Thursday, October 30, 2008

A weekend in Hong Kong

(I'm sorry for all of the writing. I've decided to use this blog as a type of journal since I'm too lazy to actually keep one. So if you want to, feel free to just skip through the gibberish and head for the pictures.)

Rob and I spent this last weekend in the bustling city of Hong Kong. It's something we will have to do every 60 days due to the type of visa I was given. It's kind of a hastle but it gave us a good excuse to check out the previously British ruled, very international, port city. It was nice to hear English again and not get stared at everywhere we went. Our little trip was jam-packed with fun around every corner. Our first day we took the train down to Shenzhen, walked across the border to Hong Kong just made it in time to go to the Hong Kong temple where we saw our Branch President and His wife. We then walked around the shopping district (no shopping for us poor students), watched the ever enjoyable, free, nightly, light show, and, sorry to say, ate dinner at McDonald's. The next day we slept in on our SOFT and unbelievably comfortable bed, did breakfast at McDonald's :( We are such Americans! The little street front shop we wanted to eat at wasn't open yet. I've now officially eaten at McDonald's more here than I have in the last 5 years in America. We then headed off to Hong Kong Island via the legendary Star Ferry. We walked around and checked out the infamous, massive banking and finance buildings...that place is crazy! Then we headed up to "The Peak". What a view!! We went up on a little tram/rail car on a slope that was about 45 degrees, no joke. After enjoying a nature walk and getting lost for a while up there we headed back down into the chaos and found a random carnival going on, and rode on the "world's longest escalator". The next day we checked out of our hotel: the charming YMCA Salisbury (this is not like any YMCA in the U.S., it was actually pretty impressive), and jumped on the MTR all the way out to Tung Chung on Lantau Island. From there we went by cable car up to the village of Ngong Ping where the 'The Big Budda'(an 85 foot statue of Budda) resides along side the Po Lin Monastery. Hordes of people flock there to light incense and take pictures of, and pray to, Budda.
Then we headed back down the mountain and on till daylight...or our arrival back in Guangzhou at 11 p.m.
All in all it was a fabulous trip!

The train ride down to Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Temple!

Hong Kong Island skyline

Our Star Ferry ride

Rob and the IFC building (International Finance Center)

Happy Halloween! I've been wanting to carve a pumpkin for so long now...maybe next year. At least I found these little jems!

On the rail car to The Peak

Ridin' along on the cable car to check out Budda!

A fracking HUGE spider we found on our “Inspiration walk”

The house that the spider built a.k.a. the house we found the spider in. We're thinking about turning it into our summer retreat; who wants to come visit us there?!

It’s a big Budda!


a wretched 90 minute wait to get on the cable car headed down

Rob chillin’ in “the line”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our Apartment in Guangzhou!

Robert here. I'm going to try my hand at this blogging stuff that Stef always takes care of in our family. So bare with me, i'm a first timer.
A few weeks ago I decided that we needed to let you all know how cool our Guangzhou apartment is. So, I made a video and tried to upload it for the longest time to no avail. Yeah, apparently there is a limit to the file sizes, who'd a thunk it. Anyway, I have now broken up the video into two segments in hopes of making it work this time. We live on the 15th floor of a 15 story building. I suppose that this means we are in the ever-desired penthouse. It actually is a pretty cool place and we feel pretty lucky to have it. I think we can also rest assured that my salary will never be able to afford another place with this kind of view so we have to relish it while we got it. Enjoy the quality footage folks!
(Ok, update: Rob tried to upload our videos on blogger but I'm pretty sure that thanks to the lovely Communist government of the People's Republic of China we are unable to view or upload videos on blogger. So I thought we'd try our hand at You Tube thanks to the idea of some of our friends. Hope it works!!)
The downstairs

The upstairs

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Robert Taylor Stephenson's 27th Birthday!!

My hubby's birthday was two days ago (October 14th). Considering that we live in China I had to try and make due with the resources, or lack of, that I had. It was an enjoyable day, at least that's what he told me :). Anyone that knows Rob knows that he is a big breakfast man. So I tried to make something that resembled a good old American breakfast. After that we went to a massage place, nicknamed "Heaven on Earth Massage Parlor"= to be said with a black man accent like Chris Tucker does on 'Rush Hour'. It wasn't exactly "heaven on earth". Those little Chinese women can really inflict pain! We kept telling ourselves that it was doing us good but now, a couple days after, we are starting to not feel as bruised and sore from it. They just thought it was hilarious to watch our faces contort as we groaned in agony...especially once I pulled out the camera. Anyway, after that Rob had to go to class and I had to try and get the Birthday cake I'd had my eye on for a while. Through many failed attempts I conceded and went to another "bakery" named "Best Confect Bakery" and bought a few mini cakes. Notice in the picture Rob is 'acting' blowing out incense as I was unable to find candles. We then went to 37.2, a European restaurant, and had a fabulous dinner of beef tenderloin for Rob and chicken cordon blu-ish thing for me!
Hurray for my Robert and his life! I am so lucky to be able to share that life with him. I Love you Robert!!

THE breakfast (just so you know, it's hard to cook toast in a wok)
Blowing out the incense candle
"Heaven on Earth Massage Parlor"

This lady was Rob's torturer

Tasty Birthday dinner!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The good ol' days of summer- a.k.a. our time before the day of reckoning

We had so much fun while we were home with our friends and family. Other than our fun little trips we also did a bunch of random stuff. We got our teeth fixed, hair cut, went to some fun plays with my parents, played with my brother Scott and his cute family, swam, barbeques with friends and family, and a lot of packing...oh the endless packing. You would be surprised how hard it is to figure out what to pack in those two little bags when moving to China! So here, again, are some pictures highlighting the major moments!
Rob and I met my mom in Cedar City to head down to St. George. We stopped off to watch Cyrano de Bergerac at the Shakespearean Festival. It was a great play. The actor who played Cyrano was INCREDIBLE!
This is why we went to St. George. We got our teeth checked by my brother in his new dental office. It was quite posh. My poor hubby had to spend 5 hours in the chair under my brothers' capable hands. Luckily he was able to watch Spiderman 3 (there were t.v.'s in the ceiling).
BBQ with some of my best friends from High School. Oh those were good times!
This was the fatefull day, the day of my HAIRCUT!! I had my sister-in-law cut 12 inches off. Thanks again Kimmie!
There is goes! What have I done!?
Showing off our cute new haircuts.
My mom and I put ourselves in charge of a fun weekend for my dad and Rob. We went to a couple plays (South Pacific and A Midsummer Night's Dream) and dinner at the Sundance resort.
This is how we spent one of our last days in America. My brother was trying to train us how to defend ourselves here in China :)
My hardcore husband is a much more capable bow hunter than I am.
Kimmie and Caden waiting for us to be done practicing. Aren't they cute! Good thing Scott found this little lady. Kim, you are so patient, I don't know how you do it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stephenson Family Reunion August 2008

Moving on to Utah. We arrived home and a few days later took off for the Stephenson family reunion at their Mammoth Creek cabin. The cabin always means a guaranteed good time. All of the immediate Tony Stephenson family was able to make it, even Grandma Ila Rae and Bill for a couple days. Part of way through the trip we convinced our good friends Brooke and Jared McArthur to come down and play for a day or two, despite Jared's recent near-death experience. So here's the classic run-down of our activities: ping-pong tournament (set up by Sam so of course he was the winner), shooting at the shooting range, 4-wheel rides in the mountains, rock climbing and repelling, playing the WII, card games, hiking, and Jared blowing out his $200 tire (causing a search and rescue mission to ensue). Oh memories!! We miss those simpler days.
The whole clan
the Stephenson siblings (I love this one, it looks like Tawnya is going for Katy's chest)
Rob and me at Cedar Breaks
The Line Up: Don't mess with the Stephenson family!
good times
Rob the expert
Practicing in case zombies attack (sorry, I just read 'World War Z'- I've got a lot of time on my hands here in China)
Check out the front driver side tire. It was an explosion!
Hanging out waiting for the search and rescue team of Tony and Joe

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jeppson Family reunion July 2008

The Jeppson clan!

Just before we left Hawaii we met up with my whole fam damily for a vacation in beautiful Kihei, Maui. It was my parents, my three older brothers and their wives and kids (each couple has 3 kids), and Robert and me. It was awesome having everyone there but it also made for some interesting drama :) as expected with that many people in that close of proximity for 10 days. We also got some great looks everywhere we went, yes, we're a Mormon family of 19! Anyway, we did the usual Jeppson things: searched for Jackson Chameleons (of which we found at least 30), ate, hiked, jumped off waterfalls, ate, played at the beach, got rocked in the waves at Makena a.k.a. big beach, ate, watched sunsets, tried to get a million photos (I'm pretty sure we made that goal), enjoyed the scenery and each other, oh and did I mention that we ate a TON!! It was a riot that I'm glad I was a part of.
After the vacation we flew back to Oahu for one more night, the Westras kindly let us hang out at their pad for the night as we had already sold our grass shack. Then we headed to Utah the next morning (July 30) with nothing but a 10 hour layover in the Seattle airport to hold us back. Don't worry, we made it through with all of our luggage/crap and more miracles than we would ever deserve!

all the kids
Freezing our butts off waiting for sunrise on the summit of Haleakala
Rob and a female Jackson Chameleon
A beautiful male Jackson Chameleon
7 sacred pools
Me jumping off a waterfall...and apparently looking like a troll
Wastin' time in the Seattle airport