Thursday, February 18, 2010

new news

  • -back from china.
  • -settled into bellingham.
  • -still feel like blogging, but have chosen to go with a new blog, just to keep things compartmentalized. this one is a tumblr. it's clean. simpler (i can make the FORMATTING work). and a whole lot different.
  • - if you need/want to get in touch with me- truly.amy.gibson(at) gmail(dot)com

Saturday, May 23, 2009

this is my story of the week.

last wednesday, i went to this beautiful park. honestly, it was so quiet and well manicured that it felt like maybe i wasn't in xining for the afternoon. so lovely. i spent maybe two hours sitting on a pier in the (eighty degree) sun reading a book and eating bread. after this, feeling incredibly relaxed and sunned, i went to this market called ximen to meet up with sara and some visiting couchsurfers. i had been wearing trousers all day, and was really quite warm, so i decided to go look for a skirt to buy and change into, just to cool off. i left sara and the surfers checking out tibetan trinkets and went to another aisle that sells clothing to rummage through the racks. while i was in one store, my friend called me, so i talked to him for a while, then put my phone in the pocket of my trousers and moved on to the next shop. while there, i was distracted, looking around at the clothes, still kind of sun-struck from being out in the heat all day, and i felt something slip out of my pocket. i looked down, and my cellphone wasn't there anymore! at first, i thought that maybe i had put the phone into my purse and was just being crazy, but really, i KNEW that it had been in my pocket. so i started looking around, mumbling "my phone, where is it?" in chinese, and hoping someone would come to my rescue. while i was looking around, i saw this man near the door taking a quick look at something in his hand, and i saw in a flash that it was the same color as my phone! so i went over to him (it was a matter of a step or two) and said "you have my phone, give it to me", at which he stepped out of the shop, put his hand into his pocket, pulled out his cellphone (this ugly pink thing that was probably also stolen) and said "no, i don't have your phone, i have this phone". then, i noticed that there was a man directly behind him, and it just seemed like they were standing too close for it to be coincidence... and i realized that he must have handed off my phone! i was SO SO SO MAD! so i grabbed both of the men by the arms and said something in chinese that was supposed to be "you stole my phone! give it back!" but maybe was too saturated with angry and frustrated swearing for it to be understood. but they KNEW what i was saying, and they both were shaking their heads saying "no, we didn't steal your phone" "no no no" sort of stuff, and by this point i was just livid. they must have been really freaked out, because i just started hitting them (not hard, just like, frustrated) and shaking their arms and pushing them and repeating "you stole my phone" over and over like a crazy person. i looked at the shop keeper was said "they stole my phone!" but she didn't really do anything, so i just started saying really really loud "they stole my phone! they stole my phone!", and we were in the middle of this crowded market, and i'm a white girl holding onto these two tall dudes shouting at them and they were like "fine, here!" (and they were TOTALLY PISSED at me!) and gave me my phone back! yay! . then they both kind of disappeared, to me swearing at them (in english, but they still totally knew what i meant), wishing i knew how to contact the police and them swearing at me (because they should be able to steal my phone?) and i just booked and went and found sara- i was totally shaking and freaked out adrenaline wise- those kind of situations are really weird, you know, because the whole time you're thinking about how you should have done something differently (like i wish i had been able to be more badass, and like have hit them hard or put them up against a wall or something) but in reality, you probably did just what was right in the situation. because i got my phone back and i don't have to deal with the hassle of getting a new one or anything... but really- i wish i could have been more intimidating. i was probably plenty intimidating to them though, because i guess a lot of people won't even do anything if their stuff gets stolen. i don't know if i usually would, either, especially if i was a smaller chinese girl. the girls at work have been telling me that i was really "brave", because even if they had seen someone do that, they would have just let it go- because they would be afraid of getting hurt. and someone else told me that probably the shopkeeper didn't step in because she might have been afraid of them coming back to hurt her store if they got in trouble. so i guess me standing up to them and grabbing them was probably totally frightening to the guys (especially because i'm a foreigner, who people say are "easy targets")... so i'm happy. and really pumped up and aggressive lately. it's weird to feel like this. but i'm also being really careful of my things from now on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

but amy teacher, we have PANDAS!

we were discussing dolphins the other day in class, and i told my students about how once in australia, a woman loved a dolphin so much that they were married. and i was talking about how i miss the ocean (being a teacher means you have a captive audience/counselor, right?) and whales (because they said that whales and dolphins are similar) and that living so far from the sea is difficult for me, when five of them immediately raised their hands and shouted "but amy teacher! we have pandas!" like they would save my soul and my ocean desires. so i decided to check out the pandas- in chengdu! <> apologies for the haphazard photos- i am working through proxy now, and it only works in html, which i have NO POWER over. they are from PANDA BASE, one of the leading panda research facilities in the world. china loves their pandas. and so do i.
 Hello PANDA PARK (otherwise known as pandabase)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

spring oh nine, oh so fine!

 guess who's happy that spring is making her presence known... ME!
i think i've always believed that you can encourage the weather by what clothes you wear- this is my week of experimenting. also my new favorite thing is taking a shower and then having a motorcycle taxi drive me across town so that my hair dries out (that way i can go to my friend's house and get a hairdry!) because it is not so chilly that i will get sick. 
i am back from a wonderful trip (more on that is soon to come),  and back to teaching weekends only. i love love love my job.  i am teaching older kids now, which is encouraging and fun, and also i have so much more time now to do things i like : reading, writing, cooking, eating, sleeping, making things, playing with friends, making fun events. i am loving my life right now. especially because the sun is out and warming up our frozen streets (and hearts?). 
my friend sara and her host family just moved WAAAAAY out of town to this lovely house where there's no internet and lots of windows, and i am thinking that i will be spending some of my weeks out there so that i can try to write and read more. it will be like mini sabbaticals- i'm excited. 
i've been writing more, and i have a few really good 'zine ideas (i think)  that i am getting started on these next few weeks- also we made a community 'zine last month, and i'm pretty excited about it. 
my next post will be about the trip i took with casey and jessie- and it will hopefully contain some photos to satisfy your eyes. i hope you all are getting some sunshine and cleaning off the bbq's. happy happy spring coming time! i love you. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

blogger is a terrible thing sometimes and won't let me do nice formatting. like line breaks.

i've spent the past week or so in hunan province, china. it is lovely and beautiful and green and just foggy enough to be romantic without being a hindrance. casey, jessie and i checked out zhangjiajie and the wulingyuan scenic/historic area (which is a world heritage site) yesterday and the day before. it was gorgeous. absolutely. from the video that we watched on the bus ride into the scenic area (which was preceded by a music video- the only words i heard were "zhangjiajie", "beautiful","pretty", "mountain" and "green) we were informed that pretty much the entirety of creation conspired together from the beginning of time to create this scenic area. it has more plant species than the whole of europe. it has mountains, caves (with stalactites/stalagmites), rivers, spires, waterfalls, huge lakes... everything. it is green and supple. it is HUGE. and... it has MONKEYS! we had two separate monkey encounters. i have gained a healthy respect (and a bit of fear) for monkeys. probably all together we saw about 100 or so of the animals- babies, momma, kiddos, papas. and the big guys, the king monkeys. they were in heat, so there were red butts to be seen all over, and once we even ran away because the monkeys were really aggressively trying to free (or get at) a group of unfortunates that had been caged in the 'monkey garden'. they were really cool though, and the babies were undeniably cute. i would have tried to hold one if i weren't fully convinced that one of the adults would have torn my face off. because i want to post photos later, i will hold off on regaling you with monkey stories. and other travel stories. but i will leave you with this: currently, we are in the town of fenghuang, which means something like 'phoenix'. it is a beautiful riverside city that has a ton of old school charm and windy alleys. this morning, we hopped on a boat ride along the river- our gondolier (for lack of a better word) was this beautiful seventy year old man- total grandpa material, who has lived here his whole life. he knows the river so well, avoided the rocks to perfection- and was totally laid back. at one point he said "do you mind if i sing?" and then burst into song. he said it was a song from this area of hunan, and told me that he likes his job because it is comfortable and makes his body feel good. i love him. i loved the boat ride, and i have now decided that my career path should carry me to a fun job like this when i am seventy. tomorrow i think we head to guangxi province, fingers crossed for wonderful, warm weather! be well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


finally, our winter intensive (5 days a week teaching) is over. we finished up last friday, and i attended the parent meetings- it was kind of fun. it's neat to see your students sitting with their parents, especially to see how much the kids look like their parents. i was really happy, because at the beginning of teaching this set of students (back in september) i was a little nervous that i would see the kids around town and not recognize them... but NOW not only do i recognize them, but i ALSO know them well enough to see how much they resemble their parents... try pretty much as soon as i finished teaching (and having an ultra life changing KTV night saying goodbye to some delightful friends who are leaving the country), i hopped on a train south... or so i thought. i caught my train with ten minutes to spare (which is pretty much a miracle for me) and made my way to my compartment. lucky for me, i somehow ended up on the train that runs from lhasa to guangzhou- which means it is a VERY nice train. i shared the compartment with a nice woman who gave me bread, a muslim woman who was very actively breastfeeding her one month old child (which i thought was a boy, but later thought was a girl... it was all very confusing), the muslim woman's younger brother, and about five men who are all coworker s that sell something like... piping? i didn't really understand everything, and we spent a lot of time making fun of my chinese- which was awesome. at one point i got the words for 'watermelon' and 'accustomed to' confused- they are 'xi gua' and 'xi guan', respectively. it seems easy to me, but they pretty much split their sides laughing at me. i'm getting really used to being a source of entertainment for people, especially because of my bumbling chinese. but i'm getting by, and the men saw me off the train to my bus, and it was very lovely and kind. and now i am in changsha. it is a different type of chinese city- it seems much more chinese than xining. there are skinned dogs hanging in the alley, next to baskets of snakes and bird cages and piles upon piles of bloody turtle shells. and it's smoggy and i bought a new umbrella to combat the rain. and it is much bigger here- they have at least 4 KFC's (that is how many i have seen so far). i will set out and do more exploring here- i'm working on buying a new camera, because mine ( i think) got stolen and it is always sad to not have photos of these things. i hope all is well. i promise that when i get back from my trip i will do a big post about chinese new year and things of that sort. hope all is well. i miss you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009