Beyonce be “Upgrading ya,” and I’ll be “Updating ya!”

Clearly Allyson and I have been hanging out too much. I’m starting to obsess over Beyonce almost has much as she obsesses (jk, no one could ever get close to topping Ally). But, omg Beyonce is seriously running the world. BOMB!

Anyways…

Sorry for neglecting you all for the last couple of weeks, my loyal and adoring fans (aka mom and dad and the random strangers who are following our blog). So here’s an update…

I’ve been trying to figure out how to upload videos of my students’ advertisement campaigns onto WordPress but I can’t get them to work yet. I’ll try and put them up soon though because you people NEED to see them. They are so funny! I decided a couple weeks ago that I was boring my students to death with the piercing sound of my obnoxiously high-pitched voice lecturing at them in a foreign language everyday SO I decided to assign some group projects that would take up the rest of the semester and allow me to sit back, relax, and get paid to be entertained by my kiddos. SUCH A GREAT IDEA. I am patting myself on the back as we speak and using my parents credit card to buy Jeffrey Campbell shoes online as a congratulatory gift to myself for being so brilliant (Jk mom and dad…well, maybe). But seriously, the students loved the assignment! And I loved it too. As we all know, I know absolutely nothing about business BUT I do watch tv and buy magazines and go on Facebook (24/7) so I know a thing or two about advertising (Great logic, huh?). Thus, I made my business english students come up with commercials to present in class and I was so happy to see how much effort the kids put into the assignment. I was literally crying in class because I was laughing so hard during their commercials, as were all the other students. I definitely had a side ache by the end of class (Just like those times when I used to run 120s during pre-season for GU soccer. Thanks Smiles!). I HAVE to figure out how to put these videos up so you all can watch them! Some of the products included: cute animal-shaped rechargeable table lamps (because apparently the electricity turns off at night in the dorms so the students have to get battery powered lamps if they want to stay up after 9pm. I also learned that there is no heat in the dorms. WTF! Guess it’s a good thing that they cram 6 people in those tiny rooms. They can keep each other warm with body heat), skin whitening lotion, anti-fuzzing and piling machine (Yeah, no idea what that is either), puzzles, reusable grocery bags, shoes, magic pillows (just place your textbook under the pillow before you sleep at night and you will absorb all the information by morning), fashionable jackets and dandruff shampoo. The running theme between all the commercials seemed to be that if you use such-and-such product, you will find a lover. Yep, dandruff shampoo..that’s how I won AU’s heart (Or as Cody Cooper would say, “That’s how Elle broke AU.” – I’M THE BOSS!).

In other realms of my China life, I just started the final examinations for my freshmen oral english class. The students will give 3 minute long final speeches about something they believe in. Some of the topics today included: “I believe in love”, “I believe in friendship”, “I believe in justice”, “I believe in my toy bear” (actually a really great speech about her favorite stuffed animal from her childhood), “I believe in myself” (This was a very popular topic – Not as egotistical as it sounds. Most of the speeches were about self-determination), “I believe in optimism”, “I believe that wealth is not the most important thing in life”, “I believe in talent”, “I believe in knowledge”, “I believe in gratitude” (a great speech given by a boy thanking his parents for everything they have given him), “I believe in will-power”, “I believe in smiles”, and “I believe in having courage and escaping limitations.” I’m a very proud Mama right now.

Here are some pictures of my babies:

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Let’s see, what else have I been doing. Hmmm, well my Chinese teacher has been sick for two weeks, darn! I found out my new favorite tv show, Pan Am, was canceled! So pissed! That show was awesome! And OMG, what is going to happen to Chuck next season ahhhhhh!

Ha ha okay, okay, I will actually tell you about my real life not pertaining to tv shows now.

Allyson and I have pretty much finalized our plans for our 7 week vacation starting at the end of December (knock on wood – I’m praying that by leaving China we will avoid our abundant China Fails. All I want for Christmas is NO CHINA FAILS! Ha, that’s a lie actually cuz I want Sam Edelman shoes, too.) So, we finish tests in about 2-3 weeks and then we will head to Shanghai for a Christmas eve celebration with Robbie and Paul. I’m not sure what Christmas in China will be like but I’m eager to find out. I’m assuming it will involve baijiu, KTV, and possibly chicken feet but I’m don’t want to get my hopes up. After Christmas, we will fly to Vietnam on December 27th. In Vietnam, we will first visit the gorgeous rice terraces in the mountains near Sapa (a must-see recommendation by auntie Wan) and celebrate New Years there. We are, once again, praying to the China gods for warmish weather, especially since I’m packing bikinis not parkas. To get to Sapa, we take an overnight train from Hanoi. The plans for this chilly get-away are still in the works though. I’ll admit that most of our energies have been focused on our more tropical, beach front get-aways instead. No snow for us this Christmas! Just white sands and tan lines, whoop whoop! And probably a lot of bug bites for me, ugh! So, after we tour around beautiful Sapa with their black-teethed woman (a sign of beauty for these mountain people), we will head back to Hanoi, tour the city for a day or two, then head to Ha Long Bay for our 3 day, 2 night junk boat cruise which includes kayaking, night fishing, sun-bathing, water cave exploration, and much, much more. SO EXCITED!

After our junk cruise we must unfortunately leave paradise for, oh wait, another paradise! Yep, next is southern Thailand to meet the Grabb family, minus the little Harvard smarty-pants, in Krabi and Ko Lanta. We will spend about a week down here then head up to Bangkok via an overnight train and then up to Chiang Mai to ride elephants (which is apparently inhumane but, sorry, I’ve acquired a Chinese mindset when it comes to animal rights. Ha, jk. Actually we are going to an elephant reservation that saves elephants so I think we are mostly in the clear. You’re welcome PETA.) We have received a lot of advice from friends who have previously traveled throughout Thailand so I can’t wait to follow in their foot steps.

From Thailand, we head to Bali! Hello EAT PRAY LOVE. Now, we just need to get to India and we can call it a day. In Bali we have generously been offered a place in the inland city of Ubud to stay with a family friend. This is the area where they filmed most of eatpraylove actually. It’s know for jungles so I hope I see a monkey (Of course, I have no idea if monkeys are indigenous to Indonesia but hey, when I hear “jungle,” I think monkey.) We will also spend some more time on the beaches along the coast but I hear there are water snakes (I bet you just cringed auntie wan!) so we might be doing more sunbathing than swimming.

I’m going to take a moment to stop and say thank you to everyone who has made this amazing year possible for Allyson and I. Thank you Moms, Dads, families, friends, teachers, advisors (Mike and Jose) and all others who have never ceased to support us over the years and have pushed us, kicking and screaming and whining and b****ing, all the way to this point and made this adventure possible for us. We are eternally grateful. Thank you so much.

Now…on to New Zealand to meet mama and papa Sweeney (and hopefully Monty Sweeney! And I guess Paddy and Chrissy, too). LOTR adventures, here we come. Did I mention it’s summer down there? So, yeah, more sun-bathing and sailing and road tripping from the Shire to Mordor.

In February we will finally head back to China to meet the Lee’s and the Grabb’s in Beijing. We will tour the Great Wall (so Allyson can ride down the slide just like Beyonce) and the Forbidden city then down to wonderful Guilin and then eventually we will stumble back to reality in Ma’anshan (if you can call any of part of our lives reality this year).

I CAN’T WAIT!

Love and miss you all!

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