Monday, May 28, 2007


5 more days in Hailar

17 more days in China

22 more days until I return to Minneapolis

There have been so many contradicting emotions flooding me lately which have prevented me from properly updating you. Perhaps after I return to the states and sort through my thoughts (and pictures) you will receive a more detailed description of my last month here.

In the meantime, I'll give you the abridged version of the past few weeks and my upcoming plans.

May 13th - May 18th
I spent a wonderful week on vacation out East with a family from Minnesota. We did life together and I was blessed to see a bit of the work they've been doing. I also had a ton of 'kiddo' time which brought me great joy.

May 21st - May 25th
This was my last week at the second school I had been visiting. Unlike most things, saying 'goodbye' does not get easier with practice.

May 26th - June 1st
This will be my last week at the main school I visit. I will have to bid 'farewell' to each of the 20 classes that I visit. I have developed deeper friendships with these teachers and anticipate quite a few lunches and dinners together throughout the week. I will also be meeting with all the Camp Shamineau employers, who are dear friends, for the last time this week.

June 2nd - June 10th
I will fly to Beijing on the evening of the 2nd. In Beijing I plan to meet with a few friends, both Americans from the States and Chinese friends whom I met through Shamineau, for some sight-seeing experiences. Thankfully, God has provided free lodging for me while I am there, so I will be able to afford a side trip to Tianjin.

June 10th - June 13th.
I plan to take a train from Beijing to Tianjin to visit some teachers I met during May holiday. These Americans work at an international school, which I plan to visit with an interest for future possibilities.

June 14th
I fly out of Beijing for Chicago, IL!

June 14th - 19th (or so)
Home with the 'rents. Laundry, picture swapping with my South American traveled sister, and French toast.

June 19thish
Minneapolis: Julie's basement.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Is There Anything Cuter?

More Odes to More Friends

Andy, you're swell.

Julie, you are family, and a friend as well! And soon, you'll be my house mate! I'm so glad guard brought us together.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Photographic Ode to Linus

Since there are only two friends aside from my family who actually come here, I thought I'd take some time to honor them.

These were captured as I drove by the Monzhouli country side, returning from Lake Dalia. I'd buy a ticket home next to me for one of these fellows if I could.

A Photographic Ode to Trinette

These bridges, a favorite of my friend's, are over multiple streams in a nearby park: Genghis Khan Square.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Is That English?

Some recent shopping and touring experiences have brought much laughter over the 'English' displayed.

A shirt in a factory brand clothing store:

"Sometimes I think I love you but I know it's only lust, lust, lust, lust, lust...."

The plaque for this Russian doll:

"Garfield is famous cartoon image, which was invented by cartoonist Jim Davis. It has become the most famous cat in the world at nowadays. It is engorged, sleepy and like to make gambade. However, its humor and self-trust attract people."

There's technically nothing wrong with this sign, but it still sounds odd.

"Thanks for your presence and you're heartily welcome to join us"

After Jane labeled herself a "lucky dog", James quickly corrected her dated phrase, informing us both that "jammy dodger" is much more appropriate these days. Thanks James.

Monzhouli Post Seven: Abandoned

Monzhouli Post Six: Visual Feast

I didn't realize how architecturally deprived I was until a school girl giddiness overtook me as I gazed at all the wonderful Russian inspired buildings in Monzhouli. Can you tell which building I liked the most?

Monzhouli Post Five: Random Statues

Border Gate Statue
I'm not sure what the M symbolizes.

Russian Doll Square

Russian Doll Square
Bugle Boy

Russian Doll Square

Russian Doll Square
The Year of The Cow

Russian Doll Square
1982: The Year of The Dog

Dalia Lake
Hulun Lady

Dalia Lake
Random Useless Turtle

Dalia Lake
Dragon Boat

Monzhouli Streets
Ring around the light post
No pockets cause we're naked
No clothes, no clothes
We dance around!

Monzhouli Post Four: Dalia Lake

After gallivanting around the Russian Doll Square, Jane and I, along with the two Mongolian girls and the taxi driver, headed towards Dalia Lake. The drive was about 30 minutes long, but we stopped for lunch in a 'small village' where Jane had lived and worked as a teacher for a year. Whenever Jane talked to me about her teaching experiences there, she called it a 'village'. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when we entered a city with 6,7,8 story buildings, people galore, and stores on every corner.

While the horse and cart may be a convincing argument for 'villiage' status, I eventually found out that the population in Zha Qu is much greater than any town, village, or even suburb I am familiar with.

During the last stretch of the drive we passed two small lakes (ponds really) and Jane exclaimed "We're here at Daili lake!" I couldn't believe that these puddles where what she had been raving about. I was starting to lecture myself on believing recommendations and kicking myself for not asking more details about our destinations.

When we crested the hill, however, I saw the real lake, large enough that the opposite shore wasn't visible even from our elevated position. Jane sure knows what she's talking about. It was beautiful. I only wish that it had been a month later so that swimming would have been a possibility.

The lake was much clearer than Michigan's water with which I'm familiar, and the smell of fish was faint enough that it was inviting, not disturbing.

Surprisingly there was still ice in the water, but that didn't stop me from feeling it with my foot!

Ooo! A clam, what a find!


...and another....

....and another.

Nope, I guess they're as common
as sand on this beach!

Speaking of sand....

Does this look normal to you?

An Inlet off the lake

Coming home with treasures.