Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back in the U. S. of A.!

Hello everyone~

I am officially back home in Los Angeles. I still have a lot to update on our blog, but since I left my laptop and camera in Beijing with Michael, those last few posts are just going to have to wait. As for being back home, it was a bittersweet experience boarding my plane bound for California. Even though I had a difficult time adjusting to China when I first arrived, I began to absolutely LOVE it. The food, the public transportation, the prices of things... but it is good to be home in the USA.

Things I have to look forward to in September?

1. School starts on Sept. 6th! How lucky and I that I only have 8 students this year. :)
2. Michael comes home on the 14th! I am so excited to see my hubby!
3. My 30th birthday on the 29th... YIKES!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up In Pictures: Week 6

Wow! Where has all the time gone! Week 6 has come and gone and I only have 2 weeks left. Check out all the great pics that were taken this past week. :)

Sunday - Cleanup worker's bikes all in a row. This is next to my bus stop.
Monday - We saw Harry Potter while we were here, but I have to say that this is the WORST Harry Potter movie poster I have EVER seen.
Tuesday - Look what I found in my soup! Yes, friends, that IS a chicken foot.
Wednesday - Fancy lunch! Michael's boss treated us to lunch where we had a truly authentic chinese lunch complete with lots of mushrooms, bullfrog and even jellyfish. She also treated us to Transformers 3 and dessert at Coldstone! YUM!
Thursday - LOL! American food festival! Craisins, raisins, Pringles, Quaker Oatmeal, OH MY! Some of then items cost around $17 American dollars!
Friday - I finished my 4 weeks of Mandarin classes! Margherita our teacher is so cute and was such a great instructor.
Saturday - Would anyone like to buy some "ABERCROMBLB AND FITOH" shorts? Didn't think so... LOL! These are for sale at one of the markets near Michael's work.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Temple of Heaven

We've had such fun time here in Beijing sightseeing and it has been even more fun since we have been able to sightsee quite a bit with our friends Allie and Steve Tensmeyer. Last weekend we decided to go and see the Temple of Heaven. We had actually tried to see the Temple of Heaven on 2 other occasions, but for some reason we found ourselves unable to leave the Pearl Market shopping area directly across the street... Well, the third time's a charm and we finally made it into the gate of the Temple of Heaven this last attempt. :)

The Temple of Heaven grounds were HUGE and covered quite of bit of area. We were there for a few hours and only managed to see about 1/4 of the grounds, but we made sure to see all of the important buildings which included the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven, and The Circular Mound Alter.

Some interesting history - "Twice a year the Emperor and all his retinue would move from the Forbidden city through Beijing to encamp within the complex, wearing special robes and abstaining from eating meat. No ordinary Chinese was allowed to view this procession or the following ceremony. In the temple complex the Emperor would personally pray to Heaven for good harvests. The highpoint of the ceremony at the winter solstice as performed by the Emperor on the Earthly Mount. The ceremony had to be perfectly completed; it was widely held that the smallest of mistakes would constitute a bad omen for the whole nation in the coming year."

Most of the buildings at the Temple of Heaven were originally built in the 15th century but due to fire caused by lightening, some have been rebuilt with the most recent being in the late 1800's.

The Temple of Prayer for Good Harvest
Inside the Echo Wall - I love all of the umbrellas being used on a blue-sky day :)
From the Circular Mound Alter looking at some of the grounds
Absolutely amazing!

Confucius Temple

With Michael working a 9 to 6:30 job and with my tutoring hours only taking up a small amount of my day, I have had some time to really check out some great sites around Beijing on my own. One of the sites I have seen lately, sans Michael, has been the Confucius Temple.

The Confucius Temple grounds were really interesting. Some of the buildings here even date back to the 14th century and the grounds were used to pay respects to Confucius and used as a scholars school of Confucianism until 1911. Confucius was a scholar of the 5th century BC and most of us are familiar with Confucius quotes, even if we weren't aware that that is what they are. Some include "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves," "I hear and I forget. I see and I understand. I do and I remember," and "It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop."

Gate to the hutong that leads to the Confucius Temple.
These are Red Prayer Tablets that are hung outside of the Temple.

Inside of one of the small buildings that commemorate Confucius. The ceilings is amazing!Remember: Confucius say "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do." :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up In Pictures: Week 5

We've had an amazing Week! Here are some great pics that I wanted to share.

Sunday - "Something about this dish just doesn't seem appetizing but I can't quite figure out what exactly..."

Monday - Just enjoying another day in a Beijing shopping district. :)

Tuesday - McDonald's doesn't have apple pie, but it does have sweet taro! Wednesday - Another great pic from McDonald's. This is the breakfast rush. Thursday - "Not quite, but nice try..." This was taken at the Wangfujing Bookstore. The English section is minimal, but at least they have one!
Friday - A family of four on a motorcycle. Never thought I would see this, but I see it all over here!
Saturday - Breathtaking scenery atop The Great Wall.5 weeks down, only 3 more to go... I'm feeling a little bittersweet.