Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all of my over seas friends and family. China does not celebrate Halloween so I brought along my little ghost. Matt gave me this little ghost last year to share with my students so this year I am enjoying it myself.

Happy Halloween best

Here is the video of the ghost doing his dance.


Since we are talking about orange, I thought I would share a new fruit that I tried this week. It is very popular here in China and it belongs to the pomegranate family. It is called a persimmon and actually looks very similar to a tomato.

There are quite small compared to the pear beside it. Also really enjoying the small oranges that are very delicious.

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Not crazy about this fruit as not very sweet.

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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.)

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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

Movies from our bike ride

We arrived home last night from Xian so now I am able to show some movies as the program is on my computer which we usually leave at the apartment when we travel.


Here you can see us renting the bikes.

At first when I heard about riding bikes on  the wall, I was picturing a very narrow path so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how wide the wall was on top.


A nice view of the wall and steps coming up to the wall.


Terra-cotta Museum

In 1974 local farmers were drilling a series of wells in search of water and discovered some pottery fragments and ancient bronze weapons. The head of the village reported the news to the local government at once. With government approval, an archaeological team arrived and began their explorations and excavations.

On the day we toured the museum one of the farmers was there autographing his book but did not want to have his picture taken.

The following pictures were taken in Pit No. 1 which is the biggest out of the three pits.

outside museum






We are headed back to Changzhi in the morning after attending Simon’s beautiful wedding today. I will be able to show some movies in the next blog.

Pictures from our bicycle ride on the Xian City Wall

Here are some pictures from the top of the city wall that surrounds the inner city which is over 30 feet tall.







Dong Dong



Joan, Xueer


Dong Dong, Joan, Li Ke


Our first day in Xian

We arrived in Xian yesterday after a long 6 hour drive. I have never seen so many trucks on the road that like to drive in the fast lane so we were constantly going back and forth between the lanes. Makes for an interesting drive.

After a good nights sleep we decided we would go for a bike ride on the wall that surrounds the inner city of Xian. Xian is the only city in China that still has a complete wall and it is amazing to think that it is 500 or 600 years old. It was a beautiful day so we enjoyed our 14 kilometer ride as the weather was great and not lots of tourists.  It was a good workout so I think we are going to feel it tomorrow.  I will post pictures of the ride soon.

These pictures were taken on our walk to the wall.

Li Ke (driver), Dong Dong, Joan, Xueer



Dong Dong, Joan, Xueer in front of a store


the store


Bell  Tower in background


Mark, Li Ke with Bell Tower in background


tomorrow we go to see the Terra Cotta Warriors

Butterfly pictures have arrived

A couple months ago Mark and I visited an artist who made beautiful pictures from butterfly wings so we ordered a few pictures. He actually has his store at a nearby mine as he used to mine coal before his artistic talent was discovered.  We were very excited when we received the call over the weekend to say that they were finished and would be delivered.

Now the big decision of where to hang them. It really is amazing to think that butterflies come in so many colors.

Butterfly artist

butterfly pictures

butterly picture 2

This afternoon Mark, Xueer, Dong Dong, and I are leaving for the six hour drive to Xian where Mark’s assistant Simon will be married. We rarely drive long distances here  as rest stops are difficult to find and and usually not very pleasant, so hopefully the trip will nonevent full. We will have a few days to explore the city which should be fun. This is the home of the Terra Cotta Warriors that I visited on my first trip to China. So I will be sure to put pictures of our day trips and the wedding.

Lunch with Dong Dong

Since I have returned to China, Xueer has been gone so her close friend Dong Dong has been doing the cooking and the cleaning.  I was surprised when she told me that she was 36 years old as she seems so much younger. She did not want her picture taken but finally agreed when I told her that I wanted to send it to my mother.

Dong Dong

Dong Dong does not speak any English so it is usually pretty quiet when we are together but when she speaks  using her hands I find that I am understanding a lot more Chinese than I would have thought.  Since Mark knows more Chinese he acts as the interpreter at dinner which can be really funny.

So around noon every day Dong will call and say “Chi Fen” ? which means “are you hungry” and I will take the elevator up to the 24th floor for lunch. She is an excellent cook and makes some pretty fancy Chinese dishes and since she knows I don’t like spicy with lots of garlic she has been making everything perfect for my taste.  I have acquired a new fondness for eggplant which tastes delicious fried up with other vegetables. So we eat and look out the window. The view is great from the 24th floor as less pollution since the weather is cooler.

Changzhi view from 24th floor 1

Changzhi view from 24th floor 2

At the south end  of the picture you can see the park where I walk.

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This is the construction site next door where they are building another apartment. They work on it 24/7 so there is always lots of noise.

constructionDong Dong has a fascination with airplanes (feiji) and since there is an airport in Changzhi with regular and many military flights there are usually some airplanes in the sky. She has exceptional hearing and sight as she can pick them out before I see or hear anything. We will be sitting there eating and she will run to the window and point them out.  So after lunch she will pull a chair up to the window for me and bring in a blanket so I am not sitting on a hard chair and we will just sit and stare out the window. It is such a foreign  feeling just to sit and do nothing that I have to tell my self   to stop and smell the roses or look for the airplanes.  It does bring a certain peacefulness just to be near someone and not have to be talking.  Maybe sometime we will have to fly to Beijing with her for fun and excitement.

My chair facing the window.

Changzhi view from 24th floor 007

Upstairs bedrooms and new bath

When we purchased the house there were three bedrooms upstairs. A very nice size master bedroom , a regular size room and a tiny bedroom at the front of the house (now as I write this it makes me think of the three bears, or big medium small, guess I am thinking about school today). Anyway we decided to turn the small room about 8 X 10 into a master bathroom.

Master bedroom

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Trish gets the big room since she has a big desk to study all about pharmacy.

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Laura’s bedroom  (before)

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(after) turned the end of the room into a big closet

laura bedroom

laura bedroom 1

small bedroom

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now a bathroom

Master Bath

Master Bath 1

I hope you all have enjoyed seeing the house.

Tomorrow you will read about looking out the window with Dong Dong.