Friday, January 23, 2009
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...
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 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.
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?
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)?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
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
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
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
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.
everyone hard at work.... The finished products!