Category Archives: General


I decided it was time to get some exercise and learn how to play badminton  which is very popular here in China.  When Xueer and I were out shopping last week we picked up a cheap set to get us started. Many of  Mark’s co-workers play at a gym in the evening so I was informed if I am going to play in the gym I will need to get some proper badminton shoes and a good racket.  I would like Mark and I to play so that shouldn’t be a problem buying the proper equipment. Anyway yesterday afternoon Xueer and I went out on the roof just outside my apartment. Mark wondered how we could play without a net. It wasn’t too hard just to hit it back and forth. I had forgotten about the recreation area on the roof. We played for 30 minutes then tried the simple work out equipment and then played another 30 minutes. That was enough for me in the heat and humidity. badminton-001

The next few pictures of the roof recreation center cimg1613

were taken last year when I was here.



Shopping with Xueer

Today was spent shopping with Xueer. As I had mentioned Xueer has only been driving for 2 months and does quite well for driving in China which is crazy. Yesterday I learned that for a  first year driver there is a big yellow sticker placed  on the front and back of your car( i guess to warn the other drivers )so that is why the other drivers have been so patient with her. A few close calls but she goes slow so it really doesn’t make me nervous.

Xueer was determined to find some clothes for me since Mark had mentioned that I have a hard time finding clothes to fit because of my size.  So we started to look and most of the clothes at this little mall were expensive and it isn’t like I really need more clothes :). Xueer mentioned that she thought I needed a dress so she picked out a black and white dress with flowers on the bottom which they happened to have in an XL. I actually didn’t bring any dresses to China so I thought why not. It was on sale (still not cheap at $80.00) but I figured we would be on a clothes shopping  mission all day and now that my husband is supporting me why not. Xueer picked out lots of cute clothes of short shorts and leggings and I had to remind her that I am tooooo old to be wearing those clothes. Xueer is close to 30 so reminded me of shopping with my daughters.


Next stop to buy some flowers which is not  like popping into Costco for a nice bouquet. After 90 minutes and a stop at 2 stores we had some flowers. The first store did not have a big selection so one of the younger workers who spoke  a little English hopped in our back seat to drive down the street to their bigger store.  First had to pick out a vase which took awhile to compare all the prices, then pick out some flowers as they are all priced individually, dicker about all the prices, and watch her arrange the bouquet. Xueer decided to buy just a vase so I treated her to some flowers. I told her that  flowers make you happy. She thought it was all very expensive, but my whole arrangement was $10.00(after some negotiating) including vase so a real deal.



Worker who rode with us down the street. 15  years old and happy to speak English. Like her t-shirt.

buying-flowers-005 Joan and Xueer. Notice my shiny face from just sitting. I am adjusting to the heat and humidity.

Matt is my hero / Kitchen in apartment

I was all excited about telling you about my kitchen and I started having problems with my site and then it was down. :( So much  sadness  and a quick call to Matt to come to the rescue. So a very big thank you to Matt :-) Looks like he was up until 3:00 getting the problem solved. I guess I was on a shared server and maybe some questions so China blocked it. So now a little more money and a different server and I am good to go. I had to go thru withdrawal this morning but now all is well. Mark is happy to as he knows how important this site is to me. Anyway I had this post in a draft form so will send it.  Since I am just  staying around the apartment this week, Ikitchen-001 thought I would share some pics of my living accommodations. Last night Xueer fixed a nice big salad for us and then Mark helped her cook the chicken(not our apartment). So you can see the kitchen is very small. Most Chinese kitchens do not have an oven, just a wok. So you never sit in the kitchen to eat.


special order fridge to hold all of Mark’s water



combination washer/dryer


Will write soon about my shopping day with Xueer

Apartment in China

Last summer when I was in China I helped Mark furnish the apartment where I will now live. When we finished all the decorating it was time for me to head home. Sending a few pictures so you can all see where I will live.  The name of the city is Changzhi (pronounced Chonger). The apartment is still under construction inside so I think I will hear lots of noises during the day and night. apartment-building1

I will live on the sixth floor of the circular building on the left. Mark said a few restaurants have opened in the 4th floor building up front.

Master Bedroom

master-bedroom-curtains Kitchen

kitchenDining Roomdecorated-apartment-0071

Living roomdecorated-apartment-004

Friends I will miss

Today I thought I would add a few pictures at once to see if I can do it.

These are the wonderful ladies that I have worked with over  the last few years. Connie and I have worked together for the last 8 years.  Connie and Karen recently gave me the beautiful picture that Connie’s son Dan painted. The phrase says it all, Co-Workers By Chance   Friends By Choice.  I am still trying to find the perfect place to display my masterpiece.  I  will miss all of my friends dearly, but I know they will all keep in touch while I am gone :)the-fun-tk-group1



First note from little joanie

I hope  I can remember all the little tips that Matt gave me for my new blog.  I was excited to hear that Mark was able to see my blog last night.  I think this should work for me when I get to China.  Looking  forward to Mark getting home this Thursday for a two week visit before we both go back together to China.

I have been spending every weekend with my kids which has been absolutely wonderful.  Learning new games so I am sending a picture of us playing bacci ball. I loved the game. I won a few times so maybe that is why.


Here I go again


China has been blocking blogspot sites, so to get around that my son helped me setup this new blog on my own domain.

Another new learning experience for me, but from here on out visit for all my updates.