Her own little home-made winter wonderland 🙂
Grace did a few different final projects for school with friends.
OUR LAST WEEKEND:
Guilin was our second to last weekend in China, and during the very last one we tried to take in as much as we could in our own city one last time.
We took advantage of “family movie nights” one last time:
Sad that doesn’t happen back at home, dang it!
We finally made it to “Jing’an Temple” which I loved…this gorgeous place right in the middle of the city. It was built originally ages ago (247 AD), then turned into a plastic factory of all things during the cultural revolution, then renovated in the 80s and again pretty recently. I loved seeing the skyscrapers reaching up behind it.
The kids loved the hoopla of everyone throwing their coins up at the middle pagoda.
And I loved how many people were there with their incense offering up some pretty serious meditation and prayer in the middle of it all.
I loved riding on the metro for one of our last times, watching the regular take place:
Random people wanting to take pictures with the kids.
I had wanted to see the “Marriage Market” since someone told me about it a few months back and we just happened to run into it on our way to People’s Square. This picture shows a particularly sparse area…
…it was really shoulder-to-shoulder people all lined up showing off the assets of their own marriageable children to try to get them matched up. I guess they closed it down for a while but apparently it’s back.
Wish we did that in the states. Ha!
We went to a few museums in People’s Square. We loved this one with all the old pictures of how Shanghai used to look:
…compared with how it looks today.
We especially loved this model of the city:
Makes you realize how sprawling it really is. So many things we’ve been to aren’t even shown because they’re even more spread out.
Man Shanghai is huge!
Tried to get a little Christmas spirit in:
Had a fun little talk right here, right at dusk, in the middle of this once-foreign city that has become so familiar to us that I hope I’ll always remember.
It kinda started out as a little bit of a lecture and then turned into a velvety discussion about how lucky we were to be right there, right then, together.
We took the metro over to the German Christmas Market next.
And we met our good friends the Nichols there.
It was like swimming against traffic upstream to get in and out of that place it was so crowded but oh-so-fun to be surrounded in “Christmas” and to be with friends we love.
My kids just adore these ones…they’re like the little brothers and sisters they never had.
One more pic. because of Lucy’s smile:
That smell is not my favorite.
Our branch was so empty…everyone had gone home for Christmas back to the states except for the five or six families that stuck around.
Last Activity Days. The girls and I were “Secret Santas” for the family and made a special meal.
I LOVED Lucy’s note she put up on the door so we wouldn’t get anyone messing with us as we cooked (especially as we made the cookie dough:)
Do NOT come in the “Kickin”!!
There we go. And gotta add some Chinese characters in there too…
One of Max and Elle’s last early-morning seminary meetings:
Such great kids, and such great leaders who made everyone breakfast for their last day before people took off for Christmas.
A little Christmas shopping with friends:
A visit from our good friend who was in China from the desert on business. The kids were SO delighted to have him show up at our house!
…and so were we of course:)
He’s even taller than Max. I guess this is how Chinese people always want to pose with him when they ask if he’ll take a picture with them.
One of Max’s last basketball games before we took off for Guilin:
Love this friend from Hungary who may be moving to the desert next month…SO excited!
One of our last walks home from school together.
Man I miss those!!
Trying to get in a few last workouts…
Max was super excited about that…
Impromptu dinner together while both of our husbands were gone.
Cleaning out all the mountains of school work:
This was right before Lucy got hit by a scooter…
Max’s final project for Global Citizenship…I have to figure out a way to share the video he made. Loved it so much.
Teacher/administrator appreciation notes:
Christmas is really different in China, but they did have a day (our last Friday there) where they celebrated it at school and it was awesome. They had several concerts I’m posting about tomorrow, and had little celebrations in their classes.
Claire’s holiday party before her portion of the concert:
…and her awesome teachers who make me want to tear up when I look at this picture. Love them so much!
Claire’s recorder number:
Claire’s singing number:
We miss her!
Grace’s night performance:
Elle’s very kind friends:
Claire’s wall with all her art before she had to take it all down:
A trip to the Chinese acrobat show with the Bao’s.
It was out-of-this-world amazing. Like Cirque Du Soleil on steroids kind of good. They rode 8 motorcycles full speed inside that ball below during one part of it. Wow.
Last view of the city skyline:
Dinner out with these two wonderful people who took the best care of us anyone could ever imagine:
…while our kids took care of their kids.
A trip the the “office” where dave worked. Kevin has succeeded in rounding up the kindest most considerate and wonderful people to work for him that you could ever imagine.
Oh man we sure miss these guys!
The end of Grace’s Christmas paper chain (to mark the number of days before we left):
Saying goodbye to friends at school on the last day. I took this right after the cutest group hug you could ever imagine:
…right over the wide blue ocean.
…to a winter wonderland in Utah with my parents.