Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beijing Huan Ying Ni

As you can see, Beijing has "officially" welcomed the Balla family to the Olympic city. Thankfully, we made it safe and sound! Right now, we are adjusting to the time difference and taking care of all kinds of details related to setting up our Chinese lives--buying cell phones, opening a bank account, signing a contract for the lease on our apartment, and just learning our way around the new neighborhood. There is so much to tell about the trip, our accommodations, and what things are like in Beijing today. Stay tuned...

~Steve

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beyond the Great Firewall of China

Well, in a few hours, we will be heading over the top of the earth (at least that's what I think our flight plan will be). When we emerge on the other side, we will be setting up "Balla Beijing." This, of course, will include broadband Internet and a resumption of our blogging activity, party censors willing...


~Steve

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How Do You Avoid Jet Lag?

With a twelve hour time difference when traveling to China, how is it possible to avoid that awful feeling of fatigue and stomach illness after landing? After my experience last time we flew to China (I was not a pretty sight!), I was determined to find a solution for my stomach. My little red book (a.k.a. The Girls' Book: How to be the Best at Everything) came with an option that I was happy to chose over the alternative. This is the basic idea of the plan:

How To Avoid Jet Lag

Begin preparing for your flight three days in advance.

Day 1: Eat a high protein breakfast and lunch, such as sausage, chicken, eggs, or bacon, and eat a high carbohydrate dinner (things like potatoes and pasta).

Day 2: Eat only lite meals.

Day 3: Eat whatever you want.

Departure Day: When you get on the plane, switch your watch to the time at your destination. When it is night at your destination, sleep on the plane, and when it is day time at your destination, stay awake. If you arrive at your destination during the day, don't go to bed, take a shower, and go out and do something.

So far, I have gotten everyone on board (well, Z has a kind of modified version because he doesn't eat all of the listed foods). We have all been trying to stick to the schedule, but we did eat a little much yesterday for "eat only lite meals" and we forgot a little about the carbs on Monday! We are going to try the plan out as best as we can anyway, and we will let you know if it works (if it takes a while to respond about this, it probably means the plan did not work!).

~Julie

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Goodbye Crazy Hair Guy, Hello Bird's Nest

There's this guy in our neighborhood with really big, crazy, unruly hair. He's often out and about, walking and running anywhere from DC to suburban Maryland. For years now, we've had a little family contest...who can be the first to spot "crazy hair guy" going by?

And it's not just him. On one road trip, we had a pretty intense game of "Cooper Wars," trying to spot more "Minis" than anyone else in the family. (Perhaps a Smart Car competition is next?)

It is in this spirit (and just what would that spirit be?) that we have agreed upon our first little China spotting game...who will be the first Balla to lay their eyes on the Bird's Nest? The winner gets the Beijing Olympics trinket of their choice...not pirated, of course!

I call the window seat!

~Steve

Monday, August 11, 2008

Truly Blessed

May God bless everyone in our parish community! That was quite an unexpected (and emotional!) send-off blessing! We will miss you all...

~Steve, Desi, Julie, and Zoli