Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More stuff...

Nicole had her birthday party the other night. It was lots of fun. Some of her friends were out of town, but 4 girls came over, and I took them to a hair salon and they all had a beautiful hairstyle done, we then went to Burger king (which is a big deal, if you can imagine) and then her friends were given a small amount each to find "silly" gifts for her at Confucius temple. They were all really cute and fun. They spent the rest of the evening dressing up and playing party games. I'm sure you can imagine what a crazy night it was. Nicole never ceases to make us laugh!
The salon:

Beautiful Girls:


Sunday morning we woke up and Mike went to see what the boys had been doing (they wake up with the sun). I was called into the bathroom, where I saw Eli. Now, I had just woken up, and it took me a minute to register what I saw...Every square inch of his face was covered in red. Apparently, when Mike went in, he asked if he looked like spiderman(???)! We had to keep straight faces and desperately wanted to take a photo of him, but knew it would send the wrong message. Nicole, however, was very unhappy that he used her make-up. I don't think Eli enjoyed washing all of that lipstick off of his head.

Well, things are pretty crazy around here right now. All three of the girls are in the school play and are practicing like crazy. There are of course lots of friends leaving at the end of the year, and lots of go-away parties. Things are all wrapping up with school etc.

I went to Student-lead conferences a couple of weeks ago. This is where you spend almost an hour with each child as they show you all of the things they have worked on this year. It was fun to see how proud they were. Some of the children showed me EVERY detail. It is great one on one time. I think all of the children have had a very successful year at school.

Last week was our final fundraiser for the year with Hopeful Hearts. We try to raise money to give to the Nanjing Orphans and some poor children around the province the heart surgery they need. We were able to earn enough for a surgery with this last fundraiser. There seems to be more and more cases brought to us, so we are working hard to try to earn money for these sweet children. When I am feeling stressed out from all of the fundraising, all I have to do is see the children. My favorite part is visiting them at the hospital, though sometimes it can be so sad and hard. This last week, we visited a 15 year old boy who needs an extremely complicated surgery. I felt such an amazing spirit from both him and his mother. Beautiful smiles and eyes! I wanted so badly to hug her, but I knew she would cry, and that isn't looked upon as a good thing here. We also visited a sweet little 4 month old girl who looks newborn size. She was so beautiful! I just want to take home every one of them!

May 27, 2008

This has been such a sad time here in China. It's difficult to know how to appropriately address the earthquake and all of it's destruction. On the day of the earthquake, my friend Julie and I were walking to my house. I got an email that afternoon from my friend Heidi in Jakarta asking if I had felt the earthquake. I had no idea what she was talking about and looked on my news-page and saw nothing about it. That night, I saw something about an earthquake in Chengdu that killed 4 people. I thought it was sad, but didn't dwell on it too much. The next morning, my mother called, wondering if we were OK! All of those thousands of people. It has been such a devastating blow for the Chinese people. The aftermath is even still going on. So many people without homes and still in danger. It was felt in some tall buildings in Nanjing, but no damage was done.

Exactly one week later, I was walking the same path home, and suddenly everyone stopped their cars and started honking continuously. As you can imagine, it was A LOT of honking. People on the sidewalks stopped. The sirens all over the city went off. It was such a touching experience to see them doing the only thing they could to mourn for those people lost in the earthquake. There is one bright thing that has come from all of this. I have seen Chinese people helping people in ways I have never seen before. There is such a feeling of unity and selflessness, which seems like a new thing to this nation. For a people who is so used to scraping by, and just "fending for themselves", it's a wonderful thing to see them volunteering time and money.

This morning, I went with Julie to see the Olympic torch while it was here in Nanjing. What a contrast. People were all so excited, and dressed in all sorts of Olympic paraphernalia. They were just thrilled. It was so funny. Julie and I posed in photo after photo with so many Chinese people. We bought flags and t-shirts, and everyone was so excited to see us foreigners excited with them. It was a great morning. Here are some photos of some excited people! Also, here is a little bit of trivia... The torch was made here in Nanjing. It looks like a scroll of paper, because the Chinese are proud to have invented paper.

I decided to take a photo of people taking photos of us. There were so many people that wanted photos with us, I think I know how Mickey Mouse feels??? I felt like a theme-park mascot!

Monday, May 05, 2008

May 6 2008

We've had a nice May holiday. Now back to life. Here are a few photos of things we have been doing. Rachel, Nicole, and Caitlin will return home tonight from the China International District Youth Conference they have attended in Shanghai. It sounds like they had a great time. We are so glad they were able to go.

The youth were told to do a fundraiser for their youth conference. We actually have 9 youth right now, believe it or not! Rach, Coli, Cait, and the 2 Yu kids, a boy who lives in Xuzhou, and 3 kids from the Faucet family who are here for 6 weeks. So a not to shabby sized group of youth went this year. They decided to do a "pancake dinner" at our house on a Saturday evening. They did a great job. There were pancakes, eggs, bacon and a fruit salad. I think everyone went away still hungry, but it was a fundraiser, what more can you ask for?

The hotel brought over some tables and chairs and we had a nice "candle light" dinner. The youth served everyone.

I've never had so many people in my kitchen at once!

After the dinner, the girls did some hula dancing that Sister Panoke taught them. Everyone loved it.

Our Nicole turned 14 on April 28Th! Happy Birthday Nicole! It was the break, so I took the girls to lunch and a foot massage that day. Then, Nicole wanted pizza, and pavlova for her dinner. She was also able to go to the youth conference dance and is very excited to go to EFY now that she is 14!

We woke up one morning this last week to this beautiful creature in the kitchen! He is at least 2 1/2 inches long! Then, we found another one in the kitchen yesterday! Is there a colony of huge ugly beetle things in my kitchen? Or maybe the same one likes us so much he found his way back??

The boys and Mike and I did some exploring while the girls were gone to Youth conference. We went to the zoo one day. This is a tiger cage, we thought might be a good thing to try out with the boys :-)

We went to these 2 really neat caves. The boys loved them. They do crazy things like put colored fluorescent lights all around. It looks pretty psychedelic.

Apparently there have been ancient bones found in this cave, so they put this nice neanderthal man in it. It freaked Jay out when he saw it. I think he jumped 5 feet! One sad thing was that we could have bought some stalactites on our way out. They chop them off and make carvings out of them and sell them. We didn't buy any.

We also went to the ancient stone quarry to see where 100,000 workers were commissioned to carve a huge monument out of stone by the Emperor Ju Li. They got quite into the project when they figured that they would never be able to move the stone. It was just too heavy. So, they just had to abandon the project. It's amazing because you can see the lines where they carved by hand. So much work!

OH...this first photo is one I had Mike take because we saw this beautiful tunnel of fake flowers on the way, and I always see ladies posing like this for photos...Don't worry, you too could look this special with plastic grapes and tinsel. If only you could find some!

There were 3 or 4 different parts of this big sculpture. This was supposed to be the head.

We read that just the base is over 250,000 tons.