Sunday, January 17, 2016


Back in Novemeber, Kristalyn and I pulled off the best surprise yet for Eden.  I was messaging her one night about missing her and wishing I could visit, when, in a matter of minutes, we planned a trip for me and Eden.  We decided to keep it a surprise till it was time to go.  Eden had no idea we were going till minutes before we left the door.  I secretly packed her carry on, and her face was priceless.  Ephraim was sad, but understanding as he had been on trips before here in China, had friends visit, and has more friends in Changchun to play with.  Here we are at the airport, apparently, flights to Shanghai were super cheap during this time, even better than the slow train.  

The car that Kristalyn rented, so cute!  After arriving at the airport, Kristalyn drove us about 3 hours from Shanghai to Ningbo.

She had class the next morning, so Eden and I just hung out.  I really tried to cherish this time with her, as I know that time is her love language, and soon there would be more children to share my time with.  We played story cubes while we waited.

And Eden took this picture of me.

When Kristalyn got home, we went to this amazing brunch place.  Some of the best western food I had in a long time.

There is water everywhere in Ningbo, and I loved it.  Everything seemed a lot cleaner, and things actually worked.  I mean, fountains with lights were working and beautiful at night with music playing in the park.  So, beautiful. 

The three of us.

More trees too.

Eden hadn't seen this much grass in a while, so she took advantage.

I really wanted to take this picture with her.  She was really squished.  I still love it because Eden is eight years old.

Sometimes I look at her and think, "I can't belive she is my daughter."  She's wonderful.

We walked around a nearby mall and found a Toysrus!  I was so proud of Eden for her great attitude when all we left with was a $3 map of China.  That night we had jiaozi (dumplings) with Kristalyn's teammates, who have three children: Logan, Taya and Daisy.

The next day, Eden and I went with her new friends to a library while Kristalyn had class.

Eden was so delighted to take an art class, Chinese water color painting.

Afterwards, we went to look at the books.  They had a few shelves with English children's books.

Kristalyn met us there, then we headed to lunch at the Muslim noodle shop.

It was very good, although apparently the majority of the food in this area is not as good as what we have in Changchun

That afternoon, we went to visit an ancient village.  I felt like I had stepped back in time.  

The entrance itself was impressive.

Sadly, this place was not kept up well as you can see from the bamboo growing over this sign at the entrance.

There were lovely fountains, artistic plants, ancient protected trees.

Coming up to the center of the village

Small alleys with little paths everywhere

The center

I bet these pools are gorgeous in warm weather with lotus flowers.

"Mom, can I stand in the middle of the bridge?"

I love this picture.  So traditional looking with drying plants, wooden furniture, and festival lanterns

Green is everywhere.  I loved it!

Peeking through to look at the orange trees.

Orange tree.  I don't think I've seen that since my childhood.  We had them in our yard.


Ancient well

Fading window.  Many of these buildings were void of people, and filled with old furniture.

I love the traditional old shingles.

I was so excited to visit this ancient city, and, had there been more signs of life, I might have not wanted to leave.  There were few people still living there, mostly elderly who were caring for a few small grandchildren.  So many empty broken down buildings.  I'm sure it used to be even more beautiful when it was still thriving. 

We went from ancient to modern that evening, visiting the nicest Starbucks I have ever been too, and enjoying the best burger I've had in China.  We also took a car elevator for the first time to get to a parking spot.  When dinner was done, we walked by the water, and found a boat restaurant.  Then, we went grocery shopping.  I was able to find a few great deals on clothes for the kids, which is rare, since I usually find clothes in the states to be cheaper.

The next day Kristalyn took us, Taya, and Daisy to the beach.

We went through beautiful mountains, and passed by sculptured plants.

The giraffes were my favorite, of course.

The entrance to the beach

It was chilly in Novemeber, but still warm enough to dip our toes in the water.

The girls were so cute.

The rocks became their house.

The start of Eden's canal

She was so adorable, determined, and cute in anything, even with my sock for a ponytail.

We found this beautiful pagoda with an exercise park to enjoy a picnic of crackers, cheese, peanut butter, honey oranges, peanuts, and juice.

Beautiful lighthouse

That night Eden had dinner with her friends, and Kristalyn and I rented bikes to have dinner on campus where she teaches.   She has a bike card, and you can find these bikes all over the city.  So convenient.

I love this picture of Eden telling Jacob about her day.  "Mom, can I talk privately please?"  Those wind chimes tell a story too.

We drove back to Shanghai early in the morning, and had a few hours to spend there before our flight. I was thrilled.  Shanghai is the place I have wanted to visit the most, but honestly never thought I would have the opportunity.  We parked with a different kind of car elevator this time.

We went to the Bund

Eden had been begging me to take her to Subway in Changchun.  We hadn't been since training over two years ago.  We were thrilled to find a subway, and enjoyed our lunch.

The Pearl Tower

I took this picture for Ephraim.  

We live on Remin in Changchun.

A street food alley next to The Garden.

The Garden.  I found very affordable jade necklaces for Eden and Tessa, along with small painted porcelain jewelry boxes, 2 scarfs (one for a cover for Eden's keyboard), and Kristalyn got Ephraim a scorpion keychain.

Eden with a Chinese unicorn

I sure love these girls!

Goodbyes are always hard, but it wasn't too bad since we knew we would see her for Christmas.

Showers of Blessing:
Incredible friend
Beaches, ancient city, Shanghai
Bike riding
Precious, unforgettable time with Eden
Feeling accomplished after getting on the right bus at the airport, then getting a taxi home