Mid-Autumn Festival

Our friends brought us several moon cakes this mid-autumn festival.  The boxes are so colorful and shiny!  The actual cake has a thin delicate crust with a dense filling (red bean paste, lotus seed paste, jujube paste, and the ones we have mostly bitten in to are some sort of meat with granulated sugar).  We haven’t acquired a taste for them yet…we keep hoping to bite in to a custard filled one!  We are American and we do have a certain palate.

Our friends here have been so generous and giving during all of their holidays.  We are blessed.  They also took our whole family out for hot pot!  Hot pot is very popular in this region.  This time we ate goose hot pot!  It was so delicious, I am ready to go back.

We also ate foie gras for the first time, it wasn’t bad.

The goose wings were delicious…a lot bigger than a chicken wing!  (The steam is from the pot of broth in the middle of the table.)

ADOPTION UPDATE:

Unfortunately due to the holiday here and Columbus Day, both of which the US Embassy in Guangzhou celebrate, our paperwork sat for two weeks! Now we’re back on track and our Article 5 is being picked up next Tuesday. Another week later we should be close to receiving the final authorization called TA. We have to coordinate the appointments from here, so Dave is handling all of that.
Thanks for praying!

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Her Dream Come True!

It isn’t a trip to Disneyland, Sea World, competing in the Olympics, or building a multimillion dollar company.  Every orphan’s dream is being a permanent part of their own family.  A place to call home and people to call MY family.  Ming Xi (pronounced: Ming She) often draws about having a family:

It is an amazing thing to be somebody’s dream come true!  When I think about picking up our daughter I can’t help but get teary eyed.  Ming Xi has waited 11 years for a family to call her own and the time is approaching for her dream to be a reality.  I am extremely happy for her!  I am also a little sad because I know she will be leaving all that she has known; people, food, city, school, routine, etc.  I know there will be a grieving process for her.  I ache for her in that and hope that I will be all that she needs during that time.  I pray that God will give me his heart in all circumstances and each situation. We have some rough roads ahead, but He is able!

We are in the final stages of the adoption process and our paperwork is at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China.  We are hoping that we will get travel approval in ONE MONTH to go and pick up our daughter!!!!!

Fuxian Lake

(Guest post by McClain)  Fuxian Lake is the second deepest fresh water lake in China, it is approximately 155 meters deep and covers an area of 212 square Kilometers, quite a bit bigger than Lake Vermillion in Northern Minnesota, which is 158.9 square kilometers, and Fuxian Lake is much deeper than Lake Vermillion, which is only 23 meters deep.  During summer break Fuxian Lake is a popular tourist destination, but once school starts up again the only people you’ll see there are the locals.  My dad and I went right after the tourists left and it was nice, some parts of the lake had beaches, but not many because the sand isn’t native to the lake.

This is the island in the middle of the lake, it has a hotel , a temple, a dinning area, and some other things.

This is our ride to the island, the paddles seem very traditional but the metal canoe on the other hand seems very ugly.

Here I am walking down some treacherous stairs with my dad to get to the base of the island (where our boat awaits to take us back across the lake).

This is a picture of a pagoda on the island with the shore in the background.

The private beaches around the lake are covered in sand imported from other places (most likely the ocean) so some species native only to Fuxian Lake are in danger of extinction.

This is a picture of me eating “copper pot”  (a pot made of copper full of potatoes and rice) for the first time.  My dad and I both thought the dishes we ordered would go INTO the pot but it tuned out that they were all side dishes and ended up being way too much for us.

This is what was in the copper pot; sticky rice and potatoes.

Me on a beach with the island in the background.

A different beach with some metal canoes and the island in the background.

Me next to a rocky outcrop with half a sunflower in my hand (with seeds in it)

Here my dad is using me as an excuse to get a picture of this vehicle with an external motor (and I’m still eating sunflower seeds).

Picking seeds out of a fresh sunflower.

What looks like a pot with a Chinese farmers hat on it to some people (mainly me) is actually a pot full of rice (breakfast) to others.

All around the lake the shore looks pretty much like this (but that is just a guess, I only saw a small portion of the shoreline). While my dad and I were waiting for our ride back we sat here and admired the view of the island.

A picture of the beach, metal canoes, and the island.

The one and only picture of my dad, he’s standing next to a rocky outcrop

An archway that could have very well been a toll booth.

One of the many farms in the area.

Lake ShaoKao (fried meat). My dad and I only tried the orange bowl near the front (a bunch of little shrimpies fried together to make a bowl) my dad liked it a little but I can’t say that I liked it.

I’m buying some ShaoKao.

Lake ShaoKao is made up of shrimp on a stick, transparent fish on a stick (my favorite with extra peppers), plain fish on a stick, mini swordfish (Dad’s favorite) on a stick, hotdog on a stick, meat in a tube, shrimp bowl, potato bowl, and some other weird/yummy food.

Some delicious but really spicy fried potatoes with my new favorite spice dousing drink in the back ground.

Hospitality

We have such awesome friends here!  We were invited out with some friends to celebrate the Torch Festival.  We didn’t go to any performance or anything, they just wanted to share their afternoon/evening with us.  They didn’t let us pay for anything. They took us in a rented van up in to the mountains and we walked through a market where they bought fruit, corn (roasted over a fire), sunflower seeds, and mushrooms.

Does anyone know the name of this fruit?  It’s very good!

Then we walked down the mountain a little ways to a small village and sat, eating and chatting for a few hours.  It was a great time!

So thankful that our friends ordered the meal for us!

This looks like a really good spinich dip!  Well, it is a delicacy here and is made with stinky tofu.  I’ve tried this several times but just haven’t gotten the taste for it yet.

This is jellied tofu and is pretty good.

These are always a favorite!  Sweet potato fries!

These smoked eggs are delicious!  They are just like a hard boiled egg with a little smoky taste.  They also make great egg salad sandwiches.

Black Dragon Pool

Our recent outing to Black Dragon Temple and Pool:

Adoption Update:  We’re still waiting on LOA, which is given by the Chinese government matching our paperwork with our child’s paperwork. Once we have LOA we can go through the final US paperwork process. Short version: We’re about 3 months away from bringing home our daughter! Pray with us that these final steps go fast; it’s been way too long for our soon to be daughter.

Fun Day!

Today I met a friend for lunch at Pizza Hut and she brought two friends from her English class with her.  We had a great time talking while they practiced their English with me.  They are such kind and fun people.

And then I didn’t know what I was getting myself into 🙂  Sometimes that is good, isn’t it?  I went to their English class with them and after about 20 minutes the teacher asked if I would teach for about 30 minutes!  What!?  I was so nervous.  I agreed after she explained to me some of the things they have learned already and I could just ask different students questions and they could ask me things.  I have to tell you, it was really fun! The teacher offered me a job and I was invited to one of the student’s wedding. I had a great time and made some new friends!

$6.50 Massage

My husband has been trying to convince me for months to go and get a massage.  I went once a few months ago and got the foot bath with an upper body/foot massage and I enjoyed it.  I have always been hesitant to go for the one hour, full body massage because I have had a bad lower back for about 5 years and laying on my stomach aggravates it.  Today I took the plunge and went for it because I was desperate.  I tried explaining my problem to my masseuse and he wasn’t understanding me so Dave helped me out and told him what he could about my back.

The first thing he did was have me stick out my tongue and he looked at it and then took my pulse.  The last story I heard about someone doing this they told the girl she was pregnant and was correct!  I wasn’t worried about that, but Chinese medicine is one of those things that I can think is totally bizarre one moment and then be believing in the next.  I was nervous he was going to find something wrong with me!  I don’t think he came to any conclusions.  Even if he did…I wouldn’t understand anyway.

I lay on the massage table and he starts massaging my back and it feels nice.  Then he starts finding these pressure points and pushing in really deep and hard and it hurts so badly there are tears coming out of my eyes.  I push through.  He starts to get localized on the sore spot on my lower back.  All I can think in Chinese, “Wo qu shi le” (I have died), and wonder if I say that to him if it would be humorous or weird.  I am too embarrassed to say, “softer, not so hard”, so I endure.  I was so nervous that my hands and feet were cold and clammy and at the end he told my husband something about my hands and feet and that I should go and get this Chinese medicine to help with whatever he thinks my problem is…poor circulation?  I have no idea.   We bought the medicine at the pharmacy and will ask one of our teachers what exactly it is before I take anything.

I am hooked!  I will go back next week!  Two years ago I went many times to the chiropractor every week and spent a lot of money and just this one time was so much better and cost me only $6.50.  Wonderful!