You Never Know Where Life Will Take You

Welcome! This is a blog about a girl, who got a job, and moved halfway across the world to teach English. Read and enjoy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Merry Christmas (圣诞快乐), Happy New Year (新年快乐), and a Surprise!

Hey everyone! These last few weeks have been crazy! What a way to usher in the New Year. I can only think that my life will continue to challenge me with new experiences and adventures.

Christmas was spent working. I made a deal with my boss that if I worked Christmas, I could get  few days off of my choosing elsewhere. I didn't really mind working Christmas anyway, because I really wanted to be busy and not thinking about being a half a world away from my family and friends during the holiday season. I kind of kicked off Christmas with a Christmas Eve Skype date with my family where my dad read about the birth of Jesus - a tradition we do every year. We also open one gift (always pjs), which had been sent to me a few weeks back as part of my birthday gifts. The next day I got to school bright and early and put little or no effort into my 5 classes. We mostly played games and talked about Christmas. I really didn't teach anything. Oh well, the kids loved it and that's what matters.

That night, I gave a presentation to a packed room of 40+ students and their parents about Christmas - the history, traditions of the world, US traditions, and taught some Christmas vocabulary. I also showed them a video of synchronized Christmas house lights and music (YouTube: 'Frisco Christmas Lights - Wizards in Winter'). No one expected that many kids to show up. Tina actually had to run out and get more candy and presents. All in all, it went really well. Afterwards we headed over to do KTV, which is basically karaoke Chinese style. I sang a few songs, but seriously I have no idea where they got their English song list. It was incredibly random. I finished up the night with another Skype with my family and we all opened presents together. I got socks and little make-up things. It was wonderful.

New Year's Eve was also a blast! I got together with a few friends from work and we got a little something to eat before heading out on the town. We started the night at Coco (1) and I stood out like a sore thumb (blonde hair). Plus our group was dancing, dancing, dancing, something that is not unheard of in clubs (like in Athens, Greece where people stand around and shout to each other while really loud synth music blares in the background) but not always typical. It was really fun to see some random Chinese people loosen up and dance with us! I made some friends too! I ended up chatting with a few of the girls that came and danced with us. And right after the clock struck midnight and everyone was yelling 'Happy New Year' or ' / Shin-Knee-In-Kwai-Lah,' I got invited back to the table that we had been asked to move from because another party had already reserved it and I met some really nice Chinese guys. Whoot, free drinks. Also, I got a pen pal out of it too. Two of the guys worked in international fashion trade and the other two were students. One of them, Skye, had studied in Birmingham, UK, so his English was pretty good.

Then we headed over to Coco (2), a branch version of Coco (1) with a much more modern feel. There I met up with a coworker, Arslan, and a bunch of students studying south of Hangzhou who were from India. They were so nice and now I have a multitude of tour guides should I ever head their way! So the New Year was brought in with a bevvy of new friends. That's not a bad way to start 2012.


Now onto something a little different and my silly, little gift to you: I've come to realize I'm a collector, but not of Beanie Babies, angels, stamps, etc. like some people. I find these little nuances everywhere here and they are always a joy to find. You can't really find these things in the United States for various reasons, so I try and cherish every little one that pops up.

What I love is Chinglish. I adore it when China butchers the English language. It's the funniest thing ever and never fails to put a smile on my face. It also makes me want to walk into establishments and ask the owner to let me fix their sign's grammar and/or spelling, but I usually resist that urge. Alas.

Whenever I see one of these little Chinglish presents, I try to whip out my camera as fast as possible and snap up a shot. I don't always get everyone, especially since I've recently found myself without a camera, but I do try my hardest. 

So here you go, a belated and comical Christmas present to all my readers, a little Chinglish to brighten up your day:

'Let's merry.'
I was actually a little surprised by this one, since Starbucks originated in the United States and should have a grasp on it's native language....but this little gem may have slipped passed the marketing team over in corporate.

'Dwelling? Why Lotus Fragrant Home'
You see these Lotus Homes advertisements all over Hangzhou, usually displayed at bus stops and bike racks. I just love how literal is is: Dwelling?

'Drink The Water Machine'
Again with being literal. This is on our water cooler at work and I can't help but giggle every time I go refill my glass.

'Write a piece of gentilesse for u.'
This was on a card (which are unending sources of Chinglish) that HR passed out for Thanksgiving. We were supposed to write to another coworker who we were thankful for. Or in this case we would 'write a piece of gentilesse' to them. WHAT IS GENTILESSE? Is it French? Is it a word? ...upon further examination (aka I googled it), it is a noun meaning 'refinement and courtesy resulting from good breeding' from Old English/French origin and it is also a poem by Geoffry Chauser.

'Nordic Casual Style'
Okay, this really isn't Chinglish, but I do want to know what exactly is 'Nordic Casual Style'? Is that like Alexander Skarsgard's awkward short tie and red, courderoy tight pants? Maybe a fur hat?

'I'm no problem.'
I think they mean 'it's no problem,' but if that is not the case then I'm glad their male employees aren't too fussy either. I walk by this one everyday on my way to and from work and I finally got up the courage to run up and take a picture. I got some really weird looks from the sales people, but thankfully, they're no problem.

'France Crocodilian Shirt Group Limited'
I have NO IDEA WHAT THIS MEANS. Well, I kind of do? It's a company that makes crocodile shirts from France? Or are they French crocodiles that make shirts? Or is it a French company that makes shirts FOR crocodiles? I guess we'll never really know.

'Gift Dreamer / Vitality Fashion Taste'
This reminds me of those nifty little Magnetic Word Poetry sets. Someone, probably blindfolded, reached into one of those sets (with words relating to sports and/or food) and pulled some out at random and slapped it on a water bottle! Tah dah! Instant win.

'Saliva squid must'
This one is from the Shanghai vaults, which I have yet to post about. Food, though, is one of the most interesting as far as translations go. I've noticed it usually goes one of two ways: literally or with a lot of creative liberty and very little explanation as to what it really is. For example, mango juice in one restaurant was called 'Happy Golden Dragon Drink.' ...saliva squid must...I know it has squid in it and that is all I want to know.

'Dwell in your plesant hoard your / gold Lest you with me.'
WHAT DO YOU MEAN!?! It might be a quote from an old English novel or poem of sorts...okay, upon further inquiry (aka I googled it) this is from a poem called 'From Sunset to Star Rise' by Christina Rossetti. I'm guessing she wasn't consulted when this was put on a bag that had nothing to do with this poem. It's so out of place!

There are a million other gems out there like this. I feel like I stumble upon a new one at least every other day. Yesterday, when I was shopping at INTIME (a mall) there was an advertisement that was, what looked like, a jumble of made up words! It was fantastic. I need to go back and get a picture.

So, happy New Year everyone. May jubilate your daily wishes and merry peoples think gentilesse!


  1. Love the pictures! You should submit them to

  2. The 'Let's merry' catchphrase is actually here in the U.S. too--me no understand what means :(

  3. Why do you mutilate grammar so, US's Starbucks?! Why?