Hospital Visit and Mugshots

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YES. … you read my title correctly.  This week has left little for the imagination. On Thursday after eating a seemingly “normal” Chinese lunch, I became sick at work. It was initially diarrhea but then became vomiting.  I told my boss that I wanted to go home and so we left maybe 20 minutes later. Well, once I got to my apartment I had to walk up 4 flight of stairs. I became lightheaded after the first one ! It’s raining and my staircase is open to the outside, so I am leaning against the wall and then slowly sitting on a step. GUYS….I literally almost passed out on the stairs. I was taking deep breaths…imagining my Mama finding a switch and hopping a plane to China because I’m “acting like I don’t have sense”! I barely made it inside my apartment before a backside explosion.  I was leant over the sink smelling tea tree oil trying to stay alert. I was drenched with sweat,  clammy and light headed. I mustered my strength and made it to the bed where I woke up a few hours later.

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Yep….I passed out. When I woke up, I spoke with my boss who requested I go to the hospital. The final decision was “it’s her stomach”. Uh..yeah, you think??? I was sent home with a prescription and my own mental note to hydrate..hydrate..hydrate.

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Okay, so the next day, my boss takes me to the police station for paperwork.  We had gone to the station weeks ago to register my address and fill out other paperwork. I will also state that my boss’ English is very basic.

At the police station, the boss and owner of my school are speaking with the officer I assume is the police chief. They would have heavy conversation and then would stop and look at me. My spiderman instincts were telling me that something wasn’t right. I literally was eyeing the situation and sipping tea like Kermit…

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After at least 2 hours, the owner takes me back to work and drives off.  He speaks no English so I couldn’t ask him any questions. I did not see my boss for the rest of the evening so sent her a text asking, ” is it okay?”…basic English, right? She calls and explains to me, ” NO problems”.

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The next day at 10 am,  we go back to the station where she tells me a translator will be coming. He will ask me questions regarding why I am in China and etc. I’m looking at her like…hmmmmmm. Okay, lady. The translator gets there and explains to me that this interview must be videotaped so we have to leave to another police station.  He says that my employer did not complete my resident permit in time so they must be “punished”. He stressed that I was NOT being punished. However,  procedures must be completed or I would not be able to remain in China.

*Side eye*

There were about 5 police officers that came with us to the other station. We were met by more officers. They take me to a padded room for the interview. 

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They asked me multiple questions…one being if I understood that I’ve breached “China’s Law”. After the interview, I signed documents and then had to stamp my fingerprint on each signature with red dye. I’m thinking we’re done now.

Not at all.

They take me to another room where I have to write my name on this slate. They ask me to stand holding it for a picture. It is then that I realize I am being “booked”!!!!!!!!!

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Mentally…I’m saying, “Hold UP. I don’t even have a mug shot in America. I went all the way to China to have my first rendezvous with the law??!” Oh…hot isn’t even the word. After my photo op, we did fingerprinting,  blood drug test and urine drug test.  I won’t even bother with those details. Let’s just say, I was scared, done,  and pissed. My boss was like a mouse in that station. 
The translator was really putting in effort to reassure me that I was “not being punished” but my employer would be fined. Excuse me sir, I don’t see her being humiliated…now run along.
The officers were all kind and apparently told the translator to tell me they thought I was beautiful.  Unfortunately,  I had already shut down and could only muster an annoyed, “Okay. Thank you”. I held on to the little bit of dignity I had and refused to shed the tears that wanted to fall. My response to any communication during this process was a simple “Okay.”

My boss tried to have conversations and assure me that there were “NO problems”. I couldn’t even interact with her.

I can’t even deal with own self right now!  Apparently, I came to China and decided to do the most. If it was extra credit,  I’d have an A+.

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And then I still had to tell my Mama…

Fullness

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I received a Skype voice mail from my love, my Stinky, today!!! I could not restrict my tears. My heart must be overflowing. 

I love you and miss you, my FaFa…..every single day. You can’t understand or imagine the beautiful space you hold in my heart. I pray only for beautiful days, peace and comfort when you require it and more smiles than frowns. I pray for you to have joy and if our roads separate forever, I have faith that my God will see it through.

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I love you ♡

The “6 Hour Walk Weekend”

Okay…..(Background): There is a social media application called, Wechat, that I belong to and is mostly used by people in China/Asians (?). A Chinese man (Wu) saw me on there and started a conversation maybe 4 weeks ago. We talk through inaccurate translations and it is purely from a friendly standpoint. Well, he has wanted to meet a “black beauty” and so I finally agreed to meet him in public. Long story short, the translation was horrible, he came to the spot and I didn’t. So, by the time I got there, he had left. * No hard feelings considering the circumstances*

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Alright…from this point on, I shall call the rest of my story “The 6 Hour Walk Weekend”.

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I woke up last weekend and went jogging in this field by my boss’ ping pong center. I then decided to walk the streets of Liyang. It was the usual gawks/pictures and etc. that happens many times while I’m out. (One night I went to a pool hall and the place went quiet! The white male foreign teacher with me jokes how that’s never happened to him before. It can be a bit overwhelming. People even take pictures of me ordering food, eating my food..etc..no hesitation!) I ended up being gone for about 6 hours before I stopped at a little hair salon. I did the motion for a “line up” which luckily she figured out! When she was done, she gave me the price and all was well. I bent over to retrieve the money from my purse and quickly felt a hard slap on my booty!! I gasped in shock and she delivered 2 more quick slaps. I was in complete confusion as I turned around to her smiling and clearly happy with herself. I gave her the money and walked out with a sting on my butt cheeks.

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I went home to get dressed for a “High School Graduation/Off to College” party of one of my students. He is 19 years old and headed to Beijing first and then to France to study abroad. His parents rented out an entire bar so it was a big deal. He invited me and I couldn’t say no. So, I get there along with two Chinese co-teachers and my student meets us outside. He told me that I was “17 minutes past time” because the party started at 7 pm…hahahahha. Well, I literally walk in to applause and cheers as my student announces me to about 25 of his classmates. I was completely taken aback!!! So, I went to tables and did toasts and greeted them. He went up to the stage with a mic and made a few toasts. I was half listening when all of a sudden he was standing in front of me and says into the mic, “Teacher, my classmates and I want you to sing a song.” (karaoke)

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My mouth dropped!!!!

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He was looking at me so freakin expectantly. I couldn’t say no. So, he song first from his chair but when my turn came they wanted me on stage! So, here I am on stage with lights blaring in my eyes, trying to sing a Beyoncé song but realize there are no lyrics so I am doing horrible but people are still cheering and clapping. He then sings an Usher song “DJ got us falling in love”. I was just being goofy from my seat but he handed me the mic again to sing with him. So, we do that and then the rap part comes. I stand up with my mic and act like I’m in a cypher all by myself LMAO. I have the hand motions and all. My student stands across from me (think rap battle like) and he actually starts rapping some! It was so much fun and completely random. They wanted me to do some drinking games to which I said, “NO! I am still your teacher!”

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* Law & Order Music for beginning of next day*

Today is the day that I meet Wu at the plaza here. I clean my house and just relax the day until that time. Well, as I mentioned there was confusion about time & place. He doesn’t speak *any* English.. smh. So, fast forward, I am at the place, he says he has already left. I decide to enjoy a pizza and then to walk the inside of the plaza. (This is probably over 2 hours or so) While I’m on the 1st floor, I notice this older man…maybe in his 50s near me. I just note him and keep it moving. I go to the 2nd floor, looking at stores and realize he is near by again….by this time, I’m thinking…Hmmm? So, I say hello in English and Chinese to him, flash a smile and continue on my way.

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Long story short, he continues to follow me and now I’m on the 4th floor. I stop and sit at a bench thinking maybe he wants to have a conversation. I offer him to sit which he does and I wait…………nothing. He literally just wants to stare at me. So, after maybe 4 minutes I continue on and of course he waits a minute and then follows me to the 5th floor. I find a game store that is somewhat crowded and I go in there. I end up finally getting out his eye sight and I walked out that place so fast!!! I could not mentally bring myself to run at any point of this and I had already motioned to him to move along twice before. I rushed to the escalators because the elevator was taking to long. I am finally out the plaza and looking behind me to make sure I’m not being followed. I go to cross this little street right as a car pulls up and I see a man throw up his hands. I look closely and realize……. it’s Wu !

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He came back to the plaza because I messaged him that I was being followed by some old man. His messages hadn’t reached me after his “Hahaha” message so I had no clue. He is motioning for me to get into his car and I’m shaking my head no and saying NO with my hands. The security guard comes and I’m thinking…oh no. He probably thinks I’m a prostitute lmbo. Wu gets the point that I am not getting in his car, he parks and we get a cold drink. We can’t talk because the language barrier which I told him would happen. He politely asks to take me home and I say No thank you again. We say goodbye and I head home. However, when I get home. I see messages from Wu that he loves me and it is fate that we be together. (??)

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It was the most eventful…random….slightly unnerving weekend.

The Steps from Love to Release

This post is sad. It originates from an area that has sprinkles of light but is found to mostly be dark.
My history with deep love begins beautifully and as if it was imaginary, suddenly he was walking down the aisle with another. That was the first time this ridiculous thought entered into my mind. The thought was that my purpose was to love deeply and nurture a person in preparation for their next and final stop.

I would imagine the ludicrousness of the idea and then shake it off which translates to “suppressed it”. As love interests have came and gone, I have rarely allowed that idea to resurface. However, recently it is an idea that has camped out openly in the largest space of my heart. This time it has absolutely nothing to do with a man.

It has everything to do with my Stinky.

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In contrast, to my recent posts regarding her… our interactions had started to dwindle heavily even while I was in the States. I had been understanding and careful not to read deeply into the reasons we could not meet/delayed responses and such. It was made transparent very early that I would feel grateful for a school picture each year. That was my sole request. I was met with warm words such as “we’re a family”, hugs and tears that this would not be the case. I hesitated in my heart. I struggled to take their word as true because I did not want to “mourn” her a second time. Eventually, I let down my guard over the next 2 months. However, as mentioned, interactions slowly changed leading to my current moment. I barely saw my Stinky before I left to China (the evening before). It was explained to me that she had multiple activities such as swim and pre-daycare to attend.

* Tears Pause *

When we said our “see you laters” that day, I felt in my heart that that would be my last time seeing her. I have messaged her family twice but without any response. My heart nor my mind can comprehend it. I truly believe that God shields me because I would simply break.

I understand the role of being a foster parent. I also understand taking the time to establish your family. In my personal situation, I don’t agree with the “HOW”. I much rather had mourned her once and healed once rather than feel broken twice. On top of all the emotions, I have that idea camping out that makes me confront its validity. Is my purpose to love and nurture in preparation for the final stop? Am I to simply love and release?

Is this why God shields my heart so heavily? He won’t allow me to break when it’s all I want to do when I think of her. I miss her so and the thought of distance being the smallest factor against us is…….

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China Chronicles of a Sick Girl

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Nia Hao!  I am sorry for neglecting this blog. This month has been rough on my body. I had a horrible case of something GI and experienced the usual pleasantries over a few days.  I then was sick with a cold and losing my voice. I am now in Shanghai (on my 2 off days) for training with a migraine, diarrhea and nausea. I’ve lost at least 10 pounds and inches this month. My body is revolting this change and I am starting to stock on Gatorade.  I had Papa Johns pizza and STILL got diarrhea!  My appetite is consistently low.

I say all this to explain why I’ve been gone and to further share my adventures as a new expat. On that note,  I am currently lying in a motel room that has no windows!  It’s the little things that we’ve grown accustomed to and don’t note or appreciate that we end up missing. 

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My goal is to share how teaching has gone and my nightlife experience in the next post. 

♡ Please send a prayer up for me ♡

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When the Sun peaks

** Pictures are shared throughout…Enjoy!**
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On my way to school

Okay….today is Tuesday, July 15. It has officially been 2 weeks since I stepped foot in China! My first few days here were rough (no doubt) but my communication issues made it overwhelming. After a rough day, you at least want the choice to either deal with it alone or call someone. Those days without my family lifeline seemed unbearable but I made it. I changed the name of my blog because of the emotional and mental bridges I crossed and rebuilt after being a mom to my Stinky (who will be adopted in a few months!!). Those first days here required me to grip on to my courage and remain on my path.

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So…. I. WAS. PISSED. after I locked myself out my cellphone. It was similar to the moment after you say, “It can’t get any worse than this.” I was in a sleepy state trying to adjust my phone settings and hit an incorrect number thus changing my password and forever locking myself out. Your girl had APPs on APPs for this trip because I knew about the censoring and heeded to the advice of others. What do you do when your Google powered phone is reset and you don’t have the means to connect to Google OR wifi OR wifi to go to Google because you’re VPN app is gone. Yeah….it was a hot mess. Tears were shed…a very lonely moment.

*Moving On*

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I eventually had internet although it was about a week or so before my VPN would connect and I could log on to my desired sites. I have a fairly steady connection now and speak to my family daily. They are using Skype and WeChat so I am a happy woman. I speak to my mother daily <3

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Great food!

On yesterday, I braved the streets of China and headed to WalMart. I was proud that I survived crossing the streets. In comparison to American driving laws, I can say that people stop at red lights/go at green lights but everything in between is frighteningly different. I couldn’t put my seatbelt on fast enough! In America, we can do our cute walk across the street/you have to yield walk…..UMMMM not up in my city!! It is knees to chest! You can’t even run because the traffic. I have been in the middle of the walking lane, timing my run a few times now. If it’s not a car, it’s a moped/tiny China work truck about to run you over.

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On my way to WalMart

Speaking of being ran over, I have witnessed a few drivers and passengers with their eyes set on me and not the road. I’m basically the Beyoncé of China….*flips hair*. These are some of the reactions to my brown foreign skin: double takes…parents stopping and pointing me out to their children/telling their children to speak to me/asking to take my picture/boldly taking my picture/gasping/running and getting others to see me and etc. I literally had a woman freak out on me! The nurse in me is trying to assess her with my eyes until I realize she’s freaking out over ME??! She was ecstatic to speak with me. I took a trip with my school to the Tianmu Lake and was in love with the beauty of it all. It turns out that the other visitors felt they were getting a VIP package with seeing a brown skinned person there. A group of men came near my school group and one stopped very close next to me. I realized he was posing for a picture so I moved out the way (to be kind). I heard the universal “Shoot!” sound and put 2 and 2 together. Dude was just going to stand next to me and pose for a picture with the foreigner LMBO. Oh! I can say it’s my brown skin because there was also a white male teacher with us and he seemed to blend in I suppose. There are 4 other foreign teachers here for a total of 6 men and 1 woman (me). I have yet to meet the other 4.

Okay…I will write more soon. Enjoy the pictures!!

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Disappearing Acts- Night 2 in China

** This is the final post done by hand prior to having internet access. I was able to make a connection a few days later. However, there are many sites that are censored and my internet continues to be spotty at times. I am happy to report that I am in MUCH better spirits than the one below. <3 ***

It's July 4, 4:44 am. As dramatic as it sounds, I feel like I've "dropped off the face of the earth". The reality of being unreachable itself is foreign to me. There is WiFi at the apartment but none of my electronic devices have been able to connect to it. I accidentally locked myself out my phone which resulted in it having to be reset and items lost. I lost all my new music and the apps that were to be pre-installed before arriving to China. Google is sensored here which is death to my now reset Android phone. Everything on my phone is connected to my Gmail. 
I was able to Skype my sister for 5 minutes in the Samsung store via my tablet. I was a stream of tears. It had been over 16 hours since contact with one of my parents and over 24 hours for my siblings.

The apartment is nice but the prior teacher left meat in the fridge.  As a result, I was welcomed to gnats. The owner of the school cleaned the fridge for me which softened the situation somewhat. (I didn't know who he was until hours later.)

I have my first day at school today. The new schedule is from 8-5. The other two teachers (male) have invited me out and initially I was on board. However,  after realizing my Internet situation, I can't fathom doing anything outside of trying to fix it. I want to be able to reach my family and vice versa. If I was with a group, I could deal with some "grey areas". As a (solo female) first time traveler…I'm not comfortable with adding "inaccessible" to the list. I've asked myself is this a deal breaker if the situation can't be rectified…and I'm not sure. I can't imagine being in my family's position, I would not be able to sleep from worrying about my sister.
Smh.
This is yet another post written by hand to be posted once I am online.

Night One in China

*** This post was written in my journal on 7/3/14 prior to having internet access.***

It’s currently around 0430 in Liyang, China. I am wide awake but not from excitement. In my mind, my journey to China would be communicated to my family. However, I was unable to access Wi-Fi throughout my 24+ hour trip (and counting). I am fine and safe but it has killed me not being able to share this with the family I left in tears.

The company set me up in a hotel for the first night (no Wi-Fi). I have applications on my phone that would allow me to contact them in at least 4 different ways….WITH WI-FI. So, while I should be sleeping, my heart and mind are worrying about my family.

Okay…rewind.

I was expecting maybe 2 family members to see me off. It actually became 7 people + 2 little ones. My brothers had to be at school so we said our “see you laters” and I saw them out. They returned about 20-30 minutes later and for the first time, I saw my little brother cry. My heart broke into a 1000 pieces hearing him sob. There were multiple moments of mini breakdowns. My eyes seemed to shed steady tears. At the airport, they watched me at the window, we waved our “see you laters” and I walked towards my adventure.

The flight to San Francisco was uneventful and short. The second flight was to Beijing and roughly 12 hours. I did well for the first 10 hours and then became lightheaded, sweaty and nauseous. I was positive that I was about to pass out! Thank the Lord, I pressed through with more Dramamine, wet cloths and lots of fanning. My final flight from Beijing to Shanghai had EVERY potential to go astray. I was L.O.S.T. The first person I asked for assistance spoke English and guided me through the first 2 parts of making my connecting flight.

I had to visit an area to check my passport (?), immigration, security…and then find my gate. I arrived to my gate and quickly assessed that it was ground level. I’m looking like…”where is the plane???!!” It turns out that everyone’s ticket is scanned and then “directed” to a shuttle. I’ve never been in an area so packed in my life! All the while, I’m getting stared at my wondering children LOL.

The shuttle drives us to the flight grounds and I’m not talking about around the corner either. There is no last minute hopping on the flight. The flight was uneventful. There was an older man (50s) sitting next to me who somewhat adopted me for the flight. He was either very nice or I looked in distress LOL. He woke me up for snacks and drinks. Literally, anything that could be easier with a second set of hands, he was on it. God’s little blessings, right :)

Upon arriving to Shanghai, with direction, I retrieved my luggage. There was no sight of anyone with my name on a sign. I eventually headed outside and there was new co-worker with my name sign. We travelled by car about 3 hours to the city. On the trip, I experienced my first Chinese toilet and there was NO toilet paper in sight. It was a very awkward moment…squatting and aiming into a toilet…especially when the urine surrounding it is unavoidable. **** pause for gagging****

We went to grab a bite and my stomach about retreated. I looked at the meat and I couldn’t justify taking that adventure at 3am. I settled for rice and a edamame/greens mixture. The looks I got throughout our time there was priceless…a mixture of confusion and interest. They were happy to pack up my leftovers…with a spoon. It was clear from JUMP that my chopstick game is on level 1.

Well, I’m in a hotel. I’ve showered and am lying in the bed watching the light grow from the curtains. I should be sleep. The plan is to complete paperwork at the police station and go to my apartment today.

Attempt to Sleep #2

I’m here!

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I made it to China! I’m experiencing some technical difficulties. I will share a more thorough post soon.

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The view from outside the class.

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….Walmart! ! I believe these were fruit?

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The owner of the school took us to dinner.  I am allergic to shellfish so “picky” doesn’t even touch my behavior.  Let’s say, I may lose a large amount of weight lol.

Hair Identity

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The picture above is of my sisters and I. (Well, two of the five). I’ve discussed the adoptions in my family and have even touched on how we’ve been received in public. (I will try to find which post and link it.)
My family loves to travel so we have been from LA to Philly to the Virgin Islands and even down to Mississippi.  We are accustomed to glances and after all these years, we hardly note them.
My sister pictured above came to us when she was 3 months old. I recall our flight to St. Thomas, she was giving this old man THE EYE.  She looked at me and said, “Puddin, he’s not coming with us!” He was trying to have small talk with her and she was not having any parts of it! She eventually became comfortable with white people once she started daycare. 

I give you this back story to set up for the real topic of my post.

My little sister loves black hair products.

I mean…..give her access to a comb and some hair moisturizer and she’s in heaven. I can understand a spritz of Hawaiian Silky occasionally but this chick attempts to style her hair with it. I’ve explained to her that our hair is different and that she doesn’t require grease/oil/moisturizers. I usually get a gentle “Puddin,  I know my hair” look from her.

So, we just…let her express herself! We mimic what we see and she’s had the heaviest dose of them all. I figure as she gets older (she’s 10 now!), she will gradually end her affair with black hair products.  Who knows…maybe she’ll be an amazing hair stylist ♡