17 months old!

China 2008: March 28th
China 2008: March 28th (click to see album)

If this child gets any cuter I might die of cuteness overload!

Nadia is 17 months today and a 2nd molar has made an appearance. Poor thing has been hurting off and on all week. We know that she has gained weight and has grown a little also. We are going to weigh and measure her on Sunday because I love to know the official stats.

Mike had his last day of class today and so when it was near the ending time, Nadia and I rolled on over to the school. The school and Mike’s teacher Jing had presents for Nadia, so we have some new and exciting things for the plane, which will be very good. The school gave her books with Chinese, English and Pinyin – plus a book of Chinese children’s songs with a CD. Jing gave her the cutest little doll and some more books! We love books!! You can never have too many books (good thing we bought an extra carry on suitcase for the book-a-rama). We spent about an hour at the school and then picked up some lunch.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the apartment because it’s very cold and wet outside. I would have loved to take Nadia to the playground one more time, but it’s just too cold here today. I’m happy that we got all of our errands run yesterday. We couldn’t find a mailing tube to put my paintings in, but the school gave me one today, which was awesome.

We have adjusted ourselves to getting up at 4:30am (gross) and so we got a ton of packing done this morning before Mike went to school. We are aiming to have Nadia asleep by 5 pm and ourselves a couple hours later. The crazy thing is we will be up for like 8 hours before they pick us up for the airport, but it will give Nadia a chance for a nap and we should all be able to sleep on the plane. I hope our jet lag experiment works as well going home as it did coming here. The funniest part for me is that you get back to the states before you left China. We leave Saturday at 4:35 pm and arrive in Chicago Saturday at 4:15 PM.

17 months

17 months

The new photos today are from this morning. The top one in the post is now my new wallpaper…Nadia was smiling and laughing at Mama when Mike took it. 🙂

Thankful Thursday & Our day

China 2008: March 27th
China 2008: March 27th (click to see album)

I know I missed last week’s TT, so here goes:

  • For cute little Dustin born to Jeanette, Brian and big brother Jack last week. We can’t wait to meet you blue eyes!
  • For Travis’ successful surgery.
  • For the 3 of us being completely healthy for the entire trip.
  • For all the people who have prayed for us during the trip. We are so grateful.
  • For the kindness of the Chinese people. We have really been treated well and with respect our entire time here.
  • For the KHUSA subs…. you guys are so faithful and I am grateful.
  • For Kiki as my tutor. She was a perfect match to me and she really made this month special for me. And as a bonus I feel like I learned a lot.
  • For not being “afraid” of Mandarin anymore. I don’t know how to explain it, but it just doesn’t seem so overwhelming anymore.
  • For all the wonderful emails and blog posts that we have received on the trip. The connection to home has been wonderful.
  • For the work that World Vision is doing around the globe. I know I have said it before, but we had a conference call today and to once again hear stories about how people are working to change the lives of children and their communities brings me to tears.
  • For anyone that sponsors through World Vision. You are MAKING A DIFFERENCE and saving lives in a tangible way!!!
  • For Mike’s boss and the elders of the church allowing us the time off to make this trip. It’s been so amazing to be immersed in a different culture.
  • For the staff of the school taking care of us this month and making us feel so welcome in the country. (2012-8-20 Removed dead link. School may not exist now. -Mike)
  • For getting to come home in a couple of days 🙂
  • For not having to hear round the clock coverage of the primaries. Even though it was the first time in decades that Texas mattered!

Today Mike went to school and I started organizing our stuff to pack. It looks like a small tornado hit the place! We mailed our postcards and then stopped to pick up a few more odds and ends. I had to get one last Totoro bun (YUM) and we got some wonderful sandwiches for lunch at Tous Les Jour. We bought Nadia 10 more books…they are so bright and cheerful. We got her a set of 6 that were $0.70 each and come with a CD that we “think” has the Chinese version and English version of all the stories. For that price we decided to chance it. I can’t believe how cheap books are here. We also found out that we are flying out of the brand spanking new Terminal 3 of the airport that opened the day we arrived here.

Here is Nadia with all our water bottles for a month.


High theft item at Wal-Mart? Honestly…. they were padlocked.

High Theft?

The Lotus Center that we went to at least every other day for grocery items. You shop differently when you have to carry it home.

Lotus Center

The street the school and our apartment building are on.


Bookstore adventures

Nadia and Kiki

Kiki came for the last time this morning and we got some cute photos. She has been watching the news and Beijing is having serious crackdown at the airport. Two weeks ago a woman got on a flight in Beijing (bound for some other Chinese city) with a bottle full of gasoline and tried to light it on the flight. So they are very serious about security now. She said that on the news this morning they said that any liquid medicines for you or your baby must be given to the flight attendant and if you need it during the flight they can help you get a dose. So Kiki wrote us a note in Chinese for the security line that basically says, “This is liquid pain medicine for our baby who is growing a new tooth. We will give it to the flight attendant to hold during the flight.” Then we will be hoping for the best for Nadia in case she decides to crank out another molar while we travel 🙂

This afternoon we went over to a giant bookstore to look for some Chinese learning books. Mike’s teacher gave him her 20% discount card and we got some great stuff for great prices. The prices are already better than America, so the discount card just sweetened the deal. I was also able to finally find some Olympic stuff for VBS this summer. Every other Olympic store has been sold out of the items that Kaye was looking for.

Nadia was being super-cute in the bookstore, so I had to whip out the camera. Click on the first photo to see the whole set.

China 2008: March 26th
China 2008: March 26th (click to see album)

Mirror Fun Mirror Fun

Mirror Fun Bookstore

We went to Wal-mart and picked up a cheap carry-on bag to bring all our goodies home. We also picked up a couple more pairs of shoes for the cute girl. I can’t get over how inexpensive the kids shoes are here. Now Nadia should have enough to carry her through the summer and fall, at least. It just depends on how much she grows. The trip is winding down and I am going to start packing us up tomorrow. We will have to leave for the airport fairly early because it’s at least an hour away and because of all the added security issues.

P.S. As great as the trip has been (and it has) we are ready to be home. I am dying for a fresh salad with all the fixin’s and some chicken enchiladas from Pappasitos. My list could be much larger, so I will just say I am missing all things Fort Worth today.

Field Trip to the Silk Market!

China 2008: March 25th
China 2008: March 25th (click to see album)

Today Kiki took me on a field trip to the Silk Market. I really wanted to go and Mike thought I might have a good time with Kiki, so I asked her if we could go shopping instead of our traditional tutoring. CTG had warned me that the place was overwhelming. The guide books said it was best to go during the week early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The place was madness, mania, overwhelming….whatever word you would like to use. Everywhere we went people screamed, “Lady! You want to buy children’s clothes?” or “Lady! You want to buy a jacket for your husband?” Just fill in the blank for what they were selling in their stall.

Silk Market Silk Market

I was on a mission to find specific gifts and I was ready to bargain. Having Kiki there as a reference point for pricing and to help with the bargaining was also great. She told me that several shop keepers told her in Chinese when the transactions were over that I was a very good bargainer. The transactions were all very fun and some of the conversations were more entertaining than others. Most of the people there understand enough English to be following your conversation. Our last stop was at a clothing stall near the exit and I saw a really cute skirt, so we stopped. Here is the conversation that followed. SG = Salesgirl. All numbers in yuan. And I would like you to know that all of this occurred with me wearing a big smile on my face. It’s not good if you are mean or angry about it.

L: I like that skirt. Do you have my size?

SG: Please step in here and I will measure you…..yes I have your size.

L: How much?

SG: grabs calculator and punches in 450.

L: Foreigner PRICE!

SG: Okay because you have pretty Chinese friend I give you Chinese friend price. 390.

L: (In Chinese I say) That’s too much.

SG: What’s your highest possible price? (hands me calculator)

L: 110.

SG: (all drama now) No….that’s not enough.

L: Okay. Xie Xie. (thank you – and I start to walk away)

SG: Wait! (then she puts her arms around me and whispers) I’ll give you secret friend price 190.

L: No, 110.

SG: Oh please 180.

L: No, 110.

SG: Okay super secret price 150.

L: No. 110. (at this point I am ready to start laughing at all the girls facial expressions and antics!)

SG: Okay 110.

Now while all this is going on Kiki is behind me working a deal on a skirt for herself. We get all done and she asks me what I paid and told me I did good against the girl. Then she told me they asked her to please not tell me that she was getting hers for 90. HA HA!! So I didn’t feel bad at all about standing firm with the girl. There were a couple of things that I wanted and knew the price was inflated, so Kiki had me totally low-ball it and in many cases they agreed after much DRAMA and banging into the calculator trying to get me to change my mind.

One stall that had little girl clothes had the cutest Polo dress that I knew was a knock off and they girl gave me the starting price and I said no. Then she said, “Polo. Good brand.” I said, “Knock off!!!” She took 10 yuan off the price, so I sorta stuck my head out into the aisle as if to say, “I see this dress in 4 other stalls right here.” The girl started laughing and gave it to me at the price I asked. Only one guy seemed to get annoyed by my bargaining and I knew that he could understand me so I said, “You didn’t have to take the price I asked for.” And Kiki told him not to be angry and then he told her I was a good bargainer and to come back in 10 minutes for my item 🙂

All in all, Kiki and I had a great time and I feel that I did very well with the prices and got some really cool stuff. I had a little pearl bracelet made for Nadia at a stall the flight attendant recommended. I got myself a few things and quite a few more gifts for people back home. Kiki acted really impressed with my bargaining skills and laughed multiple times at how I held my ground.

Louanne, Nadia and Mike

Then in the afternoon I had my last Chinese Painting class and Jenny taught me how to do the traditional fish. Mike and Nadia came up to the school with me and everyone just loved her. Mike’s teacher got to meet her and gave her a little stuffed animal mirror thing. They wanted to get some photos of our family up at the school before we left this weekend. Once we were through she said that I did good and all the times she has taught this she has never had a student paint a fish that looked like a fish the first time. She said animals are harder than flowers because they must have some life to them. I felt very proud of such a compliment. Here we are after class.

Jenny and Louanne

Painting fish Painting fish

Lily, L, N and M