Saturday, April 26, 2014

Beijing and Xi'an-April part 1

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April was a very exciting month and as such gets two blog posts! For the first part of April, I got to have one of the biggest blessings of my life. A way was made, and my mom got to come to China to visit me! Kirsti’s mom, Sue, was coming for her mixxionary business she works for to do some counseling/mentoring for the mixxionaries she meets with over skype, as well as some meetings with mixxionaries in other cities. The team required her to bring another person with her and she felt led to ask my mom. My parents pr-yed about it and they felt led to have my mom go. I was so excited when I got the text that my mom was coming to Ch-na!
First picture with my mom :)

The first part of their trip happened to coincide with our first 3 day break for school (the Grave Sweeping Holiday April 4-6th). Kirsti and I took a sleeper train to Beijing to meet them there on Friday morning. It was quite the adventure to find the hotel, but after we grabbed breakfast our moms finally arrived. They were quite the women dragging two suitcases a piece full of gifts from America for several of the local mixxionaries on subways, buses, and trains. 
Dinner (mushroom & leeks on rice) and the train station near our campus

Sleeper trains are so much fun!!!! (6 bunk beds in one small quarter-our beds were actually softer than our beds at school and we were on a hard sleeper!)
Sleeper train and the Beijing Xi Railway Station
Good morning Beijing!!!!       Cute little kid on a bus
Travel buddies!!!!
Coffee and tea while we wait for our moms to arrive
We found our moms!

After grabbing breakfast for them we set off on a tour of Beijing on bicycles. The Kawases have a friend in Kansas City named Pearl who is from Beijing, so she set us up with her friend Van to have us tour the Forbidden city, Tiennamen square, and local hutongs in Beijing in the old city. It was a gorgeous day for a bike ride around the lake and the forbidden city! We were so blessed! He finished off the evening by taking us to eat Peking Duck with Berry, another friend of Pearl's.
 Beijing traffic and grass growing on a building in the Old City of Beijing
Spring time is one of the best times to visit China!
 Beautiful bridge and a cute Chinese grandmother!
A nearby local hutong for shopping in the Old City
Beautiful Chinese architecture
Bike riding around the Forbidden City and the Emperor's lake
 Riding around the lake
The weather was gorgeous!!! 
Getting Muslim lamb sticks!!!
 I love Muslim lamb sticks!!! So yummy!!!
 The lake was gorgeous!
 So excited my mom could experience this with me!
 Riding around the lake we found this tai chi statue...dancers can't resist! ;)
 This little lady was so cute!!!! And come 1pm, everybody takes a nap....even on the side of the road. 
 One of the corners of the Forbidden city. The trees on the local streets are purposely formed this way  so that the electrical wires can go in-between them. 
 One of the many entrances to the Forbidden City
 Fun travel friends!
 The architecture is over 500 years old and is still mind-blowing!!!
 The Forbidden City (still pinching myself!) 
 The stairs are so of the 4 thrones in the Forbidden City
 The ceilings would blow your mind with the detail that they have.....and this mural between the stairs was carved from one piece of marble 
 The throne room of peace and of the Emperor's Wives' houses
 The Forbidden City was huge!
Tiananmen Square
 Peking Duck Dinner!!!

The next day we got to hike the Great Wall of China. I’m still pinching myself that this opportunity was even possible. Our tour guide Aaron was so knowledgeable and a great host to show us not just the restored/public part of the Great Wall, but also to show us the old/un-restored part of the Great Wall. It was gorgeous and such a powerful moment for me. As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to see the Great Wall because I felt like it is the heartbeat of China in regards to their history and the back to Jer-salem movement (a group of local bel-evers who have started to bring the G-spel along the silk road in the 10/40 window all the way back to Jer-salem). It was a powerful moment for me to be on top of the Great Wall and I started tearing up with love for Ch-na overwhelming my heart. It was amazing to be able to be on this incredible spir-tual monument and be able to pr-y for this incredible nation. It was a moment I will cherish in my heart forever. 
 Starting our hike!
 We had gorgeous weather and sunshine!!!
 I love mountains!
The hike was very steep! 
Although the views would have been amazing, I would have not wanted to carry the rocks up the mountain to build the Great Wall!!!
 First glimpse of the wall!!!
Picture time!
 Unbelievable views
 One of the towers of the Great Wall....and me hugging the Wall =) I've wanted to do this for as long as I can remember!!!
 The Great Wall of China....with my mom =)
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring Good News! 
My beautiful Moma =)
I love this country...China truly has my heart forever!
 Still can't believe I went here and took these photos! Incredible opportunity!
 More of the Great Wall
 Couldn't resist an "I am She" pose!
 Since it was spring, all of the Cherry blossoms were in bloom!
Hiking the unrestored section of the wall
Incredible views and in awe of the manpower it took to build the wall!
 Pictures just don't do justice to the beauty of that day!!!!
Some of the workers who are restoring parts of the wall
 Me and my moma, so glad she was here!
 The Restored (and more populated) section of the wall 
 This part got really steep....and it was all stairs for about 1 1/2 hours (traveling down!)
 Really steep!!! The kind that makes your stomach leap inside you!
 Incredible views that made you dizzy with the steepness!
  I loved this!
 The sunlight through the cherry blossoms was incredibly beautiful
This section looks tiny, but was huge! So many stairs!
 We hiked all of the wall you can see in this photo (plus more beyond the mountain!)
So much fun!!!
 Cherry blossoms!
 There were camel rides near the exit of the popular section of the wall....and  beautiful magnolia tree!

Because it was a holiday weekend, the traffic was really bad and we ended up missing our night train to Xi’an. Aaron was so kind to us as he helped us get our tickets refunded, find new tickets for the next day, and book a hotel. It was a little stressful as our credit cards wouldn’t work and my debit card wasn’t working at the local atm. Aaron paid for it out of his account fully trusting us (complete strangers!) to pay him back. At the end we noticed that he had a necklace on that had a cr-ss on it. When we love J-sus and serve others without expecting anything in return, others take notice. We were so thankful for his help!
 Traveling to Xi'an 
 Our fast train to Xi'an 
 China countryside passing by
 Xi'an train station
 This kid was fascinated with my mom's backpack =) 

On Sunday we took the fast train to Xi’an and met with a sweet family. The wife, Anna, took us to go see the Wild Goose Big Pagoda water show. It was really neat. Then we walked down their newest mall strip that had many western foods and shops. It was cool to see this part of Xi’an as a vacation spot to get a little taste of America. That night Kirsti and her mom stayed with Jim & Anna while my mom and I stayed with their Australian friend Robyn. 
A sweet host family and a billboard nearby with George W. Bush Jr eating a corn cobb
 A landmark building in Xi'an 
 A little bit of sunshine peeking through the rain clouds
A little rain doesn't stop tourists! A little Chinese girl getting her picture taken by her parents (and me)
 Wild Goose Big Pagoda water show
 The water show was really neat to watch! 
This little girl wanted to be in our picture! =)
 The nearby shopping strip had a led light ceiling that would change 3D moving was really cool! Along with a sign that says "No Parkino" hahaha 
 This section of town is newly built and is a big attraction for the city currently 
 Down the center of the street are lots of sculptures and lights 
 The beginning and end of the long street 
 This little girl's grin cracks me up! Her parents were taking her picture and she knew what to do! Haha..... and a beautiful walking path near the sculptures 
We even took them to Walmart! 
Xi'an at night!

The next morning we got up really early to beat all the holiday traffic to see the Terracota warriors. It was incredible to see the history and one of the wonders of the world. Later we got to go on top of the city wall in Xi’an. We ate lunch at a nearby restaurant and I got to order in Chinese! It was really neat to be able to see how much my language has grown in being here! We also got to go shopping at a local hutong in the muslim section of town. 
 Yummy breakfast at one of Robyn's favorite vendors 
 The city of the Terracotta warriors and a cool tree statue thing
Some of the sculptures up close so you can see the detail 
 Located in the mountains near Xi'an.....beautiful architecture for the outside of the museum
 So excited to share this experience with these friends!
 It's absolutely incredible to can't capture it
 Each statue is unique and life size 
 There are thousands of them! 
 There are some still being restored....the place is huge! 
We even got to take pictures with them! (well a look a like painting and sculptures! But it looks real!)
 A girl wearing traditional Chinese the middle in the red square is the Chinese character with the most strokes-56!
 Beautiful spring time colors and a really fascinating kite 
 Locals hard at work and mopeds-China's easiest way to get anywhere
 Downtown Xi'an
 One of the old city gates and entrances to the old city wall of Xi'an 
 Architecture here is beautiful! 
 You can see the center temple of Xi'an and a view of the top of the wall
On top of the City wall and our friend Robyn
 More Xi'an city wall fun! 
Lunch that I ordered in Chinese! =) 
 Some locals resting in the shade from the afternoon sun.....riding in a Tuktuk to the shopping district
 Beautiful sights around Xi'an 
 Red lanterns hanging on a building and a pagoda near the Muslim section 
 Shopping with the ladies!
 The Muslim shopping hutong 
 Beautiful paintings done by our friend Helena
 A cool sidewalk painter and a cute little kid
 Heavy loads and a family on a moped
 I love taking pictures of local people! 
 The water guy and a cute little kid 
 When people think they might have a cold, they wear doctor masks
 A fire "hyorant" and my mom next to our fast train
Sleepy, tired travelers

When we arrived back at campus, my mom got to come with me to Chinese language class and all my dance rehearsals. It was really fun to be able to have her meet my Chinese friends. During our time off, I got to take her to walking street (a shopping area), two-head park, the local grocery store (Waka), and we went to the main city nearby on Saturday for some shopping. I was able to have her eat lots of things and try many Chinese dishes. I don’t think there was anything she didn’t like! Real Chinese food is just really, really good! It was fun too to have coffee times with my mom and get to talk to her. We also took them to go get was so relaxing, but so funny!!! Another fun thing that my mom and I did was FaceTime my grandparents. It was fun to get to talk to them! We had to say good bye to them on Sunday and send them back to America. 
 Moma eating some delicious spicy noodles and a park on campus

More views from campus...and dinner at Dong Bei 
Walking street...lots of markets!
 Cute little kid at a stop in Walking Street and his split pants!
 Chick-fil-a cows in China?!?!?! (Sadly, it was an ice-cream shoppe) and Two-Head park
Jiaoci lunch! (chinese dumplings)
 HotPot dinner with friends! (Two of my closest friends pictured on the right-Pingpong and Dodo)
Haha.....and us =)
Facetiming my grandparents and a gift for one of my roommates!
Cute little kid at the honey pot beef stew place in the Castle cafeteria and my desk in my dorm
Taking my mom to Waka (local grocery store) and to rehearsal
Lots of rehearsal means....
Lots of back rubs! =) And coffee dates with my mom
We took our moms to a Chinese massage place. They spent a whole hour on just our feet!
Starbucks treat in the big city!
Cheese is really expensive here because it's imported...almost $120 for this cheese. Me in a Chinese hat.
Stuff market.....2 buildings, 6 floors of bazillions of stores!
Minion bed spreads! I can't imagine pulling a bunch of boxes on a bike...I'd fall over!
Dance street!
Near the stuff markets
At ErQi square downtown

It was such a blessing to have my mom be able to visit China and get to see the country that I love so much! G-d was so good to bless me with this opportunity for my mom to see me in my element. I'm still amazed of all the things He accomplished while she was here!
Last picture with my mom

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1 comment:

  1. Great pictures! I'm envious of your train rides--especially the overnight sleepers and the fast trains!