Sept. 12-19, 2015
This weekend was the District Conference. Similar to Stake Conference, it’s two days, but we had to work on Saturday, so we taught on Saturday until like 5, went an apartment to pick up a girl who we planned to come with us and then traveled onward to the train station to meet another girl who was supposed to be traveling with us. We waited for about an hour at the meeting point. We tried calling and texting her and WeChatting her (basically Facebook Messenger for China and runs off Wifi) By the way, if you want an easy way to talk to me and you have a smart phone, you can download WeChat and add me!-just DM me on Facebook or reply).

 for everyone who doesn’t know what that is, it’s basically like Stake Conference. A Ward is like a Branch and a District is like a Stake. Branch/District just are terms to reflect smaller numbers of saints. Every church meeting you attend in China (right now at least, and for the last two years at least) is a Branch. The Conference was good. I fell asleep during most of it honestly. The last hour was Elder and Sister Gong speaking. I was awake for that, but also kind of spacey. Sister Gong talked about the Beattitudes, which was great and Elder Gong spoke about the growth of the church in Asia. Later that day we wanted to go to the famous YuYuan garden in Shanghai (where the conference was being held) but it was closing in about an hour when we got there.  So we decided to go back to the hostel. We had dinner and I fell asleep, but then woke up at like 10 p.m. and went exploring. Aaron had already fallen asleep in the men’s dorms. By the by, in hostels there are many different kinds of rooms. Dorms, where 4,6 or 8 people sleep (there’s co-ed and gender divided) and private rooms. In the past, Aaron and I have slept in private rooms, but from now on we’ll likely stay in dorms (gender divided ones) so we can save money. The dorms are around $10-15 a night, about half the price of private rooms. In the dorm rooms, they give you a key to a locker so you can lock up your stuff when you leave. Sometimes there’s a bathroom for a dorm room, and sometimes it’s just your bed and you go down the hall to shower.
On Monday we walked around the Pearl Tower and went on the circular pedestrian bridge. It’s like this huge circle elevated above the ground and no cars mopeds or bikes are allowed. It’s just walking people. So that was cool. See Instagram/Facebook for a picture! We found this super expensive Ex-Pat (short for Ex-Patriot. It’s French for something. But basically means someone who is living outside their country of origin) market. Stuff is so expensive there. I’ll try to post a blog post soon on my blog and share it on Facebook. We also tried to go to an Art Museum only to find out it had moved! We (Aaron, Sarah, a girl who teaches in KunShan and I) were so tired from walking and from the previous weekend of teaching we decided to call it quits and go back to KunShan. After making it to KunShan and back to our apartment, we just kind of lazed around the rest of the day to recuperate.
Tuesday we were still pretty tired and mostly just relaxed at home. I also worked on my online religion class. Which is neither good or bad, it just is. This day is kind of boring I know, but traveling can really take it out of you. I went to teach at one of my schools and Aaron taught his adult class that day. We also introduced Sarah to our favorite Muslim restaurant near our house. It’s quite tasty and their hand-pulled noodles are divine.
Wednesday morning we got up early to watch the GOP Debate live streamed on CNN. We ended up listening to about half of it (the part we watched at least) on this rando radio station because so many people were live streaming it. I don’t want to state my political views too earnestly in this email, but there was a little too much nothing going on for us to stay interested more than about an hour and a half. Name calling is so elementary, don’t you think?
Thursday I had training at Scholastic, the other school I teach at. It was basically 3 hours of training so I was pretty exhausted by the time I finished. I arrived at 3 p.m. and left for home at 7 p.m. I was very tired. I’m sorry, but that’s the only thing i really remember about that day…
Friday was pretty fun. Aaron has to teach at a Kintergarden, so he leaves pretty early in the morning. I got a few minutes after he left and did… more religion homework. But I also read some articles and looked on Instagram. I’m obsessed. Especially with the Humans of New York account. I love reading the stories and quotes about other people. For lunch I met Aaron, Sarah and Trevor and Kayla Jensen (A couple who lives in proximity to us) for lunch. We were going to have soup-filled dumplings, but the store closed. Which was disappointing, but we still had a satisfying lunch. After lunch Aaron and Sarah had to go back to the school to teach, but I showed Kayla and Trevor the Au Chuan market. It’s basically the biggest supermarket in our city. We actually teach in the mall, on the third floor (Scholastic). It’s weird, there’s a ton of clothing and food places, and the supermarket. But then there’s like a zillion of these English After-School-Programs too. After I parted ways with the Jensens I went to a small Buddhist temple to look around. This temple was very small and humble. It had three main alters and there were a few monks wandering around. This temple isn’t famous nor does it attract many visitors, but I really like that aspect about it. Although I’m not Buddhist, there is something very reverent about the temples here. Whether they are Buddhist, Confucian or Taoist. I like visiting these temples while I’m in China because it helps me appreciate other religions, the knowledge they have and the knowledge I have. Another exciting thing about this day is I learned how to take better night pictures with my camera. I had my camera with me that day because I was visiting the temple and I stopped to take pictures of Tinglin Park (it’s near my house on the way home from Scholastic) when its lit up at night.
Saturday was just another full day of teaching 9:30-11 and 1-5 p.m. So after teaching we went to the grocery store (because the weekends are my days to buys snacks-I have to set a limit or I’ll eat way too much here) and returned home and watched TV. Not even ashamed of it. After like 8 hours of little kids, I just want to not think. As awful as that sounds. There’s just so many of them. And a lot of them have so much energy. Like where do they get it from? I’m amazed. But they’re all really cute and love to have fun with you if you invest the time into it. Aaron and I have made a goal to play one game of Go everyday. It’s a Chinese game, but wait you say. “Go” doesn’t sound that Chinese… Well although it was created in China some 4,000 years ago (so they say), it was made popular in the United States by Japan. It’s 10:38 p.m. and we’re kind of invested in a TV show, so we’ll see if we actually play it.