Friday, January 23, 2009


I finally got all the pictures and posts up! Unfortunately they are not in the order I want them, but I can't figure how to change them. I am officially caught up...and just in time...tomorrow is the beginning of Spring festival. I hope to have a bunch of pictures from that. We are thinking of you!

Bamboo Path

On January 14 we were invited to a dinner with a bunch of the teachers at our University. The dinner was at a resort area in HZ. While some of the teachers had to attend a meeting we went on a walk. At first we thought we were going to hike up a mountain but that is not exactly how it went.
We walked for about 15 minutes next to a fairly busy highway and came to a famous bamboo lined path.
It was really pretty peaceful. There were lots and lots of bamboo...

Some very old and large trees...
more bamboo

Some interesting buildings...
This was a meditation pool fed by a spring.

This would be a great spot to sip some tea...
A Steele with some famous calligraphy

some guys in camo with guns!!! Ok, they were just playing laser tag. They had on vests and hats with binkers and stuff.

This guy let Liam shoot his gun while he was in between games.

Cambridge ( one of the guys that really helps us a lot) said that they rented the equipment from a company. He said that perhaps next time we could do that! We all thought it would be a lot of fun.

You never know what you are going to see in China.

Christmas in China

Christmas in China is very different than in the U.S. You can keep some of the same traditions but you should probably add some new ones too.

Christmas eve after I got out of class we began our family celebrations. I had made dinner in the crock pot. Jon even baked some bread to go with it. It was all delicious! It was not what we would traditionally have for Christmas dinner, but it was still good. (we had roast and potatoes).

After dinner we opened presets! We set up Skype so that my folks could watch the kids open their presents. (They got up VERY early to watch!)

We had a bunch of presents. I was going to be very good and keep track and write lots of thank you notes, but I got very crazy very quickly! Thank you for all the love and gifts you showered us with!

After that we cleaned up the living room, put out milk and cookies for Santa and went to bed.

The next day the kids got up around 7. They opened their stockings and played with their toys. We chatted with Jon’s family on the Internet. Then we got dressed and went out for the kids to enjoy their new scooters! (actually Eryn did not make it, and went in to take a nap) .

Hallie left her bear out to watch for Santa. This is what she found the next morning. Santa had eaten the cookies and drank the milk, but Alex (the bear) did not see anything!

Then we went into town for a nice family dinner. This is us walking through a market to get to the restaurant.

We ate at a steak place. It was late for lunch so the place was quiet. They also had a salad bar.

This is the first salad I have eaten in about 5 months! Not your traditional American Christmas celebration, but we may make a tradition of going out to a nice restaurant on Christmas day.

This is a picture of the kids on their scooters. They love to ride them! It is good for them to get out and exercise some.

Christmas Eve

We were invited to go to a primary (elementary) school on Christmas eve. We did not have any classes that morning so it was a good time. We were met at the school by a 6th grade boy that spoke excellent English. He lived in the U.S. for a year. We were also greeted by this large red banner.

We went upstairs to a large room and were met by three classes of 6th graders. We were the guests of honor for a Christmas party.

We were greeted at the front of the room. One of the teachers asked each of us our name and then the students greeted us. She had trouble pronouncing Hallie's name.
Teacher: What is your name?
Hallie: Hallie
Teacher: OK Harry. This is Harry, lets all say hello to Harry.
All students: Hello Harry!
This did not sit well with Liam, but Hallie just laughed.

We were treated to a couple of performances by some students. One boy played the piano--he was amazing! and one girl played a traditional Chinese instrument. Then the kids showered us with gifts for Christmas. We ended up with a large shopping bag with many cards and small trinkets. The school even gave us a very large scroll with Chinese calligraphy on it.

Even Santa was there!

We were asked a bunch of questions in English. Our favorite question was when one of the students asked Jon what his favorite book was. Hmmm....What is your favorite book? Ours is a (or The) Good Book.

Do you notice that all of these girls have a red scarf on? Most Chinese students wear these. They are " Young Pioneers". I am not exactly sure what all that means but it is basically the student version of the communist party. Well, not exactly. It is more like a communist version of the "model citizen club". The purpose is to teach them communist ideals. We were all given a red scarf to wear that day too. It was pretty cool.

After the party upstairs we went downstairs. Hallie visited several classrooms along the way.

What is a party without making Jaozi (Chinese dumplings)?

The girl in the red coat became Hallie's friend. What is really cool is that a few days later we ran into this girl and her mother at a McDonald's in another part of town. We talked with her a little and smiled and waved at her mom. We wished we could have communicated more with them, but we do know that we can run into people all over town. Even though we never thought we would see any those kids again, we did. Who knows what could come from opportunities like this?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

x-mas with the team

Christmas day was pretty crazy actually that whole week was crazy since we were giving exams. So we had our team Christmas party (or actually Church Christmas celebration) Saturday after Christmas. We all met at the Clark's and ate desserts. We drew names and exchanged gifts.

I made this fruit tree. I think my kids ate most of it.
Caleb enjoyed the pumpkin bread that Cecely made.

Yan got some sunscreen lotion as a gift.

Josh got earmuffs and hot chocolate and a chocolate bar

Jason got tortilla chips and Salsa! Yum...(he didn't share)

It was a good day. We are blessed to be able to work and worship with people that we really like and enjoy fellowshipping with.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Catching up

I have been trying for about a week to upload pictures to this blog and the team blog. It is just not working! I have only managed to upload 2 pictures to a draft. I am so behind and really want to finish blogging about Christmas, but can't get the photos up. I guess I can just write and add the pictures later.
For most of you the holidays are long over and life is back to "normal". Here in China it is very different!
Chinese New Year is on January 26 this year. Chinese New Year is their biggest holiday of the year. It is also called Spring Festival. I don't really understand all of the celebrations but I know the holiday season goes for about 15 days. The biggest day is the 26 or the first day of month 1 in the lunar calender. There will be tons of fireworks!
We have booked a hotel downtown near the lake so we can watch the fireworks from our room. The kids are very excited about it! They are also very excited because there is supposed to be a bathtub in our room.
A few weeks ago we finally bought a basin that can be used as a tub. It is basically a huge baby tub. It fits in the shower but is not as big or as convenient as a real tub.
I will try to take some pictures of the fireworks and celebrations.
Since school is now out and Spring Festival is just around the corner our neighborhood looks VERY different. Shops have closed down. Even our favorite restaurant will be closed for a few days starting tomorrow. My birthday was last week and Jon had a hard time getting a cake because everyone was closing.
We usually see lots of people walking by and riding bikes, but there is hardly anyone around right now. It is really quiet too. It just seems strange. I think we might be glad when the students start coming back.
Right now, we are enjoying having a break and a little quiet. It makes shopping a little harder, but before we know it things will be back to "normal".

Monday, January 5, 2009

A proud moment

Often times being a parent is HARD! You feel like you spend all of your time feeding and cleaning them and they still complain and whine. You really wonder when you will have time for the important stuff you should be teaching them when you are just trying to get them to keep things out of their mouths and noses.
Then there are those moments that make your heart swell with pride! And you realize that maybe, just maybe some of the important things are getting through.

I had one of those moments the other day. I was cleaning up the desk in the office/school room. I found this index card.

Hallie got a bracelet for Christmas that has a locket on it. The card with the bracelet says you should write a prayer and place it in the locket. This what Hallie wrote, but she could not fold the index card small enough to go in the locket. I guess we will have to help her with that. I think this prayer from an 8 year old could be one all of us could pray! Just thought I would share. Now I have faces to wash!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas Party Chinese style

We had several parties we attended this holiday season. This one was a lot of fun. It was hosted by the local Family at a school for autistic children. The party went on for hours and hours. It began around 3 in the afternoon and we left about 8pm! They really enjoy fellowshiping with each other. It was well planned and everyone had a good time.

What party would be without making Jaozi ( or Chinese dumplings) You make them, then you get to eat them! yummy!!

They asked Jon to dress as Santa. This costume was not that great. We are thinking about investing in a good suit, that he can use for years to come.

no party would be a party with out people singing!

During the entertainment these guys sat watching a DVD wearing flashing hats! They cracked me up!

At the very end we played "dirty Santa" Oh, so much fun. I can't wait to go back next year!

making ornaments and building relationships

Even before I came to China I had wanted to have an ornament party during the holidays. Things were pretty crazy and I almost did not have one, but I did go ahead and plan one. This was my first time doing something like this, so I kept it small and simple. I invited two students that are apart of the student fellowship and then two students that I would like to influence. One girl could not make it so I only had 3 come. We had cookies and hot chocolate and I taught them to make a simple ornament from paper strips. We listened to Christmas music as we worked. I was worried that things would get too loud. Ha Ha. They were concentrating so hard. Everyone ended up making two ornaments. I will definitely do this again next year. I may even have more than one of these parties. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

everyone hard at work.... The finished products!