Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday, February 5th 2009

Eating dumplings!

Hot, steamy, dumplings

Cooking the dumplings

I finally did it!! I made it just right! It passed Helen's test!

Not too much, not too little, just right.
About to start making dumplings

Helping Helen in her kitchen

You have to hold the cup like this....

Helen is pouring our tea

Forbidden City

Tienanmen Square

Carlton is eating dried squid, and yes, I tasted it too! Tasted like dried tuna fish??

Llama Temple

Carlton and I both were wide awake this morning at 3:00am!! What is it with 3:00am?? We went a head and got up and were able to talk to some friends and our children this morning on Skype!! How amazing is that?? We are half way around the world and we can talk to people back home for free!! It was so good to hear familiar voices. We had breakfast this morning at the hotel and I tried a bowl of rice congee. I know that Lily eats this for breakfast so I wanted to taste and try it for myself. Helen is going to teach me how to make congee also. It tasted really bland...kinda like a porridge of some sort. Not bad, just really bland.

After breakfast, we were planning to start touring right away. 9:00am this morning, I hit a wall!! All of the sudden I couldn't put one foot in front of the other! I was so tired. I called Helen and we decided to start our day at 12:00pm. I fell on the bed and passed out. All I remember is my body making weird jerking movements from pure exhaustion. When I woke up, I felt so much better. We met Helen in the lobby and planned out our day. First, we went to Llama Temple. This is the oldest Llama temple in Beijing. It is also famous because it has the largest Buddha statue carved from a tree. Many people worship here each day. We spent about 2 hours at the Temple. Next, we went to Tienanmen Square. This square is between the government buildings, the people's congress, the history museum and the great hall. Helen explained the history of the square and then we walked to Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was the emperors palace for the Ming and Ching Dynastys. Twenty-four emperors lived in Forbidden City. It was huge, it has 9,999 1/2 rooms. Its impossible to explain how beautiful and how big the city is. The pictures do not do justice, trust me on this one. We stayed about 3 hours here. Helen is so wonderful. She explains everything to us. Since Carlton has an undergrad in History, he is really loving this. Its like a History text book coming to life. Next, Helen took us to a local market in her neighborhood to get the items we needed to cook dinner. The market is not like your ordinary Wal-mart. You buy the items and pay for them at each counter. For example, you pay for your fruit in the fruit section. I know those people thought I was nutso for taking pictures of their grocery store!!! We bought a large amount of food and it cost $3.50 US. We could probably feed 6 people with what we bought. Helen told us that we were the first couple she has cooked for at her home!! We felt extremely honored. Helen is a terrific cook and I learned so much. One thing I have learned, is that people in China eat so healthy!! They do not even have desert. She said, "Why do you want to eat something sweet when you are full?" I just said, "hmmmm..I don't know, because it tastes good???" OH, and by the way, the white stuff we ate yesterday was tofu or bean curd. I never knew I liked tofu. It is really not that bad and it is very, very good for you. When we first got to Helen's house, she sat her table down and we all sat around the table while she served us 2 different kinds of tea. The first tea was good for your stomach and the second tea was good for your liver. (No wonder these people live to be well over 100) The tea was really good. She also taught me how to hold the cup and how to sip it. Believe me, you have to practice. I am so glad I am learning these things so I can teach it to Lily. I really love learning the traditional Chinese practices. We had some really great conversations about traditions and her life growing up. I am just like a sponge, really soaking it all in.... Once again, I am amazed at how close the families are. She told me that when they finished eating supper, they just sat around the table and talked. She is very close to her mother and father. She also said that the Chinese people do not understand why people in USA do not take care of their parents when they get old. Its not even an option in China, you just do it. You take care of your parents. They come and live with you and you also support them financially. Its a totally different mind set over here. I really do love the way they love family and their sense of community. Helen also taught me how to make traditional Chinese dumplings (also called pot stickers in USA). Oh....they were heavenly!!! I think I ate about 10! They were filled with beef and cabbage and were boiled, not fried. She also made us homemade egg drop soup and some kind of leafy vegetable that was sauteed in oil and garlic. Yummy!! We dipped our dumplings in vinegar and soy sauce. We were so thankful for our time with Helen. It was such a special treat for us. I am really coming to see that we are having an experience of a lifetime. We would never have this experience if we were in a big travel group. I love that it is just us and Helen. So special. She takes such good care of us. Thank you Green family for this amazing recommendation!!! I have been instructed by Helen to come to your house and teach you how to make dumplings. She made sure that I knew what I was doing, since I was going back home to teach!!!
We are really enjoying our time here in China. We love seeing all the historical mind just cant stop thinking of my baby girl!! Today, I saw many, many little girls and my heart nearly stopped!! I just can't wait to hold her in my arms!!! I also checked the weather for Guangzhou, and its supposed to be 80 degrees!! I started having a fit because I didn't bring Lily any summer outfits. I did not realize that it would be that warm. Then Carlton reminded me that we can just take her shopping and buy her whatever she likes. Oh, I do love that man!! Speaking of weather...the weather in Beijing is fabulous!! I think its around 45-50. But, its a different kind of cold. Its colder than what it sounds like. I am wearing jeans with tights underneath and 2 shirts and coat. I haven't gotten cold one time. Perfect weather, just perfect!

There are many, many other things that we want to share about today...but time will not allow us. We look forward to coming home and sharing our hearts with you all.

Tomorrow, we are off to the Great Wall! We will also stop at the Jade Factory (thanks Kim for the tip..I will hold off on purchasing jade until Guangzhou). I do plan to purchase a piece of jade jewelry for Lily and Hananah Grace. This is a very traditional gift that families give thier daughters. Helen has a jade bracelet that has been passed down in her family for many, many, many years. She wears it every day. We will be spending the day at the Great Wall. Helen said we will have lots of time to climb and she knows just where to take us. Supposedy, there are many spots that you can climb and some are better than others. What would I do without Helen??? I am really looking forward to seeing the Great Wall... I am going to the GREAT WALL OF CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!....this trip is just too amazing.

Love to you all,
Aimee and Carlton

Hannah Grace and Noah,
We loved hearing your voice this morning. I am so glad that you had a fun day and got to go to the movies. Noah, I know you loved eating all that cotton candy. I hope you remember to brush your teeth really good tonight! We are very proud of how good you are being for Aunt Susie. Ya'll are the best children in the world! We will talk to you soon, We love you very, very, very, very, much!!!! We are sending you a big kiss!
Mommy and Daddy

Thank you for all your comments. Reading your comments is the first thing we do each morning. We laugh and cry at the same time. It makes us feel at home. Thank you!

Enjoy all the pictures... I will upload a video in the morning. Too tired to wait on it to download!


Elizabeth said...

Yay!! I think I am first!! I feel like I am soaking up China right through the computer and your blog posts! Thanks for sharing all of this with us.....we can't wait to see Lily!!

Jessica said...

Your pictures are just amazing!
Aimee, I am falling in love with the Chinese people and culture the more I read about your time there. I love how close they are with their family and how they take care of their parents.
I am so glad that you are getting this first hand experience from Helen. You are learning so many valuable things to share with Lily.
(and anytime you want to make your dumplings I want to try them) :)
It was so wonderful to see you and talk to you! I love technology...
Again thank you for sharing the pictures and the wonderful details of your day (it is like being right there with you)
Carlton ~ How was the dried squid??? It did not look too appetizing :)
Praying for you guys and Lily!
Get lots of rest, you have a "great wall" to climb when you wake :)
love you guys!!!

LeighAnne said...

I love all your pictures and all the details that you are recording about your trip. How special to have them preserved forever in writing. I would love to know how to make homemade dumplings, they sound so yummy! I am so happy you are enjoying yourself so much, you look so happy and at peace in the pictures. It is just amazing what God has done to bring you to this place at this time....for a time such as this!

Hugs, LA

Crystal said...

I'm so glad that you both are having such a great time! Those dumplings look fantastic!! You know everyone is going to want to come over for dumplings now! The pictures are breathtaking. I can't imagine what it looks like in person! Thank you for sharing this with us!
We loved Skype too when my sister was in China!
Praying for yall every day as you get closer and closer to getting your precious Lily!

Crystal Joplin

Jessica said...

Good Morning Carlton and Aimee!! Sounds like you had another great day in China. How special it was to be invited to Helens house to make dumplings. Sounds like alot of fun. How neat to see just how the Chinese live. So glad you are getting to experince the chinese culture. Hope you are rested up!! Cant wait for the next update. Hey I signed up for skype. Not sure how it works, but if you ever have some down time (which I know theres not much of that) lets try it out. Eveything seems well in Pebble Creek. Have fun today at the Great Wall!
Much Love, Kadle

Barb said...

I am so excited to get up each day and read your blog. It is like traveling vicarioulsy with you all. What a blessing to have Helen -- you are experiencing such a personal tour with her. HMMMM too bad you will have to go shopping for summer clothes with Lily ... Carlton, you are so good! Can't wait to hear more! Praying daily for you and your first day with Lily!


The Ferrill's said...

Oh Aimee you ARE having the trip of a lifetime! What a HUGE blessing that Helen has taken you under her wing and taught you so much about the Chinese culture. That will be such a treasure you can share with Lily when she is old enough to understand.
On our first trip we really connected with our guide in Beijing. She became like family to us and we wanted her to come stay with us in America! I am praising God that He gave you such a wonderful friend in Helen. When you are across many miles and an ocean away from home, a friend can make the time go by quickly and the feeling of homesickness be absent! Thank you Jesus! And as icing on the cake, this friend is teaching you all about your daughter's birth country! Woo Hoo!
I really want to know how to make those dumplings. The only time Candace gets to eat them is when we go eat Chinese. And then she PILES her plate FULL! I do not see how a little 40 lb. 8 year old can eat SO MUCH FOOD!!!!!!!
Thanks again for a wonderful update! I'm glad you got a morning nap...and I will pray continued rest and rejuvenation for you both! Our family prayed together for you this morning...I am hanging on every word you write.
Much love,

Cathy said...

Truly one of the highlight of my day is to read your travel blog. Thank you for your time in keeping us posted. What an experience that Lily has brought to you and what an experience you are bringing and will continue to travel with you sweet LILY!

Robert said...

You make me want to be in China with you! thanks for keeping us so up to date on everything ya'll are doing and seeing. I think it just makes me more ready to be in Nepal. There is something amazing about be steeped in another culture and learning everything you possibly can. praying for all three of you!

Megan&Robert (+ Titus)

Aaron and Erica said...

Okay I want to learn how to make dumplings too!!! Let's plan a cooking, me and Connie, Laine, and anyone else that wants to learn :)

I'm glad you were able to rest some this morning before you toured. That's the good thing about you guys going over so early, you didn't have to feel like you were going to miss out on something. 3:00 was the magic hour for us as well...we were almost always awake at that time. And I think last night was the first time I didn't see 3:00 since we came home :)

Love you bunches,


Krystal said...

What a fun day! I am praying for you, praying for good sleep at night, great memories of your excursions, and a wonderful meeting and subsequent lifetime with Lily. Praise God!

Corie said...

Oh WOW! I can even imagine all the things that you are seeing over there but I imagine it is SO incredible. Like you said...a text book coming to life! I love the pictures and would love to do that traveling. So good to see the people and customs of the world. What faithful parents you know so much about Lily and her food and culture. She is one blessed kiddo!
I certeinly get a smile seeing you on here knowing you are across the world picking up your daughter. Words don't express my excitement for you! I could scream...I am screaming...
Ok...I'll write more later. Keep up the blogging and story telling....I LOVE IT!

Misty said...

I am so happy to read these updates! Thank you for sharing this with everyone. Still praying for you both, Lily, and your time in China. What a wondeful opportunity to spend time with these Chinese people. My prayer is that they will see Christ in you both.

Much love,

Misty Cobb

Shea said...

It is so exciting, feeling like I am experiencing this trip right along with you both. Helen sounds like a delight! So glad God blessed you with such a sweet guide. And I am so impressed with all the stuff you are eating. I would hope to be as brave. But you are right, When In China....Enjoy the "Great Wall". Can't wait to see more pictures. Much love!

Tamara said...

Can't wait to try the dumplings! Sounds like you are having the trip of a lifetime. Lily is so blessed to get you and Carlton for parents. Can't wait to hear more.

Love you guys,

DonnaK said...

Wow....I get exhausted just reading your blogs. I can't imagine how tired y'all are at the end of each day!! I know you AREN'T going to regret filling your days while you are there, though!! Take it ALL in!! You are getting so close to the BIG day! I am praying for you all!!

~Donna Kay!

Mike Patricia & Evy said...

Your blog reminds me of how I felt the first time we came to China - and now we are living in Beijing for a year! After living here for 7 months, I still find myself in awe of this wonderful country almost every day!

If you are still going to be in town, you should think about visiting our church on Sunday. We go to Haidian Christian Church - a Three Self (State) Church that has an English service at 11:00 on the first floor. It isn't exactly close to your hotel, but I find it to be such an honor to be able to worship with my Chinese brothers and sisters, and reading your blog, I thought you might too....

Keri Mason said...

Aimee and Carlton...yall are making me miss China SO MUCH! Aimee, you're going to have to teach me how to make dumplings, too. I've been wanting to learn. that's so neat that you're getting to really see how people live there. The Great Wall is amazing and you are going to LOVE IT!!! We're praying for you both and for sweet Lily. Just a few more days and that angel will have a amazing!!
Keri Mason

Friends and Family said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences and how it is effecting your heart and mind! It is such an encouragement to read. I cannot wait to see pictures of you and Carlton holding Lily!

Friends and Family said...

Forgot to sign my here goes...Allison Dudley

Wright Family said...

Please say HI to Helen from Jerry and Catherine ....She helped us pick up our son Andy (7) in Tianjin and took us on a high speed train ride to the Olympics!! She is a doll....tell her Andy is doing great

Laura said...

Reading this makes me feel like I am there...I can see the smiles on your face as you write! So excited for you. Praying for you sweet Aimee and Carlton too! I cannot wait to see the first picture with Lily in your me the chills!

Friends and Family said...

The highlight of my day is seeing what is going on on the other side of the globe!!! What an amazing journey and incredible blessing you are living right now....oh, and to think what is just around the corner for all of us watching this dream unfold for you both----seeing pictures of Lily in her mama and daddy's arms! What a day that will be for us all! Keeping all of you in my every thought and prayer!

Tamara Gavin

The Princess's Mommy said...

Oh Aimee! I'm loving your updates! Your pictures are amazing! So glad you are having a good time!


Valorie Leonard said...

Aimee and Carlton, We are SO excited that you are in China and we get to follow along. We can't wait to see you with Lily! Dave & Val