Monday, June 24, 2013

Li Li's Glad We Gotcha Day!

Li Li,
One year ago today, you were just minding your own business in the same room that you had lived in for most of your life. You got to play with the Nannies, and drink your Ba (bottle). You got plenty of attention, and got to walk around outside.
You had no idea that your life was about to change forever, and to be honest you probably did not want that to happen!
When the Nanny handed you over to your Mommy, you started screaming. We later learned that it was just your scared scream, but oh how you cried! It took a van ride, a bath, a  change of clothes, some food and some cool new toys for you to settle down.
You have come so far in this past year, and your Mommy and I are so proud of you. You have changed this family forever, and in a good way! You have brought so much laughter, frustration, wonder, and enjoyment to this family.
Its only been a year, but we can not remember what our life was like before you came. We are so proud of you, and love you so much. You are our little Princess, and you have everyone wrapped round your little finger!
We love you so much...Happy Glad We Gotach Day!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Changde FoodI

We got to travel to a nearby city for a quick visit to see some friends, and of course we got to eat some good food!   Even though I have lived in China for a long time I still love taking pictures of the restaurant food.

Restaurant Chinese food is all about the presentation and making to look good. It's all about using colors to make the food look great!  In our culture class,we learned that in China the taste of the dish is not nearly as important as the color and presentation, whereas the Western idea is that taste is more important than presentation!

We do eat Chinese food at home, but it never looks as amazing as this! 
(My wife makes fun of me for taking these pictures, but I don't care.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dragon Boat Festival and 粽子
Today is a holiday in China. Its a day off of school, or staying home from work. In China, every holiday is spent with your family and this one is no different.

Today is:
 Dragon Boat Festival/端午节
Double Fifth/雙五節 It is sometimes called the Double Fifth, because it takes place on the 5th day of the 5th month, according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

People celebrate by racing Dragon Boats, but also by eating Zhong Zi/种子。It is basically sticky rice, stuffed with some kind of filling, and wrapped in a bamboo leaf. 

The story as to why we eat 种子 is a simple one. 
I admit, I am tired with everything that is happening, so I did not rewrite the story. This is the story of why we eat 种子

As a minister in the State of Chu - one of the seven warring states before Qin (221BC - 206BC) in China's first feudal dynasty - Qu Yuan supported the decision to fight against the powerful State of Qin (one of the seven states during the Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC)) together with the State of Qi (ibid). However he was slandered by the aristocrat Zi Lan and was subsequently exiled by the King. In order to show his love and passion for his country, he wrote many enduring poems such as Li Sao (The Lament), Tian Wen (Asking Questions to the Heaven) and Jiu Ge (Nine Songs) and is therefore regarded as a famous poet in China's history. In 278 BC, after finishing his last masterpiece - Huai Sha (Embracing the Sand), he drowned himself in the river rather than see his country occupied and conquered by the State of Qin.
On hearing of Qu Yuan's death, all the local people nearby were in great distress. Fishermen searched for his body by sailing their boats down the river and other people threw food such as eggs and food like zongzi into the river to attract fish and other animals from destroying Qu Yuan's body. Later, many people imitated these acts to show their respect for this great patriotic poet and this practice continues today.
Because Qu Yuan died on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, people decided to commemorate him on that day every year. Dragon boat racing and eating zongzi have become the central customs of the festival. For two thousand years, Qu Yuan's patriotic spirit has influenced numerous people and he remains revered by the people from all over the world.

Our boys were very scared to eat them, but we made them! This is an important part of the customs and life in China! I had hoped to get a picture of their friend sharing this expierence with them, but he did not want to! Honestly, most of the Chinese do not like 种子, they just eat them because it is tradition!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Our Plan....Fathers Plan....

You would think that we would be used to it by now. Knowing that what we think is best and what our Father thinks is best can often be different from each other.  Yet, no matter how many times it happens, it always takes me by surprise.

On May 1st, I got an email from my school, telling me that my contract would not be renewed for the coming school year. I know that many people may not understand why I we have to teach in addition to everything else, but its simple. We need a visa to live in China, and teaching gives my family and I a legal reason to be in the country, as well as the ability to live here long term.

I was disappointed, but was confident that I could find another job/visa. I mean, they always need teachers in China......right? Usually.......yes.....but this

We explored every opportunity, and I mean every opportunity, but the doors kept closing. We got more and more discouraged, and began wondering if our time in China was done. One Sunday, we as a family locked ourself into our house and had some quality time together. We pr'ed, and ask the kids what their thoughts were. One of our kids answered with this, "I miss America, but China is my home."

With that, we knew our time was not done, so we began asking Father to show us the next step. And He did....and it was NOT what we were expecting.

The short story is that we have decided to go back to America a year early. Our company has us here in China for 4 years, then America for 1....and so on...but we are heading back after only 3. There are some other things that have helped us see that this is the right decision. It is not what we expected, but thats okay. He knows best....

In the net year or so, we will be doing several things:
1. Working on furthering our education. We have some open doors that are waiting for us, but we feel we need to be more prepared educationally wise. This will give us a visa that we need.

2. Traveling around Oregon and the country telling people of the amazing things that we are privileged to be a part of.

3. For the first time, allowing our kids to enjoy American culture, while we enjoy a dishwasher!

We will be back, this is home. Out time in America will be temporary, but we plan on enjoying it and making the most of it.

His plan...not ours....

In the meantime, we are selling/giving away our stuff.....