Tag Archives: trip

Flashback F r i d a y

We have been home for 8 months. C h i n a still feels like yesterday, but at the same time feels like a dream from years ago. In honor of Flashback Friday, here are some snaps from our last days in the beautiful country.

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We had a sweet lunch with these two beauties. It was a bitter-sweet meal knowing that it was our last one together.

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Duo Duo. This silly girl brought us so much laughter. She was a sweet blessing to adopt for the summer. She still has a piece of our hearts. ❤

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All packed and ready to train to Beijing. This is the last shot I took of Oz in our room.

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The overnight train was something like 12 hours. I was so happy to have gotten the bottom bunk this time…those beds stack three high!

IMG_2005Our last meal in Beijing with our buddy. This dish is T H E best food in the whole world. My mouth is literally watering right now.

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Travel in China just wouldn’t be complete without a little mafan. Oz’s bag was “randomly selected” to be searched. Later we were told it had something suspicious in it. There was nothing random about their selection. This is Oz’s expression in response to the love/hate relationship with mafan. [[suspicious item? the camera tripod.]]

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At our gate! Ready to fly to Japan! Behind me is the vending machine full of water and beer. Something we knew we would not be seeing in the States any time soon.

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Our bird. We sat in the wing seats and tried to realize that this was it. Homeward bound. That was a weird day. Lots of excitement to look forward to. Lots of sorrow of leaving our home we grew to love and belong to. Here‘s a flashback to before we left and one here for the first update being home. I can’t begin to tell you how much is still hidden in between the two.

On this flashback Friday I’m grateful for our many memories and thousands of pictures from three months in China. Perhaps I’m ready to start unloading the stories I’ve been keeping in my treasure box. There are so many gems to unpack. Even though its a bit daunting of a task, I feel so honored to have the gems in the first place. We have a lifetime of stories and experiences that I will cherish over and over and over again. It would be wrong to keep them locked away. Hmm…time to figure out where to start?!

Grateful,

Bee

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Sneaking up on the Desert at night

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Oz and I are really close. So, when we realized a year (ish) ago that our only tent was a “two-person” tent (how small do they think people are?) we didn’t mind having to shimmy into our tent feet first and spooning all night. We aren’t large people, so the tight space had always provided a cozy sleeping environment. However, this size tent wasn’t as practical for two people going camping as other tents would have been. My parents knew of our cocoon-home and last Christmas gifted us with a beautiful four-person tent with windows and everything! Deluxe!

All that to say, last weekend was our first excuse to use our new mansion and my did we enjoy it. It was glorious to have the option of standing, to walk a few paces if we so desired and to have enough room to change without being horizontal! My favorite feature? The mesh ceiling. It allowed me this experience:

This by far was my favorite part. In the middle of the night the desert chill interrupted my sleep and I couldn’t settle back into warmth, even with my bear of a husband next to me. With no sounds around me besides nature’s whisper of a breeze and the trees cracking in their own slumber, I suddenly felt so aware of the stillness around me. I bravely opened my eyes, risking not being able to fall asleep again and was taken aback by the sight. Looking straight up into the night, the stars were my mobile and I was a child mesmerized and captured by their endless glow and patient movement. Take this in, Bee. Breathe. I closed my eyes to feel my body experiencing this moment. I was so aware. The snaps of the tent walls being pushed by the wind, the dry air poking my tired yet grateful eyes and cheeks, icing my nose, the absence of voices that had muffled this beauty. The beauty of being there, being still, being an audience of the desert in the seat of each of my senses. This is when the desert is awakens. So uninterrupted by visitors and sounds. I opened my eyes one last time to see how far the Big Dipper had moved. How far I had moved. Its a new moment. I breathe in deep the cold air. It is drenched with the scent of earth; dirt and Jojoba leaves, but this is clean and fresh. I drew my head under the thin blankets and tried to find sleep again. I was rid of the bitter cold and the tense muscles that fought it. I was calm and giddy to rediscover slumber, this time with the inspiration of the desert night ready to invade my dreams.

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With enough consumption of hot dogs, whiskey’n’coke, and vegan franks to last me till next time, thank you J-Tree for showing us a good time.

Love always,

Bee

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Whad’ya mean its March?

Seriously, I know I can’t be the only one who is still writing 2012 on my checks. I am amazed at how quickly this year is flying by. It has truly been fun though. There have been lots of parties, game nights, family birthday dinners, and crafting. Oz and I are loving living blocks away from Balboa Park and the SD Zoo! If you have not been to either of those places then cross out your next vacation and reroute pronto! Here are a few snippets of our day at the Park.IMG_3127 IMG_3085IMG_1235 IMG_3094IMG_1229DSC_8748 DSC_8782 IMG_3101DSC_8669 IMG_3114 IMG_3133 IMG_3134 IMG_1230

There are so many fun things to do in Balboa. You could easily spend the whole day there exploring the Science museum, going to an IMAX movie, holding a beautiful bird (I’ve come a long way from from fear of birds…), listening to great street music and catching a fun magic show. There are amazing gardens to walk through that will not only romance your eyes but also your nose with their sweet smells. The museums are endless and they always have great attractions coming and going. Thank goodness San Diego is sunny all year long!

Next weekend we’re going to spend time camping in Joshua Tree with some friends. I predict loads of fun will be had. Update to come.

Cheers to Sunshine,

Bee

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Excited & Blessed

Happy 2013! I love celebrating the new year. Especially the last 2…This year has already proved to be an incredible one. There is just a sense in the air that this is a good year. Lots of favor, blessing, joy and peace. There is a happy rest in my heart. One that I have been longing for for some time now. There is already a fresh squeeze of creativity and motivation to dive into projects, independently and collectively with Oz and friends. I am beyond excited for this year. Beyond. We are settling into our new apartment in the community that we adore. What a sweet gift to live next to great friends.

Here’s how we closed out twenty-twelve:

Oz & Movember met again. However, they stay together pretty much all year long. And I support it.

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We kissed at a friends wedding:

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He finally got his tattoo that goes with mine. One year-ish later.  And best part, my brother got to do the honors. This all went down in this fabulous shop.

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My first Black Friday experience with these gems:

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Sunday Fundays with #ghlg:

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Seaport Village is always stocked with beautiful views, sunsets, people watching and great chai lattes from Upstart Crow

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Christmas sailing with my family!

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Seems San Diego’s great weather is also her greatest fault…no wind in our sails. However it was quite a great day. And we all counted our blessings that we could be together out on the water for Christmas.

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Oz serenading us with some Yann Tiersen on Christmas Eve:IMG_2155

Our New years and 2 years at midnight!

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Oz and I have a goal for this year (well, we have a few goals for this year, but I’m not talking about those right now). Each month we want to venture out as local tourists in southern California. I hope to document our local travels so if you one day find your self in this sunny corner of the country, you get some good ideas of where to go and what to do. This year is going to be such a blast. I will say it again and again. I am greatly looking forward to it and am ready to embrace each season and everyday.

Excited & blessed,

Zulu

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Tiger Leaping GORGEOUS

            Let me begin by introducing                …drum roll please…              the beautiful, the magnificent, the gorgeous, T i g e r  L e a p i n g   G o r g e !

(too bad i don’t have a wide angle lens)

That blue-hooded gal is Bee — see how tiny she is compared to those mountains?!

In southern Ch1na, there is no hike as spectacular as the one in Tiger Leaping Gorge. It’s well-worn trails hug the cliffs of one of the deepest gorges on earth, winding through beautiful rugged landscapes, hundreds-of-years-old N@xi villages, and even passing over a cascading waterfall, all while facing the magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

Bee and I set out for the trailhead last Tuesday, prepared to hike the nearly 7 hours (depending on how fast you hike) to Halfway Guesthouse. After a fairly easy first couple hours, we began to come upon some steeper inclines leading up to the 28 bends, which lead to the peak on the west side of the river. Bee could have sworn she counted 33 bends and said it felt like 52. She demands a recount.

We weren’t the only ones who needed to cross – look at the cute little calf!

But after what we saw them do in it — well, don’t drink the water.

There is never not enough corn in this country. Never.

  Travelers looking to tackle this hike usually take 2 days. The first to hike the 28 Bends to the top, and the second to hike down to the raging Yangtze riverbed. Completing the first day felt great! Especially since we knew the second day would be only a couple of hours to hike – the big chunk of the work was finished 🙂

We ended up meeting a German couple and a Chinese guy that we had the pleasure of hiking with. The German couple had been traveling around the world for about two years now and had some great stories. It’s always fun to share these kind of adventures with people you meet along the way.

Looking down toward the world’s 3rd largest river…There are truly no words to describe the beauty.

There are some amazing views from the tops of cliffs literally kilometers above the beautiful Yangtze River below. However, it can be quite a struggle to catch your breath if you are not acclimated to the altitude!

While a good portion of the hike is at a breathtaking height of only about 9000 feet, the opposite peaks (which are not part of the hike we did) reach head-spinning heights of more than 18,300 feet tall.

It was SO loud.

Although Bee had a rather difficult time because of the altitude, with a few rests along the way, we were both able to reach the top. I was so proud of her for pushing through! Despite the difficulty, being able to sit up there was definitely worth the struggle.

The trek still wasn’t over.

On our way back we had to walk a couple kilometers to find a bus. We wouldn’t have had to walk if it weren’t for the

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that took out an entire section of the road three weeks prior. The pictures hardly convey how extreme the damage was. They’ll have to cut through it to re-build the road. For now, people have to drive about 200 km out of their way around the other side of the mountain to get to the town just beyond the rock-slide.

Our trip was beyond amazing. If you ever find yourself in Liji@ng, don’t pass up the opportunity to do this hike.

Now that we’re back we’ve shopped, celebrated birthdays, hung out with friends and now find ourselves packing up our Liji@ng home and getting ready to start the trek back to Be!jing, then finally to the States. We’ll try to keep you posted during our travels back home. Just a handful of days left!? Blows our minds.

Almost home,

Oz & Bee

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An Update-ish

We are back from our weekend trip to our friend’s village. It was SUCH a great time! There were so many moments where I stopped and told myself to realize where we were and the amazing opportunity we had to join in on such authentic cultural experience. We will have a proper update soon. We took tons of pictures!

We’ve got another four days here before we head out for one whole week to help with a clinic in another village area. We are so thankful we can partner with this team and know it will be another amazing trip.

Happy mid-August!

-bee

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The Lake, The mango, the bee, oh my!

Going to the lake this last weekend was a fantastic way to get insight into the lives of some of the many Chinese ethnic groups that live there as well as see how our friends here cultivate relationship and work alongside them. We were able to meet and develop a friendship with a friend of J+L’s by  enjoying Yak Butter Tea and conversation in his traditional style home while learning about his family. What a blessing to see what our Father is doing among this beautiful and unique group of people! Here are a few pictures from our trip. Click them if you’d like a bigger view (aka – you can’t find your glasses)…


A typical view of a village

This view was more amazing in real life!

The traditional dress. Their hats indicate that they are married and have children.

Single women wear smaller versions of the hat.

Fishing boats docked near our hotel. It was so peaceful to wake up to this lake view.

Lounging around on a water buffalo.

Inside a traditional house. It’s like a life-size Lincoln log house!

No nails to hold it together, yet it’s such a strong structure.

Yak butter tea with barley flour. You take a spoonful of the barley flour and throw it in the back of your mouth (not too far or you’ll have an embarrassing coughing fit 🙂 ) then drink the thick, soup-like tea to wash it down. We each had about 3 cups full! Its a tasty, buttery and salty experience! Something we’ll never forget and always be grateful for the experience.

Grandmother and mother of our friend. These women have seen so much — I wish we could sit down with them all day and hear their stories…but they do not speak Mandarin. Most of the older generations do not. Our friends J & L are hoping to start their minority language classes soon to get started on building more relationships with people from this group. When Oz spat out the few sentences he knows in their language, they lit up and became such chatter-boxes. It was such a blessed time with them.

Our dinner view of the lake. It never got old.

We really enjoyed our stay!

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Since we’ve been back we’ve caught up on sleep and just relaxed. Oz finished his morning teaching class before we left, so he only has his afternoon tutoring for two hours. It has given us time to hang out together, meet up with friends and deepen those relationships. One evening we were treated to dinner by one of our Sisters here and went back to her house for some fun. We watched TV, including some of the Olympics (Go USA!), enjoyed some home-made rice wine (delicious) and tea. She showed us some of the most natural honey we’ve ever seen. It’s cultivated in her village  – I think her Uncle bottled it for her. Anyway, this honey made Trader Joes au-naturel style seem like a joke. We found an actual dead bee in the mix and chewed the wax. It definitely made our tea more…adventurous. However, the sweetness and texture was a b s o l u t e l y divine. Here, take a look at our evening:

Oz picking out the best fruit at the market. I didn’t even know a Mango could get that big!

Our yummy bowl of noodles. We also had lamb kabobs, but they were eaten up too fast to get a picture.

She heated up the rice wine and we enjoyed every spoonful! It had a strong alcohol flavor with a bit of sweetness from the rice. See how excited he is!?

Underneath the thick stuff on the top was creamy golden honey.

 The picture on the bottom shows a big hunk of drenched honeycomb.

We had a really great time hanging out with our friend. We felt so honored that she invited us back to her place — such a great night!

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So, one adventure finished and blogged and ready to head out this weekend for another one! We have been invited to celebrate Huo Ba Jie (Torch Festival) at our friends hometown village. We’ll leave tonight and spend two nights with her family. We are SO looking forward to celebrating this festival in our friends village! We’ll get an authentic and traditional experience and I’m sure, have a fantastic time. We hope you guys have been having a great week — can you believe how fast this month is going?! Pretty soon Oz and I will be back home and this whole summer may feel like it was all a dream. We’ll (gladly) wait and see. 🙂

Back on Monday,

Oz & Bee

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