Our Thanksgiving Feast

Yesterday was a day of celebration and appreciation for family, friends, and good food. Mark did a terrific job cooking and carving the turkey.

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Matt’s spectacular zucchini corn bread.

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This year we managed to squeeze 15 of us around our dining room table. We broke the record of 13 last year. Good thing our friends love the cozy feeling, and love getting their pictures taken.

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Our Indian friends outnumbered those born in America at our dinner. For many of them it was their first Thanksgiving in America, so one they will always remember. They let me join in this picture.

P1020113They all enjoyed writing in my memory book, as some wrote a full page. They wrote about their love for living in this great country of ours and are thankful for all that has to offer.

Happy Thanksgiving

I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am very thankful to be home with Mark, and that our children will come over for the holiday.
I would like to share our Thanksgiving tradition of writing in our journal what we are thankful for during the year. All of our guests also get a chance to write in our book.
I started the book in 2003, but recorded all of our past holidays which we spent all over the US since we moved frequently.

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This year Matt has made new friends that attend BYU, and are from India, so we are looking forward to a houseful of friends and family.

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I found a piece of Matt’s artwork for Thanksgiving! Oh the memories we are making.
The thought of my future grandchildren reading how we celebrated the holiday each year, fills me with joy.

My last class

Wednesday was my last day of teaching my wonderful class, as Mark and I fly to Utah this Sunday.

Heidi did a great job teaching.

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The students learned about occupations.

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They sang the song “Imagine”.

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They gathered in a circle and sang a farewell song to me.

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Jake modeled his superman shirt for me.

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It was a delightful experience teaching these young adults to speak English. After 8 weeks, they were able to put simple sentences together. One I will always remember, “I will miss you!”

Is it a shawl, a cape, a vest?

While in Lijiang, I purchased this piece of clothing, as I loved the color and found the design fascinating.

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It is made from some kind of cotton with perhaps some linen? I love how it just drapes over my shoulders and covers my back.

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It was a great deal, so I went to a tailor to see if another could me made here in Beijing. Unfortunately there is such a limited supply of plain cotton, so they gave me a quote to make it from their huge silk selection. It would have cost triple the price and just not look the same, so gave up on the idea.

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A couple other noteworthy items from my trip.

An unusual dish I tried without knowing what it was, and really liked it, “deep fried trout skin”.

An unusual item that I saw, a dog fur coat!!!!!! I was stunned when I thought I heard what it was, so asked again to confirm. I have no idea, what kind of dog it was, but it had thick black fur (hair). Found out from a Chinese friend that it would sell for $200. US. dollars.  I passed on the purchase.

Lijiang Minority Show

After climbing the mountain, and a nice warm lunch, we were entertained by over 100 villagers who perform in this show.

It was fascinating to view all the colorful traditional clothing of the different minorities.

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I like her hat.

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It was a great show with the red canyon for the background.

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The Naxi women take great pride in their strenuous work. They believe the women should do all the heavy carrying and work, so their husbands are not tired at night!!!!!  Mark thought this was a great idea!

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Around town I did see women carrying baskets on their back. The Naxi women also believe that their tanned faces are important to show that they have worked out side all day. The men are more attracted to the women who tend to be bigger and stronger.

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Junbo, Roger and I enjoyed the cool weather show.

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Naxi People

The people of the Naxi ethnic minority mostly live in the Naxi Autonomous County in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, while the rest live in Sichuan and Tibet. Their population is 308,893 according to the 2000 census. In the name Naxi (also spelled Nakhi), Na means senior and honored and Xi means people.

Language and Character:
The Naxi language belongs to the Tibetan-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan phylum. In the past, they used a pictographic language called ‘Dongba’ and another called ‘Geba’. In 1957, they designed characters based on the Latin alphabet and now most can write in Chinese. The Dongba Scripture (or Dongba Jing) that their ancestors left has recorded all facets of the Naxi life and is highly valued for posterity as a means of studying their character and history.

Naxi People in Lijiang Ancient Town, Yunnan
Naxi People in Lijiang Ancient Town, Yunnan

Dongba Characters of Naxi Language
Dongba Characters of Naxi Language

Religion:
Before the foundation of modern China in 1949, most of the Naxi held the faiths of Dongba Jiao, believing that all have spirits and those spirits could never die. When they encountered significant events such as marriage, death, festivals, or disasters, they would invite a wizard to chant. Although there was Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity being taught there, few Naxi people turned to those religions.

Life Styles:
The Naxi people live on farming, stockbreeding and handicrafts. Reaches of the Jinshajiang River is abundant in botanical resources such as trees and medicinal herbs. The Lijiang horse has also enjoyed the reputation for years of one of the ‘Three treasures of Lijiang’ which were presented to the official courts because of its ability to transport goods in mountainous area.

The Naxi’s breakfast is simple and usually consists of steamed bread, but lunch and supper are often more sumptuous. They like to pickle pork. The pickled Pipa pork is famous for lasting several years. (Taken from the internet)

Two young Naxi girls, the one who is married has the crossing white strips knotted in the middle. If you are single they remain straight.

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Two older women in traditional Naxi clothing.

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I loved the decorations on their back.

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Here is one of only 38 Dongba Priests who still do the pictograph pictures.

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We met this Chinese doctor who speaks English and is still practicing medicine at 92 years old.

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Naxi Embroidery

The Baisha Old Town is very genuine, nice ,simple and attractive. This Town is famous for The Baisha Fresco and The Naxi Hand-made Embroidery Institute. The Fresco was made in the Ming Dynasty 600 years ago, the Naxi Hand-made Embroidery Institute was built 800 years ago, it is the head quarter of the Naxi embroideries and has a school for the Naxi embroiderers. There are many Naxi embroidery masters, teachers, students and local farmers there. They are very nice and friendly, meanwhile,many gorgeous and unbelievable embroidery arts can be found there. It is a very special place. (Taken from our hotel).

The translation from Chinese for this road is “Old tea horse road”.

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We visited this Embroidery School.

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We learned that the school is accepting more students to keep the interest in embroidery. There are five areas in China where embroidery is taught.

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This women is called an “embroidery master” as she started to learn this skill when she was 8 years old. She is close to 50 years old which means she will retire soon as her eyesight will not allow her to do the tiny stitches.

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We learned from a single strand of silk, she can unravel it to over 100 strands. Amazing, most stitches are done with 4, 8 ,  or 12.

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This is the picture that Mark chose to purchase and the women who spent 3 months working on it.

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I thought this young gal did a great job translating for us.

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She is wearing the Naxi traditional clothing, except for the shoes!

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I Like Being Me!

Today the students did a super job singing “I Like Being Me”.

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We have been only singing this song for the last couple weeks. Doesn’t Jake do a great job!

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The whole group.

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This is a new song called “I Believe” that they sang to thank Linda, as this was her last day.

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I think I am going to be sad next week when I have to say goodbye.

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Black Dragon Pool

Lijiang is a town that is a complete contrast to anywhere else  in China, as it is set amongst the rolling hills of north Yunnan province.

Black Dragon Pool to the north of town once brought the town’s drinking water from a spring to the town. The pool, in turn, is dominated by the black slopes and snow capped peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain that rise over 5,000 metres in a foreboding two tone contrast to green forests below.

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We all got a little closer to see the pure water.

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Junbo, Mark, Joan and Mark

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I thought this was so cool seeing all the carvings on the healthy bamboo.

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I am standing beside the crocodile tree.

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He is from one of the minorities, and made some beautiful music.

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Another fun sign to look at in the park.

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You can see the peak of Dragon Jade Snow Mountain in the background.

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The park was beautiful.

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At least some of us thought so.

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Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

Yesterday our small group toured Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Our group consisted of Mark, Tina (tour guide), driver, Joan, Roger, Mark and Junbo

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The mountain top was up in the clouds and covered with snow on our trip. All the numbers are using the metric system.

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We enjoyed riding up the mountain in a cable car.

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I noticed this sign while we were waiting in line.

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Junbo and I at the marker after we got off the gondola.

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Many travelers are not equipped with warm clothing so the big red coats are available for rent for the journey up to the top. You can see Mark and I standing on the first landing.

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Mark and I were happy to end our hike there, but you could still climb higher. Since it was snowing which left very low visibility, we didn’t see the need to go any higher.

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Instead I decided to sit on a yak. You can decide if it was real or fake!

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I was happy to go back down to the base for some warmer weather. It was after this that we ate the warm hot pot.
Right next to the mountain is a golf course listed in the Guinness world book of records, as being one of the longest courses.
You can tell from the photo which one of us thought it was warm out, and which one thought it was COLD out.

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A picture from the base of the mountain.

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It felt so good when the sun could peak threw the clouds.
We are staying a nice hotel, but as you can see it is chilly outside, hence cold in the rooms with no heat. It brought back many memories of my cold horrible freezing November a couple years ago in Changzhi :( We did find out that they turn the heat on at 8:00 pm.) Only 9 more minutes before I can climb out from under the warm comforter, and two hot water bottles to keep me warm.
Remember the numbers are in metric so 4,000 meters is over 12,000 feet.