Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Imperial Palace

Just a few pictures from our recent trip to the Imperial Palace in Shenyang. We were able to take Willow, Emma, and my mom to see this great historic site. What I love about this place is the history that's crammed in every centimeter of the Palace--not just from four hundred years ago when it was used by Emperors and their families, but even in the last few decades--all the changes that it has watched its country go through. Even out in the elements, it still stands--and the weathering is pretty amazing. Why hasn't it been fully restored to it's initial splendor? I don't know--but I like all the chipped ceramics, and the stone pavements which are slippery from all the feet that have worn down and polished the surface.

Some of our new team members were also at the Imperial Palace, on their cultural tour.

Some beggars playing traditional music outside the palace gates.

Not far from the palace, some jaozi being steamed on the street corner.

Oh the things you see...

Willow, literally risking her life in yet another taxi cab...the driving here is a little insane.

That's all for now. Willow is screaming.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Glad to be with Dad again

It maybe took a few days for Willow to realize that she was back with her Dad, but now she is back on track with loving to be with him.

Nap time, computer time, bike riding time (seriously...), she loves to play with Adam!

Flying time, cuddle time, tummy time...it's all good.

Just chillin' on the couch time, diaper time, bath time, listening to the theme music of Dr. Who time.
Riding the bus time, shopping time, walking time.


Last week, we went to IKEA to pick up a few things that would help organize Willow's mass of possessions. I hadn't really prepared for how many toiletries, clothes, books, and toys Willow was going to be bringing back from America. We hailed a taxi and started the hot drive to IKEA.

Emma and my Mom are still getting used to the crazy traffic patterns and risky driving style here. It's definitely a culture shock and I'm still not used to all the near death experiences. Once inside the air conditioned IKEA, we enjoyed looking at all the display rooms, while all the Chinese people enjoyed looking at us. Emma thought it would be fun to be a designer for model rooms.

Chinese people aren't used to seeing small babies in public. In this culture, babies should be primarily home, or at least not at busy places, until they are about four months old. So, even though Willow is not necessarily small for her age, she is a novelty wherever she goes. Soon after this picture was taken, I was mobbed by 10 or 12 Chinese ladies who wanted to know if she was a boy or a girl, how old she was, etc. Then they proceeded to tell me how I should be taking care of her (holding her, dressing her, keeping her at home, etc.) all at the same time. All very loudly. All touching and grabbing at Willow. Willow and I both started to panic a little when one lady tried to unstrap the baby carrier to take her out. She thought that Willow looked "sick" in the baby carrier and should be taken out. At that point, I just ran.

People here are not afraid of using the display rooms for their convenience. People play in the rooms, sleep in the beds, eat in the kitchens. It's simply part of the Chinese IKEA experience.

We found a little kid's display room tucked around a corner and I was able to feed Willow who was upset from all the attention. She also got her diaper changed. A few people wandered back there and just stared at us. One lady kept coming back. She didn't say hello and wouldn't communicate with us, but she kept returning to stare. Literally, the entire time we were back there. It was a little creepy.

Some migrant housing down below (as seen from the IKEA cafeteria) for all the construction workers who are working on projects right now.

We saw this shelf in one of the display rooms and thought it would be perfect for Willow's room. There was no tag on it that would let us know where to find it and how much it cost, but I was confident we would be able to see it once we got to where everything is actually sold. We couldn't find it anywhere, however, so we trekked all the way back to snap this picture and then went back to where I thought it should be sold to ask one of the workers where it was. She said that they didn't have anymore in stock...so I asked if we could have the one in the display room. She said she would check. Two minutes later, she was back with a drill.

And she started to dismantle the shelf so that we could buy it.

Yay! A good China moment. Thanks Mom and Emma for coming with me, being brave in the two star taxis, helping me carry the things we bought, being patient throughout the whole process....you guys are great sports!

Finishing our ice cream cones outside, getting ready to find a cab, and still more people commenting on Willow's size and telling me how I should be taking care of her better. She isn't dressed right, she is too cold, she is too uncomfortable, she is too sick, she needs a hat, she needs an umbrella, she needs to tuck her pants into her socks....etc.
Oh yeah.

Oh yeah. They also say she's cute.