02 January 2011

1/1/11 & Happy year of the rabbit!

Today's new years. Goodbye tiger year! Can you believe I actually fell asleep on New Year's Eve at 10:00 PM? I had been grading all day and I don't remember how it happened but I fell asleep at around 10 and missed saying "Happy New Years" at midnight, making a ton of noise, and kissing my husband. This is the first time in my life I missed doing that! So the next day around 4:00 PM, I did it because that was New Years in America (Pacific Time). I have a recording of doing it. Listen to Sophie getting really into it.

Ramsey spent his New Years day with a video game party. Inviting 3 friends, with two giant flatscreen tvs, and 3 video games systems: xbox 360, wii, playstation 3.
I joined in for a couple of games and whipped people real good on soul caliber 4. Then I proceeded to copy 1000 games on my external harddrive for my Nintendo DS Lite. (Courtesy of Carl who bought 1000 games for $5.88.) Now, my DS playing ways have had an upgrade.

I finished teaching at the University as of last Friday and I don't begin teaching again until FEB 21. I love my awesome long break that Chinese universities provide for their faculty and students. China, you rock!

Well technically I have to grade now. poo. Why did I make such a complicated grading system?? Their quizzes based on the news reading are worth 140 points because they have had 14 quizzes all 10 points each and this is worth 50 percent of their grade. Then their news sharing is 15% of their grade and their attendance 5%. Usually attendance is higher but this semester taking the quizzes really reflected who was there and not. Anyway, their final is worth 30% of their grade. This year another teacher is grading my finals. WOOT! And compiling my final grade. =) So I just have to submit the 70% score. Well that means I have to find out their quiz scores times that by .5, find out their news sharing score, times that by .15, and then their attendance score times that by .05 and then divide all that my 70. Ahhh math. I know I could have excel do this all for me and I have in the past. But this year, doing it my good old calculator methods.

Because it's 1/1/11 I would like to share a few thoughts about the last year. Here were my resolutions this past year:

My New Year's Resolutions 2010

1) Sleep more (uncheck)
2) Take better care of my skin (check)
3) Chinese learning 2 hours a day (check)
4) Make more of an effort to speak Chinese no matter how badly I mess up (check)
5) Make more friends (check)
6) Family prayer, FHE, and Scripture reading nightly (uncheck)
7) Welcome new members of the branch/find ways to make people feel welcome (sorta check-started out strong)
8) Eat breakfast (check)
9) Become a better listener (check???)
10) Look for ways to serve people


NEW Years Resolutions 2011

1) Sleep 7-8 hours a day. ahahahaha we'll see.
2) Learn other languages besides Chinese for a total of 4 hours during the week. (Is this unrealistic? Quite possibly, but now I have a ton of pirated Rosetta Stone software to help me)
3) Read the whole New Testament with Ramsey with heavy discussion every night. (We've already started in December in preparation for this years Gospel Doctrine lessons.)
4) Cook at least twice a week. (I used to cook a lot when I first came here until I realized it was more healthy and cheaper to eat out at the mom and pop shops down the road). Well, I really need to develop cooking skills. I will have kids some day ya know!!!
5) Pick up 10 items before going to bed. Never leave the sink full of dishes over night. (You know, my apt would stay immaculate if I just followed this little rule)
6) This year will be the year of toning my legs. I have done a lot with my arms this past year, but ever since I had a little accident with my knee, I couldn't do a proper squat without filling my knee with fluid. Well, it's healed ok now and I have discovered some exercises that aren't squats, but will have to do.)
7) Build my relationship with God. You can't love God if you don't know God. God is an abstract idea until you decide to build a tangible relationship with him. This means, my prayers this year have to be stronger that ever. I'm going to listen more.
8) Also going to try to develop more personal relationships with my students. Have more office time to talk.
9) Going to try to find a few part time jobs. I subbed for an international school last month and made $75 for 3 hours. Now that's what I'm talking about. I need some more spending money for my traveling and taobao.com addictions.
10) Lastly, I will continue to look for ways to serve others. I will do this once a week. It doesn't have to be big but I will do it faithfully once a week.

And to finish this post, I will like to mention a few things. This year I made a friend named Vish through my Chinese class. She is the nicest, sweetest person. I love her dearly.

I've had an awesome Chinese teacher who is patient, sweet, adorable, wonderful.

This year, I brought my dear little pup Sophie to China. Thank you China for letting my dog come to your country!

I traveled with my brother to the Great Wall, visited the Snow and Ice festival in Harbin and vacationed on the white beaches of Sanya on Hainan island.

I also had mini trips to beautiful ancient cities in China.

This is the first time in my life I had money to spend on Christmas and could buy Ramsey a bunch of presents. The first time in my life that money hasn't been an issue like it has in the past. The first time I haven't had to worry about my weight because you can't gain weight in China. (I think it's impossible).

I am happy folks! China is my haven. China is what my soul was searching for all these years.

I love the people.

I love the culture.

I love the traditions.

I love the shopping.

I love (most) of the food.

I love how safe it is here.

Yes, I could welcome a couple of nice things like I wish the air quality would adapt to some sort of shade of blue and that people didn't spit and scream loudly on their cellphones. But every place isn't a perfect utopia. There are people in China that have terrible lives for lack of good health care and money, but thankfully China has been good to me. The government has allowed me to teach their people English and has provided me a free apartment and good wage. And while occasionally I run across a jerk, for the most part the Chinese people are the sweetest, most accommodating people in the world.

God bless America and God bless China! And may 2011 be just as awesome and fulfilling as the last year!

Happy New Year!


  1. Happy 2011! I celebrated in Long Beach -- and by a coincidence of timing, was on top of a Ferris wheel looking out at the ocean when midnight struck. Then they kept us up there as fireworks went off over the harbor. It's neat to think that at that moment, in Shanghai, you, Ramsey, and Sophi were making noise of your own. Glad we all celebrate together in our own ways.

  2. Happy New Year and Happy Birthday! I love reading your posts and so does my son Kyler! He wants to go to China on his mission and he plans on taking Chinese in High school. He is only 9 and has more motivation than I ever have. Sophie is adorable! I love that she joined in on the celebration. Thanks for sharing that video clip of her :)

  3. Just found your blog via google blog search...and you are LDS? Ha, so am I...the FHE caught my eye. I have some questions regarding living in Shanghai as we may be doing so...Any chance you'd be willing to answer them? Mainly about online access...mind emailing me? leah mcchesney at g mail dot com left spaces to avoid spam bots...no spaces in email...thx!

  4. Hi Vanessa, found your blog while searching about SH as my partner and i have plans to relocate there in a few months time. Ramsey's video game party caught my attention while browsing. We are avid gamers but heard that gaming consoles are banned in China. Is that true? We were looking forward to purchase our own console when we move to SH. we own psp and ds too! may i know where 1000 ds games were purchased if it was in SH? thanks!

  5. @anonymous

    Game consoles are perfectly legal, popular, and easy to find in China. The prices are comparable to US prices.

    The major difference is that most Xbox 360 consoles sold here (manufactured in Taiwan) are modded to play copied games (which are sold for 5 rmb each, 73 cents) the big drawback is that you can't access Xbox live with a modded system.

    If you want to play Xbox live you need to buy a Japanese-made or American-made Xbox 360. They sell the Japanese model here at some stores.

    PS3 consoles aren't modded here, so that's not an issue if you like online gaming. And you can buy the Wii modded or un-modded almost anywhere.

    There are game stores all over town, but most of them are in an electronics mall in Xujiahui.

  6. I love your resolutions! I'm glad you are so happy!

  7. Hi Vanessa, thank you for your advice and assurance! and i can't wait to visit Xujiahui.