Wednesday, December 31, 2008

my new little monster!

The little monster, Adriana, skyped me today.
I love you, Adriana.

This little person changed the dynamics of my family. My parents have been bumped to grandparents, my brother and his wife are now parents, and my other brother, his wife and I are now aunts and uncles. How amazing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

a makeshift Thanksgiving 感恩节快乐!

andy and ariel acting excited

Our Thanksgiving feast: sweet wonderous chicken strips, cute tiny sliders and quesadillas con queso extra. Un sangsgiving tan rico que no lo puedo poner en palabras! (poner en palabras? did i just translate that? oops)

Is drinking part of Thanksgiving? I can't remember. I think so.


This thanksgiving was a bit different than last year's. Ariel and I went to Steak and Eggs, which is an American diner (that first opened if Florida, believe it or not). When we arrived, the owner said there was no space for us. Needless to say we were very upset.
Since we were in an area of Beijing that's full of western restaurants (great Russian places) we decided to go with the nearest American restaurant, TGI Fridays. Yes, we spent thanksgiving at Friday's. Ross felt sick and stayed at home, so it was Ariel, our English friend Andy and I who celebrated Thanksgiving at the great American restaurant chain. It felt like America.

Well, no turkey for me this Thanksgiving. But a lot of cheesy appetizers & 2 long island ice teas later and all is forgotten. I hope all of you had as wonderful a thanksgiving as I did. Please, eat a leftover turkey sandwich in my name!

你没吃过火鸡的话,你下个感恩节去个美国朋友的家或者美国餐厅吃吧。 感恩节有好多很好吃的菜 有土豆泥, 南瓜派, 地瓜,等等。 好吃死叻

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I finally am connected to the rest of the world! We have the internet.
Soon, I will post lovely pictures of our house and my room.

I have been back in Beijing for about a month now and have been working for about a month as well. My classes are going good and for now i have the weekends off, which is great because I will get to visit my friend Lix in Weihai (威海)!

That's it for now. Soon, I'll post pictures.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

北京到了 I've arrived in Beijing

I've missed Beijing very much and am glad to be immersed once again in this country. Of course, I was in America for so very long that I had forgotten the frustrations of living here. For example, the great firewall of China. I had forgotten about this. When I was in America, I was really getting into building a community on youtube and now China has permitted me from being a part of that community. How crappy and selfish. Arggh. I feel like I am 14 all over again. I, like, totally hate my parents.
On the other hand, people speak Chinese here! How incredibly exciting! I came back and Chinese just started sort of spilling out of my mouth again. Also, I think the distance from China for three months has actually improved my listening skills. Since I have been away from the country for such a long while, I have a new and fresh patience with the listening aspect of communicating. I don't think I can say the same about my speaking skills, which definitely haven't improved while I was out of the country.
Now, the search for an apartment is happening. Wish us luck. It looks like I'm going to live with Ross and Ariel. We're looking for a 3 bedroom. We'll take up two of the bedrooms and have the third for a studio. How exciting!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Bird and 107th

found in Winn-Dixie


kristina marie gonzalez

typical wet season afternoon shower

Kristy's barbeque, Ricky's cookin'

Susie and Kristy

Mahzhong (麻将) at Fridays

Oh, Miami!

On Monday Ariel and I go back to Beijing to meet Ross.

Very soon it will be back to teaching English, eating greasy yummy things and speaking Chinese. Mmmm.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Leif turns 2 and I turn a lot older than 2

****Leif's party**********************************
***********************i told you!****************

leify and fam

fingers in cake

cake in mouth

**************My Birthday*******************

Kristy and Susie showing off their glowing parts

Isabel and Ariel

Kris and I showing off J's bling

Andre and Lindsey


Jorge and Erika

That was really fun.
*Susie, thanks for the house. *
*J, thanks for the speakers.*

Saturday, August 9, 2008

things from cambodia

a collage of bits of Cambodia

The country that affected me most was Cambodia. The feeling there was much different than any other Asian country that I visited. Vietnam is more influenced by China and it is evident in their temples, food and society. In Cambodia however, the temples are incredibly different from anything I have ever seen, the food has more curry and milk, much like Thai food, and the people interact with you in a completely different way. It felt a bit more threatening and a whole lot more unstable, but it was refreshing to hear people openly bad mouth the party in power.

We were there when the country's 4th elections were taking place. Emotions were stirring and party banners lined the road. People were proud to have voted but did not seem surprised when the same party that has been running for 15 years, the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), won yet again. It seems that the CPP will continue to deposit the Cambodian people's money in their own accounts and give nothing to their people. If this is doomed to continue for 5 more years, when will it be declared a failed democracy?

It is sad and infuriating to experience a bit of the rich and lost Khmer culture only to find out that the bit of hope these people had on their election day was immediately destroyed by these CPP gangsters.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bangkok Portraits

Last night, Ariel, Ross and I were walking back to the hotel when we came across a portrait artist on the street. For a dollar-fifty a pop, we had the three of us drawn.

Today, Ariel and I landed safetly in Tokyo, Chicago and lastly, Miami. Ross is in Bangkok.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

coming home

After a month of traveling through various Asian countries, I am ready to visit somewhere familiar. And so, I am coming home!
I will see you all tomorrow, the 5th.
When I'm able to use a computer next, I will post pictures and stories.
See you all soon.

Monday, June 2, 2008

many wendesdays ago picnic

the crew

lix cassie and cam

the kite

dirty park foot

ross playing sports!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

八大处 Badachu park

Last weekend we went to Badachu park.
It wasn't as beautiful as other places we have been, but it was extremely worth it because of the slide ride that it had.
After climbing up the huge hill we were rewarded by being able to slide down this immensely long twirling garbage chute of sorts on a little one-person car contraption. I will get to posting some pictures that Ariel took soon. There was no way I could take any pictures, I was concentrated on going as fast as I could without dying. It was the best 40元 I have ever spent!

Some pictures...

Red lanterns which people have scribbled wishes on with markers.

猪八戒!the pig of the eight prohibitions

孙悟空! The Monkey King!

a silly picture next to a painting of a tree branch

Ross posted about this too!

Monday, April 14, 2008

广州 Guangzhou

The weekend before last I was able to escape Beijing and visit my friend Erin, who lives in Guangzhou. It was extremely exciting to leave the 60 degree dry weather of Beijing for Guangzhou, who's temperature and humidity resemble Miami.

The city is situated deep in the mouth of the Pearl River, way down south, in Guangdong (广东) province. Before I left, I checked the weather and was happy to see the forecast predicted blue skies! I soon found out that blue skies in Guangzhou mean that there might be some blue behind the all-encompassing pollution dome that covers the city. The pollution was severely worse than any other city I have been to in China.
Aside from the gross smog-blanket issue, the city was pretty amazing. The most wonderful thing was the difference in culture and language. Northern China and southern China are very different. The south seems to be more social. The subway cars were full of chattering as opposed to the usual silent subway ride in Beijing. I got to speak to lots of cab drivers using the Mandarin I know and quickly found that it was difficult to understand their Mandarin. They had no trouble understanding me, but I had much trouble discerning their strangely accented Mandarin.

There are a few reasons why their Mandarin is so different from the Beijing accent I am used to hearing. One of the reasons is, of course, the distance between Guangzhou and Beijing, the city which sets the standard accent for Mandarin. Another reason is that the cities which are situated near the Pearl river in Guangdong province also speak Cantonese, and so their Mandarin carries a Cantonese accent. I absolutely love the sound of Cantonese. Every cab ride became a lesson in Cantonese, with the driver as Erin and I's teacher.
I cannot begin to stress how incredibly different this language is from Mandarin. When you speak Mandarin, like every other language I know, you must shift your tongue into different positions to achieve a desired sound. Well, a cab driver I met taught me how to say hello in Cantonese, which is something like lay? hoe? (pronoucing both syllables as if you are asking 2 separate questions). When I tried to mimic him, he corrected me. He told me that I was trying to use my tongue to speak, as I used it in Mandarin. He says to speak Cantonese correctly your tongue should not move at all, it should be completely limp. It will feel strange at first, he told me but assured me that I would quickly get accustomed to it.
广州Guangzhou, as much of a building erecting, counterfeit product producing, cancer-air city as it is, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The quality of restaurants is comparable to Shanghai, the people are charming and the language is one which I must learn.

Thanks Erin! It goes without saying that you have free stay in Beijing anytime you'd like!

The Filipino, Maria Fernandez lip-syncing to It's Rainin' Men at a drag-queen show we stumbled upon.

Erin and I looking a bit glassy-eyed

An exhibition at Guangdong Art Museum(广东美术馆) of Jacques Henri Lartigue's photographs.

That previously mentioned museum had another exhibition where they had many paintings, each representing a country. Each Chinese artist was given a country to make a painting about. This was Cuba.
USA was a collage of every race smiling with an American flag draped in the background, oh my god.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Skype pictures

Skype is a strange thing. When both parties have their webcams hooked up, the conversation is so much more about looking at each other's videos than actually having a conversation. When I'm Skyping, I find myself showing people neat things that I have lying around my house or newly found youtube videos. Sometimes we have a beer together. When I was back in Miami, my brother Vince, who lives out of town, once attended a family function using Skype. His wife and him would sit down in front of the camera and invite people towards the laptop. My brother said they had a few successful conversations.
Skype has had a huge impact on the health of long-distance relationships. Let's keep Skyping, people!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

西游记 Journey to the West

Journey to the West (or The Monkey King) is one of the four classic novels in Chinese literary history. If you ever ask a Chinese person about Chinese literature they will bring up these four classics, Journey to the West being one of them.
The story is about how the Monkey King, the Pig and Friar Sand protect the Monk Tripitaka on his journey to find the Buddhist scriptures.
The book is written like a comic book with no pictures. Each chapter ends with, "Listen to the next installment to hear how he was dealt with the following morning," or "If you don't know what happened to Monkey King's life, then listen to the next installment," which makes reading it a bit awkward, but overall Chinesely pleasant.

In the 80s a TV show was made which plays out the novel, chapter by chapter using amazing special effects and lots of smoke machines. You can turn on Chinese TV at ANYTIME and this show will be on. Every Chinese person living in China today knows and loves this TV series. I just bought the entire show and am also reading the book. Reading the book helps me understand just what, pray tell, is going on during the show. It seems the producers had a low budget to make this highly fantastic novel and so some of the scenes are hard to understand without any previous knowledge of the story.

Here is a clip from the show...
In this clip, a very fancy party is going on in one part of heaven while the devious monkey king is causing ruckus in another part. He's gotten drunk off heavenly jade liquor, downed a bunch of golden pills of refined elixir and stolen a plethora of heavenly treats to take to his monkey friends down on earth. Now, he's trying to escape the floating ladies with lanterns.