Monday, May 30, 2011

Transitioning

Well we made it safely back home to the Spring City. Harvey did great on the flight. Actually...I think he did better on the flight than he usually does on the ground. He did, after all, fly like 10 times while in the womb.

We finished up our packing and it wasn't as difficult a task as I had expected. Then we all took "naps" in Josh and Danielle's room until midnightish like one big happy family. Then Jarred and Shelley arrived and we talked with them for a while before going to sleep. The next day we did alot of eating and sleeping...come to think of it, that's about all we did. Danielle and Shelley cooked a big breakfast for us, we had leftovers and sandwiches for lunch, Shelley and I made tacos for dinner, and then we went to Cold Stone one last time for some ice cream. It was a nice time and I was so happy to have foreigners with us. The next morning we set off for the airport, hoping they wouldn't turn us away. But they didn't even say a word about Harvey not being old enough. Josh had plenty of speeches planned out in his head in case they told us we couldn't go, but he didn't need them, thankfully. Some friends picked us up from the airport and then we came home. We were greeted by welcome signs on the door and by cards all over the house. One of the first things I did when I got here was play the piano. I hadn't played in over a month and was dying to. But unfortunately as I began to play I realized how much my skill level has decreased in the past month. But hopefully I'll work through the rustiness and pick it back up in no time. Josh has some great books that I can play out of (including Michael Buble and Chris Rice books) that should keep me busy for a while.

I really love this house. In my room I have a window seat. I've been wanting a window seat from the time I exited my mother's womb. This morning I did my devotions on it and it was fantastic. There's a problem, though...the thing that separates the top window from the bottom window is right at eye level. But I can handle that. It's still wonderful. And the kitchen here is literally 3 times the size of our kitchen in Beijing.

But despite the fact that I love this house and I love the Spring City, there are no doubt some things I will miss about Beijing. The main ones being Cold Stone, good milk, sliced bread, the subway system, air conditioning, Netflix, and fast internet. But the good things about being here for sure outweigh the things I'll miss about Beijing. After all, there are like 6 foreigners here that I'll see often. That's enough reason to make me happy. Don't get me wrong...I love Chinese people with all of my heart. It's just nice to be able to understand what's going on sometimes.

As for Harvey, well...he's stayed on his normal routine for the most part. Although last night he did sleep alot which Josh and Danielle were incredibly thankful for. He's still as cute as ever. And yesterday he wore his outfit that says, "I like hanging with my aunt" (props to Issac for the outfit donation).

Thursday I start Chinese class which I'm really excited about. I have a terrible memory...which isn't exactly a great thing to have when attempting to learn a language. But hopefully I can work through my difficulties and be able to speak at least a small amount before I leave.

It's a little weird transitioning to being here but hopefully I'll get used to it soon enough. At our apartment in Beijing I had sort of figured things out and I was getting the hang of it. I was really comfortable there and it started to feel like my home in China. And then we packed up and left again. By the time I get used to being here it'll be time to head back to my American home. And when I'm loving it there I'll pack up once again and head to Arizona. Then I'll come back, enjoy my home, pack up again and go to Kentucky. Then I'll come back home and be there for a while. I think it'd be safe to say this summer is full of moving around and changing surroundings. But I'm anticipating that it will be one of the most (if not the most) memorable summers yet. I'm especially excited about our week at the beach with the entire family. Mom, Dad, Josh, Danielle, Jordan, Ashley, Joe, myself, and Harvey. All of us. I can't wait!

As much as I miss home and I'd love to be there right now, I'm so thankful for this trip and the fun that I'm having on it. I'm so happy that I can be here and experience Harvey's first weeks of life. And I'm really glad I can have this special time with Josh and Danielle and that I am able to help them out a little bit. This is such a great experience that I know will make a huge impact on my life in the future (especially in the area of taking care of babies. I mean, come on. Let's be real. I sat through a visit with a lactation consultant. I'm practically already a pro at breastfeeding. Awkward, I know. But it's true.). So I'm really thankful for the Lord giving me this opportunity and I'm trying not to take it for granted!

So for now, instead of dwelling on how much I miss my family, my friends, and Chickfila, I'll do my best to take in the sweet moments I have with the Harv and his milk mustache.

Friday, May 27, 2011

people these days...

Ignore the sideways pictures. Just tilt your head a little.

You may remember from a previous post that we foreigners get stared at alot around here. Well...let me just tell you..I had no idea. I thought people stared at us then. Now that we have a week-old baby with us, we really get stared at. And you also may remember from last post that babies this young don't go out in public...it's just not right. So the fact that we're foreigners added with the fact that we have an adorable baby added with the fact that the adorable baby is a week old ends up coming out to mean lots of staring. And shocked people. So today while we were on the subway the people around us discussed how you shouldn't take a baby out that small in public. One girl said you shouldn't till they're 1 month, an old man said 2 months, and a lady said 3 months. And everyone thought he needed more clothes...there was, after all, air conditioning. Does he really need anything more than a onesie? It's like 85 degrees outside. But the old man insisted that we put a hat on him...so we did. He also suggested putting a blanket on him but Josh assured him that we Americans are warm.

Another thing about China you should know....they're not into the whole pink for girls and blue for boys thing. Which makes it very difficult in determining the gender of babies here. So if a Chinese person was to mistake Harvey for a girl, it wouldn't be that surprising...all newborns look the same and if the blue outfit he's wearing means nothing to them, it would be easy to think he was a girl. But a couple days ago a lady..and American lady..asked Danielle how old her daughter was. Seriously? His outfit has basketballs and footballs on it and he's wrapped in a blue blanket. It just doesn't get more obvious. People these days.



Today we're beginning the awful task of packing. We're hoping to leave Monday but we're not sure if it'll work or not. We've made ourselves at home in this apartment so our stuff is all over the place. Packing it all back up is going to be quite the chore. But we can do it...it's not like we have anything else to do. But good news....tonight Jarred and Shelley, some friends of Josh and Danielle, are coming to stay with us. They won't even be here for 24 hours but I'm a little ecstatic to have English-speaking people in our house. Since we're on the topic of English-speaking people I'll go ahead and tell you about this family that came to visit us a few days ago. They are the van den Bergs and they're from the Netherlands. They have cool accents and they're so much fun to be around. Oh and they have 14 kids. Yeah. 14. 12 of them are biological. With no twins or triplets etc. So they happened to be in Beijing the same time as us and they made the long and very difficult trek to spend about 30 minutes with us. They brought along 6 of their kids (one kid was in another city in China and the rest have moved back to the Netherlands). The youngest 2 are adopted and they both have hydrocephalus. They're so precious. You can read more about their amazing family on Josh and Danielle's blog. I just loved having them here and being able to actually have a conversation with them!







But despite having to pack and such, it's still a day to celebrate. Why? Because it happens to be Rachel Langston's 16th birthday. Rachel Langston is a very interesting person. She eats more than most people I know...she's more disciplined than most people I know...she's obsessed with the Andrews more than most people I know...she's more of a g than most people I know...she's prettier than most people I know...and she's more hysterical than most people I know. Yes, she still listens to the Jonas Brothers sometimes..and yes, she sometimes spends way too long watching youtube videos of Justin Bieber. But I can't blame her...so do I.

She's my bff.


And I love her.

Love ya bruh.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Take me and my homegirl back to my crib."

Today I bought eggs in a bag for the first time. As if eggs weren't fragile enough in a carton, why don't you just go ahead and throw them in a plastic bag.

Today Josh and I went on an adventure to get some tickets for our flight to the Spring City. He and Danielle informed me that our experience today was very China-like. First we got on the subway and rode 2 stops to Haidianhuangjuang. Or something like that. Then we went to a travel agency and bought tickets for us all. We thought Harvey could fly when he was a week old but then Josh found out that he has to be 2 weeks old. So when we went we were hoping they wouldn't ask how old he was. But they did. But the girl said it would be fine so we purchased the tickets and went on our way. And stopped for some hand-dipped ice cream in waffle cones on the street (which were surprisingly good for China ice cream). Then we rode the 2 stops back to the station near our apartment and went into the grocery store. Josh got a phone call and it was the girl from the travel agency...she had called some places and they said Harvey couldn't fly. So we got back on the subway, rode the 2 stops again, went back to the place, and returned our tickets. We then got back on the subway and rode 10ish more stops to another travel agency. They asked how old he was, and Josh told them. But apparently the age problem isn't anything they deal with and if he is too young we'll have to deal with it at the airport. Which means that on Monday morning we'll be leaving here at about 6 am, with everything packed up and the apartment left like it was when they got here. Which is bad news if they don't let us on. Because that means after all of the packing up, throwing away of food, and cleaning we'll have to come back and pack up again about 4 days later. So we're praying they don't notice how little he is. You see...Chinese people have different opinions on having a baby than we do. Such as...after you give birth you can't take a shower for 40 days. Yes, 40 days. And your baby can't go out in public for a long time. So my logic is that they would think it's insane to take a baby out when it's only 10 days old...so the thought won't even enter their heads that he isn't old enough to fly. After all, they probably haven't seen many 10 day old babies in their lives, because of the aforementioned insane birth opinions. Anyways....after that we got a cab and rode it back to the grocery store, got our groceries, and came home. It took about 4 hours to do what we expected to take about 1 hour. Welcome to China.

Today we introduced Harvey to the wonderful voice of his Uncle Joe, via Psalm 100 concert recordings...one of our favorite things to listen to. And it makes it even better that one of the songs is a Justin Bieber song...we're raising this kid right. And we're preparing him for this summer when he will hear his Uncle Joe's voice alot! And boy, is it a pleasant voice to hear!

Most of the current Psalm 100 members (see back left corner for my personal favorite)

Today is my mom's birthday. I could go all into how great she is and all she's done for me and go on and on about her. But I won't. Because the list would be too long. And that's just not the type of person I am. But, nonetheless, she is a great mom and I'm so much more than thankful for her! She's been so great and is such a good example to me. And I'm just going to go ahead and stop before I get too far into it. But you get my drift. She's cool...and I like her alot. You may remember some quotes of hers from my Facebook statuses. They should be enough for you to realize how hysterical she is. But, sadly, she has banned me from putting things she says on Facebook.

I love you Mom! Happy birthday!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

there's probably nothing in this post you care about.

Well, we're home from the hospital and in my opinion we're so glad. Now Josh and Danielle might would have a different opinion on this...they got a very small amount of asleep last night because Harvey decided he wanted to party the whole night. And then when we all got up and started the day, the party was over. So while he wanted to be up in the night, they also had to be up. And while he has slept during the day, they have also had to be up. Even though this is quite inconvenient for them and I'm imagining this whole "awake 24-7" thing could get a little old, if he keeps it up he'll be perfect when we go back to America, since the time difference is 12 hours. I'm sure they're missing the hospital...particularly for the nursery that Harvey slept in for 4-5 hours straight during the night. And the whole press-a-button-and-a-nurse-will-be-here-in-less-than-10-seconds idea was extremely convenient. But while these things are great, the main reason I miss the hospital is take-out. Before I came to China a few years ago I had never had food delivered to me in my life...and I haven't since. Well, not until we went to the hospital. And I had at least 6 delivered meals while I was there. Not including the hospital food that was delivered...from upstairs, but hey, it's still delivered. And for hospital food it was surprisingly good. Since I've been home I've eaten one meal. A bowl of off-brand apple jacks. We came home at about 8 last night and it's now 5:25 pm...we've been here almost 24 hours and the only meal I've eaten is apple jacks. I miss the hospital. Some kind friends brought us supper, though, so hopefully we'll be digging into that soon.

I really don't eat that much. Well...not if you're comparing me to Rachel Langston. And that's who I usually compare my eating habits to. It makes me feel a little better about myself. But even though I don't eat much, I eat often. In other words, I eat alot of junk food in between meals. Lately Mom has gone on this "let's all be healthy" shenanigan. Which is great....for the internal part of my body. But not for my taste buds. I'm a chips-crackers-ice cream-microwavable meal-pizza kind of person. Not a celery-cauliflower-beets-organic-greens kind of person. But I'm very thankful for my mother and that she's doing her best to assist my insides. And I was alright with that when I was home and I learned to deal with the fact that there wouldn't always be doritos in our kitchen cabinet. But for some reason when I came to China we felt the need to stock me up on snacks and junk. So here I am in China, with a desire to be healthy, and with goldfish staring at me. What am I supposed to do? Leave them to rot away? Of course not. I have to eat them. You may remember my first post with a list of reasons of why I was excited to come to China. (I realize that only Mom and Granma will remember this. And I'm ok with that.) On that list was something along the lines of "getting healthy." I knew Josh and Danielle were on the organic train, along with lots of other sensible Americans, so I thought that this would mean I would be forced onto this train. Somehow I didn't think about all the food that I'd bring with me. Hopefully most of the junk will be gone once it's time to go to Josh and Danielle's city (which is in 6 days) and I can begin being a little healthier (don't count on it, Mom). I'll tell myself to save it so that I have some good food for the plane ride home, since I refuse to eat most plane food. Except when they break out the Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

So now that you know useless information about my eating habits, I'm sure you want to hear something about Harvey. I'm sure you wanted to hear something about Harvey long before you wanted to hear about my eating habits. He is, after all, the whole purpose of this blog. Wow. I just realized all of this time I spend writing blogs and loading pictures is for someone who is 4 days old, can't talk, and wakes me up with his loud screaming. What am I thinking?

Well there's not much to say about him. He does the same thing over and over. His daily routine: eat, sleep, cry, eat, sleep, cry, poop, eat, sleep, poop, cry. So there's not much to report. He's turning yellow. Because of...bilirubin...or some medical term that's way over my head. Speaking of over my head, everything that's happened while I've been here has been over my head. From the medical terms to the Chinese language...I just don't understand a whole lot that goes on around me.

I'm not exactly sure what else to say. I baked chocolate chip cookies today. And did some laundry. And held a baby. It's amazing how little you think about yourself when you're busy thinking about others. Serving is a great thing, it really is.

In the past few days I've seen more blood, needles, hospital gowns, latex gloves, and...well..you can imagine what else.

I better run. Those chocolate chip cookies are calling my name...




Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Story...from my perspective.

My version of the birth story, little by little:

2:38 pm
5.20.11

I am currently sitting in suite 8 of the international hospital with more anticipation than I've had in a long time. This morning I woke up to the sound of voices outside my room. I could tell Josh and Danielle were talking to someone on Skype, which I thought was sort of odd. I recognized mom's voice on the other end of the call and started hearing words like "contractions" and "hospital" and "3 minutes apart." I laid there for a minute or two deciding if this meant we were about to go to the hospital or not. I got up and sure enough, Danielle had been having contractions for about 2 hours that were 2-3 minutes apart. Sounds pretty close to birth, but they weren't very painful so they were unsure if it was real labor or not. With some guidance from Mom and Dad and some input from the hospital nurses we headed off. We went up to the second floor where we entered a suite that was already prepared for us. Imagine a hotel room with a hospital bed and lots of cords. And now you've imagined our suite. But it is very nice and we've enjoyed some sort of olympic-type games on tv. After they checked out Danielle and said that she was in early labor we walked around the halls to try to get the baby moving. Ok, Danielle walked around the halls to try to get the baby moving and Josh and I just followed her around. As we walked around with our hands behind our backs like Chinese men, we followed her down the halls in a line like baby chicks. We took a walk outside where I was freezing cold and Danielle thought the weather was wonderful. It's not just in movies...pregnant women really are burning up every minute of the day, apparently. We spent probably a fourth of this walk stopped while Danielle had a contraction and Josh timed it with his handy contraction-timer app on his ipod. I strongly recommend this if you have an itouch.

We have internet connection and Josh and I split a grilled chicken panini for lunch. Hospital life isn't so bad, after all. Well...from my perspective. It's probably quite a different story from the one who's actually going through the pain. So here I sit in a room full of intimidating machines of all shapes and sizes while a guy checks the equipment to make sure everything is in place and ready for birth. Danielle and Josh are in the "spa room" where Danielle is sitting in a large bathtub in warm water in an attempt to soothe the pain. I'm imagining that it's not working.

5:16 pm.
5.20.11

Josh and Danielle came back to the room about an hour ago. For some reason I had this picture of Danielle walking back into the room saying, "Wow! That was really refreshing! I feel great now!" and looking happy and ready to give birth to a baby. I was forgetting something. "Happy" and "ready to give birth to a baby" don't tend to go well together in the same sentence. So when she returned and I noticed that she was looking paler (possibly it was just because of the drab hospital outfit she had to wear) I was a little in shock. I said "Are you alright?" and she just said "Yeah...very painful." I ran downstairs to a little cafe that is in the hospital and got a latte for Josh and a coke to share. When I realized things were moving along quite well (I'll spare you the details, to be sensitive to the weaker stomachs reading this)

5:42
5.20.11

and that is where I paused writing when Josh told me that she was 4 centimeters dilated and that he should be born in the next 3 hours. I then called mom and dad to give them an update. While I was talking to them Josh called and said Danielle was ready to push. So I quickly told Mom and Dad and then called Danielle's mom to let her know the good news. I've been picturing this whole thing like Father of the Bride II...and how I'll hear a baby cry and then Josh will walk out with the baby and put him in my arms. I realize this is not realistic. And that Josh will call me when he's born. But I've never had an experience like this...all I'm imagining is movies about babies. In the above paragraph I was going to finish the sentence by saying that I took that as my cue to go to the waiting room. Josh said he'd come back and get me...I walked out of the room thinking that there was no way I was coming back...she was going to have this baby soon. He brought me some of my stuff because he figured I was bored (which I wasn't...I occupied myself with things like pacing). Somewhere around this time I realized that most likely the next time I saw him he'd be a dad.

I've been in the waiting room for the past hour...for the first half hour-ish I had nothing to do. I stared at my feet. I checked the time way too often. I studied an emergency fire escape plan out of pure impatience. I watched kids walk out of the pediatric clinic. I looked out the small space on the window that wasn't covered up and watched the security guards as they laughed at me. I paced up and down the waiting room. I tapped my feet and did strange things with my fingers...what I always do when I'm nervous. My body that was tired before was now hyped up on adrenaline. I told the security guard that I was nervous because my sister was about to have a baby...she said "oh ok" but I knew she didn't understand a word I had said. I read signs about the swine flu and being quiet in a hospital. I watched as nurses took medical supplies into Danielle's room. I observed patients' family members and doctors and nurses quickly walk through halls. Anticipation abounded. And it still does. My mind only stopped thinking about my nephew when a man got my mind off of things by noticing that I was a Tar Heel fan because of my shirt.

My video camera is ready and my stomach is turning in knots. We've been waiting for this little guy for so long and he's finally almost here. I can barely believe it. Josh just called to report that she's pushing and that she's doing great. It was a little letdown, since I was expecting the next call from him to be that the baby was here. But he should be out soon and I should be a happy aunt with a nephew in my arms. Now I'm off to attempt to study my missions trip lesson, but probably with no success.

11:57 pm
5.20.11

I am sitting on a pull-out couch in suite number 8 as I watch my brother and sister-in-law start their journey of parent-hood. I'm watching my new nephew cry his heart out and be comforted by his mama's voice. The name of this fine young man is Harvey Joshua Shelley....Harvey after the paternal grandfather, and Joshua after the father. He's got 3 good names that suit him well! He and Danielle both did very well in the labor/delivery and they're recovering well from the tough day.

I left off where Josh called to say she was pushing. So that's where I'll pick up. I talked to Mom and Dad and gave them an update and called Danielle's mom too. And I did alot more pacing. Alot. It was many more than a few times that I heard a baby cry and thought it was my little nephew. And then I heard cries of pain (from a woman that was clearly in labor) and thought it was the sound of Danielle's voice. I thought to myself that if Danielle were to scream while in labor, that's how she would scream. So I stood there staring down the hall, praying my heart out, and exchanging confused glances with the security guard who also heard the screaming. About 5 seconds after 10ish hollers from the lady in pain I heard a baby cry. And I just knew it had to be him. I continued pacing and I saw nurses coming in and out of the room and it seemed like something was definitely happening in there. They started to bring the scale and other medical equipment out of the room so I knew he must have been born. Josh texted me and told me he was here and I called Mom and Dad and Danielle's mom to let them know that they were now grandparents! About 45 minutes to an hour later Josh called me in and I got to meet little Harvey. Sure enough, the screaming was from her. Danielle was looking great....not anything like she had just gone through the intense labor that she did! And to brag a little on her, she did the whole thing without any pain medicine at all. She's a champ! Josh did great cheering her on and the new arrival did a great job coming out. The vacuum did have to be used a little to get him out, which resulted in a very cone-shaped head (which will go away soon). But we're so thankful that he arrived safely and that he's a healthy little boy! We couldn't be more happy that he's here and we're so glad that the anticipation is over! We're so excited to get to know him better and to spend some more time with him. Hopefully tonight we can get some much-needed sleep and feel rested up in the morning. We love you Harvey!!


10: 55 am
5.21.11

Last night was a little bit of a rough night of sleep. I was able to fall asleep at about 2 but woke up a few times every hour until 7:30ish. Josh and Danielle didn't get much sleep but they did get in alot of rest and Harvey did great last night and slept alot. Tonight I may go stay with some friends so that I can get a little more rest. We've just been hanging out in the hospital this morning with Harvey. He's now laying on Josh while Danielle takes a shower. She's been feeling a little rough this morning and is having some pain from the stitches (once again I'll spare you the details). But overall we're doing good and Harvey is getting the hang of this eating thing. As you can imagine he's currently my favorite baby. And he doesn't cry much...which is nice. And he sleeps alot...which is very nice. I can't wait to take him home!!


12:48 pm
5.22.11

Now I'm sitting on Danielle's hospital bed (don't worry, it's clean) as I watch my nephew sleep, my brother read booklets about raising a newborn, and my sister-in-law rock in a rocking chair staring at her new son. And I'm waiting for food. I've felt bad spending so much money on food while I've been here (Shelley frugality kicking in) but Josh assured me that it was necessary because I have to eat and my only other option for food is to eat meals that consist of granola bars and crackers. I don't mind eating take-out...it's quite handy to have food delivered right to your door. So don't worry...I'm not complaining.


Thank you, Lord, for Harvey. I may be a little biased, but he just might be the most precious baby I've seen.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Anna Ayi

Common misconception has it that my name now has become "Aunt Anna" or "Auntie Anna." Well....it's wrong. The problem with Aunt Anna is that if you say it fast a few times it sounds like you're a redneck saying "antenna." And Auntie Anna...well I'm just not a huge fan of the word auntie. Some may say he should just call me Anna, seeing that he's not that much younger than me anyways. Are you kidding me? I came all the way to China for this boy and to become an aunt. I can't just be called Anna. So what is my name? Anna Ayi. Ayi (pronounced like the letter I and then the letter E) is Chinese for aunt. It's a little strange but you'll get used to it. So to you out there who have assumed that my name is either Aunt Anna or Auntie Anna...it's not. If it throws you off, I apologize...but the kid has got to have a little Chinese in his life if he moves back to America. And I refuse to be called Antenna.

I've gradually been writing a post about the labor and delivery and such that I'll post soon. But for now I'll leave you with a few details and a couple pictures:

Harvey Joshua Shelley
Born May 20th, 2011 at 6:42 pm
Weight: 7 pounds 3 ounces
Length: 45 centimeters (18 inches)



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ganji

Well here I am again. Blogging even though I don't have very much to say. But good news....we didn't watch any Cake Boss today. So that's an improvement.


But we did attempt to go to something called Cookin' Nanta. It's something that has to do with cooking to a beat...and chopping food to a rhythm. Or something like that. I don't know. It sounded cool. You can watch a video of it here. But they were sold out of the reasonably priced tickets so guess where we headed as our alternative. Yep. Cold Stone. This baby needs to come soon before we gain a very unhealthy amount of weight from eating ice cream.


You may remember that we went to the NCPA for a concert the other night. And you may also remember that Chinese people enjoy taking pictures with their tickets. And you may also remember that I planned to do the same when I got my ticket. And you may also remember that the tickets were sold out. And you may also remember that we took a picture without our tickets. So when we actually got tickets last night, we took pictures. I also found out that Chinese people don't smile in pictures. So here we are, with our tickets, not smiling. We're so Chinese.


And here we are, smiling like Americans, with our tickets.



No news to report on the baby. Except that my sister-in-law (the non-pregnant one) wrote a blog post to our soon-coming nephew that you should read here. And if you are reading this and you may in the future become a part of the Shelley family by way of marriage or some other means (I'm not sure what "other means" there are except birth...and if you haven't been birthed yet you most likely won't be reading this) you should definitely read this.

Now bear with me as I change topics once again. I would like to tell you about something called ganji. To my understanding, this happens on the 23rd and 28th of every month. It is where people come from villages and everyone sells their stuff at the market. This may be completely incorrect. But let's just pretend I know what I'm talking about. So this particular market in Josh and Danielle's city has this contest type of thing. This is how it works. If you can write the numbers 1-600 without making any mistakes or any incorrect marks, you win a giant teddy bear. And when I say giant I mean human-sized. If you mess up you have to buy a 5(ish) dollar bottle of shampoo. So for my birthday I have requested that we go to the market and that I try to accomplish this difficult task. It is, in fact, my 16th birthday. So it's supposed to be pretty special. What better way to celebrate your 16th birthday than by winning a giant teddy bear?

If you think about it....600 is alot of numbers to write. I figure I can write about a number per second (I can't rush through this...it's intense). So that would make my goal time approximately 10 minutes, right? I feel confident. But it's not about speed. It's about accuracy. Slow and steady wins the race. I need to start practicing soon in my spare time (of which I have plenty). I hear that when Chinese people write a few of their numbers differently than we Americans do. And Danielle said when she writes a 6, sometimes people think it is a 4. Ridiculous, I know. So I'll have to work on that so I can write my numbers like Chinese people.

I tried to find a picture on the internet of what this teddy bear might look like but I couldn't find one. But just imagine a cute little teddy bear...with the size multiplied about 30 times. And there you have it...a ganji teddy bear. Now, you may be wondering what I'm going to do with this teddy bear if my number-writing skills have victory in this challenge. And I'm wondering the same thing. My preferred option would be to take it back to America with me. After all, not everyone has a life-size teddy bear. But this might not be pragmatic (SAT word), particularly if I wanted to take it on the plane. And there's no way in this universe that thing would fit in my suitcase. Dad came up with a smart plan to take the stuffing out of him, bring the outside of him home, and then re-stuff him once in America. If worst comes to worst...I just might have to do that. I can't come all the way to China, win a fantastic prize like this, and just leave it here to be eventually thrown away. If you happen to have ever won a life-size teddy bear and taken it on an airplane flight, let me know how you did it. I could use some advice.

JB, J-Beebs, Bieber, Beebs, Bee, JBiebs

Yesterday:
We went to the hospital for Danielle's weekly checkup and it looks like everything is doing fine and we're on to just waiting for this little guy to come out. The doctor said they wouldn't let her go past May 31st or June 1st without inducing her so at least we know that at the most we'll have to wait about 2 and a half more weeks. We're getting used to Beijing and finding more things to do so we haven't been quite as bored these days. After the visit to the doctor, we went to eat at a delicious Italian restaurant called Annie's. In China pretty much every store or restaurant is the name of a woman with an apostrophe and "s" at the end. Then we went to the National Center for the Performing Arts to watch a group of German men play brass instruments.And they were incredible. We couldn't decide if we liked them or the orchestra better, which is quite high praise coming from these people...we're huge fans of orchestras. We went to the place hoping to buy tickets for about 12 dollars. But the 12 dollar tickets were out and we were going to have to pay about 18 dollars per ticket, which we didn't want to do. So we stood around, tried to buy tickets for something else another night, and admired the building (it's supposed to be in the shape of an egg...and the whole thing is surrounded by water). While we were doing this, a man walked up to us and asked if we wanted some really good tickets. Josh expressed to him that we didn't want the good tickets, we wanted the cheap nosebleeds. But he offered 3 tickets to us for a grand total of 30 dollars. And these were no nosebleeds. These were tickets that were each worth 45 dollars...and we got three of them for 30 dollars. Danielle and I ended up on the 7th row and Josh was a little ways back but for the second half he sat right behind us. It was just perfect...and we will forever be grateful to that little Chinese man. So we went inside and walked up to the ticket lady and she said that Danielle and I could not enter because we were wearing flip flops. Apparently flip flops aren't fancy enough for an event like this. They convinced her that Danielle's feet were swollen and so she needed to wear flip flops but I had no excuses. So she told us they had some "cloth shoes" that I could wear...whatever that meant. So we followed her back to this counter where they got these hideous black, velvety heels with this awful strap across the top that wouldn't stay hooked. And to add to the hideousness, they didn't even match what I was wearing. So I walked around in these black heels with the straps dragging on the floor all night. It was hysterical. And this picture just doesn't do it justice at all.


Today:
We were headed off to the pearl market again. I ended up with 4 pairs of toms (for Alex, Hope, Grace, and Katelyn), 3 ties (for Issac, Jesse, and Grandaddy), a raincoat (for Ashley), a scarf (for myself), and pair of kid's chopsticks that are much easier to use (for myself). Josh and Danielle ended up with 2 pearl necklaces (for people who are teaching their classes while they're here), 30 pairs of pearl earrings (to give to a friend to give to her sister to give to her students), and a pearl bracelet (for a friend). It was a successful day! And on the way home we stopped for some ice cream from McDonald's. Once we were inside our apartment building we were heading over to the elevator when Josh said, "Well hello..." We all looked and right outside the door of the elevator was a little white dog...just standing there. The elevator door opened and he got right in like he was on his way somewhere. Josh tried to get him out but he got a little feisty so we let him ride up with us. But when we got off he just stood there. So we sent him down on the elevator to floor 1, hoping that when it reached the first floor he would get off and return to his master. Who knows where he is now. But I can imagine that he didn't get off and was stuck in the elevator for about an hour. And then the next person who opened the elevator door was in quite a shock when they saw him sitting there.



I just thought I'd share this little bit of Justin Bieber with you. I picked up a magazine while riding in a taxi yesterday and it fell open to this page. Coincidence? I think not.

I don't read Chinese but I'm assuming this is a list of his nicknames? And an equation of what a belieber is..."Believe+Bieber". And I don't know why this is underlined...ignore that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Overblogging?

I have this issue. Where I blog pretty much every day. I realize that the best bloggers blog alot and probably every day, but they have exciting things to say. I, on the other hand, just blog because I'm bored and because the little ladies from church like to read it. This creates a blog that becomes mundane and monotonous. How many times do you want to read about our obsession with the Cake Boss? Probably zero. And if you're reading this then you've probably persevered through the other 6353951035 times I mentioned it. So I've decided that I should slow down. And just blog when something blog-worthy happens. If nothing exciting happens within a few days of the last blog post, then I'll just have to tell you all about the Cake Boss...for the 6353951036th time.

Today I had a conversation with someone. Besides Josh or Danielle. Like...a real conversation. Face-to-face. This is the first time this has happened in the past 3 and a half-ish weeks. I was thrilled. Her name is Jane. She is Chinese and sat beside me in the subway. She doesn't agree with me that Chinese people are more kind than Americans. She wanted to know if I had ever seen Obama. She was surprised that I like to play soccer. She wants to go to Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And she wished me a wonderful life. I made a friend. for 15 minutes that I'll probably never see again, but I was still happy. And I think she was too.

No news on the baby. Danielle has been feeling a little bit of pain sometimes but nothing near labor pains. I'm just convinced that she's so tough that she doesn't realize they're real contractions...and one day he's just gonna come right out and she'll barely notice. High hopes. But I'll be honest. Today Danielle noticed I had changed clothes and said "you changed!"...I thought she said "you came!" I was trying to figure out what she was talking about and I actually thought for a second, no joke, that she had given birth...right there in the kitchen. I heard no screaming, no cries of labor pains, no sounds that I had imagined would come from a mother giving birth. All I heard was "you came!" and I assumed he'd been born. I'm desperate.

Tonight we went, again, to the National Centre for the Performing Arts. This time Josh went early to make sure we'd actually get tickets. We went to see a man play an organ with 12 people playing cellos. While they were extremely good, the didn't quite live up to the German Brass or the orchestra. But not much can. It reminded me how much I miss playing the piano. I can't wait to get to Josh and Danielle's house where I can play any time I want! (Little Shelley may just have to learn to sleep with noise.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ice ice baby

After writing this post I realized that it was too random and I didn't feel like coming up with something to transition between each paragraph. So this is going to be an attempt at another list. And a fail at another list.


1. Yesterday we went to the local IF and then had a nice picnic on a park bench. But we came up with a game to play besides Mexican Train Dominoes. We played nerts...which is basically Dutch Blitz except with regular playing cards. And my eyes definitely don't move fast enough for that game. And then guess what we watched. Cake Boss. Thank the Lord for free monthly subscriptions to Netflix! If you don't know about this then you should definitely go to the Netflix website and sign up. Danielle and I are dying to watch Father of the Bride 2. We watched the first one on Netflix and now we want to watch the second one, seeing that it has more to do with our current lives. But of course they don't have it for instant play. We've looked on iTunes, Amazon, in movie stores, etc. If you live in Beijing and you know of any place we could get it....let us know. We're desperate.

2. Tonight we're planning on heading over to the Blue Frog again for buy one get one free hamburgers. And that's the extent of the excitement for today. Maybe the little guy just chillin in Danielle's belly will decide to make an appearance. As much as I love hamburgers, that would be more exciting than the Blue Frog. For sure.

3. Well this is about the lamest blog post I've written. If the baby comes, maybe they'll start to get exciting again.

4. For some reason my camera stopped working on Josh and Danielle's computer, not just mine. So there probably won't be many pictures in the posts to come. But I have figured out that if I put pictures on Facebook and then save the pictures from there, I can put them here. Which is ridiculous. So here's a few that should've been included in past posts.

Chinese people love to take pictures in front of the concert building with their ticket. So I was going to take one with my ticket. But since we didn't get tickets, we took one without our tickets.

The dog that got on the elevator with us.

the Egg

5. Today I made a flower out of toilet paper. It'd be safe to go ahead and say I'm an artist.

6. Chinese people do not put ice in their drinks. At least I've never seen them do so. This means that since I have been here I have had ice in my drink only once (at the Blue Frog...a foreign restaurant) and besides that night I have only seen one piece of ice since I've been in China. I'm getting used to drinking lukewarm water.

7. If you're wondering what the deal with the spoon is...I don't really know. The name of the background was called "spoonful of sugar." But other than that...I just thought it looked cool. And I like Mary Poppins.

8. This blog post is getting lamer by the second.

9. I'm going to go ahead and end this blog post before it gets any worse (see number 8).

peace out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

She's having a man.

For some reason blogger messed up and my last post disappeared. They say they're putting the missing posts back up so hopefully it will be returned to it's rightful place soon.

What did we do most of yesterday? You guessed it. Just chilled at home. But last night we went over to "the Egg" again to try to get some tickets for an orchestra from someone who was desperate to sell them to us for a cheap price. But we weren't as fortunate as we were the other night and we didn't get any tickets. So what was our alternative? Cold Stone. Not a bad alternative. So we headed off to Cold Stone (for the third time) where Danielle got her usual Mint with chocolate chips, I got my usual Cake Batter in a waffle cone, and Josh decided to go for Minty Minty Chocolatey Chocolatey Chip. The thing about Cold Stone that I don't understand is why in the world they have to name their sizes Like It, Love It, and Gotta Have It. Can't they just go with the typical Small, Medium, Large? But nonetheless, they have the best ice cream in China.

If I was a good blogger I would include pictures of the things I'm talking about. But I'm laying in a hammock feeling the breeze from the window. There's no way I'm getting up to go get my camera. Unless I get it while I'm up getting food. Because food is worth getting up for.

This morning I slept in and we talked to Mom and Dad and then we went to the pool for Danielle to get in some exercise. Now you have to know that we haven't had hot water for 2 days and we're really not sure when we'll have it back. So yesterday Danielle and I took baths with some pots of boiling water dumped into them and Josh took a cold shower. But at the swimming pool they had hot water. So we took advantage of the free showers. Little did I know that Chinese people have no shame...in other words, they just had a shower room. So I stood there with Danielle in a room of naked Chinese women taking a shower. It was...quite an experience. If you've ever been to Sunshine Camp it's sort of like that...except not nearly as bad. The only thing about it that is worse is that you have to not only see the awful sight, you have to participate in the shower taking; whereas at Sunshine Camp you only have to observe.

Today we'll probably keep chillin, once again. And probably watch a few episodes of the Cake Boss and play a game of Mexican Train Dominoes.

On another note, whenever we're out and about Chinese people like to ask about Danielle's baby. They usually ask how many months pregnant she is and if she's having a boy (they always think it's a boy because she's more rounded in the front, rather than sides, which supposedly indicates that it is a boy). But this one lady the other day asked if she was having a man... They just laughed and said "Yes, she's having a boy."

Come on out, baby. We're waiting with arms wide open.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Doubt.

It's a hard thing to deal with. How do I know? Because I deal with it all the time. I'm just gonna be honest here. Which isn't easy. Doubting my salvation and doubting God is something that goes on in my head alot. And it's terrible. I hate it. Sometimes I think, "Man. Satan is attacking me with this doubting stuff" and then I think "well...maybe it's not Satan...maybe it's the Holy Spirit convicting me." And it's always a constant battle between "Oh I for sure trust God with all my heart and I'm completely in love with Him" and "Do I really believe it? And do I really live my life like I believe it?" Often thoughts run through my head about how I just wish I could actually see God. Like...actually experience His presence physically. I know He's always with me...but sometimes I just want to physically know He's there.

I feel like I'm like that disciple in the Bible..Thomas..or Timothy...or something like that. The one who doubts and said he wouldn't believe that Jesus was raised from the dead until he actually saw the scars. And that's exactly how I feel most of the time. I feel like I just can't grasp how real God is until I see Him face to face. He's real. That's for sure. I see Him work in so many ways. If you just look around at creation you can see how everything spells out that there is a God. And I know this. But sometimes I think that maybe I just sort of accept it as something I've grown up being taught so of course it's true. And that's what makes me doubt. Alot of times I think that maybe I don't really believe it, but that I've convinced myself I do since I've never known any different. I've grown up hearing nothing but how great God is, how real God is, how loving God is, how just God is, how perfect God is, how merciful God is, how sacrificial God is, how awesome God is, how majestic God is, and the list goes on. But have I just accepted this to be true and not actually taken it to heart? Not actually thought about it so deeply that I can do nothing but fall down in awe? Not actually been so overwhelmed by it that I simply cannot help but believe it with all of my heart and throw all my doubts out the window? I worry about this sometimes. Alot of times.

It gives me joy when I wake up hearing people talking or moving around. Why? Because I know the rapture hasn't happened. How in the world are these my thoughts when I wake up? I don't know. My mind is just so minuscule and I will never ever ever grasp how real and big He really is. I think sometimes I sense that I don't understand and it transfers over to a sense that I don't believe. Two completely different things. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is not an easy thing to comprehend. Not in the least. So when I find myself having a hard time grasping and believing that, does that mean that I'm not really saved? No...it just means that I have such a tiny, finite mind that I cannot understand how something like that could happen. I can't understand what God is like because all I know is humans. I can't understand how something is so much bigger and greater than us because my mind thinks in time frames...it doesn't think in eternity. It literally hurts my head to think about how we will live with God forever.

Forever.

Stop and think about that word for a minute. We use this word so lightly. How many times have you said, "Man, this car ride is taking forever."? Let me guess...you were in the car for no more than a few hours. Forever. Think about it again. It's a long time. And it probably hurts your head too.

So what I have learned while writing this blog post is that just because I can't grasp God doesn't mean He isn't in my heart. When this thought comes across to me as, "Wow. I must not really believe Him," I need to stop and remember that no one on this earth truly knows about God. Yes, lots of people have a relationship with Him, talk to Him every day, trust Him with everything in their lives, and focus their entire life goals on Him. But no one really knows God. There is so much to know about God, and those on this earth, myself included, haven't even scratched the surface of who God is.

So if you're reading this and you too are having trouble with this awful thing called doubt...take heart. Don't be discouraged. Remind yourself of who God is. Realize that you'll never fully get who God is. Focus your thoughts on Him so much...read His word to find out more about Him...get to know Him better than you do now...talk to Him more now...talk to others about Him...think on His attributes...rid yourself of any thoughts of doubt...and just know that He loves you. God is real. More real than you can imagine. He makes it difficult to really trust Him. If we could see Him, it would be so easy to put faith in Him. But God wants those who love Him enough to follow after Him, even if we can't see Him. Everyone would do it if we could...just because you can see instant results and you have a guarantee. See that's the thing about humans. We want instant guarantee. With Christ you can have instant guarantee. It just takes more faith than the instant guarantee that your poptart will be warm after putting in the microwave for 5 seconds.

If you were at the top of a cliff about to jump off, planning to be hooked to a bungee cord, you'd want to see that you were attached. You wouldn't close your eyes and just let someone say, "Alright you're hooked in." You'd actually have to see it to make sure the person was right. That's how we are. We're skeptical. We don't put faith in just anything. But God isn't just anything...God is a sure guarantee, whether we can see Him with our eyes or not. We put our faith in sports teams. I personally put way too much faith into sports teams. When UNC plays State I have not a doubt in my mind that we can win. So why can't we put all of our faith into the one who was, and is, and is to come? The One who created billions and billions of galaxies? The one who put over a hundred muscles in a caterpillar's head (yes, I've been reading Crazy Love if you recognize that line)? My mind is so tiny that I'll never understand how tiny it really is. And that's just how life goes. We have to focus on who God is and how big He is. How real He is. And remember that we'll never grasp it all. And that that's ok...we're not supposed to be able to grasp it.


Sorry for those of you who came to my blog to read about China, not about doubting. Maybe tomorrow I'll blog about our great day today. If the rapture hasn't happened....Because clearly I'm working on erasing any shadow of a doubt that I won't be included!!

The Bible says that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). If that's enough to move mountains, it's enough to trust Christ. Help me out in working to a doubt-free life. Encourage me. And I'll encourage you. Together the church of God can do great things.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A visit to the Summer Palace

I fixed dinner tonight. By myself.

Ok, so we had leftovers. But I thought I'd make mom proud.

Today we decided to try out the Summer Palace and see how we liked it. We expected it to be much like the Fragrant Hills, but it was so much better than that. I got in for a little over 2 dollars (which is half the usual price) because I'm a student. Then we walked around and read a few signs, finding out that it, like the Fragrant Hills, was burnt down by cruel people (in the Summer Palace's case it was the Anglo-French; in the Fragrant Hill's case it was the British) in 1860. It was then rebuilt and named the Summer Palace. We moved on and found the lake. And also found about 47 people trying to sell the exact same brand and flavor of popsicles. You would think they could come up with something else to sell, since they had competition with 46 other popsicle-salesmen. We were expecting a nice peaceful and calm lake with grassy areas all around on which we could have a picnic. But instead there were hundreds of people around it (there was an estimated 27,000 people there today total) and it was surrounded by stone, not grass. So we hopped on a paddle boat, paddled out to the middle, and had a picnic on the boat. Even though there were paddle boats surrounding us, it was still calm and beautiful. We spent two hours on the boat and it was delightful. If the baby doesn't come soon, I wouldn't be surprised if we go again. If you want to see pictures of our trip to the Summer Palace, click here.

Update on the Jenga-like game that we bought yesterday:
We played it last night but just decided to play it like Jenga. Josh read the rules and they were ridiculous so we just stuck with the usual. It was ok. But nowhere near as good as Mexican Train Dominoes...

Mexican Train Dominoes. Those Mexicans sure know how to make their games. I strongly suggest getting this game if, like us, you get bored out of your mind easily. We played last night and again tonight. Of course, I dominated the game tonight..

In addition to these games, we've been playing another game. Called Buffalo. Well...I don't know if that's what it's called. But we usually play it at conference for the week and I think that's what we called it. So the game is that you cannot drink with your dominant hand...and if you do drink with your dominant hand and someone catches you, they say "buffalo" and you have to chug the whole drink. We're playing until Danielle goes into labor. We haven't been too focused on the game so I'm pretty sure we mostly still drink out of our dominant hand without noticing. So far I've had to chug a small portion of Gatorade and Josh has had to chug a half of a bottle of water. I've come up with a strategy. I won't call it on anyone for a couple of days and we'll all forget about it. And then one day Josh or Danielle will have a large cup of some sort of beverage (preferably something like coffee) and I'll catch them drinking with the wrong hand and they'll have to chug the whole thing. Just a thought.

Chafing? Almost gone. Hallelujah.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A hunchback and catching up on pictures

Today our helper who comes and cooks and cleans 3 days a week was coming at 9 o'clock. So when I woke up at 8:15 I was excited to see that I hadn't slept long past when she had come. So I went to sleep, woke up at 8:45, thought Yes! I can sleep a little more! The next time I woke up I thought I bet it's 9. And it was 9:01. Perfect. I don't have to be up when she's here, but a few times when she has come at 8 I haven't woken up till about 10. And as Danielle has said multiple times already, she probably just thinks we're lazy bums. Since Josh and Danielle are here on, what a friend has nicely called, "baby vacation" they don't have much responsibility or routine. They aren't used to this and I'm not used to not having any school or anything to do. Which means alot of the time we just sit around on the computer or reading. So she probably wonders why in the world we can't get off the couch and clean and cook for ourselves. So today we once again sat around all morning not doing too much. Josh was the most productive of us all...he worked today. We ate a delicious Chinese lunch made by the aformentioned helper and then Danielle and I went on a little excursion. Well..."excursion" might not be the right word to use, making it sound a little too exciting than it actually was. But we went to a mall two subway stops away from us with a Walmart-like place called Jalifu. Well...that's the phonetic way to write it. I have no idea how it is actually spelled. So the reason we went to the Jalifu was to buy another puzzle or a game or something to keep us occupied for at least another few days. The only puzzles they had would just about be fit for the baby as soon as Danielle births him (which we're praying is soon). So we looked at the board games. They had Life, 3 versions of Monopoly, a Jenga-like game, and a few other games that looked kind of strange. So we went for the Jenga-like game. It only cost 5 dollars so if it's terrible we didn't waste too much money. I thought Monopoly would be perfect since it takes forever to play and would keep us entertained for hours, but it was a little expensive. As a side-note, we bought some spinach leaves for 9 mao. 10 mao is 1 kuai. 6.5 kuai is 1 dollar. You do the math. It's cheap. After the Jalifu we stopped at the Dairy Queen. There are these handy little coupon machines all over the place where you can find coupons for restaurants, stores, etc. So we stopped at one and it had some Dairy Queen coupons so we printed those out and got 1 kuai off of our ice cream.

When we walked out of Jalifu and were headed for the subway station Danielle noticed a girl eating Coldstone ice cream. So she asked her where she got it and she said in the mall that was pretty much across the street from Jalifu. (We would have been tempted to go if we hadn't just eaten Dairy Queen.) So in other words...there is a Coldstone 2 subway stops away from our house when we thought we had to go about 16 stops to get to one! We were so excited to find this!! We came up with a perfect plan. If we're on our way somewhere or on our way back from somewhere and we're on the subway we will get off at the stop that goes to the Coldstone...two of us will wait underground in the subway station and the other will go get ice cream for all of us...they will bring it back and we'll get back on the subway, happily eating our ice cream. When you leave the subway station you have to give up your ticket which means that for all of us to get off, go get ice cream, and come back it would cost an extra 6 kuai (almost a dollar); whereas if only one person went it would only cost 2 kuai! Coldstone ice cream costs more here than in America so we don't need to be adding any extra costs to a trip to Coldstone! So I'm thinking that if we're going to the hospital when Danielle is in labor and for some strange reason we decide to take the subway, we should definitely stop for an ice cream run before she has the baby! Or maybe if I get bored at the hospital after he is born they would be kind enough to let me go get it by myself. I could do it. For sure.

Then we got back on the subway for two stops headed for the grocery store - the BHG. Which is also another Walmart-like place. This was an interesting trip because when we entered the store Danielle noticed that there were no shopping carts. With the exception of a few miniature ones which are for kids to push around. We have decided that this would pretty much violate every child labor law in America. Children push around their parents' groceries for them. So when I noticed these carts I just had to use one.


(Notice my matching backpack, shorts, and shoes. I didn't plan it I promise. I really don't even like pink very much.)

And shout-out to Joseph Shelley for letting me borrow the tshirt!



So while we walked around the store I pushed the cart like a hunchback. And I got some really weird looks from people. When we got to the cash register the lady told us we couldn't push the kids' cart. Danielle asked why and she said it was because it's too small for us. Well it worked fine for us and we fit our groceries in it perfectly.


I'll definitely be remembering these carts when we go back.


Here are some pictures of the foot massage with the fiery, glass bowls that I mentioned in an earlier post. Something is messed up with my computer and I can't put pictures on my blog using my computer. Thus, the lack of pictures on blog posts.



And here is a picture of how I felt while the fiery, glass bowl process was going on. It wasn't pleasant in the least.


Also, here are some pictures that should've been put on previous blog posts but couldn't, due to the computer problem.

A picture of me in a beng beng:


A picture of Danielle and I on our way to Danielle's checkup at the doctor:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Another Problem

Quick update on our lives in the past 24ish hours:
Well yesterday Danielle and I ended up watching a little Say Yes to the Dress...which was wonderful as always. Then we made homemade pizza for dinner which was even more wonderful. And then we watched Up. Which is for the sure the most depressing kids' movie ever made, but it was still good. And then I enjoyed a nice Skype call with mom and dad. This morning we called home again and talked to Jordan, Ashley, Joe, Mom, Dad, and Thomas. We laughed alot...and I don't know about Josh and Danielle, but it made me miss how our family used to just sit around laughing. Laughing is one of my favorite things to do. Particularly with my family. So anyway. Today for lunch we went to a Thai restaurant. Josh and Danielle said it wasn't as good as Thai food they've had in the past, and I've never had Thai food but it didn't quite "ring my chimes"...(Say Yes to the Dress quote). We then decided to head over to Coldstone. It is Mother's Day, after all. Since it was raining and we would have to do a bit of walking we opted for the cab over the subway. But what we didn't know was that there was a Coldstone about 20 seconds from the Thai restaurant. When you get in a cab, no mater how far you go, you automatically have to pay about a dollar and a half. So when we had been riding down the road for 20 seconds and saw the Coldstone we told the driver to pull over and we just got out there. So we ended up paying a dollar and a half for him to drive us about 50 feet. He mentioned that it was the fastest money he's ever made.

It's been a cold and rainy day. Thankfully last night I checked the weather report and saw the forecast showed some rain so we took umbrellas. We would've been soaked. We came home and watched Cake Boss and some weird show about food. Then we had dinner and just chilled for a little while. We just called Mom on Skype to wish her a happy Mother's Day (because she is, in fact, my favorite mother in the world) and were able to talk to other family members also (because they are, in fact, my favorite family in the world). And now we're about to talk to Danielle's mom. And I would like to wish a happy Mother's Day to Danielle (because she is, in fact, my favorite preggo lady in the world). Technically, she is only the mother of a fetus. But she's still a mother, nonetheless. And I love her dearly. And am hoping that she will become the mother of a baby that is outside of the womb very soon. Very very very soon. Like...tomorrow. My patience is running out a little bit.


I would like to inform you about another problem that I am having. It happens to also be on the bottom half of my body. Some may think this problem is easier to deal with than the chafing. But it's not. Oh and also...my chafing is doing much better. So this problem...I drag my feet. And by dragging I don't mean pick-up-a-little-less-than-most-people. I mean I drag my feet. The other day Danielle and I were walking through the mall when I noticed that I was walking without even picking up my feet at all. So I really wasn't walking...I was just sliding. I think I have tripped at least 15 times walking down the street since I got here. A few days ago we were leaving the apartment complex when someone had just gone out the gate. So naturally, I ran to the gate (we were only a few feet away) to catch the door before it closed so that Josh wouldn't have to get his key out. Little did I know....there is a tiny step at the door. It's probably about 3 or 4 inches high. You would think most people would pick their feet up at least that much. Not this kid. So as I ran, my foot hit the step. Hard. It hurt like....I don't know what. But it hurt. Alot. So the point is...I trip on everything. You wouldn't believe the things I trip on. And the reason that this problem is much worse than the chafing problem is that I have almost no cure for it. For the chafing I could put vaseline or something on my legs. But the feet problem is a bad habit. It would take so much effort to focus on every step to pick my feet up that I just don't think it's worth it. And when I pick my feet up I feel like I look extremely strange...but I'm sure I look more strange when I don't pick my feet up at all. So to add to my list of problems...I now no longer pick up my feet. Just what I need.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Days Move Slowly

Yesterday was a good day. But we bought alot of stuff. That is going to have to somehow fit into my suitcase. But that shouldn't be a problem seeing that I brought about a suitcase-worth's of food when I came...of which we have eaten too much. Hmm...maybe this has something to do with the chafed legs. I bought lots of gifts and am pretty much done with gift-shopping except for a few things. One of the first things we tried to buy was a rain-coat for my dear sister-in-law Ashley. Danielle thought it would be a good idea to video what it looks like to bargain. So as she bargained with the lady for the jacket, she held the video camera in her hand very inconspicuously. I didn't even realize what she was doing until another lady came up and asked her about it. So as they continued to argue and as the bargaining grew more intense, the lady grew more angry. She wanted 200 for it and I wanted to pay about 90 (RMB). She said to go to a 3-digit number and that if I wanted it for a 2-digit number then it wasn't even worth discussing. So naturally, I said 100. 3 digits, right? wrong. Apparently 100 is no longer a 3 digit number. I wasn't aware of this until yesterday. So then she discarded doing business and went on to tell us how unkind it was to video the bargaining situation. We tried to leave and she followed us to the bottom of the escalator and was quite upset. She threatened to call the police. This meant nothing to us, seeing that selling the things was illegal and all 5 floors of this building were participating in illegal selling of items. So if the police came they would be more interested in arresting all of the employees of the store than arresting us for videoing. Besides...who said it's illegal to video her? She went on to say some harsh things and finally we got away. She was not a happy camper. So Ashley, I am sorry to say that we did not get your raincoat. But we can try again.

Some day I will teach you the art of bargaining. It's a good thing to know.

But we kept heart and continued shopping. We got pedicures (for 7 and a half dollars) and Danielle got a manicure. Josh got a microphone for my computer and some things for the baby And we got lots of bags and shoes for gifts. We bought plenty of stuff. Plenty. We headed over to Subway for dinner and then on to the concert. It was very good, although it was not quite as good as the other night...but orchestras are hard to surpass, in our minds. We decided not to go to Coldstone this time since we had already spent so much money but I'm hoping we go again. I miss ice cream.

We just got back from a hair wash/massage. It wasn't as good as what you can get in Josh and Danielle's city but it was cheaper. When they're done they're supposed to dry your hair for you. So they dried Danielle's about halfway and then said she was done. So she finished it up herself. Then she told them to dry mine straight because Chinese people like to try to dry it curly which ends up looking like a monster. So she told them very clearly that it should be straight. Let's just say...it didn't exactly turn out how I pictured it. But Josh's haircut turned out looking good, so that's the important thing. The lady only pulled out like half of my hair so it's all good...

Today we're planning on....well..we don't really have a plan. We never really have a plan. Our only plan for our time in Beijing is for Josh and Danielle to become parents and for me to become an aunt. Clearly...it hasn't happened yet. Unfortunately. So other than that we don't have a whole lot to do. So tonight we're going to eat pizza and maybe play the Wii. But that's about all we have in mind. If you've ever been to Beijing and know of exciting things to do (besides go to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City...Josh and Danielle have been there enough, bless their little hearts) let me know. We could use any and all ideas.

I would also like to report that my chafing is doing a little better. We walked a little bit today and it didn't bother me at all. Maybe I'm getting in shape?? Nah. Probably not.

I was also told by my brother and sister-in-law that I should have said more about our foot massage. So here...I'm saying more about our foot massage. At one point during this fairly delightful 60 minutes they took these small, glass bowl-ish things, sprayed alcohol on them, lit a lighter near them, and then stuck them to my foot. It's supposed to create suction (which it did very well..maybe too well)...which is supposed to get your organs flowing or something. I'm not sure it did that. But I am sure that I sat there shaking my feet and laughing because it hurt and tickled. At the same time. It was for sure one of the strangest things that anyone has ever done to me. And I don't think I'll be letting anyone do that to me again.

The days are dragging on. and on. and on. and on. We need this baby to come. asap. We're going to go absolutely crazy if it doesn't come sometime soon. We tell him every day to come. And we tell him how great it is. I don't think he realizes what he's missing out on. Danielle tells him the sooner he comes out, the sooner he has a birthday, and the sooner he can have a cupcake shoved into his mouth.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A chafing problem.

Today we're headed off to some place to shop. The name has left my mind, probably because I speak English and I have short-term memory problems which means that I have this problem with memorizing Chinese words. It's quite tragic, it really is. I am more skilled in the area of directions which means that I can get myself to the subway station if necessary...which impresses me. I digress. We're going to eat lunch and head over to the subway to catch a ride to another part of Beijing for our shopping. After we have bought what our heart desires, we'll grab a cheap lunch and go back the theatre..or stage..stadium? auditorium? I don't know. We're going to that place where the orchestra played the other night to hear some guy named Peter play the piano. He's probably not any good. I might have to run up on the stage in the middle of it and just start playing to show the audience what real talent looks like. Just kidding. I'm sure he's great. And much better than me. Although I can play Kum-Ba-Ya. That takes some skill.

If you know that people with rabies have a fear of water and that we should all donate money to find a cure for this awful problem....you know what show we watched last night. And what episode. And that it is a fantastic episode.

Also. I have this awful problem that you should know about. It may even be worse than my memory problem. It is called "chafing." You should know that my thighs are larger than most. And that alot of my shorts have thick seams on them. The thick seams wouldn't be a problem if I had small legs. But I don't. So the fact that I have abnormally large thighs, put together with the fact that my shorts have thick seams, means that I have chafing on my legs. And it's terrible. And burns. And sometimes I have to waddle more than Danielle does. Which is sad...because she is pregnant and is supposed to waddle. Now...you may wonder why this problem didn't occur in America. The answer to that troubling question is that in America I sit. Alot. We Americans like to drive everywhere we go. We Chinese like to take public transportation. Ignore the fact that I just called myself Chinese..I like to think I am Chinese sometimes. So anyway...taking public transportation usually involves some walking also. The subway is about 10 minutes from our apartment and it's a nice little stroll. Until your legs start to chaff. Then it's not so nice anymore. I don't even know if this is the correct use of the word "chaff". But Danielle always tells me I have chafing so if this word doesn't make sense just imagine my red thighs with dry skin that are almost to the point of peeling. So the solution that I have come up with for this problem is to get in shape so that my thighs will shrink so that I will not have chafing. The only problem is that exercise entails walking and/or running. And when I walk and/or run my legs rub together. Causing more chafing. So my conclusion is that I get chafing from walking/running and the only way to get rid of this problem is to get more/worse chafing from walking/running. It's an endless and painful cycle, it really is. And I don't believe that my chafing will go away until I get back to America and become a lazy bum again. So until then....I will have large, red, dry thighs.

Just for you, the Murph.

I would like to begin by apologizing for the picture problem. Something is messing up with my computer because it is old and ridiculous. I'll try to fix that. But for now...we'll probably have to stick with just words and no pictures. Which I really hate because I never liked blogs that didn't have pictures. I only read blogs that have pictures. If you have a blog and you don't put pictures on it, I suggest it. They're really great. Unfortunately, I have some great pictures that I can't put up here. Which disappoints me because I'm planning on making a blog book of my trip to China...and this means it probably won't have many pictures. Bummer. But no worries. There's lots of pictures on facebook. And if you aren't friends with me on facebook you're probably a creeper and don't know who I am and have no need to see my pictures anyways.

Now on to life in China....

What I thought was going to be an opera/play turned out extremely great. It wasn't an opera and it wasn't a play, but nonetheless it was fantastic. A college chamber orchestra played a few pieces and then the dancers came out and danced the orchestra's music. It was really great. And thankfully there were no words, so I didn't have to worry about it being in Chinese. We almost didn't go, but we're so glad we went! And tomorrow night we're going back to see some man play the piano. I know...we're so cultural.

Then we went to Coldstone and ate ice cream. Delicous. Cake Batter ice cream in a waffle cone...it just doesn't get much better. And it tasted just like America.

Today Danielle and I ventured out again to find a few things, one of which was powdered sugar. We forgot to look the first time. After looking in lots of different stores and places for it, we were unsuccessful. But we came home and found some here at the house. So all of our searching was in vain and very unnecessary. But while we were out we found some large paper to write our SAT words on so that we could hang them on the wall to be reminded of them. I'm still winning.

We came home and ate a breakfast dinner, watched youtube videos (a favorite hobby of the Shelley family), and got a foot massage. I was a little worried about the foot massage. You have to understand that I'm very ticklish. Very. Like...beyond all reason. So I laughed and jerked my feet around most of the time while 3 Chinese girls sat and laughed at me. But it still was really good and relaxing. We're hoping it will send Danielle into labor. We'll see.

Also, I would like to mention my friend's birthday. Her name is The Murph. She was upset that I didn't mention her in a previous blog post on her birthday, which was yesterday. So here I am, making up for it. The Murph, I hope you're reading this. And I hope you appreciate it alot. I love you. And happy belated birthday.

I would also like to mention that my mother recently watched a documentary about LeBron James. By herself. Is that normal? I miss my crazy mom. Mom...I realize you're going to comment saying something like "I miss you tooo!!!! And I love you so much!!" But you'd do that anyway. Just don't say anything too embarrassing please.