Water fountains

Pop pop pop goes the water as is takes flight, always reminding itself of the effort it took. Although it soars to great heights it must always return to the ground that it was trying to leave. Despite this tragic fate it keeps trying nonetheless and each time only to fall again.

In China: Week 3

I only have a few more days left here in China and I am beginning to regret that I have to leave so soon.

    Day 15 (Wednesday)
Today I was just so tired I didn’t do much. I started to pack some and ate some really good food. We ate dinner with my grandparents and we ate sadly I do not remember all that what was served, all I know is I ate McDonald’s before because I was unsure if I would be able to eat anything that would be tasty. Turns out it was probably one of my best meals I had. Lee’s grandma can cook the world’s best dumplings. I want to cook like her when I get to her age. She is beautiful I want to be like her in more ways than cooking she is perfect as far as a female’s personality can get.

    Day 16
Today we meet with Lee’s Japanese Aunt,  who actually is my dads sister so she is full Chinese but married a Japanese man so she lives in Japan. I loved her even though I didn’t understand much. I could feel like she cared about Lee like a mother loves a long lost son. Prior to meeting my aunt my dad took me to go get more new clothes. I hated it. I am probably the only female who hates clothing shopping when I bring an audience to “score” the clothing shape and me. Just awful, but I did love every shirt I brought back with me. When we got home I was just done. Completely. I wanted to sleep and take my last day as a relaxed day, but my parents wanted me to go see the Great Wall it caused an argument. That’s how the day ended.

    Day 17 (Friday)
Today is my last full day in China and I spent it like any other day, but today I’m not going to describe my schedule or what I ate. This trip has been more than dinners and lunches with friends and family. More than spas and sightseeing even. This trip has been one of those life changing moments. I almost feel as if China is that boyfriend/girlfriend that you hate ever being in a relationship with because when it ends you just feel lost and the dread that it even might end, even though it hasn’t, just tears you apart. That is how I feel, lost and wishing I had more time. One more chance to hold onto the world I fell in love with. Everything is beautiful. The people, the culture, the overall environment, everything. The USA is not home now, China is. A part of my heart will always be over there and that will never change.
       I know one day I will return again but it is so hard to say goodbye. Please if you get the chance to travel there please go, it will open your eyes to the beauty that the world has to offer.

A Year’s Worth of Lessons

Over this year and a half that I have been married to Lee has taught me much. First the disney princess stories you see, where the distraught girl meets a prince and they get married pretty much the next day after they encounter many trials and it ends with happily ever after, are true to a certain degree.
However, the biggest difference is that sometimes you, regardless of your intention, become that fire breathing dragon that captures the prince and imprisons him leaving him with no hope of saving the day. And no matter what you do to help him out it only adds to his pain because only he can pull himself out.

Second, the laughter and little jokes carry the relationship through the worst parts because if there is some memory that never has a chance to be forgotten and that can be dwelled on, none of the bad really matters.

Third, when it is said that when a couple spends enough time together they start to look and act similar, this is most definitely true. I have seen myself grow over the last year from being a scared, timid female who had no confidence into a women who stands up for herself, her husband, and her new found culture. Things I am almost sure would have never have been possible without Lee. And likewise I have seen Lee grow more understanding and accepting of what life gives him. Something I know comes from me.

Forth, the man can be right. When Lee found me, truely I am certain he was searching, I was at my lowest. I felt worthy of nothing that was good and hopeless of a future with any kind of love. Lee was my last chance before I gave up on trying to live happy and with someone who would love me for me. Lee rose to the challenge and helped fix me. He lit the fire in me that allowed me to see all my potential, that he saw even before we were ever married. He told me often of my potential right from the start but I denied it every chance I could because I thought it impossible. It wasn’t until over a year later that I have begun to see what he did that first day.

Fifth, you can never truly express how much you love your spouse. There are no words to describe every bit of my love for Lee. All I can say is I do love him, not because of what he does for work, his interests, his character, or even his willingness to be there for me (Although, these do help keep the relationship stable.), but because deep down under everything I need to love him. I don’t mean I would be helpless without him or that he would be without me. It is almost like the love that makes you need it so badly it becomes your very breath and you will do everything to keep it there. It is unconditional. I don’t know how else to express it.

And sixth, always be willing to apologize. There are many things I know were not my fault, but I apologized to Lee anyway because ultimately I do not need my pride, but I do need him. He and our marriage are more important than any fight he started. Because I say sorry we can work through issues even if he never says sorry himself. Don’t expect it only expect yourself to do ot for both of you. True (unconditional) love is worth enough that nothing should stop it from growing and forgiving.

In China: Week 3

If you haven’t read the two previous weeks and want to here are the links

Week 1:

https://imarriedanasian.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/in-china-week-1/

Week 2:

https://imarriedanasian.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/in-china-week-2/

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I only have a few more days left here in China and I am beginning to regret that I have to leave so soon.

    Day 15 (Wednesday)
Today I was just so tired I didn’t do much. I started to pack some and ate some really good food. We ate dinner with my grandparents and we ate sadly I do not remember all that what was served, all I know is I ate McDonald’s before because I was unsure if I would be able to eat anything that would be tasty. Turns out it was probably one of my best meals I had. Lee’s grandma can cook the world’s best dumplings. I want to cook like her when I get to her age. She is beautiful I want to be like her in more ways than cooking she is perfect as far as a female’s personality can get.

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    Day 16
Today we meet with Lee’s Japanese Aunt,  who actually is my dads sister so she is full Chinese but married a Japanese man so she lives in Japan. I loved her even though I didn’t understand much. I could feel like she cared about Lee like a mother loves a long lost son. Prior to meeting my aunt my dad took me to go get more new clothes. I hated it. I am probably the only female who hates clothing shopping when I bring an audience to “score” the clothing shape and me. Just awful, but I did love every shirt I brought back with me. When we got home I was just done. Completely. I wanted to sleep and take my last day as a relaxed day, but my parents wanted me to go see the Great Wall it caused an argument. That’s how the day ended.

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  Day 17 (Friday)
Today is my last full day in China and I spent it like any other day, but today I’m not going to describe my schedule or what I ate. This trip has been more than dinners and lunches with friends and family. More than spas and sightseeing even. This trip has been one of those life changing moments. I almost feel as if China is that boyfriend/girlfriend that you hate ever being in a relationship with because when it ends you just feel lost and the dread that it even might end, even though it hasn’t, just tears you apart. That is how I feel, lost and wishing I had more time. One more chance to hold onto the world I fell in love with. Everything is beautiful. The people, the culture, the overall environment, everything. The USA is not home now, China is. A part of my heart will always be over there and that will never change.

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I know one day I will return again but it is so hard to say goodbye. Please if you get the chance to travel there please go, it will open your eyes to the beauty that the world has to offer.

In China: Week 2

It is day 8 of my first trip to Beijing, China and the start of a new week.

***(If you have missed the first week of my trip and wish to read it here is the link:

https://imarriedanasian.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/in-china-week-1/

If not or you already have read week 1, I am sure this week will be just as interesting.)

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Today on day 8 (Wednesday) I woke up early and went to work with Lee and his dad. The air was very polluted in comparison to the previous week, but it was still manageable. We had breakfast in the hospital cafeteria. I had a donut-like scone bread. They are very tasty. And then Lee and I split from his father and we went to the Beijing Zoo (the largest zoo) and we walked around and saw all kinds of birds, monkeys, wolfs, tigers lions, and a Panda. (The main reason we went in the first place.) I had never seen a panda in real life and I really wanted to. We must have come at the right time of day because the panda was not sleeping or eating for hours. We arrived right as it was finishing up breakfast and it was pretty active. It climbed up a ladder to a wooden platform, scratched its behind on one of the edges, than climbed to the next platform, and then sat there hugging the pole (yes I mean hugging) as it had a very bad case of hiccups. We eventually did have to leave so we then traveled to lunch. We at at the Golden Jaguar Buffet. It supposedly is the best buffet in Beijing. If you really like Chinese food and the way they cook it then yes it would be the best, but with it being the largest buffet I have ever seen (even bigger than Bellagio’s buffet in Las Vegas) with all the many different food types they cook and the amount s of each produced the taste is sacrificed to a degree. All in all though the food is pretty good. I think I may have enjoyed the lunch more if I was less picky on what I eat. Also I was extremely homesick. But not because I missed home but because I was tired of the culture differences that were leaving me feeling stupid and vulnerable all day long for the previous week. We spent almost three hours there just to kill time as we waited for Lee’s dentist appointment. We then rushed to the hospital (that’s where his appointment was) from the buffet. We arrived on time, but had to wait for the dentist to finish the prior appointment. When she had finished she called us back and got to work. I will remark that she was fast and knew how to do her job and do it almost entirely without an assistant. All the assistant did was run to get a partial anesthesia syringe (Which is not standardly used for pain management. Most major treatments like surgeries or root canals are done without.) and a few other minor things. All the mouth work was done by the doctor. We spent 90 minutes and had 5 root canals filled. However there was not guest seating and I was not about to leave my husband’s side because first the thought of sitting alone in an unfamiliar hospital and not knowing the language made me nervous and second my husband looked like he needed me. I am not sure if he is afraid of the dentist, but I do know that he was anxious all morning and not in a good way. I had to stand there for both of us because just my presence helped him relax. I stood the whole 90 minutes and was glad to do so. And the doctors that saw remarked at how incredible a task I had taken upon myself just for the benefit of my husband’s comfort. They also said Lee and I would have beautiful kids. After that we went home with my dad after he had finished work and it felt like he took an extra long time getting home, but I could have imagined that because I was very tired by that point. We went home showered and relaxed until bedtime.

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Day 9 (Thursday) we we woke up late, or rather slept in on purpose, and traveled to a bank meeting that my mother had been invited to, but Lee and I went in her place. We got really lost on the way there and encountered a few subway scams. If you see a person scooting across the floor of a subway asking for money it is a scam, he walked through security and down all the stairs. It is nearly impossible for him to have scooted his way through the subway’s maze and crowd. But being almost an hour late we found the meeting place. The meeting was as boring as you probably could imagine a bank meeting might be and I couldn’t understand a thing but because they gave gifts it felt luxurious and worth it when we left. We then had Coldstone ice cream (which I will warn you vanilla doesn’t always taste like the USA’s vanilla.) Then we went back to the subway thinking we had an hour of subway traveling in order to meet with Lee’s best friend, Jay, but it ended up being only four stops so we had an hour to waste before meeting him. We spent it looking for a good place to eat dinner with Jay and finding a bathroom. I need to remark that that bathroom was the best bathroom I have ever used in my whole China trip. There were sanitary seat covers, toilet paper, door locks, coat hangers, clean floor, hot water, soap, and paper hand towels or air dryers. (All luxuries in Chinese bathrooms.) We then meet with Jay who looked very surprised when he saw me. We had a very delicious meal and I plan to go back to that restaurant. Jay was handsome and very nice and funny, but way to serious and uptight and I will always think Lee is the most handsome man. Jay mad me think of a punk version of Elvis Presley. His walk, laugh, the way he curled his lip when he smiled, all Elvis to me. But Lee had a lot of fun and that’s all that mattered. We then went home happy, watched some news and talked all together. Then we showered and slept.

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  Day 10 (Friday) and all day I have been in a haze. My body felt so very fatigued and I couldn’t concentrate on hardly anything. So after we went out to get groceries, returned, and had lunch I took  the rest of the day sleeping and reading in bed. I don’t even remember if I ate dinner. But I slept early.

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Day 11(Saturday) was probably my favorite day so far. We woke up and got ready to leave for the strawberry farms. We had been invited by one of my father’s coworkers to go pick strawberries and take home what we had picked, all expenses paid. The four of us were given a bucket each and we picked until it was overflowing. All together we picked at least 30lbs of strawberries. I loved swiftly and elegantly dancing (not really dancing but moving with the gracefulness of a waltz) from one row to the next picking what I wanted. I filled my bucket first and then helped fill the other 3 buckets. I felt at home in those greenhouses. It made me feel like I was a kid again helping in the family garden. Then we went to lunch with the group we arrived with and ate at a really busy place which I thought was weird. They served Coca Cola soda so I helped myself and left on an insane sugar high and almost drunken from the caffeine. (I hadn’t had caffeine for over a year and decaffeinated soda or juice only on special occasions.) I passed out in the car on the way home. At home I napped for an hour before we had another meet and greet dinner with people wanting to celebrate Lee’s and my marriage. We meet and I drank way to much tea for my liking. (I don’t like tea at all.) Then we had duck for dinner with our dinner guests. This duck was probably the best tasting duck I had ever eaten. (I had had two prior.) And I was given a bracelet and a beautiful shirt and all of dinner was paid for by those who had invited us. But by this point I was tired of eating out and trying new foods (so was Lee). So we both went home frustrated and full. We slept almost immediately when we arrived.

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Day 12 (Sunday) and I woke up pissed and tired. Tired and angry about everything and at everyone. I was even angry at Lee at the start of the morning which I am very sorry for because he never deserves that kind of anger from me. But just like Lee always is, he was there to help me get over myself so I could be happy and smile again. But I couldn’t just enjoy the day like I wanted to. I was forced to sit through another lunch we had been invited to by another set of my In-laws’ network of friends. This has become very painful for me to do. I am sick of sitting at a restaurant that took too long to get to, sick of trying new food or familiar food for that matter, sick of sitting at a table with people I do not know, and sick of not understanding a word that is said. The conversation drew on and on only because these were very vlose friends to my parents. I left angry and tired of trying to entertain my mind for hours. We went home and relaxed and I took a much needed break and Lee slept next to me on the bed, but I didn’t sleep I decided to read. After we had rested for roughly three hours we went back out onto the crowded traffic to make it to a Karaoke Bar. Since it was a weekend and about 6pm the traffic was terrible.

    Day 13
Spa

    Day 14
Dentist and ER

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Want to continue? Here is week 3:

https://imarriedanasian.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/in-china-week-3/

In China: Week 1

So for the spring of 2014 I ended up making a very abrupt decision to travel to Beijing with my husband Lee for about 18 days.

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      After a terrible 12 hour flight just to Beijing from the USA and a total time span of 20 hours between all 3 flights and travel times, I finally made it to where I would stay with my husband’s parents at 11pm Beijing time on a Tuesday (which is around 6am from where I live). I slept only 3 hours on the plane so I was really tired and feeling sick. We got all our luggage inside, changed our shoes to indoor slippers (not to unusual for me), and then the mass of my anxiety hit me. The standard shower, at least that I have seen so far, is just a bathroom with a drain in the corner next to the toilet and sink where the water from the shower runs through almost all the bathroom`s floor making slipping and falling seem like your only destiny. On top of that the water takes a good while to heat up. Still it was nice they have a shower at all. Second anxiety was my new Mom and Dad. (Now don’t misunderstand it was more me that was the complication than them.) This was the first time I met them and I know practically nothing when it comes to speaking Chinese. Also, being American I tend to be very independent and like to figure things out on my own. That kind of independence is pretty uncommon here, so as I was trying to adjust to everything new I felt like I was temporarily stripped of my independence and chance to straighten out my racing mind and given confusion and overwhelming attention. (Kind of like that 1st pet you get that you are so glad to have that for that first few days it gets carried around everywhere and always hug and kiss. I felt like that new pet.) Now there is nothing wrong with that because it is human to be excited to finally see family in person especially the first time. I just think I was to tired to take the extra attention. I talked to my husband and told him they have to slow down and use Google translate when I don’t understand and give me some space to adjust. He said they understood and would try and then I crashed in a unfamiliar bed that was in the master bedroom as my new parents chose to sleep in the guest room. (I asked about 20 times to not be put in the master bedroom, but apparently it is a cultural respect as I am an honored guest for this first trip.)

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       It is now Wednesday and morning and I have slept soundly, but not as much as I would have liked to because my head still aches from the long trip and my back is stiff. I have been awake for an hour and have called my American parents to let them know I was safe and sound. But I haven’t been able to persuade myself out of the master bedroom or my “safe-house.” I know that sounds crazy, but my husband left with my dad to work where my husband then would go to visit my Chinese grandparents earlier this morning. So I am left here with just my new mom and a giant language barrier. And no idea what breakfast has in store for me. But the day is bright and beautiful.
It turns out breakfast was sesame dumplings, stir-fry, a toasted tomato with salt and olive oil, and fried fish. I did not particularly like the sesame, but the rest was excellent. I had a relatively good conversation using Google translate both ways and was able to participate in cooking. I’m glad I left my room. When my husband returned he did most of the talking which was good for me and we laughed and talked until my new dad got home which we all prepared to go eat out. I requested roast duck. Trust me on this when that duck is cooked by a skilled cook it tastes fantastic and not far from the taste of chicken. However, the roads are the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. 5 laned roads become 9 in an instance. There is no parking regulations so parking can happen anywhere, there is no speed limits, there are lane division, but no one seems to pay them any mind, and there are to many people driving. Oh and don’t forget bicycles, carts, buses, motor-scooters, semi-trucks, buses, stray dogs, and jaywalkers all on the road at the same time weaving through lanes like it is an art. Also honking is not out of anger, but rather caution because of the lack of street regulations. In a normal driving scenario at a stop light  I could have reached out the side window and tapped a person`s head as well as stand on two cars at the same time all the time we drive because they follow each other way to closely. But the trip was worth it and I am so full and exhausted.

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The next day (our second full day in China) I woke up very early to travel to my father’s work site where I would receive a physical I had requested. At first I was scared but Lee stayed with me and translated when he needed to. Even though I have been here a short time my Chinese has improved. I can now speak more phrases an have learned words and can recognize them when they are said to me (especially the phrase “do you like it?” They ask that a lot when I eat something new.) The wind can be very temperamental here which is actually a small blessing for me because it blows some of the pollution away, but even with the wind not blowing the pollution is very manageable and not as bad as the media makes it seem. I do not have a itchy feeling in my throat (which is how you tell when it is bad) and I have been mask free since arrival. On our way back home from my physical (which all came back looking positive) we stopped in a bakery to pick up bread for my mom and a few extras for me. And then we walked to the subway station, paid for our travel pass (very confusing machine), and border the subway. It was busy, but not too busy so I had plenty of room to stand and twirl if desired. We had to switch halfway through the ride to a different line of subway which was good, but that on had a few more people on it (me being the only white). We eventually got of that one and planned to walk to the mall half a mile from the station where we should eat. But as we came out of the station there was this little girl who was walking in-front of her mom and came and followed me like a baby duck at one point she even held on to my pant leg and giggled at me. The mother didn’t seem to mind. (Oh just a tip. If you can avoid being at the head of the crowd trying to cross the street do so because they look to you to lead them safety across the terrifying roads and once you are at the head and try to back into the crowd they back up too thinking you backed up for safety purposes. So just avoid that if you feel uncomfortable.) As we made it to the mall we walked for a bit and accidentally ran into a Coldstone Creamery a brand I thought only existed in the USA. I had to eat it and it was just as good. Then we ate lunch and went to catch the bus which took us home. At home we talked to his mom about all the days events and had another meal which I believe was my mom’s lunch. (It is nice the food never has end from what I have seen it seems like there are meals about every 2 hours and one hour is taken up by eating the previous one. Dad made it home and we had lamb meatballs on noodles with cucumbers and cilantro. Very good meal. I ended up getting the recipe for it. Then I showered and went to bed because I was tired from all the walking and I guess I do have jet-lag.

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Friday, Day three has been very slow paced so far it has consisted on breakfast, getting our luggage unpacked, and a long nap that was much needed. But today I learned that my father-in-law had to use public transportation to get to work instead of driving. Apparently it is one of the few driving regulations that exist here. He mandatorily has to make his way to work via public transportation once every 2 weeks (which he gets to chose when out of the two weeks) to help reduce pollution caused by cars. I think this applies to all drivers. For breakfast we had some kind of fried biscuit filled with spinach and leftover soup from the previous night. It was good, but I had woke up with a stomach so I ended up eating bread and jam as the majority of my breakfast. After my nap for lunch we ate roast beef, onions, and homemade flour tortillas. I at more tortillas than beef, but that meal was just what I needed. After eating Lee and I decided to take a walk down the road. As we walked and talked (in English) we both got alot of stares and a few people honked their horn at us for no reason. We walked to the neighboring village which was about a mile away and then we walked down its main street for a while. Even though is was one of the poor districts of Beijing there was a life to it and people seemed to be happy with the life they were given. Out of every 40 stores you passed 1 of them would be a cellphone dealer which always seemed busy. I found that strange considering the local environment, but who knows they could be making more money than I assumed. Stray dogs pranced through the place like they owned it and only stopped at the sight of another dog. That is what actually made me sad is the stray dogs, I can handle stray people because I know if they work hard enough they can pull themselves out of the conditions, but stray dogs (though they are incredibly self-reliant) will most likely always be strays because to locals they are “dirty and sick.” It is just sad and you see them everywhere. But people do keep dogs as pets and those ones act like they are royals in comparison because they are fat and stubborn, but still friendly and genuinely happy. When we got back from our walk his dad had come back from work so we all piled into his car and drove to get strawberries which his dad had figured I would like. (They got them just to make me happy.) We bought almost 8 lbs. from the street market dealer and got cheated about a 1 dollar worth which is 6 RMB here which is about 1/2 a pound cheated. We didn’t realize until we already paid. And I ruined a price negotiation on top of that by saying the strawberries were delicious rather than okay. So my parents ended up having to pay asking price. But we got home and washed the strawberries and our hands and faces and then ate about 2 pounds of strawberries each. I got so sick, but it was a good dinner and apparently the strawberries are some kind of Italian type. By then it was 7:30 pm and I was getting tired so after a few laughs and random who can balance the longest games I washed and went to bed.

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         Day four (Saturday) and I have already started to lose track of the time we have been here because knowing that I am one day closer to leaving makes me sad. I have fallen in love with Beijing and China in ways the that the USA could never offer me. The only things I miss in the USA are my family, my pets, and possibly the driving regulations. At breakfast they had warmed up leftovers from the day before we had arrived which I did not particularly care for because it was so sour. It was potatoes covered in a sour sauce with the color of barbecue sauce so I ate fresh strawberries and that was enough. After breakfast I helped clean up part of the house. Following that I made myself ready to meet my grandparents on my dad’s side of the family because it was a national holiday where you honored your ancestors of the family name you followed. But since the tomb shrine of our family was in a distant city and his grandparents are to old to make that long trip we went to lunch with them instead. We had hot pot, which is where you have a boiling pot of water in which you dip fresh vegetables and thinly sliced meats into the pot to cook. I have wanted this meal for almost 3/4 of a year. (That’s when I learned about its existence.) This meal was very delicious and filling while still being light and healthy. We all then returned to drop of his grandparents at their home and talked for a while longer before we left for our own homes. The traffic every time we drove was even worse than anything I have seen before and scared me terribly, but that’s what happens when the whole nation is trying to get to family and graves. When we made it home we all ate grapefruit and they had tea and talked. Then I helped make a makeshift birdbath and watched the pet pigeons play in the water. We talked about them and I chose a favorite by my parents’ questioning and I picked the brown colored pigeon because it was not like the rest in color or attitude. Which I was then questioned if I loved Lee because he was not like the others in my “cage” or rather my world. Somehow that is true and I might have not really noticed how much that is true until I traveled to his hometown and home. I more picked the different bird because I saw myself in it. Alone in a sort of way caused only by others, but still able to be friends with all because of my actions. Different is not a bad thing. Being different is merely a chance to do things no one else thought was possible. And I guess that is how I see myself, Lee, and this little brown bird. All else today has been slow and not worth mention.

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          Day 5 (Sunday) didn’t start any better than the night before ended. But what I can say is family is the same everywhere sometimes you get along and other times you don’t. So in a very unorthodox manner it was decided that we would travel to another city two hours outside of Beijing to visit my mother’s two sisters and their family for dinner. But to start the day Lee and I left the house to go get snacks for me to eat while on the trip. I chose to get a bag of taosu, which is a cookie that compares to the taste of a shortbread cookie and I also got pocky, which is a sweet pretzel stick covered in a flavored chocolate, but I chose the regular kind of chocolate. We also got some carrots and radishes for later snacking. We tried to find an arcade so we could relax from the day’s events, but we failed to find one still in business. Then we had to rush home to dress for a lunch with a family friend who wanted to meet me. We had to walk almost a mile to get to the correct bus stop because I think we walked the wrong way to get to the nearest stop. By the time we made it to the correct stop the bus had left it but had been halted by heavy traffic, which was caused by a crash, so we were able to board it about 1/4 of a mile from the stop. A small mercy. Once on the bus the traffic became a pain for the next two miles and then it settled back into its normal pace and we made it home on time. At lunch we had roast duck and I didn’t understand much but I do know now that you can smoke anywhere in public and it is legal and accepted. All the food I ate was sacrificed by having to share the table with this chain-smoker friend of my in-laws. I left lunch with my lungs burning and my skin rashing because of an allergic reaction to the smoke. From lunch we traveled straight  to Tangshan, the city my mother-in-law’s sisters lived. Along the way I saw city skyscrapers fall into to smaller cities and then into farms and endless trees and small farming towns, which where falling apart and then rise back into skyscrapers again. This happened over and over again during the whole ride. When we finally made it to our destination it was like I had been in that situation before even though I had never meet these people until that day. It was like I was watching my own sisters and I interact but I was watching it as an outsider. I didn’t understand hardly a word, but I felt at home and love my mother-in-law’s sisters as much as my own. I learned a lot about myself and just a little more about Lee watching the interaction of everyone. Dinner was good. We had dumplings in many different flavors. By the time we left I was tired and I slept most of the way home. When we got home I pretty much stumbled to our bedroom took a half-hearted shower and slept.

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Day 6 (Monday) was a busy day. Lee and I woke up early and ate a small breakfast and then traveled the see the Temple of Heaven. This temple was built back when China had an emperor and used for as a place to pray to the holy ancestors (their God) for a good harvest and growing season. It is beautiful there in all meanings of the word. I have never seen anything so spectacular. Following that we had lunch which I needed something other than Chinese so we found spaghetti which was a rare find. We ate too much and then went to meet with his grandparents to share wedding videos and pictures. Then we went home. And we showered and then dinner was ready for us to eat. I had fresh vegetables. Then we talked for a while with his parents and shared the days events and then we slept.

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Day seven (Tuesday) and the last day I will document in this already too long post. The following week will be in a new post and probably be just as long. Today we woke up at 7am that way the housekeeper could clean all the rooms. Since we didn’t want to deal with her because my Chinese is still very incomplete and Lee has become very tired from being my 24/7 translator we decided to take a long stroll through the community. We found a few crop plots hidden among the trees where the one of the tenants had taken advantage of the unkept grounds and made a few personal gardens. When we arrived back from our stroll Lee, his mom, and I went to board a bus which made its way to the subway station and then we took the subway to the closest stop to our desired destination. We were headed to a luxury spa for the day. At the door I was separated from Lee who would dress in the men’s dressing and bathing area. I followed my mother-in-law to a couch where we changed to slippers and our shoes were taken to temporary lockers in a backroom of the lobby. Then given locker keys that we would use in the dressing rooms and then escorted to the elevator. In the dressing room it was set up similar to a public swimming pool dressing room, but much fancier and you didn’t have to insert coins to lock the lockers. In addition to our personal key to open the locker it also took a master key which was worn by the female attendants placed throughout the room. There was no private stalls for extra privacy, but people took care to look away when appropriate. We had to completely change our clothing into a one time use pajama type of clothing and a one time use underwear that was surprising comfortable given the awkwardness of everything else. After changing I followed Lee’s mother to the food area where a buffet was spread and Lee would meet us. From the buffet could eat anything served and as much of it as we desired and all of it was covered under the affordable entry fee. (I will go into detail later about the cost.) After we all had filled our stomached we found a room where we lounged for probably close to an hour or two. (I lost track of time.) When all of us had relaxed enough we sent a request for massages. We had many options to chose from, but we settled on a regular full body massage and a foot one to follow. We all shared a big room with standard massage tables and we all were massaged at the same time. We also got to chose whether we wanted a male or female masseuse. Lee was very sweet to ask me if it was okay for him to request a female because the duration the male massaged for was ten minutes less than the female and he wanted as long of a massage as possible. I gave him permission which I thought was unnecessary since he is an adult and knows he could have choose whichever he pleases because I know I can trust him in all things. And we then were massaged. The only remark I have on the quality of the massage is The massages you might receive in the USA do not even come close to the skill, attention in detail, and soft care that the Chinese massages can provide. The USA will never be able to massage that well. However, I had a hard time fully relaxing because it seemed like the masseuse my husband had kept on giggling and I did not know why so I was getting frustrated and even jealous which I didn’t know I was capable of being jealous. I had never felt jealous before because I know that in the USA most females are not looking for Chinese men. (Which is a sad truth and very unfair.) But in China the women are looking for Chinese men so With this in mind and the giggles I was hearing I felt like I was competing for something that was already mine. (I still trusted my husband. That never changes, but just because I trust him doesn’t mean I trust others.) But I found out later that the giggling was because the masseuse had massaged my husband’s arm and told him he was very muscular, but then she found out that it wasn’t the muscle that was hard but rather a metal plate which had been put there because a arm injury. Then after we had received 70 minutes of massage we switched to new lounge chairs for foot massages that were also superior to the ones you can receive in the USA. They all joked about how small and baby-like my feet were. In the USA my feet are very large for a female and still large to the size of Lee’s mother’s feet, but they are baby-like in the sense that they are soft and have never spent hours wearing high heels (which causes that weird bump to  appear on the side of you big toe because of the weight of your body placed at your toes.) I still watched Lee’s masseuse way to closely because they massaged part of the inner thigh and calf, as well as the feet. Either way though I really enjoyed the pampering. After the massages we then split again to the dressing rooms where we showered and washed up for dinner. (Also paid for by the entry fee.) However, the showers were not like your standard shower where you have privacy to some degree. No these were four showers to one room with no dividing sections. It was as close to a public bath house as I dare get to. His mom was at least nice enough to request that it be only her and I in one room and no one else, but even then I felt really awkward especially when she offered to wash my back. After the shower we sat in a sauna for a bit and then showered again to rinse of the sweat. Then we went to dinner which was an even bigger buffet. It was great. After dinner we showered yet again and then fixed our hair. Or rather, one of the female tenants fixed it for us. And then we dressed to leave. We paid $350 for a total of 6- buffet meals (two meals each), 3- 70 minute full body massages, 3- foot massages, a hotel room for the day, showers, a sauna, change of clothing, and a personal hair stylist.  (There was more offered like a milk bath and salt scrubs, but I was uncomfortable with the idea.) If I were to get all these luxuries in the USA I would probably spend over $800 at he cheapest places but for the quality that we received I would have to spend over $2000. It was a very relaxing day and we all came home relaxed, but ready for bed. However, bed waited a little bit longer while Lee and I took our time to fall asleep.

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      All in all this week has been an amazing adventure. I am very glad I have decided to come to China and I that I have been able to learn so much about Lee, myself, and China.

      If you want to keep reading I have provided the link to Week 2 below: https://imarriedanasian.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/in-china-week-2/

Intro to Christmas

As Christmas is not too far away and this will be the first Christmas my husband, Lee will be participating in, I thought it appropriate to give this holiday season some acknowledgement. If you are from China chances are you are not Christian and if you are you do not have a national holiday for Christmas like the USA does. So here are some key points.

Christmas- yes this holiday is about Jesus Christ. We use this time to celebrate his birth and spend time with family.

Presents- now more commonly the center of Christmas is a pretty big deal. We give them because the 3 wise men gave Jesus Christ 3 gifts at his birth and it is a reflection of that giving. Although, people tend to focus more on receiving than giving.

Star/Christmas lights- the 3 wise men where guided to Christ by a star in the sky. Christmas lights are reflective of that star and are also fun to use for decorating or showing off.

Christmas trees- most often these are evergreen pine trees (even if they are fake that’s what they resemble). We use the evergreen probably because it is the only tree still green in the wintertime, but also (probably unaware) because it symbolically stands for life everlasting which the birth and death of Jesus Christ has provided. 

Stockings/Santa Claus- the start of this trend was started along time ago in Europe by Saint Nicholas. on on particular night he went around and put little toys and goodies in the shoes that were left outside the door (which was normal at that time). Thus stockings became a tradition and Saint Nicholas, became the early Santa Claus.

 

There is of course much more to Christmas, but one thing is for sure it is really widely celebrated in the USA. I am really excited to celebrate this Christmas with my husband and take time to really enjoy the company of family and friends. Happy Holidays to everyone.