Last night I enjoyed my first dumpling restaurant in China. I believe Gongzhan said their were nearly 100 different types. The only experience I have had with dumplings in the states were thick and dry, but these melted in my mouth! I have to tell you, there has not been one place Rocky has not taken me where I did not love the Chinese food. So, I look forward to many of you visiting Beijing when you come and having him take you to his favorite spots:) We were able to watch through a window while workers hand made each dumpling. It was a fun cultural experience. I am enjoying getting to know AGCI’s foreign service provider, Rocky, better on this trip and look forward to meeting up with Jack soon, our staff member from Guangzhou.
Today I took a day to rest and sightsee before heading to Xiamen. This morning, I got up early and had breakfast with Gongzhan and we discussed details of our visit to Xiamen and what we want to accomplish there. He reminded me that every province is very different. They all have different cultures, rules and practices, and some are more flexible than others and some are more rigid. He compared it to how some of the states are very different in the USA. He said that we really need to be flexible and careful as we meet with the staff and really focus first and foremost on building relationships and building trust with the staff there. I look forward to getting to know the workers and seeing how we can better serve the children and staff there. We were also cautioned by the director at the CCCWA dinner this week that many agencies go in with lots of ideas but many partnerships fail because agencies try to take on too much. So, our goal is to only focus on a few things that they really need and not everything. Gongzhan’s advice and direction is so valuable to me. He has been like a mentor to me since AGCI partnered with Gladney’s China program a couple of years ago. He is from China, knows the language, and has connections all over the country, and at the CCCWA. I am so thankful for his guidance, that he is coming on this trip with me, and that he has many, many years of experience in working with partnership orphanages. In China, men are typically more respected I have noticed culturally, so I am thankful I have three wonderful men who know the language and culture so well and have such a love for Chinese orphans to accompany me on this trip. I am traveling with an amazing team!
After breakfast, myself and another gal from Gladney, headed out by ourselves on a city bus to find the Summer Palace. I could not believe that it was only 3 yuan to ride the bus for 90 minutes, only about 50 cents. It was fun to navigate the city with her with maps and talk to the locals with lots of sign language 🙂 I enjoyed standing on the bus next to a mom with her what looked like about a 2 year old little boy who smiled up at me the whole trip. I visited the Summer Palace the last time I was in China, but I still enjoyed this trip. The palace is absolutely beautiful. There is a lake in the middle of it, and I heard it ices over in the winter and can be ice skated on. Can you imagine ice skating in a beautiful palace in China? I for sure want to try that one day:) Here are some pictures of our visit there today. It was very, very hot today. Most of the women carried sun umbrellas…. I need to buy one of those…..There were locals out selling coconut popsicles for only 1 yuan, just about 20 cents, so we enjoyed that to help cool us off. Tonight will be my last night in Beijing and then I head down to Xiamen tomorrow. More to come!
Love from China,