Friday, December 30, 2011

Halfway Done

Thank you all for your prayers. Blake is home and doing well. He was pretty sick. The doctors told Matt that he was about 4-6 hours away from going into a coma. So THANK YOU all for your prayers. He is doing much better and glad to be home.

The last couple of days we did some sightseeing in Jinan. On Thursday our guide took us to DaMing Lake which is a huge lake and park. It is a place that scholars and poets would go to thousands of years ago to write and have writing contests. It was beautiful, but very cold so we didn’t stay too long. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in the spring and summer.

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I LOVE this picture...

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This may be a picture I frame. I am not a photographer, but I just love the way this turned out.

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After we left the lake, our guide took us to a school. My father in law is the Superintendent of a school corporation back home and I thought it would be cool for him to tour a school to see how Chinese student’s lives may differ from Americans. So, our guide was able to get us in to the school that is 13 year old daughter attends.

The school is surrounded by a locked gate and there are security guards as well. At first we weren’t sure we were going to be able to go in, but our guide spotted his daughter’s teacher and was able to talk his way in.

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Middle School students

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Elementary School Students

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We were taken into the school to a room with about eight 8th grade Chinese students, and some teachers. Steve was able to explain how our schools back home work, the classes that were offered, sizes, extracurricular activities, length of day, etc. The kids asked questions and there English was very good. They shared with us what a typical day is for them, school starts about 7:30 a.m. and ends around 5 pm. They do get an hour lunch are some stay at school to eat and some go home. Most of the students live very near the school. This particular school was attached to Shandong University so most of the students were children of the professors. There were some (including our guide’s daughter) who were not professor’s children and had to take an entrance exam to get it.

It was very interesting and I think the kids enjoyed it as well. I will say that from the moment we walked up to the gate, Kalia did NOT want to be there. In fact, our guide even asked her and she said she didn’t want to be there. I had him explain to her why we were there and that we would only be there for a short time then we would go back to the hotel. She was quite nervous and fidgety while we were there, but once we left, she was much more relaxed. We are not sure why she was so uncomfortable, but she is fine now.

These are the individual classrooms

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The kids loved saying “hello” to us in English

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After that we went back to our hotel for lunch (McDonalds) and then Kalia and I ventured back into the alley of the unknown and Steve went back to the room.

The whole alley was mostly food places. There were a couple little shops here and there, but mostly just different types of places to eat.

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We decided since it was out last night in Jinan we would try one more Chinese restaurant. Our guide told us about a place that was just across the street from our hotel and was one of the 10 best places to eat in Jinan. It was called the Sunflower Restaurant. I asked the hotel to write down a couple of dishes in Chinese for us so we would at least have an idea of what we were eating.

Kalia ordered a couple of dishes and Steve and I ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken. Let me just say, the portion sizes here are enormous. We had 4 dishes plus rice and there was still a ton of food left over.

This was the first dish to be brought out. It was chicken. Kalia dove right in, and Steve has a few pieces as well. As I was picking through to get a piece, I found this.

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That my friends, is the head of a chicken. As soon as I saw that, there was no way I could eat it. Sorry, but I just couldn’t do it.

This was the second dish to be brought out which is something Kalia ordered. It is clearly shrimp, the whole shrimp, eyes and all. Neither Steve or I are fans of shrimp so this was also a no go for us. But Kalia liked it.

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They also brought out the sweet and sour chicken which was really good (sorry I forgot to take a picture). Lastly was a spicy beef dish which was really, really good. It was my favorite.

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We all left stuffed.

Friday morning we took off for the airport to fly to Guangzhou. Kalia was so funny to watch. While Steve and I were finishing up packing, she was close to the door, coat on, and bags in hand. She was ready to go.

She did great on the flight. It was about 2.5 hours from Jinana to Guangzhou.

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We are in Guangzhou now and staying at the Victory Hotel. The weather here is so nice, 60’s. Once we got settled in to our room we headed out for some dinner. We ate at Lucy’s. For those not familiar with GZ, Lucy’s is a resturaunt that caters to adoptvies families. There is anything from cheeseburgers, pb&j, to steak, and Chinese food.

After that we walked around a bit then headed back to the room. Today we have our Medical exam so I am hoping Kalia does okay with that. After that our guide is going to take us to a market. Tomorrow is a free day so I am sure we will find something to do.

My camera lens broke, not sure how, but I think I am going to have our guide, Richard take us to the electronics market to see if I can get a replacement.

I will say that Kalia’s personality is coming out more and more. She is smiling more. Her smiles are more real and not forced. Her mood is definitely much more relaxed since we have been in Guangzhou. It is almost like it is a relief for her to be out of Jinan. I would love to know what is going through her head.

She is a beautiful girl and I am thanking God for allowing me the chance to call her my daughter. She is going to fit in quite well with the other kids.

7 comments:

Anneli Johnson said...

Love the updates, Mandi! She seems like she's doing so well! So for your free day, you should go to ND South and give my babies kisses for me. :)

Blessings,
Anneli

Tracy said...

Love the updates and so happy to hear everything is going well! Praise God!

Patty said...

If you can swing it--take her to the Chimelong International Circus in Guangzhou, it is at the same place as the safari park. She will LOVE LOVE LOVE it--and so will you guys. My teens said it was the best thing we did in China. It's not "circus" like you may be thinking, its a fantastic show/production/circus etc etc....and worth every penny!
Glad she is doing well!!

Heather H. said...

Mandi,
We hosted a Chinese exchange student from Chongqing for nearly a year. His mom sent him a care package that included spicy chicken feet for a snack food. My husband tried it, but I did not. Kind of weirded out about eating feet, and not into really spicy food (and these were very spicy).

I'm so happy to hear Kalia continues to do better, to feel more comfortable with you. I'm sending lots of positive thoughts your way for continued progress.

Lori said...

LOVE the pic of you and Kalia! That one most definitely needs to go in a frame. :)

The chicken head...oh my. I would have been done with that dish at that point too. But everything else looked super yummy!

So glad things are going smoothly in GZ!

Oh and SO GREAT that Blake is doing ok now...my gosh, that is so scary!

Anonymous said...

Glad everything is going well.
Thanks for the update!

melissa78 said...

Glad everything is going well! I can't wait to see pictures of you whole family together! Safe travels.