Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Each month we have a short break in between session.  Often, these breaks are used to rest and prepare mentally and physically for the next month, with a little traveling thrown in here and there.  So, when halfway through the the October session Amanda asks me if I want to go to Shanghai with her for a few days of course I am going to say yes.  I have been to Shanghai with my parents, but only for a day, so I knew there were many more sights to see and things to do, plus everyone needs to get away now and then

When we arrived in Shanghai after a 10 hour overnight train ride we went straight to our hostel and waited until we could check in, since we got there so early.  Once we got to our room, which was really nice and had an amazingly soft bed we flipped on the tv.  Much to my surprise as I was flipping channels I found Monday night football featuring the Colts!  It was a nice taste of home and actually a really big blessing!

Then we were able to meet up with Yume, who used to work on the Chinese staff and lives in Shanghai.  It was super fun to see her!  She took us to the YuYaun gardens and treated us to some delicious Shanghai specialties, plus gave us many ideas for the rest of our trip.

Then Amanda and I went in the actual garden, which was huge and absolutely beautiful!

The next day we went to Qibao, which is a really cute area that has been preserved to show Shanghais past.  We braved the crowds, strolled the streets, and enjoyed some awesome seafood.

That night was quite possibly the highlight of the trip.  As volunteers who don't make a lot of money we normally do everything the cheap way, which proves to be a lot of fun most of the time.  However, for once we decided to throw this to the wind.  We got reservations (gasp!) and dressed up to go to a fancy dinner at M on the Bund.  It is a really nice European restaurant located on the top floor of one of the buildings on the Bund, which is the beautiful riverfront.  So, we decided to go all out and went to the bar first for a glass of wine before heading upstairs for an amazing meal.  It was an amazing time and allowed us to reflect just how good God is and how blessed we are.  We about 99.9% that no one else in the restaurant was even close to our salary range, yet we were able to enjoy the meal without worrying about the price tag.  It reminded us how God knows what we needs and provides for us abundantly.  After the meal we were able to go on the balcony and enjoy the amazing view before a casual stroll along the river before walking back to the hostel.

On our last day we ventured over the river to the Pudong area where all the skyscrappers are and decided to go up the Shanghai World Financial Center, which has the tallest observation deck in the world.  It was pretty amazing being so high and we were blessed with a clear day (much clearer than when I was in Shanghai previously :) ) which allowed us to see for miles.  It was pretty spectacular!

Since we had time to kill before our train left that night we decided to go to an art museum.  Our choices were the Shanghai Art Museum and the Modern Art Musuem.  We choose the Shanghai Art Museum, but really most of the art there was pretty modern.  There was some pretty awesome things though!  They had a display inspired by Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City which was easily my favorite part.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend time with Amanda.  It was a time of relaxation and rejuvination which we both needed, but even more than that it was a reminded of how good God is and how he will always provide for his children.  I am so blessed to be in China following his lead every step of the way! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall in Beijing!

Last year Beijing was blanketed in snow on November 1st which left no room for fall.  Winter swept in and never left.  Much to my enjoyment, fall made a wonderful appearance in Beijing this year!  Right now it is starting to get cold, but we have enjoyed several weeks of beautiful weather and consistent blue skies.  While I have started to wear long underwear because it is getting considerably colder inside (except my room which continues to be nice and toasty thanks to the radiator next to my bed) I have yet to wear my winter coat which makes this Indiana girl very happy.

I've said it before, but I am so thankful that we are next to the old summer palace.  For only 15 yuan a month, or about 2 dollars you can get a month pass and visit as often as your heart desires.  It has been a wonderful place to go on walk lately.  The fall foliage was amazingly beautiful as were the sunsets over the mountains.  Most trips i went sans camera, but lucky for you I took it on one trip so here are a few picture for you to enjoy and to hold you over until I post next :)