Okay, we got back home on Friday night, we are rested (kind of,) picked up our kids yesterday, AND.... Cassandra got home from Peru today, and she will be here for a month! It feels like a dream to have all of us here. Honestly, I can barely believe this is real. :)
So, I've been thinking about how I will blog about this. I want to just jump in and talk about our homecoming, but I think instead I will start at the beginning, just as if I was blogging all along like I had planned on doing in China. So, pretend like it's April 4. That's when we got on the plane...
We had a smooth flight. It was long and miserable (okay, it wasn't that bad,) and we arrived in Beijing. We fought off the jet lag and spent some time walking around the city, which we hadn't really done the last time we were in China, since we had spent all our time doing touristy things.
Beijing is a really interesting city. There are a lot of people. Seriously. I have never been to New York City, but I assume it's like that. People everywhere walking, driving... everywhere. And the part we were in was very modern with sky scrapers and fancy stores. A good bit of diversity in the people around us, too. We didn't stick out like sore thumbs, anyway. There was a long stretch of street that had a big food-vendors' market in the evening. So many people crowding around at all the booths, buying fruits and things on sticks that I had no idea what they were, and I don't remember what else. I wish I had my camera there. I wanted to try some of the food, but our agency people had advised us not to, so we just walked by and took it all in. We didn't talk much because there were so many new sights and sounds everywhere, it was almost sensory overload. And it was very fun. :)
Right after we left our hotel to walk down the street, a man got in step with us and started talking to us. He was very friendly, asking us about where we were from and why we were there, etc. I was thinking, "Wow, they told us the people here were friendly, and they really are!" Then he explained that he was an art teacher, and would we like to come and see some of his and his students' work that was on display in a gallery this week because of the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday? "Sure, we would love to!" So, we followed him there, and before we knew it, a different guy--"a master artist" that made us so lucky to be there that day because he was there, was painting something personally for us with our names on it and everything. And now it was finished, and wouldn't we like to buy it for only 600 yuan? (about 100 US dollars.) "Um, no thank you." "Okay, how about 300? 100?" "No." "But I already painted it! How much will you pay?" "Sorry, we are not interested." "But I already painted it! How about 30 to cover the materials." And, we still didn't do it. Later he saw us walking across the street and came running over there carrying that scroll..."Do you like it? How much will you pay?" "Sorry..." And no lie, he actually spotted us walking another time and asked us again! Later we saw our friendly buddy on the same street corner a few more times chatting with all the Caucasians he came across. So, that was fun. ;)
That night we slept well because we were so unhumanly exhausted, and the next day we went to visit Morning Star--Corrie's home that she has lived in most of her life. And that story is amazing, and I can't wait to tell it next time!