September 14, 2001

wow. i can't believe it's been so long.. just a bit over a week of school and i finally found the time to write to this.

i don't have much to say though.. very busy, not too busy, but quite -- well gotta go now. back to work!

September 03, 2001

this is it..

considering my previous luck with internet networkings, i've decided to post one last blog before i move. this past weekend was really fun, i went with Ben and Mir to the CNE. We met up with Drew and then had lunch together. Even though i've only known andrew for 8 months, i feel like i know him really well, i think we get along pretty good.

anyway, lunch was good, we ate at New Generation on Bloor.. a sushi place. then andrew and i commuted to cne, while ben and mir bladed there.

the cne is still pretty much the same as i remember it, but new infomercials are kinda neat. they had non-stick pans, travel frothers, Shammy's of course, and other really cool stuff. we stayed indoors for the most part checking out these things. we also met up with christina and her friend howard. that was kinda cool, cuz, i've heard about these people before but never met them til now.

sunday we all met up after church, it was me, drew, ben, euhan, lon and dom. hehe, it was almost like old times again.. we ate at this place called axia, the same place i ate a long while back when i was with jon, dom and danny. it's upstairs in pacific mall.

i'm tired now.. gotta go pack and get out of here ASAP.


September 01, 2001

It's the first of september! no more work, well.. paid work anyway!

today i'm going to the cne, with Benche, mir, and a couple of her friends. i haven't been to the cne since i was 6 years old.. hmm.. stories of cne.. most people tell to just stay away from the rides.. last year my mom and brother went and they took some rides, and ended up both throwing up on the way home. i hate throwing up.. your eyes get all cry-ey, and your face gets all flushed.. plus the bad breath.. that's the worst! Or if you really throw up bad, it gets into your nose.. that's even worst, cuz you taste and smell it for the rest of the day until it clears!

i also throw up before a presentation.. it gets me psyched up to do it. I dunno why i do it really, it's pretty stupid. i get really nervous when making speeches and stuff.. sometimes i induce vomiting, as though it'll all be better once i do it. actually that works pretty well.. i've gotten some of my best presentation marks after a barf-fest!

August 28, 2001

also in Guilin i tried Dog for the first time. Dad said dog was supposed to taste like lamb, so i was really looking forward to it. But they ended up cooking it incorrectly and it tasted more like tough pork, or beef.

we also had snake. They had cages and cages of live snakes, and my dad had to go out and pick which one. I was in the restaurant with the rest of my family but there was a window so we could see it happen. Anyway, my dad didn't know what to do, so he just picked one randomly. The waitress reached in with these tongs, and lifted one out. She looked kinda scared, even though I'm sure she'd done it many times. Anyway, she struggled with it until it had calmed down. then she grabbed the snakes head, pulled out a pair of scissors, and snipped off its head! Well! she just cut it off, though you could tell she needed a lot of force to do it, but off it went, and it was just blood everywhere, all of the floor, on the waitress. They had to come in and mop it up.

Then minutes later, this lady appeared at our table with this glass of red liquid and another glass of clear liquid with something funny looking inside. She explained that it was customary to eat the snake bladder, which was so good that apparently it could prevent anything from cancer to the common cold. The clear liquid was just strong alcohol, so you could just drink it down without tasting it, cuz apparently it tastes really gross. The red glass was snakes blood, which also cures a number of diseases. The blood was also mixed with a strong alcohol, so you wouldn't taste the blood.

Well.. I stared at the blood for a long time. The bladder was pretty big and I didn't think I'd be able to swallow it. Plus I knew I couldn't hold the alcohol. So instead, i picked up the glass with the blood in it, closed my eyes and took a huge sip.

HOOOEEY!! that alcohol was strong! I mean it was strong! must've been vodka or something, i've never had vodka, but all i know was this stuff was strong! Well... you know that taste, when you cut your hand, and you suck on it to keep it from bleeding all over the place. Or if you bite your lip, same taste.. Anyway, once the initial kick of alcohol wore off, i tasted that as aftertaste. It was pretty gross.

Well, then we ate dinner. My dad scarfed down the bladder somehow. My dad complimented me on my bravery with the blood. I was THE MAN! Yeah! Even my brother said so! I kept thinking about it though, that was probably my mistake, I thought about the cutting of the poor snake's head, and then the blood everywhere. At that point my brother reminded me again that I just drank blood. Blood. That got me thinking about Christ, and then I started thinking about Old Testament stuff, the blood and the sacrificing. Then the thought occured to me: This wasn't meant to be. God didn't make snakes so we could drink their blood!!! This was just wrong!!

So then I couldn't stand it anymore and rushed off to the washroom and hurled into the squatter, which by the way, stunk really bad!!!

in Guilin (our stop after Kunming, which was after Xi'an), we took a ferry along a river that went through the mountains of guilin. they call it Guiling Shanswei, or Guilin Mountains and Water. It's supposed to be the most beautiful sight in all of China, but i was still recovering from the Stone Forest so i didn't think it was THAT great.

The mountains were all along the edge of the river. They just sprung out, out of nowhere. They were enormous, kind of round, like not the jagged type of mountain you might be thinking of. There was life, we saw mountain goats, and natives lived at the foot of these mountains. Sometimes they'd paddle by on their long bamboo rafts. You could also make out things on the mountains, as if God had come down with a giant brush and painted pictures right on the rock faces. Well, traditionally the chinese felt it was Buddha who had done this. There were paintings of lions, tigers, and horses. You need a good imagination to spot them though, otherwise you'd just see discoloured rocks will trees and grass on them.

oh.. in beijing, we also (of course!) saw the Great Wall, or at least a part of it, as most of it is not continuous anymore. We saw the Badaling string of it. It was really cool.. sometimes i wonder though, because there were really really steep parts of it that even my brother and i struggled to climb up, because there were no stairs, just steep stone hill.. and so many people had walked that part that it was almost shiny, and quite slippery! I just wonder how the troops used to get up there. I mean, if it rained, the higher parts would be totally inaccessible!

oh, at the top of the part we visited, they had these booth selling those "i just climbed the Great Wall" tshirts.. i thought that was so cheese..

In Xi'an (our second stop after beijing), we saw another Wonder, the Terra Cotta Warriors. These huge statues that were unearthed just a few years ago.. it was really neat, where they unearthed them, all they did was build buildings around the dig sites, and that's where you would view them. It said NO PICTURES everywhere we went in there, but everyone was taking pictures. Darryl and I, we took pictures, even with flash right in front of this guard, who was half asleep. He had his hat covering his eyes, but we could still tell cuz he was nodding off.

After Xi'an was Kunming, where my grandparents met and were married. Grampa was really excited when we got there, though everything had changed.. it was his first visit there in nearly 50 years.. We saw the Stone Forest there -- my favorite part of the whole trip.

It was just an area where millions of years ago it was all under water, and now that it had resurfaced, well.. the rock formations were totally awesome, there were so many they looked like trees, hence the name "Stone Forest". These rocks were just unbelievable, some were cracked but had stayed up, some balanced on top of eachother, and looked like they were about to fall, even though they'd been there for thousands of years. Some of them resembled shapes like mice, or elephants.

There was one main formation, that resembled this woman holding a basket on her back, and looking out into the distance. The locals believed this to be a formation in the form of a legend of this girl named Ashima, she had lost her man on some trip he went on or something.. sorry i can't remember, but anyway the formation was really really cool. I'm not talking about some life-sized formation, this thing was 3-4 storey's tall!

3.5 days to go! I'm so close to freedom...

i was talking with my friend keith about our thoughts of returning to school. one of the common things are that since we both took years off for school, we're definitely in a different mindset now, and going back to school could really mess us up. i'm so used to just sitting at home when i want to, and going out when i feel like it. it's not that i've become lazy, but that I've become accustomed to doing things when i want, and when i feel like it. Once school starts again, everything will change. I won't have time to do anything i want. if you don't get to do what you want, eventually you go crazy.

that's what i loved about china btw, my dad organized it so that the tour guide had us until dinner time, and then after that we were free to do anything we wanted to do. in some cities, that was the best time i had, like in Shanghai, when we took the subway (extremely efficient!!!) and went around town to check different spots out.

subways were so cool there, you could see from one end of the train to the other, all the cars were connected and no walls! the doors were a lot bigger too, and the coolest thing, there were markings on the floor for where the doors would be when the train stopped. i love that because in TO, you always stand at a spot hoping that the subway doors will be there in front of you when it stops. you either end up looking really smart or just really stupid when you end up being between two doors, right in the middle.

but this way (the way Shanghai had theres) was it stopped at designated spots. that way you could line up in an orderly fashion. they also had a policeman with a loud whistle to make sure people didn't step past the yellow line (or step on the yellow line, as you TO people know about).

what else... the stores in the subway, kinda like PATH in toronto, were all very organized, booth after booth after booth. we stopped at every single one looking for fake watches for cheap..

it was funny, my brother, he got a fake rolex, and then two hours later, we were on this ferry in Shanghai, and he was oogling his new watch when all of a sudden looking carefully he realized it actually said ROLIEX on it! haha.. that was so funny! I also got a fake rolex, it's a nice one though.. even my grandfather couldn't tell the difference, and he has a real one too! he even said mine looked nicer than his!

August 26, 2001

one thing i wanted to add was from the P&W night, Ben had his testimony and it hit me pretty good, it really got me thinking about where i was in terms of my relationship with the Big Guy. i've been trying hard to take that leap as well, still pretty reserved, sometimes opportunities come my way and part of me is still holding back.

it's been a pretty uneventful weekend. i joined another fantasy football league on yahoo, and the draft was on saturday morning. it went pretty well -- probably the best team i have ever drafted.. but what do you expect when you're drafting against people online -- they weren't too smart.. most of them were going off Yahoo rankings.. pretty sad! but i'll stop talking about this since most if not all of you don't know what the heck i'm talking about!

i moved some more stuff to hamilton saturday afternoon. the more i look at it, the bigger the attic looks. I dunno what i'm gonna do with all the space, but i've got a few ideas -- there's enough room up there for a group of people to hang out! dunno how much time i'll have to actually hang out, but if ever i do have time... there's room to jam for sure!

after church today i finally got my birthday present from my mom. we went to FS and got me a new keyboard. i still haven't set it up yet, but I will soon. I'm not sure how much the "e", spacebar, "n", and "3" keys will last on this thing!

in exactly one week (and a bit) from today, i'll be on my way to hamilton for good. i am so not ready to go back to school!

August 25, 2001

this was probably the longest work day of my life..I must've looked at the clock 200 times today. I dunno why i'm looking forward to the weekend. Maybe because I'll be one step closer to starting school. Evenn though I'm going to dread going back, and already am, I just want to get into it, get over with it you know? It's not helping me at all that I have to wait for it.

There's nothing left of this summer that I wanted to do and haven't already. Basically I wanna just go back to school. back to hell.

Today I went back to M3C for a P&W night for their softball ministry. They played a lot of new songs.. but it was good. I guess I've been spoiled by Ottawa worship team, the Met, Urbana, and CC worship teams.. and the praise nights back at 2880 Carling.. cuz I really though (despite the good choice of songs), the worship just wasn't that great.. I dunno.. i thought the drums and bass were off all night.. but then again what do I know? I think overall I prefer teams led by a guitarist, and everyone else sort of falls in place.. today's thing was more like the Bass guy leading (aside from the lead singer), and the drums next.. just a really weird mix that i'm not too used to anymore.

Ah well.. it was a great time though, i saw a lot of people I hadn't seen in a long time.. actually a lot of these people didn't even know what was up with me, they were asking where I was working now, and what it was like graduating.. and when did i get back (from school)... weird stuff like that.. haha not many seemed to know I quit Ottawa and went to china. oh well..

oh i'll get back to the china thing later.. this PC is moving to hamilton tomorrow, which means no internet for another 2-3 weeks... and then the GRIND starts again!

August 23, 2001

it's been a really boring and long day at work. it all started this morning at 9:30 i went to the dentist. the thing weird about going to the dentist is you always go in worried that you might have a cavity, so you sit there and they take your x-rays.. and then the guy/girl says.. have you been flossing? and of course you say.. "well umm.. yeah.. well not really.." and they always say "well, you should really floss.. i know it's hard to get used to it, but it helps a lot, especially for those spots where your toothbrush can't reach"

oh here's another one the dentist says: "hmm.. wow your gums are really red.. have you been sick recently, or have you been brushing extra hard lately...?"

well, today i went knowing full well i had a cavity, so that was very different for me. i got drilled.. but it wasn't so bad, cuz of the drugs he put in, i didn't feel a thing, although i must say the smell of drilled teeth is not to my liking.. eww!!

anyway when i got to work, i did my regular emailing, (chatting with Ben), and then my boss said I should make up the time. well.. basically that's what I'm doing right now.. just sitting here, it's almost 5:30pm, there's no one here but me. This office has no cubicles so I can see the whole floor, and there really is no one here at all! just me, sitting here, making up the time i lost at the dentist..

hehe, kinda gives you an idea of what i'd be doing if i was here in the morning heh?

tonight i'm going to East Side's to have my REAL birthday celebration with my family. on Aug14, we went to a chinese place, because my grandparents only eat chinese food. so.. looking forward to that even though my teeth hurt. Two cavities.. sigh.

August 20, 2001


oh, one thing I just remembered and told Jon just now, is that when we got to Beijing, the mostly empty bag, was missing. It just wasn't there. There wasn't much in it though, my brother's brand new pair of Skechers, and some other smaller accessories -- my Sunglass Hut spray and cloth. We filled out the form, but fully expected it was all but gone.

But then 3 days later, the airline called and said they found our bag! When we got it, I discovered all the pockets had been slit from the bottom and all emptied out. I opened up the bag, and it was all messed up inside. The shoes were still intact though.. Amazing! The spray and cloth were gone. And... the worst part.. someone had opened my shampoo and dumped it inside the main part of the bag, and smashed up my box of indiviidually wrapped TicTacs that I got as a gift when i left Ottawa! All the candies were mixed in with shampoo! Argh!

Day 2-5 - Beijing

The first thing I noticed about Beijing was how big and modern the airport was. It was HUGE, and incredibly clean, and empty! It was hot the moment we stepped out of the plane into the long thingie that connects to the building. Gateway? I dunno. Anyway, it was hot, around 31C+humidex. I was wearing my jeans from the cold flight so it was even hotter. The washrooms were really modern too, and they electricity and everything! Automatic urinals, and taps, and hand dryers, just like in Canada. Wow!

Then came this really long lineup for customs. I was scared at first, because there were soldiers everywhere. I noticed there were a lot of "Beijing. Candidate City." With their cool Olympics logo. When we got out this short stumpy woman came up to us, at first my parent thought she was a boy. She said she wasn't the tour guide and the real tour guide was going to come later, she was caught up in traffic.

Finally she came, our tour guide. She was about my age, maybe a year older, and her english name was Serena. We never called her Serena though, just Xiao Jei ('young lady'). Since our tour was a private group (just the 6 of us), we all got on this mini-bus.. with A/C!!! Wooohooo!! cuz as soon as we got outside it was hot and hazy.. really hot.. REALLY HOT!! I mean, nothing could have prepared me for that kind of weather..

We stayed in Novotel hotel.. every hotel we stayed at in China was a 4 star hotel. Anything lower and you run the risk of food poisoning for every meal, and bugs, etc. Novotel was probably the best hotel we stayed in over all throughout the trip.

In Beijing, we saw a lot of places. It was cool, from me and my brother's hotel room, we could see the city, and, we could see the Forbidden City, not far from where we were.

The first full day (we arrived in Beijing in the afternoon) we saw Tianamen Square and Forbidden City. Tianamen Square was huge! There was this long lineup to see Mao Tse Tung's tomb. I think they preserved his body or something in there. Anyway it seemed like a lot of people wanted to see this dead body, cuz the lineup was.. well imagine people lined up around Skydome, maybe 2 twice, all the way around it twice, that's about how long the lineup was to see this dead dude, the father of communism, in china. That's pretty crazy!

Forbidden City was really nice too.. we saw the throne where the Last Emporer hid his cricket. I don't think there was a cricket in there for real, though I could be wrong because we weren't allowed to go into the throne room. Or was it a grasshopper? This palace was unbelieveably huge. Judging by the names of each of the buildings like Hall of Tranquility and Peace, and Hall of Wonder and Good Luck, it sort of gave me this picture if my head of a lot of ancient chinese people running around smoking pot or just high or something when they built the thing. It was huge and not all too practical, at least in my opinion.. but the architecture was really awesome!

whoops. i'll finish this later!
Day 1 - Toronto-Chicago -->

As excited as I was, I still slept like a baby the night before the big day. But at 5am when my alarm went off, I shot straight out of bed and ran upstairs. I wasn't totally finished packing -- the night before my mom told me not to bring my backpack -- but i couldn't resist, so i transferred some things over to my bag, like an extra pair of pants (in case it got cold on the airplane), sunglasses, PDA.. So by now one of the bags (not a carry-on) was mostly empty.

By around 5:30 everyone was up, scurrying around picking up things at the last minute.

The airport limousines showed up and we separated into two groups, me, darrl, dad, and then the other cab had mom and gramparents.

We got to the airport first though.. actually way faster. Dunno why our cab was so much faster..

At Pearson we saw Laura Fung's parents coming out, they were too far away to say hi to them though. We were taking United Airlines, but from Toronto to Chicago it was Air Canada. The flight to chicago was really short. I didn't even get a chance to fall asleep before we arrived. When we got to Chicago, we had to wait 4 hours for the transfer. I went into a convenience store and bought two packs of jellybellies for me and darryl to eat while we waited. But darryl got too excited and hungry, so he ate at the McD's in the airport. They have a lot more stuff at McD's than we do, including chicken wings..

While lining up for boarding, we saw Mark Cassidy, also on his way to China again, this time he was bringing a few students along to teach english. For those of you who never heard of Mark, he's a missionary. He's spoken at my old church a number of times.. he probably knows more chinese than i do.. or at least more dialects than I. He recognized my dad.

That was really cool, even though we were just on a family vacation, it got me all fired up that there were going to be missionaries on our plane, and they were going across to spread His Word!

hmm.. subconsciously it had me a bit worried about the flight, since you always hear those stories whenever a bad plane crash occurs, it's always when there are students or missionairies on board. so i did my regular airplane safety prayer, but more emphasis on this one since there were 'impt' people on board.

oh, the seats on the plane were sweet.. it took some trading, but eventually me and darryl were side by side. each seat had its own tv with 5-6 stations of non-stop movies. ours were better because we were just behind the wall so our tvs folded out (kinda like those tables in lecture hall seats).. whereas everyone else's tv's were directly in front of them on the back of the seat in front of them. plus with no chairs in front of us we got more leg room, we could stretch all the way out!

I watched Head Over Heels, Erin Brockovich (2.5 times), Proof of Life (1.5 times), Spy Kids (1.5 times), and some other movie, i can't remember anymore (maybe i should've written this log sooner!)

first entry..just trying out.. i'm so stupid.. i pressed the publish button instead of the Post & Publish button! Ah well.. what am i to do? more updates on the way, including thoughts on my upcoming year.. and the long-awaited China trip-log!