Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grease Lightening

This blog entry should start with Friday afternoon. I was supposed to go set up for the International Day at the school. Julie and I had been grocery shopping, and I was dropping her off at her house. If you've seen the driving in Nanjing, you will not be surprised to hear that as we were turning into the driveway of the apartment complex, Jiang (our driver) brushed the coat of a pedestrian. Julie had seen it happen, and said that the walker wasn't watching where he was going and walked into the car. Well...The man chased us into the apartment complex and the 2 or 3 blocks to Julie's building. He started yelling at Jiang, and I waited. He was really angry and kept showing Jiang his jacket. Next thing I knew, Jiang was pulling his hair and pushing him. I grabbed the keys that were inside the car and went inside Julie's 1st floor apartment where we watched stunned as they had a huge fight! There was kicking, hitting, chasing, and at one point Jiang was thrown over a hedge. There was a broom handle involved, and I found out later, that Jiang was bitten on the finger by this fellow, and it broke skin. The pedestrian had called the police, and Jiang had to wait for the police. I was late getting to the school, so I took a taxi. I wasn't very happy about what was happening. Later, I found out that they stayed for over an hour. Several police showed up and took lots of notes. Here is the punchline of the story....The man only wanted 10rmb to clean his coat(about 1.20 Us or the cost of a Chinese dinner)! The policemen told Jiang to pay him and then they left. Now Jiang has to have a shot every day for 5 days because of his human bite. Can you believe it???? It was the craziest thing. Jiang is getting a talking to tomorrow at work.

Saturday was International Day at the school. It snowed lots on Friday night, so there was a much lower turn-out than normal. It took our driver 2 hours longer than normal to get to our house. But we made it. Expats from different countries put together a room about their country and hand out food samples. People go all out, and the food is always amazing! The Americans did a Grease theme this year. We all dressed up in 50's style and there was a juke-box, and a little diner in one corner where we gave out mini-hamburgers and chips with sodas. They had hula-hoop contests, and the art department made us a "Grease Lightening" car. It was really cute. There is a program at the end of international day, and the Americans did a medley of "grease" songs and we danced and did lip-sinc. All of the kids and I were in it, with Nicole playing Frenchy with pink hair, and Caitlin playing the part of Sandy. Eli danced with his school teacher who is American (he just loves her) and had a ball. Here are some photos from International Day.

Here, some of the "T"Birds are getting "Grease Lightening" ready. Pretty cool Jay.

Eli and Miss Karen are dancing pretty good.

Rachel and Jay help with the hand Jive.

Here's our Beauty-school Drop-out!

Caitlin and Devon made a pretty good Sandy and Danny! She was a bit nervous about how short he was compared to her.

Mike and I thought we'd go on a quick date while we were there...
Michael and I went to Harbin, a small town in northern China, to celebrate our 17Th anniversary that was in December. We had a wonderful time (despite the freezing weather!). Harbin was the town that many Russians settled in, in the early 1900s. They left when Mao stepped in. Every year, they have a huge ice-sculpture and snow-sculpture festival. It is truly amazing. I have selected a few photos. This year there was a very strong Olympic theme. At the ice-sculpture festival, there were buildings from around the world. They choose a different country every year for the snow-sculptures. This year was France.

Here I am in an ice-bar. They would sell hot chocolate, tea, and coffee. If you are really crazy you can order cold beer. It was too cold even on those fur seat covers to want to order anything!

The ice-sculpture festival was amazing. It was so cold that the camera's batteries went out SO fast! It also had a hard time focusing as the evening went on. It took a long time to warm up when we got back to the hotel (even though we each had 3 layers on under those coats). The magnitude of these sculptures are amazing. They get huge ice chunks from the river and bring them all in. There is no metal or other type of foundation for these buildings.

This is a huge snow-sculpture. People were actually worshipping there.

There is an old Russian Orthodox church in the middle of the town. They have turned it into a museum, but it was neat to look at.

Here is the snow-sculpture festival. There were hundreds of sculptures. We were amazed to watch the workers still building the largest building in the forbidden city. They even did the mystical gargoyles on the roof corners. The detail was amazing! There were some beautiful sculptures done for the international competition. There was also a gigantic sculpture that you will see. Pay attention to how small the people look in comparison with it. It was all pretty incredible.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wow! Lots of things have been going on these last couple of weeks. I've been dying to update the blog, but had lots of trouble loading my photos onto the computer. Then, as I was getting ready to try again one morning, something went crazy with the USB cord, and it fried my motherboard! I was so sad! But, believe it or not, we found a place to take the computer, and about 80.00 US and one day later, my computer is back! Hurray! And, Mike got me a new card-reader. So, now you can all see our crazy photos!

On January 7th, I turned 36. The day before was a Sunday, and the family did a great job of making a nice dinner for me, and really just letting me relax. They gave me some really fun gifts, like some "hard to find" American foods from the girls, and Mike gave me some big, beautiful Chinese season paintings. My birthday was lots of fun, because my friends blind-folded me and took me to my favorite place for lunch. I'm sure I was quite the event going through the shopping center blind-folded!

The next Sunday was very exciting, because it snowed here in Nanjing. It doesn't snow often, in fact not at all last year. It was an event for everyone. We got some interesting photos on the way to church, and we went for a walk after church. I have some fun photos from that day. The funny thing is, the snow all melted, and then this last Friday night, we got lots more snow. It's still snowing now. There are about 5 inches now! We are not having church today, because it's really hard for people to get anywhere. They aren't prepared for snow here at all...As you will see in the photos what their method of snow removal on the roads is.

There are a lot of beautiful places when it snows. I had a lot of fun taking photos in some of the parks.

So many people were having a great time making snow-men. They were everywhere!

Here is the snow removal method...

More pretty snow scenes...

Fun in the snow.

Watch out Dad!

The popular thing was to come up to Purple Mountain and make a snowman on your car! Everyone was doing it.

Bridal photos can't be delayed (I guess). This bride looked freezing in her strapless gown. I didn't think it could be too good for the dress when she was posing on the ground. I didn't get that photo as I was trying to take it from the car!

Real men don't miss a day swimming in Xixia lake!

You call this snow????

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Holiday Photos

First, a holiday make-over. Before...

Almost after... Rachel couldn't speak for almost 3 minutes when she saw Mike. He hasn't changed his hair in years!

At our Christmas party with our friends, Rachel models the attractive red long underwear she opened. She looked great in them, huh?

Nicole with some Santa puppets. Unfortunately she didn't get to keep those. 10 month old Claire really liked them.

The much-wanted Chicken-dance-dancing Chicken. Oh-and the guy with the chicken is our friend Paul Mullens.

We all had a great time.

Hard at work decorating our graham-cracker gingerbread houses.

The finished product. Nobody would be surprised Nicole was thinking outside the box! She made a trailer house. My church roof was too heavy and fell in.

I just had to add a photo of Mike from the nativity, since he's usually holding the camera and is conveniently left out. He was a special narrator. :-)

Here we are in deep preparation for our nativity Christmas Eve. Even though I am just looking at some songs to sing, I really should be praying we could sing them nicely!

You can see we had lots of fun on Christmas morning removing the friendly lice we seem to find lots around here...

Here is a photo of the branch Christmas party we had on Christmas afternoon.

The girls and I spent the day in Shanghai, and had to check out the Ikea. Here is there festive pose in front of the lovely Christmas tree there in the store.

One day Rachel, Jay and Eli went with me to grab some Japanese noodles, and then we had a walk downtown where they have some big displays there for Christmas/New Year. It is an Olympic Theme, Of Course. There is also a display of 2 huge rats that look like cute mice. This is the year of the rat.