Friday, December 31, 2004

You're like a miniature Buddha, covered in hair.

So, I'm going to go ahead and prove my looserness by going to bed before the ball drops, because I don't care. You can just pretend to kiss me at midnight, maybe I will dream of you.

Sarah Jo

My mouth tastes like mineral water.

I had an incredibly vivid dream last night. I could feel the elevators moving, feel my stomach do that little flip when I can see myself leaving the ground (these elevators were the see-through kind) Our travel group from china was there, and I remember trying to change a baby, and failing. Strange dream, but so clear. Ashley had new bedsheets, they had the alphabet on them. And there were new curtains on the windows that apparently I had sewn because they were crooked and one was too short, but everyone pretended not to notice. And there were things all over my bed like clothes, books, random objects, but instead of cleaning it off, I just slept around all the objects. I remember dragging my comforter off of my bed. I could even feel the feathers adjusting themselves as I pulled it around my shoulders, dragged it behind me down the hallway. And everything, everything I dreamed, comes from a real memory, recent too. My brain has put the last few weeks in a dicer, and spread the results across my dream.

I do not think I have had a dream so close to reality before.
I want my fantasy land.

Sarah Jo

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Orions belt on my left knee.

So I walk into my bedroom tonight and my first thought is: mmm, my room still smells like my candle (that I got at target. It's black and it says "sandalwood" is the scent, but it smells like guy perfume and that's yummy) and then to my horror I realize that I left my candle burning the whole time I was at work! I could have burned the house down. Yeah, I feel stupid.

My fingers and toes are cold. That reminds me of my senior picture where you can see my toes and they are all curled up because the lady made me stick my toes out and I didn't want to because I don't like feet. But, that turned out to be my favorite picture because it is so real, my fake smile and curled-up toes. Memories, ah.

I read this again today and it made me smile. As I read it, I thought of who I wrote each line for. It made me happy (I almost wrote hoppy) to think about all the people I love and why I love them. I should say that more, and hug more too because hugs are awesome.

I cleaned my room and now I feel all . . . well, the way I feel when my room is clean. Theres not a word. I feel content and more comfortable when all the clutter is gone, and the feeling you get after you finish a big project you were procrastinating on, and the feeling you get when you come home after being gone for a long time.

I feel like my brain has turned to sludge. Am I thinking slower or something? I need to do something challenging to get all those circuts firing again. I feel like a car that hasn't been turned on for a long time.

Today I watched the movie, Code 46. There is a man in the movie and he says, "Tell me anything about yourself, anything at all." and from that he can know anything about you, and he would know what everyone was thinking. I sure wish someone could know what I was thinking. Well, maybe not. It would be nice and horrible at the same time, I think.

I sure like pink.

And my fingers are still cold.

Right now I am trying to decide which pajamas to wear tonight. I really like my pajamas, all of them. I think I'll wear the moons and stars. Not that this matters to you at all.

Today, I wore the pearls I got in China. It made me feel pretty.

I'm so very happy, right now. I wish you could be here with me and I could hug you and then you could feel my happiness too. I always think that if I could transfer my emotions to you, a hug would be the best way.

I thought I lost my robot city books, and then I found them. Surprise!

The quality of this entry decreases with each new line.

I love you.

Sarah Jo

"Running from you is what my best defense is"

Last night I realized that I have not written poetry in a long time. That makes me sad. No, see, its so different than sad. I could write a poem about how not writing poetry makes me feel but I can't write a poem at the present time.

And I don't want to say the same things over and over, but I am feeling the same things over and over. And even if I wrote you a poem about how much I love you, can I not express to you everyday that I love you?

I'm feeling so frustrated and fragmented. This is where I communicate better. When I am there standing in front of you, the words do not come and I feel so frightened and awkward. And sometimes I am so comfortable with you, but other times the air is thick and I wonder what you are thinking and I want to tell you what I am thinking, but I am just so scared. If I tell you what I am thinking, it makes me so vulnerable, and I'm terrified that you will hurt me. That even as you say you love me you will hurt me. Its so much easier to write my poetry and hide it away, hide myself away and be safe. But it is so much lonelier that way too.

And the other day, I hated what you said. I wanted to rail against you and fight with you and tell you how wrong you were and how much that statement hurt me and how long I would remember those words. But no, I sat there in silence, adding more space between us and building up my defenses. I love you SO much, and I won't even tell you when you upset me.

Even now, I do not tell you.
How will I ever know anyone?

Sarah Jo

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

That story about Rachel Evil calling sound-off.

Random: I was at the Frisches in Springboro (I go there like, once every four or five weeks) and I see my best friend from seventh and eighth grade in the parking lot. She lives in Indiana, where she is going to college, so consequently; she is only in Ohio because it is Christmas. What are the chances? I do not know. I only know that I didn't even recognize her. I was walking through the parking lot with Ashley, telling her some story that involved me talking with a country accent when I noticed some woman staring at me. I just started talking quieter, assuming she was staring because of the way I was talking. It did not phase me much anyway, being used to people staring at me in China. Then the woman says, "Is your name Sarah?" I look at her suspiciously and reply, "Yes." I look from her to the woman she was with, back to her. Lightbulb! Happiness and other things and wow.

I would like to thank vegetable soup for this wonderful encounter.

Sarah Jo

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

"I've thrown away so many things that could have been much more" -Relient K

My luggage came! See, I knew it would. And I'm done being excited about that now.

Spent some quality time with the Bro today. It was nice. We went to Walmart and then Kmart and then home and then back to Walmart. Fun Stuff. And on the way home from Walmart the second time, we were listening to Relient K. This pleased me very much because James asked to listen to it. I have successfully converted BOTH of my brothers to the gospel of RK. Anyway, we were just driving there in the dark, singing out loud, comfortable enough with each other to do so, and I realized that, at some point, I had stopped loving him, and at that point, I loved him again. I don't know if it was time, or events that made me stop loving him, but I did. Of course, it never happened all at once or dramatic enough for me to notice it. I did not love my brother yesterday or even this morning. I wanted him to go away and never ever come back. But now, I want him to move out, but I do not want him to go away and never come back. I want him to grow up and get a job and stop drinking and doing drugs and partying, but I want these things for him because I want him to be happy and safe.

Well, now I've got to burn a gazillion cds with my china pictures for everyone because thats cheaper than developing them. Let me know if you want one, I've got fifty cds and no other use for them.

Sarah Jo

"Pickles should be friends, not lovers."

I got a new duvet cover on eBay! Go look at it! AND. . . with my Christmas dinero, I got the Harry Potter books and Movies, my daddy got me the LOTR books, um. . . others include: the Giver (book), Much ado about nothing (movie), The Fifth Element (cus I'm a crazy wierdo who has to watch it like, once a month. (Oh yeah, thank you SO much Ashley darling)), and one very fluffy, very warm and comfy, down comforter. Oh my gosh, like I need more incentive to stay in bed. And I just remembered I got two new outfits from the Bug, but thats too girly and typical for me to go into (but they are awesome cute) Ahem.

*Is Happy*

And I got to just hug Emilie for ever and ever the last few days, and I missed her mucho.

No luggage yet, but I assume it still exists and that I will have it eventually, and thats enough for me.

I dreamt about a black hole.

Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be getting dressed.
Excuse me.

Sarah Jo

Monday, December 27, 2004

See, I was there. Posted by Hello

Seven Chinese babies, five santa hats, one red couch, and ten cameras. Priceless. Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Kaitlynn, the big ham. She's a show off for the camera. Posted by Hello

Thats one of those toilets that sprays water at your. . .  Posted by Hello

Um, Buddha with little Buddha's crawling on him? Posted by Hello

It says, "Don't come in please" Posted by Hello

See Ashley, there ARE fat people in China. This statue, for instance. Posted by Hello

Bikes, lots and lots of bikes. Posted by Hello

Chinese Bamboo Grafitti Posted by Hello

Does anybody care?

This is too much work. If anybody cares I'll finish, but man I wrote a lot. I think I would rather just get together with you and talk to you about it. Okay?

So, I went to bed at 7 o'clock last night and I woke up at 5 this morning. Nice. But that means I have to spend hours alone with no one to talk to, so I'll type.

Let me tell you the story of my last couple of days. So, there we are in Tokyo (Narita Airport?) trying to figure out where it is we are suppose to go or what it is we are to do next. Eventually, we ended up in the check-in line for Japan airlines (very nice, by the way) and we were told that we could not sit together on the eleven hour flight home. Joanie told them that she paid for three seats and she wanted them all together. So, after lots of typing on the computer and a phone call, the lady told us that she had three seats together, but they were bulkhead (very front row of a section.) This made me happy because that means no one can lay their seat back onto my lap. This made Joanie unhappy because in bulkhead the armrests don't go up (and that's a bit uncomfortable for us ummm. . . fluffier folk) Well anyway, when we boarded the plane we discovered that we had been upgraded to business class. Oh man, how nice is that? The seats layed ALL the way down. They had foot rests and everything. They were like recliners. That was a very nice eleven hours.

But, when we arrived at Chicago, we discovered that all flights to Dayton had been canceled for the day and that the waiting list for flights after that would leave us in Chicago until after Christmas. I cried. I just wanted to go home. So we had to go stand in a customer service line forever and we found out that all flights to Cincinnati and Columbus were booked until after Christmas also. There was no way we were going home that day. Ug. Finally, we decided to fly into Indianapolis the next day and have our family drive out to get us.

I have never been more happy to see Ashleys face. And I have hugged everybody excessively. Well, not everyone obviously, I haven't seen so many of you. Oh but hugs are the best. Its like, maybe if I squeeze you hard enough you'll know how much I need you.

When we arrived home, they had a Christmas eve/ kaitlynn b-day/ welcome home party. I wasn't feeling very friendly at the time, so Ashley and I hid in the bedroom most of the time. Eventually, I started crying because I just wanted to go home and sleep and not socialize. I have never been so tired.

cue normal Christmas here.

And here we are at today again.
Lessons learned in China:
Getting up early and eating breakfast are both good things for me.
Diet Coke is just as good as Chinese Coke, so why not just drink diet?
Not eating after seven o'clock is a good thing.
If I can walk through the streets of Changsha, I can handle my neighborhood, I need to walk more.
Naps are a bad thing.
I live in a consumer society, and I am addicted to buying things.
Yogurt is good.
pineapple juice is awesome.
Music makes me happy, and two weeks without my choice of it made me sad.
Something can be completely different from what I know and have experienced, and not be wrong.
I should enjoy the simple things, like ice (and my super-fast internet connection)
American money looks funny.
One yuan is equal to 11.8 cents.
Being stared at by masses is flattering and disconcerting.
I STILL want to adopt a baby from china.
China and Japan are way ahead of the U.S. in conservation and recycling efforts.

Im sure there are more, but now I want to post pictures.

Sarah Jo

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Oreos, 12 yuan. Posted by Hello

Coke and Sprite, Respectively. Posted by Hello

Day Two (Friday, Dec. 10th)

(Here in my Journal I wrote a lot of detail about the exchanging money, the panda phone, and breakfast, and who cares, really?)

At ten, we went to the Temple of Heaven. I stood on the center stone and shouted "something." It was beautiful. The center stone is a place that makes your voice resonate. I especially enjoyed watching the groups of Chinese people singing, dancing, playing cards, knitting, and playing ball.

As we left the Temple of Heaven, Chinese men and women swarmed around us trying to sell their wares. "Rolex! Five American Dollars!" "Beijing Book? Beijing Book?" "Kites! Hello! Kites!" One little old Chinese lady came up to me, touched my arm, smiled hugely, and said "Fat!" She looked for all the world like a child, amazed at a circus animal, saying her first word. And then she and others laughed. Our little group was followed to the bus by the insistent vendors.

We ate lunch at a Thai restaurant. The table had a big, spinning, disk in the center where they placed large plates of food. You would just spin the disk around to get something from each disk. We had rabbit (gross), chicken (not terrible but not good either), beef (tasty, but probably not beef), and duck (very good). I even tried the tea.

Before we left, we all flocked to the restroom. To our horror and amazement, they had squatty potty's with just one western style toilet. I waited for the toilet.

After this, we headed to Tiananmen Square. The Chinese there openly stared at us as we walked by. We also encountered more vendors and beautiful kites soaring overhead.

At the entrance to the forbidden city, our coordinator went somewhere and we stood waiting for her as people began to gather around us, just staring. Brenda food a picture of the people staring at us, and they just stared more. They kept point to my hair. Some crippled men came over begging for money. It was heartbreaking. They got so close and would not leave. It was just amazing to be stared at like that. Inside the forbidden city, some teenagers began posing in front of me and taking pictures. When we left the forbidden city, one man stood next to me while a woman took our picture. It was strange and a bit scary.

As we walked to the bus, we encountered a woman and two children begging. It was all I could do not to cry.

When we arrived back at the hotel (4:30) we immediately fell asleep ( as we found out later, so did the rest of the group), the jet lag still clinging to us.

Oh yes, on our many bus rides, I saw McDonald's, KFC, Fridays, Subway, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut.

(I know I have only typed out day two, but it is five a.m (stupid jet lag) and my fingers hurt from typing so much. I'll add some more tomorrow. Love you.)

Sarah Jo

Chinese Lady Singing at Temple of Heaven. Posted by Hello

Thai Resturaunt. Posted by Hello

Squatty Potty Posted by Hello

(VERY LONG) Day One (Wednesday, Dec.8 and Thursday, Dec. 10th)

Our first day started at 2:45 a.m. After getting dressed and dragging the luggage our to the Durango, we headed towards Jeanie's house. About halfway there, (running late at this time) we were pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. The police officer was very suspicious of us, but he let us go with a warning. We then picked up Jeanie, Lauren, and Elisabeth, and Jeanie drove us to the airport. We checked in, got our boarding passes, and said our goodbyes to the girls.

At security, we had to remove our shoes and coats and jackets. We both walked through the metal detector and into the wrong line. We went to the line for people who made the metal detector beep, so they had to wand us. My shirt had rhinestones on the front and kept making the metal detector go off when the wand was near my chest. Because of this, the lady had to pat me down. Later, I told Joanie that I always thought the first person to touch my chest that way would be a boy. Okay, stop laughing at me.

I began to get nervous as we were waiting at the gate. I had never flown before. When it was time, I walked onto a VERY small jet. The seats were two on each side of the aisle, and if you sat by the window, you had to tilt your head because the wall curved up toward the ceiling. The flight was not scary at all and very short.

We arrived in Chicago at 6:30 a.m. Chicago time (the same time we left) (7:30 a.m. our time) and our next flight was not until 5 hours later. The next plane we boarded was extremely large. There were two aisles down the plane with three seats on each edge and four in the middle. The flight was going to be 13 hours long. This flight (Japan Airlines) was much better than our united flight earlier. There were t.v. screens in the back of every seat with movies, games, a map of our flight, and out side camera views. I watched elf. I discovered I really like the Japanese juice, Yuzu.

The flight was SO long. About five hours into it, my legs were burning with the need to move. I felt like I was in a cage. I NEEDED to stand up. I HAD to walk around. But, eventually the flight was over, and the flight was just a memory.

We arrived in Tokyo on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. our time, I think) with only an hour layover. By this time, we had met everyone in our travel group, and we all stood together at the gate.

Our four hour flight to Beijing is still a little vague because I was drifting in and out of consciousness the entire flight. I was SO tired. (By this time, it had been more than 24hrs. Since I woke up in Ohio.)

At the Beijing airport we had to go through customs. I was very amused to stand in the "foriengers" line. After customs, we met our coordinator, Genie, and took a bus to the hotel. We arrived at Hotel Kun Lun at 11 pm China Time (10 am our time.) The room was very nice, but I did not get to appreciate that very much as I fell into an exhausted sleep.

Friday, December 24, 2004

I'm Home

Im tired, and Ill tell you all about it later. Can I see you soon?

Sarah Jo

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I dreamt I was a figure skater.

It feels so strange to be in the minority. People gawk at us in the streets and beggars flock to us. I guess that because we are americans, we are rich or something. Shopkeepers leave their shops to try to coax us inside. People take our pictures. This is all so strange to me.

Right now I am enjoying a good cup of hot chocolate. I miss milk though. I cannot drink the milk here, its not pasturized. Oh, and ice. Never thought I would miss ice.

I do try to take everything in. I go on every outing offered us. Why would I come all the way to china to sit in the hotel?

Today I bought a jade necklace for 380 yuan. I thought it was worth it. Our cooridinator, Genie, says jade is supposed to protect you from harm. I shall wear it until I get home.

I have been sitting here in the cafe for far too long. Time to shop some more! I find I do not get so homesick if I keep myself busy, and that I shall do.

Still missing you.
Sarah Jo

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Hello! Kites!

Im getting homesick. I miss everyone so much. I am having a very good time here, but its just not home. I want a hug like a physical ache, and from someone who'll squeeze me tight, like Dad or Betty. Right now, Im at the white swan hotel in Guangzhou. There are many little shops around here that I can buy stuff in. THe locals all speak english very well, and there are more americans with chinese babies than there are chinese people in the hotel. Well, I havent much time, but I just want to say I miss you all and I love you and I cant wait to see you again!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Ni Hao

I woke up this morning with a fever blister. As if I did not look wierd enough to the gawking chinese people, with my red hair, blue eyes, and freckles, now I have a swollen, protruding upper lip. I stared at it in the mirror this morning, it looks like the inside of a behive underneath the first layer of skin. All right, I know you dont care about the anatomy of my fever blister.

Did you know that chinese diet coke is called Coke Light? Or that you have the stick your room card in a slot in the wall for electricity in your hotel room? Or that Chinese Chips Ahoy are different? Or that nearly everyone here speaks english? Or that they smoke EVERYWHERE, like even in the elevator? Or that you can fit nearly twice as many people in an elevator if they are chinese? Or that it is not at all uncommon to see a westerner with a chinsese baby? Im sure there are more things, but I cannot think of any just now.

Im telling you these unimportant things because Im adding a Journal when I get home. Well, Im off.

Sarah Jo

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I hope this works.

Wow, everything in my browser is in Chinese. Okay so, when I typed out my journal to add here, the browser closed and I lost everything I had typed. So I am going to add things here that Im not putting in the journal, and then I'll add the journal when I get home to a familiar computer.

Today (Sunday) we flew from Beijing to Changsha. It was so beautiful flying over china. The mountains looked like they were covered in wrinkled suede. Oh, when we got on the plain, Joanie and I could not buckle our seat belts. When we asked for seat belt extenders, they moved us to the back of the plain. It was very embarrasing for all of those around us to know that we could not buckle our seatbelts, but the benefit was having an entire row to myself for the flight.

We walked about three blocks to the grocery store today. The traffic here is terrible. The people just walk and ride their bikes out in the road, weaving in and out of the swerving cars. Until this trip, I never knew you could fit so many bodies or so much stuff on a bicycle. So many of them, and so many cars. To avoid crossing the road on major intersections, there are stairs that go down into a tunnel that runs under the street and then stairs up again. It is like an underground cross walk. Very nifty. But, in the one we went in today, there was a begger boy that grabbed Joanies shirt and would not let go of her. There are beggers everywhere in Changsha. It just breaks my heart, and it scares me too.

The other day we ate in a Thai restuarant. The table had one of those disks in the center that spun the food around to everyone. They put all kinds of things one it and we tried a little of each thing. I really liked the duck, of all things.

Im having so many new experiences here, but they are good. THe culture shock did not set in until Changsha. Beijing is just so modern, much like an American city. I am most impressed by the conservation effort here. They conserve, save, recycle, everything. It is amazing and I think we have a lot to learn from them.

Well, if I say much more, there will be no need for the journal. When I add that, I will have a day by day list of events.

Until then, know that I am safe and happy and having a great time. I would love to hear from you if you want to drop me an email or a comment.

Goodbye and Goodnight. (Or goodmorning for you!)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Describing the color of my snot to a man with letters at the end of his name.

And now Im one some uber strong antibiotics because apparently I have a sinus infection. Eww. AND, if I have a fever when we reach China I will not be permitted to deplane.

In other news, what other news? All I think or talk about is China. My gosh. I have one more exam, and one more night in my bed, but not in that order. Ill sure miss my bed. And you of course, but I sleep with my bed every night. . .

You think theyll have internet cafes where I can write to you in China? I sure hope so. Two weeks without blogging? That sounds like a sin.

Im excited and nervous and stressed and over-studied and tired and sick and behind schedule. This is a pretty sucky goodbye.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I Heart Walmart

House-sitting means lots of things. First, I do not use the computer all night. Consequently, I do more constructive things, like homework. Second, no cigarette smoke, no brothers, no noise. Ashley and I are house-sitting together, so I get to spend lots 'o time with her, and that makes me happy. Also, the T.V. stays off like all the time. I sure hate television. Its like playing grown-up for a few days. Nice. Bad things: I smell like animals. I am starting to like the animals, scary. I miss my mommy. You really begin to appreciate a person after not seeing them.

I got my hair cut today. I mostly like getting hair cuts because someone plays with my hair for a good fifteen minutes. Beautiful. And I got stuff to pack for China, but I don't think I'll go into a list of them. Anyway, James helped me pick things out and that was fun. We went to Kmart first, and they didn't have what I wanted, but Walmart did and now I heart Walmart.

Soon, I need to pack up my things that I will take with me on the trip and then I need to leave for Lindas house, because Ashley gets off work at seven and I don't want her to have to sit there by her lonesome self. So. . . goodnight. Love ya lots.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Past, Present, Pish-Posh

Sickness, and the guilt and stress of procrastination weighs on me. And I have a headache. But, I am happy.

Went to see Surviving Christmas with Ashley and James. Then went to Barnes and Noble for the book Prodigy, but they did not have it, so I got two-book set of books from Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages. Ashley and I purchased it together. We shall share. I got Fantastic Beasts first. Pretty cool because it has little notes in the margins that are supposed to be from Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Thats awesome. Well, I did not need it, but I found myself in a bookstore with money and I could not walk out empty-handed. The problem was, you see, that all of the books I wanted were on my Christmas list so I could not buy them today, lest I should get another copy on Christmas day, you know? So this is how I have books from Hogwarts but not a single Harry Potter book. Funny Stuff.

I'm typing really well tonight and this makes me proud of myself and I just want to type more but I do not have anything of any import to say. I could tell you how I feel, but thats just temporary and, in this blog, over-documented. I don't want to repeat myself but I don't want to just list my days activities either. I want to be real and honest, but if I am to be real, than I cannot be interesting all the time. People are boring sometimes, and so am I.

James and Ashley and I just sat in the living room talking about memories and good times today. It was really nice, remembering. It is also nice, anticipating. I do not think I spend enough time just enjoying the moment. Like at work the other day when I was standing on the side of the road in an elf suit, laughing, that was beautiful and fun. One day I will mourn for today, so I should make the best of it now.

Alas, I have soo much homework to do that the thought of it makes me feel sick. I cannot believe I waited this long. A good evening to you all.

Sarah Jo