Check out the RRAOO page!

It’s not the easiest thing to find, but definitely not difficult! Just click the hexagon with the three light-colored lines in it. It is on the right side of my site header. Clicking this will open a falling menu with all of my pages’ titles: “Home,” “About,” and “Asia.” “Asia” is the new page.

It told you it wasn’t difficult.

Asia

Click on the link above to go directly there!

Stay tuned for more posts and pages!

高丹玉

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My Home

My house is Japanese styled. It is not full on Japanese, it simply has a few Japanese features, such as shoji screens and the layout. My bedroom used to be a shoji screen. The layout of are home is like a giant U-shape, with a courtyard lying in the center of the property. It has quite a large front yard, with pine needles all over because of the two huge pine trees present. I would not be surprised if these trees are the tallest in the neighborhood. Early on, one of these trees got an upgrade: a swing! It is a simple swing, a not-so comfortable piece of wood and some scratchy rope. But man, was it fun. It can do both back and forth swinging as well a twisting. A handful of years later the other tree got an upgrade: a tree fort! It is not a tree house, because it not actually in the tree, but standing right beside it. It is made out of large pallets, and the structure itself has two floors. My house has lots of plants, both inside and out, and all kinds, too. Some produce food, and some are just to look at.

I bet my mom would say that our house was filled with the noise of my brother walking. We both seem to land heavily on our heels as we walk, and having a shaft between the foundation and floors of our home, aka hollow floors, the noise of walking would be projected and spread farther than usual.

My first memory of my Californian home that I currently live in (even though I am currently in China) is when I was not even living in it. I was somewhere between the age of 3 and 4. My brother had just been born. The people that I remember being there are my mom and my second cousin, Lexi. I sort of remember her parents in this memory as well, but not too much.

The group was visiting the house before we moved in. I do not know if my parents had actually bought the house yet or not. Being 4 years old, that component was not important. All I knew is that it was a big new space, with plenty of room to run and jump.

Lexi and I spot a huge sandbox in the backyard. Lexi grabs my hand, and says something along the lines of, “Come on Ruby! Let’s go play outside!” CRASH! Lexi hits a glass door head first. All I remember after that is her in the car, a big band-aid on her forehead. She wasn’t too happy.

I love my house.

First off, it was conveniently located a house and a width of a street away from my elementary school. Seriously. Sometimes, when I forgot something at home, I would recross the street and get it, still making it to class with plenty of time to spare. My brother and I would also play in the school’s yard after hours. During school hours, it was called “the school.” After hours, my family called it “the park.” Once my family got a dog, my dad took him there every single day. We really appreciated and enjoyed the park having no lock.

Secondly, we have two fish ponds. The biggest one is filled with over two dozen koi fish. The other has more wild types of fish, such as carp, catfish, bluegill, and depending on the time of year, trout. My dad and brother, being quite skilled fishermen, catch these fish and put some of them here.

There are a lot more reasons why I love my California home, but I have to wrap this post up.

But what I will say is that I am proud to call that house, as well as Southern California, my home. As a prospective traveler, I thought that once I start to see the rest of the world, I would say, “the world is my home.” And while that is technically true, I definitely say that SoCal is my home. It has amazing people and food diversity, which I find truly awesome. And my specific location in SoCal, the Inland Empire, every kind of environment is within an arm’s reach.

高丹玉

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Our House.”

1st Slow Pitch Softball Game

Today I played my first slow pitch softball game in China. Or ever. I have played 5 years of fast pitch softball, so everything is very alike. The only thing that I still have yet to get used to is batting. And by the way, they use the same sized softball I am used to playing with. We do not play with a cantaloupe-sized softball like my grandfather used to.

One major difference that I have noticed playing slow pitch here in China is that there is no real strike zone. The only way to tell if a pitch is a ball or a strike is a mat that is located directly behind home plate. If the pitch lands on the mat, strike. Anywhere else, ball. I am not sure if this method is used in the States or not. My other guess is that they do not have a qualified umpire to referee the game. Based on the equipment and conditions these college students work with, I would not be surprised if the latter is true (somebody please inform me of the truth in the comments section).

The arc of the pitch is the factor I am not used to. That is something for me to practice on and improve.

About the conditions: we play ball on an astro turf soccer field. The neighboring university apparently has a baseball/softball field, but not us. The field as fences and nets around the borders, with two games going on at one time, with their outfielders overlapping a bit (softball practice squeezes two more games onto the same field). A majority of the players do not wear cleats, myself included. You can wear what ever pants you like. I, as many others did, wore denim jeans. I chose this apparel because my sweat pants are high waters on me now. But the pair of jeans I did wear were generally loose and allowed me to move freely. Before the game, we warmed up in a field of weeds and foxtail plants (I do not know if there is a more proper term for those plants).

Here is two differences I have found between slow pitch softball in China and what I am used to:

  • A foul ball can be the third strike
  • Not only do runners not slide, but they are not allowed to
  • Instead of exchanging high fives or hand shakes with your opponent at the end of the game, they bow. They also bow to the referee.

As for my performance in the game, it was poor (I did better during practice). I did not get on base once. I batted a total of 3 times, a caught pop-fly, strike out, and thrown out at 1st base. To be fair, the sun was in my eyes while batting. But honestly, that’s just an excuse for me being out of practice of this sport that I truly enjoy. That’s honestly why I play it. It is not to win, but it is to enjoy it. To enjoy learning about it. To enjoy playing it. To enjoy exercising.

The game score was 7-8. The other team won. It was a good 7 inning game.

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Bible Verse of the Day:
All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.
1 John 4:15
Source: Bible.com

高丹玉

Bench Series: October

Here on WordPress, I came across a photo challenge by the blog Travel Words. The author says that they favor taking pictures of benches, and I agreed that benches are indeed interesting. Anybody can access a bench, whether it be high or low income humans, animals, or it can be a temporary place to puts things. The theme the authored assigned to October is any bench with somebody or something sitting on it. You can find more details about the challenge on the Travel Words blog. This is my first photo challenge post ever, but here is my take on it:

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These two photos were taken at 未名湖 (literally ‘No Name’ Lake) at Peking University in Beijing, China.
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It was another very smog-free day in Beijing, and they do not come around often at all, but when they do come, you really have to take advantage of them. I either play sports, ride my bike to new places, or take photographs.

Here is a link to my post that contains the other photos (not involving benches) of this day at 未名湖.

高丹玉

Autumn Has Arrived

The AQI of Beijing was incredibly low once again today so I decided to go out and take photos with my DSLR camera on campus. More specifically, the lake. To me, it’s more like a large pond. But anyway, it was looking good on this great day. The wind was blowing and it was a bit chilly, so I think that deterred some people from coming outside. Which means less people walking into my photos. Here they are:

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Can anybody guess the practical function of that stone fish in the center of the frame? Leave your guess in the comment section!

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With all of this wind and the chillier air that we have for more than a few days, I figure that autumn has arrived. In California, we don’t really have cold weather for very long. As soon as it gets cold, it warms right back up. This winter in Beijing is going to be quite different for me.

You can find 2 more photos from this day on a photo challenge post of mine.

Bible Verse of the Day:
I know the lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
Psalms 16:8 NLT
Source: Bible.com

高丹玉

I think I joined a softball team?

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My lunch: chicken, rice, bok choi, and a fried egg. A flat price of 9 RMB (~$1.50).

I had four hours of class today; 2 hours of Chinese language learning and 2 hours of Chinese Folklore and Culture. After class, I decided no to go straight to lunch because that is what everybody does at 12:00 and it can become incredibly crowded at the cafeteria. So, in the meantime I decided to walk around campus because it is a nice day. It’s a bit windy, but here in China, winds coming from the North blow a lot of the smog away. The AQI today was lower than 50 (as low as 21!), so generally a really great day. I walked around campus, took some pictures with my phone, and checked if any people were playing soccer on the soccer fields I know of. There were more people playing basketball than soccer. 12:30 pm came along and I went to the cafeteria. Sure enough, not as many people. There were still a good amount of students there, but I did not struggle to find a seat.

While returning to my room after lunch, I decided I was going to go out and try to join a pick-up game of soccer. No exceptions. I had to at least try and ask somebody if I could participate. I had to or else I would spend 10 hours during the whole afternoon and evening on my computer. After the decision, I changed into appropriate sporting attire, got some water and headed to campus on my bicycle. I arrive and I stand right outside of the entrance of these two small soccer fields. All of the sports fields I have encountered in China have been astro-turf, aka not real grass, and these Peking University’s fields were no exception. Both fields were being used. One field had 6 people, so I figured they did not need an additional player. The other field had 13; perfect! I could even up the teams. I stood there on the opposite side of the chain link fence for 5 minutes, trying to time when I was going to ask somebody if I could play. I didn’t want to ask when the ball was too close to the goal that I was near and I also didn’t want too many people to hear me. The time to ask finally came.

“我可以参加吗?” (Can I participate?) I said to the goalie. He yelled at somebody across the field, asking if I could. The other guy shouted back some answer.

“_______, 不好意思. 对不起.” (Something that I could not fully understand but he was talking about a team. I am sorry. I am sorry.)

I did not play soccer today.

After I was rejected, I ran around the track 2 times before I remembered that there was another pair of soccer fields on campus. I packed up my things and rode my bike there.

Baseball! Correction; Softball! Yet another correction; Slow pitch softball!

I saw soccer on the other pitch, but when I saw softball, my decision was made. I parked my bike and stood outside of the chain link surrounded fields once again. I was standing by the home plate area. There were a lot of people on the field. Who was I going to ask? My second chance arrived.

“我可以参加吗”? I said. I hoped it was the last time.

“可以啊” she replied. Yes! I was in. I walked around in order enter the field. Two girls approached me, including the one I originally asked. We spoke half Chinese and English. Both of them were perfectly capable of speaking English with me but I just wanted to practice my Chinese. A few other people came over while I briefly introduced myself and they told me things I needed to know about their group and such. At some point, I was going to go to another team, because I told them I was in a certain department, but as soon as I said I had played on the diamond for 6 years, they were happy and did not want to lose me to a different team. One thing lead to another and ended up on first base with a glove on my hand. It is where I belong, really. After a little while, I headed over to home plate and tried batting, which I knew was going to a bit different since I have only played fast pitch. I hit a few balls here and there, but I will still need to work on figuring out what is and is not a strike. More time passed by, and a guy on the team asked me if I wanted to play in a game against the medical department team.

“什么时候?” (When?) I asked.

“现在.” (Now.) He replied. I figured I had no where to go so I agreed to join. The assigned me to first base and the 8th batter position.

4.picDuring the game, I fielded well and batted alright. I was having trouble swinging all the way through, which has always been a problem for me. So my hits did not go very far. I got on base every time I was up to bat except once, when I was thrown out at first base. I never scored at home plate, for I was always on base when the third out occurred.

We played until past 5 pm. After it was all over and wrapped up, I was invited to come eat with some of them. My choices at that point were to either go with them or eat by myself at the cafeteria. I chose them of course. We all rode our bikes to the west side of campus (we were playing on the east), and ate at a non-crowded second floor restaurant. Many topics were discussed, including my interest in buying a set of team jersey, hat, and pants. It will cost a little more than 300 RMB (~$50). I told them I would think about it. I currently still deciding. They also invited me to come play with them this Sunday at 12 pm at what they call Freshman Cup. You apparently do not have to be a college freshman to play, just a newcomer to the team.

I have a selection to make. The first option is to go to this Freshman Cup at 12. The other option is to go to church at 11 am and frisbee at 4 pm, just like my past Sundays have been. I want to go to church and especially frisbee because there are only so many weekends left were it will not be too cold to play, but the same is true for baseball. I make my decision on the point of why I came to China: to learn more Chinese and to bond with Chinese people. There aren’t too many Chinese people at church and frisbee. And besides, I think this Freshman Cup is just a one day event. I don’t think it will carry on to the next few Sundays.

Overall, today did not go how I had expected. I prepared to play soccer, but played softball instead. I am not saying softball is better than baseball, but I was certainly glad when my hand was put in a glove.

Origami I made today in my Chinese folklore class.

Origami I made today in my Chinese folklore class.

Song of the Day:
Stuntman by DANakaDAN

Bible Verse of the Day:
Taste and see that the lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Psalms 34:8
Source: Bible.com

高丹玉

Dry Eyes and Game Night

First day back to class from a week long break and my eyes feel like they have had no rest for 2 days. I figure it is either all of the time I spend looking at a computer screen or today’s windy and dry weather. Probably a combination of both. So, during all four hours of class today, my eyes were quite uncomfortable.

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A classmate of mine invited me to join a board game night with him and his friends at a local cafe. I was told there was majiang and some sort of automated majiang tables, so I was definitely in to go. There was a fee of 25 RMB (人民币) to enter the cafe, but with that price you get unlimited drinks and ice cream. When I arrived, I got a little bowl of chocolate ice cream. It was okay tasting. It was far from being the best chocolate ice cream in the world. I was the second to arrive, while the first was my classmate. We ate our ice cream and set up a game called Catan while we waited for others to arrive. This game is apparently German, but the specific set my classmate has is all in Chinese, which means the instructions and all of the card details were in details. But that was actually no problem for me because my classmate as well as all of his friends knew how to play so they shared their knowledge of the game with me. This process took about 30 minutes. The game is quite extensive and has quite a lot of components. Not my favorite game but it wasn’t horrible, and they really like it so it was completely fine by me. I drank a hot chocolate part way through the game. The game took about an hour and a half to play, which I privately was not too happy with. It was past 9:30 pm when the somebody won (not me but I was just happy it was over) and I mainly came to this game night to play majiang. So I stayed out a tiny bit later than I originally wanted and I did not get to play majiang :/ Also, my eyes did not feel good, as previously explained. I think I will return to this game night, but maybe not every Thursday.

Bible Verse of the Day:
Trust in the lord always,for the lord god is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah 26:4 NLT
Source: Bible.com

It’s getting late here, and of course my eyes feel like resting, so I suppose I should do just that. Goodnight!

高丹玉