• 27May

    1.  The temperature can magically rise in the evening.  Making any nice day turn in to an extremely uncomfortable night.  For instance all day today was 72… low humidity.  Now at 10 PM it’s 79 degrees and about 50 % humidity.  Yuck.

    2.  Mosquitoes only like American blood.  I seem to be the only one in this house shooing away mosquitoes or having any marks from a result of bites.

    3.  Doctors are very cheap here.  I went to three doctors, received 5 medicines, 3 drips (all over 3 different days) all for a TOTAL of 80 Yuan… which is about $13 USD.

    4.  A serious cold can be cured with IV meds.  So I’ve been sick ever since I arrived.  And it basically got worse everyday.  My nose became more clogged, my chest became more congested, I was losing more energy…. we went to the first doctor on Friday… got some meds… they didn’t work… went back to the doctor Sunday… got different meds… they seemed to help very minimaly…. so yesterday (Tuesday) after class I had run out of some of my meds… so I suggested that we go get more… we end up going to a different place… The place basically looks like a “store” with a glass display in the very front with a limited selection of meds… an older man (I’d guess in his 60s at least) comes out… starts “yelling” not because he is angry… it just seems that’s the way he talks… Joe asks me… “do you want an IV… he thinks you need an IV”…. I respond… “I don’t know Joe… do I WANT an IV????”… Joe says… “I’ve gotten them before here, they work”…. I ask… “Do you trust him?”… Joe says… “I’ve known him for a very long time, he is a good friend, I very much trust him.”… I say… “Ok if you trust him, then I trust him”.  Talk about faith… I believed in my heart that the Lord has prepared a plan for me and is guiding me… so I go for it… there’s something that Pam’s been saying that has definitely resonated with me… “No regrets.”  Meaning… when there is a crazy thing that’s before us, we hope that we’ve lived a life of no regrets… so there is nothing to fear in death.  Not that I want to die.  But to me it sorta reminds me that He is in control and boy it feels good!! So I trust… not to say that I’m not WORRIED… but I go with it.  Right now I might consider it one of the best things I’ve done… I felt better almost as soon as we got home.  I went from feeling about 40% healthy to about 85% healthy.  I have only a very limited cough… my nose is hardly clogged… but I FEEL really good… I got 3 bottles of something… I think 2 were different drugs… it took about 30-40 minutes… not to say I would let ANYONE do it … but if someone said that they knew the doc… and trusted them… and this is what they were recommending… I would definitely do it again.  Mind you I only paid 44 YUAN for 3 IVs… that’s about $6-7 USD… take that American health care…

    5.  You can take the simplest thing for granted.  I bet most of you never stopped and appreciated the fact that you can go and “SIT” in the bathroom and take care of your business.  Some of you might even enjoy reading, doing the crossword or sudoku while getting rid of some waste… or simply just wasting time.  I used to be one of these people… not anymore.  We have a squat toilet here… basically for those that don’t know… it’s like a mini-trough? a porcelain hole in the ground?… it has a hole at one end that goes to the sewer system (of which I am totally thankful for… it could be worse you could have to squat AND smell waste… I don’t, so trust me I AM thankful for what I have)… and then it’s almost like a toilet without the seat on the other end… and a very small pool of water… I’d recommend googling squat toilet… it’s rather hard to describe… but I’ve honestly never had to concentrate while using the restroom!!  I don’t want to “miss”!!!  Hah!  I do find it less sanitary… less comfortable (as you are forced to squat to decrease your chances of missing)… less aesthetically pleasing (it’s a glorified hole in the ground)… and more awkward.  But let me just tell you… don’t take being able to sit for granted!!! Men you might have it easy on one end… but we all know who takes longer to take care of their business on the other end….

    6.  Apparently a lot of people here have trouble with the concept that I am ALLERGIC to rice… and with rice… should probably go RICE PRODUCTS.  This is something I’ve learned not only in Mangshi but lots of places… it’s always important to ask… does it HAVE RICE IN IT?  Do not trust that just because you’ve told people that you’re allergic to rice (and they know it very well), doesn’t always mean they realize that accounts for EVERYTHING made of rice… for example… RICE candy is probably not a good idea… RICE noodles are probably not a good idea… all have the word RICE in it and probably therefore are RICE products and therefore I’m probably ALLERGIC to it.  Fun times.

    7.  House shoes are confusing.  So we walk in the front gate of the home… walk with our outside shoes up to the tiled area… where there are house shoes… but house shoes don’t go on the living room floor?  only bare feet… but house shoes can go from the front gate to the tile where we once walked with our outside shoes?  House shoes also go in the bathroom where the aforementioned number 5 is… so honestly… I don’t get it… are they to be clean? dirty? somewhere in between?  I’m so confused.  So perhaps this is one thing I haven’t learned.

    All in all it’s been great here.  Especially since I’m feeling better now… still not 100% but I’m getting there.  Tomorrow (Thursday) is a holiday here… for what, I don’t know… but hurrah for a day off?  actually 2 since I think Friday is a day off too?

    I’ve been told this blog is probably a good place for prayer requests… so here are a few.

    -I can only stay here for 2 more weeks, however the English classes continue.  When I am not here the wife/mom will have to teach ALL of the classes.  That’s one class every night and 5 classes on Saturday.  Her son gets home from school around 5… she can play with him until 6 when we eat dinner… and then she has to go off to work to teach after dinner… she doesn’t get home until basically his bedtime… she feels that her son really needs her more… so please pray that they can find another teacher to help them.

    -I have a friend that is trying to get a visa from China to Greece for a conference.  Pray that God will show her where He wants her to be…. give the embassy wisdom in their decision for her.

    -Pam’s department is working on some huge stuff in addition to summer camps, pray for wisdom for all of their department and everyone involved.  That they will see God’s direction for all of it.

    -The library is set to open officially June 1st.  Pray that everything goes well in getting it all prepared!



  • 23May

    After a whole 3 hours of training… I am now an official teacher.  Who needs credentials anyway or Master’s programs or CBests???

    Today I taught 3 classes.  The first group being kids I helped teach on Thursday.  That one was fairly easy considering I already knew their skill level and where they were in the material.  The key topics were… “I am going to…” and “I am hungry.  I want to eat…”  It’s a lot of teacher says – children repeat – teacher says – children repeat – children say on their own.  I don’t know if I teach too fast or if it’s because the kids are smart… or if there’s not enough material… but we sorta wizzed by things… and I had to start thinking on the fly.  So I decided that “Simon says” was a good idea… and we finished the class with a nice long round of that.  I think part of my problem is that I don’t really like the “songs” that they have on tape…. they’re kinda weird (as in made up by some people down here… so I don’t know them… and besides that they’re still weird), but they do have some classics like The Hokie-Pokie and The Wheels on the Bus.

    I watched Lorena (the wife who taught all the classes before I came to help) teach the youngest and newest group following my class.  That class was a lot like a kindergarden class with some word stuff… followed by drawing… followed by songs… followed by a story.

    After that class we went home for lunch and a break.  During which we went to the local clinic to get some meds for a cough that I haven’t been able to shake.  It was starting to get worse… so I decided that it was time to do something about it.  You’ve got to love China clinics… Joe says to the Doc “she has a cough can I please have some prescription like medicine”… Doc “who has a cough”… Joe points at me.. Doc writes down on a paper something.  Gives the paper to Joe… who then takes it to the “window” where there are pharmacists?… who then write down the price… and return the paper to Joe… Joe then takes the paper with my money BACK to the doctor… who then gives Joe change and the paper… Joe then RETURNS the paper to the window where we are given the drugs.  I received no medical exam… but I have cough meds… let’s hope they work!… oh an all for $3 USD.

    The really cool part about that trip was that when we got there, 2 guys were getting treated for serious road rash!  Apparently they were on their motorcycle going very fast… and either spun out or flipped… but both guys were ALLLLL cut up with some pretty intense scrapes.  They were at this same clinic walking around with some type of cleaning/clotting meds on all their wounds… but nothing covering them… so they’re just wide open to the wind and the dust…. it was pretty crazy!!  I wonder if something serious like that costs like FIVE USD or something.  HAHA.

    Class 2 was at around 2:30… I was given the lesson plan for a beginner class… similar to the one I observed before lunch… when the kids started to come in I noticed that they were much older that the earlier class… but I just assumed that they were “new”… we started to go through the farm animals… and to my surprise the kids in the class KNEW EVERYTHING already… and were going really really fast… I was like uh…. these kids are either brilliant or I was given the wrong lesson plan.  During the break I asked Joe if these kids were really the beginners… and he says… uh no…. these are like the most advanced… like the ones you taught this morning.  EEEKS.  So I go get the other material… and get back on track after the break.  Whew.  We’ll just play it off like we were doing some serious review.  haha!

    Class 3 was the medium level kids, but this was a class of 16!!  Much different than my classes of 8-9.  I had to really change things… more group activities and less single person tasks.  We did more songs… simon says… and good stuff like that.

    All in all… I’d have to say that things went really well.  I think I still have to figure out what the school really wants to focus on for the kids.  But I think it’ll get easier as time goes on.  I had a lot of fun, but I was for sure tired by the time the last class was over.  Especially since 16 kids demands a lot more energy.

    I think tomorrow we’re going to fellowship (as long as the other foreigners are around and not on trips… so I’m told).  It might be nice to meet some new people.  I’m sorta missing community here.  The family I’m staying with is really cool, but I sorta lack people in my age range to talk and relate to…

    I just got some great news that Katy is going to come visit me!!!  Woohoo!  It should great… she’s actually going to come right before I go back to the states and we’re going to fly on the same flight home!!!  I hope she learns a lot of Chinese… because all I’m learning here is Spanish.  HAH!

    I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!!


  • 21May

    I’m successfully in Mangshi now, but getting there was half the battle.  I originally went to bed last night with a little bit of a sinus problem… so I took some sudafed last night… and that was that… I woke up with a little bit of a sinus problem… took some more… and then weirdness started… I started to see funny lights when looking at the screen… and I started to get a bad headache… attributing the lights to the headache and the headache to the sinus problem… I figured that it would all go away soon with the meds.  Wrong.  Headache escalated into CRAZY headache… and then dizziness… and faintness… and nausea.  I basically stumbled through the security check at the airport… walked by the bathroom towards the gate… made a quick turn around back to the bathroom as the nausea really kicked in.  Spare you the details… I didn’t eat anything so really no real details except what normally happens when that all goes down and there’s nothing in your stomach.  Felt a little better (in the sense that the nausea was gone) but the headache was SO bad.  I stumbled onto the plane… I think it was maybe a quarter full… so good thing!! no one in my row!  I try to fall asleep… can’t due to the pounding head… start to land… previous problem starts… no fun.  Like I said before good thing no one was sitting next to me.  I can’t imagine sitting next to someone in my condition.  Probably think I have the swine flu or something.  Stumble off the plane… grab my bag… find Joe (the principal of the school)… excuse myself for being extremely under the weather…. he drives us to his place… I must have looked bad… because he and his wife insisted that I “take a rest” (funny saying that all the Chinese people who can speak English say)… I laid down… fell asleep… woke up feeling 75% better… ate some bread… drank some water… felt mostly better… although I still have a lingering headache.  I don’t know if that’s what spiritual warfare feels like… but it definitely was NO FUN.

    On the good side…

    I got to visit the “school”.  It consists of 2 classrooms and 2 offices.  Very nice and quaint.  I also got to sit in on one of the classes.  They were mostly in the age range from 8-10 with a few outliers.  This particular class had 8 kids in it.  The class is mostly fun things and command, act based.  The teacher says something… the kids do it.  The teacher shows a picture, says the word, the kids repeat it.  Then they do actions with the pictures.  No writing and very little reading, at least for this age.  It was fun.  It’s also kinda cute because the teacher is from Argentina, so the kids have a Latin accent sometimes when saying words… like book.  It seems very laid back to teach and fun.

    The family I’m staying with is very nice.  It’s Joe the principal (a Chinese guy) and his wife the Argentinian teacher.  I was told not to ask how they met… so I can’t answer that.  Hah!  They have two kids… Elias is 5 and Melisa is 1.  It’s cool Elias speaks fluent Spanish and Chinese and some English.  The mom speaks almost entirely to them in Spanish and the dad speaks a combo of Chinese and Spanish.  We joke that I’ll return with better Spanish than Chinese.

    I sorta miss Kunming.  I was just starting to feel like I knew my way around and I was getting to know a lot of people.  It’s weird to have to “start over” in a sense, but I’m really excited for this new adventure. This town is really small (small being ONLY 1 Million people!!!), but it is definitely more country than city.  It reminds me of Lijiang.  And I will need to become proficient in the use of a squat toilet……. fun…… attempt 1…. actually a success… let’s hope to keep it that way.


  • 18May

    Here are some things that I’ve learned so far:

    1. If you see a puddle on the ground, it’s most likely some kid’s or some dog’s pee.  Do not step in it.  It is never a fun rain puddle.

    2. On the same note… if you see a grandpa running out the door towards the sidewalk with a kid sitting in the grandpa’s arms (in the position of using the g-pa’s arms like a toilet seat) it’s probably because that kid is going to create such puddle from #1.  So get out of the g-pa’s way FAST!  (Too bad Pam learned that one the hard way!!!)

    3. The bus has the right away ALWAYS.  Even if you’re a pedestrian with the green to walk… just remember that RED lights don’t apply to buses.

    4. If you’re a bus driver, the only way to come to a full stop is to stall the bus.

    5. If you’re a foreigner, and a local is bargaining for you… just don’t say anything at all.  Just be quiet and pretend like you know what’s going on.  As a foreigner you’re getting a 75% hike in the price….

    6.  Orange Capri-Sun/Sunny D magically becomes Minute Maid OJ when you add pulp.

    7.  Hanging on to and holding your friend’s hand is completely acceptable and normal for walking down the street.  (Although not as bad or as awkward as one would think….)

    Some fun experiences I’ve had have been:

    1. Going to a Chinese buffet.  It’s just as bad as it sounds.  The first sign that it was going to be an interesting night is when you walk on the floor you immediately slide 5-6 inches.  All you can eat and all you can drink (beer included) makes for an interesting crowd.  Another interesting note from the night… is watching someone take their chopsticks to put a raw piece of chicken or beef on the hot plate… then immediately go and pick up something else and eat it…. I think I heard that germs don’t apply in China… unless it’s the swine flu… THEN they’re SUPER paranoid.  Here is half of our table… basically you get “raw” food from the middle of the room… bring it to your table which includes a “hot pot” at the bottom (one spicy and one not) then a griddle on top.  You take your “raw” food and choose the way to cook it… and then if you don’t like what you’ve eaten or have bones/shells… you spit that on the floor… on a positive note… those white things on the grill is AMAZING tofu.  Delicious.  If I had it my way I would have eaten that the whole time.  Haha!


    2. Shopping for supplies for the library.  We went to basically a glorified swap meet exclusively for furniture and other household items.  We were there for almost 5 hours.  The bargaining process is AMAZING.  No matter how crappy it is… they are always telling you how sturdy and how well made it is.  It was also really great because you have your own personal “shopping cart/delivery truck” following you.  This couple followed us around for the whole 5 hours… “helping” us find things to buy.  But their REAL job was that they own a giant “tricycle” which serves as a delivery truck.  We bought…. 6 tall tables, 6 short tables, 30 tall stools, 30 short stools, and 5 bookcases.  After 5 hours of following us around, the time loading the furniture, 2 trips to the school that was about 1-2 miles away (mostly uphill)… we paid them 80 Yuan… aka 13 US dollars. (and the girls were trying to pay 60, in-fact… were rather UPSET to pay 80!)  Here’s our guy coming up the street…


    3. We had the best bus ride ever on Sunday!  We were going at least 50 MPH on narrow roads the whole time… dodging Scooters, bikers, pedestrians, other cars… PASSING other buses… Pam and I were laughing the whole time… I was basically holding the hand thing so tight and holding most of my weight with my arms because my legs couldn’t stay planted from all the momentum shifts… when we got off the bus, both of our hands were BRIGHT red from having held on so tight.  It will be the bus ride in which all future bus rides will be compared to.

    4. We saw some crazy tree moving on the way to dinner last night.  Not sure what was going on except for the fact that the road was basically blocked by full grown trees hanging out the back of a mini pickup.


    5.  A blue room can turn into a library with just a little bit of furniture!!  Now we just need books!


    All in all, China is great.  Now on to my next journey.  Tickets are bought!  On to MangShi on Thursday!


  • 17May

    Perhaps prayers have been answered… I found a job to do!  Later this week I’ll be heading out to Mangshi to teach some English…. I know what you’re thinking…. WHERE did this come from!!  My only guess is that HE is providing… I hope. =p

    So I went to a prayer meeting with Pam on Friday, I walk in and this guy who I met like once (Jeff) is like… what are you doing here in Kunming?  I say, “Nothing much”.  He says, “Nothing?!?!  Want to go teach English in far away part of Yunnan?”  I instantly thought, “uh… no.”  But instead he proceeeds to tell me about it… small details… how they need an English teacher for just a few weeks while the other English teachers are away… etc etc…  the whole time I’m thinking… “uh… no”.  So I instead say, “um we can talk more after the meeting.”  So then the meeting starts (it’s in Chinese… so I’m a little lost most of the time… left to my own thoughts about what Jeff said).

    After the meeting he tells me more details, only this time I’m more interested… because I’m thinking that this might be the answer I’ve been look for.  I’ve been wanting something solid to do… and here was something.  I go back the apartment and basically dwell on it for the rest of the afternoon with prayer and study.  I decide… I think this is what I want to do.  So I meet with Amos (Jeff’s son who was instrumental in getting the English school started and just came back from there) and find out more details.  So I agree… and I think I’m headed out there on Thursdayish.  We’re still working out some of the details.

    An interesting point is that Jeff later told me that he’s known about this need for awhile, but he never really asked anyone… but there was something in his head that morning that said… hey… Ask Her.  Crazy… crazy good… =)  Such things could only come from Him =)

    The details that I know right now…

    -it’s a school that teaches people of all ages (mostly school aged kids) English as an additional studies course.

    -the classes are held in the evening and consist of 2 time slots during the week, and a full day on Saturday.

    -they will provide me room and food

    -it’s very hot and tropical there

    -the classes are no bigger than 15 students

    -the classes are intended to be fun for the kids (as this is an additional class on top of their REGULAR 8 hour school day)

    -the classes are currently ALL being taught by the principal’s wife (I think they said something like 19 classes a week… I think)

    -I’ve comitted to 3 weeks

    -I’m excited to be possibly taken away from the “comforts” of Kunming…. this place foreigners are rare, where as Kunming foreigners are quite common.

    -HE is good and will provide.  =)

    I’m not sure how rural or modern this place is… so I hope that I can still have some type of Internet access to keep everyone updated.   But I’m getting more info soon.

    Praise HIM for all things.


  • 13May

    Tuesday was my first real day here… Yan is gone, and hence vacation is over.  Although I was able to do a few things here with Yan for my stay.  On Monday I registered at the Police Station (guess you’re supposed to say I’ll be here awhile… here’s who to call in case I get hit by a bus since I’m a foreigner), got a bus card (so I only have to pay .9 RMB [$.15] to ride the bus instead of 1 RMB… or something like that), got a cell phone for my local calls, and I checked out a language school (really cool, 1-on-1 education sounds really really good).

    On Monday I also saw Pam’s new office (also green for anyone that’s wondering… just a more pleasant shade… think HHI ultimate officials shirts).  We talked for a bit on Monday night about what I want to do… what my plans were… etc… to which most of my answers were… I don’t know yet… I just know I was called to be in China… not necessarily WHAT to do when I’m here… honestly I was feeling a little discouraged… I really wanted direction… but I didn’t feel like I knew where to begin… Pam asked what my passion was… and I honestly stated… I’m not sure I’ve ever been PASSIONATE about anything… I really like things (such as Dodger baseball), but I can’t say that any of the things I love are really my passion… passion sounds intense… and I don’t get intense (although I was pretty passionate about being right on the rules of DEFERING the kickoff… HAHA).  So I figured I’d just sorta get a feel for here and see what’s out there.

    So then Tuesday comes along… and Pam suggests that I go tour the city… kinda get lost on the buses… and walk around… I can’t say I was excited about that idea… but I did figure it would be good to go and clear my mind, pray, and meditate somewhere… so I took my map out… and started to look for where I wanted to go.  As I packed my bag with water, my map, a book, the Good book… I got a phone call.  “Would you want to go paint the room that we’re going to use for our school library?”… to which I said.. “UM YES!”

    Around 9ish I went down to the office and met two of the girls that work in Pam’s department… and we started off on our adventure!  We had to buy paint, bus to the school, and work on our project.  Now that sounds easy.  But not in China… and not when the two girls can speak a little English and I speak less Chinese!!  Haha.  And you’d think… ok head down to the local Home Depot thing and get all the supplies.  Uh Wrong.  You go down to the “Remodel district” where all these little shops all sell different things you’d need to build or remodel.  Aka, paint shops (where ALL they sell is paint), fixture shop, wood shop etc… So the girls go to the first shop and ask if they have “paint for concrete floors”.  No.  Next store, no. Next store, dirty look and no.  Next store, no.  We get to the “last store” as we’ve now come full circle in the “district”.  I decide to try to get the girls to ask more questions about what would happen if we used “wall” paint on the floor… not really that easy!! but luckily I had packed my Chinese-English dictionary.  Success!! But the lady says it might be a little slippery.  I say that’s ok.  So begins the bargaining process… she comes back with a high price still… so I say (to the girls to translate… ) that we want brushes for free then because their price is high.  She says Ok… I say sweet… I want ROLLERS! To which they say… no no no that won’t work…  and I’m thinking uhhhh YEAH it will… what’s wrong with Chinese paint?? hahah.  Unfortunately they convince the girls that the BRUSHES are better… and them never having painted anything in their lives, believe them… SOOO I negotiate to get at least ONE roller…

    We get to the site (they deliver the paint… after getting lost) and come to find out that they THIN their paint like crazy here… one part paint one part thinner PLUS some THICKENER agent that said it’s use was for painting cars… I figure ok whatever… low and behold my beloved ROLLER works like a CHARM… and the brushes (while usefull for the edges….) is terrible!  Especially with super thin paint!!! Hah.  Oh well.  The roller did most of the work and it came out alright.

    Blue Floor

    There’s Ruth working on the floor =) A fun pretty blue!!  This is just step one of many in getting this library set up for this school!

    And for those of you wondering why is this following in my mom’s footsteps??  Well she used to be a librarian… and everyone said I’d grow up to be like my dad the engineer…. hehehe.  Perhaps that’s tomorrow when I start making a floor plan and working on fixing the leaks in the building… it’s not good news when it barely rains and there’s water in the room… =)  Oh how China is fun!

    I can’t believe I’ve only been gone a little more than a week… it feels like it’s been a lot longer but in a good way.  I feel very accomplished as far as seeing some pretty amazing things in Beijing to already having started fun things here in Kunming!

    Until next time!


  • 10May

    Yay it’s Mother’s Day!  So Happy Mother’s Day Mom!  Sorry I can’t be there to celebrate with you. =(

    It was a beautiful Mother’s Day here.  Kinda hot though… a very warm 90 degree day.  We started the morning by going to Sunday gathering.  I got to see a lot of the people I had met the first time I was here!  So fun.  Then we went out to Japanese food.  It was really good.  Apparently the place we went to imports all of their decorations and things FROM Japan.  Imagine that… their stuff actually says “Made in Japan”.  Haha!

    Tonight we’re going out with Yan’s cousin (who happens to live in Kunming and whom she’s never met!).  Should be fun.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all!  (well mostly all the mom’s).


  • 09May
    Uncategorized Comments Off on If a stone falls over in a forest…

    and no one is there to hear it does it still make noise?

    Unfortunately going to the Stone Forest today didn’t answer that question, but I did have a lot of fun hiking around.  What a beautiful place.  It was a giant park of tall stone formations that had created (either naturally or with a little help from man) this cool maze like thing.  You could just walk along several different paths of stairs… we were able to go in quite a ways and get away from all the tour groups.  It was very peaceful and fun to take cool pictures!  I only uploaded half of them… but they’re so fun!

    It’s great to be here in Kunming.  =)

    Here’s the link to the pictures:


    Hope ya’ll are having a great weekend.  Especially Casey the birthday girl!  Happy Birthday Casey!

  • 08May

    I made it to Kunming!  It’s mostly the same as I remember it from October.  =)  There’s really something special about here.  It’s so cool.

    We arrived around 6:30ish took our bags to the apt then went out to dinner.  Had some yummy Chinese food and popsicles then came home and just hung out for awhile.  It wasn’t anything exciting in the way of activities, but it is exciting to finally be here!

  • 07May

    Today was my last full day in Beijing.  What a great trip it has been.  I feel like I’ve seen so much in a really short period of time.  We went to the Heavenly Temple today.  It was a place where the Emper0r used to go to pray for things like a good harvest.  The interesting thing is that he prayed mostly to a god that they believed to be the god above all gods and was nameless… sound like anyone we know?  =)

    Another cool thing about that place is that it used to be so private, meaning that only the Emperor was allowed on the grounds.  Now it’s a place flourishing with locals and local culture.  Immediately from the time we walked in till the time we left there were locals dancing, singing, playing instruments, doing Tai Chi, doing Kung Fu stick with a sharp knives at the end, crocheting, and simply enjoying life.  It was a really lively place!

    Next we headed over to the Olympic Park area.  We walked down the pathway that separates the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest.  They were both really cool buildings and fun to take pictures of.

    Then we went over to Yan’s parent’s place for dinner.  AMAZING!  Her mom and dad made fresh dumplings, a pork dish, a chicken dish, sprouts, chicken and vegetable dish, and another dish that I didn’t even get to try!!!  It was definitely enough food to feed at least 15 people… but there was only 6 of us.  Before dinner I got to help Yan’s nephew with his English homework.  Wow I didn’t know English was so hard!!! At least the way that they study it…. to make things harder the homework isn’t even written in perfect English.  It was very casual talk and more filled with everyday phrases that I’m not sure would make sense to someone who is just learning the language….

    After dinner we went to the bus stop… Yan rode her bike and I got to ride on the back of her brother’s electric bike.  I felt like a true Beijinger sitting side saddle on the back of a bike.  I think I’ve rode on all forms of transportation here now: bus, subway, car, rickshaw, and now on the back of a bike.

    Tomorrow we head out to Kunming!  I’m really excited to go out there but at the same time Beijing was sort of growing on me…. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next!

    Here’s a link to the latest pictures:



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