Sunday, October 30, 2005


I didn't really come prepared for Halloween. Well...I was moving to China! They don't have Halloween in China! Unless you go to the International School. But...No worries, we downloaded pics off the internet and went to the Bu Bu Bu (fabric market) to get material, and then gave the pictures to the tailor. He did a great job! (and it cost about as much as our normal thrift-shop Halloween costumes!) Rachel was a fairy, Nicole- a Cowgirl, Caitlin a princess, Jay a Jedi Knight, and Eli...A bat. I found a black wig at the Confucius Temple(yes, there is more shopping than praying going on) and fooled a lot of people! Don't I look a bit Morticia-ish? Though tomorrow is Halloween, we've had our Halloween parties. No trick-or-treating, but some fun activities. And thanks to Amy and our Moms, the kids will still get some good old USA yummy Halloween candy! I am so excited to surprise them tomorrow night. You can't imagine how they will treasure the treats! Maybe I will make them do a trick for each one!
I did my PTA duty for the year, and helped with the school party Friday night. We also had a young women sleep-over at our house that night. I included a picture of it. I was a bit worried about pulling it all off, but we somehow made it. I was at the school all afternoon, and had been shopping all morning making sure we had all the food for the sleep-over. I had the driver taking kids back and forth from school, picking up Mike, then the young women group (4 girls and 3 leaders). After this he came and got me from school, brought me home, and we all quickly changed into our Halloween costumes. The driver took 2 shifts of people over to the party, and two shifts home. Crazy! But it all worked out! Boy was I glad for a housekeeper that day!!!!! If she hadn't been here, I may have needed therapy! Last night was the church group Halloween party. It was tons of fun! It was a chance to invite Chinese friends. There were close to 90 people there. They had a cake walk (with Chinese Muffin things), apple bobbing, and dancing. It was fun to watch the children interact and get the Chinese people to dance with them. I think everyone had a great time. We are pretty tired today!

This week Eli turns four. Tomorrow there are about five little kids and their mothers coming over for a Dinosaur party. He is pretty excited. I can't believe my baby will be four years old!

We have been staying really busy. Life is good. I try to keep the schedules straight, with all of the children doing different things after school every day. On Wednesday I was in a panic because I couldn't figure out where Jay was. He finally came home on the second bus, and after I got mad a him for not coming straight home...He said," Mom, I was at gymnastics." OOPS! That was a good mother moment!

On Wednesday Mike and I went home teaching (we are partners) to a member in our group that lives in a small city. Yes, we were told it's small cause it only has 3 million people in it! He teaches English there to be near his fiance Amanda (her English Name) She is the first Chinese citizen to be baptized in Taiwan, about three months ago. She is an amazing person. She spends over 1/2 of her monthly pay riding the bus 2 1/2 hours each way to church and back on Sunday. She leaves at 5:00 am. She is very inspiring. Unfortunately we were unable to meet with her on our visit because of the Chinese law. But she did call Tyler and make sure that he fixed us some food! We didn't have the heart to tell him we ate on the way. We were very full after that! We are very grateful to our girls, who are willing to watch the boys while we go for so long.

This turned out to be a long entry! We hope all of you have a Happy, and scary Halloween! We miss and love all of you...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A 6th grade trip with Flat Stanley

A friend from Michigan sent Flat Stanley to our family from his school class. Flat Stanley is made out of paper (and can easily ride in an envelope anywhere in the world!). Jonny's class asked if we would let Stanley stay a while and learn about where we live. Nicole took Flat Stanley with her on her 6th grade trip. The 6th grade trip stays here in Nanjing, which was fun, because she was able to get to know our city better. The older grades go to other places. Nicole kept a diary for Flat Stanley, so I thought I would post it on our blog. Here is the diary of Nicole and Flat Stanley...

Day 1.

Me and Stanley went to a Folklore Chinese Dynasty Museum. It was fun and interesting. Then we went swimming at a really big and cool water park. Stanley couldn’t come in the water though :-)! We went to a really good restaurant called Beijing Duck. It was good and they just kept on serving more and more platters of food. Me and Stanley had fun today.

Day 2.

Today Stanley and I went on a race around Nanjing where you must go to a number of places in a short period of time with a group. You only have a small amount of money, and you can only travel by bus. We ate at the one “Western” style bakery in town…Skyways Bakery. For 1.50 each we got a good deli sandwich and a soft drink. Our group didn’t win first prize. But we did win first place for spending the least amount of money! Today Stanley and I had fun, it was hard though cause we had to walk a lot.

Day 3.
Today we ate breakfast then went to a Chinese school to teach English to pre-schoolers. It was hard, but all-in-all, pretty funny. Then we ate lunch with them and headed to a park where a specialist kite-maker taught us how to make a kite and fly it. The kite is made out of a paper-like material (not like in America) so they can glide in the air easily. Then we ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant, where, believe it or not, I got brave and tried chicken head! Today was difficult and fun.

Day 4.

Today Stanley and I went to an amusement park. It had a slide that you drive down the mountain in. Also, a cool ski lift. We had fun! Then we ate lunch at an old famous American restaurant that you wouldn’t think to find in China…KFC! It was a good lunch. Then we went to Sun Palace again (the water park). We ate dinner at a Korean restaurant. It was good food. Today was a great last day to our trip! Stanley and I had a very fun vacation with the 6th grade.


Nicole Wadley and Flat Stanley

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Zhouzhuang Photos

Here is our Eli riding a water-buffalo...which are fairly common to see around here (alive, of course). This one is in the court-yard of a very wealthy silk exporter of the time.

This other photo is us in front of the twin bridges. You can't see the other one, but one has a square arch and the other round. It is a famous spot in China.

I would love to put more photos, but it doesn't seem to want to work with more.


On our little adventure to Suzhou, we stayed over-night at a hotel, and went to Zhouzhuang the next day. This was my favorite part of our trip. It is a small town made up of canals that cross through like streets. It is about 900 years old. There are many original buidings that we were able to see, including a couple of residences. We also got to go on a gondola-type boat. The boat-lady sang old Chinese songs to us. There were really fun "tourist" shops. The boys kept us wondering how smart we were to bring them with us, but in the end, we were glad to have forged through anyway. The scary part of the day was when the tour-guide took us to a restraunt and ordered us the "local specialties". We suffered through that (and only paid for it for a few days), and then were back to our adventures. We were able to see an ancient style of Chinese opera. It was very interesting. I am excited to take our parents (and anyone else who wants to come and visit:-) to Suzhou and Zhouzhuang.

More Suzhou pics

The lunch bunch with "Waterboy", and a picture of us at the Master of Nets Garden


On Thursday, October 7,we all jumped in our Transit and traveled the 2 hours to Suzhou. Wow, what a beautiful place. I figure if our driver can still smile after being in the car with us for that long of a stretch, he must be the most patient man alive! We went to a silk museum. I think the children really enjoyed that. We were able to go to some Buddhist temples, and a pagoda. The boys kept trying to sneak up onto the little worship blocks, so we had to watch them. The people were burning candles and incense everywhere. At one of the temples, we saw the gods of all of the different animals. According to the Chinese, each year is the year of a different animal. For example, I was born in the year of the rat. Anyway, there were gods for each animal. We also saw a beautiful garden. Suzhou is famous for the ancient gardens there. They have kept them very well preserved. Suzhou has always been on the canal, which was dug from Beijing to the coast. The building of the canal began in 486 B.C. during the Wu Dynasty. It was extended during the Qi Dynasty, and later by Emperor Yangdi of Sui Dynasty during six years of furious construction from 605-610 AD. The canal is 1,795 Km (1,114 miles) long with 24 locks and some 60 bridges. I just looked this up off the internet since I'm sure you were wondering:-)
At lunch-time, we stopped at KFC (yes, we have it here) and it was so busy, that we went outside and sat on a small stone wall to eat. Soon we notice that there were crowds of people staring at us as we ate. Many people took our photo. Mike got up and took a photo of us as well. He decided that we did look pretty unusual. It was all great until a kid about three years old stood right next to us and "watered the sidewalk" (not uncommon). We lost our appetites.

A fun Chinese National Holiday Week

This week was the Chinese National Holiday. Mike, and all the kids had it off from work and school. We had such a lovely time. Our driver had the first 3 1/2 days off, so we hung out at home. We went on bike rides (which was fun because we live away from town and there are lots and lots of cool places to ride). We had people over from church, and just played and relaxed. By Wednesday, we were ready to get out! We went to ZiJin Shan (Purple Mountain) and saw the observatory. We rode ski-lifts down the mountain. It was a cloudy day, so it looked really misty. The only bad part was that Eli lost his shoe on the lift. So, after we went to a store and got some more shoes (I took Eli in with me, and the old man kept trying to give him pink Sunday shoes... I had forgotten the word for boy, but the fact that nobody minds their own business came in handy, and a lady told the old man we needed boy shoes), we went to the Presidential Palace. It was built thousands of years ago and used off and on as the capitol of China clear through the 1930's when it was the Presidential Palace. It was beautiful, full of interesting buildings and gardens. On Thursday, we took off to SuZhou and ZhouZhuang over-night. It was an amazing trip. But I'm going to split up the entry so that I can show more pics. Everywhere we went we were the center of attention. People stop and stare, and many people take photos of us. Some ask. Luckily we don't think about it all of the time, but at any given moment, if we look around...In our car, or the store, or walking down the street, or at tourist attractions...Every eye is on us. We are such a shock for the Chinese people on so many levels. First, there are not many white people. Second, we are very tall. Most of all, we have five kids. People are boggled by this. Whenever they ask if I am the mother of all five, they give me the thumbs-up sign:-)