Tuesday, September 10, 2013

China via Taiwan - Another Journey

It's been a few weeks since I've posted, but I'm glad to be back! Can you believe it?!! I'm in CHINA!! I've been waiting forEVER to get here, and here it is! These pics are actually mostly from Taiwan. 

Phina and I together on a moped (yes, she, a small Taiwanese girl, drove me, a big fat American man, on the back of a smallish moped through Gaoxiong in the south of Taiwan) :P.

Another of me and Phina in Hualian, which is Eastern Taiwan and is known for being absolutely gorgeous, and it was.

There's also a pic of Phina's family and I. Phina is taking the picture. I'll describe in a sec~ 

The last pic is my buddy Eric and I in front of the South gate to Nanjing University in Nanjing, China.

Well, I'm here! It took a lot of time and a lot of money, but I'm here, and I'll make it to December most likely ;P I'll be quick this post, because I have a lot of homework.
I got to Taiwan without a problem and proceeded to visit my mission and meet my girlfriend's parents and family and neighbors. Talk about adventure!!! I had three weeks in Taiwan and I visited all three main cities, and made it to the eastern coast as well. :D Endured and survived two Typhoons and spent every waking hour with my best friend.
Ate a lot of AWESOME food, and managed to not gain a single pound. I'm proud of that :D
One of the most painful days of my life happened on August 31st. I made it to the High Speed Train station and Phina and I stood there for nearly a half hour saying goodbye. We were about to part for the next four months. To us, it feels like it's going to be an eternity. I watched her walk out the station, and I decided that I never want to see her walk away again. That was extremely difficult to watch her walk out that door and have no way of running after her. But we'll be ok! It's good for us! Plus, we have daily contact anyway.
After I got to China, I found my buddy Eric in the motel waiting for me and we proceeded to spend the weekend hunting for an apartment.
We purchased a cell phone, rented an apartment, signed a contract, paid bills, and found our way to the University ALL on our own and ALL in Chinese!! I've never really worked with words like 'megabyte' 'kilowatt' 'degrees of electricity'... we also went and had internet installed in our apartment. The Nanjing Study Abroad program did nothing for us :D we did it all ourselves.
Anyway, that's the deal! I'm here going to class in my second week and we've already gone to see Sun Yat Sen's memorial and the first Ming Dynasty Emperor's tomb. We go to Shanghai this weekend for an LDS district conference. So, the adventure is well on its way.

I promise I will be persistent and consistent, depending on where I am in the country, and I will keep the posts as short as I can.
Miss you all!! Life is good, and I don't want to leave, but I also can't wait to get home to reunite with my ladyfriend and all my college buddies including coworkers. Keep in touch!
I have friends and family managing my Facebook and blog (since I can't use them in China) so feel free to message! My email is kovidude@gmail.com if you feel like directly messaging me.

Love you all!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

First Day In Asia

Sorry! No pictures this post considering I will not be able to until I have my computer hooked up to the interwebs... Anyhow, made it safe and sound after 5 movies and a 2 hour nap- Passed my first Chinese test by getting the taxi to the right place- He got us lost by misreading the address. But I'm here! I'm going to Taibei today to sightseeing and play. I will probably post again once I get to Taizhong and Victoria's home. Love you all! PS- I'm typing on an Android device, I honestly don't know how you Android people survive...Oi! TOTALLY sucks. Bye!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sunshine in the Willows

Long week...
Monday started off great with a nice open sunny day to give me plenty of time to be inside. Lol. It was nice, though, to be able to spend a few hours just watching Battlestar Galactica and eating food (I'm on season 4, by the way, almost done).
Tuesday was a little different because I had split shift at work~ That means I worked from 7AM to 11AM, and 2:30PM to 6:30PM. In between I usually go study Chinese, take a walk, or go to the Temple, but that's when I'm motivated. I was exhausted and had zero motivation to move. So, what did I do? I watched more BSG. After work, however, we did get social and Phina and I headed over to a co-worker/friend's home to party it up with drinks and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes). No worries, it was just chocolate milk, gatorade, sobe...etc. Shot glasses and tumblers included ;P.
On the way over to David's Phina and I were discussing some Gospel points regarding the eternities and eternal marriage. Phina is two years a member, an amazing convert to the church, and has lots of questions about the scriptures. As a returned missionary, I LOVE to answer these questions, and as a serious boyfriend, it's a blast to be able to help the girl I love understand better the gospel I've lived for 22 years on earth. I asked her in a somewhat joking manner if she thought she could "handle" me for eternity. Could she deal with me for that long? Lolz, I thought I was just being funny, but to the spiritual giant/princess/powerful and mighty soul that she is, it really affected her. She did not like that question. She thought I meant a possible breakup after I get back from China if I've changed enough. Obviously I clarified that and we talked more, but it still stressed her out for the rest of the week. Adding on to her existing stress of having a serious boyfriend and studying for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) as well as getting ready to go home to Taiwan for 2 months, while stressing about a couple minor medical issues, and her boyfriend leaving her for four months, and dealing with her roommates, and ......etc. I told Phina that we would both change a lot over the course of life and eternity, and would she be able to handle a crazy guy like me through all that change and learning. She basically stared me down and I know never to ask that question again. Lol.
So Wednesday comes along. Nothing really happened Wednesday other than a small business meeting I had with my old roommates about a videogame we're developing. We spent an hour and a half discussing this and shooting ideas around, and it was extremely productive and got us all super excited. I'm excited too :D My old roommate Bryce came over to my place later that day and we played Far Cry 3 for a little while and then watched BSG and a Korean archery action movie. Super fun! :D
Thursday rolls around and I end up going to the UPC (ELC- English Language Center) on campus to study Chinese for awhile while I waited for Phina to get off work and come study with me. I studied for a little bit and ended up watching more BSG. I went through the entire alphabet with Phina and helped her with every single sound that exists in the English language. THAT was exhausting, but fun, too. We went over to Phina's apartment afterwards and made delicious food and watched another Chinese movie together. Then I went over to my old apartment at the Glenwood and stayed the night with Bryce and Tim.
Friday. Not much to report other than good day at work, a paycheck from my other job, a good lunch at Cubby's in Provo, and a trip home to drop Phina off at my aunt Raquel's for a girls night with my sister Shelby and my cousin Katie, and a hilarious movie with my Dad (The Internship: Vince Vaughn, and Owen Wilson~ unbelievably hilarious).
That about sums up the week. Now, the reason I relayed all that info and wrote a ridiculously long post was to tell you all just how I've felt this week and what I went through. Hard play that keeps you busy can be more exhausting than hard study and business during the school year. Stress and discussion with my girl to add on top of that. I am and was exhausted all week. Now I'm home and ready to go do some work for my Aunt Raquel, and come home tonight after an Asian Mart shopping trip with Phina to watch the fireworks for our town festival, followed by a hopefully peaceful Sunday. All the while, setting goals and making plans for the rest of my summer and China.
Don't worry, I won't have another post this long :P But be forewarned, I type a lot and talk a lot, especially about experiences I'm having abroad, so please just bear with me :D
Sunshine in the Willows: Having hard and stressful experiences that are brand new, and yet finding myself happier than I've been in a long time. Phina and I have had our differences, and will continue to find them, but after everything I love her deeply, and she loves me more than I knew another human being could (besides my family). So... life is good. :D

Sunday, June 2, 2013

So Begins the Start

And so our story begins...
    The time to start blogging has come again~ The reason? I'm going to China.
As of February of this year, I decided to go study abroad in the ancient capital of Nanjing China.
It's quite the undertaking and its taking every single cent I have (plus a lot), but it'll be worth it!
As most of you know, I served my mission in Taiwan speaking Mandarin Chinese. My future career involves work where I will use my language skills, or at least I hope to.
Great Grandma Hill originally offered funds to help me purchase a vehicle for myself. I later asked if I could use those funds for a study abroad opportunity. If I don't take this opportunity, I won't be able to have another chance at getting to China for a long while. I need experience in the country, and this is it!!
This blog will be a record of my preparations for China and throughout my time while I'm there. So, as this being the opening post, I'll post my itinerary first:

August 6: Leave for California to the Guads.

August 11: I leave LAX at 4:30 for Taiwan.

August 30: Arrive in Nanjing China.

September 3: Start classes

December 13: Last day of classes/farewell banquet/overnight train to Hong Kong

December 16: Arrive in Kuala Lumpur then on to Singapore

December 22: Arrive in LA

December 24: Home to SLC

Dates are subject to change, but that's the plan!!!
I can't wait, and I'm scraping the bottom of the boat for every penny I can find, but it's the kind of opportunity that's once-in-a-lifetime.
Stay posted~

ps~ If you don't know already, I am dating Phina Tsai, a beautiful Taiwanese Princess straight from the south end of the island. She speaks Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese, and English. We've been dating for three months. When I return to Taiwan to visit my mission and to see my Taiwanese family, I will spend most of the time with Phina in her home country. We will then spend four months apart while I'm in China and she, at BYU studying English at the ELC. We will reunite in December and go from there. :D