The last piece Jessie used in her portfolio for her college applications. A drawing of the robot she designed for competitions last fall. I am so amazed at her talent!
During the Chinese New Year holiday Jessie and Maddie often accompanied me on trips to the market. I was happy to have the help, carrying our fresh produce and meat.
A new way to display apples…with Chinese characters and words of blessing for the new year! Not exactly sure how they managed to do this. I think the farmers put a sticker on the apples as it was growing.
We were very blessed to have both Rachel and Michael with us for Christmas. Especially since I am afraid that it could be our last one together in China. Many changes are coming this year with Michael’s graduation and going into the workforce and Jessie beginning college in Pittsburgh. Getting us all together in Tianjin next year will be tricky. We spent lots of quality time together cooking, playing games and going on “coffee dates” to Starbucks. A very special friend from Virginia sent the Settlers of Catan game the kids and Sean had lot of late night competitive games.
Beautiful table centerpiece Michael put together for Christmas dinner.
Some sisters here in Tianjin are so happy to see Rachel!
Rachel arrived on December 17th to a snow-covered city. Due to the bad weather in Tianjin, the driver I hired to take me to Beijing had to cancel because the highways were closed 🙁 So I had to brave my way via taxi, to hi-speed train, to subway, then airport express train to finally get to the Beijing International Airport – nearly 4 hours after leaving home. It was my first time making this trip alone and it was an adventure, especially in the bad weather. However, to my surprise, the weather in Beijing was sunny! As I traveled on the hi-speed train to Beijing I watched as the skies and the ground cleared.
View from my train window leaving Tianjin
Fifteen minutes later, on the outskirts of Beijing, the skies are clearing
Airport Express train arriving at the airport under blue skies!
The weekend of December 6 -8th, I had the opportunity visit Michael in Hong Kong for his final exam presentation for the fall semester. During their last year of university in the HKU Architectural studies, students have a one-year project. Michael’s assignment is to design hypothetical Olympic village shops and housing for guests who will attend the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. I am very proud of his excellent work and it was a treat to meet some of Michael’s classmates.
Here Michael helps his friend prepare her drawings for her presentation.
Above, Michael took me to his favorite Dim Sum restaurant for brunch. Later that day we took a ride across the harbor to Kowloon. The Hong Kong skyline is very beautiful from the ferry. We visited other of his favorite places to shop and eat and the weather was delightful. At Michael’s local grocery store they were even selling REAL Christmas trees. Look closely and you will see a price tag of about 700 Hong Kong dollars, which translates to about $100 USD.
This is a common sight in China, as one travels throughout the city. Trucks piled high with boxes which are then bungee wrapped together, so they stay in place (although this wrapping job did not seem to do the trick). The truck drivers ride in a small two-seater un-airconditioned cab. A much different level of comfort from the American truck driver with his extended cab rig, with full size bed, air conditioning, and television.
Maddie found this great idea online, and thanks to grandma and grandpa Headrick who sent us candycorn and malted milkballs in a fall carepackage, we were able to make these cute turkey treats. Megan had her friend, Naomi, over to play the weekend before Thanksgiving and Maddie put her creative skills to work teaching the girls how to make these turkeys.
Our sweet Chinese friend who has been working at our school for a few years now, and who recently got married and Megan was the flower girl, took a job at another company in our city. Although it was sad to say goodbye knowing that I won’t be able to see her each day when I go to work, I’m happy for her to have this new opportunity and I’m glad that we can still be in touch, since she did not move away from Tianjin.
Upon Sean and Jessie’s return from Tokyo I found out that although Jessie’s robot came in dead last in the robotics field competition, God blessed her with a big boost of confidence as she received an amazing award based on her design and engineering notebook. I am so proud of her and her team!
This weekend Sean and Jessie were in Tokyo for the VEX Robotics Challenge. So Maddie, Megan and I had some fun of our own. Friday night we ate at a new Vietnamese restaurant in Tianjin…yum, then walked through the park adjoining the restaurant to watch night-time Chinese line dancers. Then Saturday we had an afternoon of shopping and errands. All our running around lead to three hungry gals, so we tried a new cafe that Jessie told us about. It’s a Korean cafe which is typical of most coffee cafes here in Tianjin; the menu has more than 6 pages of special drinks and one page of food. This particular cafe serves hamburgers as one of their three food choices. Surprisingly, it was one of the better burgers that I’ve had in China. Sunday we spent the morning chatting with Rachel over skype and having devotion time; then the afternoon cooking and watching American football. Rested and ready to start another week at school!