In Tokyo (by TAZ)

[pics incl] The first one is of prayer cards at a Shinto Temple. The other is Courtney in a kimono at a Japanese restaurant.



Snacks in the Shopping District (by TAZ)

[pics incl] Claudia was clearly playing with her food. I told Courtney that was a lot closer to her face than it would have gotten to mine… she assured me that was a close as it got. 🙂




Some Shanhai Pix from Courtney 05/10/15 (by TAZ)

[pics incl] After trying to harass Courtney into blogging for herself, it’s apparent that she does not have consistent internet service (and/or) many USA domains are blocked. Jeff and I decided to post some photos on her behalf. I’m debating putting my own captions 😉

I believe they are currently in Shanghai . They being Courtney, Claudia and a translator named Miranda.





Clearly, these were taken later, at night.





The Guangxi Trip…

So the excursion organized by our program this semester was to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region—

okay quick and hopefully not too confusing lesson about China and its autonomous regions:

China has 34 administrative divisions, 22 of which are provinces and 5 are autonomous regions (the other divisions are the 4 municipalities, 2 special administrative regions, and Taiwan, but since you have access to Google and I have to make do with Bing, I think you can look those up yourself). China is also home to 56 ethnic groups, with 91.59% of the population belonging to the  (according to Wikipedia), which leaves less than 10% of the population to fill up the other 55 ethnic groups. Now, tying this all back together with the autonomous regions, in order to become a governor of an autonomous region, you must be of a relevant ethnic minority. For example, in order to be governor of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, you would have to be of the Zhuang minority. That’s pretty much the only difference between the autonomous regions and regular provinces.

Oookay, my surprise Chinese history lesson is complete for now—

Anyway, it was a very cool trip, we visited the “rice terraces” of Ping’An, the Li River in Yangshuo County, and the street and night markets in Guilin, not to mention the Reed Flute Cave, Camel Rock, and we held monkeys and peacocks! While we were still very much jetlagged and the whole trip involved just ridiculous amounts of walking, it was all still very enchanting.

These are some pictures of the Longji Rice Terraces (Longji means dragon’s back). We were in Ping’An which is super close to Guilin, the big city we went to in Guangxi. Again, Google is your friend. I really enjoyed seeing the rice terraces; they were beautiful but also not like anything we really have in America (*as far as I know) and it was amazing to be able to climb them and take these pics—which really don’t do the place justice. Of course, Claudia and I had the brilliant idea to try and climb onto one of the rice terraces. And we made it, I’ll have you know. Our shoes, however…were not so lucky.










 After leaving the Longji Rice Terraces (we stayed there for 1 night and 1 day), we stayed a night in Guilin, which had a very cool street and night market. We did a little tourist-ing and a little shopping, fed some fish, held some Peacocks.. After our stay in Guilin we took a boat down the Li River—which is famous for being the place on the back of the Chinese 20 yuan (the currency here)—and we saw many land marks that line the river, such as the “9 Painted Horses Hill” and the “Five Finger Mountain.” We took the Li River to Yangshuo County, where it rained almost the entire time we were there, though it cleared up enough for us to visit the Camel Rock, Moon Hill, and Banyan Tree (where we held monkeys!). We looked at the shops there for a little bit and the next day we visited the Reed Flute Cave, which was lit up with all sorts of colorful lights and fun names for the rock formations. We ended the trip with another four-hour trip back to Beijing so that we could be ready for school to start the next week.



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ClaudiaCam_Guilin_9.14 152Seriously look at how cool these monkeys are ^^^


Hopefully more posts with pics to come.










China Group…

If nothing else, I figure I’ll mention who I’ll be spending time with in the next few months:

grouppng1 grouppng10grouppng2 grouppng3 grouppng4grouppng5 grouppng6 grouppng7grouppng8 grouppng9

So, OBVIOUSLY, we’ve got a pretty fabulous group here, which is a good thing seeing as we’ll all be living together at least until December. So shown above—alphabetically since we are apparently incapable of standing in any consistent order—is Alyssa, Bineta, Brandon, Claudia, Courtney, Daniel (actually, he’s not in any of these pictures since he didn’t arrive in China until last week), and Rachel. There’s also Patrick and Jessica who are our group coordinators.



This is Claudia and I (hopefully by now you know which one I am…).

She’s my roomie for the next two semesters!

We met last year at school, before we knew that we were both going to China, so I guess you could say we really lucked out.

I love having her in China, I would be consistently lost without her (in the most literal way possible.)









Okay, okay…









For anyone who’s unaware (though, honestly, if you’ve managed to find this blog, you’re probably aware…) I’m in China now!

I left for China on September 11th and got here on Friday the 12th, so it’s been a little over a week since I landed and we’ve started getting settled in; our dorm has bathmats and wall-hangings now so it’s not as bare as it was when we first arrived.

We took an “excursion”—which ended up being sort of like a vacation within a vacation—last week to the Guangxi autonomous region in China; we visited PingAn, Guilin, Yangshuo, and took a tour down the Li River (to be perfectly honest the geography is all kind of confusing to me, so if you’re more interested in that, I strongly suggest you consult Google—or Baidu if you’re like me and are barred from using your favorite search engine.)

I will try to post pictures/videos of not only our excursion, but also of our dorm and campus life and other things we’ve done, but I don’t promise any semblance of regularity. Sorry? Not really.

Feel free to Skype/email/text/facebook message me all you want, but who knows if I’ll answer—Beijing is 14 hours ahead of Denver and Facebook is actually blocked here and my VPN isn’t consistent enough to be considered reliable—but go ahead and try anyway!

I’ll try and add more posts soon, maybe with pics.



Sailing for the first time would be an experience and memory in itself, but being part of our family means that we don’t do things halfway. So my first time sailing was also my first time flipping a sailboat. And my first time getting a ride from the coast guard.

After tipping the catamaran (google it), we (being Dad and myself) could not pull it back upright because, between the two of us, we didn’t weigh enough (or have enough upper body strength, whichever way you prefer to word it.) That, and in order to flip a boat back upright, the mast must face into the wind in order to pitch the sail out of the water. <Enter more boating jargon here.>

Long story short, after half a dozen attempts and assistance from the local coast guard, the boat washed onto a nearby beach shore. We proceeded to leave the boat there and the KOA we are staying at had to send a couple of people out to retrieve it.

Dad says he just wanted to “give me a memory I’ll never forget.” Great. Mission accomplished.


p.s. mom’s version

Thoughts of Theodor Suess Geisel…

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.

Being crazy isn’t enough.

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.

In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!

How did it get so late so soon?

Theodor Seuss Geisel…

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

And speaking of which, The Lorax is in theaters today.