Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fun with Pics

Wow. I laughed so hard when I saw this picture. Sooo funny. And the face Corey is making is so perfect for this picture. Love it. This is what technology can do for you. It can make a 19 year old straight male pregnant. Awesome.

This is Jordan. On steroids, tanning lotion, and a self-confidence high. Way to go Jordan, now make it happen.

This is Scott with his less than perfect wife. I say less than perfect because she is way too beautiful for Scott. And Scott never looked that good in a suit. J/K broski.

This is yours truly. Notice the bulging muscles (still not life size, they're too small) and the professional manner in which I hold the two uzis. Also notice the look on my face that says "I'm gonna kill you, and it's gonna hurt." If that doesn't work, the sexy mullet will get the job done. Kill 'em dead...Chuck Norris me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Federer vs. Murray-Shanghai Masters Cup

While in Shanghai we were lucky enough to have an opportunity to watch Roger Federer and Andy Murray compete in the Masters Tournament. The tickets were originally gonna be pretty cheap but when the locals found out that Federer was gonna play that night they bought all the tickets so the only way you could go was to buy a scalped ticket. We payed more than we thought, a lot more than we thought actually, but it was well worth it. The details about the match are on the website found below-it was awesome. Murray won, but it was hard earned. Federer was hurt but still put up a good fight.


I don't follow tennis and have never played it before, but I'm way interested in it after this.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chinese Medicine(中医)-Fire Cupping

Yesterday I went with a few people in my study abroad group to a Chinese Medicine and Massage Parlor deal. Marc got a foot massage (which are awesome by the way) and Julianna Trent and I got the fire cupping treatment. Here's some facts about it from Wikipedia

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum next to the patient's skin. The therapy is used to relieve what is called "stagnation" in TCM terms, and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Cupping is also used to treat back, neck, shoulder, and other musculoskeletal pain. Its advocates claim it has other applications as well.

A vacuum is created by air heated by fire in a glass cup placed flush against the patient's skin. As the air cools in the cup, a vacuum forms that pulls up on the skin, stimulating the acupressure effect.

The cups are roughly bell shaped with a capacity of about 4 fluid ounces. 8 to 12 cups are applied to the subject's back in two parallel 'vertical' columns, midway between the spine and each edge of the body; cups within each column are placed four inches apart measured from the center of the cup.

There are several ways of heating the air in the cup with fire:

  1. One can swab rubbing alcohol (minimum 90%) into the bottom of a cup, then light it and place the cup immediately against the skin. The seal thus created extinguishes the fire by cutting off its oxygen supply, preventing the person from being burned. The smaller the amount of alcohol, and the quicker the flame is extinguished by application of the cup, the better, so long as there is no risk of the cups falling off due to lack of a proper seal. Some experienced cuppers prefer the use of kerosene over alcohol, claiming it provides better ignition and thus greater suction.
  2. One can hold the cup inverted over a flame (e.g. a lit candle), heating the air within it, then place the cup against the skin. Care must be taken not to heat the glass itself. Even so, the person to whom the cup is applied will feel distinctly more heat than in the previous method.
  3. One can ignite a flame with a small alcohol-soaked cotton wad resting on a small pad of leather or other insulating material that rests directly on the patient's skin, then place the cup immediately over the flame, putting out the fire. The quickness with which the flame is extinguished depends on the size and shape of the cup.
  4. One can place the cup on the skin and gently heat the bottom of the cup with a flame heating the air inside, whilst leaving a small gap to allow air to escape. When the air is heated sufficiently, the gap is closed and the air is allowed to cool.

Methods 1 and 2 heat the glass to some extent and have a risk of burning the patient if not carefully executed. Method 3 risks the cotton falling off the insulating pad onto the patient's skin, and leaves the pad and cotton wadding inside the adhering cup which could be considered cumbersome.

The longer a cup is left on, the more of a circular mark is created. The skin pores are more open, and the patient may experience a sensation similar to sunburn. An application of about 20 minutes is average, for the back; however this varies with the individual.

The method they used at the place was the first method. It didn't hurt too bad, the thing that hurt the most was that i was using a pillow and my neck was killing me. But I couldn't move without popping one of them off so I had to lay there. The wierd thing about the whole deal was how much skin was pulled up into the jars. Two of the spots on my back were real dark, which they say is bad or unhealthy or whatever. The lady said it shouldn't last more than a few days but we'll see how that works. Overall it was pretty cool...but I'm not sure how much I believe its supposed to help and all that.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


So I forgot some stuff in the 10 day "educational" trip blog. So here's what I forgot. When we were in Xian we went to the branch there and we met a lady in the branch who's from South Africa. Her name is Amanda de Lange. She's here doing work kinda like an orphanage but not. Ha. Anyway, she takes children that have been abandoned (which happens quite often in China) and takes care of them until they are adopted. Most of the children she takes in are born with medical problems or physical defects. (I'll explain why children are abandoned at the end of this blog). She invited our group to come over to her place and see and play with the children and how her operation runs. I didn't really take any pictures when I was there, but my friends did, so I'll try to get some and post them. It was a pretty awesome experience and the whole group decided that we should try to help, so we're gonna make some donations. This lady is a hard worker, they have I think around 15 children all under the age of three. She has people volunteer and others I think she pays to help her take care of the kids. They all stay at this lady's house (which is an apartment in a pretty nice community, pretty roomy). The kids suffered from many different birth defects, some easier to fix than others. Some of them are Cleff Lip (spelling?), heart defects, and skin conditions. Amanda works with only western trained doctors (many American doctors that come over specifically to help her cause) and the money she spends is all from donations. Its a pretty awesome little operation she runs, and they've already had quite a few children get adopted. She said most of them go to the States.

The other thing I missed happened while I was on the great wall. We got to the very top and climbed the tower and then I jumped on top of the little tower building on top of the tower. We were super hot from climbing so far and steep and it started raining, it felt awesome, it wasn't a hard rain, more like a mist. Pretty awesome. Anyway, thats not the point. The point is I met some German kids up there who's english was awesome. I found out he lives pretty close to where we lived in Heidelberg and he was over here on a couple week exchange program. His name is Moritz. We talked for a pretty long time up there. He's a way cool kid, we met some of the other kids in their group too. Then for the next couple days we ran into them in some of the most random places. It was pretty cool.

Ok, now for why there are so many abandoned babies in China. There are two main reasons, the first having to do with Ancient Chinese culture. The Chinese have always been biased towards boys when it comes to bearing children. If a wife did not bear a male in ancient china she was looked down upon, especially if she is the emporer's wife/concubine. This is due to the fact that sons are able to keep the family name going and bring honor to this name. Daughters cost the family money because when they get married they have something similiar to a dowry (a payment to the other family) and after the daughter is married, she is apart of her husbands family and will rarely see her own family after that. Sons then, can take care of parents when they're old whereas daughters must take care of their husbands parents. (I might add that in ancient culture all weddings were arranged)
The second reason is due to the Communist Party's policies concerning childbirth. The law, although somewhat more lax now, states that one family is only able to have one child. If they have a daughter there is a good chance they will be abandoned. I don't know the facts but if they are born (many are aborted even though its technically illegal) there is a good chance of either abandonment or that they will end up dead. If a child is born with a defect the parents in many cases do not have the money to fix it or would rather abandon the child and hope the next one doesn't have a problem. Many of the parents that do it are good people, they just are so broken that child has a problem they think they will have a better chance with either an orphanage or a group like Amanda's. Its a sad reality here. People like Amanda come here and give up everything to help these children. Its hard work, but she's says its worth it. She has my respect. She gives these kids a future, she gives them hope for a normal life, a life with a family that will love them regardless of any birth defects they might have. Its a noble calling.
I don't know if any of you have any interest in helping but if you do let me know. They not only have need of donations, but some American things like blankets and other things that are a little better quality. So if you have interest let me know and I can get you her e-mail or contact information. It was a pretty humbling experience. I realized I need to do more (even just a little) to at least help my community in some way, if not children on the other side of the world.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

KTV in China

KTV...its pretty fun. You pay for a room for a certain amount of time and then you sing with your friends...theres usually a lot of dancing too. I'm glad its not the type where its a huge room...theres no way anyone would get me to sing in a place like that, unless they got a few drinks in me haha. The Chinese love it...especially after a few drinks. I have some better pics of it somewhere and I'll put em on when I find em. We tried it and found it to be pretty dang awesome. We even sang some Chinese songs. The first pic is of our group when we went. After a while one of the guys in our group ran into some ppl next door and next thing we knew it was a dance party in there. Ha, they're pretty funny when they're drunk. They loved having the foreigners come in there. That is the second pic, us with them.

This time we went with our Chinese friends. Gucci is the bigger kid singing in these pics. They got pretty into it, so did we. Good KTV songs are Its My Life by Bon Jovi-that sort of fast paced more upbeat songs. Sometimes the selection is good, sometimes it sucks, it all depends on where you go. The best part is, its really not too expensive for a few hours or even a whole night! People actually do it all night-I haven't...but I'm pretty sure my voice would be pretty gone.

Kevin (below with me and Marc) is a good friend of ours. We met him playing basketball and eventually met his girlfriend Mandy (she's sitting by him in the above left) and they're other friends. They've shown us a lot of fun things to do. KTV is by far one of the Chinese/Japanese (I hear it came from Japan originally) things to do.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Educational" 10 Day Trip

Haha...so yea, the trip is supposed to be educational (which it is, you can learn a lot about China almost anywhere you go). Pretty much it was another big break right in the middle of the semester full of playing. Right up my alley...I'm good at the whole playing thing. Right, so the trip was planned and pre-paid for by the program (the good chunk of money I paid besides tuition). It was nice though to have traveling and hotel arrangments all taken care of for you. The trip was to three different places 1) Luoyang (洛阳), 2) Xian (西安) and 3) Beijing (北京). We left on Thursday right after our last midterm (which I thought went pretty well but we'll see soon enough). We trained it up to Luoyang on an overnighter (the hard sleepers again, they're real popular here). The first day was spent in Luoyang, we got there in the morning, threw our stuff under the bus and then took off for the day. First we went to Baimasi (白马寺) or Whitehorse Temple which is the first Buddhist temple after Buddhism was introduced to China in the first couple hundred of years after Christs' Death. The day we were there was a huge holiday so there were people paying respects all over the place. They do this in a few ways but to sum it up they burn incense and sacrifice food to Buddha.
The second place we went to was the Shaolin Temple (少林寺), which was absolutely awesome. I could have gone home after seeing that and been happy. This specific temple is the temple where the art of Kungfu was mastered. They also have a huge pagoda forest which is basically a graveyard for all of the more reknowned monks. We saw a performance while we were there which was short but pretty awesome. Then 8 of us got a pretty cool pic with the performers that I can't put on here because I have no scanner, but you have to take my word for it. Oh yea, and the meal we had there was freakin amazing-probably the most Americanish Chinese food I've had in Taiwan/China. Ha, it sounds funny that that would be the best meal, but you'd understand-Chinese food can get bland real fast. American anything is nice everyonce in a while. Just wait til I get to the Beijing part of the trip...
So by the time evening rolled around we were pretty beat having been up since early and not sleeping well on the train the night before. But we weren't done, we went to see the Longmen Grottoes (龙门石窟) after the Shaolin Temple. It was pretty cool, but only for like 10 mins, ha. I mean how long can you expect a million different buddhas (that all look the same) that are carved into caves in the rock to entertain me? Seriously...

The next morning we got on the train again and went to Xian. If you know nothing about these places I'm talking about may I suggest a quick trip to Wikipedia?? Its very informative and fairly accurate. I wish they'd pay me for advertising for them.
Anyway, Xian was a very interesting place. It was a bigger city in China, but it seemed like it was not quite as modern as other places, like there was some catching up to do. That night we watched a cultural presentation taken from the Tang dynasty that at the time was reserved for only Emperors and their concubines...hehe. It was interesting, the dancing was kinda wierd but there was a part that was awesome. The Chinese have these things that are like yoyos but not, Scott knows what I'm talking about. Anyway, they were basically amazing. The next day was Sunday so we went to the Xian Branch which was small but kinda cool to see that there was a branch even in Xian, China. I also randomly ran into a guy there that I had met in the Singles Branch in Montana. Later that day we went to the old wall that goes all the way around the city. We also went to see the Hot Springs that the emperor used in the Tang Dynasty. There's a cute little story that goes with it too but honestly, I'm just too lazy to look it all up. If you want you can check it out-look up Huanqing Chi (华清池). Monday we went to the Terracotta Soldiers. Pretty awesome sight...thousands of clay men, horses and chariots that were thousands of years old.
That same night we got on another train and traveled to Beijing. We got there about 6:30 in the morning, checked in, showered, got breakfast and then went to Temple of Heavan, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. They were all pretty awesome. Especially when you know a little bit of the history behind them, then they are all the more impressive. Again, some more things you could learn on wikipedia. That first night we also went to the Pearl Market and to make a long story short, it was similiar to the Silk Market and one other one we went to. These are the stores where you bargain everything down. And because you're a foreigner you have to figure they're gonna try to get all the money you can so you try to get it down to a quarter of their starting price. Pretty ridiculous. I'm not good at it but I can do it. They have some pretty awesome fake stuff. On Wednesday (the day Scott came home for me, it was Tuesday for you) we went to the Great Wall, a part of it called Badaling, if I could go to the great wall again I would got to a different part. It was cool, but all touristed out, if that makes any sense. There are other cooler parts that are more original. On Thursday we went and checked two of the Olympic Venues-the Water Cube and the Bird's Nest. Then we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Pretty sick. Friday and Saturday were free days consisting of shopping, eating at good American restaurants and playing around Beijing. Saturday night we got on a train and came back and were at church by 12 on Sunday. Pretty awesome trip with a lot goin on in 10 days. I'll post pics later.

Yangshuo Trip

Bamboo rafts...in the caves...and some scenery.

The first pic is the bamboo rafts...the second is Greg on the scooter, and the next couple are just cool.

So I'm real bad at keeping up this blog thing. It takes a while to load pics...and there are so many I want to put on here. Guess I'll have to be more picky. Anyway, there are two trips I made that I haven't even started so I'll start with the one 3 weeks ago. The Chinese have a holiday that lasts 7 days...so we definitely took advantage of that. We got train tickets to Guilin and planned to go to Yangshuo from there. 16 from our study abroad group planned to go there. 6 of us split of though to make getting reservations easier. Our group consisted of Marc, Dave, Julianna, Ryan, Greg and me. Guilin is a city in south-western China and its a huge tourist place. And not just for foreigners-its beautiful. Yangshuo is a smaller city about 20-30 mins outside of Guilin and seemed to me to be even more touristy. There was so much to do. I'll start with a quick rundown.

Saturday- we finished up with class and got on the train. Our seats were what you call hard sleepers. 6 beds to each little compartment. Not super comfortable, but a lot nicer than a plane when you're traveling for that long.
Sunday- 24 hours later we arrived in Guilin and got in a little van (usually a seven seater, but we fit a total of 9 adults and a baby in there).
Monday- we rented electric scooters and followed a tour guide around to some different sites. First we went to the mud caves. You walk around, ooh and aah at the cave formations and then you jump in the mud and play. Pretty fun actually. Then we went to the bamboo rafts. It was super relaxing and couldn't have been better weather for it. The river was amazing too. The water is so much warmer than in Montana its ridiculous. After lunch we took the long way home and went through some little towns and saw the beautiful countryside. Later that night Dave, Marc, Julianna and I went to the show put on by Zhang Yimo. He's an amazing director, he uses colors and imagery like a pro...
Heres some pics from the bridge and the ride over. The little kid on the bike is a champ.
Tuesday- Marc, Dave, Julianna and I rented bikes and rode out to Yulong Bridge (遇龙桥). The ride out there was awesome. We went through a bunch of little towns or villages or whatever and were riding through the fields to get there. We followed a little chinese lady who showed us the way because she had nothing better to do. Once we got there the bridge was cool and all (it was built in the 1400s) but the coolest thing was when we started jumping off. The chinese thought we were crazy but they loved it, they flocked to it and started taking pics, applauding and egging us on. It was way fun. We think the bridge is about 30-35 ft. The chinese dude in the pic is the guy that we convinced to jump after all three of us did it. It took him like 5 mins though because he was so nervous.

Wednesday- Dave, Marc and I went rock climbing in the morning. The guys who took us were way chill and about our age. It was way fun and by the end of it we were all dead tired. So we went back to the hostel and took a nap. Later that night we met up with everyone else (all 13 of em) and had a birthday dinner for Ben-the British dude in the group.
Thursday- we rented motorcycles and went riding. We rode back out to the bridge and jumped some more, then we rode out to a more remote area (I say remote but you have to remember that this is overpopulated China) and swam and chilled by the river. It was a nice relaxing day. That night we got on a bus and stayed the night in Guilin. The next day we messed around the city for a bit and then got on the train back to Shanghai and from Shanghai we came back to Nanjing. It was a pretty amazing trip.

This dude uses the birds that are in front of his boat to fish. We watched him do it one night. They catch a fish but can't swallow them because they're necks have been tied. When the guy sees that they've caught one, he grabs the end of the rope around they're neck with his pole and puts the bird on the boat, then he grabs the bird and goes to a little basket on the end of his boat and sqeezes the fish out of its throat. Pretty tight.