We hiked up a mountain!

This morning I woke early to go on the day trip with friends from our apartment. We met at 8:00 for the 90 minute drive to Miyun Reservoir.
We arrived around 10:00 and had an early lunch at 10:30 as the hike was to last around 4 hours.
We were all excited to start a simple walk around the park (at least that was what we thought, as some of the women had dress shoes on). Nicole, Ilse (Finland), Joan , Shirlee ( apartment)

20120426-204604.jpg
More of the group, Ilse’s 2 friends from Finland on the right

20120426-204842.jpg
We were all given red hats to wear. Joan, Shirlee and Nicole

20120426-205013.jpg
This was just the first waterfall that we had to climb.

20120426-205243.jpg
Look at those rickety steps!

20120426-205403.jpg
Half way up the mountain, a couple people turned back as most of the pathways were difficult to walk on. We continued on, and after a few more hills, a couple more women turned around. We continued on, with the smaller group with only a few of us speaking English. The signs were difficult to follow, and after going down a hill when we were suppose to be climbing up the mountain, I questioned if we should all go on, as no one was clear on the way to the top. We had already hiked for 3 hours and they thought it still might be 2 more hours to get to the top. I was thinking of the long walk back to the bottom, so I said I was ready to go back, and luckily everyone agreed. We didn’t make it to the top, but if we would have continued on, it could have been dark when we ascended the mountain, which could have been very exciting, as in some places it felt like we were climbing up ladders. After 3 hours on the bus ride home I was ready for a rest on the couch.
My new friend at the apartment that now sits out in the lobby and greets me when I come and go. He comes to my classes to learn English.

20120426-211414.jpg
The top of the mountain, we thought  we would reach

20120426-211625.jpg

Tomorrow morning I leave on a 4 day trip to Guilin a town in southern China. Since Mark is still gone I thought I would see this area that I have heard about the whole time I have lived in China.

Luckily the place where I take my calligraphy classes organized a trip for this weekend. It was meant to be!

Trying to keep busy

Mark left last week for a 2 week trip to Mongolia. These are the difficult times for me when he is gone for extended periods of time.
So, I try to keep busy to fill my long days.
I read

20120423-112410.jpg
I finished the third book last night, and must say I enjoyed the series.
I am almost finished with my needlework project.

20120423-112533.jpg
I went to see Titanic in English in 3D, and was surprised how full the theater was for a Saturday afternoon. I enjoyed the movie along with the rest of the crowd.

20120423-112805.jpg
I bought some flowers to cheer me up.

20120423-112940.jpg
I went for a pedicure and love what she did.

photo-2

I went to my calligraphy class, and got a work out, as there were only 3 of us in the class. The 2 students that sit at the back of the room are experts so I got lots of attention, which was tough as I had been gone the month before.

20120423-113308.jpg

This Thursday our apartment is going on a spring trip for the day. I was gone last year so the timing this year is perfect. We will go to a park, go out for lunch for Chinese food! and then go to a garden to pick strawberries.

Will let you know how it goes.

Where were you born?

I just read this article “Born to be raised a person of the world” in the China Daily by Dinah Chong Watkins. Since I am always asked where I am from, I found the article very fascinating and learned a few things.

“Since Adam and Eve begat Cain and Abel, one’s birthright has proved to be more than a benign designation. Today, tangible government benefits are intertwined with one’s birthright. Jus soli, Latin for “right of the soil” is a right by which nationality or citizenship is recognized to any individual born in the related state. There are 35 nations that follow jus soli, with Canada and the US being the only two industrialized nations to do so. There are no countries in Europe that offer birthright citizenship and only one in Asia–Pakistan.”

I was very surprised to learn that Canada and the US are the only industrialized countries to offer this as a birthright.

I enjoyed the following paragraph from the article.

“But is there any other time when you are in less control of your life as when you’re born? Yet we attribute our authenticity to the whereabouts of our location at birth. Yes, I am loyal to my country Canada, not only because I was born and raised there, but what it taught me in values, community spirit and how to start every sentence with “sorry” and end with “eh”!

I am proud to be a Canadian, and very thankful to the United States of America for granting me citizenship through the birthright of my American mother.

The sun is out in Beijing, and 73F (22C), so a great day to be outside running along side Snipper, the horse.

20120416-120946.jpg

BLINK

While at home I was able to visit Matt, and see his new updated office.

20120411-163745.jpg
BLINK name on his office window.

20120411-163927.jpg
The cozy entrance

20120411-164030.jpg

Matt also helped me set up iPhoto, so I have been playing with some of the special effects.
The meeting area

20120411-164302.jpg

Matt at work ( cool effect, when you look at Matt’s face, like a painting).
Mark and I returned to Beijing yesterday to a mild sand storm from Inner Mongolia !!
Today, a beautiful blue sky and 70 *F (20C), and suppose to be nice all week.
Thanks to Matt for a blog tutorial, and new excitement for my posts.

20120411-164514.jpg

Laura can see!!!

Wednesday was Laura’s big day at Hoopes Eye Center.

P1030074

After wearing glasses for 23 years, she was ready to wake up in the morning and not have to grab her glasses.

Look at that excited face. For all of you that know Laura, you can imagine she was a LITTLE nervous, but she did very well.

P1030073

It was very exciting for Mark and I to able to watch the procedure. They had huge windows so we were able to view all the laser treatment.

First they cut a flap on her eye to flip back for the laser work.

P1030076

You can see her eye on the screen in the middle.

P1030077

After that procedure, she came out and sat on a massage chair for 10 minutes.

She returned to the room on a different bed, for the laser work of 14 seconds on each eye.

P1030079

We were in the office for 2 hours, and we left with Laura wearing these cool glasses.

I should mention that during the time we were there, we were offered warm, fresh out of the oven baked cookies a few times. They were delicious, and the staff was wonderful to all of us.

P1030093

Laura is amazed with her 20/15 vision, and all that she can see so clearly after so many years of glasses and contacts. Life is better than good!!

We were surprised to wake up this morning, to 8 inches of snow.

P1030094

The weather forecast says it will all be gone for Easter in 2 days, as it is suppose to get up to 70. (20 C)

P1030097

Happy Easter to everyone.

People, places, things

After we arrived in the US, Mark and I spent a few days visiting his mom, Edith in Annapolis Md.

P1030054

We drove to southern Maryland, to visit Aunt Liz, and Uncle Bob.

P1030014

It was fun to meet Bowser, and he enjoyed the springbok hide from South Africa.

P1030057

We went out for dinner to celebrate Matt, Laura’s and Tom’s birthdays.

P1030068

The yard was calling my name to remove all the weeds, and clean up the area so the sun can reach the new growth.

P1030069

How exciting to see my daffodils blooming.

P1030071

I forgot to show my seat from our trip to South Africa. They actually put a small thin mattress on top of the seat for extra comfort. That was a first for us, and really made the 16 hour flight more enjoyable.

bed on plane 2