Monday, November 29, 2010

Beijing hutongs

Sometimes we just need to get out of our city (a fairly dreary NorthEastern Industrial city of 8 million) and go to Beijing!  We love Beijing with its brightness and variety of people and activities.  By fast train, it is four hours away and the subway line is fantastic.  Our finances were quite tight this trip so we were looking for free and cheap things to do.
We stayed at the Far East Youth Hostel which is right in the middle of an old hutong.  A hutong is an old Beijing or  neighborhood and are endlessly fascinating.
We walked around the hutongs and took some pictures.

People live and work in these neighborhoods.  There were many narrow alleyways like this one.  Many homes don't have plumbing or running water.  The homes are tiny.

Another alleyway.

Brooms for sale.  Made of plants.

Breakfast!  Delicious boazi!  This cute girl insisted that she was too ugly for a picture.  We thought otherwise.

View from our hotel window.

Brooms on top of trash.

There is almost no service that can't be found in China.

Blind man performing on a traditional Chinese instrument.

T-shirts designed for the tourist market.  This isn't political commentary!

Statue outside of a medicine shop.

Tea pot outside a tea-shop.

It's hard to tell from so far away but he has given her a dumpling to taste and is anxiously awaiting her approval.

Chopstick store.

Part of the hutong has been made into expensive, upper end stores.  See the Starbucks on the left?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

If you have any kind of nebulous relationship with food...

or doubts where food comes from...
China may not be your kind of place.
These were all taken in Beijing this weekend.

Um...I just don't think I could.

Starfish and creatures.

Lizards and I think scorpions.

These were still alive and they were moving their legs....Yes, as yucky as it sounds.

These looked good- some kind of fish.

Leetle, leetle birds.  Maybe this is why China has so few birds flying in the sky.

We had this for lunch-meat and vegetables in a was good!

The cereal aisle at Jenny Lou's- western grocery store.  Almost anything can be had for a price!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to celebrate Thanksgiving in China.

First start off by making French Toast casserole to serve your friends for brunch.

Invite your friends over.

Hang out and eat.

More hanging out and eating.

Served French Toast casserole to the sweet baby who loves it!

Cook up your stuffing vegetables in your wok.

Cook your stuffing bread cubes in your miniature oven- only kind of oven that is available here.  No pre-made bread cubes either.

Go to your friend's apartment to eat.

Eat fairly traditional foods-ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries and broccoli salad.  Only substitution was chicken for turkey.  Hard to cook turkeys in the mini-ovens!

Even in China, there is a children's table.

Students from a local university.

Children's performance.

One more thing...if you buy white bread to chop into cubes for stuffing...don't be surprised if it has little chocolate drops in it.  You can pick it out and still use the bread...because you have no choice!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My heart is shattered by a little boy.

It hurts me to look at this picture.   To see the ribs, the loose skin, the vulnerability in his face.  Our foster baby was a living skeleton when he came to us.

He had no hair and he couldn't lift his head.

He sucked on his hand constantly to self comfort.  His immune system was so compromised that it took the mosquito  bites  on his face three weeks to heal.
My heart was shattered by the physical realities of what had happened to him and the devastating reality that somehow he was not considered worthy to live.  

And now....three months after we got him. My heart is shattered in a different way as I look at his growth and development and amazed at all that he as accomplished!

Head strength!  Wanting to crawl.

Practicing sitting!

And check out the chunk!

No ribs here!

Sweet rolls of baby fat! No more newborn diapers!

The hands are now used for grabbing toys and hair.  Look, he can even cross his midline!  Growth and development!  

We took this little guy in knowing that it would be foster care, not adoption.  We believe that he needs a younger family to care for him in a way that he can not.  So today, as you look at his pictures, would you thank God for his life.  And pray that his future would be made clear. It shatters my heart in a different way to think about not having him with us.  But we know it's the best thing for him.

Ni Hao Y'all


Saturday, November 20, 2010

The joke

Here is an explanation of the joke and the census. .

It's from China Hope Live which is an amazing blog about life in China

Here is the English translation.
It's true- jokes don't really translate.
But Sinosplice is a great source for understanding Chinese.

The other night we had pancakes for dinner.  When Elisabeth was a little girl, we had a kind of bear shaped form that he used to use to make her pancakes.  We don't have the form anymore but he still managed to free form a bear shape.

Happy daughter.  Pretty cool dad.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chinese Census taker joke.

段子:人口普查员:“请问您家里是几口人?” “是一口人” “十一口?” “不是十一口,而是一口人。” “二十一口?” “不是二十一口,其实一口人。” “七十一口?不会吧?” “ 不是七十一口,就是一口人!” “ 九十一口?” “ 对,就是一口人”

The best part of this joke?  I actually understand it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010