Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Many people have asked us what we did for the holiday since we didn't leave the village. Not really a normal thing for most foreigners as most travel back to the states or site see China or other countries. It is a bit difficult for us to do that with a bigger family, so we enjoyed a good time of rest. Well...we did all kinds of things! We had a good time just spending time resting at home and doing activities together as a family. We had playdough time--where they pretended to eat what they made, only Hannah wasn't quite clear on the pretend part of that, which the other girls found quite funny! The girls also all dressed up in their Chinese dresses and did a tea party serving tea and snacks to each other. They had lots of fun doing that too! We played a lot of Wii with all the girls jammin on the guitar hero (Hannah and Elise especially enjoyed this!). Elise is getting pretty good at guitar hero. Elizabeth is pretty good at many of the other games too, and quite competitive as well! We went on walks every day as well as other things that don't seem to come to mind right now. All in all, it was a good time of rest and bonding for the family as a whole. Now it's back to work! But that's not all bad either as it is kinda nice to get back on some kind of regular schedule. We are really thankful for our time of rest!
It was the first year we'd celebrated Chinese New Year in the village. Last year we were in the states for Chinese New Year. We wanted to celebrate right and make it fun for the kids, so we put up Chinese decorations including traditional red lanterns and other decorations. Although not as many fireworks as in the big city of Dalian where we celebrated Chinese New Year previously, we still had a fun time. We bought some fireworks of our own for the kids---some smaller stuff like sparklers and also some bigger stuff like rockets, roman candles, and other aerial displays. Of course, Chinese New Year isn't right without jiaozi (Chinese dumpling) making. Shawna and Hannah decided to wear some of their dumpling ingredients as you can see from the pictures! The kids thought that was great fun and we all enjoyed eating them after making them!
The girls decided to use their art class to make some valentines boxes and cards. They had lots of fun decorating their boxes about a week before. They also made nice little homemade cards for each other and stuffed them into their boxes. Since Valentines Day happened to also land on the Chinese New Year Holiday, they just sort of combined the two! They used their Valentine boxes to include New Years treats and asked us to put their red envelopes in there too. I asked, "How do you know we plan to give you money?!" Their reply was, "Everyone gives their kids money for Chinese New Year!!" They were right and knew it all too well. They have the best of both worlds. They get to celebrate both Western and Chinese holidays! Chinese New Year is a huge holiday here much like Christmas is in the West. The families all gather together to share meals and fellowship. There are a lot of traditional things that go on as well and the giving of red envelopes containing money, called Hong Bao literally translated "red bag," is just one of those traditions. As a sign of respect, they then bow and thank the parents/grandparents. Darn! We forgot that part! Perhaps that's why they suggested we put it in their boxes! Actually, I think they just wanted the enjoyment and surprise of getting up the next morning to see what all was put in that box all that week leading up to that day (they weren't allowed to peek beforehand)! Although it wasn't a lot, they weren't disappointed when they found money, candy (a special treat--from the US we'd had someone bring over with them on their way), and Valentines cards. It was kinda like a mini Christmas package! They were excited and enjoyed their candy for more than a week. That is except for Hannah, who thought she needed to eat all hers the first day or two, then wanted the other girls' candy when she found out they still had some left!
Monday, February 22, 2010
One day for art class the girls decided they'd like to do origami. I'd tried it before--about a year or so ago, but they thought it much too difficult then. This time, they found it fun and exciting! Their art project turned into something they continued to make for days! The first design made was the lily. Since that went so well, they decided to branch out and began looking for other designs. Some of the designs were much too difficult for the littler ones like Hannah and Elizabeth anyway, but they soon found some that were much easier that even they could do without too much difficulty. Elise especially enjoyed making the lilies and made many different colors.