Thursday, May 14, 2009

internet woes

Once again, Big Brother has decided to block my access to Strawberry Says. For a couple of weeks it wasn't censored so I was able to reply to your comments, but for the time being I won't be able to. The censorship comes and goes, but just because I'm not replying doesn't mean I don't appreciate all of your comments! I LOVE when you guys comment and wish I could reply, but alas, I might just have to wait until I get back home to do so.

Also, if you have a blog that is "", China has blocked ALL Wordpress blogs so I won't be able to comment, but I'm definitely reading everything you guys are writing because my Google Reader is still up and running! Thank gawd for Google.

Love & Chopsticks,

chinglish at its best

I really, really, really love Chinglish. It's one of the simpler things about China that brings me a ton of joy. Spelling mistakes, grammar problems, translation errors...they're all equally wonderful.

When we were leaving Xi'an, our plane was delayed for about 4 hours (never figured out why), so we spent a lot of time waiting around, which gave us plenty of time to do lots of 5. unrecycling at the airport.

Labels like this on trash cans in America might actually motivate people to recycle. If instead of "throwing your water bottle away" you are "unrecycling your water bottle" you might feel guilty for not being environmentally friendly and decide to recycle it instead. Or you might just laugh and take pictures like me.


  • The perfect outfit: a wrap dress in any color with coordinating pumps, a cute purse, and vintage Ray Ban Wayfarers.
  • The perfect meal: breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal and 2 tablespoons peanut butter (seriously, I could eat this for every meal I am obsessed). lunch: veggie wrap on a whole wheat torilla with lots of hummus and a big side salad with veggies and apples. dinner: whole wheat pizza, lots of sauce, no cheese, pineapple, and tons of veggies. dessert: either vegan banana cream pie OR homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups with vanilla soy "ice cream".
  • The perfect hangover cure: this does not exist. I once had a hangover for two days.
  • The perfect road trip: one that takes place in a big car with plenty of leg room. A couple close, super fun friends, lots of snackies from Trader Joe's, an assortment of Boner Jams CD mixes, and a cool destination that preferably includes hiking or camping.
  • The perfect facial feature: teeth. Straight, white teeth are so sexy to me.
  • The perfect drink: any flavor of Yogi tea. I love their little affirmations on the tea tags!
  • The perfect song: Steady as We Go by The Dave Matthews Band or Toxic by Britney Spears...LOVE that song!
  • The perfect sign of affection: opening up the car door for me/doors of restaurants etc. and giving me their coat/sweater when I'm cold.
  • The perfect afternoon: laying on the couch with Tater Tot watching Sponge Bob, aka how I spent every Sunday of my last year in undergrad.
  • The perfect vacation: a place where I can relax as much as I want and feel no pressure to do anything, but if I want to do something there's lots of options. In my experience, Cabo San Lucas and Thailand are the perfect vacation destinations.
  • The perfect invention: the kindle. Being able to download English books in 3 seconds from the other side of the world has been so incredibly wonderful.
  • The perfect album: every Dave Matthew's album. Yes, even I Did It despite all of its bad reviews, it was perfect. Like everything else associated with Dave.
  • The perfect accent: vallery girl from Cali, duh.
  • The perfect date: dinner and a movie, classic date that you really can't go wrong with.
  • The perfect weather: sunny with blue skies, a bit of a breeze, not too hot. The type of weather where you can wear a sundress with a light cardigan and feel perfect.
  • The perfect party: a tea party with your favorite girlfriends all dressed up, lots of delicious afternoon tea delights, gossiping, and maybe even some croquet.
  • The perfect sport: walking on the bike trail with the Tot. XOXO boo, miss you!
  • The perfect thing to say: "Did you lose weight?"
  • The perfect day of the week: Sunday, it's the one day of the week I can be completely lazy and not feel bad about it at all.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

alanis morisette song lyric potential

The absolute hilarity of life never ceases to amaze me. Thankfully, I have the presence of mind to be able to look at otherwise crappy situations and laugh them off. I encourage everyone else to work towards this goal...because otherwise you're in for a hell of a ride.

Life's a bitch and then you die, right? Or you could just laugh and say, "Thanks, bitch!" and continue on your merry way. I have been known to let life get me down, but lately I've made a huge effort to just roll with the punches. It's so much easier that way. And funny.

Flashback to Xi'an. Rod and I went there for the weekend to see the city and the famous terra cotta warriors. Xi'an has the largest still-intact city wall in China (it's really old, so I hear), so our first full day there we decided to walk the entire thing. All 9 miles. It was really cool being able to see the entire city from the top of the city wall, but it was also really, really tiring.

The smog in Xi'an was horrible, and I remember thinking to myself, "This is the kind of smoggy, overcast day where people get sunburned" and then also remembered that I had not applied sunscreen that morning. I brushed the thought away, though, figuring it wouldn't be that bad because it was VERY smoggy, and the sun isn't that strong, right?

Wrong. I got one of the worst sunburns of my life. I wanted to look cute so I was wearing a dress which left my chest and neck completely exposed to the sun's powerful UV rays for the 4 hours it took us to walk the perimeter of the city. With my red hair, freckles, and sunburn...I looked like a tomato.

We wanted to pack a lot into the day, though, so we decided to try to find this temple that was outside of the city wall where monks play chess. It started raining and we didn't know where we were going. Two hours later we still didn't know where we were going and my Uggs were soaked all the way through. We hopped on a crowded bus with barely any standing room. Sunburned and thoroughly soaked from the rain, I was not a happy camper.

China has over 2 billion people, so it's pretty much a given that public transportation is going to be crowded. On that day, though, everyone was wet and grumpy and I was in a horrible mood. I didn't even care about this stupid temple and just wanted to go back to the hostel, but we had already gone so far and it was important to Rod so I stuck with it.

After what seemed like forever, we arrived at the temple (thanks to the impromptu tour guiding of a very nice Xi'an citizen) and IT WAS CLOSED. So perfect, right?

It gets better.

The thought of getting back to a nice, warm bed soon put me in a better mood and we stopped by a local market to get some food. I ordered in Chinese and they understood me, which put me in an even better mood. Rod gave them too much money, and they made sure to give him the correct change, which he was surprised about (he worried frequently about getting ripped off).

At this point I was feeling pretty euphoric. I love using Chinese and being understood. I was happily chirping about how trustworthy all Chinese people are while I looked for my wallet to buy a yummy baozi.

"Seriously, everyone I've met in China is so kind and honest I've nev...shit. My wallet is gone."

And at that moment I remembered exactly when it happened. It was on the crowded bus just after I got on-board. A man next to me bumped into me and I felt my purse tugged, but I was so tired, grumpy, sunburned, wet, and hungry, to care.

As I was standing in the middle of the market with the realization that I had been 4. pick-pocketed in Xi'an, I started to laugh. I mean, what are the odds that I would be cooing the virtues of the Chinese people and how honest they are at the exact moment I realize my wallet was stolen?

Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?

Monday, May 11, 2009

celeb stalking, china style

Those of you who know me in real life or are regular readers are mostly likely aware that I am celebrity obsessed. I've met a few movie stars/directors/musicians/former president in my day, but it never loses it's amazingness. I'm totally star struck. So, obviously, when I had the opportunity to 3. Take pictures with the stars of The Mummy III I couldn't resist!

I have to confess, I've never seen The Mummy III, but according to Twin the terra cotta warriors play a somewhat significant role in it.

There's three large pits FILLED with terra cotta warriors. Most of them haven't even been uncovered yet. The Chinese government is waiting for the preservation technology to advance more so they will be able to keep them in tact (when they were first uncovered all the warriors were fully painted, but the exposure to oxygen made it fade within minutes).

It was really incredible seeing the terra cotta warriors up close. While I was in southern California last summer I saw an exhibit of them at a museum, but seeing one up close is nothing compared to seeing a football field sized warehouse filled with them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

holidays i am happy do not directly apply to me

Soooo happy I am not a mother. Phew.

That being said, Happy Mother's Day everyone (that is a mother, of course)!! I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful/crazy cool mother to help guide me through this nutty path I've chosen for myself and couldn't ask for anyone more loving or supportive! Thanks for being my mom, Mom.

some things in life really ARE free

Even if it's not on purpose. I booked a hostel for a weekend trip to Hangzhou for Rod and myself and when we got there and they showed us the room, they were literally putting the bed together right then and there. There were wood shavings on the floor and tarps on the other furniture; I'm pretty sure they had just finished building the room 30 minutes before we arrived.

When I'm traveling I try to be really easy going, more so than I try to in my every day life because I know that nothing ever happens the way you expect it to, and fighting against small changes can lead to lots of frustration. It's easier to just give in and ride the wave than try to swim opposite the tide. In this case, though, I was totally not feeling the barely-completed room so I asked to be moved to a smaller room if they had something available, which serendipitously led to me and Rod 2. Accidentally scoring a free night in a hostel.

They took us to a twin room and told us we'd need to check out the next morning and switch to another room because it was already booked for the following day. Ok, I thought, I can work with that compromise. Well, the next day when I went to the front desk to switch rooms, they told us not to worry about it...but we had only paid for one night! When we checked out on Sunday (after staying a total of two nights), they never asked for the payment on the second night so we totally scored a free night!

There's no such thing as a free lunch...but if your waiter happens to forget to charge you for something, I say consider it a gift from someone up above and roll with it. And leave a generous tip.