Sunday, December 9, 2007

December 9, 2006- Touring Beijing

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Today was an absolutely perfect day. The sky was the brightest blue I have ever seen. For a place known for pollution and smog, I was amazed! Our morning started off at a fairly early 6 o’clock. Not bad considering we were asleep by 8! We checked emails (KEEP THEM UP!) and went to breakfast. The breakfast was interesting to say the least. It was more of a lunch served at a breakfast hour. My favorite part was the chocolate cake. We sat with Cox’ and talked awhile. They are so nice! We came back to the room for a little and then we left for our full day around 8:30. The driving was crazy on the way there. I seriously thought we were going to have a head on collision 2 times! It got better though. We went to Tiananmen Square first. Right as we got off the bus ALL these people came up with Olympic hats, Chairman Mao fur hats (Dad, Will, and a few other people later got them), postcards, etc. We were all just screaming “NO, NO, NO!” They wouldn’t listen and kept trying to bargain with us! Tiananmen Square was really neat. We then went to the Forbidden City. It was a lot bigger than I thought. It seemed like the buildings all looked the same, but it was cool. It was HUGE! It took a few hours to get through. It is so cold here! We decided we need Starbucks and had heard there was one at the Square. We asked Rosa, and Maggie took us. The Taylors and we were the only people who went because no one else heard. They made us go quick! We practically ran there. There wasn’t even a sign (which explains why no one noticed it when we passed by) but we ordered hot chocolate and Dad got coffee. It was delicious. Yum. Nothing like a good ol’ Starbucks hot chocolate. It was not served as hot as it is in the U.S. While standing in line, we realized the McDavids were standing there! (They didn’t come with us to tour, but were meeting up with us for the Great Wall.) The hot chocolate kept my freezing hands quite cool. We found the rest of the group at the “Couples Tree.” It is over 300 years old. I took Mom and Dad’s picture with it (see pictures.) There was a gift shop that we went in. I got 2 really pretty bracelets for the equivalent of 4 USD! Not too bad! We then went on the bus to go to lunch. Our lunch was at the same place as the Clossianne Factory, so we “toured” that first. Clossianne is BEAUTIFUL! It looks so hard to do. It is like copper wires all spaced to form these beautiful pictures! We had to walk through the shop to get to lunch, but they made us wait to shop. The food was pretty good. We sat with the Taylors and the Cox’. It was nice! They even had french fry type things. We then went back to the shop which was AWESOME! It is HUGE filled with vases, plates, tea sets, ornaments, jade, pearls, clothes, etc. It is awesome. I got a small clossianne vase and a Chinese silk wallet. Mom got a tea set! It is beautiful. We got a smaller one to give to AnnaClaire for one of her birthdays. (We are going to pick up 18 gifts and give one to her for each birthday). AnnaClaire’s has Chinese ladies on it. It’s colorful and I love it. We got a few ornaments too. Will got something (I can’t remember what) as well. I think that is it. I almost got a plate to hang above my bed but it was expensive (About $60 for a small plate!) We then went on the Great Wall of China! When I was in 5th grade, Mom and I did a unit on China. I remember building a model of the Great Wall of China and it being my life goal to climb it one day. Little did I know that 3 years later, not only would I be climbing the Great Wall of China, I’d be in China getting a baby sister!!! The Great Wall was so fun. Freezing cold though! The people selling stuff gathered around trying to sell stuff again though. I think it is so funny and it’s like they won’t take “no” for an answer! We took a group shot at the Wall before climbing. There were 2 ways, “easy” and “hard.” We all went “easy” expect a few people. It was SO steep. Way steeper that I thought! There were also tons of people trying to sell stuff, yet again. Everyone chickened out except for me and Mr. Dagenbach, so we climbed to the tip top. At the top we got these engraved plaques saying we had climbed the Great Wall of China. It has our name and the date in it. We bargained and got it for $3 USD (we actually paid with USD.) Not bad! Then we started the climb down. It has always been my goal to go to the top, and now I can say that I did! The Wall goes on and on. It went lower after the top. I cannot imagine building it! The hike down seemed a lot shorter than up. We knew everyone would be in the coffee shop but there were 2. The first one we tried, Dad, Will, and Mrs. Martin were in it. While they finished their coffee and cocoa, a really pretty picture caught my eye. They were hand painted on silk paper. I was in love. The guy who painted it was right there! He was trying to sell it to me for 320 (over $40) Yuan. I was like “NO WAY!” The man must not have been able to speak good English because then a woman came over and tried to bargain with me. She would not let me go and I would not pay that much for it. She told me to list my price and I said “100 Yuan”. She thought that was crazy and told me to go higher. I said "I don't want it then" but she kept bargaining. 250. No! 240. No! and finally it got down to 150 "final". That’s about $20. It’s really a beautiful painting of the Great Wall. I love it. We then went and found the rest of our group. I got an “I climbed the Great Wall of China” t-shirt. How could I not? We all wanted to go back to the Friendship Store (where the clossianne is) but Rosa tried calling and no one picked up. I guess they think that means they are closed. (maybe they were) We were disappointed because we wanted to get a rooster ornament that we had forgotten to get! A few of the lady’s jade bangles didn’t fit right so must of us wanted to go. But anyway, we drove awhile back to the Beijing Duck Dinner (our itinerary is off, it was tonight since we are all flying to the provinces tomorrow night.) The dinner was interesting. They bring out so many plates! And the dinner plates are so small. They are practically the size of our saucers. The dinner was pretty good. The duck was gross but maybe that’s because I saw it with the head still on! They usually cut it in front of you, but they thought we would be grossed out, so they cut it in a separate room. We got to go see it though. I had chicken which was soooooo good. They had tortilla things for the duck and I made a chicken burrito instead. I think everyone except me and Olivia liked the duck. I’m not 100% sure though. We sat with the Dagenbachs, Martins, and Howards and had a blast. We even learned a new Chinese word. Batza (it’s not spelled that way! It sounds like pizza with a b) is the word for blanket. LOL! It was Mrs. Cox’ birthday, so they had this beautiful cake for her. It looked so good. The icing was yummy but the cake was not. It has like lemon sponge cake! The icing was good though. We then walked back to the bus and had a short drive back to the hotel. It was a busy day! We have been out for 12 hours. I’m going to be sore tomorrow from my climb! Tomorrow is Summer Palace, Church, and a flight to Hunan!

I love China. It is awesome. I don’t want to leave!!! Luckily we have 11 more days!!!!!!!!

Love to all,
Along with Mom, Dad, and Will (who are all sleeping, may I mention! How is that fair?)

Did I mention that Mom used a squatty potty??? She had to go so bad and braved it at McDonalds when someone was taking to long in the normal toilet. I still haven't tried it. Planning on totally avoiding them!

P.S. I'm really tired. It is almost 10. I'm going to bed and will add the rest of the pictures tomorrow morning. I PROMISE! So check back in the night your time!

A year since I climbed the Great Wall of China... Reaching the top of the Wall was one of my life goals. In 5th grade we did a huge study and I said to myself, "I am going to China. I'm going to climb to the very top of that great Wall." And I did it. I accomplished that goal a year ago today. I cannot believe it's been a year since we woke up to a bright blue sky, almost got in multiple car accidents, and toured amazing Beijing. We saw so many memorable sites. Dec. 9 was our big touring day. It was so fun. I have so many good memories from that day, a year ago today. I simply can't believe it's been a year! A year ago we were just 2 days away from AnnaClaire. Now we've had her almost a year. She had brought so much to our lives and I am thankful for the gift God gave us when he brought her to us. I simply cannot believe it's almost been a year.Time has gone so fast. I miss China so much and I cannot wait to go back for Kate. But for now, I am thankful for AnnaClaire and all she has boughten to my life. God is SO good!

My little BuBu, have I told you how much I love you? Everything you do makes me laugh. You are such a spunk and a joy! I can't believe a year ago, we were just getting ready to get you! We were touring all over Beijing, your birth country's big city! Beijing was beautiful and the day that day we had the most gorgeous blue sky. It wasn't normal for Beijing and boy did we enjoy it! We were hounded with people selling things, it was crazy. Every minute we spent in Beijing I loved, but the real thing I couldn't wait for was you. Now look... almost a year with you... a year since that day in Beijing. I love you so much sweet pea. So, so much.


MFJ said...

I am really enjoying your flash backs. I can't wait to go to China!!!


Jie Jie to Sarah Lu and Chayah Ru said...

Awww! Ok, first of all, I must say, I LOVE that you are posting all of these again. In Beijing, everything that you say I'm like "I remember that!" and "Oh, that was awesome!" and of course, "I miss China!!!" Ok, about Starbucks, I definitely had NO idea! So, you must have been gone pretty quick! All of a sudden I saw all of you with Starbucks cups and I was like, "What?" LOL ;) The Great Wall was so much fun... although, I have to say, I got pretty scared! I hate heights, I actually can't even stand to be near the side at a two story mall, so it was a bit terrifying for me, but it was so awesome! And, I definitely went to one of the coffee shops afterwards and got hot chocolate... I mean, how couldn't you? It was SOOOO cold!!! LOL Anyway, I just SO love you posting these, I makes me remember so much from our time in China! :) Almost one year since Gotcha!!!! Well, actually, since China time is ahead, it is officially ONE YEAR!! WOHOO!!! Ok, so it is currently 6pm, Dec. 10th, so in China it is 8am, Dec. 11th... Yep, it has most definitely been ONE WHOLE YEAR!!!! We got Sarah at 6am at the orphanage, so we had had her for 2 hours by now!!! WOW!!!! YAY for ONE YEAR!!!!! =D