Because China

Daniel likes to spend time trolling a website called Reddit. Lots of interesting things. One day he found this article about China. We laughed so hard, because it's so true. So True. Enjoy.

From now on my answer will be: Because China.
I've just pasted it here.

Here you go:

"Because China" is the only way to put it.

Last week I was in an elevator at 3pm with some nice people, patiently going downwards, stopping at every other floor for no reason because when most people in Guiyang want to call an elevator they hit both up and down regardless of which way they want to go (because China). Then the elevator suddenly dropped a foot or so (felt like way farther, but couldn't have been more than that), then shot to the 26th floor, then shot down to floor 1. We exited, confused and frightened, and a nice repairman explained that he assumed it was empty and was just about to do some repairs. Why would he assume that? Because China.

I went to a Pizza Hut with some friends a few days ago. (The Pizza Hut in Guiyang is one of the nicest restaurants in the city, partially because Chinese Pizza Huts are really nice places, and partially because Guiyang is a wasteland, which I say in an endearing way.) We ask if we can get a large pizza that's half one thing and half another. Nope, they don't do that. Okay, sure. We ordered a large pizza. Nope, they're out of large pizzas. Okay, that actually doesn't make any sense, but sure, we'll take a medium vegetable garden and a medium pepperoni, and a pitcher of pepsi. We can't give you a pizza with only pepperoni on it. Bullshit, yes, you can. Nope. Okay, whatever, not in the mood, give me the meat pizza. We get a small cup of pepsi and a medium pizza, half of which is vegetable garden and half of which is meat. I check the receipt. The receipt reflects what we ordered, both in English and Chinese. The waitress is at a loss to explain the theoretically impossible and utterly incorrect pizza. Why did they serve us that? Because China. (The previous time we went, we were served seven identical pizzas, having ordered three and paid for three, again because China.)

In the last month, I have been asked by different cab drivers, (1) how much whores are in America, (2) whether military service is compulsory in America, (3) if my parents are upset that I am 26 and unmarried, and (4) {edited out for content issue} But why do they think these are good questions to ask a guy who is trying to get to work? Because China.

A couple weeks ago, in the middle of the road I saw a twenty-five-foot-or-so ladder, being held upright by two men. It was unsupported by anything else. At the top was another man, working on a power line, with nothing to brace him, bolster him, or hold him but the ladder being held by two dudes. Cars were swerving all around them. Nobody found this exceptional. (Daniel once saw something similar to this - a ladder in the middle of the road leaning against a wire for some odd reason) Because, again, China.

It's not a land in which the foreigner suffers. It is not a hostile land or a wild land. It is, rather, a land of pointless minor absurdities and wholly unnecessary inconveniences, which coalesce to infuriate the ill-tempered and delight the rest. When I first arrived, I was informed by a nice older gentleman, "FIRSTNAME, do not ever ask 'why' here. You can ask yourself any other question, and the answers will enlighten you. But do not ask 'why,' because here, there is no 'why.'" And he was right. The answer--the only answer--to "why" is "because China."

So there you go. Because China. My life.


Shanghai Part 1

We landed in Shanghai around dinner time on Wednesday and had three days to explore one of the world's largest cities.

We stayed at a Renaissance Hotel by Marriott. It was nice. Except for the fact that it was cold and the foyer was not heated because, well, because China. (See next post).

On our first morning we met a Huan. Huan is a graduate student at the U in the department where my dad taught. She is from Shanghai and I met her at the department Christmas party. She was in Shanghai while we were there and was kind enough to meet us and introduce us to Shanghai. Huan and her friend Clair (English name) showed us around and we had lots of fun.

First stop: The Yu Yuan Gardens and Bazaar


My Family

Because my family hasn't had family pictures for a couple of years, it was time to get more. Instead of setting something up, we met at home, used my camera on the timer setting and had some goofy fun. We got some good ones, and some weird ones. Here they are:

"Smelling the roses"

 What's going on?
 My weird siblings.
 Pretending Daniel is there too.
 For reals.
 Ashley can't wear the stripes.
 Smile pretty.
 Say what?
 That's more like it!
 Family love.
 Magical moment!
 Where did that dog come from?
It was fun. It was right before Daniel and I flew back to China, via Shanghai. Check in tomorrow to for our first Shanghai adventure.


As a music lover....

Another woman, whose blog I follow, posted a link to this video. If you think you don't love classical music, you are wrong. And here is why:

It's long, but take the time and watch and listen. It's good.


Christmas Day

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family. Thanksgiving would have been with Daniel's family had we been in the states. We did our Christmas with them on the 30th and had a great day.

Christmas Eve was a great dinner of king crab, snow crab, steak bites and lots of sides. It's our annual tradition to do a meal of "surf'n turf" during the holidays. They day varies, but we have been doing it for years. I love it. I am a huge fan of king crab legs. Yummy to my tummy!

Christmas morning was good. We had a nice brunch of bacon, eggs, and sausage. The we started opening presents.

 Presents and stockings Christmas morning.
 Christmas tree and presents. My sister decorates my parents tree. It's beautiful.
 Zucchi, the little yorkie who was scared through most of the day. She spends a lot of her time being scared.
 The early Christmas present to my mom from her parents. It's just beautiful and goes in their new living room very well.
 My brother forgot to wrap my sister's present so my mom put it in a paper bag with a small bow. My sister is good at pulling faces.
 My brother had me and got me a Bazinga Snuggie. It's awesome here in the cold, stone, uninsulated apartment in China.
 The boys playing with the laser pens we brought them.
 My mom was confused as to why we gave her chalk. It was part one of a three part present. The 2nd was a new recipe card book and the 3rd a chalkboard paint menu board my sister did. I wish I had a picture because my sister free handed the letters and they look beautiful. My sister is talented.
 Last summer my dad accidentally bumped a custom picture from my uncle and the frame broke. So for Christmas my mom, my sister and I went and picked out a new frame and mat. He was surprised and it turned out great.
The linen shirt I got my mom from Thailand.

Christmas was good. Happy memories were made and good gifts were given and received.
Then it was off to church for good music and the true meaning of Christmas.

Then for Christmas day dinner we had ham and funeral potatoes. So yummy. My favorite. My brother had a friend come, who would have spent Christmas alone, and my grandpa came. My grandma didn't feel well, but we sent food home for her. It was a good dinner.

I was snapping pictures with my iphone and my grandpa was being silly:
The first picture I took the light was not quite behind his head and he told me I messed up his halo. So here is his picture with his "halo" in the right place.

Overall it was great.

Then we had Bingo. I'll track down photos and post about that soon. It's an annual "fiasco" and a good time was had by all.


My cute nieces.

When I married Daniel there were 3 nieces and 4th was born shortly after the wedding. There are now 5 nieces and 5 nephews. They are all so much fun and I'm so blessed to have married into this family.

For Christmas each year, Daniel's Grandma Allen gives the great grandkids an outfit. For all his family's outfits, the kids match for each age group. We had that family party on the 17th and the girls outfits were too cute. I snapped some pictures with the iphone. Amelia, the oldest, is 9 going on 16 and so she got a more mature outfit. But they are all adorable and I love them all!!

The girls with their great grandma Allen and grandma Allen. Aren't they adorable?


Tuesdays with Daddy

It's like Tuesdays with Maurie, but for me it was my dad. My dad has been having some trouble recovering from his stroke and so he can't drive. He had some things he wanted to get done that it was hard for others to take him to do until I got home. So I spent Tuesdays, the day my mom worked a 12 hour shift, with my dad taking him places and finishing up his holiday shopping.

One of the times we were out we stopped at Farr's Fresh for ice cream. Throughout everything, ice cream has been the one consistent thing he will eat and still tastes good to him. So we got him all he wanted. This was his treat for the day.
He kept wanting to try all of them. So this was the end result: egg nog ice cream, lemon custard, pineapple whip, raspberry whip and some peach tart yogurt on top. With some fruit. I had to grab a picture. It was good for me spend those specific days with just my dad. It was some quality time with memories that I will treasure forever.


Girls Treat

Given that this fall was hard for us, some of my dad's co-workers and office staff gave the girls a gift certificate to Mindful Women's Day Spa. We treated ourselves to a pedicure. They have three chairs so we were all able to go at once. We didn't take a picture while we were there, but we did take some pictures of the end result.

 Mine are the black/charcoal ones to the right.
 My sister got red, I got a sparkly charcoal, and my mom got a deep burgundy color. It was fun and we all enjoyed it.


The Lights at Temple Square

One of the first things we did after Daniel joined me in the states was to go down to temple square with friends. Some of us headed down earlier to do some initiatory work and then the other joined us for the lights and dinner at Rodizio Grill.

It was a great evening.


The other Thanksgiving

After our dinner at the Mexican Restaurant, we knew that our Thanksgiving was not complete. We had a "real" one the following Saturday. We had a bunch of Chinese friends over and cooked a real American style Thanksgiving dinner to the best of our abilities with the resources at hand.

Many of the girls came early because they wanted to see how we cooked things. They were pretty curious and excited about it all.
Peeling and slicing the sweet potatoes.
Cooking the sweet potatoes. My mom caramelizes them in a frying pan with brown sugar. So yummy.
The turkey was meaty enough, but not plump like in America. It was about 13 or so pounds. The Chinese were all very intrigued by it. We found it at a Costco like store that imports food.
 They all took pictures of the turkey with their phones. They had never seen a turkey before.
Intrigued by the carving of the turkey.

The whole group before eating. Back L to R: Selena (Daniel's assistant), Mike, Dragon, Michael, Daniel, Licy, Sunny and her son, Susan, Bella, and Yimi (our Chinese tutor). Front: Ashley and Molly.
 The food. Jello, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes (They couldn't believe that after baking them and mashing them with butter and milk that we were done. Selena kept wanting us to add more butter. She loves butter.) And the Turkey. For dessert there was gingerbread and apple crumble. We had various cheeses for them to taste, which they enjoyed, and some vegetables to snack on until it was all ready.
 Dragon and Selena with a turkey leg each. The Chinese love the dark meat.
 Michael, Molly, Licy, Susan, Bella and Selena enjoying the meal.
 Selena ate her whole leg!! Such a tiny girl ate so much. So many of them do.
Sunny's little boy ate a whole plateful of jell-o and absolutely loved it. I told him he had a red tongue and he stuck it out and then laughed so hard. He was so cute.
The week before, Yimi had just returned from a trip to Utah that she won from work. While there she played and was given her own box of dominoes. They played with a vengeance! They all loved and were so competitive. It was funny.

All in all it was a great dinner and we had so much fun. They loved the food and we plan on doing an American meal for them a few more times while we are here.