Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Adoption Prayer Requests

After being in China, we've really been praying about adoption in the long time future. We aren't in any place at the present to adopt, but we have a few friends are are currently going through the process and we've seen the frustration and the joy that comes with the process.

Jennifer and Kenny (the couple we stayed with in China) are planning to adopt from China within the next 2 years. Please pray that the funds will be there when the time comes and that the fostering process will go smoothly and they can get their baby in their home next year hopefully!

Cody and Melissa (Daniel's old youth minister and wife) live in Kansas and are currently in the process of getting a little girl named Mercy from Uganda. They already have 2 little girls, and the entire family is patiently waiting for all the lose ends to be tied up so they can hold their baby girl and call her their own. They are selling t-shirts to help with the funds of getting Mercy home. Please pray that Mercy is being taken care of right now, for her health, and for the workers at the orphanage. Pray for the US and the African governments, that they can work together and pray for no more roadblocks or hurdles for the Busbys to deal with. The Lord has been faithful in this process and I pray that their family continues to see His work through this journey.
http://roadtomercy.blogspot.com/

Josh and Katie (the previous owners of Jackson, and current owners of his parents!) live in Madison, MS and are currently in the process of adopting a baby from Ethiopia. They have just recently started and don't have a child picked out or anything like that, but they're working on raising money and getting all the paperwork/legal issues started. This will be their first child and they are so excited! They are also selling t-shirts to raise money for their soon-to-be new addition to the family. Please pray that the Lord will give then the patience needed in the process, and while things are moving slow, allow them to rejoice knowing that the Father is in control and will provide when the time is right.
http://thebraddybunch.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 23, 2010

China Update: Days 12-15 (We're Home!)

Day 12 (Saturday)
Day 12 was awesome! In some ways, and not in others. We had plans to go to an orphanage with J&K's Sunday school class so we got up a little late, rushed to get ready and headed to the bus to meet the others. Normally there are only about 10 people who go, but many of the high school students from the school needed more community service hours so they signed up to - so a 50 passenger bus with 37 people (and about 25 of these were Chinese HS students) headed off a rural area of Shanghai to play with some orphans, sounds like a good story right? Jenn said it would take about an hour, and about an hour into the trip we've found ourselves in a rural village, but Jenn said she doesn't think we're going to right way. We turn right, left, right, right, left, left, right... and keep finding ourselves on very small roads and bridges that we probably don't fit the weight limit of. Turning on to these bridges from a one lane road was the easiest part too... kidding. The driver did a great job maneuvering the roads until he decided to turn around and go a different way because we were obviously lost. At one point, it took him about 20 tries to turn left onto another road, then there is a right turn onto a small bridge. Back and forth, back and forth, and then drop. The back tire fell off the road down a hill. We all run off the bus in the middle of this small farming/fishing village and go stand in the middle of the road while the driver (very easily) gets the bus out of the ditch. Home free? No. We walk to the other side of the bridge to wait for him to pick us up (so we don't add to the weight on the bridge) and then next thing you know he's down the road in some poor lady's vegetable garden, stuck. Praise the Lord, there was a Christian church on this road and a sweet lady walked us to the orphanage. (By this time, we've been traveling for 2 hours, and only have 1 hour left of visiting, and it takes 30 minutes to walk to the orphanage.) It was a wonderful walk though, and Daniel and I felt very at home in this small village. Everyone came to watch the random foreigners walking down their streets. There were animals everywhere and gardens with HUGE vegetables! We saw the fattest pig we have ever seen in our lives. We prayed for the town as we walked and noticed that most of the houses had crosses on their doors. :-) When we got the the orphanage, we found another surprise, there was already another group there. So all we really got to do was sit in the lobby and watch this group sign songs with the children. The story about this orphanage is that the man who runs it just goes to other provinces around China and takes children who have no home or from parents who say they don't want the kids. These children will most likely never be adopted because there is no "official paperwork" on any of the children, but this man takes care of them as his own. The bus driver (and the bus) miraculously appeared at the orphanage when it was time to go. Evidently a man next door to the garden lady had a fork lift and pulled him out. The little accident ended up costing the poor bus driver 500RMB (a little over $70). The entire group took up a love offering and gave him over 600RMB to pay for the costs and cover some of the damage to the bus. We told him Jesus loved him and gave him a DVD about the gospel that I had with me. Hopefully he will see how the Lord provides for all his needs.
After the orphanage I took a short nap and we left for the fake market to buy some souvenirs. We had fun bargaining with the vendors to get the prices we wanted. Jenn cooked stir fry for us that night and we watched a movie. Interesting and God-filled day.

Day 13 (Sunday)
We went with J&K to their Sunday school (aka church) and worshiped in English with other foreign believers (as well as some nationals too!) After worship, we went back to J&K's with a few other couples for a Bible study, had lunch at the restaurant that we had already eaten at 4 other times, and then headed to Yu Yuan for some tradition Chinese architecture and culture. While we were there we visited a Chinese Temple. I didn't realize that all people had to pay to go in, either it be to worship or sight see, and then if you were worshiping, you had to make monetary offerings to each god you were praying to, plus buy the incense to burn. We watched this one little old lady go to each room and give an offering to each god. I wouldn't exactly call what they were doing worship, most didn't look like they had a clue what they were doing or why, and then you had hundreds of tourists snapping pictures of you while you were "worshiping." Not very spiritual or sacred if you ask me. So we prayed while we were there (to our God of course) for these people who were obviously lost and searching. It wasn't really the time or place to hand out information or talk with people because there were many guards. We went back to Pete's Tex Mex for dinner (per my request of course) for some good Mexican food. I don't know if I mentioned this in the earlier post, but this restaurant was started by a Christian who was serving overseas and missed home. :)

Day 14 (Monday) - last day in Shanghai
We met up with our friends again to go to some universities and try and finish up some stuff that we didn't do on Friday. The campus was deserted yet again so we weren't able to talk to any one. We rode out to another campus to take pictures and sight see. We found out that this campus actually prefers to hire foreign Christian teachers for some reason. So if you're looking for a university job in Shanghai, let me know. We watched some kids play sports and enjoyed the beautiful day outside. That night J&K were going to take us downtown to a new dessert restaurant called Whisk. They had never actually been to it, but thought they knew where it was. After about 40 minutes of walking around and not finding it, we found a French man who directed us. We get there and they are closed on Mondays. Really? After all that. So we took a taxi to really nice Indian restaurant for our last meal in Shanghai. Very yummy! We got home, Daniel called Backwoods in Fort Worth about a job interview they were wanting him to come in for on Monday night, which he obviously wasn't going to make, and he got it rescheduled for Wednesday at 3pm - be praying!!! And then we packed.

Day 15 (Tuesday) Coming home!
We were very thankful that we packed the night before. Normally I'm on the ball about times and reservations and such, but evidently not so much on this trip. The entire time I thought we were leaving Shanghai at 2pm. So I call my mom around 7:30 to say hi and she asked if we were in transit to the airport, I said no, she said that she thought the plane left at 10, I freaked a little, looked at the itinerary, and sure enough, our flight was leaving in 2 and a half hours!!!! Hung up with her, finished throwing things in suitcases, washed our hair, and ran out the door. We grabbed a taxi because it would be quicker, though much more expensive than the subway. Of course, we get the one taxi driver in Shanghai who doesn't know the word airport. I even flapped my arms like I was flying, showed him the luggage tags, and he just didn't get it. A nice man walked by who told me he didn't speak English, but obviously did and he helped translate the taxi driver. So we're on our way, watching the meter go up and up as he drives. By the time we get to the airport, I think the meter read about 105 RMB. We had 60 in bills, and then a bag full of 1RMB coins - but it only amounted to about 95RMB. I had a $5 bill so I handed him the bag and the $5 bill and he smiled and laughed at all the coins, but accepted the money and drove off. He might have been a little mad when he actually counted it, but the $5 is worth 35RMB so hopefully he can cash that somewhere. I cried the entire taxi ride to the airport thanking God that I called my mom that morning, for the man who walked by, for packing the night before, and praying that the taxi driver didn't kill us on the way to the airport. We got checked in, got on the plane, and sat for 14 hours. Longest 14 hours of my life. We didn't sleep at all. We were exhausted by the time we landed in Michigan, we were both grouchy, and just wanted to sleep. Long story short, we made it home to Fort Worth, Bobby picked us up, it took us an hour and a half to get from the airport to our house because of 5:00 Dallas traffic, and we loved on our dog. Oh and we picked up Chik-fil-A for dinner. :-) What a great way to end a fantastic trip.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

China Update: Days 9-11

Day 9 (Wednesday):
Well we had all these big plans to go to universities and explore town more, but I woke up sick. Since we had plans to go the Expo on Thursday, we decided to take a sick day and rest as much as possible because Thursday was going to be a really long day. So we laid in bed and watched Lost pretty much all day. Later that night we decided that we had to do something other than sit in the apartment so we went into town to see the acrobat show. We had dinner at a Western sandwich/salad shop and then walked to the show. It was actually really fun and we really enjoyed the show. The acrobats are very young kids and can bend in some incredible ways. It's amazing how much they trust each other. Here are a few of the incredible things they can do:



Day 10 (Thursday):
EXPO!!! We spent 12 hours at the Expo and had the best time! After lunch I started feeling a little better (once I had some caffeine and sugar) and we were ready to go again. We saw so many pavilions. There was a ridiculous amount of people there (mostly all Chinese). We opted out of the long lines for most of the day until nighttime when people seemed to have gone home and lines were much shorter to the larger pavilions. We were able to go to USA, Spain, Belgium, and the UK, along with many of the smaller countries. The most annoying part about the day was the "passports." The Expo issued fake passports that you could get stamped at all the countries you visitied. The only problem is that the Chinese people buy like 10 0f them for themselves so there are never enough for everyone who visits each day. (We read that they produce about 800,000 per day and they only have 200-300,000 in attendance.) So you get to
the end of the pavilion and there is this crowd of people lined up waiting to have their passports stamped and they just keep shoving them in the poor expo worker's face. I think I would hate that job. We took way to many pictures to even pick a few that we liked to put on the blog, but there will most definitely be an entire facebook album for it when we get home. We will never again complain about lines at 6 Flags. :)

Day 11 (Friday):
The 12 hour day took it's toll on my health again and I woke up not feeling 100% but we knew that we had to get something done that day, so we rode the bus out to one of the nearby universities. Well, Friday afternoon, most kids have gone home and this was only a small campus of about 1,000, so we really didn't get to talk to anyone. So we walked around, took some pictures, enjoyed the pretty campus, talked with one guy, and left. Not the most productive day, but that's ok. For dinner, we went with J&K to meet up with some of their friends for dinner at, get this, Cafe du Monde!!!! Yes, like the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans! Except this one serves food, not just bengeits and coffee. But we did order our bengeits. :) Nice little taste from America. We found out that if Daniel had stuck with his engineering thing and decided to come work in Shanghai with a company that we would get our own personal driver to use at our discresion and a aye (or maid/aunt/nanny) that could move in with us if we had kids and do laundry, cooking, cleaning, and childcare, all at the company's cost. Pretty ridiculous. It's so cheap to live in China if you have a decent job like being a teacher and really reach if you have a job with an American company (unless you like American things, then you have to pay import prices which is pretty crazy).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yes, we were on MTV... and China days 6-8

Yes, Daniel and I did appear on national television, and yes, we did get to watch it in China. Story behind it: One of Daniel's best friends from college chose to save his first kiss until the alter, as did his sweet girlfriend/now wife, Laura Beth. We've been good friends with them since we all started dating in college and MTV chose them to be a couple on True Life: I'm a Newlywed and they followed their story from engagement to married life. Daniel and I went to spend a weekend with Brett and LB and MTV filmed a session of the 4 of us talking about how great it is to be married and how glad we are that we waited till marriage to have sex. We are so proud of Brett and LB for their decision and we're so glad that they were able to share their story with the world! They were able to glorify the Father on national television, and MTV nonetheless! MTV actually did something good. :) You can still watch the episode on MTV.com under their True Life webpage if you missed the original episode.


Back to China:

Day 6 (Sunday): K&J were still gone to Beijing so we headed to our other friends apartment that afternoon for some fellowship. We were able to spend time getting to know some brothers and sisters which was awesome! Their other friend was still in town and the 5 of us went to eat at what they call the "hot pot." Definitely not something that I've ever done before. You order a pot (of basically soup with seasoning) and then lots of vegetables and meats, and then you cook all the food in the pot of soup. I got the curry pot, and Daniel got the mushroom pot. We had potatoes, beef, lamb, carrots, bamboo, corn, letuce, and mushrooms. It was very good! The day was very relaxing and a great time to fellowship. :)


Day 7 (Monday): Probably our worst day in China so far. I guess we hit our wall and got kind of homesick. We decided to go out and just shop around the city. We've been looking for a camera lens and so we headed to an electronics mall. Long story short, we were pressured to quickly buy something (not even what we went for) and then in the end we were just mad at ourselves. It really wasn't any big deal or any great amount of money, but we were both just disappointed when we realized what we had spent. Trying to figure out conversions of USD and RMB is not fun when people are pressing you and all up in your space. We were pretty much just sick of having so many people around all the time and how rude Chinese people can be sometimes. And then on top of that you have all these people yelling at you to come to their store and buy this or that random item. Just a little overwhelming that day. So we decided to come back to the apartment and have a day of rest. The rest of the day included mac and cheese, Lost season 3, and napping. When K&J got home, we went to the grocery store and Daniel and I cooked dinner for them as part of our thank you for putting up with us. We made a pasta with cream cheese, spinach, alfredo sauce and noodles with red sauce and mozarella on top, garlic bread, and green beans with almonds in a butter/brown sugar sauce. It was very yummy! And I'm so glad they liked it!
After dinner, Jennifer took me to go get our hair washed. In China it's the thing to do. You pay a little over a dollar and get your hair washed/dried, and you get a neck, arm, shoulder, and back massage. They even clean out your ears (eww!). It was a little weird having this young guy do all this for me - he was new and was in training, and of course Jennifer got the female. But it was relaxing and my hair was very soft after.

Day 8 (Tuesday): We rode to the outskirts of the city with our friends and one of their Chinese friends to a couple of universities. In all it took about 3 hours of travel time to get out there. We rode a bus for 2 hours. We got to see all different parts of Shanghai. Our friends told us that if you went from north to south Shanghai it would take about 6 hours. Crazy! We saw sky rises all the way to small farming communities, and the construction taking place inbetween. The girls went to one university and the boys another. The girls had an ok day, nothing too special. We were able to talk to some people. The boys had a little excitement and ended up leaving quickly but they had some good conversations as well. We enjoyed getting to spend time with our friends again and encouraging them. Jennifer took Daniel and I to eat Muslim noodles tonight at a small hole in the wall restaurant down the street. Wow! They were so good! And a huge plate of noodles with vegetables and beef was only a little over a dollar.

PR: Kenny is not well, he has been very sick tonight. I've had a sore throat all day and felt I was breathing fire all day - I really can't be getting sick. Daniel and I will be going to 4 universities by ourselves this week. Back in TX there is a baby named David who was born right before we came to China, he is very sick and back in the hospital with bilirubin problems.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

China: Pictures of the Orphanage - Day 5


All the babies at the orphanage.


One for me and one for Emily. :) I picked her just for you Em!


Precious child.

Comforting.
Sweet baby girl, she loved Daniel!
The room where they sleep, eat, and play.

On the Walking Street. Please notice the people to the right gathered around the camera, gawking at the pictures they just took with the tall Americans.

China: Day 4 and 5

Day 4 was a restful day. Daniel and I were supposed to go see another university with our new friends but something came up and we weren't able to leave on time. We didn't head that way until 2 in the afternoon, so we just relaxed at the apt and napped some more. Very much needed while continuing to recover from jetlag. We made it to the university but were told that we weren't allowed, "no foreigners." So we walked around to another gate and went right in. Haha. The campus was beautiful! The buildings were so big and magnificant. We were able to talk to a lot of students even though it was Friday and everyone was heading home for the weekend. When we left that campus we got in a taxi to go closer to our friends home and eat dinner with some of their friends who were in town. We got a real taxi experience this time. Our friends had just finished telling us that most taxi drivers were honest and not that scary when it came to driving. This was polar opposite. He was yelling Shanghainese at other drivers and pedestrians and driving down the wrong side of the road. Then we got on the subway, then into another taxi and we had just as bad of an experience. He tried to drive us all the way around the place we were trying to get to and make is pay way more than we should have. Finally our friends started directing him and telling him to turn. We ate at Peter's Tex-Mex for dinner. Nice little treat from home - lots of Texas decorations. It was so good! As soon as we got back to the apt that night, we crashed. But we're still loving every minute that we're here!

Day 5 has by far been the best day. We were able to go to a Chinese orphanage today. We actually slept in today. We left the apt around 11:30am and headed toward the orphanage. It took about an hour to get there on the subway. We walked around for a while and decided to eat at Pizza Hut. It was by far the nicest Pizza Hut that we have ever been to. It looked more like a 5 star restaurant. The food was very different from America's PH, but very delicious. After lunch we headed to the orphanage with map in hand. It was a little difficult to find, but eventually we did. J&K had signed us up to go in their place this weekend. A man from Australia greeted us and told us that there is a group of young professionals who get together at least once a week to 'give back' to Shanghai. They are all foreigners and speak English, so that was refreshing. The 1st floor of the orphanage has the 4yr olds to early teens, 2nd floor has the teenagers, and 3rd floor has the crib babies. Most all of the children in this orphanage have some sort of disability, but not all. We were told that no one is allowed access to the teenagers. Daniel and I went to play with the babies and love on them as much as we could in our 2 hours. When we got there, they were all just waking up and being put in chairs/walkers on the floor. Their diapers were changed and we noticed that they didn't wear pampers. Their diapers consisted of folded cloths and a large strip of plastic from the wrappers of pampers bags. Some of the babies were tied to the bed to keep them from rolling all over and most were tied down when placed in the walkers or chairs to keep them sitting upright because they have no muscle tone. Each child has a flat part on their head from the way they constantly lay in the bed and many of their necks are hyperextended. They were absolutely precious though. The orphanage itself was much more than we expected. They are working on renovations and have play rooms and new paint. Still very much in need of assistance though as far as people coming to help. We loved on the babies for about an hour, trying to hold each of them as much as possible. Some were too rigid and stiff to cradle, and many were not able to be put in the chairs and had to stay in the crib. After an hour, feeding began. It seems that they are feed good portions. It broke my heart to know that these little ones will probably never leave this place because they will have no where to go, especially those with disabilities. I just kept reminding myself that they are his children and he will provide and protect. We left the orphanage and went back to the Walking Street. We had a first while we were there, 2 girls came up and asked if they could have a picture with us. Haha. We felt like celebrities. Today was a good experience and made me thankful for people like those we worked with at the orphange. At least those babies will get some love once or twice a month. And the workers there were very nice and loving, not quite as gentle and patient as we were, but I could they they do care for the babies.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pictures of Shanghai!


Daniel in the downtown area. Shanghai built this elevated walkway right by the Pearl Tower just recently. They have done so much to the city just for the Expo.


This is the Expo 2010 mascot. The flowerbed behind me is also dedicated to the Expo. It's a large circle that is divided and has flowers planted in the symbols that represented each Expo in Shanghai of the past.

The Pearl Tower is on one side of the river, and this is the view of the other side. we actually like looking at the other side better. So many interesting buildings all along this river. We rode the ferry to get to the other side. The walking street is on this side.
This picture is of the walking street at night. So many people!

The 9 story mall. It's called the Super Brand Mall and this picture is taken from about 3 stories up. It's located in the circle by the Pearl Tower.

Pearl Tower

Pearl Tower at sunset.
Downtown area at sunset.


Pearl Tower side of the river after dark with all the beautiful lights.

End of Day 2 and Day 3

Day 2 ended with us getting to go back to downtown to the other end of the Walking Street and meeting some of J&K's friends. We supposedly ate the best dumplings in Shanghai. They were very good and I had no idea that there was a specific way to eat a dumpling. They were very hot and I burned my tongue with the first bite so it kind of ruined the rest for me. We ate them at Krispy Creme and got some donuts as well. Wonderful dinner! haha I couldn't eat all my dumplings so I ended up giving to a lady at the subway stop where we get off. This stop is always packed with men and women who stand right at exit trying to get you to pick them to take you home either in their taxi, on the scooter, or in their little cart that they pull with a bike or a scooter. They also have lots of street vendors selling homemade food. Good day.

Day 3 has been the best day so far. We got to do what we came to do. I woke up about 4am here and was wide awake, so I got up and watched Glee online then went back to bed for about an hour and got back up to say goodbye to J&K who have left to go run a marathon in Beijing. We met our new friends at the subway and rode out to an area with some universities. It is in a completely different part of Shanghai than I have seen since being here. Its really cool out there. It's not so built up with sky rises and companies, but they are starting to get a lot of sky rise apt buildings out there. It was really fun getting to see a lot of people our age walking around because that's pretty much all that is in this community besides teachers who commute to work. They all share dorms in one complex and there are 3 universities I think. They have a long rode with a huge strip mall and lots of shops (anything a college student could need). We ate at a KFC (I know, I'm in China and I eat American food, sorry). We split the group up and walked to 2 different campuses. The one that I went to visit was so incredibly interesting. We walked around for a while and took pictures of the buildings and student life. We were able to talk to a lot of students and find out what kind of majors they had at the university. It was so much fun getting to help them practice their English and they were all more than willing to stop and talk with us. It was a wonderful day. We made it home around 6:30pm and were completely exhausted. Walking all day is really tiring. We bought some of the food off the street (really good!) and came back to the apt. J&K had left us pizza to make so we had that too and laid on the cough to watch one of the thousands of movies they have (we are definitely stocking up on the way home!). We both fell asleep before the movie was even half way finished and just went to bed. Great day. :)
Love you all! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 1 and part of Day 2 in China

Our first official day in Shaghai. We both woke up at 5am and by the end of the night were dragging ourselves back to the apartment. After waking up, we chilled at the apartment for a while until about 10 trying to figure out what we wanted to do. We went up to the roof of the building to look out over the city. It's 16 stories high. We could see all aorund us, all the really tall buildings in the downtown area. After spending a few minutes on the roof taking pictures, we went down to the street and walked around a few blocks to see waht was around the area. Jennifer and Kenny have everything they need at their doorstep. The school where they work is across the street, there is a grocery store e on the corner with a fruit market, and a really good restaurant where they always eat. We met Jennifer and Kenny for lunch at the restaurant - so good! We had lemon chicken, soy beans, spicey potatoes, kung pow chicken, and rice. Then we went to their school and Jennifer showed us around. They are in a high security alert and the guard at the gate just turned his head as we walked through - real safe. We stayed and met some of the other teachers and then played with one of Jennifer's kindergarten classes. She is their English teacher. Her kids were adorable. Kenny teaches 5th grade social studies. We came back to the apt and rested for about an hour, and then Jennifer taught me how to ride her awesome pink scooter with a zebra striped seat cover. When Kenny got home we rode the subway to downtown where the Pearl Tower is. They have really fixed up the city for the World Expo. We got to downtown before the sun set so we were able t osee it in the day and then at night all lit up. We alked along the river and rode the ferry to the other side and made our way to the Walking Street. Thousands of people were all over. It was the China we were expecting. so different from where J&K live. We were attacked by all kinds of vendors selling cheap knockoffs, lasers, and rollerskates. We got so many stares and people were trying to take our pictures as we walked by. We ate at a noodle restaurant which was also really good. We were exhausted from waking up so early and walking so far. We rode the subway home and collapsed into bed. It was a beautiful day to see the city.

Day 2: We started the day by waking up around 7:30, watching the newest episode of Lost via their Slingbox account, and then got ready for our new day. Since we learned the subway system yesterday, we decided to go see more of the city and do some shopping. Daniel and I were both in need of sunglasses so we stopped at "the fake market" to find some. We bough Ray Bans for about $5 each. Not necessarily a great deal, but considering the asking price was about $17/pair we thought pretty good of it. Hundred of little kiosks are just inside the subway system and each store has pretty much the same thing. So many times we heard "hey, lady bags for you," "a watch for you, man," "pretty jewels for lady," "cheap shirts, your size," "we have good deal." We just laughed and kept saying "no thank you." It was ridiculous. We will be going back when we have seen more of thef city and know what money we have left - they had awesome purses, jewely, and "name brand" jackets. We left the subway system to see what was at the top of the Century Ave stop and were bombarded again by men and women with little cards of pictures of things they wanted to sell us. Shanghai has some beautiful buildings and landscape designs. We really enjoyed looking around the square. We got back on the subway and rode to the Pearl Tower stop. They have built an above ground walkway around a roundabout for the Expo (again, making Shanghai look better with flowers and new toys). Great place to take pictures in front of the Pearl Tower. On the corner acroos from the tower is a 10 story mall. It's called the Super Brand Mall. Biggest mall I've ever been in. They had 2 floors just dedicated to food. We walked each of the floors and stopped at a DQ to get a blizzard. We're suckers for ice cream. their ice cream is a lot different - less sweet and more fluffy, but still very good. It was a fun day of exploring the city. Tonight we will go eat with J&K's friends who work at the university and we'll find out how we can help them. I'm starting to feel more comfortable in China than I was. Still don't know the language, but we're learning how to get around that. We successfully ordered food and paid for it, so that's a start. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

We're in China!

We made it safely last night (or your early morning). Jennifer and Kenny were there to greet us at the airport with excited faces and open arms. It was wonderful to see friendly American faces. We really didn't have any problems. We left DFW and flew to Minneapolis, we had about 20 minutes before our next flight left for Tokyo. 12 Hours. Wow. Long time to be in one place. The food was actually pretty good, we had chicken and beef for dinner, a sandwich with grapes for a snack, then they served us breakfast at about 3am US time, 4pm China time. Breakfast was great with an omlet and fruit and potatoes, but as soon as we were finished, turbulance started as we decended for Tokyo. Needless to say we did not eat anything on the flight from Tokyo to Pu Dong. Sleep was not the easiest thing for either of us, we just couldn't get comfortable, but in all we might have gotten 3-4 hours. When we got to Pu Dong, we rode with Jennifer and Kenny in a taxi to their apartment. There wasn't a lot of traffic since it was about 10:30 at night and we were somewhat glad of that for our first Chinese Taxi ride. The apartment is adorable! Bright colors everywhere. Jennifer has already come up with a long list of things that we should see and do and we will be meeting some friends of theirs who work at the Un iveristy and want us to come help some. They currently have another group visiting them, so we will probably jump in with them. Jennifer has some girls that she hangs out with and wants me to meet. They are freshmen at the University and are very eager to meet more foreigners. Jennifer said she is the first foreign friend they have. It's so wierd to be considered the 'foreigner'. Daniel is very calm about our entire situation, but I'm quite nervous about the language barrier, what to say, who to talk to, where to go, pretty much everything about our trip. I guess I didn't have time to be nervous before we left and now it's all caught up with me. Jennifer and Kenny have left to go teach this morning and Daniel and I are going to walk around the town a little. We woke up at 5am here (4pm at home). It will be a long day. Love you all and thanks for thinking of us! Blessings!

Pictures to come as soon as we start taking some. :)