road, and no-place to turn around. I'm pretty sure we were the first ever to tour this farm. I think the whole town was out staring at us! Next we went to a Fruit farm where we saw how they grow kiwi, and chestnuts. The most exciting part of this was the narrow road we drove on (in the huge bus) that had a 15 foot drop on both sides. We made it! Last, we drove to the Silk Factory. We were told that it was a very big deal we were coming. Our guide told us that he had been by the day before, and that they had cleaned the bathrooms for us, and we would be given toilet paper! (this is a big deal, as bathrooms never have toilet paper) When we arrived we were taken to these fine facilities. All I can say, is look at the picture. The stalls had no doors, and they had a girl like at the fancy hotels, with a basket of toilet paper. Wow-that's an experience I don't need again! They took us through the factory. It was really interesting! I thought about how they would never allow a tour like this in America because of the fear we would sue them if someone got hurt. Especially with Eli running around like he owned the place. Luckily, we all made it unscathed. At the end of the tour, the owner had a surprise for us. They had made us soup! Ok, that was pretty scary for all of us. But I figured it had been boiled, so I had some. It wasn't bad, but I didn't eat the various chicken parts floating around in it. (I think I must be getting used to some things) Well, it was an amazing experience! I loved seeing parts of China that people don't normally get to see. And the amazing part of the whole day, was that Eli, being the only child there, was good as gold! Hope you can see some of these photos.

Language Struggles

I had my Chinese lesson last night, and I learned new stuff. I was practicing with my driver. I was feeling pretty cool. Well, my driver had said a really funny sounding word the other day, and couldn't get across to me what it meant, so I asked my teacher. The word was Ma ma hu hu (sounds like hoo). I found out it means So-so. I told Jiang (our driver) that I knew what it meant now, and then I made my mistake. I thought it was a perfect segway into me telling him another word she taught us...San Ba. Well, my teacher told us it means crazy woman. I thought that was pretty funny,and thought certainly Jiang would be impressed that I know a "slang" word. Well, you know, there is always that one key word that you don't know how to say. It is usually a word that really puts the sentence together. Well, the word in this instance was "taught". I was trying to tell him that my teacher taught me the word San Ba. Well, he thought I said she "called" me San Ba. He acted very surprised and was most insistant when he told me that I am NOT San Ba! Well, here's where it gets pretty devastating... I found out tonight from my Chinese friend, that it doesn't really mean "crazy woman". It is much more derogatory...More like that one word that we never call women and rhymes with witch! I am so embarrassed. First of all, I used that bad word in front of my driver...AND I said my teacher called me one, AND most of all, because I can't do anything to fix it! Yes, I am EXCELLENT at Chinese!
But I do at least know the moral...
Don't get cocky about your Chinese when it's Ma Ma Hu Hu at best!