Category Archives: Xian

Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors

Our trip to Xian started out on an exciting note. We boarded the plane and then sat for an hour, so our interesting breakfast was served. As soon as we opened the lunch boxes the plane started to move, as if we were taking off, so everyone scrambled to gather up their food. One man put his rice soup in the back pocket of the seat in front of him, only to watch it drip out the bottom. Then the plane sat for another hour!!!!

We had an educational trip to learn about the Terra Cotta Warriors. The emperor was buried in the mountain behind.


He had the warriors built to protect him in his afterlife.



It is amazing to think that each of the warriors is put together piece by piece like a puzzle, since they were all crushed under the weight of the earth.


We enjoyed a nice dinner with Simon and his family.


Simon’s niece and nephew thought Patricia was beautiful and wanted a picture just with her.


After our Chinese meal we thought Simon should try a Blizzard ice-cream at DQ. He liked it.

IMG_1443It was great to see Wendy and Duan Duan again.


We had a chance to ride on the wall around Xian which is around 10 miles long. Some of us got a real workout.

Here is Pattie explaining how we should work as a team.


I listened and peddled very quickly to keep up with her!!!!!


We were ready for a rest when we finished.


We arrived at the airport an hour early with Simon as he also had to fly to Beijing, to find out that our plane was delayed at-least 4 hours. I was so happy he was along, as very little English was spoken, so we were in a constant state of confusion. In the end we sat there for 7 hours and got home at 3:30 am.   Another new learning experience concerning flying.

Little Duan Duan

After waiting for over a year, Mark and I finally made the trip to Xian to meet Simon and Wendy’s son Duan Duan. He is a cutey, and a very busy little boy.


He likes to eat watermelon.


He loves to dance, and listen to music.

Simon’s two brothers, mom, sister in law and niece.


Simon and Wendy recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary.


We went out for a delicious lunch, which was close to Simon’s home so we were able to walk there.  Duan Duan who is 16 months old loves to walk, run, push a stroller, and wave .

Mark and I had a great time visiting with both Simon and Wendy’s family.


Duan Duan is a year old

Duan Duan turned a year old on June 14th. I have yet to meet the little guy because of the distance, but Mark and I are planning a trip this fall when I get back to China. Simon sent some photos. Look at that cute little face.

Duan Duan and mom

Simon and Duan Duan

I can hardly wait to hold the little guy.

Duan Duan is 100 days old!

Simon came over this morning to help with the supervising of the packing for our move to Beijing. While here, I was able to get some cute photos of Duan Duan when Simon and Wendy had the big celebration for him on his 100th day.


They were all so cute,  just couldn’t pick one, so showing all of them.


Look at that face.


I loved this one.

4Look at those cute slippers.


Simon  lost 14 kilos over the last few months, so will show the old Simon and then the new one. I think fatherhood agrees with him.

Simon's birthday email

All your hard work has paid off.


Pictures of Duan Duan

Today Simon’s son Duan Duan turns one month old, so a big party will be held in his honor. Duan Duan is a nickname which was given to him since he was born during the Dragon Festival. Simon saught the help of a fortune teller to pick his name which was determined by the day, time, year,  he was born. I will have to get Simon to write it for me.

The following pictures were taken shortly after his birth, but the Chinese believe they should not be shown until the baby is one month old.

Simon's baby 4 email

Some friends wait until the baby is a month old before going for a visit.

Simon's baby email

Simon is one proud dad.

Simon and baby June 14email

Happy Birthday Duan Duan!!!!

Happy Father’s Day

Today was a day of celebration for fathers all over the world, including Canada for my dad, Mark, and a special first Father’s Day for Simon.

Simon was told by a fortune teller many years ago that in the year of his 33rd birthday his wife would give birth to his first son. His beautiful healthy son was born on June 14th, unfortunately for me in a city quite a distance from Changzhi so I can only wait for a few months to hold the little bundle of joy.

Simon on his 33rd birthday.

Simon's birthday

Congratulations Simon and Wendy on the birth of your son. Will just have to wait to see some pictures.

Also a special thanks to Simon for all the help he gave me in making all the plane reservations for my friends visit.

Mom and dad with their happy family Chinese decoration.

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I would like to wish my father a Happy Father’s Day and thank him for everything he has done for me over the years….

he brought joy to his 4 young daughters by building a play house in the backyard that was filled with amusement all summer long

he fixed our bikes so we always had a way to get around

he made an ice rink in our small backyard every winter so we didn’t have to walk to far to skate

he was always there to take me for my early morning work shifts at Tim Horton’s and pick me up from my late shifts at McDonald’s

he sang exquisitely at my wedding

he looks forward to washing my car and doing the yard work when he comes for a visit

Thanks for all the good years and looking forward to your visit for Patricia’s wedding.

I would like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to my husband who has brought me so far from home and works hard to make my life happy. I am filled with joy that I could be here with him for this special day. Last year the holiday was spent with the kids and hopefully lots more in the future.

In order to celebrate we thought we should have a barbecue so we pulled out our package of “5” Hormel hot-dogs  from the freezer that we were saving for a special occasion. What a party!!

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You just have to love our table. Good thing Xueer is saving for recycling.

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The hot-dogs were delicious, the weather was agreeable, and Mark heard from our children so a meaningful day for all of us.

Terra-cotta Warriors (video and pictures)

There are 3 Pits in which the warriors are contained. This video was taken in Pit 1.

When we driving to see the Warriors we got stuck in a huge traffic jam.  The drive should have taken us 1 hour but wound up taking us 3 hours. One freeway was closed so we were directed to a small dirt country two lane road.  Instead of 2 lanes going each way everyone started making their own lanes so at one point we had 5 lanes going one way which prevented the traffic from moving in the other direction . You just can’t imagine what it was like to see cars everywhere. Anyway as we sat there without moving we all started talking about the different makes of cars. Some brands have different names in Chinese but it was fun  to find out which ones are pretty similar. So now I can teach you 3 names in Chinese.  Cadillac is Cadillacer, Honda is pronounced Hunda, and Audi is Audi. So now everyone can say a few words in Chinese. We just sat and laughed how some are so similar and others I couldn’t even begin to pronounce. Most Chinese people like the color black so about 80% of the cars are black. (Chinese officials drive black cars so maybe that is why they like the color black). It really helped to make the time go by which was nice. We took a different route back to the hotel which only took an hour.

Pictures of the warriors, Xueer, Joan, Dong Dong, Li Ke

4 of us and warriors

Archaeologists have determined that originally the figures were completed with painted details, but ravages of floods, fire and time have erased original paint from the statues.

Kneeling Archer     The pose of both hands evidences that the figure held one crossbow originally. There are some faint colors on this figure.

color warrior

In December 1980, archaeologists discovered a large pit holding 2 sets of painted bronze chariots and horses. They were originally placed in a big wooden coffin. Over time the wood has rotted  and the earthen layers have collapsed. The chariots and horses were found in thousands of pieces . Fortunately, the pit was not robbed, just pieces scattered all over the ground. After 8 years of painstaking restoration, two complete sets of bronze chariots and horses are on display.


The emperor would travel in this chariot. A small window on both sides for ventilation. These are half the size of the original ones.

other charriot

These huge marionettes were used in the opening ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

big puppet

big puppet 2

Wedding ceremony

After visiting the brides and groom’s home they arrived at the reception center. They stood at the entrance of the hall to greet all the guests.

four of us

They walked down the aisle and were on the stage with the master of ceremonies for 45 minutes.

The video isn’t great but it gives you an idea of how loud the master of ceremonies speaks. It is a profession here in China and this man was one of the top 10 in Simon’s province. It was a very nice ceremony as at one point the parents went up on the stage and the bride and groom paid their respects to them. Then they lit the candles in the shape of a heart.

good one of 4

close up

Mark made a new friend to one of the relatives. The 3 year old little girl liked Mark and we were all surprised when she sat on Mark’s lap.

Mark and friend

The table


After the bride and groom visited each table for a wedding toast, Wendy changed into a beautiful red dress. There were around 300 people there so a lot of toasting went on. The wedding party included friends of the bride.

in red dress

It was an absolutely beautiful day for Simon and Wendy and Mark and I were so happy to be a part of the celebration . Mark gave a short speech along with a couple other people. I am so glad that I was able to be in China for the wedding.

Home of the bride’s parents

After Simon yelled upstairs  a few times the outside door was opened. We all filed upstairs and then everyone gathered outside Wendy’s door and Simon had to ask to enter. After he asked a couple times he was allowed to enter. The gentleman in the blue shirt is the master of ceremonies so he conducts all the daily activities.

You can see what a lively occasion it is with everyone trying to get into the room. When I finally got in the room Wendy was sitting on the edge of the bed.

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The tradition is the groom must find the bride’s shoes so she is able to leave her parents home. Simon must enlist some help looking for the shoes by paying some money  to the family. As you can see from the video he had lots of help finding the shoes.

Simon finally found her shoes and put them on her feet.

When Wendy had her shoes on they came out of the room. They both shared eating an egg out of the same bowl. (Still have to learn the tradition for this event.)

Xian 147Family pictures were taken next. Wendy has one sister who is married  so her husband and daughter are in the picture.

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more family

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Simon’s wedding (the groom’s apartment)

We all went over to  Simons  the night before his wedding,  to see his apartment and visit with Simon’s two older brothers.

Simon, middle brother, older brother and wife.

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The morning of the wedding.

Simon’s aunt, moma, Simon, great uncle (most senior member of the family)

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It was very interesting learning about Chinese wedding traditions. We all went over to Simon’s apartment in the morning and met more of his family. It is all planned  out perfectly when Simon would leave to go get his bride so that he would leave at a lucky time and arrive at a lucky time.

Simon’s niece and nephew

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So at the exact time around 9:00 we left to follow Simon over to his bride’s home. In the video he stands outside and calls up to her window, each time yelling louder until he is allowed to go up to her parents apartment.  You will see from the pictures the remainders of the fire crackers (too loud to tape).

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You can see Simon looking up toward the window.

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Catherine (last wedding we went to) Joan, Xueer (I just really liked this picture) We were waiting to follow Simon upstairs.

waiting for Simon