Friday, December 9, 2016

Meanwhile, back at home...

I love getting random pictures from home while I'm traveling. There's almost always one from Buffalo Wild Wings!!

And it was Spirit Week while I was gone too. I think it was '70s day for Nolan, maybe?

Ava had crazy mixed up day. She wore it well!

And Abby... had homecoming. I can't believe she had homecoming! I was a bit sad to have missed it, but thanks to some heroics from my mom, picking her up from volleyball, and Wendy and Miranda, doing hair and make-up and driving her to one friend's house and picking her up from another, I knew she was in good hands. So cliche... but she's getting so grown up! We went a few weeks before to get her dress with Wendy and Miranda. Abby was not so excited about trying on a million dresses. We went into a dress store, and there were about 50 people in line just to try them on. Abby took one look at them, looked at me, and said she couldn't do it. I told her it would be ok. We picked out dresses, I stood in line, and Wendy took her to get a soda. She was in much better spirits when she got back. We waited about an hour, she tried on about 10 dresses, and when she put this one on we knew it was it. She loved it and came out and said "This is the one!" I was happy we found it!

Her posse. All such good kids.

My favorite!!

Miss Miranda... so thankful for her! I do think it's funny to see Miranda's pose (which isn't a pose, it's simply her natural way) and Abby's not so posed.

Beautimus. :)

The Orient

I try, I really do! I put these pictures in a blog post draft immediately, before leaving Asia, but then they got lost in life. But tonight I'm sitting here, and I don't have work tomorrow (yay!) and I thought I might as well go back and see if I can't finish them. Here goes... no promises!

First of all, this is in the hotel closet. A fire escape hood. Really??

I left for China on a Saturday. I was supposed to leave at 8:30 am, but my flight was delayed. So instead I left at 3. HOW NICE! I didn't know I would have the extra time, so I had everything all ready. When I found out I was delayed, I went to get a pedicure (important!), and then went to the high school where Abby, Dave and Ava were working at a volleyball tournament. So nice to get to hang out with them, go to lunch, and then be all ready to go.

I got on the plane, was getting all my stuff in order, and then someone else from Kohler got on too. I knew him vaguely, and it turned out he was sitting right next to me. Ugh! The last thing I want to do is to worry about if I'm snoring or taking up too many seats. But whatever, it was fine. I slept, we arrived, I rode with him and a few others to a hotel, and it was good. And then... some panic sets it. I got there on Sunday night and the plan was to go to The Great Wall on Monday. By myself. Yikes! I knew it was the plan because I created the plan, but I was still a bit worried and thought maybe I shouldn't go. I got up in the morning, had breakfast, took a deep breath and went and found my driver. And went to the Great Wall...

The driver understood no English, so when he dropped me off and told me he'd pick me up in two hours, I said no! I knew it wouldn't be long enough. So then he called Zoe, my contact at the Kohler Beijing office, asked her what time, she talked to me and I told her, and then I handed the phone back to her and she told him. It's a way to communicate! He did give me his umbrella though, which I was very grateful for.
But first, toilet options. Squat Toilet?
Or Potty Toilet?
Potty toilet, please!!

I drove through some mountains and some little towns, and then walked through a little area that was clearly set up only for tourism, purchased tickets, took a bus, went up a chair lift and got out and then... holy cats. It was The Great Wall. I was at The Great Wall. I mean, THE GREAT WALL!! Me!! Who would've thought? It was truly a "I can't believe I'm actually here" moment. Truly amazing. But see those stairs that go up the mountain? Ugh. If you've ever seen Kung Fu Panda, you know he's so right... Why does this country have to have so many stairs?!? When I reached the top I was exhausted. But I didn't feel bad because everyone else was exhausted too. I was glad I was there early, too. Very few people when I started out. By the time I was done, I could barely make my way through.


These girls were from Taiwan. They were walking either right in front or right behind me the entire time. We were joking back and forth, and finally they asked where I was from. They seemed surprised I was from the US, and I was surprised they weren't from China! They wanted to take my picture... I get this a lot. I'm the very tall, very white, blue eyed girl.

So beautiful...

That was Monday. The next day I headed to the Kohler plant for a Quality Manager conference. This was the real reason I was in China. I was presenting Change Management to about 50 Chinese Quality Managers. I won't lie... as much as I was a bit panicked about going to The Great Wall by myself, I was equally panicked to do this presentation. I know the content no problem, but I don't know Chinese. And all of my slides had to be translated, and I couldn't really go off my slides because the level of English understanding varied significantly. It ended up going very well, but was certainly challenging.

The group I presented to. For 3.5 hours.

Random... but this sign was in the bathroom at the airport. What the heck does it mean? Why does the toilet paper have stick legs??

The snacks... some the same and some different from what I would have in the US.

And I just had to take a picture of this... and actual Chinese buffet! :)

Chicken nuggets... Abby should've been there!

A green orange? How is that even possible? It was really good though.

My dinner companions...

Whole faces come to your table! I'd prefer the fish face to the chicken feet, though!

It's custom for people to go to other tables, say a cheer, and everyone take a drink. It didn't take long for a lot of table visiting, a lot of cheer, and a lot of drinks!

I liked the decorations. And, I think it's interesting that their red lights count down. So do their green lights. You always know exactly how long until the light changes.

At the airport. I love that there's a comfort zone.

And my FAVORITE Starbucks drink ever... Iced Honey Ruby Grapefruit Black Tea. Delicious!!

Again, a sign in the bathroom. No kidding!!
And another one. I have no idea. The heart warming toilet may make you feel relieved, secure and comfortable? Really??

I found the Comfort Zone at the Hong Kong airport! See that guy on the left? He was snoring. Loudly. I was dying laughing. I recorded it and sent it to my friend Wendy and we were laughing together.

Food on the airplane... Hmmm...

That looks icky. But I did try it. It was ok. It was like a cinnamon sugar paste in there.

But this? Nope. I tried that too. Nearly gagged.

Another exciting trip on the books! From Beijing through Hong Kong to India. I arrived, my bags did not...