Being Home

As of writing this, Daniel and I have been home from Xiamen for 9 days. People keep asking us how it feels.

Well. I'm home. That's about all there is to say. It was a little surreal the first two days being back in our own house, but with only a bed and our suitcases. But Daniel and I both went back to work Monday morning and we've gotten back into the swing of things pretty easily.

The hard parts for me are when I think about Xiamen and realize I have no idea if and/or when I'll ever get to go back. I'm missing my friends there and I'm seriously craving some of the food. We ate lots of international stuff there. I went to a couple of grocery stores this week and scoured the international sections for spices and seasonings to resemble some of my favorite foods there. I'll let you know how they turn out.

I even went to the Oriental Market in Riverdale Road to see what they have. The dumplings were disappointing. They should have been marketed as pot-stickers, and not dumplings. My favorite dumplings from China were what is called shui jiao. Boiled dumplings of, most often, pork and Chinese leeks. Yummy. I like to eat mine dipped in black vinegar. Don't boil pot-stickers. They don't taste very good.

I bought 6 different yellow curries to find which is closest to the Malaysian Yellow curry I ate there. I loved the Chicken Malai Tikka at the Indian restaurant. And the cheese kebabs? Oh my. I'm sure I'll never find things like those again. It's like a deep fried cheese churro. Yummy.

The other big adjustment is the prices. We forgot how expensive some stuff in America really is. I find I was quite disconnected from the US dollar. I'm learning to grocery shop all over again.

But it feels good and right to be home. We are getting our house settled in. In the coming weeks we hope to be able to get our adoption profile back up and going.

Some people have also asked if Daniel is working for the same company. Yes. We went to China for the same company he has worked for for over 10 years. It was a single project. Now that we are home, Daniel will continue to travel fior longer, more frequet periods of time until the project is done. Then he will travel less just keep things current. He is still working for Lifetime and is happy there.

Any other questions?

Thanks for all the welcome home's we've had. We are happy to be back!


Hong Kong!!

On our way home we stopped for four days in Hong Kong. We had a good time. It was a nice vacation. Our first day was kind of tiring though because we had to get up at 5 to catch our flight to Hong Kong. We landed, checked in, grabbed the camera and headed out to see a few things.

Our first stop was the 10,000 Buddhas. It is a monastery that has literally over 10,000 statues, many life size, of various Buddhas. Each with a different face. It was very odd. But cool. I would recommend it to anyone visiting Hong Kong.

 Riding the train into the city. I love his new geek glasses. They are so him.

These are some of the more interesting Buddhas we saw on our hike up the mountain.

 I think this one is actually the Warrior Emperor Guan Yu.

 He had a little Buddha in his tummy. Ewe?
 I think this was my favorite.

 I'm sure there's a story here.
 And this one.
 Those are eyebrows on the guy on the far right.

 This is the hall where there were 6"in Buddhas on shelves in alcoves from floor to ceiling - a 24" ceiling probably.

It was pretty interesting. Something I would do again.


Yimi and Stuart

Yimi was probably our biggest help in China. Every time I needed something translated, or someone to interpret, or money on my phone, I called Yimi. This spring she started dating, her now boyfriend, Stuart. He is awesome. They bath have been very good to us. The Wednesday before we left they took us to dinner. It was a yummy dinner and a good time.

They are awesome and we wish the best for them. I am planning on keeping in contact with these two. We love you and miss you Yimi!


Our last activity in China

On November 13, our last Tuesday, we went to dinner with the IT department from the factory. They  have been such a wonderful group of people for us. So many friends and so much help. They also gave us an amazing gift.

Dinner was yummy. Here are our last few pictures.

 Digging in!
 Garlic spinach, fried beef and beans, cucumbers, bamboo shoots. All very good.
 Seafood and mushroom soup.
 Fish. Head half only. It was really good fish. Like really good.
 Fatty pork. It's like spam that's all fat. I didn't even try it.
Frog legs. It actually tasted pretty good. Like chicken. I'm not kidding. I hope you get the chance to try frog sometime.
The group. Back row:Mike, Charlie, Ray, Michael, Dragon, James, Ashley, Daniel. Front row: Molly, Karen, Yimi, Angela, Licy. I'm going to miss them all so much.

As a going away gift, they gave us a calligraphy set with custom stamps. Mine says "xia bai tu" and Daniel's is Da Xiong Mao. Little white rabbit and big panda. They also gave a book on how to write the characters and a practice mat so we can continue to work on our Chinese after we are home.

Mine is on the left, Daniel's on the right.

We already miss them so much.


Our Trip to Fuzhou

On Sunday Oct. 28 we took the train up to Fuzhou, a city about 2 1/5 hours north of Xiamen by train. It was a fun day, but a long one. We left for the train station at 7:15 and arrived in Fuzhou around 10:45. We had Yimi, Stuart, Molly, Tanner (a visitor from Clearfield) and Daniel and myself for our little adventure.

We spent some time on a shopping street that had 9 alleys or side streets that went crossed it. The alleys were about 300-800 years old. Now having said that, they didn't look that old. But we explored a couple and it was quite interesting.  We had a lunch of dumplings on this street and then wandered some more.

Then we bussed/walked to a small island that was much less impressive than the guide book. After that we headed for dinner. Dinner was good old fashioned Chinese food. I'm going to miss that!

It was a fun day.

 On the train.
 Confused at something Daniel was showing them.
 The country side - the rice fields.
 Those gray arches in the center are actually entrances to family burial grounds. The cremation remains are kept in a crypt.
 Weird food.
 Getting on the bus.
 On the old street.
 Small incense holder.
 The ceiling.
 Looking out from the roof of the temple at the taller apartment buildings.
 Tanner ringing the gong-like bell bowl. It sounded very cool.
 Popular because I'm a westerner.
 Talking with other tourists.
 My fortune. It pretty much says "chill out, wait for things to happen, enjoy things as they are." Good advice.
 The awesome little cabinet where the fortunes are kept.
 Yimi and Molly. Two of our besties from Xiamen.
 Daniel at lunch. They were shuijia - dumplings. They were pretty good.
 Stuart (Yimi's boyfriend) on one of the very old alleys.
 Molly telling Daniel about what we were seeing.
 One of the locks.
 The cornice.
 One of the alleys.
 Carved Jade. The way they are each connected means the entire thing was carved from one piece of jade with no breaks.
 He was laying out this clay that is then baked hard, lacquered, and the then the shape is covered in gold gilt.
 Wood carving.
 The tiny little island with European buildings.
 The view from dinner. Those older buildings are hundreds of years old.
 Molly at one of the door ways.

It was a fun trip and we enjoyed spending extra time with some of our best friends from Xiamen.