Back in late spring the city of Qingdao planted millions of trees and bushes. Now in an effort to keep them alive (I'm guessing) they are wrapping and painting the tops of the trees. The bushes they build a cage for and wrap with a felt like material. It is an amazing amount of effort and man hours. Hope we're still here in a few years when the trees mature a bit. Should be really beautiful and worth all the effort!
So Ana and I were out and about looking for candy canes--no luck. Even though Christmas decorations are going up there is not a piece of Christmas candy to be seen! Oh well, at least I still have some peppermint flavoring! There's a purple Christmas tree with hearts (very shiny) going up across the street from these candy canes. When it's finished we'll go back and snap a picture.
I had a very thought provoking time at the Children's Leukemia Hospital today. There were around thirty children in the ward. Some rooms had eight beds, others had only two. Some were in tents to ward off infections. All had at least two family members with them---one had six! While some of these children are from our city, many are from elsewhere. One mom and son had been in the hospital for three months! This must mean that she has given up her job to stay with him. Can you imagine keeping a two year old in a crowded room in his bed for three months? (There were lots of computers with videos!) I enjoyed passing out the snacks and doing crafts with the older ones, but this visit has left me thinking. What more can be done to help these families from out of town?
Be thankful today for quality healthcare that is nearby!
I'm leaving in a couple of hours to visit the children's leukemia hospital. This is something I've wanted to do after hearing about it a couple of months ago. We'll be doing some crafts with the children and taking along some snack bags. I'm so happy that I packed these bags in the Christmas boxes. They've come in really handy. (Too bad there's no Phoon Huat baking store here!) I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.
Super thankful for a group of stay at home moms that seek ways to serve at school and in their community! It challenges me to get out there and do some GOOD!
We've finally had a spare moment to think about what we're going to do with our room. It's the last room in the flat to be decorated. I already painted all my frames black and laid them out--now just have to get the hubby to hang them all. I think it will be a really fun picture wall. I hope to put in some seasonal pictures or word art too! Any other suggestions of things to add in before I force Matt to hang them?
Ana has named herself chief nativity arranger. Too bad I don't let her touch all of them. She instantly started playing with the Playmobil one. She wanted them all in the stable and in three rows--very orderly! The Indonesian nativity she says is having a party--even the sheep are licking baby Jesus. It's so Ana!
We're on day two of decorating. Three of the five sets of lights I brought won't work here. Luckily I had picked up another set which I thought was white--wrong! They're blue. Since we didn't want to go all the way out to the store, I used them--not my favorite though. I'll definitely be stocking up for next year!
Our neighbors hosted the meal. We had lots of great food. Thankfully the turkey I cooked turned out well. We also provided ham and a peanut butter struesel pie.
Here's a shot of Uncle Blake telling the Thanksgiving story to the herd of kids!
After they ate the kids came over to our house and watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving while eyeing the dessert table. They also sang a little song that they learned at school and they ate up most of the desserts. Thanks everyone for joining us! We had a great time and loved getting to know some of you a little better.
As China and Mitike have great difficulties studying at the same table, I've been begging Matt to put a desk under China's loft bed. After a visit to B and Q (a British DIY store) he put this together in about twenty minutes. It's nice to have a handy husband. It's also nice to have peaceful study times!
Because I subbed in kindergarten on Friday I got to see Ana's assembly presentation. She was a purple teddy--very convincing!
The kindergarten made cookies which turned out to be quite an experience. The oven upstairs is gas and doesn't regulate itself--so it scorched the cookies. Then I had to try to replicate these very colorful cookies. Luckily only one child suspected his had been changed! The life of a sub!
I don't know if you can see the two guys painting this building. Ana was very concerned for their safety and watched them for quite a while to make sure they were all right. Although safety is a little more lax I'm sure the ropes were plenty strong--but it's not that easy to convince a five year old!
A couple of months ago Ana went over to her friend's house to play. She got to turn this tiny cup (it really holds like one little drink) on a potters wheel. Her friend (just turned four) glazed it and then it was fired at school. She now wants to drink everything in it. So we give her a full glass of water which she painstakingly pours in her little cup drink by drink. Hopefully, we can keep it from being broken--it's definitely one of a kind!
We really enjoyed our first school Thanksgiving. Because there is so many staff and families, they divide you up into tables. The school provided turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Your table members can then decide what else you want to eat at your table. The turkeys are shipped in from Shanghai! They had activities for the kids to do before it all started which gave the parents time to chat. The turkey was great and our table members were really fun to get to know better. Well done team that put it all together. It was a lot of work, but really enjoyable!
I am making some progress in my Chinese lessons. I can say some complete sentences (including DO, IO, and possessives)--even write a few with characters. It does take a lot of perseverance. You can't even look at the big picture! With a daunting amount of characters to learn you just have to keep your nose to the grindstone. So I'm trying to master my first fifty characters along with their measure word if they're nouns. Wish me luck!
Well, Matt is in Japan this weekend for an AP Chemistry conference. As far as I know he's having a great time with Steve Smith (a teacher from Singapore that is now in Bangkok). He also has been out shopping some. Meanwhile, here in China the weather has been ...well... horrid. On Saturday it was cold and RAINY--it rained so hard it leaked in our porch. (Therefore, Ana was climbing the walls ALL DAY.) On Sunday we woke up to what looked like a beautiful day--until you walked outside--it is really windy and COLD! We enjoyed fellowship and next week will be my first week teaching the 3-5 year old class. There are a lot of boys--wish me luck. Anyway, very much looking forward to daddy's return tomorrow afternoon!
I got a home computer on Friday night! Very Happy! Matt is in Japan for the AP Chemistry conference. He's hoping to get to do some shopping on Sunday afternoon. We're hunkered down in the house. I went to the store on Friday to stock up on everything. On Thursday I taught a group of nine Korean moms how to make Christmas cookies for the school's annual Christmas fair. It went pretty well except that we couldn't get the oven to stay lit. Ana has had a cough for about a week and a half now. It's preventing her from sleeping well-and me too! Hope to add some pictures soon!
Ana's method of surviving the cold is to wear lots and lots of clothes (to bed) and to sit in front of the radiators all the time. So far it's working for her, although she has a pretty bad cold. As for the rest of us we're breaking out the Uniqlo heattech (long underwear)! I say, "Freeze like a Popsicle," all the time. It now has more meaning for Ana!
I've been many places in Qingdao with my family or friends. So, I thought it was time to branch out on my own. First of all Qingdao feels very western. There is very little Chinese architecture, the mall close to us is amazing, and where we live you see expat faces all the time. Taidong is completely different. It feels more like China. There are a lot more people, the apartments are much smaller, and there is a lot of shopping. I went to get backing for a quilt. After looking briefly at the Women's and Children's market (has everything from toys to shoes to clothes), I headed over to the tailoring market. While I had to pay more than I wanted, it was a high quality fabric. I saw lots of other fabrics that I would like to go back an buy :) Then I headed to Wal-Mart. Although it is nothing like an American Wal-Mart, I do like it! They had some fantastic deals and it has the best price on Hershey bars (which I use in place of chocolate chips). Its also much less crowded. So, this trip really boosted my confidence--although it would have been nice to have someone to translate for me a couple of times.
My next mission is to buy a pair of boots! Wish me luck!
1. Run off some serious energy along the boardwalk.
2. Steer a ship through the pounding waves. (unfortunately it was low tide--so there was no water to pretend with!)
3. Conquer your fear of bridges! Ever since we went to Indonesia and she had to walk out across the water on a rather see through bridge--she has hated walking by herself over water. But today she did it.
I'm so thankful I get these two days off with Ana every week.