China Trip 2017!

by - 6/30/2017

Hello, friend!

I just got back from China, and am writing this at 7:33 am because of some SERIOUS jet lag(Beijing is 13 hours ahead of Madison, WI). My whole family and I just got back from our trip to China, and we visited Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou in approximately 11 days if you include the two delays we had due to two of our planes being cancelled. We didn't mind, however, because we got to stay in one of the nicest hotels ever!

Our trip began in Beijing, where I was born and adopted from. We had hired tour guides for when our family was in both Beijing and Chengdu, and they told us all about China and the sights we were seeing. On our first full day we visited the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs, which is where a bunch of emperors from the Ming Dynasty are buried. The Great Wall was FANTASTIC to see in real life. I had seen many pictures of it before this trip, but seeing it up close and personal was a whole different experience. The temperature in Beijing was crazy hot. It was like 99 degrees Fahrenheit every day, and the humidity was also really high. Being hot and sweaty is just a way of living in Beijing. My mom and I had our umbrellas out, and I was so glad that I brought mine because I used it all day when we were visiting the Forbidden City/Tiananmen Square.

The Great Wall goes on for so long!

I was so surprised to see cats all the way up the wall!
The Ming Tombs
A Ming Dynasty Emperor with cash on the floor.
The next day, we visited the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. It was another blazing hot sunny day, so as you will see in the following pictures, there are so many umbrellas out! The Forbidden City is so large,  and beautifully decorated. I literally could not imagine building it or the Great Wall without the modern technologies we have now. We ate at this poppin' restaurant for lunch, and got some fantastic noodles and taro balls for desert. I was glad that we got to eat one of the best meals on Father's Day! We also went to a tea house and I got a cool mug that changes from saying China Panda into a picture of a two pandas! We bought some tea as well and my mom bought a tea set.
In the Forbidden City, there are "Foo dogs," to protect from evil spirits.
Mao outside of the Forbidden City.
Inside the Forbidden City!
Inside the gardens in the Forbidden City. Finally, some shade! :)
I found this in the Temple of Heaven park.
The Temple of Heaven!
After we went to the tea house, we visited the Temple of Heaven. Our tour guide told us that the emperor would go inside the Temple of Heaven and pray for good harvests that year and worship heaven. I also found out that yellow is a royal color in China, and if you wore yellow in the Forbidden City and were not royal, you would be put to death! Pretty strict penalty for a certain color.

That night, we met with some disciples from the Beijing Church, and had communion together. I got to meet Jacob, a son of one of the disciples, and he was a 10 year old lil' kid who spoke English! He was adorable and asked me what my favorite color was. There were little Chinese babies EVERYWHERE, and my mom and I enjoyed pointing them out when we passed them. A lot of people and kids also would come up to us and look at my mom. They would stare as she walked by, and it was funny because she would say, "Ni hao," (hello) to them, and the they would say, "Hallo!" in English back to her!

On our last day in Beijing, we visited the place that I was abandoned and then found, my orphanage, and the Summer Palace. My parents had kept the information that the orphanage received from the Police about where I was found, and so we visited the little community where I was found and I got to take some pictures of the area.
It was outside of this building where I was found, and God changed my whole life!
 We had a little hiccup with the orphanage visit, and therefore we couldn't see any of the kids or see too much, but we did get to go inside briefly and see how the buildings looked from the inside. It looked like a nice place, and it was crazy to imagine that I spent a small piece of my life here.

"Providing children with a sound environment for their development, encouraging them to be open-minded and clever."
 I'm definitely adopting a child when I'm older. My reasoning is this- why have your own child when there are so many other children who already exist, and don't have good homes or a family?

After the orphanage, we visited the Summer Palace, which was a great place to end the Beijing part of our trip. The Summer Palace was gorgeous, and I certainly wasn't expecting Beijing to be so lush and green(even though there is so much pollution). Apparently, the emperor would spend his "get-away," at the Summer Palace, which made sense considering how beautiful it was.
A group of boys came running up to my mom at the Summer Palace, and asked if they could take a picture with her because they were making an "America's Got Talent," show(?). They got their selfie and quickly ran away! My brother and I were laughing so hard. I guess my mom's a celebrity in China!
Mom and her fans.
Still inside the Summer Palace!
A cement boat! Wowza!
Many people would also come up to me and speak Chinese to me, and I would just stand there and feel quite stupid, even though I've been taking Chinese for three years in high school and know how to say, "I'm from America," or, "I don't know." It felt so weird being in a place where everyone expected me to know how to speak Chinese since I looked the part, but I couldn't. I definitely want to continue to learn Chinese in college though, and then go back to China again. :)

Our next stop in China was visiting Chengdu, which is where the pandas are!! The panda breeding center was so large, and I was glad to know that the pandas there have a lot of room to live and have fun and aren't showing weird psychotic behavior like most polar bears do at zoos. 
Taking a bath!
Found a panda holding ice cream!
This panda was playing with a toy!

There are two pandas here, trying to fight for a spot in the tree!
A baby panda born in April!
A whole gathering of pandas doing what they do best- eating bamboo!
They are seriously the cutest animals on Earth. 

We also met with some disciples in the Chengdu church, which was really cool. The day that we arrived in Chengdu we met Rita, Sophie,  and Cindy and her husband who lead the church in Chengdu and ate some dinner with them. Then the next day after visiting the pandas we ate at a hot pot restaurant with another disciple named Lily. Hot pot is where you have a pot of boiling broth veggies and you throw anything you want into it, let it cook, and then you eat it! Definitely one of my favorite meals. 
It was really cool having all these connections to disciples in the China churches. We stayed in Chengdu only for one whole day to see the pandas, and then flew to Guangzhou. Guangzhou was sososo beautiful, and we met so many more disciples and spent lots of time with them. We didn't have an official tour guide in Guangzhou, but we had a friend named Jason from church who my mom actually met at a campus conference two years ago. He kindly gave up his time to tour us around and introduce us to many other disciples there! He took us on the metro, which was a fun experience, and taught us how to navigate on the metro(it wasn't that bad!). When we weren't taking the metro, we would wander around our hotel. It was on Shamian island, a beautiful, expensive place, where many people came to take pictures. Guangzhou felt like a tropical almost jungle? It rained at least once every day, or at night, and it was really humid but so green everywhere!
A bougie Starbucks, with an upstairs!
Down a cute alleyway with some lanterns. 
A park close to our hotel. Everyone's out and enjoying their Saturday!
View from the park!
People are taking pictures, and kids are painting.
So many children rode on the bikes with their parents like this! 
One of the entrances to our island!
After Guangzhou, we stayed near the airport for a couple of days waiting for a new plane to get home on since the first one was cancelled, and we eventually made it home safe and sound. This trip was a trip that I will never forget! It was so packed with Chinese culture, and I'm so grateful that I was able to go to China.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day!

Joy :) 

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