Monday, June 28, 2010

Mushy Gushy to YOU, Z, E & K

About one year and two months ago, I made a call late at night to a family friend, someone I now call my agent, who would be leaving for China the next day to obtain teaching jobs in China: "I need you to assure me I won't be alone."

"We won't let you end up on your own."

*Deep breath* "Then sign me up."

And that was that. On the last night possible, I signed up to move to China the next year. And there was no turning back. And I haven't looked back.

I still wonder what possessed me to do it. I had never even been to Asia before. I had never spent more than one month overseas. (Not counting the first 5 years of my life that were spent in Brasil, that is.) My family was reluctant to see their single daughter go so far, especially to a place, that many Americans falsely believe is dangerous. And despite my efforts, I couldn't convince any of my friends to come with me.

I certainly like to think some good was done by my being in Yichang this past year. Or should I say, He did some good through me, but all I know for sure is, I am a better person for it. The reasons for that are many. But there are three reasons that are easy to name-- Katie, Zack, and Elizabeth.

Without one of these three people, I know that my year in China would have been vastly different and more difficult. Without one of these three people, I wouldn't have been affected in the same ways. We challenged each other at times, mostly in positive ways. Valuing unity, and each holding a greater purpose on our hearts, we worked together, we traveled together, and we celebrated Holidays together. And I know, on my part, I've grown from the conversations I've had and the time spent with each of these 3 people, whom I've come to respect and love.

Not to be sappy, but I've been blessed to be a part of your Chinese family Katie, Zack, and Elizabeth. I, along with Yichang, will miss you!

(I mean, c'mon, I've been gone a week. I don't miss you yet.. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wrap It Up

This week: Goodbye dinners, final exams, Dragon Boat Festival, study for HSK, turn in FINAL grades, devo./studies, more karaoake?!, TAKE HSK, exchange money, pry my passport back from the authorities, PACK, refuse to say goodbye to Katie, Zack & Elizabeth, bus dao Wuhan, 4 flights... HOME!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Top Spots in Yichang: Children's Park

The other week, I joined two of my friends on a morning outing to Children's Park, to celebrate Children's Day (another holiday the US should adopt from China--along with Singles' Day) and we went despite the rain.  (If you cancel outings due to rain around here, little will get done.)  In my opinion, Children's Park is the coolest place in Yichang (Closely followed by Yiling Square). And yes, way cooler than the Three Gorge Sham..err..Dam.  Just kidding. (Sort of.) I wouldn't want to diss the world's largest structure of its kind, and this city's pride.  It's cool that it's the biggest, and an engineering marvel.  But it's still a hunk of concrete, right? Why does everyone travel to see something just because it's big?  I would rather visit a moderately sized something pretty.  Idon'tgetit. 

Alas, I digress... back to the park; It's got loads of things to do, including paddle boats, rollerskating, feeding birds (if you're up for an arm scratching frenzy), haunted houses, carnival type games, a bit of shopping and tons of awesome play areas for kids.  Yet, strangely, it never seems very crowded.  That's what I like about Yichang--it's got a lot of benefits of a big city, without seeming overly populated. (Except of course when my arms are weighed down with groceries, and I can't find a cab, or I have to pull out my dagger-like elbows in order to get on the last bus run of the night.)

That's all in this edition of Lonely Planet. [Before I make anymore unnecessary, (yet enthralling) parenthetical statements.]


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Two Weeks...

Until I fly back to America.


So much to do, so much to dooooo

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jessica's a' Comin' To Towwwwwn.

She's makin' a list. Checkin' it twice... I felt like blogging today, but didn't feel up to being sappy or sentimental about my first year in China, and this is the only way to do that. You see, in 3 weeks I will back in the good 'ol US of A. It seems hard to believe. But I will save my thoughts and mixed emotions regarding China for another time.

For now, it's time to focus on things ahead.

Liiiike what I want to do when I first arrive in America: (*SQUEAL*)

1. After squealing, my first plan as soon as I disembark from the plane is to sing the national anthem, and kiss the ground I walk on. Maybe I'll even eat off of it- Yeah, it'll seem that clean after dodging giant loogies on the ground all year. (Sorry, if I just grossed you out. But.. they're not my loogies. Don't kill the messenger..err.. blogger.)

2. I will then promptly turn to a random person with a sarcastic remark or joke that only a fellow native would understand... I might still be the only one that thinks I'm funny, but I'll gladly settle for a mercy laugh that we Americans are so good at, or even a look of comprehension.

3. 'Merican FOOD. Unfortunately, as my friend Elizabeth pointed out to me, my first American meal will most likely occur in the LA airport. So, I'll settle with anything cheap that I couldn't get in China. Which is most things. (A list of the first meals I want to have is another list entirely.)

4. I will then run to the Ladies Room, and dance around a Western toilet supplied with *gasp* its own toilet paper and then wash my hands with *gasp* also supplied soap.

5. Perhaps at this point I may take the time to call my family and talk to loved ones for the first time without the aid of a fuzzy computer. I'll also probably cry out of excitement and delirium.

6. Assuming I'm not ready to pass out due to the exhaustion of moving, being at my third airport of five, so far 20 hours in the air, and a serious cause of jet lag, I will then prance around the gift stores flipping through English newspapers, magazines, and paper back books.

7. Perhaps at this point I will simply sit in a chair, waiting for my next flight to Dallas or Houston, Texas (whatever), and stare at all of the, what will surely seem to look like, very tall and large Americans, after my time in the more petite population of China, with the same wide eyed stare that I've come to usually recieve rather than supply.

8. Upon arrival in some airport in Texas, I may repeat these actions, or, more likely, I will merely exist, unconscious, in some chair, or corner on the ground, and hope that someone will wake me up before lift-off to Pensacola.

9. After arriving in Pensacola, everything gets blurry between reunions that I've anticipated more than a little, gift giving that I've carefully thought out, checking off an entirely separate list completely composed of food, and kissing my nephews and nieces about 12 dozen times.

10. Lastly, when things settle down, I may take a moment to think of my friends still in Yichang, and sign onto Skype to brag to Katie, Zack, and Elizabeth about the American food that I ate that day

Anyway, this is just a quick list I threw together. Nothing I've thought about in great detail, or anything.