New class, new teacher

This morning as I got ready for school the old feelings of nervousness surrounded me, but I was filled with excitement knowing it was going to be so different this time around.
No worries about taking a taxi, making conversation, learning the first sounds and words.
The class was WONDERFUL having Mark and Matt there as my fellow classmates. Stella the teacher is sweet and conducts a fun learning experience. There is just lots more conversing going on.

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Mark and I have lots of homework, but should be fun practicing making sentences.

Chinese Air Conditioning

I am so happy now that I have power, which means the AC is working.
We were able to put $150.00 on our card which should last around a month. Grace suggested we just put that same amount on our card each month, to alleviate any problems.
I thought I would show you how my AC works.
Each room has this small control box on the ceiling.

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All the rooms except the kitchen and the room where the maid would live.

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To activate the AC, you point this hand held control at the unit to determine temperature and fan speed.

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You may have noticed that all the text is in Chinese. One day Mark came home and wondered why it wasn’t blowing cold air. I guess I mistakingly pushed the wrong button to turn off the AC, so just the fan was running!
Each room then has a vent in the ceiling where the cool air enters.

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Needless to say, it is important to keep track of the controller, as the units are turned on and off many times during the day depending on where we are.

I am excited to say that I will start my Chinese class tomorrow. The best news is that Mark and a co-worker from his office will be making up the rest of the class. We will start at the beginning so a great review for me, and no stress to start. :)

Bad night, Good day!

Bad Night!
I have been in Beijing for the last week, so I am over my jet lag, and just settling into a routine. So, when Mark mentioned he would have to leave for a night, I was feeling good about the idea.
He left at 8:30 and at 8:50pm. the apartment went black, as the power kicked off. Luckily I remembered where I had stored a flashlight. A quick call to Grace, to hear her say that we must have used up all of our power. In China, you prepay for your power which is stored on a credit type card, with the idea you always have some money in the fund so you never have an interruption of power. Here at our apartment we usually get a warning when we are down to our last $60.00. Not this time. Grace said she would call a worker who doesn’t speak English to come up and help me, so I made a quick call to Tom who was driving Mark to the airport to do some interpreting for me. We took the elevator down to the main floor to buy some power.
The machine did not like my credit card.

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Another call to Tom, to find out the worker’s credit card was also having some problems. At this point I am starting to wonder if I am going to be going to bed with no lights and no AC.
The worker motions for me to have a seat while he calls another worker.

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A few minutes later he arrived, and after many tries, and another call to Tom, I was handed a receipt showing a deposit of $7.50 was made to my account. Enough power to last me a couple days.
The worker and I went back up to my apartment, and after a few minutes, voila, lights, TV, and AC restored. Needless to say it took me a little while to relax and go to sleep.

Good Day!

This morning I attended the International Newcomer’s Club monthly meeting, a short 20 minute walk from my apartment. It was a wonderful feeling to be in a room surrounded by women who can speak English. Actually on my walk there I met Maxine from England who was quite friendly. At the table I met Claudia from Munich Germany who has only been here in Beijing for a month. We exchanged phone numbers and made plans to hang out on Wednesday. She lives outside of Beijing, but has a driver, so we will meet near my apartment and I will show her some of the local sights. Wow, I’ve made a friend, and have something to write on my calendar. It even gets better!
I purchased some raffle tickets, and was thrilled when my number was called first. I won a $60.00 gift card to a nearby Indian Restaurant.

After the meeting some of us went to a Vietnamese Restaurant for lunch. Good food, more ladies to visit with, and a good end to a wonderful outing.

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Trish and Tom celebrate 1 year of marriage

Last year on August 28th Patricia and Tom were married in a beautiful ceremony in Salt Lake City.

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They started their married life full of dreams and hopes of a wonderful life together.

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After one year, look at those happy smiles.

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I hope they have a wonderful celebration this weekend, and the good times keep coming.

Rainy day in Beijing

This morning the rain came down, and another day without the Utah blue sky.

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Mark and I still walked to the pool for our morning swim. People were still riding their bikes.

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This girl had plastic bags on her feet.

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The water came down really hard so it got quite deep at some intersections. Everything was floating in the water.

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This man was trying to help the water drain.

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The last couple days of rain have helped the flower gardens around our apartment.

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The flowers are beautiful.

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My great-niece Moira!

We all had a great time holding the new baby in our family. I don’t think anyone enjoyed it more than my mom! Great-grandma Halk

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Laura also had a fun time holding her new cousin.

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Dad and mom, Jeremy and Wendy are just so happy to add some pink to their home.

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Welcome Moira my new Canadian niece. We all love you!

My faithful butter tart

I arrived back in China a couple days ago after spending more than 3 months at home. I must say it felt good walking back into my Beijing apartment. Xiaman and Mark did a wonderful job keeping it clean while I was gone.

Simon dropped by for a visit with a beautiful bouquet of lilies to brighten my day.

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Mark was gone  last week to Mongolia so the fridge was empty when we arrived. I was thankful to eat my butter tart that was in 3 different countries over the last week.

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I purchased a 6 pack in Canada, so brought some back to Utah, and with one left, it made the trip to China.

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It was delicious.

Now it is time to practice up on my Chinese, before going back to school.

It all feels good, except I was reminded of the sloooooooooooow computer when I was working on this blog. It took approximately 8 minutes to download each picture for my blog. Time in between to water my plants, fill a couple water bottles, read a magazine.  Hope it gets better!

Heidi, Jeff and Monopoly

Heidi and Jeff like the game Monopoly, so the theme for the reception was the game.

A cute seating chart.

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The wedding cake, along with the famous cake topper on the side.

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Heidi and Jeff cutting the cake.

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Matt, Cousin Catherine and Laura

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Catherine, Laura and Joan

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Heidi and Jeff get married

Heidi and Jeff were married at an outdoor ceremony, surrounded by family and friends, on the bank of a picturesque river.

My nephew Patrick as the ring bearer and the flower girls.

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Gerry was proud to walk Heidi down the aisle.

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Heidi and Jeff as a new married couple.

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My sister Mary, husband Gerry, Heidi and Jeff

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It was great to be with my siblings again.

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We were thankful for the clouds to keep the heat down to a minimum.

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Heidi and her grandparents.

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The reception was held next door at a beautiful reception center. Here are the three cousins who were married this summer. Laura, Heidi, Amanda

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Being with my family for another joyous occasion was  fun for all of us.

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What to wear, what to pack?

You would think after all the traveling I have done, that picking out clothes and packing them would be easy. It isn’t.  I get out a bunch of clothes and then thru the process of elimination decide what I will pack. This is where I am now.

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I have until tomorrow, as that is when I will head up to Laura’s to spend the night for our very early flight to Canada. I mean early, as the plane leaves at 5:45am. Luckily Matt and Laura are going with me so we can make sure we are all awake on time.

We are going to attend my niece Heidi’s wedding.  Heidi and Jeff

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I am also excited as I will get to meet my new great niece Moira Kate, who was born to my niece Wendy on August 2nd.  Here is Nana Mary, and big brother Patrick and Braeden .

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I think I am going to have lots of fun, as I can just relax and enjoy the whole weekend.