The Huadong Winery: A European Escape in Qingdao

At the start of the month, Zachary and I took Catherine and Justin to Qingdao's Huadong Winery for Justin's birthday present. Justin is a quality time lover so we knew a day out all together would be the perfect birthday present for him. Zachary and I had visited the winery once before, while living in Dongying, and loved it. We knew Justin and Catherine, having just gotten married at a winery 6 months before, would appreciate it as much as we did. 
We were so excited to return. We went 2 years ago and you could tell that the staff were very excited with all the awesome improvements and changes that had taken place with their wine though it tasted just as good as before to us. Huadong wine is our favorite Chinese wine and one of the only wine's we do buy in China. We love the taste and love that it's local. 
The Huadong Winery was the first European Style Chatteu built in China. It's gorgeous. While we were there we truly forgot we were in China. The surroundings are stunning. Lao Mountain fills the Chateau's backdrop and it's lawn is filled with flowers and grape vines.
A wine tasting is included in the 50 yuan per person ticket. Which of course is always fun. Of course it would be more fun if it were free, just saying. ;) We enjoyed a white and a red in the Chateau's sun room.
The Winery was founded in 1985 by an Englishman, Michael Parry. The staff here are so proud of Michael Parry and affectionately refer to him as their "father."
Roses lined the property and bordered the grape vines to aid in pollination. Can you see the bumble bee inside this pink rose? 
After our wine tasting we roamed the property. There were tons of  ponds, fountains, statues, small lakes, orchards and tons of sculpted tables and chairs through out the property as places to sit and take in the surroundings.
Black Swans. Can you an vaguely see a turtle to the right of the third swan? He was a brave guy. They were all so eager for food!
There's that turtle again, swimming in between the two.

Catherine. :)
Roses. :)
This is what happens when Zachary and I try to take a picture together with our 30 mm. :)
That's better. :) 
Grapes hanging. They were delicious! Thankfully Catherine and I have some tall husbands who jumped up and grabbed them for us to taste. :) They then had grape races to see who's grape could roll the fastest. They're awesome. 
Justin and Catherine stopping to take a picture together. Cute. 
Just making music. 
The birthday boys goofing around.
A man among barrels. 
Couples' shots. 
Catherine and I are super mature, so we insisted Zachary take pictures of us with these booby-fied sculptures. I think Catherine is a tour guide and I'm a grape eating statue in this one.
Justin posing while feeding Catherine grapes, on a bull, in a vineyard. Totally normal. Just the hard life in China.
All of Us.

After we roamed around the beautiful property, we opened a few bottles of wine and had a picnic at one of the outdoor tables. We had such a good time! We love these two and so enjoyed a restful day with them. Thank you Lord for making such amazing people, good wine and beautiful scenery! 
You are worthy of all praise. 

Our day most definitely ended in cartwheels. And I will most definitely have to show you those as soon as I figure out how to make GIF's. :) Any help?


Don't Look into the Mirror: Chinese Urban Legends

Today, I have another Chinese Urban Legend for you! Or rather The Red Star has another for you. Get ready, because combing your hair at midnight will never be the same for you again. ;)
picture base: via
"Here's another spooky one, picture this one ladies; it's late at night, you're brushing your hair in front of the mirror, because well face it-you're vain. And as you watch yourself stroke your hair, your mirror self smiles and jumps through the mirror into your mouth and begins to control you. This superistition is based upon another idea that if you comb your hair in front of the mirror at midnight a ghost will possess your body. If the mirror is in front of a window or door, the ghost will enter in through the reflection of the door in the mirror.
Another variation of this myth is that if you peel an apple in front of a mirror at night in one solid piece without breaking it, you can summon a ghost. When the ghost is summoned it will answer any questions you have, but there is usually a downside or something you have to do for it. If you don't do something for the ghost, then maybe it will haunt you forever or try to possess your body. Ghosts are serious loan sharks; you don't want to end up in the pocket of one." -The RedStar October, 2013 issue

People, really, don't peel your apple in front of the mirror at midnight, especially if you're an apple pealing pro. Really. Just don't! Ha! Who does that?! It must be a  common Chinese thing to do, peeling apples in the middle of the night. Also, all you Marsha Brady's out there, if you're going to brush you're hair in front of the mirror, please do it at 11:30, 11:45, 12:15, any time really, other than midnight. Actually, just to be safe, just stay away from mirrors, hair brushes/combs and apples all together. Better safe than sorry. ;)

Again, Abigail, said she grew up being told by her mother and friends to not stand in front of the mirror at midnight, especially not combing her hair.


Social Norms in China

Today, I'm going to share with you 5 social norms in China. Trust me there are a gazillion more I could write about, but we'll start with 5 today.
**Also, as a side note, please forgive the random font that pops up in those post. I have tried for the life of me to fix it and I just can't. This post insists on being font rebellious! It's infuriating. :) But anyways...***
1. So much noise! It is completely, 100% normal here in China, for people to turn their cell phone/computer volume up on high while playing a game or watching a show. No matter where they are. Currently, I'm sitting in Starbucks, which is peaceful and quiet. It resembles an American Starbucks in every way. Except for the guy sitting in the chairs across from me who is playing some kind of coin, gambling game, with the volume up allllll the way up. I have my head phones in and I can still hear it. Public transportation is a good place to view this phenomenon. There is always, always someone shouting to their friend through their speaker phone, playing a game, or carrying their phone around like its a boom box with the volume on high, for all to enjoy. Im quite certain that if they did this in the States they would get the finger. There's no rules about disturbing the peace here. 

2. More noise! Which brings me to my second point. It is totally normal and maybe even encouraged to pop fireworks and hire a drum line to play in the middle of a sleeping apartment complex at 6:00 am. 

3. Napping anywhere and everywhere. Yesterday, to add to our list of places we've seen people napping (i.e. one leg on their motor bike, head on the curb, stretched across an entire sidewalk, and so on) Zachary saw a guy sleeping on a giant steel coil. That's comfortable. 

4. Pooping and peeing on the streets. This is probably one of the most erksome of social norms here. Pretty much on the daily I see some taxi driver turning around from a tree, mid zip up, walking back to his car that he just pulled over in order to pee. Children pee (and sometimes poop) every where. The awkward part is when they get up in the 8's and 9's and are still doing it, flashing their goods for all to see. And the even more awkward part is how the parents, grandparents, whomever, hold the kids in order for them to pee. It's really strange guys. They put the kids knees to their chest, and hold them up by holding their knees, so their in a weird hovering squat position, with their "birdsandbees"facing out instead of down. Idont know if that makes any sense. I would show you a picture, but well, I think that would be illegal, and my conscious really can't bear to take that pic. It's weird people. Real weird.

(please help! I have no idea why the above font is like that! And I can't change it!)

5. Burping and farting. These are just everyday, no big deal occurrences. Today, I was at a women's conference and the Chinese women next to me let out a huge belch, and nobody even flinched. This week one of my students let out a huge fart, 3 times in a row. And like the rumbling kind. Like thunder. And no one said anything .He didn't called fart monster or smelly pants or anything terrible that he'd be called in the States. No body even laughed. I chuckled, until I looked around and saw that no one else was, and realized that I was more immature than my entire class of 7 year olds.


A Mustache Party

September 28th was Zachary's 27th birthday and it just so happen that one of our favorite restaurants was having a Viva La Mexico night that day! What better way to celebrate a Texans birthday than with  delicious Mexican food and margaritas? There's no better way. That's the answer. 
Since Justin's birthday was the day before, and they're some of our BFF's, Justin and Catherine came with. 
 And, as a bonus, our awesome new friends, Trent and Angie, were there, too!
 Our night included margaritas, tons of Mexican food, and lots of laughs!
There is something about putting on a mustache that just changes people. With the 'staches on suddenly we were at the front door greeting people as they walked in, dancing with them as they walked by, salsa-ing and speaking in funny accents. Who needs alcohol when you have a mustache?!
 Don't let the margaritas' in hand full you, this was all mustache induced.
"I must say as a woman you put on a mustache and you find out alot of things about yourself." Carrie Brownstein. 
So true Carrie. So true. You know what Catherine and I found out about ourselves? We're heck-a confident & super sexy with mustaches on. These mustaches were a revelation to us! We were super confident to go up and talk to anyone at the restaurant. And we did! Not to mention, it gave us confidence to freeze with creepy looks on every time a couple or man walked by us at the restaurant. Why? Because it was hilarious. And fun! And our own personal inside-joke.


We had such a great time and highly recommend having a mustache theme for your next party! It rocks. :)

I'd love to stick around but I really 'mustache! :)
 will say, as a woman, when yo

t a mustache on, you find out a lot of things about yourself.
Carrie Brownstein
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/mustache.html#kAsRazmRluhKJ3Hg.99
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