Sunday, April 22, 2012

School- Shanghai Singapore International School

(From left to right ) Lily, Reese, Greta, Rosalie (in the back), next to her is Elena, and in red is Ana Paola.  All of them go to five different schools!!  Two are sisters, Lily and Elena!  All of the girls are 5 except Elena who is seven!  They love playing jump rope, running around, riding bikes and scooters, playing house or imaginary something!  Here they are petting Ana Paola baby bunny!
Everyday she gets home from school she races to the playground to meet her friends!  These are a few of her close friends, minus a few who were running around at the moment!
 Having Grandma bring me to the bus stop was a real treat!! I think it was hard though for grandma to see me get on the big bus and ride away!! Reese attends Shanghai Singapore International School and she absolutely LOVES every minute of it!!  I'm so thankful for that!  She has made so many great friends there and there are about 100 kids from our complex that attend there!  Many days she gets off the bus and around 20 of them fly to the playground! 

 little potties and sinks!  they brush their teeth and wash their faces before taking a nap!  Good habit!!
 listening to their Chinese Laoshi!

 Reese's classroom and cubie!
 Computers class
 K1 (preschool) and K2 hallway!  Doesn't it just look like a fun place to learn??!!

Little beds that they take an hour nap on everyday!!  She still needs every minute! Wish her baby sister did!

 Music class

 performing arts center/stage
 science labs (of what I wouldn't have given to have had these at Bentheim!)

 Cheng Ayi (their classroom helper), Reese, and her teacher Ms. Winnie!
 Libray time!! She LOVES getting new library books each and every week!
BELOW- Shrea and Reese
 Grandma even got to read me one!!!
 Ms. Winnie reading a story!  Candance, Eshren, Reese, Mei, and Wayne!
 one outdoor playground
 Love all of the little kiddie bikes, cars, and scooters they can ride!
 They do provide a chinese/western lunch everyday!  She loves the chinese food!
 Dance studios where they do performing arts, speech and drama classes!
 Of COURSE Cambry wants to go to school everyday too!  She has the bus Ayi and bus driver wrapped around her little finger!  They always come out and hold her and talk to her!!  Here she is waving at me, "See you mommy, I'll be back after awhile!" Honestly, if I would let her, she would be riding that bus everyday and have NO problem being away from me!  She is the EXACT OPPOSITE of Reese in everyway!!  Cambry is SOOOOO independent!  But I guess that is good!  Just want her to be my baby a little while longer!
Cambry and her little friend Ava on the teeter-totter!  She hasn't quite got the whole playing together thing down yet, just plays around each other!
I know, I know, I have to get rid of the paci!!!  I am working on that!  Wondering if I should just quite cold turkey!  I know it is more of a thing that I don't want to quit because it is just easier, but by two, it WILL be gone!  Only 3 more months!

What have we been up to?? Just hanging around!

 Lately, all Cambry wants to do is HANG! Hang on ANYTHING!! Shower door,
 from playground equipment with NO FEAR of consequences and how high she is from the ground,
 swings before she goes down the slide, other moms let out a little squeal as though I'm not watching her close enough,
 even from the uneven bars!!  Just likes to hang!  The other day she was hanging from the little railing inside of the elevator! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Great Wall of China

**Warning: This is the longest post EVER!  Feel free to just look at pictures and move quickly through!  Wendi and I took around 700 pictures while in Beijing! Don't worry, I didn't include them all, but it was hard to weed them down!  Sorry it has taken so long, but I still feel like I'm not doing the history of these places any justice!  Hope this gives you just a taste and you will want to come and see it for yourself!

Wow, that is about all I can really say!  I guess I had it pictured in my head a little differently.  I didn't realize that we would have to take something up to actually get to the base of the wall! But now looking back, that really does make sense because it is ON A MOUNTAIN!!!  Actually it runs along the tops of the mountains(range, I know, who knew? EVERYONE...but I never truly realized it I guess!)  I think that is the most shocking part, thinking about how they actually made it!
We drove about an 1 1/2 hours until finally arriving at the base of the mountain and then needed to take a ski lift to the bottom of the wall.
 Of course there are little markets for you to buy any gifts or souvenirs you could ever want! This is where Wendi bought here mom's plate of the Great Wall!  Sue, it was actually from the base of the GREAT WALL, cool huh?

 Relaxing and enjoying the ride up, not realizing what we were in for!  I kept thinking how I was going to get Cambry and Reese up here safely when my mom and Beth Ann would visit in a few weeks!  Actually it scared the willies out of me even thinking about it!

 We made a goal to get to a certain point!  We went from tower 6-14, quite ambitious but we were up for the challenge! Our tour guide gave us 1 1/2 hours on the wall so 45 minutes each way!  We really did have to keep moving to get where we wanted to reach!  The sites are amazing!
 We climbed the Mutianyu section of the wall. The Great Wall started to be built in 5 BC but the course was mainly determined around 220 BC.  It was built to ward off horse-riding nomads and Mongolians.  The most impressive sections seen today were built during the Ming dynasty. Soldiers and peasants from all parts of the country were forced to spend several years of their lives building it! Many, many lost their lives during the construction as well. Blocks of rock weighing several hundred kilograms (not sure how much this would be in pounds but 2.2kg is one pound) had to be heaved and pulled up the steep slopes! It took more than two millennia for it to be completed. Gate-towers are built on top of the wall for guarding and lodging purposes, other passes are found at spots of strategic importance, and signal towers are set at intervals so that smoke or fire signals were relayed to the army command in Beijing in times of emergency or when the enemy was near. The Great Wall stretches for around 4,000 miles. The wall is starting to breakdown and get destroyed. However, many parts of the Great Wall are being restored by large donations from people from all different countries!  China's government is trying to keep it from getting destroyed and broken down any further by new construction in different territories. 
 May not look like it, but this section is so incredible steep!  If you look closely you can see tiny little dots, those are people!
 We were so surprised by how many different types of stone they used and the variety in sizes.
 It was very, very warm the day we were on the wall and boy did we sweat!  Thank goodness we brought plenty of water!

 Ha, I thought the Great Wall would look like this section, sloped but no steps!  Boy was I WRONG!!!  There were very few sections where there weren't steps!
 A very nice gentleman selling water and other drinks and snacks to walkers on the wall!

 Do you see the variation in steps?  You had to constantly be looking down because three steps could be the same height apart but then there would be a row that was three inches lower or 4-5 inches higher!  Also, I was impressed that it was all sloped to the left for water-runoff!  They were smart even back then!

 Canons they had in place along the wall.  Do you see the little holes along the bottom of the wall too?  Places for their arrows or guns to go out!
 All steps!

 If you look closely you can see towers on the mountain range behind Wendi's head!
 Yup, straight up the mountain, CRAZY!

 I honestly think going down was harder!  We climbed up the first 45 minutes and thought we would have it a little easier on the way back!  WRONG!  It was harder, I'm not sure why, on the way back! 
 See the height in some of steps!  And now think of carrying a 14 month old on your back and asking a 4 1/2 year old to walk it as well!  Yeah, we ask a lot of them but it is worth it!
I can honestly tell you that we were excited about our ride down the mountain!  We rode on a luge down the mountain!  Soooooo much fun!  Push the bar forward to go and pull back to stop!  We just made sure we had plenty of room in between us and the people in front of us before we started so we could fly down the mountain!  C'mon, who is going to pull back, right?

 Definitely not me or Wendi if we have to say anything about it!  The carts looked like the ones that you lay on to work under your car.

 There were lots of nice corners like this, I think it was an effort to slow people down!  For some reason we kept getting hollered at to, what I'm assuming is SLOW DOWN in Chinese, because we couldn't/didn't-want-to understand them!  So much fun!

When we got back down we were starving for lunch and stopped for lunch at an American owned restaurant.  It was once a school house and they turned it into a restaurant!  DELICIOUS!!  The burgers and sandwiches were HUGE!

On our way back into Beijing we stop at a factory where they make all kinds of pottery!
They showed us step-by-step how they made it!  Gorgeous stuff and it looks incredibly difficult to make!

 Everything by hand, put into place.  I forget how long they said the process it was to make one.  Such fine attention to detail!

 Adding color before it goes in the kiln.

 Not the cleanest shop or working conditions that I have seen!

On display, ready to be sold!

A wash basin!  BEAUTIFUL stuff!

Next up the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube!!

 Just beautiful!  I have never been in an Olympic Stadium before and it was everything I was imagining!  I can't imagine what it would have been like during the actual opening ceremonies though!  Just sooooo many people!
 We asked what it was used for now, mostly tourism, large concerts or some big race events.  But it doesn't seem to get used that often.
 You can rent segweys to race around on, on the track!  Looks like fun!

 A building built to look like the torch! It was used as offices for the Olympics! There are actually 4 other buildings in line with it that were used for offices of the Olympics too that make it look like a dragon!  Picture is below, but not a great shot of them all in line!

 Now these buildings, the four shorter ones are a 7 star hotel, never knew there were that many star hotels out there, and the tall one is the IBM office building!

 Water Cube!

 This place was so cool! What it was made out of and how it was designed has got to be one of the coolest buildings!
 They turned one whole side that used to be warm-up pools into a HUGE water park!  Eric, Reese, Cambry and I actually went swimming there when we went back with my mom and Beth Ann!  Great place!

 When we came into this area, the pool where Michael Phelps won his 8 Gold Medals, it was totally covered because they were holding a Video Game conference here!  Funny that there are that many people in seats watching some people play that video game!

 Diving area
 Of course we had to find our flag!  Good ole US of A!!!!!
 And then one other warm up pool was turned into a huge lap pool with one area sectioned off for normal swimming!

We had a little time yet before our Kung Fu Show so we decided to go to the Silk Factory for a brief 20 minute presentation on how silk is made and where it originated.  Very interesting!
 Silk Road through China, the east and all the way to Europe!  They gave us a little history on it!
 Silk garments that they made!  The yellow/golden one is what an Emperor would wear.

 Us getting a chance to spread and pull on the silk.

Still enough time to do one more thing!  We went to a tea ceremony!  If you ever get a chance when you are in China, you should do it!  Just make sure it is a good one!  The young lady let us try 5 different types of tea and told us where they grew them, when they were best to harvest, and what each different type could help our bodies with.  For example, one is good for blood pressure, another for energy, another for losing weight, one to help with vision, and so on!  She also showed us how to make the tea and also how to drink it properly!  It was a lot of fun!  So glad that we had a chance to do it even though it wasn't planned!  And...if you really want to see something funny, ask Wendi about the pee-pee boy!  I really got my mom and Beth Ann with it!  Reese loves it as well!

Ok, here are the different kinds of tea and what they are good for:

White Tea- It can dispel the effects of alcohol and nicotine. It acts on colds, coughs and sore throats.

Golden Green Tea/Slimming Tea (wild pure tea)- It can regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lose weight. Tea water with honey is good for insomnia.

Oriental Beauty (The king of Oolong tea)- It's good for blood circulation and skin. It's good for anemia and enrich blook. With some brown sugar can nourish stomach. It can soften blood vessels.

Jasmine Tea- It can drive away summer heat and improve eyesight. It can shake off drowsiness and relieve headache.

Litchi Tea (Black Tea)- It's good for digestion.

Gin-seng Oolong tea- It can help to restore your energy. Protects liver and kidneys.

This is what was on our sheet! Hope it truly works!
 Nice form Wendi, definitely an EXPERIENCED tea drinker!

 There is a beautiful little lake near here that we just had to get out and take a picture of!

Currently taking a photography class Wendi, next time you will actually show up in the picture, I PROMISE!
And then we headed to a Kung Fu show, that...let's just say...wasn't the I didn't take any pictures!  Anyways, when we were finished it was around 9pm!  I don't think we could have possibly packed anymore into ONE DAY!  I mean...what were we thinking?  We headed straight back to the hotel, no dinner, took hot showers, and collapsed on our beds!  Can't wait to see what we do tomorrow!