Keel Kalm...

Keel Kalm and Carry On is a wonderful motto, or at least the Chinese think so. We haven't even been here a week and we have been so blessed to see so many things that are incorrectly translated into english. My personal favorite is a giant quote in one of our classrooms that says: "the devil is in the details, every good deed makes a thing". I am sure we will see many more of these misquotations and I will assuredly share the good ones. So we have been in planet China for 4 days now and we are still loving it! Amanda is constantly doing ten things at once and handling it very gracefully, she has 15 of us hoodlums to manage and she is doing great. speaking of madness and chaos we taught our classes for the first time yesterday and my heavens was it a rude awakening. We had kids running to and fro, I had a kid spit milk on me and lick me, needless to say it was a bit overwhelming. Amanda continually reassured us it would get much much better and today that already proved evident. We all gaged our teaching in a slightly different direction and worked a little bit harder, that and Amanda's pep talk helped us all have a teaching day today that was better even a hundred fold. It was really great and I already like my kids a lot! They are little either terrors or cuteness and they do the weirdest things I cant help but like them. Plus some of them have cool names like Link, Gaga, Elvis, Haro, and Amy 2. So teaching is definitely something that will take getting used to but I know we can all do it and learn to love it! Aside from that we have just been exploring our town a bit and shopping a bit. It is amazing how cheap we can get things here. We love to get dumplings at a little shop where they give you a little cup of peanut butter to dip them in. It will change your life. They are unbelievable good and it is 4 yuan for a pan of 8-10 dumplings which is roughly fifty cents. It is really cool to eat for cheap and I know when I get home and I am paying 8 bucks for food I will feel robbed. But I will enjoy it while I can I already bought a 1 dollar rubic's cube and I foresee a blender and a remote control helicopter in the foreseeable future. So keep checking our blog for the updates of our crazy purchases as well as our crazy teaching adventures! We love you all keep it classy and keep it positive until next time!

What a good motto

They do this in between our classes so we just sit and watch.

a delicious breakfast!



We are Home…In China!

Amanda and I have finally made it to our apartment in Zhongshan, China! Our trip here was an amazing fiasco in itself since we were traveling as a group of 51 teachers. Amanda and I along with the other 4 head teachers sort of took the lead of the entire group and helped everyone get to where we were going. Our whole group was overwhelmingly awesome and positive and we didnt lose anybody. We had an overnight layover in Seoul, Korea which was really nice because we stayed in a very fancy hotel. When we arose the next morning we had a quick buffet breakfast and than hurried to the airport. We had over a hundred pieces of luggage as a whole so loading up our luggage and transporting it long distance proved to be quite the conundrum. But alas we were able to load up and get to our flight on time! It was really cool in Korea all the people were extremely nice and welcoming and they all bow to you which makes you feel like royalty. Our flight from Korea to Guangzhou which was about 3 hours, once we arrived there we met with some ILP people (our native coordinators) and walked our luggage all around the airport to load it onto busses. When we arrived at our bus we were informed we would have to load our luggage onto the bus and then me and the 6 other guys would have to go unload our luggage onto a truck that was outside of the airport (the truck wasn't allowed into the airport for some unknown reason). But when we started loading luggage onto the bus the driver began yelling in chinese and arguing with our coordinators and it all went down in front of me and it was awesome. Eventually they declared that we would leave our luggage in this parking lot and all load onto a bus and go to our school and our luggage would be brought to us later. The bus ride was great, we got to see a lot of China because it took a few hours to get to our school but it was fun to mingle with all the excited teachers and overtime the bus came inches from smashing a family of four all packed onto a moped but the family wouldn't even flinch so we assumed that was a common occurrence. So after the sweet bus ride we arrived in our city and it is BEAUTIFUL!  It feels like a vacation! The city is a richer city and so its very clean and just great. We have explored a bit but we haven't even scratched the surface. Today we rode the bus to a market that was a nice little grocery store. We will probably visit this place often because its cheap and has a lot of stuff that we wanted to try including chicken feet! So that is our time so far it has been beyond great! Our group could not be cooler we all get along and everyone is happy and fun. We are assured to have adventures a plenty and therefore we hope to fill the blog with oodles and oodles of stories so keep checking back! We love you, keep it positive, and we will see you later!

A giant wing sticking out of our plane to Korea

We were racing MaryAnn and Amanda at the airport and MA decided to do a belly first penguin slide to show off to all the innocent bystanders it was the funniest thing I have ever seen.

Our cute kitchen in china!

Our school (taken from the roof of our apartment building) Its very nice and it was cool outdoor workout equipment.

Photos from Prestons early surprise birthday/going away bash

Here are some fun shots from the early-surprise-birthday-slash-going-away-shin-dig
Tizzy, our sister-wife
Asian Joe!
The great and wonderful Melissa & Ben
The original goons - E'an, Smell and Brando

Nate telling us not to get lost, and stuff
Cousins - Corey (bad a) and Keva (sweet a)
Cousins James and Hina
Grandma and Grandpa Sharpe - great grandparents and landlords!
Nipples-McGee and his sidekick Happy
Bronson, Chels, Unicorn, Dev, Kelsi and baby Maci (who was born March 7!)
Super sad Z 
Momma throwing party!

The gang from the Orem hood - Justin, Kinley, Berkleigh, Mckall, Sour Preston, Amanda, Demi and Parker
I spy a creeper
Presto and Mama Maurnie 
Our sweet baby sue, Alyssa Danielle! 
Being Cute?
All the Tillotson Siblings!
Zac, Amber, Jake, Taylor and Ty

Notice: How Preston does nothing to help me and my poor little brother (who collapsed under my weight, apparently)

Melissa & Ben who so graciously delighted us with the sweet sounds of their voices singing The Right One Came by the civil wars (since Preston first heard this song he has said that Ben and Melissa need to cover it - they have their own little band and make lovely tunes together) 
Taylor and Ty spanzin' it up
The one and onlys: Tiz and Joe!
Sister wives together for one last time
Alyssa and her adopted sister creep Taylor
Practicing our China faces 
one Alyssa knocked off a couch!

Thanks to everyone who came and for all the help in preparing everything!!

xoxox amanda


Hello from Korea!

It's been a few days since our last post.. We know you are all dying to hear from us?!
Well. It's been a busy past couple of days. Monday, Presidents day, we celebrated by packing. Tuesday night I threw a surprise EARLY birthday party for Presto, and I must say, he was completely surprised. Wednesday we packed up our house and hit up an awesome sushi night/last 'American' dinner with some friends. Thursday we got to the airport at 6am to fly from Salt Lake to Seattle, and from there boarded a short 11.5 hour flight to Seoul, Korea where we got put up for the night in a really nice Best Western - dinner and breakfast included, booya (<who even says that?)!!!

So now, it is Saturday, about 5:15 am, but to my traveled body it still feels like 1:15 PM, on Friday! Jeeshe, time travel kind of messes with you! Both Preston and I tried to stay up the whole flight from Seattle to Korea so when we arrived at our hotel we would be able to sleep. Fortunately, Korean air is an amazing airline that supplied us with tons of movies, 2 meals - plus snacks, and a good amount of leg room. 

Oh boy. Did I mention there are roughly 50 ILP teachers on our same itinerary? Talk about a party! I have got to say it but I believe this is collectively the most awesome group ILP has out here in the big old world! Everyone is super friendly, I have noticed that most everyone has made the effort to get to know everyone else - even if they're not assigned to the same school. Everyone has been very patient too which is a luxury/necessity, patience is a must while traveling, especially internationally! 

Since I don't have much time (we need our bags down in the lobby in thirty minutes, breakfast is at 6, our bus leaves to take us back to the airport at 6:30 sharp), I will elaborate on Prestons pa-pa-party and other events, like WHY we are moving to China in the first place, after we get settled in Zhongshan.

Wish us luck!

xoxox Amanda + Preston  


belated - day o' love

Oh valentines day, how great are you?
V-day is the one day of the year that I will wear a pink button up with a red jacket.
Call me a walking valentine!

I feel like this whole week was a big fat valentines day date!
Preston took me out to redeem one of our many coldstone gift cards earlier this week. I was oh-soooo pleased with my selection: Peanut butter & oatmeal cookie batter with pecans. Random, right? And OH-SO delicious!
This is how much i loved it^

We went to our V-day dinner on the 13th to The Blue Iguana in Salt lake followed by a little bit of shopping for China; a few t-shirts, an earphone splitter, and little book called Chinese Slanguage - that. is. AWESOME! It is pretty much a book for very visual people who literally like things spelled out for them. It takes a phrase or word in mandarin and spells it out just how is sounds. For example if you are learning 'How are you' - which is ni hao ma, in the book it shows the way to say it as 'knee how ma'. Perfect for picking up basic words and phrases.

Anyway! Valentines day morning before I left for work Presto made me a yummy breakfast of buckwheat porridge and toast (he makes me breakfast every morning, I am a very spoiled girl). After work I met Preston in Orem for a surprise lunch at The Chocolate, where we had a very nutritious meal (which is no less than what you would expect from a cafe called THE Chocolate):
Cazookie! A giant fresh baked cookie with one giant scoop of vanilla ice cream on top

From there I kissed my boy 'ttfn', since now he was now the one off to work, and I returned home to find another surprise..
A clean house, with clean kitchen floors, freshly vacuumed carpet, an empty sink and a table decorated with the cutest things
'Let's have an Adventure' - our life motto! Lovely flowers, dried mangos (one of my favorite all-nat treats), Blackberries (my favorite kind of berry), WHITE BEAN HUMMUS from Trader Joes (best hummus ever!), and delicious chip boats to carry the precious hummus cargo from the dish to my mouth! Oh, and a few kisses (he said he purposely went more healthy on my v-day 'treats' because he knew we were in for a sugary lunch.. what he doesn't realize is I could've easily handled my weight in chocolate)!
This guy truly knows the way to my heart, food, flowers and adventures. 

On a side note or two, 
Preston fixed his favorite little 35mm camera all by himself even after a 'camera fix-it man' told him that he could fix it for a cost ($90!?) and confidently told Preston that that camera wasn't worth it. Presto loves that little camera and it takes some really nice shots so of course he didn't give up and with that mechanical brain of his he carefully took it apart, and fixed the problem in all about.. 10 minutes.
The self-timer was jammed on our little Olympus friend - but no worries, Preston fixed him up, good as new!
and on a side note of a side note, we leave this Thursday!
Now, look how cute this guy is!

xoxox amanda


Saturday night dates

While Presto was off on a hockey date with Tizzy Saturday night, I was having my own date with my girls from China!
All seven of us have our own crazy lives and yet we still manage to make time to get together, to catch up and to laugh about the fun times, the crazy times, and the grumpy times. My favorite part about this get together were the "China Confessions". It started when Maizy admitted to stealing a spoonful of Brookes Nutella once a week, which is hilarious because we all coveted that Nutella and any other American treat someone else had that we didn't. Oh, the stinginess we all experienced at one point or another! My confession was more of an apology for being so selfish with my pictures. I took hundreds (too many) a week and was so selective on which ones I would share with the girls! I literally had anxiety about sharing my photos thinking, this is my art - I captured this which is, so silly. Even better is that we discussed how a certain three or four of us would all take the same picture of the same rock/tree/building/bike/person secretly trying to 'one up' the others. Between the seven of us, I think we have literally 35,000 photos. Yikes!
Anyway, it was a fantastic night that was fun, laughter, and crepe filled. That's right, two batches of crepe batter were cooked up, rolled up and consumed that night because well, that was one of our favorite and most constant desserts in China (thank goodness for a dessert that is essentially milk, eggs, flour and sugar)!
During dessert we had a good old fashion stick up in the Smith home. Demi sabotaged our date by inviting one of her large man-friends to burst into the house masked with a 'gun' in hand. Maizy practically launched her self under the table while the rest of us weren't quite sure how to react. Let's be honest, if it was a real mad man, offering him a delicious nutella and banana crepe would have fixed everything. This happened before Brooke (who worked until nine) arrived, so we invited them to come back and pull the prank again except this time we were all in but poor Brookel! It was great. Maybe I can track down the video footage (:

Here we are in Shanghai 2010

(Click here for more photos from China 2010)

Here we are in my little kitchen, the same awesome group of girls, different hair (:
Jessie, Cait, Brooke, Demi, Ashley, Maizy, Me

xoxo Amanda Smith


Just start playing hockey!

So It was our plan to post on our blog daily and after 3 successful days we missed a day…but we are not giving up! Yesterday amanda had a date with all of the china girls and I went on a date with our good friend tizzy. We went to a grizzlies hockey game with some friends and holy crap was that awesome! The instant when we walked in, two players were fist fighting and they had to come scrape blood off the ice and then the game resumed as if nothing had happened! Hockey just moved up my list of favorite sports which is not hard to do because photography and inventing aren't really sports. But it was a blast and I recommend it to everyone there's just something special about screaming at a bunch of guys on ice I don't know what it is? That was very neat and today amanda and I created some indian Naan for a dinner at her cousins and it turned out pretty tasty If I do say so myself; all of the food was awesome and it reminded me of how much I love curry. It was fun to hang out with her cousins we really want to take them on some cool hikes this summer because they are all from out of state and don't have any clue what kind of sweet hikes Utah has to offer so we are incredibly excited to take great people on great hikes. So This is todays post, not the most exciting jumble of words but at least its not just a jumble of words? Keep it classy everyone and stay positive! love the Smiths
Game Goers

way into hockey

literally scraping blood!