Thursday, July 31, 2008
PS-in this picture I am wearing my favorite maternity shirt-8 months pregnant with EG. Today I put it on again-I'm back in maternity clothes in a little over a year! Here we go again! Woohoo!
There were so many interesting kinds of flowers that we can't get in our small town and I was determined to buy some. However, when it was all said and done, I ended up with carnations. I actually don't really like carnations and I can get them daily in our town. BUT, this really cute grandma came up to me and wanted me to buy her flowers and I just couldn't resist. Who can resist a cute granny working hard for her money? NOT ME!!!
Mixed with the carnations are a couple other kinds of flowers-she sold me the whole thing for 5 kuai. I think I should have tried to bargain more, but oh well. That granny had been there since 3 am and I bought her last bunch of flowers! I think she deserves the 5 kaui! I hope to convince Andy to take me back there on a date. They have classes to teach you how to arrange flowers and I think it would be fun to go sometime and learn the Chinese art of flower arranging!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Most of villages have 20-30 houses and are a mile or two from each other.
All the homes are built like this: There is a courtyard in the middle and one side houses the animals and the other the people!
When we arrived, Emma Grace was sooo happy to see her A Yi (aunt in Chinese!) We also really enjoyed spending time with her parents. Her mom is my hero. She makes all her own clothes, down to weaving the material that she makes them with. She made a great pair of shoes for Emma Grace. She wears this everyday. These clothes are traditional Ei people clothes. Xiao Li told me that Ei people can tell how old someone is by the style and "fadedness" of their hat. One thing we enjoyed was seeing all the animals. They have cows, pigs, dogs, chickens, and a cat. Each day Xiao Li's dad takes the cows out (they live at their house) to eat. This takes about 2 hours and he does it twice a day. Andy and I accompanied him our first morning there. Man, people in the country have patience! He spends four hours everyday just watching his cows-come rain or shine-and has been for the past 50 years! Their pig is sooo close to having her little piglets.
Andy is an animal lover. Here he is holding the cat.Emma Grace loved the cows. She says "booo" when you ask her what a cow says.We did ALOT of eating while we were there. We had some amazing green beans, corn, several meats, mushrooms and lots of rice. Here is their kitchen. They cook over a fire for the most part but the government recently installed gas in their home in an effort to conserve firewood. Times are a changing-but around here, it's slowly changing! They still do most of their cooking over the fire. They killed a chicken for us. A Xin has just finished boiling it and is taking it out of the pot to chop.Xiao Li cooking the most amazing corn I've ever tasted.Here we are preparing the corn.
There are no cars in these parts...
One of the fun things we did while there was go on a hunt for mushrooms. They are in season right now. The rain provides the moisture they need and the sun the warmth. These two combined make for the perfect environment for mushrooms to grow. Here we are heading out....
On the way we saw a woman harvesting potatoes....We are heading towards those mountains-the perfect spot for mushrooms!
Along they way we saw some really beautiful animals. Emma Grace saw more animals on this trip than she has in her entire one year of life!
Ok, so mushrooms are pretty amazing. Did you know that they grow really rapidly and decay really fast. During mushroom season you can go to the same spot everyday and there will be new mushrooms every morning! This is a great way to earn a little extra money. Xiao Li's mom goes out most mornings and walks for about an hour to reach the mountains. Once there she spends her time down on her knees looking under brush for these little guys. She sells them at a nearby market. Andy managed to find the most expensive mushroom of all-but it was a little small so we figure he would get about 5 cents for this one! But still, way to go Andy! It was kinda like hunting for Easter eggs. Pretty fun. I managed to find a few and got really excited. Then Xiao Li told me that all but one of the ones I found were not edible. Oh well! I am still an apprentice at this whole mushroom hunting thing. In total, Andy and I managed to find about 4 mushrooms that were edible. Xiao Li on the other hand loaded up. Here she is cutting some mushrooms her mom gathered to be dried and used later...
Emma Grace and a farm bath...We went to visit the neighbors and it was like Halloween. They just kept loading her pockets and my hands with candy. She didn't eat lunch that day because she filled up on cookies at their house. Check out her stash...
One of the things we talked about was how people from "two different worlds" can be great friends and learn from each other. This bond is made so much stronger by the common faith we have in Christ. Knowing that God is working in people's lives in this village "worlds" away from my home in America makes me love God all the more. He is amazing-He's the God of all nations and I look forward to the day when we see people from each tongue, tribe, and nation worshiping him in their own unique way!
What a great trip! On a final note: I did survive the week without a shower but not Pepsi. (BUT IT'S NOT MY FAULT!) Xiao Li lugged 6 bottles of Pepsi and Coke to her house and kept pulling them out for us every time we turned around! The Chinese people are so giving. We were sitting down for a rest after our mushroom excursion and out she comes with snacks and Pepsi! I have to admit I was pretty thrilled but I am telling you-I could've survived without it. Well, that has not been proven but I really think I could!
On our way back to our city, we stopped overnight in a nearby city for the torch festival. All these people are minority people and are doing a traditional dance. This festival was way more commercial and Chinese (versus minority) than we thought it would be. We were expecting a bonfire and a bunch of old people dancing around it. This festival had lots of minority flavor to it, but also added in were loud music, flashing lights and 20 of the 2008 Olympics mascots running around. What are those things anyway? China really is a collision of the old and the new.
All in all, a wonderful trip with wonderful friends! We were so blessed to spend this time in "another world" with people who serve the same God as we do!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tomorrow we will head out at 7:30 am for the bus stop where we will take a 2 hour bus trip to Lu Quan. From there we will take another bus for about 3 hours to Xiao Li's village. We will probably be walking the last 30 mins of the trip. At her house we plan to hang out, hike a mountian, pick mushrooms and eat some of her momma's yummy cooking! I can't wait for that part! On Saturday we will return to Lu Quan by ourselves and stay the night. This is where the big Torch Festival celebration will take place. We've got tickets to go to some sort of celebration-we think it will include dancing, singing, and some sort of fire-not sure what to expect. Then on Sunday we will head back home! Should be fun. We are trying to pack in one back pack-which is a challenge considering Emma Grace can fill one by herself! She is doing better eating veggies these days but we are not sure what she will eat while we are there, so we are taking a good bit of food for her.
EG and I were out and about yesterday and I snapped a few pictures of our trip to the market. Here's a man selling jiu cai (prononced like "geo tie" with a lisp) on his bike. It's kinda like a green onion, but not really-not sure how to explain it but they usually stir fry it will other veggies or meat. yummy. Like the man on the bicycle, these guys don't have a stall at the market. They just walk MILES to get to town and plop their baskets down outside the market for the day. Because it's tough to go the market with Emma Grace in tow, I often send Xiao Li. But when we do go, this sweet girl sells us veggies at a great price! Yesterday I bought 2 eggplant, lettuce, an onion and a carrot all for 50 cents! Garlic, ginger, and eggsHere's a view of the market-I am the only person without black hair in this whole place!!!
And finally, the news you've all been waiting for....hehe. ok not really-the only people that have been wating for this news are Andy and I! We WON!! FINALLY! Let me explain. You might remember that we get 9 cartons of milk delivered to our house every week. We are serious about milk in the this family. Our milk grandma has asked us more than once, "do you really drink all that milk?"
Anyway, the company that makes our milk has been sponsporing a contest for about the past 2-3 months. Upon opening the milk, you will see one of two statements. Either, thanks but you lost or YEAH! you won x! The prizes range from 3 kaui off your next milk to a laptop computer. Now we really don't care what we win, we just wanted to win. I mean, as many cartons as we have bought over the past 3 months, it is close to statistically impossible that we not win at least once. But for the past 3 months, everyday we open the carton the same message: Sorry EA and Andy, but your luck stinks! It really did stink. Since the game has been going, Xaio Li has bought a total of 3 cartons of milk and won TWICE! What is wrong with us?
Just yesterday Andy asked me if we were looking in the wrong spot for the message. But finally, our faithful milk consumption paid off! We won a whopping 3 kaui off our next carton of milk. We were really excited! I ran upstairs to tell Andy. When the milk lady came today she was just as excited. She grabbed the carton and took off running, smiling and laughing all the way, to catch the Xue Lan Milk van driver and tell them to credit us 3 kaui off our next milk! As you can tell, there's not much going on around these parts so we get excited about the little things in life!
The winning box....see the little message written above the arrow.
Hope you have a great few days. We'll see you on the blog after our adventures!