Saturday, March 31, 2007

Coming Soon...

I realize that the last post left y'all hanging a bit, so I'll try to make up for my virtual silence over the next few days! My week has definately not been quiet - this has been THE most eventful week thus far. I will have to report on every single day... but I don't have time right now. : ) Prepare for a blogging torrent tomorrow - I am off to celebrate Passover Sader with a Messianic Jewish family this evening!

- Nathan

Monday, March 05, 2007

Coming Home?

On Friday, the Employee relations guy called me into his office and gave me an ROF notice (ROF stands for Reduction of Force.) This means that my contract was being cut short – because rebar is almost done, not because I am a poor worker – and I would be returning home 45 days after recieving the notice. Now there are three dates at work here: my end of contract date (EOC), my 330 days tax exemption milestone (330), and my ROF date. My ROF was set for April 14th, My 330 is May 10th, and my original EOC is June 15th. Going home before my 330 would disqualify me for the overseas tax exemption (which is bad,) but I would get to go home much earlier than originally planned, (which is good.)

So on Saturday evening I got to call the fam and tell them that I was coming home in April, exciting, huh? However, today my superintendent (my boss’ boss) told me that they ROF’d me without his knowing and he managed to get it reversed because he wanted to keep me around, so I would definately make it all the way until my EOC. I had just gotten kinda excited about going home, and now I have to stay in China again! See what I get for being such a dependable worker? So now I have to call mom tonight and tell her to scratch all of the vacation and study abroad plans we had come up with two nights ago – I’m going to stay in China! (Maybe.) Which, after all, isn’t really that bad – I do make a lot more money this way, I get to learn a new trade, and I have more time now to invest in what I wanted to accomplish before I leave here. Haven’t really learned much Chinese yet...

I’m still having fun in the Far East, and still making the most of every moment! See you... well, I don’t know when, but sometime!

It’s (Still...) Chinese New Year!

Ok, so these are pictures taken of the lantern festival, which is the last stage of the Chinese New Year celebration, which is now well into its third week. Fireworks are still going off! But I think that last night was the grand finale (we’ll see tonight.) I went to the festival with Matt, from work, and my old Chinese teacher, who is his new Chinese teacher! The lantern festival, in theory, would have been a really fun time, but winds were gusting around 40 miles an hour, and it was sooo cooold!!! We did have fun, but it was a kind of hurried fun. We walked briskly through the sights, took some good pictures, and then went to Peter’s Tex-Mex for dinner and hot chocolate. Here are the results of my trip to the lantern festival. Brrrr!!!

Let it Snow!

I’ve told you before that Beijing is a crazy place... December and January were freezxing cold and very dry, but February was really pretty decent weather. Then Saturday was somewhat warm and rainy all day and in the evening a freak cold front moved through and turned all of that rain into snow! The snow fell all night and through Sunday morning. I had the second, and biggest, snowball fight of my life in front of the church yesterday! I’d like to think I gave better than I got, but this Houston Texan is about as good in a snowball fight as he is at any other winter sport.

So our first real snow finally came in March. It’s still on the ground in most places, but some of it has melted away. I discovered that working in the snow is much more fun than in the rain, but working in the sun when it is 90 degrees outside is best of all!

Enjoy the pictures! Some are taken in the park across from my hotel, and some are taken of a Chinese neighborhood I rode my bike through on my way to church. The Chinese kids are my favorite – some are bundled up so tight it looks like they can barely move!