Friday, December 14, 2007

Crazy Fun, December 14

We had the Ford Christmas party last Friday. It was hillarious! We all went to this hotel, which I thought would be sort of dodgy, but turned out nice. There were about 500 people there in this huge room and we had a Chinese set meal. Certainly not what you would get at the Mandarin, or any other American Chinese restaurant, but much better than I expected (I think I've been here WAY too long). I even ate the jelly soup, though I passed on the sea cucumber and abalone that was in it. Anyway, the great part was the entertainment! I think I've mentioned before how the Chinese LOVE variety shows! You can find one on any evening of the week on Chinese TV. They even have them on Street corners in front of Department stores, and in parks, etc. Anyway, there was a serious variety show planned. There was this Girl and Guy couple who were the "MC's" for the evening. They kept coming out in different outfits!
There would be talent acts, and in between they would have call-in games ( I think they thought they were on TV). People would call in on their cell phones from around the room and win prizes. There were lucky draws. One of the acts was this group of girls from the office from the "Easy English Club" ( a club where they promote better English by having movie nights, "word of the day", and "bathroom culture {can you have a bracket inside a bracket? anyway, this means they put english jokes and stories on the bathroom stalls}. OK, so they did this song and dance. There were about 8 of them...and it was a very sultry song. They had these little identical dresses that were very modest on top, but came down BARELY below their bottoms! We were all just so nervous they would bend over a little too far! So, the idea was if the men wanted to hang out with these women, they needed to come to English club. Funny, huh? Well, they had
several other acts, including a Kung Fu act, and LOTS of singing acts ( Everyone sings here. They love to sing in front of people it seems whether they are good or not). Caitlin and her friend were asked to do a dance, and it was cute. They had these really loud smoke blasts that would shoot confetti and smoke onto the stage at unsuspecting times...Caitlin got a real startled look on her face once when she was dancing and they added some special effects! So, the last act of the evening was a fashion show! Isn't that crazy? I think each of the men and women changed 6-8 times! And they all went to classes for weeks before to prepare! It was so very strange. Can you imagine this at your work party??? Everyone in the room was standing and so excited! I felt like we had been transformed back into the 30's and 40's. Like we were at a Bob Hope show, or the Laurence welk show. As a party gift, we each got a pillow with a face on it that unzips to a
blanket. Jealous?

Here are a couple of pictures of Caitlin's dance. You can see the confetti all over the glass stage. All of the people at the tables aren't visible, but they had a fan-club of children down in front of the stage. She and her friend Maddie did a great job. And... the best part is I didn't have to have costumes made. Good job for finding matching outfits girls! And way to go for keeping your rythym with a puff of smoke straight in your face!

I'll tell you about my Pajama party, too... My friend Jackie is moving to Beijing the end of this week, and we have always talked about how we have wanted to walk around in our Pajamas like so many Chinese ladies do. So, we had a lunch for her, and we all wore our pajamas and walked around out in the streets. It was so much fun! I only have these bright red silk ones, so I had to wear layers, but that's pretty Chinese, too, right? (I had some serious static-cling going on!). Her friend came to take photos of us walking around, and he took TONS of photos. We stopped and had photos with a man on his scooter, with a lady in HER pajamas and her dog in a quilted jacket, and we all sat in the back of a man's bicycle cart. It was great! We had a couple of games before we went on our walk, and I won a face mask (they wear them all the time now that it's cold) and a scarf, so I wore those, too. Pretty fancy!

Here we are taking off on our pajama walk.

A nice man let us have a photo on his bike cart.

Helping me get all dressed up for the walk...

A pose under a beautiful statue

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Trees and Birthdays

We decorated our tree for family home evening. It was lots of fun. Eli was asking ALL day when it was time. Our tree is turning into an eclectic mix of country, and Chinese. We ended the evening with some hot chocolate and cookies.

This Friday was Caitlin's 12th birthday! She was so excited. She has 5 really good friends from school. She had them all over for a sleep-over. First we went to the new Burger King, which they were all thrilled about. Then we went to the Elementary school production, where Jay was quite the "ham", if anyone is surprised :-) They came back to the house for cake and presents, and stayed up way too late! We had 2 girls from the branch come and stay that night as well. They are the cute girls who watched the kids when we went to Hong Kong. That night Eli started throwing-up everywhere. I think we got up at least 8 times! It was a crazy night, but Caitlin had a great time, and we are so grateful to have her in our family! We love you Caitlin!


This year, with my surgery being only one week before Thanksgiving, I wasn't sure what to do. I decided to have the three girls stay home from school, and that it would be more educational for them to fix the Thanksgiving dinner! They did such a fabulous job. They made rolls, pies, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, the turkey, of course, and we even had some dried cranberries from Hong Kong we re-constituted into cranberry sauce! They even made an appetiser jello salad, and apple cider. They did a really great job, and we very proud of themselves, as they should be. They kept commenting on how much work Thanksgiving dinner takes, and how many times they had to clean up the kitchen. I felt good about that, because I had some real empathy from all the previous years... We decided that nobody could have had a better meal than we did. Way to go, girls! Here are a few photos...

Caitlin and Nicole's Dance Class

This is an article in the school bulliten about Caitlin and Nicole. They have been involved in a dance class this year, teaching younger students. They received a neat acknowledgement about their efforts...

It is with a sense of pride that I send this message to you. All students in the Middle Years Programme are required to do Community service for the betterment of our NIS community, both within and beyond the school. Students engaged in a variety of activities that demonstrate such dedication.

This year, four students at NIS have recently demonstrated an excellent example of Community and service. At the beginning of the year, Nicole Wadley, Caitlin Wadley, Maddie Thompset, and Simone Jeurissen decided to begin a ballet and hip-hop school of dance for the girls of Dong Jiao. Several girls who are students in the Primary Years Programme at NIS expressed interest and they began training for the first eight weeks of school; Not only did Maddie, Nicole, Simone, and Caitlin teach the girls the moves for ballet and hip-hop, they also arranged for the booking of a room in the Dong Jiao Guest House, met with the tailor to design and create costumes, and orchestrated a performance at Dong Jiao where parents and guests were invited to attend and were offered snacks as they entered.

The effects of their efforts resulted in the girls of Dong Jiao having the opportunity to learn a new skill and perform before an audience, both at Dong Jiao, and again at the NIS Whole-School assembly on November 21. Caitlin, Maddie, Simone, and Nicole learned a great deal, from working with a variety of ages, choreographing, time-management, and negotiations. Their efforts are resulted in a performance that they and NIS can be proud of.

What Now?... Well, this does not mean that all students should begin their own dance schools at their compounds. It does mean, however, that Middle Year Programme students should be looking at their interests and skills and identifying areas within and beyond the school for applying those skills and improving experiences for others. This could include volunteering at local schools, hospitals, or orphanages, tutoring NIS or other students, organizing or supporting a club or activity to engage students.

Arden Tyoshchin, MYP Coordinator

Here are a couple of pictures. One of the girls in Nicole's group was sick the night of the performance. The parents and neighbors at Dong Jiao (our compound name) were very happy with the performance.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Our Thoughtful Ayi

I really wanted to take a minute to talk about Wan, our housekeeper, this week. I have been very touched by her actions after I came home from surgery. She has always had such a jovial countenance, and is a hard worker. This week she has taken such good care of me. She has brought me water, and when my friend brought me lunch, Wan really took the "hostess" role and was very helpful. On Wednesday, she made me many dumplings for lunch. She also brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Two lilies, which are expensive, and several carnations. I was so touched by this, as I know how much she has to work to get money for the flowers. This morning, she came upstairs and asked if I had eaten breakfast. I told her I hadn't, and she wanted to bring me something. I was going to ask for a banana, but forgot the word. So I said I would just come down and get something. I had told her earlier how Rachel, Nicole, and Caitlin had made so much food yesterday for Thanksgiving. She really wanted to bring me some food, and said," I can bring you something that Rachel made." I didn't want to offend her, so I agreed, having no idea what part of Thanksgiving dinner I would get for breakfast. She came back with the pumpkin pie leftovers and a paper plate and knife. She cut it up in squares (Pie isn't something she would know how to cut)and I asked for a very small piece, of course worrying about getting in trouble with the family for eating the pie! I'm glad there is still an extra pie! Well, I was just glad she didn't bring up stuffing, or mashed potatoes!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

November 20, 2007

A lot of things have gone on this last couple of weeks. First, Rachel's birthday was on November 9th, a Friday. She was very busy that day, playing with friends and there was also a school Halloween Party that night. We all went to that, and then celebrated her birthday for lunch on Saturday. We had a tricky time finding a time the whole family could be there, because Mike had a lot of work things going on that week, and Rachel had important friend celebrations to attend to. Mike left Sunday morning to go to Thailand for business, so the birthday lunch was Saturday. She wanted lasagna and a home-made chocolate cake. She had a fun birthday. And, of course, I can't believe I have a 15 year old daughter!!!!

Also, on November 9th, I went to another cooking class. We learned to make Chinese dumplings. Ok, let me just say....HARD! I felt like butter fingers. Those dumpling makers have talent! After practicing a lot, I sort-of got the idea. The thing is, they make hundreds and they all look the same! Increadible. I don't think I'll really be making those at home in the near or far future. But it was a great experience learning how. I'm gaining a huge appreciation for their talent!

Here are some pictures of the Halloween party costumes,some from Rachel's birthday, and my dumpling cooking class.

Nicole and her friend Simone dressed like Barbies:

Here comes Wizard Caitlin:

Rachel's birthday lunch:

Here, you can see Jay in the corner, after his pretend guitar birthday song.

My first dumpling, and last dumpling. Notice I don't show you the demo-dumpling :-)

Working hard at dumpling-design.

Here is the special wedding meal waiting to be served at the fancy hotel that night...Want some????

Last Wednesday, Michael met me in Hong Kong to go to the Matilda Hospital for hip surgery. I was scheduled for a CT scan Wednesday afternoon, and the surgery on Thursday. I had a wonderful evening with Micheal, and then went to the hospital on Thursday. Great news, they didn't have to do everything they planned on doing. They just repaired a labrim tear, and then cleaned up some swelling and freying. The recovery is much less and I'm thrilled about that. I came back on Sunday afternoon, and I'm trying to do a couple of productive things while I'm not quite ready to get out and tackle the world, so here is the blog. Here are a couple of pictures...

Isn't it a cute hospital? It's right on Victoria peak. Very old, but nice.

How can you not have a speedy recovery with a view from your hospital room like this one?

I have a photo of the bandages, but I didn't want to shock anyone with too much leg. Nice of Mike to take those "after surgery" shots. (it's actually the next morning)

Ok, so Mike insists it isn't too much leg. Just be glad I'm not in a swimsuit :-) and I think you should know that the breakfast is for me AND Mike. I couldn't even eat it cause they beat up my throat so bad.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rachel's trip to Jing De Zhen

Hey Everyone!
This is Rachel.. My mom told me to come on here and say a few things about my trip I went on last week with all of the kids in my grade.
I went to a little village in the middle of China, called Jing De Zhen. It is a pretty random location, and you would think that it had no historical relevance, due to the lack of people, but actually it is the Pottery/Porcelain capital of the world.
We stayed at a hotel, that warmly welcomed us with a large sign that read "Warmly welcomed international teen friendly sorts". They don't get a lot of foreigners there. We were in the hotel for about 4 nights, and we stayed in rooms of 2 Each room had its own computer and TV! We spent most of our days walking around the city though, looking at various museums and historically significant places.
Mostly all of the people who live there take part of the pottery industry.
I saw a lot of cool things, mostly pottery related, like people making the pottery, the kilns they are cooked in, the carving and painting of the pieces and even a first-hand look at the selling of the pottery =]
I had a great time looking at the different pieces, as art is one of my favorite things, but i did find out the hard way that pottery spinning is not my BEST talent. ;-)
The pottery there was very cheap, i bought three beautiful hand crafted vases for my mom for about $12.00, and i payed about double than the price i should have. so it was fun shopping =]

I had a lot of fun there, and am very glad i went!

Here are some pictures from my trip:

This is the "Millenium Wall". It was created by a bunch of foreign students.

This is a picture of a baby's Split-pants. Yes, they actually wear them (:

This is a sign that was at the buffet of our hotel. I thought it was pretty dang funny.

Thats me opening a locked door. haha.

And this is me, knocking on an ancient chinese door =].

This is a house in a small village I took a picture of. I really liked it.. it shows how alot of people really live.

Happy Halloween!

Last week was a busy week. I guess they all are. The girls all kept busy on their trips. Halloween was Wednesday night. It was fun. I found an ugly old pumpkin (which I thought worked extra well...being a little more scary) to carve. Mike came home and helped the boys carve their pumpkin. It was a rainy day. All of the kids met out in front of our house. With all of the older children gone on trip-week, there were less than 30 kids. The person who planned it decided that they would all go together. So our house was the first one. Then, we all went together to each house. One of the ladies had sent a note around a few days before, telling people there would be children coming to trick-or-treat, so most of the people participated. It was fun. They did get some interesting stuff. I think this was because of the available candy here, and because several Chinese homes participated. Jay and Eli received several "haw" candies. They are like crab-apples dipped in hard tack. MMMM.... Yummy! Jay was a pirate skeleton, and Eli was a skeleton. Nice and easy costumes I picked up when we were in Hong Kong.

Eli's birthday was fun. He took cupcakes to school. He came home with chocolate frosting all over him! The neighborhood usually has cake out in front of the houses on the kid's birthdays. We had a little neighborhood party right after school. Eli was very excited about his gifts. Some of his favorites were a Ratatouille game, a remote control car, and a little pretend fish tank. He was very tired by the end of the day!

On Saturday, all of the Elders' Quorum came over to play football, eat pizza, and watch the Priesthood session of General Conference. I hid out in my room with the kids, but it sounded like they had a great time. There were about 25 of them.

I have been very involved lately with the charity that I work with. We are putting together an Auction to raise money for heart surgeries. I have been extremely busy with it. If all goes well, we should make enough for 3 or 4 children to have heart surgery! That will definitely make all of this work worth it! Here is the hyper-link if anyone wants to see the sweet children who have had surgeries!

I want to try to get the girls to write about their trip weeks on the blog. I'll see. It's hard to get them when they aren't too busy!

Here are a few photos of Halloween, and Eli's birthday.

Oh- One last thing. I was invited to a Melbourne Cup luncheon yesterday. I'm told that nobody in Australia works on this day (it's a big horse race), they have parties and watch the race. We were to all dress up and wear hats, and we all watched the race on the Australian channel. My friends and I wore funny hats. I think they are trying to make me an Aussie! It was a fun afternoon. I'm loving getting to know so many different cultures.

Carving the pumpkin.

Rainy Trick-or-treat.

Jay and Eli and friends (Jay is in the pirate mask)


Eli and his cake (it's better than it looks...that's coconut-pecan frosting)

Yeah! Presents!

Getting ready for the Melbourne Cup Luncheon.

Ginelle, Julie, Deb, and I. Don't we look lovely?

Here are the ladies watching the race...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 30th 2007

I wrote the whole thing, and put pictures on, and disappeared! That's a little frustrating. But...I'm going to try again.

Last weekend was supposed to be Eli's birthday party. He chose to invite a set of twins he plays with to go to McDonald's and to a park. But, they had to cancel last minute. It turned in to a Mommy-Daddy-Eli date. We went to McDonald's and then to the school to play. We had fun. The only bad part was when Mommy threw a baseball and Eli missed. It hit his eye. What a nice Mom!!!! He still has a purple and black eye. Happy Birthday Eli! I can't believe my baby is 6 years old!

Also this weekend, we went for a walk with the boys. I keep trying to sneak in walks because I am going crazy not exercising at all. I can walk and move OK, it just makes me hurt. But, I figure I won't be able to at all for a while after the surgery coming up on the 15Th, so much to Mike's displeasure, I do try to sneak some walking in. I don't know if I've mentioned the surgery on the blog. I will be going in for hip surgery to Hong Kong. I have something called FAI Femoral Ace tubular Impingement. Anyway, I'm really grateful they found the problem, and that it can be fixed! It will be an arthroscopic surgery, and I am really glad about that.

The girls are off on their trip-week. Each grade goes to a different location in China to learn about the culture for a week. Caitlin is in Nanjing (but staying away from home), Nicole is in Xi'an, and Rachel is in JingdeZhen. Hopefully I'll get some more info about that when they get back.

Here are some pictures from this weekend:

There was a posing rock (there always seem to be lots of "posing" opportunities around), so I had Mike pose. Handsome guy!

There are always lots of girls getting photographed at the different parks. Mostly wedding photos. This girl has a fancy purple gown on. It seemed chilly!

Mike and Eli at our Birthday play-date

Eli and the black eye he is happy to tell everyone that Mom gave him. It looks much worse than you can see here. It swelled up more and turned purple and black.

Wedding photos!

Testing the water...Other people are swimming. Should I?

No Mike No! Look at the sign! (and the people swimming behind it)

Jay and Eli trying to fall in...luckily they didn't succeed.