Saturday, May 30, 2015

One Year in China - The Things I Miss

May 28th was our one year date of arriving in China. Wow! The things I have seen, experienced and learned in the last year. I sometimes wonder what I did to deserve so many wonderful blessings. 
One Year ago ~ May 31, 2014

There are so many things I want to write of our experiences here and in the other parts of Asia we have visited, but for this post, our 1 year anniversary of living here, I want to share my thoughts on something else. The things I miss about the USA.
Of course I miss my family, especially 
holding my new grandbabies and playing with the older grandchildren. I miss being at family events like births, birthdays, reunions, school functions, dance recitals, choir and orchestra concerts, etc. but this is more about the "things" I missed.


CHEESE: We had only lived in China a few days when we realized there was no cheese. Not in any of the restaurants or grocery stores we visited. This, to say the least, was a shock to our systems as Darryl and I would eat cheese with almost every meal. We have since found a store that sells cheese but it is a 45 min. bus ride away, so cheese is now a very rare treat for us. 

GRASS: I love having a lawn. I like to walk barefoot in it, play with the grandkids in the grass, mow it, smell it. There are lots of gardens and trees and flowers, but no lawns. Luckily we do have a few small patches of grass at the apartments, nothing big enough to sit on or play in, but I do like the smell when they cut it. 

STEAK AND GOOD MEATS: T-Bone, Ribeye, Sirloin, Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Porterhouse, hamburger, Pork Chops, Ribs, Baked Ham, Ball Park Franks (Yes, I love a good hot dog!), Tenderloin, BBQ Brisket, and much, much more. Most meat in the restaurants are just cooked chunks to be eaten with Chopsticks. When I go to buy meat, it hangs from hooks at the market and if you want some they just hack off a hunk. No choice of what you get, just a hunk of meat. I can't wait to get a good grilled steak!


WELL MADE PRODUCTS AND CONSTRUCTION: We live in a pretty new city, only ten years old, but so much of it is not well made or well maintained. We see buildings, artwork, walks and parks falling apart before our eyes. It is sad to see really. There is so much potential here if they would just pay attention to detail and fix a problem when it arises. Alas, that is not the way things are done. Also, some of their building techniques are just plain scary.

BLONDES, BRUNETTES and REDHEADS: We live in a City of  nearly 100,000 people. There are approximately 20 foreigners living here full time. 17 work for Dome Technology. We definitely stand out in a crowd. Of course we are treated like celebrities too, people always taking photos or wanting photos with us. But I sure miss the variety of the human race that we have in the USA!

DRIVING: We are not allowed to drive in China so we have drivers, taxi's, take buses or walk wherever we want to go. I finally got a bicycle for Mothers day to make things go a little faster, but I will be so happy to have a car to go where I want. The drivers here are not as skilled as one might think, and a lot more reckless or careless than I would have imagined. Sometimes our 1 1/2 hour ride to and from work is downright terrifying. 

A REAL MATTRESS: Our mattress is a  pretty hard box spring with an egg crate foam pad over top. I shouldn't complain though, at least I'm not sleeping on a pad of the floor.


UNREGULATED INTERNET: This is a big one. You don't know how good you have it until it's gone. The Great Firewall of China is real! 

PHONE CALLS: I can and do have phone service, but it's expensive so I use it sparingly. I do miss the voices of my children and family and our very frequent, almost daily, visits we had on the phone.

MY KITCHEN: 4 burner stove with large oven, large counters, beautiful sink, and everything that makes it my perfect kitchen.

OLD GLORY: I miss seeing the Stars and Stripes flying high as I would drive through cities and towns, or see it flying in front of a patriot's home. 

THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHURCH: We have a great branch with wonderful teachers and instructors. We meet each Sunday on Skype, Darryl and I in our living room and the other 100+ members in their homes, but I really miss the fellowship of being with other people of faith, especially as we sing the hymns!

With everything that I miss, I also understand that anything worthwhile requires a sacrifice, and in this instance, sacrificing all of these things has been totally worth it. Inner Mongolia is wonderful and beautiful, I have expanded my education beyond anything I could have learned by reading or studying, I have made good friends and will miss many things about this wonderful place when I am back home in Idaho, but I will also have wonderful memories of those things to make me smile.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Easter in Ordos

Yes, even though we were far away we couldn't let Easter go by without Celebrating this blessed holiday. 

I stayed up late on Saturday night coloring the hard boiled eggs with colored markers.

I woke up Sunday morning to an Easter basket with fun Candy from the Chinese Easter Bunny.

Eric and John bought new suits and thought Easter Sunday would be a good time to show them off.....

It was a chilly day but after church we went for a Sunday afternoon stroll 

The men in their Easter finery. ;-)

For our Sunday walk we went to the grasslands park where we met some children who wanted their pictures taken with us.

As the trees bloomed in early April we realized how blessed we are to be here together.

More posts to come in the next week. Stayed tuned.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ordos Mongolian School

This spring was full of fun experiences and one of the most interesting was visiting the

Ordos Mongolian School with my young friend Trgl. (Nope, I did not mispell her name ;-)

She took me to meet her teacher and mentor from when she was in school, Mr. Meng Du. Meng Du is the Dean of English and is over other departments at the school. He had asked Trgl if I would be willing to teach English at the School. Although I was unable to help him, he was happy to take me on a tour of the school.

The campus is huge and currently accommodates 1800 students from Primary School through High School.

Part of the Library

The hall in the administration building where the library is located. The School has been around for years but they moved to the new campus in Ordos 3 or 4 years ago.

One of the many courtyards

All of the elementary classrooms are designed to resemble a yurt and have skylights.

A second grade class room.

Meng Du explaining the curriculum of the student. Every subject is taught in Mongolian except Chinese liturature, which is taught in Chinese, and English.

Demonstrating the computer board.

The physical education building has a full ballet / yoga studio, seperate weight and exercise room for the teachers, 2 or 3 Gymnasiums as well as typical P.E. facilities.

The arts center

Some of the dormitories. 90% of the Jr. and Sr. high students live on campus and 50% of the elementary students.

These are the Jr. & Sr. High School Boys dormitories.

The science building is divided by subjects on the different floor. One floor is Chemistry, another Biology, another life sciences, etc.

The sixth graders wanted to meet and talk with the American. 

Yep, kids make me happy!

The school store

And one of two cafeterias where they serve 3 meals a day.

The Sr. High houses a gathering place for breaks during the long winter months when the weather doesn't allow them to go outside.

It was a wonderful morning and Meng Du was quite gracious. He and his family have become good friends and I will have to tell you about them in another post!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Random Photos from March - China

Thought I would do some catching up on pictures we have taken over the last couple of months.
We had a late snow storm in March and I wanted to show you more of the street cleaning crews. 

This was the scene outside my kitchen window on the 9th floor. I look down on the intersection and watched the crews work as it was snowing all morning. 

Here a some more pictures from our last visit to Hong Kong in March 14th. I love looking at the architecture of these big cities.

The nice thing about Hong Kong is it is made for pedestrians. Walking towards Victoria Harbor we found more than one peaceful park to stroll through.

At Victoria Harbor on the waterfront.

This picture is for Skye and Ryan -

The Beige colored building is the Church office building in central Hong Kong. It houses a visitors area, three chapels, Cultural halls, Gymnasium, kitchens, etc. 

Darryl and I had some down time one afternoon, so we got on a train and rode it to the end of the line. When we got off to walk around this is what we found.

A small, very old Buddhist temple tucked away in the center of a neighborhood. 

Looking over to the east we could see a cemetary on the side of the mountain.

Back in Ordos the following weekend we went for a scooter ride and discovered a hotel in Ejin Horo (Darryl calls it Inchy) that is finished but not opened for operation yet.

Winged horses pulling a chariot

Beautiful Greek Statuary of pastoral scenes

and a HUGE Genghis Khan Transformer. 

He looks pretty fierce-

He is made out of an Army Truck I think. Talk about mixing cultures!

We rode out to an area that Darryl saw from the air as we flew into Ordos and found that it is a Buddhist Temple and Monastery under construction.

This entire complex has been constructed for a 9 year old Lama who will be living in this complex along with other monks and followers.

The detail in one of the marble staircases -

All of the painting is done by hand and is very intricate and beautiful.

The work stopped for the winter but will soon be starting up again. 

You can see how they painted each individual cube of wood around the windows and doors.

Looking south to Kangbashi (Ordos).

The green color is where they have painted primer on the Stucco and you can see the natural wood around the entrance that is waiting to be painted. 

A panorama shot of the building behind the main building.

The painting on the top of the domes was beautiful.

Pictures of the Lama and some of the monks who will be living here. 

I have so many more things to show you. I will try to get another post up on Sunday.