Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shanghai Day 1

On our way to Shanghai this morning. Anxious to have an internet connection again.

Shanghai is another neat city. Quite the opposite of Xi'an. If I remember correctly the guide said that it has more high rise building than any other city in the world. I really like the vibe it gives off – kinda like New York only with 31 million people. Shanghai will holding the world expo shortly so like the Olympics there has been quite a bit of preparation taking place (to the tune of 30 billion dollars). New buildings, and new highways are seen everywhere. Lots of lights and billboards flashing.

Upon arrival we headed to the tallest building in Shanghai (Jin Mao Tower) to grab a view of the city. It was foggy and rainy so the view was hindered but I cheated and took pictures of pictures and it looks quite real. The building is a financial center and looks like a bottle opener. We rode the fastest elevator to the 97th floor to grab our first view. Part of the floor is made of glass so looking down can be a little scary. It is made of glass and all I could think was that I would hate to be the window washer for this place.

Today is my friend Michael's 40th birthday so with the help of the Helen, I ordered a cake and one of those special chinese candles.  We celebrated after dinner and shared cake with the whole group.

After another Chinese meal (we tend to have the same things served everywhere we go), we went to see an acrobat show. It was amazing! These folks have more talent in their little pinky than I have in my whole body.

This was the day when I was the most tired so I hit the hay when we got to the hotel. We are staying at a Ramada which is somewhat disappointing but does have the comforts for home so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Xi'an Day 2: World Wonder

The terracotta soldiers were scheduled for today. Heading out to the museum was an hour drive and Tony spent the majority of it talking about China's One Child Policy. There is so much information out there from so many different people that it is hard to know what one should believe. I that is true about a lot things but a realization nonetheless.

The soldiers were very impressive. Hard to imagine that a couple of farmers found such an amazing wonder while digging a well. One of the farmers is still alive and I got to see him but he preferred not to have pictures taken.

The soldiers really speak for themselves. I can't do them justice in writing.

We are on our way to lunch right now (dumplings) and then heading to the museum.

(A few hours later)

The dumpling lunch was great. An experience at least for me. While I didn't like everything I did try it all.

After lunch we headed out to the museum which was small but interesting. We then went back to the hotel for short break before heading off to dinner which was called hot pot. It's very similar to shabu shabu. It tasted like chicken soup to me so I liked it a lot. After dinner I had the driver drop a group of us off near the south gate of town and we walked the street back to the hotel. It was a beautiful walk on a gorgeous evening. Enjoyed some baskin robbins as well. The kids were funny I think enjoyed the walk as well. We lost one of our chaperones but he found his way home away.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Xi'an Day 1

Arrived safely in Xi'an. This is a beautiful city. It has a great atmosphere perhaps due to the fog and mist. I wish we were going to stay here longer but perhaps another time. Tony is our local guide and I think he is a history geek. We got quite a long talk on the bus ride into town but it was informative and interesting. We were scheduled to go a museum but they are all closed on Monday's so we had to do some quick re-arranging. Instead we went to a small art museum and then we got to try our hands at calligraphy (I'm not so good). We then headed to the Wild Goose Pagada which was quite beautiful. I really enjoyed being there but I also enjoy gardens in general. We then headed off for an early dinner at a tofu restaurant. I was a little nervous but so far this has been my favorite. I ate mostly vegetables but they were all yummy.

After dinner we headed to our hotel (which is gorgeous by the way). Some people went out for a massage and I'm now regretting that I didn't but too late now. Instead walked to grocery store and got a drink and some cake to try. Cake was not a chocolately as I hoped but I had a snickers too and satisfied my craving. Got the kids together around 9 pm and played some games which was fun but they soon pooped out.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Beijing Day 2: Visiting a World Wonder

Today was an amazing day. You've all seen the pictures of the Great Wall but it is a whole other experience to be walking on it. Admittedly brought tears to my eyes at one point. It was/is just breathtaking.

Helen, our guide, shared a number of stories but I found it interesting that she explained that the Chinese built the wall for peace purposes and not for purposes of war. It was build to protect the people within China and that there was little interest in moving outside to attack others. While the wall is made of dirt and stone, it is clear they want us to know that for every brick within the wall there is a person who died building it.

Other highlights of the day included the Temple of Heaven Park, a photo stop in front of the newly built Olympic birds nest and water cube, a peking duck dinner and my other favorite was a brief but interesting tea ceremony.

Feeling pretty pooped today after Sydney called me at 3am this morning. It was good to hear her voice but funny she called to tell me her daddy was going to paint her room. She rarely calls so interesting that it happened to be when I was here in Beijing.

I found my camera cable so I think I'll be able to post a picture or two if all goes well.

Tomorrow we will travel to Xi'an. There is no internet in the hotel there so will have to see what I can manage to get posted. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beijing Day 1: The Whirlwind Begins

Can't believe I'm in back in China. The flight was long but not bad and I'm enjoying getting to know the kids. They are in awe and amazed and it is fun to be able to share this experience with them. We arrived in Beijng yesterday and had to wait a white for another group to arrive before we headed to dinner. I think we enjoyed a nice meal but quite honestly was too tired to know. We are staying at the Dongfang Hotel. My room is quite small but clean and comfortable. I have the kids posting to another blog so find that is often my priority over my own. (http://cthstravels.blogspot.com)

Haven taken a sleeping pill last night I can hardly remember anything but I did sleep. Had a phone call at 3am when Keara's guitar teacher called to say her lesson had been canceled (life doesn't seem to stop even though I'm half-way around the world). It was actually a good thing since I didn't set my alarm clock correctly.

Started today with a nice breakfast buffet. I'm a little leery of eating and drinking only because I was so sick coming home years ago. Unsure how I got sick but am chicken anyway.

This city is quite large and I honestly don't know how anyone gets around. Denver traffic is a piece of cake compared to Beijing. No one can complain anymore. I quickly learned that this would not be a city I travel to without a guide. It is all just way too confusing.

Lots of walking today. Began our tour at the Summer Palace and Imperial Garden. It was lovely but I can imagine it being even more so during warmer weather. Lots of tourists and most of them of Asian decent so we are quite the attraction.

We went to a cultured pearl store and I learned quite a bit about pearls. I didn't buy any since I bought them last time I was in China (still a miracle considering how much I like to shop). Lunch was buffet style and then we went off to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. Amazing to be in such historic places. The Forbidden City is HUGE. I'm glad I didn't get lost.

My favorite part of the day was riding in the rickshaw through the hutongs. I'm not sure why I liked it so much but it was just very cool. Ate dinner in a hutong home and it was the best food ever. Much better than the restaurants as is typical I think of any country.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and I decided to take the kids to a grocery store. Thankfully I didn't get lost. I was on a mission for cake and a special birthday candle for one of students. It was quite comical as I tried to get this done with the other chaperone. We got the cake but couldn't quite get the candle communicated. It did make for some great laughs but you had to be there.

Anyway, better get this posted as I'm starting to get sleepy.

As I see children everywhere I find myself missing the girls and Zeb and wishing they were here but it is also nice to know that I'll be back one day with them.

Love to all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Revisiting China

Tomorrow I leave for China.  Hard to believe that once again I will stand in my daughter's homeland.  This time I will be a tourist - simply visiting the rich historical monuments that symbolize China.  The trip will be different this time.  In some respects I am sad that I'm not going there to adopt another child.  The journey to Kailei was a such a special part of my life, and our families.  I know there are still many children there in need of homes.  I wish I could do more but alas feel as if the two beautiful girls we have really do complete the Davison family. 

My memories of China are filled with people.  People that were....everywhere.  People that were poor.  People that were rich.  People that looked at this very white, freckled-face red head from America and treated me with kindness.  People that were proud.  People that were struggling.  People that still cling to history.  People that are trying to change history.  People. 

I hope my students see these people and are as touched by them as I was.  We are all so similar in so many ways.  I hope their hearts and minds are opened as they embrace the similarities and differences we share with each other all over the world. 

It won't be easy to leave home tomorrow.  The girls aren't so happy when I'm away.  And it is challenging for Zeb to be a single parent.  I will miss them dearly but look forward to learning more about China and I truly believe that the students that I lead on this trip will be forever changed.  That will make it worth it I believe.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thomas Is Coming Home

Britt and her mom will finally leave this week to get Thomas and bring him home.  After months of patiently waiting the time has arrived and Lucy and Frances will have a little brother.  Thomas is our godson so we are just as anxious to get him home too.  You can follow Britt's journey at http://web.mac.com/wymansl/Wyman_Family/China_Journey/China_Journey.html

Ironically enough Britt and I will be in Beijing for a short time together.  While I'll be with touring with school kids, she will be touring with parents who are anxiously waiting to get their children. We hope to be able to connect while we are there. Unfortunately that leaves the Dad's and kids home to fend for themselves.  I had hoped to be more of a support for Scott while Britt was gone but apparently God had different plans.  Hopefully Zeb and Scott will survive without us. 

Best wishes to the Wyman's as they begin a new chapter in their life.  We love you!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Boys Are Coming

We have two beautiful boys who will be added to the MWCC group soon.  Both Thomas and Matthew will be joining us after a long adoption process.  Our friends the Peterson's just returned home with Matthew and have been trying to keep up with him ever since.  We greeted them at the airport after their long flight home and are happy everyone is home safe and sound.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


The girls had a day off so I decided to stay home with them and we escaped to the Wildlife Museum with some friends.  Had a great time as usual.  Went for a picnic after but was quite chilly so not the best idea but we suffered through it as the girls didn't seem to have a problem with it.  It is days like this I wish I didn't have to work.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Keara's Birthday

Once again I'm falling a little bit behind in my blogging but will try and catch up on our latest activities.  We celebrated Keara's birthday with family in late February.  The party had a tropical theme and we had "island tacos" (which are just regular tacos but with a festive name).  As usual she was spoiled by grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.  I'm so proud of our 9 year old.  She has grown up so much.  I'm a little afraid of the tween years we are heading into but hope that our sweet and thoughtful Keara will remain intact.  

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


When asked about a relationship Keara has she quoted, "I love her like a spoon loves soup."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kailei's First Theatre Production

This was a big one for Kailei.  We had a Mommy/Daughter date on March 7th and went to see Mary Poppins.  It was a fantastic show. Kailei was very excited to go and so was I.  She didn't absolutely LOVE it like I did but she did say that she "liked it even though it was a little long".  I think she like going out to dinner even more.  We splurged and went to Red Lobster.  She ate most of my crab legs which was great for her but not so good for me.  :)  All in all is was a great date and I look forward to many more.