Tuesday, April 13, 2010
A Birthday to Remember!
Birthdays are always special days to me, because it's a celebration of "well, I made it ANOTHER year!" Problem is, as you get older, birthdays come quicker than a Toyota heading down the freeway...
BUT, I will say that April 12th this year was one of the best birthday's ever! WHY, you ask? Here are a few reasons: 1) 12:01am on April 12th here was 12:01pm April 11th back home is the States. My birthday ended HERE at 12:01am on April 13th, which was 12:01pm on April 12th back in the States! SO, basically my birthday lasted 2 days! 2) I was surprised that my team and coaches threw me a surprise birthday party / lunch, and enjoyed the company of 75 happy and hospitable Chinese people, which was quite heartwarming. I have only had one other party with that many attendees (back in college, where it basically was a huge street party birthday, but that's another story) 3) GIFT-a-Rama! Every single person lined up and presented me with a gift. Some were handmade (cards, clothing, etc), and some were bought (everything from tea mugs, ceramic pieces, fans, chopsticks, books, etc). It reminded me of the scene from A Christmas Story, where the students lined up and gave the teacher a present (although I didn't receive any wind-up teeth!)
The swimmers then all gathered around, then preceded to sing Happy Birthday in Chinese, which was awesome! It's funny, the words are WAY different (being in Chinese), but the tune is exactly the same! After that, they really surprised me by singing Happy Birthday in Engrish! I have to admit, it was pretty good, and helped support my theory that the Chinese really CAN understand when I talk, just selectively :)
I also learned that wedding cakes aren't JUST for weddings-they are for birthdays here in China! Holy Moly, that cake was 3 tiers, and had lots of frosting and fruit embedded in the sides. After I cut the cake, one of my swimmers (a huge 6'2" guy), helped himself to 3 HUGE pieces of cake. I would have been in a coma after eating that...
I also received over 100 emails, calls, and messages from all of my friends from all over the world. I truly am grateful for my friends, they get me through tough times, and are the glue to my happiness!
Well, that's it for now. I have added pictures from the party to my Flickr page, which I have now linked to the left side of this page, I hope you enjoy them!
I will close with a few more "Observations" that I have made here:
1) The Chinese LOVE the NBA. Every meal I have to sit and watch highlights from last night's games. The Chinese have no problems saying "Shaq" or Kobe"...
2) Unless you are VERY clear in your communication, your message will be lost. Example: Ron (to my translator, Scotty)- "What time does the dining hall close?" Scotty- "Yes." This happens QUITE a lot...
3) The Chinese, like in the States, drive on the right side of the road. They also, like the English, drive on the left side of the road. Depends on which side of the road is clear.
4) In China, you look both ways before crossing a one-way street.
That's it for now, will write more this weekend!