Travel in Qingdao, China + Scuba Diving with Whales!

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china continues to be amazing! i’m playing catch up on the blog so i want to capture the conference we were at over the weekend in a coastal city called Qingdao (ching-dao). my husband was the keynote speaker for district 85 toastmasters district and this is where i also gave a presentation on finding balance in your life through harmony!

we took a high-speed train from beijing to qingdao, which took about five hours. there were a group of toastmasters on it so naturally a meeting had to be held! it was quite amusing and fun to see.

tm meeting on trainbefore the conference started, they took my husband to go ‘scuba diving’ and it was actually in a massive aquarium where he swam with dolphin/beluga whale type animals. i still need to research what this is but if you recognize it, let me know!

diving in qingdaoit totally and completely freaked me out to witness this. i kept picturing him being eaten alive and having to watch but thankfully that did not happen.

diving in qingdao ryan averyit was actually pretty awesome because i’ve never seen him scuba dive so it was fun to watch him under water. at some point, about 100 people came in and he suddenly became part of a tourist attraction. hilarious.

tourist attractioni will upload videos when we get back to the states of him swimming with them because it’s pretty epic and you can even hear the animals communicating to one another!

i am going to do a separate post about the differences i’ve found in toastmasters here in china vs. the united states but the main thing is everyone is so young and energetic here in china and it’s amazing and refreshing!

their conference had around 500 people and it was high quality with great production.

ryan avery speakingmy husband rocked his keynote and has already spoken 10 times here! he even spoke three long sentences in mandarin! i’ve managed “nia hoa” (hello, how are you) and “shey-shey” (thank you}.

i was feeling pretty nervous before my workshop because i’ve never spoken in china before we decided to take a walk down to the water so i could get a bit more centered. i mean…my face was in their program!

qingdoa conference chelsea speakerwe walked to the pier where there were many little shops selling souvenirs, food and boat rides. qingdao is actually where they held the olympic sailing competition in 2008! look close and you can see the rings.

qingdao olympic sailingunlike beijing, this was just an overcast day and not smog!

there is also a unique sculpture there and as we were walking to it, there was some heavy staring with mouths open at us. at first i thought maybe my dress was tucked into my underwear or something. after checking on that situation… we decided that it’s because i have curly hair, we are huge white people and i wasn’t wearing any tights so my bare legs were exposed in my dress. it was quite funny and captured in this selfie:

qingdao china chelsea and ryan avery red sculpturethere was lots of seafood and they asked me my preference on food and i wasn’t too shy about not loving seafood since i come from colorado. i explained this was in the middle of the country and not near water so we didn’t eat fish they like did growing up.

i said i was working on it so i did try some sort of shell meat, jellyfish (which my husband ‘tried’ but really it was a piece of cabbage and he told me it wasn’t fishy at all and i almost spit it out at the table) and some other bite of pod of seafood. i hope you’re proud of me, mom.

that is jellyfish on the bottom right, pig intestines in the middle and a plethora of other interesting foods!qingdao foodthis city is also known for their brewery of tsingtao beer so i think this was my favorite registration check in table EVER! i don’t even like beer that much but this one was quite good!

qingdoa conference beerback to my workshop….i survived and received some really great feedback that people took away a lot from my session so yay! people here in china really love LOVE and learning about relationships, especially western ones. good thing i love oversharing about how things work in our relationship.

that is the chinese character for ‘harmony,’ (don’t worry, i confirmed that this was indeed the correct character before putting on there and it didn’t mean fish head or something).

qingdao china chelsea avery speakerpeople have been so kind to us, we met lots of new friends and i can assure that chinese people know how to have fun! that evening consisted of walking into the conference call and seeing it all decked out to celebrate the very American holiday of Halloween!! i was so shocked and surprised and i loved it! the district governor even bought me a ‘hocus pocus’ hat and ravery’s get-up! thanks alex!

qingdao beer couplesthere were many performances by traditional and pop-culture things from all around china which i was absolutely enthralled with.

there was someone demonstrating tai chi, chinese ballet, jokes about a dating game TV show, and an amazing face-changer! i can’t wait to show the video of that with you when we get back! there was even a beer drinking contest! they totally know how to make toastmasters SUPER fun over here!

qingdao conference beer drinkingwe had a truly great time, district 85! if you ever visit china, small gift giving is a very large custom here so expect to receive gifts after you speak and leave room in your suitcase! we have received some very beautiful gifts.

also be sure to bring small gifts from your home town to give in return. do not use white paper to wrap them because it symbolizes death (something i almost did!)

thank goodness for the ‘made in oregon’ store coming to our rescue to provide a taste of the pacific northwest! here i am with the youngest ever district governor, alex (28) and yang, the lt. govenor of marketing! thanks for treating us so well and having such a fun district!

IMG_0525next up will be our adventures in shanghai, which is a city i cannot wait to come back to and where i almost passed out on the 100th floor of a building. hope you’re having a fabulous day!

1) any guess as to what type of animal my husband was swimming with?
2) have you been somewhere where your appearance was very uncommon and people stared? (as i white person, this was new to me since i get the privilege of being in the majority most of the time)
3) how open are you to sharing how things work in your relationship? (shout out to all the women who have shared their ‘wifestyle profiles’ on here and most recently jennifer and jessica!)
4) would you try jellyfish?



  1. Vivien

    November 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    1) The picture wasn’t very clear to my eyes, so…no clue, no clue.

    2) Went back to Hong Kong (for the first time) almost ten years ago, in the middle of July. It was so humid I had to wear tank tops (something I don’t normally do as is). They are a lot more conservative there too, so I definitely got some stares. And the cotton t-shirts over there are definitely not as densely sewn together in comparison to N. America, so buying lots of their t-shirts and wearing them felt a lot cooler than wearing the tank tops I had brought for the trip. Those t-shirts remain my “go to” item on those rare hot summer days over here!

    3) In theory I would be open, question/context dependent?

    4) I’ve eaten it on a number of occasions.
    Vivien recently posted…What Do I Want?

    • chelsea

      November 7, 2014 at 6:04 am

      yay thanks so much for your comment vivien! we head out for hong kong in just a few days and i can’t wait to explore it! thankfully it will be slightly less humid here than it sounds like it was when you were there but glad you got some good shirts to bring back with you 🙂 you are a braver lady than me too!