Not One but Three Artists

I couldn’t be more proud of my little artists and what they have accomplished in QSI Art Class in just three months time…

Ethan’s hand

Olivia’s Costa Rican Mask

McKaela’s painting of our family

I also love this little statue Olivia made of Ethan out of a wine bottle and the little bunny ears Ethan gives himself when he sees it for the first time…


A great performance and the chickens who got in the way

The best part about the kids going to school in China is that our teenager down to our preschooler all attend the same school which means we get to watch their end of the year programs all on the same night.  The worst part of the evening is commuting to the school in traffic.  This night is no exception with it being a Friday night everyone is trying to use the same road into town.  Here we are stuck in traffic and the motorcycles are inching in until all you can see are motorcycles all around you….


Now a motorcycle might look like a good way to travel here until you see what’s left of one in an accident and believe me I’ve seen plenty.  I’m now thinking there is an accident up ahead because we haven’t moved for awhile but as we get closer to the scene could it really be…

The chicken transporter ran out of gas on the on-ramp to the freeway?

Do you think it’s possible to fit just one more chicken on this motorcycle?  Yep, they already did and he’s probably running down the road for help.

Well it was all worth the wait because I haven’t laughed that much in a long time and we still made the show and my favorite performances for the night were…

 Ethan’s class of 9 students (only two are American)

Olivia’s Level 9 class performs “Accidentally in Love”

and McKaela surprised us by playing the guitar and singing in the program.

Watch out Osmonds the Christensen’s are in the house!

Flat Stanley Buffy goes to Yangshuo

Flat Stanley is a children’s book about a boy who gets flattened in his sleep and makes the best of his altered state in the many adventures he has while being flattened.  This is Buffy.

She’s been with our family for many years.  Well, actually this is a replacement Buffy we had to find on Amazon being the only look-a-like Buffy we could find since the original was lost but just pretend with me this is the original Buffy dog and you can follow along on the adventures this flat Stanley dog is having this week in China.

Just this week Buffy got to ride on a plane with Mckaela to Yangshuo on a school trip.   She visited the local fresh market to prepare for the 5 hour cooking class so she can come home and teach us how to cook a chinese meal.  (notice the chicken doesn’t come from the freezer section and there are not baby carrots in a ready-made baggy.)


Mountain biking just took on a whole new meaning with obstacles along the way like cows and watch out for the rocks it might be someone’s grave…



Bicycling is one of the most popular things to do in beautiful Yangshuo.  This place is so beautiful it is pictured on the 20 yuan bill but to get the best view you take a bamboo raft down the beautiful Li River.  The only problem is the sky is usually hazy and blocks most of the mountain.  Even the sun has a hard time shining here.


Buffy also saw a tea plantation where they make the most expensive tea you can find in China.  It’s called Qing Ming and it’s made from the first buds that appear in the season.  The tea here is placed in the glass and then they pour the hot water in the glass and keep refilling as needed.  There is no “tea bag” like you find in the states. 


Other highlights of  Yangshuo include the Sound & Light Show Performance put on by the same director who orchestrated 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening and Closing ceremonies, local shopping in the village, Kungfu, Tai-Chi, or a traditional Chinese painting lessons, and even the Yingzi Karst Cave.  The kids had a great time and it was quite an adventure for Buffy too.


I can’t help but laugh when I read these translations when I see them…


Going to school in China

Ever wonder what it’s like to go to school in China?   Chinese parents start their one child they can have in school when they turn 2 years old.  It’s called Chinese kindergarten.  These kids have to get up just as early as the older kids which means Ethan gets up the same time each day as my girls.  They all three catch the school bus at 7 am.

If I’m volunteering that day I just get on the bus with the kids and come home on the bus too.  Ethan is not in a Chinese kindergarten but in an English speaking pre-school class that only has one other student that speaks English.  The kids in his class are from India, Sweden, Finland, Texas, and the chinese boy in the photo is actually a Canadian that doesn’t speak English.  Each class has a western teacher and a chinese teacher and the kindergarten classes are all on the main level near the playground.  Ethan has quite an extensive vocabulary his teacher says and she wondered if it was okay with me that he uses the phrase in school, “What the heck?” (taken from the movie Cars) I told her to just wait until he belts out, “Watch this right here lover boy!” (also from Cars movie)  I’m sure the other kids are learning a few English words from Ethan.  I’m pretty sure he taught them how to stick out their tongue when they want to be sassy.

Olivia’s class is on the second floor and she has a separate playground area.  Her teacher is awesome and makes learning fun for the kids.  One day the teacher got out a mini trampoline and just started jumping on it in class.  The kids thought that was just so funny.  There are a lot of Americans in her class this year.  The class just finished making a Dodecahedron about their home country and believe it or not it takes both Greg and I to help her with her algebra and Chinese homework. 

McKaela’s classes are mostly on the third floor and she has already made some really fun friends.  She has a friend named Olivia here which can get confusing when the Olivia’s are both together.  McKaela is learning how to play the guitar at school and she is even painting a portrait of our family.  I can’t wait to see that.

 Today is a good day to volunteer because it’s International Day at QSI.  I am always impressed with the staff at the school but today I am impressed by the amount of parent volunteers that put on this event for the kids.  We gave the kids each a passport to take to the different classrooms which represent a country.  The kids go from room to room doing a craft, or game, and a trivia question they have to answer to get their passport stamped before they go to a different country.  The parents also provided lunch for the entire school preparing food from their country.  My kids liked the Swedish food the best because they had a lot of sweets and I gotta say I thought I would get the runs from eating all the different kinds of food in one lunch but it was really good food. 

For America this year they played games like twister and I helped the kids make a statue of liberty hat.  Statue of Liberty Did you know there are seven spokes on her head to represent the seven continents?  I’m even learning stuff about my own country living in China and when each country sang their national anthem I did okay but I can only sing the first or maybe second verse of the America the Beautiful song.  For lunch the American booth had Mac n’ Cheese and hot dogs probably because that is the only food they can find from American and a box of Mac n’ Cheese costs $5 here because it’s imported from the states.  If  I’m lucky I can find Land O Lakes cheese but check this out….It’s not Cheddar or Mozzarella it’s “Chedarella” and I’ll pay $4.50 for this 8oz. block here.  Another things I found here is Arm & Hammer Baking Soda only it’s not Arm & Hammer it’s….

Arm & Hatchet?  Don’t even get me started on the funny food labels I see here and yes I think I’ll bring you all back home some of this for when you need a good laugh.

This is the entire school.  All three of my kids are in there somewhere.  It’s like a “where is waldo” picture finding them but they are there.