Wedding hats

Yesterday I enjoyed spending the afternoon watching the royal wedding on CNN. The time change was great for me as they started interviewing people about the wedding at 1:00pm, with the ceremony starting at 6:00pm. I loved all of it and was just mesmerized with all the festivities. I especially loved seeing the huge variety of extravagant hats that the women wore to church.

I had a hat made a couple weeks ago to wear to Laura’s wedding, and purchased another to wear to Patricia’s graduation next week. I think I might make a fashion statement.

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You will have to wait and see if you recognize me!

Wedding gowns from the past!

In my family there will have three weddings this summer. Laura’s ( July)  in Utah, Amanda (June) and Heidi (August) up in Canada.

My sisters recently held a shower for the future brides. My sister Pattie came up with a cute idea of wearing old wedding dresses, one that my mom wore along with my dress and my sister’s dresses. I was not able to attend the shower but took my dress up there when I visited in March.

Mom and niece Heidi who will get married in August wearing my mother’s dress from close to 60 years ago.

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Heidi in my dress from 31 years ago. I wore a huge hoop under the dress, along with a hat.

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Oh, what sweet memories.

Silk rugs in the making

Five years ago Mark and I made a trip to Gaoping to view the making of silk carpets. Last week while visiting our old homestead we revisited the same shop, and were amazed with the changes we saw. The shop has updated the design and making of the carpets.

We also visited another small family shop where everything is still done by hand.

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All the silk is on the spools.

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They follow a paper pattern behind the carpet.

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The owners of the small shop, where it takes 2 to 3 months to make a small rug.

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The carpet shop remodeled, so the patterns are designed on the machines.

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A carpet color pattern.

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The silk treads are organized for the rug.

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Some carpets in the making.

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I enjoyed picking out a couple to take home.

Easter chairs!

I had a wonderful Easter Sunday, as Mark and I spent it with Mark and Cathy who came up to Beijing for a few days. We started off with the Easter celebration at church which included lots of signing which was great.

We spent the afternoon strolling around “798” which is an area for artists to display their work, along with over 80 eating establishments. The sun was shining so refreshing to walk around.

We then stopped at one of our local malls and found a store that sells pottery going out of business. As we were looking around, one of the clerks mentioned that they were selling everything, including the furniture for giveaway prices. We liked the two chairs with the center table, and thought it would look great in our front entrance. After a call to Simon to find out about the wood, and a call to David to arrange delivery, we said we would be back in a half hour so they could follow us to our apartment. The store is a half hour walk from our apartment with stairs to climb, and a dirt path to follow. They loaded one chair and the boxes of pottery on a small wagon, while Mark carried the table, and another young man carried one of the chairs which was quite heavy. We walked thru the mall, the parking lot out to the street, and down the sidewalk wondering where the truck was to take our purchases home. We started to wonder when we didn’t see any delivery vehicles, and they were ready to cross a major street. !!!!

Oh no, we told them after we figured out they were planning on all of us carrying the furniture over a mile to our place. We set everything down, and with limited Chinese but lots of sign language we told them that it was not possible to carry everything home. A few phone calls were made, so we just made ourselves comfortable on the street corner.

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You can only imagine the stares we got from the passing traffic. Were they wondering if this was a garage sale?

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We all got out our cameras, even the workers to take photos of this spectacle.  After 30 minutes, a small old van pulled up to collect our possession, and we  hailed down a cab.

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After a little cleaning and polishing, it will be our new treasure.

Little KeKe

Yesterday I was able to visit with Susan, her husband and little KeKe. She is a cutie.

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She is almost 6 months old, and it felt so good holding a baby again.

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Look at this proud daddy.

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According to Chinese tradition KeKe will wear these red (for happiness and good-luck)  bracelets up until her first birthday. The silver bells are tied on her wrists to  keep away the bad spirits, and keep her healthy.

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Susan, I wish you the best with your happy family.

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Mark and I enjoyed our visit to Changzhi, as we were able to visit old friends, and do a little shopping. The two things I was quickly reminded of was being stared at once again, and the noisy streets with all the honking horns when we tried to sleep.

I would like to with everyone a Happy Easter!     Wan sheng jie kuai le!

Mark and I are back in Beijing, so we still haven’t made plans for the day except we will start with the Easter Celebration at church.

My Chinese teacher: Sophie

Yesterday was my last class, since I will be flying back to Utah next week. The previous class on directions was very difficult for me so, I was a little nervous going into class. I did all my homework and tutored with Grace and David so I was feeling prepared. Sophie talks more in Chinese and I was wondering if this was all getting a little over my head. I was pleasantly surprised and happy that I was able to describe my apartment, as to how many rooms, furniture in each room, and if it was beside, opposite, on, underneath, or in the middle of the room.

Sophie and Joan

I asked Sophie if she thought I was ready for level 2 as still have a couple chapters to finish in level 1. She said my pronunciation is very good, but need to work on my listening skills, as I still have a hard time understanding what she is saying. It takes me a few minutes to figure it out, as I get a few words but not the whole sentence. So, now I know what I have to work on… hopefully I can find some Chinese people in Utah to listen to.

Joan and Sophie

We found out yesterday that the hot water in our apartment is turned OFF and will be off until May 6th. :( Can’t say I am crazy about cold showers or washing dishes in cold water (remember no dish washer).  So, the spa downstairs has opened up a couple showers. Mark and I usually swim in the mornings so we can shower there, or just walk over there if there is a line of 20 people downstairs wanting to take a shower. To solve the dish-washing problem, Mark suggested that we eat out at some local Chinese restaurants where he goes for lunch. No, complaints here!

Our front hallway

Our last piece of furniture finally arrived. Mark and I loved it when we saw it, and were even happier when Simon worked his magic, and we got it for a good price. The wood is from Africa (Mark thinks called zebra wood), so we didn’t think we would be able to purchase it in the US.

Zebrawood

The wood of Microberlinia, also known as Zebrano, is imported from Central Africa, (Gabon, Cameroon, and Congo). The heartwood is a pale golden yellow, distinct from the very pale colour of the sapwood and features narrow streaks of dark brown to black. Zebrawood can also be a pale brown with regular or irregular marks of dark brown in varying widths. It is almost always quartersawn to get the exciting alternating colour pattern.

It is a heavy and hard wood with a somewhat coarse texture, often with an interlocked or wavy grain. The interlocked grain of this wood, like that of many tropical woods, can make it difficult to work.

It is a decorative exotic wood, used in a limited way for veneer, wall paneling, custom furniture, furniture trim, inlay bandings, marquetry, specialty items and turnery. It is also sometimes seen  in exotic guitars. In the past it was used in Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz automobiles.  (Wikipedia)

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I believe for good “feng shei” in your home, you are suppose to have birds. We liked this vibrant picture with the elderly gentleman and birds. You could still see this in Beijing, where birds are brought to the park in their cages for an afternoon outing.

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Our front entrance way is complete.

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Dinner with MY friends

Last night for the first time in China, Mark and I went out with my friends.

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Michael, Charlie, Luis, Joan, Mark, Marcela

They were classmates in my Chinese class.  It was great to have a chance for Mark to meet them and catch up on the last month since I left to go to Canada.

Michael and Charlie are continuing on with level 2 which I will attempt when I return in August.

It feels so good to know that I have made some friends, and we will all be around for awhile, so future visits are in store.

Genghis Khan, and more pics of Mongolia

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Gengkis Khan,

  • Born: c. 1162
  • Birthplace: Mongolia
  • Died: August 1227
  • Best Known As: 13th century Mongolian conqueror

Genghis Khan was the official title of a Mongol warrior named Temujin, a 13th century ruler who founded an empire that included parts of China, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. After a childhood of violence and enslavement, Temujin became a powerful tribal chieftan. By 1206 he had unified rival clans and taken the title Genghis Khan (or Chinggis Khan), meaning “universal ruler.” Over the next three decades he led a constant military campaign that ravaged vast areas and subjugated millions of people, earning him a reputation in the history books as a brutal monster. His successful military tactics included quick cavalry attacks and novel methods of siege warfare, and he is famous for adapting his methods to meet new challenges. In recent years his image in the West as a warmonger has been tempered somewhat with the acknowledgment that under his rule there was a beneficial transfer of culture and technology as his armies moved through Asia, the Middle East and Europe. An able administrator, Genghis Khan established an empire that lasted more than 150 years after his death. Over time his empire was divided and weakened and most of his conquests were lost; his last ruling descendant, Amil Khan of Bukhara, was deposed by Soviet forces in 1920. He allowed his people to have freedom of religion. (Answers.com)

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The office has a decorated door.
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The permanent yurts are placed on cement pads that have hot water pipes inside to heat it in the winter. If too warm a small window maybe opened at the top.
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Also opened on nice days to let the sun shine in.
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The connecting bathroom.
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A man dressed in traditional Mongolian clothing.
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Wow, I would love to have an outfit just like this one, including the hat.
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I think I would like one of these belts!
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Happy that Mark took a picture of the children.
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Mark’s Mongolian trip

Mark came home last night tired from his trip and happy to see some green. He stayed a few nights in a hotel, but at the mine stayed in a Mongolian Ger.

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A yurt (üi or kiz üi in Kazakh, ger in Mongolian) is a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic and Mongolian nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. A yurt is more home-like than a tent in shape and build, with thicker walls. Mongolians might be offended when there home is called a yurt. (Wikipedia)

This picture was taken at the mine site.

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Each ger sleeps 3 people with each having an adjoining bathroom. They connect 4 gers together. They are very colorful inside.

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There is sand everywhere, even when the wind doesn’t blow. A stop sign.

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A family homestead. Mark mentioned that there are not many roads, so people just drive threw the desert with the help of GPS units.

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Many families  move a couple times a year. This ger was at the temporary mine site.

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Mongolians are big meet eaters. Because of their nomadic life style the meet is dried to be carried around more easily. Mark enjoyed the soup with pieces of dried meat added.

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He said there wasn’t much fruit to eat.

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Can you guess what animal this is from?

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A camel’s hump, which consists of lots of fat. They depend on the camels for transportation, milk, food, and their hide.

He enjoyed the trip, and was happy that getting water was not a problem.