Losing Weight in China:Spin Addiction Edition

My precious!!!!

My precious!!!!

This  is  the second installment  of  my weight loss in China series.  Getting healthy is a huge lifestyle change. I had to drastically revamp my old unhealthy habits and swap them out for healthier habits.  So basically I changed one addiction for another in a way.  However I would rather have  an exercise addiction to a food addiction any day of the week! I am more addicted to how amazing exercise makes me feel.  I feel like I am on top of the world! It is  like a natural high. I am definitely a happier person now than I was when I first came  to China two years.

Many people mistake my zest  for exercise as an obsession. “Obsession is the lazy person’s word for dedication.”(I stole that from someone) I post this because, I am excited about the changes that I am making to my body and mind. Of course I get people who chugged a barrel of Hatorade that make negative comments about my weight loss. I am going to state here publicly, that I am in no way anti fat. This is my personal weight loss and health journey and not a pulpit for people to spread their fat acceptance spiel. This is a new trend that is occurring in America and it is spreading some  division in the overweight community. One thing,  that I don’t like is the generalized belief in the fat acceptance community is that overweight people who choose to lose weight have low self esteem and don’t love and accept themselves. Yup, I hear this one a lot. Truth, I was not happy when I was fat because I was plagued with health problems and I was tired,depressed and had no zest for life.  My mom died directly related to her obesity and she was only 56. So my weight loss is a tribute to her and wanting to live a higher quality life.

Weight loss since beginning the gym

Weight loss since beginning the gym

My newest love is spin class. When I first  came  to the gym I couldn’t even last 10 minutes in a spin class. I worked  with my trainer Lucas and was able to complete a spin class. Still though I only took it occasionally. I was more of an elliptical trainer, belly dancing and Zumba girl. Well things changed, I am a spin convert! Spin is easier on my ankle, more fun and I burn more calories. I have noticed that since taking spin my weight loss got kicked up a notch. My legs, booty and stomach are firm and there is less fat. I take spin class about 5 days a week. I like the people in my spin class,  we are like a small community of hardcore enthusiast. They even saved a bike for me when I was running late.

IMG_3894I also took my walking up a notch and recently bought a Xiaomi fitness wristband. It calculates  your steps ,calories and sleep pattern. You can sync it with an app on the phone. The company also has a scale that I am going  to get!!! I have started to take Oreo out for longer walks now and it benefits me and her at the same time. Plus I have many friends who use the same product  so we can compete with each other  to see who has the most steps in a day. This motivates me  to be the best me that I can be.

As of a few days ago I have lost 67 pounds since coming to China!!! I am within spitting distance from my goal. I have about 33 more pounds to go. However this  is  the hardest part of the battle. This is when I have  to dig deep and remember why I am doing this. Jiayou Amber!. My goal is  to climb  that mountain.

My Brickhouse figure is coming back

My Brickhouse figure is coming back

Social Experiment: The Tale of Two Profiles

*note I changed the original picture since somebody decided to make it an issue because I photoshop some pictures to make my skin smoother. Due to lighting and some apps yes that can lighten skin. In no way am I ashamed of my true complexion. So ask a question before you make assumptions that I am ashamed of my skin tone*  
It’s bizarro how I am finding everything about my life a social experiment lately.  It is what fueled me to write my latest blog entry. It is what helps me to keep my sense of humor when I am having one of those infamous Bad China Days. 

The Next topic in my Social experiment series tackles online dating in China.  With online dating your picture is what everyone looks at first. I know if a guy doesn’t have a profile picture, I am less likely to read about him. He could have written something that was a beautiful as a Shakespeare sonnet but no picture no read. I am sure that men are doing the same thing with my profile.

  
Online dating is like being a kid in a candy store, so many choices to choose from but many people are selective in their choices. In a candy store I prefer jellybeans and caramel over black licorice.  It is just a choice. 

Online dating is just like that. My social experiment on this began as an accident. When I first came to China I had an online dating profile with OKCupid. My friend met her boyfriend now fiancé in China using OkCupid. I have had mixed results with this website in the past. So I did it I put up my profile. It has been active for 2 years. In 2 years I have had 14 responses to my profile. Oh and 106 views. Of the responses most of them were black men. The views I had a mix of men but mostly black.

  
 In the first profile I am heavier and there are only face shots. I also am wearing my hair in it’s natural state.  My smile and my words in the profiles remain constant. My age changed though. In China there is a stigma about age so I subtracted some years off my age in the first profile. Also I sent out maybe 4 responses that never got answered. 

Once I moved to Hangzhou after my tragic love life ,I decided to  give love another try.  I decided to open my OKCupid profile again.  Well guess what??? I forgot the password!  So I decided to open up a new account. A new account a fresh start. 

  
This profile was born about 3 months ago. So it is very new. I put up my most recent pictures. Well the response was way different. In 3 months I had about 51 men respond to my ad and over 100 views. These statistics are way better than my older profile. The words are  basically the same. I am still a romantic and still an animal lover.

So what could possibly illicit a difference in response?  There is a saying, ” A picture speaks 1000 words.” So yes image is everything. I think it is the differences in how I look. Many physical variables differ between the two profiles, like 60+ pound weightloss and sessions with my flatiron. Also in some pictures I appear lighter than in others. That is due to lightning and maybe some photoshopping skills. However I have a variety of pictures in both profiles.  Location may have also been a variable. However I was getting responses from different areas than where I live in both profiles so this variable probably is not a great enough factor to change the results of this experiment. Someone mentioned that I am more confident and that comes across in a photo. Maybe …. But I don’t see that as I look over my two profiles. I see the same exact expression.

  
Another thing that I noticed was the type of men that responded to me in both profiles. In the first profile it is mostly black men that respond to me. I would say they are all Africans. Many were very polite in their responses. I don’t often reply using the first profile. I only remember it whenever I get an email alert to a message. 

   
The second profile I get responses from a variety of men representing a variety of races. I guess this profile is more man friendly.  Maybe the overall cuteness factor of ChocolateChickinChina revamped is the answer. Maybe it be an unknown like how many licks does it  take to get to the center of Toostie Roll Tootsie Pop. The world may never know.

Social Experiment: The Superficiality of the Chinese Culture

http://youtu.be/NRbtNxf7Cu8

This is part 1 of an ongoing social experiment that I have been conducting since coming to China.  Since my arrival in China I have noticed an ongoing obsession with appearance. It is worse than in The Western World. In the west at least we have a variety of standards that defines beautiful. Here in China not so much. 

  

Their ideal of beauty is so far fetched that not even the average Chinese woman can attain it. So it creates a system of woman going through any means to reach something that in unattainable unless you get plastic surgery. To them beauty is pale white smooth alabaster skin, big doe eyes , slim body( to the extreme) heart shaped face, pointy chin and long straight dark hair. I don’t know many women that look like that that aren’t anime characters.   

They also view Westerners as beautiful but you have to have white skin. Anything that is white is beautiful to them. They even consider white dogs to be cuter than brown and black dogs! So if you are white and slim you are a god or goddess.  It is their culture and it will not change. It is probably the hardest thing to have to face in an Asian country. I have to look in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful and not a fat ugly monster.

  

  

It isn’t as bad as when I first came to China. With my Afro textured hair, chocolate complexion and full body, I was the antithesis of their ideal of beauty.  The Chinese didn’t know what to make of me. So I was not treated kindly. I was made fun of and laughed at. This really lowered my already low self esteem. So on the outside I was smiling on the inside I was dying.

Then I begin losing weight and I noticed how people changed. People smiled at me more. They approached me more. Then I began changing my hairstyles. When I wore a wig my coworkers told me I was so pretty and all I needed to do was to lose weight because a boy only looks at a good figure. (Cue eye rolls) 

  

After I hated the falseness of wigs I went back to natural hair. I notice that again my collegues distanced themselves. I had one student that was repelled by my natural hair. Oh and I got parents that complained about my hair. I also had a parent say I was too fat to teach her child. I have students call me fat Laoshi. 

  

I decided to get braids. Well this style was different than the Chinese norms. The kids were fascinated by my hair as were my Chinese friends. They thought it was amazing. This is when I had strangers touch my hair.  They thought my hair was cool and fashionable. It was eccentric. I was also losing a lot of weight at the same. So the Chinese people were very nice to me during this phase. 

  

I got another braided style that was curly and I had black and red braids. I loved it. The Chinese didn’t. This is when I was called Hei Gui on many occasions. One of my more verbal students said my hair was ugly. My coworkers just kept glaring at my hair. One had the gall to ask me if I actually like my hair that way.  That  hair was way too much from their  beauty zone. On a side note, Western men loved the big hair and I got some interest from them. So big sexy hair is a turn on for western men. 

  

Next I got a Brazilian Blowout and I will say this. Big humongous difference to how I am treated. This hair looks more like their hair. So I am more accepted. Not viewed as an oddity anymore. I have noticed more Chinese men checking me out. Also my OKCupid ad is getting way more responses by men of all cultures. Once I put up the straight hair pictures my stock level went up. I think the straight hair enhances my features more. I have two OKCupids profiles. One is an older one where I am heavier and with my natural tightly curled hair.  The other is more recent and I am smaller. My old one only gets an occasional response by African men. 

  

My experiment is not fully complete. I have to see how I am treated here once I hit goal weight . My budding  self esteem might have something to do with how I am getting treated as well. When I first came to China, I never took pictures. I hated looking in the mirror so that attitude may have influenced how others saw me. Now I am selfie goddess and like the me looking back at me in the mirror. That attitude maybe attracting people was well.  So this may actually skew the effects of my experiment. 

Even though China is a superficial society it did give me a swift kick up the arse and was the fuel that I needed to make a well needed change in myself.

http://youtu.be/WiMihRqjbcE

Please click on my YouTube videos, they pertain to the post. 

The British are Coming

This blog is all about my closest group of friends in Hangzhou, who I lovingly call The Brits. I can’t begin to explain how loving and funny they all are. They opened up their ranks and accepted this lone American in their fold. There is also a Canadian in our group but he doesn’t come out as often.

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Each of the Brits have their own distinct and lovely personality. I just love their deprecating, dry and sarcastic sense of humor. I find it refreshing. I always have a blast when I hang out with the Brits. So without further ado let me introduce you to the Brits.

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This is Mr. Debonair himself, Sir Ashton, our leader. Ash has a heart of gold and is a good friend, though I worry about his liver. He loves a pint or 20. He is a likable bloke and always organizes us together. He is our king. He drinks so many Long Island Ice Teas that I fear that he may morph into Joey Buttafuco one day( Google that name if you don’t get my joke) Ash is a friend that I met though another friend and he is the one that introduced me to The Brits. He also is a matchmaker and he is trying to find love for me. What a sweetie. Just don’t get him angry.

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Next up we have Sam, the most cynical and funniest in the group. Sam is the music critic and he gave me a thumbs up on my music in my phone. He is a Smiths fan, which I absolutely love. He smokes Marlboro Ice Blast and drinks Tiger beer. He hates music by Michael Jackson, it is like nails on the chalkboard for him. Oh well nobody is perfect.

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This is Big Ben, and my opinion the most mature of the bunch. Ben dresses like the classic English gentleman. He is the classy one and is very well spoken. He actually isn’t a Brit, he is a Welshman. Ben found true love in China. He and his girlfriend are so sweet they give me a toothache.

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Next is Baby Joe, a fresh faced young lad. I like Joe he is very adorable. He has game, I have to say. Within one week of moving to Hangzhou he found a beautiful girlfriend named Laura. They are so utterly adorable together. Joe can be a bit naive and is the butt of every single joke. He is a Liverpoolean and rumored to be the illegitimate grandson of one of The Beatles. If you believe that you are more gullible than Joe.

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The Chicks. The Brits have their Chicks. Their chicks are Chinese. They are Brits by association. We can call them The Chits.

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This is DanLi, girlfriend of Ben. She is uber nice and a chocoholic. No piece
of chocolate is safe around her. She is also a piano teacher. I think she is absolutely beautiful both inside and out. Ben is one lucky boy.

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This is Laura , Joe’s girlfriend. If Maryann( from Gilligan’s Island) and Dorothy( from the Wizard of Oz) had a love child then it would be Laura. Laura is just a sweetie. She is very kind and helpful. I always have such a pleasant conversation with her. She is such a cute and petite lady. Her English is very good. She is an English teacher.

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Helley is no one’s chick! She is single and strong minded. Her drink of choice is ginger ale. We have not fully corrupted her yet. I know many foreign men would love to have a girl like her. Her English is very good. She and I are the single ladies of the group. I would love to set her up but she is content with her life the way it is.

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The Canadian, is the only other non Brit. He is actually a nice guy and a good friend He is fun to be around and makes me laugh. He is a mountain man and loves the outdoors. Johnathan likes to take exploration trips around Hangzhou on his days off. He use to play in a band in Canada.

The are my motley crew of friends. I love them to bits. So cheerio mates.

The Easy Button Doesn’t Exist in China

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I have been on trains before in China and I always kept track of my ticket. However my last trip well, I was careless. At least it broke a writer’s block and I have something useful and informative to post.

I just got back from my vacation. I totally needed some R&R, the summer has been very busy. I went to Wuhan to see my boyfriend( more about that in another post) I was very excited and nervous so when I got my tickets from the ticket window, I slipped them in my passport. Well there was a pushy gentleman behind me and I wanted to get out quickly.

I always put my train tickets in my wallet. I tend boarded the train and used my ticket to Wuhan. 5 hours later I arrived in Wuhan and reunited with my boyfriend. We ate and the I went to my hotel.

I handed the clerk my passport so I could register into the hotel. That is the moment that I believe the chaos began. My boyfriend took me to my room. I was so exhausted that I showered and went straight to bed.

The next morning I decided that , I needed to place my return ticket in my wallet, it was a much safer place. Well much to my amazement , the train ticket was missing. I called my boyfriend and he called the hotel have them check downstairs. There was no ticket. After my Lucky finished work he came to the hotel and the staff looked around again.

Leon called the train station to explain the situation and got the procedures. Guess what it was a lengthy process. There is no such thing as an easy button in Chinese . The Chinese tend to take simple things and make things complicated. It involves bureaucracy and of course a stamp!!!
Step One: Buy a new ticket at the Wuhan train station. They will only print a new ticket if you buy another ticket at full price. Luckily I had a picture of my original ticket( I post my life on social media apps) so I got to keep the same seat. It was a window seat, which are highly coveted in China. Wuhan station could not reimburse my ticket that could only be done in Hangzhou. The new ticket indicated that it was a replacement ticket, Easy button version would be an extra fee for printing up a lost ticket.

Step Two: Find someone wearing a uniform on the train and show them the message that my boyfriend saved on my phone because his silly laowei girlfriend lost her ticket.

Step Three: Find the train boss. In China each train has a manager or 老板. Luckily, the helpful stewardess (is that what they are called on trains?) The boss checked my passport and wrote a receipt and a note and told me to find him 10 minutes before we reached Hangzhou.

Step Four: Search for the train boss. He was in the dining car. He stamped and signed the receipt and took my ticket. He handed me off to someone at Hangzhou train. She also signed the receipt and took me downstairs.

 

 

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Step Five: Go to the ticket window. I can only go to the north ticket window because they are the only ones that deal with foreigners. The line was super long and it was crowded. The line jumpers were in full force today. I thwarted one line jumper from skipping me. I blocked him off. I gave my receipt , passport and ticket to the girl at the ticket counter.

Step Six: Wait for the girl to call her superiors. This had to get explained to someone else over the phone. It took about 10 minutes.

Step Seven: Get my Refund !!!! That was a lot to do for a 300 kuai refund. The girl kept my ticket and the receipts.

The moral of this story, is never never never ever ever lose any kind of ticket in China.

Anhui Adventures: My Students

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The best  part  about  being in Anhui is  the  students. I have  never  met  such a  group of  kind  and  humble  students.  The  kids  are  so  down to earth. Being in  Anhui  has  changed  me  so much. It  has  given me  direction. The children have  helped  to  cleanse  my  troubled  soul and  have  shown me the  direction that  I want  to  go  with my  life.

I realize  now  that my  place  is  with the kid,s not in a university setting. This  will mean a job  change  after my  contract is  up.  In the  middle  of  a school year  too! Wish  me  luck in that endeavor  and  pray that i will find the right placement

My class is  hysterical, I have  18 students.  Out of  those  students  15  are  boys. You know  how  middle  school boys can be, rambunctious, sneaky, mischievous. They were  quite a  handful but I love  them  so much. They  were eager  to learn and  we  built  up  such a rapport together.

Each student  has a distinct  personality. There was  Matt who is the troublemaker  who had a mega crush on one  of  the teaching assistants. I have  a soft spot  for the bad boys, I just loved Matt he  was a cutie. Then there  was John, he  always got in trouble never  listened and  always ended  up almost  getting hurt because he  never listened. There was Mark the  buck tooth beaver.  Awwww he  is  soo precious his English level was low but he  tried  so hard and  his  smile  warmed  my heart. There was Bill who is  just a  cool kid and  an amazing dancer. His  mom is  the richest woman in town but Bill is  so level headed and  down to earth. He treats everyone equally. He is  so not a  snob.

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Oh  and then there was Anna.  Anna  and  I totally connected. Her mom was my  co teacher  in the class. This  little  girl  is  such a happy, optimistic  and loving child. She is 12 years old an  she  has  stolen my heart. She always  cheerful and kind. Eliza, her  mom is  my new female  friend in China. I am really  going to miss her friendship. I will keep in touch  with them. I was even invited over to their  house  for dinner. I really  wish that i had  the opportunity  to see her  grow into a lovely  young  woman.

I had Mike  and  Ken who loved  to dance. On break time those  two were always  doing Gangnam Style. It was too funny. My boys  did  enjoy  dancing and  singing. They  had  me  laughing for  most  of the  class especially  during  break time.

Oh and there  was  James, James is  also a  student  who  will be  forever engraved upon my heart. He was the  oldest and tallest boy in my  class at age  15. He  had the  calmest and  sweetest  demeanor. His  desire  to learn  English was  high. He sat in the  front and he out of  all my students  made the  most  progress. I love  this  boy so much.

Oh and the twins Mark and Luke(they  choose those  names on their own) is it ironic! They had  a  higher  level  on English than most  of the  students. It was  so  fun communicating with them. I really felt a  connection with them, plus  they are  so funny and friendly who  could  not  love the twins. DSC00317

Oh  and  Jim whose  parents are  both  teachers and  he  had  the highest English  level. Jim is  a smart  kid and has a  sense  of  justice. He  has the  heart of  a rebel but he  does it in such a subtle  and  clever  way.

I also  had  the privilege  of having Jonathan, a foreign  teacher’s  son in my  class.  H aving an expat  child in the  class really  was  a learning experience  for the  Chinese  students. Jonathan  made  some  lifelong  friends  and  he  told  me  he was hesitant  to leave the  school.

Oh and my two lovely girls Lisa  and Zoe. It was great  watching them torture  the  boys during break time. These girls were at  first intimidated  to be  in a  class  surrounded  by  boys, gradually  though they got  more  comfortable. Zoe taught me  how to blow  a double balloon. A balloon inside  a  balloon. It is  so unbelievably cool. And Lisa has the  funniest laugh and  she  is  quite the actress.

We learned  so much together. I taught them high frequency words, greeting, Western Culture and  Chinese Culture, phonics. I Also taught them about American football,  baseball and  dodgeball(In the  next and very  short blog). We have  been practicing for plays  that I wrote that we  will be  performing on the final day  of  camp. They  learned  about Western music. I also  learned  so much from my students  to. They taught  me  so much more than I taught them, They  showed me  my  true purpose and they  opened  my heart  to love. I will always remember  Jixi with a fond  heart.

Anhui Adventures: The Hotel

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After the  long long car ride, we were told that our  rooms on campus were  not ready, so we  would be  put into a hotel for  two days. I have  found that my stays  at hotal s in China have  been quite pleasant.  Well escept the my universities hotel room. Ughs.

The hotel staff was  so excited  to see us. There are not a lot of foreigners that  come  to Xuancheng. So seeinga  foreigner  is a big  deal. The staff was  really nice. We had  to check in and  our  passports were  scanned.

We were taken in the elevator. We had  to make  two trips because the elevator  was narrow.  We were  both on the fifth floor. The Vice  head master  of the school opned the  rooms i walked  into the  first room. The  vice principal said  non no no and pointed to Jose  and  Jonathan. He  gestured  for  me to go to the  corner  room.

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chairs

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A bathtub, I never got a chance to use it. I was scared my big butt would get stuck.

To my utter suprise  and delight it  was a suite!!1 This was the  nicest room that I have  ever styaed in. I left like a queen. I have  two two bathrooms. One bathroom had a bathtun! I had a living room with a chaise,  couches and a TV with cable. My bed was a huge king sized. There was also another TV in that room and a  computer  with internet axis.

I was so nears tears. I flopped on my bed and was comforted by a soft western style mattress. It was like I was  sleeping on a cloud. It was  an  end  to a perfect  day.

Sleeping on a cloud

Sleeping on a cloud

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