Sunday, May 17, 2009

Born in the USA

We have encountered a few problems having our baby in China. Its like living in a little life-boat that keeps springing leaks. We fix up one problem, and another two pop up. So basically, after frantically trying to manage leaks but still finding ourselves sinking, we have decided to head home to the US to have our little girl. We found out that we have to return to the US to get a new kind of visa anyway, so having the plane ticket, it just makes sense to have the baby while we are there =)
I (Amy) arrived in SLC last night (May 15th). Since I have been pregnant, traveling is difficult for me. However, after running into the cement median on the freeway (our driver fell asleep) and missing my connecting flight (I fell asleep right there in the terminal!), I eventually made it to Utah safely.
So I would love to hear from you who are in Utah too! My cell phone number while I am here is 801-735-3387. My email is I will be here from May 15th to July 29th and should have the baby sometime in the end of June or maybe beginning of July. Sam, unfortunately, had to stay and work for a while longer, but will join me here in about a month (June 11th! I can't wait!!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chinese Baby Shower

One day my cute coworker calls me and says "We know that if you were in the U.S. you would have a baby shower." (fyi - baby showers are not a part of Chinese culture) "We want to throw you a baby shower. So, ummm... how do we do that?" So sweet!!

So anyway, I proceeded to tell her how a baby shower works -- food, presents, games, etc. I also told her it was for girls only. Upon learning this, she seemed to be in great distress and asks me, "So what do we do with the boys?!" I told her to just invite everyone and we would have a co-ed baby shower =) Since boys were invited, Sam came too and we had a total of over 20 people -- so fun!

I organized the games (they would be REALLY lost if they had to figure out games!). We played the usual: can't say baby or you lose your pin, write down as many baby items as you can remember, guess how many candies in the baby bottle, draw a baby on a paper plate on your head, drinking juice from a baby bottle race, etc. They had a ball, even (or maybe especially) the boys! I had a baby diaper for one of the games, and one of my coworkers picks it up and asks, "so you really use these?!" Hah! Diapers are as strange to them as their split pants are to me!

To eat we had (what else?) Chinese food! Tofu, dumplings, spicy pork, stir fry, etc.

When I told them it was time to open presents, some of them looked at each other and ran into a back room. A few minutes later they emerges with bundles in their arms wrapped in bathroom towels! (I guess wrapping paper isn't really something they do here either =) Everyone was so sweet! We were given bottles, books (in Chinese, but with English too - bless their hearts!), some cute clothes, and a traditional Chinese necklace with bells (I am supposed to put it on our baby shortly after she is born.) I loved it all!

Mostly, I just feel so loved and cared for! They are so generous and sensitive to my culture. My friends here are truly wonderful!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A not so simple task

Cleaning my toilet has been a task that is long overdue. I have not been well lately and seem unable to do much more than lay in bed all day. But today I decided the toilet needed to be cleaned. So I squirted the inside of the bowl with toilet bowl cleaner and let it sit while I put the tea pot on our single electric burner to warm some water for cleaning. However, an all-to-frequent wave of nausea hit me and I threw-up everything I've eaten today, "washing" away all the blue cleaner inside the bowl. I squatted (can't sit or kneel -- our whole bathroom is the shower so the floor is wet) hugging the bowl as the tea pot started to squeal that it was ready. I decided not to clean the toilet today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Communism and the DMV - two things you never want to put together

So Sam and I have finally given in and decided that we need Chinese driver's licenses. We know that driving here is like toying with your life every time you get in the car, but we are finding it to be a necessity. So we hired a very expensive agent to do all the dirty work of applications and junk to get us licenses. All we were supposed to do is take the written test (you can take your own sample test I have put together for you: see next blog entry).

So we get a call from our agent that the Chinese equivalent of the DMV would not accept Sam's U.S. driver's license. So Sam took essentially a whole day off work to go to the DMV to try and work out the issue.

It turns out that because Sam's license is an older Utah license, it does not define what a "D Class" driver is (It means he can drive a normal car, not a bus or 18-wheeler or whatever). Don't worry that we brought the official definition off the web. Don't worry that MY (Amy's) driver's license defines it for them. They refused to accept it and refused Sam permission to test. My opinion is that they just didn't like the look of the old license so they decided to reject it. After much arguing, they still refused to give Sam permission to test (despite the fact that his driver's license is 100% VALID!) The only progress we made was that at the end they threatened to also take away MY permission to test too, just because. Wow, if you think working with government agencies is frustrating in the U.S. try moving to a communist country!!! Nothing has to make sense; abuse of power at it's finest!

So I ended up taking (and passing!) the DL test last week. Don't worry, though, Sam is going to need to first return to the U.S., get a new license (even though his is still perfectly valid), and return to the China DMV before he can get permission to test. Awesome. And to add insult to injury, I don't really want to drive anyway -- Sam is the one that thinks driving here looks like fun. Mostly I'm just scared stiff!!

Take Your Own Chinese Driver's License Test!

So here is your chance to take your own China Driver's License Test!! I have cut and copied actual questions from the test. I'm sparing you any of the legal and registration questions. See what you think of these translations, etc.... I have added my own comments in blue.

1. When a wounded suffers bleeding in the forearm or shank, the rescuers may place a cushion in the armpit or in the rook of the arm, crook the armpit or rook and tie up.

(What the heck!?! Does anyone understand this question?!)
Answer: Right (aka True)

2. _______ refers to the material and article that has the danger of overall explosion.

A. Explosive
B. Inflammable solid material
C. Inflammable gas
D. Self-igniting article

(Hummm, maybe it just seems silly in English…)

Answer: A

3. When discovering a road congestion ahead, the correct way to deal with this situation is to _______.

A. Continue to weave through
B. Find space and overtake one vehicle after another
C. Honk to indicate the vehicle in front to speed up
D. Stop and wait in line

(Do they want what SHOULD be done, or what they ACTUALLY do. I’ll just leave it that I have never seen answer “D” done in China. However, the other three I see frequently, along with “E. Make your own lane”, “F. Drive on the other side of the street (or on the sidewalk or in the bushes or whatever)”, and “G. Do whatever you want (which is what you will do anyway)” I’m shocked that the people on the road actually ever took this test!)

Answer: D

4. After a vehicle falls into water, the wrong method for the driver to rescue himself is to ________.

A. Close the window to prevent water from flowing into the vehicle
B. Immediately use hand to open the door (use your hand guys, using your feet is a waste of time and then you have to take your shoes off)
C. Let the water to fill up the driver’s cab so that the water pressure both inside and outside is equal
D. Use a large plastic bag to cover the head and tight the neck closely
(Keep in mind you are finding the wrong answer, so that means three of these are supposed to be correct. Since “A” is the wrong answer, I’m not sure what exactly “D” is doing grouped among the correct answers. Is it like, “Hey, I’m gonna die anyway, so I might as well put a plastic bag over my head and speed up the process!” or what?!)

Answer: A

5. The sign in the picture means _______.

A. Stop to yield
B. Yield when crossing each other
C. No yielding
D. Reduce speed and yield

(Is it just me, or are three of the answers the same answer? Oh ya, this one is easy, but reading road signs all in Chinese is a bit of a challenge for me…)

Answer: D

6. The hand signal of the police in the picture is ______.

A. A signal for turning left
B. An auxiliary signal for turning left (does anyone know what an “auxiliary signal” is?)
C. A signal for stopping
D. A signal for turning left sharply

(Oh ya, that is SO CLEAR. How could I have NOT know what the heck that means!?)

Answer: D
How'd ya do? You have to get a 90% or above to pass -- did you pass? Now imagine 100 questions in 45 minutes... ya, it was a joke...

Monday, May 4, 2009


So things are always changing in foreign Branches/Wards overseas. Our Branch President, Relief Society President, Primary President, District Counselor, (and others) are all moving within the next 3 months. This is worse than our Wymount student ward turnover! Not to mention about half the branch leaves for 2-3 months in the summertime to go back to the States while school is out. I guess it doesn't matter that we live too far away for anyone to come and bring the typical "after-baby" casserole; it looks like no one would even be in the country anymore come the end of June! =)