Friday, August 19, 2011

GREAT WALL, JADE MARKET AND HUTONGTOUR

Totally amazing...that is how I would describe our day today. We saw another side of Beijing today that we missed out on with Halainah's adoption. We toured the Great Wall. It was amazing and absolutely breathtaking to stand on such a beautiful piece of history. It was built over 2000 years ago. When looking into the horizon, you can see the Great Wall zig zagging it's way through the mountains. It truly was spectacular. We only climbed a small portion of it. It was so steep in parts and I came to realize just how out of shape I actually am. I feel completely fulfilled that I was actually standing on the Wall today as it was something I longed to do way before we adopted Halainah.

Tony and I purchased two bronze locks in the shape of a double heart. We engraved one with Halainah's name on it and one with Ava's name on it. We carefully searched for the perfect spot to permanently place the girl's locks on the Great Wall. We chose a spot right under a large tree in hopes that one day when we return with the girls, we will be able to find their locks. I love the fact that our girls are now a part of the wall...their names delicately engraved on a special heart lock will permanently stay and are now a part of history. I think it will make an amazing story one day for the girls to share at show and tell in school. It was a little piece of their heritage that we have forever linked them too.

We also purchased tiny glass bottles that a local woman hand painted the girls names on the inside. She painted their names in English and Chinese. The bottles are so tiny and we were amazed as we watched her steady hand quickly paint their names inside the tiny bottle with such ease.

After our tour and sweating buckets and buckets of sweat...we went for a tour at a Jade Market. We toured the Jade Market and were able to see women carving and polishing Jade statues. We were also given a lesson on how to tell if Jade is real...by the sound it makes and how Jade is industructible. You can throw Jade on the floor and it will never break. If you scratch it against glass...the glass will scratch but the Jade will not. I asked about my Jade bracelet that I have never taken off since we adopted Halainah to see if it was real. It was but the quality was about an 8 instead of a 10. I did not purchase anything at the Jade Market...all the Jade there was the highest quality and the prices are too expensive. I am on a mission to find a Jade circle pendant...the circle of life. Hopefully I will find one before we leave China. We also had a delicious lunch which was located on the second floor of the Jade Market. Authentic Chinese food which is nothing like the Chinese food we have back home. All I can say is fried bananas with sugar...YUMMY!!
After lunch we took a rickshaw ride through the Hutong lanes of China. Again...simply amazing. A rickshaw is a two wheeled cart that is pulled by a man on a bicycle. We weaved in and out of the allys which were so narrow that you could barely fit another bicycle next to you. The Hutong Lanes is a beautiful community where everyone is family. This was real China, where the locals were so happy just to have a roof over their head. They do not have bathrooms, they use public bathrooms to shower and you know...do their business. We were informed to take notice of different entry ways into the homes. As there is a story behind each one. The more beams and the higher the threshold the higher up their families are on the social rank.
We were invited into the home of a family who is well known in the Hutongs. We had to step over the threshold with our right foot as a sign of respect. The man of the house told us that he is the 5th generation to own their home. He took great pride in his home and proudly showed us his life in the Hutongs. He is a Kung Fu instructor. His son lives in Huston Texas and is a famous Kung Fu intructor there. He has been shown on ABC. His father is so very proud of his son and misses him immensly. I saw tears in his eyes as he was bragging about his son. His home is considered a mansion in the Hutongs. To us...we were unsure how a family could live there. The kitchen could only hold one person. The living room had a TV but no couch and the dining room was the size of a typical american bathroom. They are considered extremely lucky as they do have a toilet in their home. The size of the home did not matter. What mattered was the history and the love of his family. Outside his home was a courtyard where numerous citizens were enjoying the beautiful sunny day playing cards and exercising. You could hear the echoes of laughter and sense the true love of life. We are so spoiled in the US. I think we could all learn a thing or two from China.
We walked away today, truly feeling like we gained so much from our tour today. Everything that we missed out on 3 years ago, we gained today and then some. China is amazing...it's beautiful...it's crazy...it's so full of history that you can't help but stop and breathe and soak in the magic. Our girls will be very proud of their heritage.
Tomorrow we have orientation bright and early. We were told that we will have updates on our children...but I have a feeling that we already received this update. We have 5 families in our group however we are all going to different provinces. So we will truly be by ourselves in Ava's province.
It's time for bed...we are having a hard time with Jet lag. We woke at 5:30 this morning and have been up ever since. Hopefully we will get some more sleep tonight. We are getting closer to Gotcha day and have butterflies in our stomaches. My arms are aching for my daughter....for both of our daughters. We miss Halainah so very much!!


























4 comments:

Pablo said...

Glad you guys are enjoying your tours. I am curious to hear what Changchun is like. Looking forward to gotcha day so I can see my new niece. Did you say that you will be alone in Province? I can see blue sky- pretty rare in China.
Love,
Bobby

Angie said...

cannot wait to see gotcha day, as we wait to be matched with #2 i also think about how hard it will be to leave our daughter home as we travel. enjoy every minute! angie

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Anonymous said...

Buckets of sweat! Oh how I don't miss that! It is truly amazing that we both where at the great wall on a clear day, we must be connected as a clear day in china is not a average day! We are thinking of you! Have some honey fried banana for me!


Tia

The Adoption Journey of Baby King said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I love learning the culture and how wonderful that the people are so welcoming.