I’m not totally sure what’s happening to me right now, but I miss China.

I’ve spent the last two hours reading and re-reading my blog. And I get it. I cognitively understand all the reasons that I was so miserable, and I still wholeheartedly maintain that leaving was the right choice for me. But for the last two weeks I’ve been consumed by this strong, strong craving to go back and visit.

I think it all started with Micah. My friend Micah, who works with me at Cheesecake, is leaving for the Middle Kingdom in a few short weeks to visit his sister who teaches in Xinzheng. As his trip has drawn near, we’ve had a handful of conversations about what he’s going to do and where he’s going to visit. I think this is what triggered my China-brain; I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all the things I liked about China, all the stuff that I could experience again if I visited.

So, I’m making another list. Maybe this will help me.

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25 ways to make me fall in love with you.

1. Be ambitious. Be going somewhere.

2. Smile a lot.

3. Make me laugh. Often.

4. Must love cats. Or at least, must tolerate cats that are constantly cuddling with me. Extra super bonus points if you don’t roll your eyes when they wake me up at 8 in the morning so I can feed them wet food.

5. Let me make you laugh. You must think I’m funny to be romantically compatible with me. This is just a fact of life.  Continue reading


For some unknown reason, this blog is still getting decent traffic, despite being completely dormant for 4 months. I feel flattered.

So I’m coming up on the 5 month anniversary of my return to America. At times, it feels like I was living in China yesterday, and others it feels like it was a million years ago. But as my life continues, in disarray, I’ve been spending more and more time reflecting on my life in China, what I learned, and what I’m taking with me as I continue down the path of my life. I decided to share these things.

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Firewall free

For those of you who don’t know, I am now officially back in the States. I had a big long post explaining why I came home, but I figure it’s more time-efficient for all of us if you just email me and I can explain it all there.

But, here I am, in the San Fransisco airport, waiting for my second flight to Kansas City, Kansas. I’m mostly posting so everyone knows that I’ll continue to write on this blog for a month or two; I have a lot of things that I haven’t chronicled yet, and it’s much easier to tell lots of people on my blog. Plus I’ll be able to post pictures.

This will be much easier because I won’t have the firewall to contest with, so uploading pictures will take minutes instead of hours.

I must say, though, that even though I’m really excited to be back in America (I ate a sandwich today that I didn’t have to order off of a picture menu, it was a religious experience), a huge part of me is really sad to leave China. Once I adapted to living in the Chinese culture, I really became endeared to the country. But my teaching situation was making me miserable, and Shijiazhuang is less than the ideal city. In other circumstances (aka if Tyler and I had gone to Shanghai from the beginning), I know I would still be in China. And that’s why it was so hard to say goodbye to Tyler earlier today.

….in other news, if Chinese people stared at me before, they EXTRA stared on the plane today. I imagine I did look pretty ridiculous; one of the only foreigners on the plane, sitting at the end of her row, silently crying for the first two hours of her flight. An appropriate way to leave the country that taught me the definition of humility.

Got cupped

I know, I know. I’ve had a lot of internet issues and I’ve been very busy finishing up tests and stressing about planning our upcoming trip, so I apologize for slacking. Mainly, the issue has been my internet; I’ve been trying to write a post about the English competition that Alan and I judged for our junior 2 students (it was very entertaining), but my internet wasn’t strong enough to upload videos or pictures, and really, the post is lackluster without them. I have a few others that are half-completed, and I’ll get to those…eventually. When I have time, that is.

This small post is about the time Tyler, Jacqueline and I went and got cupped.

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Xmas in BJ

Before our third trip to Beijing, I was struggling a little bit. Giving each of my 750 students an individual Oral English test and having my schedule constantly changed around, not to mention having to surprise-test two of my classes, was wearing me down. I was so looking forward to the excitement of visiting Beijing; the last two times we have gone, it’s been a wonderful, re-energizing experience. I was hoping this would be the same. And in many ways, it was, but I think I hyped it up too much in my head.

Because, being in Beijing couldn’t change the fact that I spent Christmas without my family.

I could write and write about how I feel about being away for Christmas. I wouldn’t even say that Christmas is my favorite holiday, but you don’t realize how warm the Christmas season is until you don’t have one. I didn’t realize all the traditions we have for Christmas and how happy they make me until I looked at the time and realized they were happening without me. It made everything feel cold (literally and metaphorically, because damn, it was cold this weekend). I thought that maybe having Tyler’s family around would make it feel better, but it actually was the opposite. Seeing Tyler be with his family and enjoy the holiday made me so, so sad to be away from mine. Luckily, we kept busy, so I only had a few mopey moments about these feelings.

We did, however, do some pretty cool things this weekend.

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