Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Mid Autumn Festival!

Dear Blogie,

Mid Autumn Festival... Nikki!.... What in the world is that you ask??? Well, to be honest, I still not completely sure. I know it is a day when people in China go out and spend lots of money on Moon Cakes that are typically gross, and most people don't like...YET, they keep giving them.. So.... to gain more insight into the subject I asked the very lovely ladies who work at the from desk of my school... "Mid Autumn, is a time when you get together with family and friends, like a thanksgiving".. Okay that makes more sense. Plus it does occur on the new moon or the fall eqinox. Since I could not be with my close friends and family, I though I would share a little of my day with you and say properly... Happy Moon/Mid Autumn festival. Miss you all too much!

Intro to Hefang

This first video is me introducing a few of my friends and good ole Hefang Street a very neat and funky place in Hangzhou.

So for this lovely holiday, I did have the urge to sleep in and spend the day reading, but the regular nagging adventuresome Nikki pleaded with me to go out. So I woke up at 7, had my morning date with Stephen and met the gang at 8:00 am for a hike. It was immediately apparent that every person in Hangzhou was trying to get downtown, and every bus as far as the eye could see was stuffed with Chinese people like I have never seen!

The mountains

This video was made while we were climbing through some of the
The Temple of the Gods

Looking at Tea Hill.... aka .Chenghuang Tea House

This last video is a view of the tea house from a distance. Again I apologize for my terrible filming, but hey maybe by the end of this I will be pretty good at it.

As an added side note the last 7 weeks in Hangzhou it has been 90-115 degrees everyday. This was wednesday September 23 rd. It was 65 and raining. The previous day it was 95. I suppose we skipped the middle. So after a day of stuffed chinese buses, chinese doughnuts, good friends, millions of mosquitoes, hiking mountains in the rain, longjing tea, temples and gods, and a bit of shopping on Hefang street, oh yeah..... and the cockroaches at dinner!......I was beat........ but would say that I am glad I kicked myself in the butt to get out. Minus the cockroaches.

Dearest Friends, and Family, again I miss you tons! and wish I could have spent this festival with you, but at least in your absence I was still able to be in good company having an adventure!!

My new Pad

Here is a brief tour.... very brief tour of my apartment, its messy and i spin quite a bit...I apologize :)
I hope you enjoy... Ps hopefully I get better with my narration as well.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nikki the Chinese Tourist Attraction...

I have been told that my pictures are too small, so I have decided to leave them nice and big. Hopefully this is a good decision.
This week was a bit of a test to my American strength. It started out well with another visit to the Chinese doctor where I received more acupressure and he also smudge sticked me... I don't know the chinese name for it. Anyway. I have been doing quite well with the headaches the are drastically less :) So the doctor and yoga were good. This past week I started lessons on beatboxing and that was good. Too bad you all cannot hear me Mad Skilz!... just kidding I am not good, but I aspire to be one day. Anyway... the point is all of these things were good.
Due to the headaches I decided along with seeing the Chinese doctor that I should head over to the International Clinic downtown and see a "western style" optometrist. I have been also having trouble seeing and know I have one eye that is not so good. SO, i went, the place was clean, the staff was beyond friendly. I got there early and not only did I not have to wait, they called the doctor in early to see me. Overall, great experience, not like the one at the clinic. After my appointment I walked around and looked for a place to grab food, since I was in the downtown business area of Hangzhou. One thing that can sour my mood quickly I was unable to find a taxi to take me, so I hoped on random buses with the hope of getting closer...BUt... no luck. I finally made it home 3 hours later..... oh man... trials of patience.

Even though I work at a new school and am teaching new subjects (within music...oh and drama), school is a place where I feel "at home" because it is something that is familiar, and it is kind of neat to see that kids are kids no matter where they are from and trust me, we've got them from ALL over. So at least most of my day has a bit of normality.

So last weekend Maranda and I went to the Reggae bar with many of the teachers out here and got down to non reggae music. Then Saturday we went to bike the west lake. As it turns out I am quite the tourist attraction and people kept thinking it would be a great idea to take their picture with me. This is a pic of me and a random Chinese girls, whose mother thought it would be a great idea for us to take some pictures together. SO here we are China and the US throwin up the peace sign together!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cup it Good!

Today I went to see the Chinese doctor, because I have pretty awful headaches almost daily. This unfortunately is nothing new, but something here is setting them off. So I made the appointment for acupuncture feeling okay about it since I am fairly familiar with it considering my sister graduates with her masters in oriental medicine this december(! WOOT for Lisa!!) and has given it to me a few times. My doctor decided acupressure and cupping were the best options :) So here is to hoping we battle those headaches... Ps. I am sorry if this grosses you out! Believe it or not this is my second time cupped. Lisa did it before but her cups were a third of the size. Good thing this is a familiar sight to people around here.
pps. For those of you who do not know what cupping is:
Essentially, they take a variety of glass cups, set them on fire then put them on your skin. As the oxygen depletes the cup sucks your skin. It is used to treat a variety of different things in Chinese Medicine. The spots are common.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Monsoon Me.....

Dear Mr. Blogins,

To think, I almost thought...."hummm I really do not have much to write about this week..." Then I remembered wait a minute.. This is China and whether I like it or not EVERYDAY!!! is an ADVENTURE!.
After a busy week of school, working out, grocery shopping with the lovely Mandarin teachers who shed some light on the mysteries of the chinese grocery store, attending a beautiful Yoga session at an Indian establishment, and watching our beautiful Hangzhou sun set on the rooftop of a restaurant downtown. I thought perhaps that was it for stories. So after a good nights sleep I woke at 6 am Saturday morning to the sound of a storm. I peeked slowly out of my curtains and quickly saw that the sky was green and that it was impossible to see more then a few feet out.
So, I woke up and started to clean, made myself coffee and cut up some fresh fruit. As the rain died down I went out to see what the school looked like... and ..... there was a lot! of water

So I ran around a bit, we were supposed to go to a big store across town but it was cancelled due to the weather but by the time I figured that out and ran back up the four flights to my apartment I was just in time to watch the power blow out.

As it turns out, it was really nice, most of us from the buildings gathered outside in the field and started to play in the rain. We got soaked and some of the water smelled like oil. But what a great way to have everyone get together and make the best of a rain soaked Saturday morning. We decoded to be brave and venture out to see what the rest of the town looked like.

It turns out everywhere was flooded and after braving it for a few blocks we opted for breakfast instead. Thank you to my neighbors who are awesome. It is a great feeling when you live with so many folks who are there to help each other out and make the best of situations that may not be the best!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boy-phriend issue

Well, I hate to be cheesy, but hey! this is worth the cheese., Earlier I posted my sunset pics of the west lake so all could bask in the beauty that I get to enjoy during my stay in China. I mentioned that my motivation was a project from my Boyfriend Ste-phen Rollick. So on a journey I went to find him the most beautiful sunset in Hangzhou. Well in my opinion I did a pretty fair job. (notice beautiful lake pics below):) Anyways the next challenge went to Stephen to paint the sunset so he could have a bit of Hangzhou and Nikki with him, as I have Uptown and him with me. So, he did it..... An Amazingly!!!! Wonderful!!! Beauteous !!!! Rendering of my orange/red sunset! This post is to direct all of my loyal readers to his blog so you can check out the delightful things he does!

ps. I also learned how to ask where the bathroom was today. Success!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We all float up here

Hello Friends, Fam, Boyfriend, and any others out there!

It has been quite an exciting week here in Hangzhou!! It was decorated with bank trips, visa trips, back to school night, Taco night... and of course.... Good Ole Massage Monday! -which by the way is coming up!

Friday Night my pals and I ventured to the UME international theater and were able to watch Inception. Great movie and we also got a lesson in how to cut people when in line in true Chinese fashion. If you can't beat them.....I guess beat them literally by jumping in front and being quicker! AH well.... Hopefully when I come back to the US I will be able to resume my basic manners.

So Saturday.... What were you up to?????? Me?....Oh!. I spent the day at the Shuangxi RIver on a bamboo float with my buddies ambushing innocents on the river and keeping the float driver happy with adult beverages. WHat a day!

After an hour and a half drive out the beautiful country all of the schools from the system met, promptly purchased water pistols and were driven by oxen cart up the Shuangxi river. We then loaded onto several 30 foot long bamboo floats and were off to a rafting adventure where we tried to take out every other person or float in our way! Good times were had!

The great news is that the excitement did not stop there. After we climbed off of the shaky easily sinkable water craft we found that in China they don't do double dutch, they do "keep hopping over the bamboo or we will snap the crap out of your ankle". So a few of us decided to give it a try. Very fun, but the floor was a bit slick do to our bodies dripping with river water.

ok..... I know... I know... your thinking. "How could this get any better? Awesome River ride?, Taking out the people in the countryside....... Double dutch with bamboo...I'll tell you what was better....Strapping oneself strapping into chair that is attached to a giant balloon so you can literally float high above in the sky.. I am pretty scared of heights and have been for a while.... but hey! I am in China so why not?

What a great weekend. Miss you all and wish you could be here with me. Stay tuned for some videos!!! and new adventures!

Ps. should like to mention I believe I am now up to four gray hairs.... I blame VanderCook... But! I still love them!

PPs. sorry that I do not proof read my posts.. I am going to try and work on that!