Sunday, April 14, 2013


This is a test of the Bloggger hosting system. Warning: this is only a test.

Friday, November 2, 2012


My work email was attacked yesterday by a virus. It is possible it will follow through to my personal email. If you get an email from me with a random subject line and randomly named pdfs attached, please don't open or download, just delete.

have a great day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Birthday Abroad

While we were in China I (Katie) celebrated my 22nd birthday.  According to Chinese customs, it was really my 23rd birthday (you're one when you're born).  So I went to China 21 and, three weeks later, came home 23.

Some of the students had heard it was my birthday, and they brought me gifts like an adorable wallet, a good luck charm handmade by the student's grandmother ("I don't know if it works in other countries," her card read), and a buddha to hang from my rear view mirror to bring me luck and safety (not quite sure what I'll be doing with it...).  From my team I got cards, Juanita's purple scissors, and cucumber potato chips.  Mike gave me the last of his M&Ms!

A group of students treated us to lunch at Pizza Hut.  Chinese Pizza Hut is a little different than American Pizza Hut, but the cheese pizza was the same and they had forks!  Our friends also bought me a cake with a variety of fruits and chocolate.  (Some fruits we recognized; some we didn't).  It was the most home-like food we had the whole time we were in China.  Oh, and I had my first (and what I hoped to be my last) experience with Chinese candles.

At the end of the day, Jori and I were called into Mike's room for a "meeting."  (I knew it wasn't a meeting).  They'd gathered all of the students together and made me wear a crown while they sang happy birthday to me.  In China they don't sing the, "Happy birthday, dear Katie" like we would in the States, but I wasn't paying enough attention to figure out what they did sing.  I was just too excited: I've never had so many people at my birthday party before!  And everyone wanted pictures... I felt famous, honestly. 

We also had a delicious, traditional cake, but before we could eat it I had to blow out another terrifying candle.

Kind of a little known fact: I'm scared of fire.  I fell into a campfire as a child and have the scars to prove it.  Ever since then... well, I have been known to blow out decorative candles in others' homes...  Birthdays in China are not good for pyro-phobes.

That's the candle I had to blow out twice.  It does not go on top of the cake (we learned that the hard way).  You do not light those little candles... We didn't know that, and neither did the forty Chinese people at my birthday party.  Instead you light the red dot, it explodes and lights the little candles, the flower then sings the birthday song repeatedly while blooming.

I mostly just stood there saying, "Can I blow it out now?  Can I please blow it out now?"

Eventually they let me blow out the candle (after we melted the plastic), but before I could enjoy the cake I needed some smashed in my face... It was Amber's idea, but she knows better.  Jori did the honors.

One of our friends invited us out to dinner with two of her male friends who "wanted to practice their English."  I think that really just meant they wanted to buy dinner for two American girls.  The food was good, though!

Apparently in China for birthdays you're given a bowl of noodles and you have to slurp the noodles for as long a you can (and as loud as you can).  The longer you slurp, the longer you're going to live.  Really, I think the longer you slurp, the sooner you're going to die because you choke. 

But when in China, do it the Chinese way... so I slurped my noodle (and almost choked).  The guys said slurped for a long time, so I'll take their word for it.  Yes, Amber got video.  But that's going to have to be a facebook special because... well... I want a job one day.

After team devotions, I used Curt's computer to call my parents, and we talked for our classic seven minutes.  ;-)

It definitely was a birthday unlike any other!  I'm so grateful for my friends who made it happen!
<>< Katie