I found this picture of Megan and her friend Lily. It made me think of how I want our family to be towards our Chinese neighbors. I love it. [Taken in April — Yangshuo, China]
The last leg of our Spring Trip brought us to Wei Hai. Wei Hai is a coastal city in China. Every year they bring the 7th graders here and they swim and play on the beach. Our hotel was just a walk across the street then your feet hit soft sand. The day we got to our hotel we had 2 hours and 30 minutes of free time. So one of the teachers offered to bring some of us down to the beach to kill time. Though the skies were partly over cast and it was windy I had a wonderful time searching for shells, sitting on the shore, and screaming every time the icy water touched my feet! It was really nice. I was also enthusiastic about the next day when the whole class would come and play in the water!!! When I woke up the next morning I was met by the pit-pat of rain knocking on my window 🙁 . I was very sad and disappointed. We met down stairs for breakfast then, instead of doing it on the sand under a beaming sun, we sat in one of the hotel rooms and did our devotion. Any way afterward some teachers offered to take those daring souls that are willing to brave the icy cold water to the beach to play! I went of course! It was A LOT of fun!!! One of my friends pushed me right into the ocean! It was freezing!! We were all really cold, but still had a ball!
We just returned from a village in the countryside, three hours north of Beijing. This was my daughter Maddie’s 5th grade “spring trip” — 16 boys (mostly Korean) and 10 girls. Miss Martins and Miss Hendricks asked me to join their trip to coach the boys.I enjoyed all the things not found in the city: blue skies, fresh [clean] breezes, grass, birds, and trees — but more than that, I thoroughly enjoyed observing these boys and their distinctly-Asian culture. It is so interesting. They are “group” and not just a bunch of individuals. I can’t describe it well, except that they are unconsciously in tune with their group. Whether they are making jokes, playing cards, or rock climbing — they are together in it all.I really like it — I secretly wish I grew up in a group like theirs: it is a genuine fraternity. On the other hand, in America, boys and men seem distinctly individual and less relational one to the other; having more concern about themselves and their own success.You should see how these Korean boys talk, laugh, play, hang on shoulders, even walking arm-in-arm — and there is no hint or connotation of being “gay” as would be the criticism if they lived in the US.I think we Westerners could learn a lot from this, maybe there would be less busy-but-lonely-people.
Yesterday evening I got back home from the ninth grade spring trip. Our trip was eight days long and we traveled by bus, plane, and overnight trains! On the first or second day my class helped serve by sanding and painting railings for a newly built orphanage. The work was hard and it lasted the entire day but most of us had fun and enjoyed serving. Throughout the week we stayed in four different hostels and homes and I was blessed to get a shower in every room I stayed in! I think the highlight of my week was the seven hour hike that we took through the mountains! The day we went on the hike it was a beautiful clear day and the scenery was amazing!! Until we got to the official “halfway mark” the hiking was all uphill! Even though it was tough I thought of it as a challenge and had a lot of fun! I had a great week spending time with my classmates and I was blessed to see all of God’s beautiful creation!
On May 20th dad and I set off for my spring trip. We got to go to Ji Xian a place about 3 hours away from Tianjin. When we finally got to Ji Xian we went straight to the Great Wall! The Wall was a really long hike but it was fun. Then we got to our hotel and ate dinner. The rest of the trip we did a high-up-in-the-air Ropes Course, then went Rock Climbing, and played games. It was a great experience.I also learned many important lessons. Like when I went up on the ropes I realized that even though it was scary, if I tried maybe I could make it and trust that I would not fall. I also learned that team work is important.
I’m the one at the top of this picture in the white shirt!
me and my friends on the bus to Ji Xian!
Bus to Ji Xian!
Me in a Great Wall Tower!
My teams mouse trap tower!
Today I got back from our school’s annual Spring Trip for 7th grade. This time of year every grade higher than 4th grade goes on a Spring trip to somewhere in China from 3 to 9 days! So 7th grade wen to the NanJing/ShanDong province. I left on Saturday and came back on Friday, today. Well, the 2nd day of our trip we were supposed to scale half of the 6,000 steps leading to the top of TaiShan! TaiShan is the famous mountain in that province for the so called holy water that flows down the mountain. I can tell you one thing, next time I go there you won’t see me climbing those stairs, you’ll find me in the tram!!! It was the hardest hikes I have EVER done (and I’m not exaggerating!) Though all thew stairs where even and a reasonable size the sun beat down on me and though there was a slight breeze it couldn’t fight the heat!!! I mean, 3,000 steps! Come on, you can’t say that’s not hard!!! The truly sad thing was that there were men that carried heavy loads on their shoulders up ALL 6,000 steps so that the shops at the top of TaiShan can have merchandise; they do it twice a day for only 3.50$ a round trip!!!!! It’s ridiculous!!! Any way we also saw MANY very old men and women that walked up all 6,000 steps because Chinese people believe that if you climb all 6,000 steps and watch the sun set that you’ll live to be 100 years old. Well I was huffing an puffin the whole way up! (I really respect the older teachers that came and climbed it with us). I was the first girl to reach the top of that mountain! I made it in 1 hour and 2 minutes! I am VERY proud of myself for that! I believe that I have quite a bit of endurance, but the problem is that I don’t know when to stop! Because when I reached the top (and if you asked the teacher who was at the top when I got there he would verify it) that my face was as red as a cherry and was blotchy white as you can see in the picture below! Well you can read this and say it’s all very well, but as my teacher said, NONE of you will ever know what I mean until you do it yourself!The man who is bringing loads up the mountain.
The entrance to TaiShan.
After the hike.
A man walking up the road to the stairs so that he can get so ‘holy’ water from a river that flows down the mountain.
This morning, I hugged each and said my last goodbye as they headed down the hall to their respective classrooms with snacks and suitcases in tow.After checking-in with teachers, the 10th graders (Michael) will catch an overnight sleeper train to Guangxi Province — while the 9th graders (Rachel) go to Beijing’s airport to catch a flight to Kunming (Yunnan Province).I can’t wait to hear about their adventure, and about Michael’s 20+ hour train ride with thirty classmates!
One thing I love in China is their snacks! You can get snacks in China about anywhere! Yesterday I went on a walk with my mom. While we were out we bought nuts, vegetables, flour, and Sweet Popcorn. You can get sweet or chocolate covered popcorn! You can also get juice anywhere. I have noticed that lots of people use a room in their first floor apartment to sell snacks! One other thing I love here is Egg Bing. Egg Bing is like a thick flour tortilla fried in oil then they put a little hole in it and pour an egg in while it’s frying! You can also get many other kinds of Egg Bing but it would take to long to tell you them all!
This is Egg Bing toppings!
This is mom with a different snack!
This is Egg Bing ready to be eaten!
This is the worker rolling out the doe!
This is the other worker frying the Egg Bing!
This is me in front of the stand!
On our Guilin trip we went up to a small village in the mountains. The car drive there was bumpy and long! We had two vans to take us up the big hill/mountain. When it was time to leave, we got a call and heard that one of the vans broke down! So the van that was left would have to make two trips to get all 15 passengers down. It would take at least an hour for one trip down and back! So when the van came we didn’t want to wait so long, instead we tried to fit all of us in the one van. The van normally seats 8 people. We fit 15 people in it! (No seatbelt rules in China!!) We had three in the very front, four in the front bench seat, four in the back bench seat, and four in the very back, on the floorboard, behind the back bench seat! I was one in the very back! since the ride was bumpy you might imagine what it was like sitting on no seat! I think that was one of the worst but funniest car rides I have ever had!
At a place called culture street is this food called Dragon Porridge. It doesn’t sound or look good but it tastes very GOOD. To prepare the porridge first they put this sort of powder in a bowl then Then the worker pours hot water into the bowl. The reason we call it DRAGON porridge is because the worker pours the hot water out of a big dragon’s mouth. After the people put water in the bowl it becomes a sort of paste then they put toppings in it like raisins, peanut shavings, sunflower seeds, or brown sugar. After that they give it to you and then you dig in. It is yummy to eat when shopping in the morning, or any time!!