Thursday, August 28, 2008

One week

I left for China one week ago today! Here are a few fun pictures of the adventure thus far.

Attack of the killer Misquitoe!!

Ahhh I hate bugs!! I woke up after about an hour of sleeping last night with this crazy burning in my arm. I looked at it and there were bites all over it! It itched like crazy and got all swollen. It took me a while to get back to sleep but I finally did. I woke up an hour later with 5 bits on the side of my face with the same burning! I hurried and ripped off my covers and sheets and shook everything out. I scanned my room for bugs but nothing could be found! I was scared to go back to sleep but I was very tired and eventually did. I woke up 3 more times in the night with new bites on my feet, arms, and neck. Luckily, this morning there were only a few that I could actually see. It was like these weird bites that hurt for a while and then vanished! I guess maybe it could have been a spider?? I sure hope that it does not happen again though! A few of the other girls have had similar bites. I guess the bugs just love us American girls!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Planes..... Trains..... and Buses.....

Hello to all from Changzhou China! My adventure to China so far has been... intersting, and amazing! My 14 hour flight from San Fran to Hong Kong went very well. I was able to sleep most of the way there. The Hong Kong airport was jam packed to we ended up de-boarding the plain outside and then standing there for 45 minutes waiting for a bus to come and get us, that is where the adventure began! I took a shuttle to the YMCA international house where the rest of my group had been staying the previous days.

The following morning I my group (5 girls) and I took a train from Hong Kong to Gaungzhou which was about 2 hours. We got all of our luggage (3 bags each) and found Mr. Wu who had been waiting there for us. Mr. Wu does not speak hardly any english so we just followed him around. We took all our luggage through the crazy packed train station and then loaded it in a van. Katherine and I went in the van to take the luggage to the other station, while Mr. Wu went with the rest of the girls on the metro. So we got to the station with all our luggage and just had to wait for our group. When they finally arrived we then took all our luggage to the train shipping center. Now remember that we are doing all of this in the hot humid heat among thousands of Chinese people STARING at us! They seriously are so funny. They just stare and don't really care. Well they also like to just shout HELLO and I LOVE YOU! It's really funny. Okay so after we got all of our luggage taken care of we made our way through the station following Mr. Wu to find our next train to ride. The process from one station to the next and transporting the luggage was about 3 hours. I am so lucky that the girls were so positive and williing to do anything, because it was extremely hot and very tiring, but exciting at the same time!!!

So the next train ride to Shang hai was 20 hours. We left at 2 PM and arrive at 930 the next morning which was monday morning. It was a really good ride. It is fun to see all the scenery in China, it is so beautiful! It was all new territory to me since I have never been to this side of China. Mr. Wu bought us some food on the train and it was okay. I could some of it, but the hardest part was trying to eat the spicy noodles for breakfeast?! I mean, who does that? The other girls like it though! Okay, so we arrived in Shang hai and then went to the place where our luggage would arrive. Our luggage came and then we waited for the bus from the school to come and pick us up...... we waited...... and waited..... and waited....... 6 hours! I cannot describe how happy we were once it came. We had been sitting outside putting on a show for the Chinese people and were ready to get out of there. We were on the bus for about 3 hours, some of us sleeping because we were so worn out. The bus stopped and Mr. Wu yelled " Let's eata!". We were so nasty and smellly at this point that we did not really want to go into this Chinese restaraunt, but we did anyway. They had a really nice meal set up for us with some of the faculty from the school. The first thing they offered us was beer!! It was so funny because we refused it and they could not believe it! They were like, " first try first try! just one!" and we were all laughing so hard because they would not take no. Finally after a while they gave up, and gave us orange juice, hahaha so funny! The meal was really good. Lots of spicy meat, and lots of vegetables. I didn't eat much of it, silly picky me, but I am determined to try lot's of the food!!
Okay, so we finally arrived at our school at about 9 PM. We were expecting not very nice room, just simple rooms and stuff to get by with. Well, we were wrong. They gave us each our own seperate apartment rooms and they are way nice!! We have brand new refridgerators and t.v.s and furnitures. The only downer is that the bed is HARD. It is just wood with a thin cotton pad on it, but the really cute comfortors make up for it I guess. :) So we were all thrilled to get our own rooms. They have nice air conditioning to! Amazing!!!

Well, this is getting to be really long so I will post later more about the school we are at. This week I am training the teachers to be the best english teachers ever! We will start teaching next monday. We are so excited and ready! The kids will not come to the school until sunday so we are excited for that too. I hope that all is well back in America, I will admit that i miss it already! I love it here in China though, I love the people and getting to know the funny culture here. I am looking forward to a crazy, fun, learning filled semester ahead of me!!

your chinese friend- Carly Jo

Thursday, August 21, 2008

China here I come!

Alright, so I am going back to China for this whole semester to teach english! I am so excited! I am going through International Language Programs (ILP), which is the same program I went with the last time I went to China. This trip is obviously very last minute, as I had been planning on continuing at Berklee this semester. BUT, I figured, what have I got to loose? ILP called me about a week and a half ago and asked me to come and be a head teacher at a school in Changzhou, China. I told them no at first because I already had many obligations. When they called me back the next day I really started to think about it. A week ago today I decided to go. So I had to hurry and pack everything up in Boston and pack for China. It was a crazy weekend but I was able to get everything finished and squared away. I am so grateful for this opportunity. 

The school that we will be teaching at is the first semester that ILP will be at the school. So I will be in charge of setting up the english program and making sure that everything runs smoothly. It is going to be incredibly hard and challenging, but so worth it! 

My flight leaves tomorrow, Friday August 22nd. I will fly from here to San Francisco, then a direct flight to Hong Kong (14 hours). I will meet up with 
my group in Hong Kong and the following morning we will travel to Changzhou. We have to take a 2 hour train ride where we will meet the coordinator, then a 22 hour trains ride. The trains have beds in them, so it is very doable. It think the train rides are great because you really get to see China. 
I will update my blog throughout my semester in China. I am pretty sure that we have internet connection so I will be able to put up pictures. Feel free to email me and keep me updated! Love you all and thanks for your love, care, and support!!! 

Here is a picture of the school I will be teaching at. It looks really nice!

Here is a map of China. My city is not on this map but it is located near ShangHai.

An AMAZING Summer!!

So my summer in Boston was absolutely incredible! I am so grateful for all the many things that I was able to do, including finishing a summer term (12 credits) at Berklee! I was able to travel a little bit and do some fun things in Boston. The University Ward is so fun and we had some great activites throughout the summer. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from some of my favorite people and places throughout the summer! ENJOY!

Is that Sunset not beautiful?! This was one of my last nights in Boston. I am on the Mass. Ave bridge which is a short walk from where I live. My favorite bridge in Boston by far!

Drew, Denver, and I after my last sunday in the Ward. They are so great! I will miss them so much!

Last ward get together of the summer that took place at Jeremy's Apartment. It was fun to get together and say bye to all the people that are leaving. 

Ingrid, Katie, Carly Jo, Tiffany, and Mike

FHE! We had some super fun activities, this night we played human foozeball. These girls are some of my closest friends in Boston. They are all so incredible and such good example to me. LOVE THEM!

Maya, Katie, Tiffany, Katasha, Carly Jo, and Ellen

WOO HOO! I spent a week in Lake Powell on Katasha's houseboat with friends from Boston and some of her friends from home! It was a great break to get away from school and just relax.

Brooke, Carly, Tiffany, Kiarah, Bree

I also got to go camping with the family for a weekend. I love camping! We played lots of games, ate lots of junk food, and just had a blast together.

When I was home I got to hangout with my girls from Mesa. It was fun for us all to reunite. I still keep in touch with all of them and love it when we all get together!

Carly, Clarissa, Emily, Erin, Liz, Lachelle, Abby, Mallory

John Mayer Concert!!! Katasha and Tiffany gave me tickets for my birthday back in April to go to this concert! It was a BLAST! It was a beautiful night and John Mayer ROCKED!

Have a mentioned how much I love the Cambridge University Ward??? Well I do! We went on a canoe trip on a saturday and it was so awesome. The lake we went to was  in Natick Massachusetts. Loves

Celine Dion Concert!!! One of my teachers at Berklee gave me some free tickets to the Celine Dion Concert! Tiffany, Katasha, and I had so much fun. I have a lot of respect for Celine. She was an incredible performer, entertainer, everything. It was a fun girls night out. 

Quick New York trip! Tiffany and I rode the Fung Wah  bus from Boston to NYC and spent the night at Maryella's house in Connecticut. Katie was already in NY so she met up with us there as well. Her house was so beautiful, it was great to be in a homey house vs. dorms and apartments, for a change. 

We spent the next morning and afternoon in NYC. Baptisms in the Manhattan temple was the highlight of our day. We also went to the Museum of Modern Art which was incredible! NYC is fun fun fun. 

Sunday, August 17, 2008


So my sister Tara spent two weeks in Boston doing a summer camp at Boston Conservatory. It was an intense vocal camp. They had a performance at the end of everything that they had worked on and it was great!  I just have to brag about Tara.. She is INCREDIBLE!! Seriously, her voice blows me away. She had worked very hard throughout High School doing a lot with Musicals, Choir, and Voice lessons. She has learned a ton and is just sooooo good. I love her so much! It was a lot of fun to have her come to Boston. She stayed with my roommates and I in our apartment. We just loved having her cute, fun, humorous personality around. Whoever marries this girl, is one incredibly lucky guy. 

Katie, Tara and I after running and playing in an intense thunderstorm. There were so many thunderstorms this summer!

Tara and I at the Boston Public Gardens, just a short walk from where I live. 

Emily Iva and the 4th of July

Dennis had a fun BBQ at his house for the 4th. I LOVE Dennis!!
Emily and I on the dock waiting for the fireworks. Our ward had the BEST place to watch the incredible firework show. It was amazing!
Lunch with Denver and Drew in Harvard Square
Emily was here for 3 days and we had so much fun! It was so much fun to be able to show her what my life is like here in Boston. I LOVE Emily! 

We went to the Boston Pops concert on the 3rd of July, right by the Charles river at the Hatch Shell. The show was the same show that they performed the next night during the fireworks. Rascall Flatts performed! That made me, very happy. 

Regional Temple Conference

The Temple Conference was wonderful! Single adults from all over Massachusetts and surrounding areas came for this fun day. We had workshops at the stake center next to the temple, and throughout the day were able to go to the temple to do Baptisms, or sessions. I have had many opportunities to go to the temple this summer. I am so blessed!

A fun day at Cape Cod

So one saturday we traveled up to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We got a little bit lost on our way there, but we made it eventually. It was a really beautiful day. The water was FREEZING, so I didn't get in. But some of the group withstood the cold and went for a swim!

Dancing and Museum of Contemporary Art


Dance parties at MIT with the normal Crew! 


Tiffany Sabrina and I at the Institute of Contemporary Art! It is a fabulous museum and whoever comes to Boston, must go to this museum.