Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Summer Palace

After a great day of Wall climbing, we came to our hotel and were greeted with turned down beds and slippers.  The slippers were a favorite for Pryce:)
 After a good night's rest, we set off for a day of adventure touring the Summer Palace.
 Pryce was always a good sport about my picture taking habits during the entire trip:)
 We toured the Kunming Lake portion of the Summer Palace. 
 We loved this man and his talents!  He was busy writing Chinese characters with a large paintbrush and water.  We walked by and he immediately began sketching the face of one of our team members and then wrote "Hello".....
 Some of my favorite photos from the trip were taken here.....
 this is the China that I envisioned years ago before our first visit.
 My travel partner....
 looking back, this time in Beijing was so good for all of us.  It was the calm, the known. 
 We were all healthy, excited, and anticipating the days to come.
 On this day, Pryce looked at me and said, "I can't wait to meet the children tomorrow!"  And he couldn't.  
 Following our morning of touring at the Summer Palace, we chose to dine at a local restaurant that reminded me somewhat of a Disney dining experience....
 although the menu selection was far from Disney:)  Braised Beancurd with Fishhead anyone?
 We arrived in our province that evening with a surprise pizza dinner!  My happy place.  Mind you, the Chinese food is good yet so different from what we have here in a Chinese restaurant.  And I am not a chop stick master.  Many times during this trip I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman as food would fly right out of my hands - "slippery little suckers." And you don't always know what you are eating.  
For a person who is a bit finicky in her own backyard, eating the unfamiliar was a bit daunting.  However, dinnertime was always a high point.  Laughter was a guarantee at each dinner.  No matter what we encountered during our day, dinner was a time to bring us each to a place of happiness....not because we were untouched by what we had seen during the day, but because it was a time to unwind and unstress due to the reactions of everyone as plates were passed around our table. 
But pizza was familiar.  And it was comfort in the uncomfortable.  And it did bring me (and others) much happiness after all was said and done each evening.  

The Great Wall Of China 2015

China would just not be China without a squatty potty experience.  At least this trip, there was a warning - these signs were politely placed on each stall to give a heads up before entering.  This was our first encounter with the squatty potty on this trip but definitely not our last.  Lots of laughs as team members tried to maneuver this minor obstacle during our trip!
 Snowballed on the Great Wall!  
 Our plan was to ride the cable car to the top of this area of the Wall and then ride a toboggan down. 
 However, the weather was not ideal for toboggan riding so we rode the cable car up (great decision!) and had the pleasure of walking down!
 This section of the Wall was amazing!  And the snow was the icing on the cake.
 This was the beginning of an amazing journey with Pryce!
 For more than two hours, we laughed, slipped, squealed, and stood amazed at the beauty of China.
 We have been to China four times now and the Great Wall twice.  Our first trip to the Wall was almost 8 years ago when we brought MK home....a time that was full of a different kind of excitement.  I honestly do not recall much of our first visit aside from the restaurant we dined in (a fish with the head was involved) and the horrendous uneven steps coupled with the fear of my boys falling off of the Wall (they were 5 and 8 at the time!).  
 On this day, I simply took in the beauty that surrounded me.
 And took in the beauty that others created:)
 And I did fear a little of slipping....the ice on the steps was a bit thick at times.
 But the Wall was breathtaking and allowed for my mind to rest....going into this trip, the few days leading up to our departure, I allowed Satan to take over and fear to set in.  How would the girls do with me being gone for almost two weeks?  I had never been away from them.  What if Pryce got sick?  What if I got sick?  What if we were not safe?  What if, what if, what if....but on this day, I relished in the fact that we were right where we were supposed to be, a place that God was/is continuing to prepare our hearts to serve. 
And this was just the beginning.....