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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Jul 29, 2010

Farewell Friends

Relocating to a foreign country can be exciting. You get to travel to new places, learn different cultures, language customs etc.
It also can be overwhelming, isolating and make one homesick.
When we first arrived in Hong Kong we were blessed to have the Krohn family living 6 bus stops away. I remember when the kids met for the first time, Bethany said, I'm sorry, if your kids aren't familiar with Star Wars and Transformers- they will be.
It was at that moment I knew the kids would be good friends.
Bethany's knowledge of the area on shopping and where to buy stuff was so helpful in the beginning for me. But it wasn't just her sharing her information that helped me not to be overwhelmed, homesick or feel isolated, it was her warmth and welcoming me as a friend.
Not many people get to have someone from their home country to be friends with when living overseas let alone someone from the same area, with mutual friends. After a day of trying to communicate, trying to find clothes, food, household items that were so easy to find at home-that have become like a scavenger hunt- there is great comfort in picking up the phone or stopping by and sharing these experiences with someone who understands exactly how you feel.
16 months has come and gone very quickly and in that time it has seems we have been friends for years.
Thank you Jason, Bethany, Abigail, Isaiah and Sammy for making us a part of your life. You will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

Kam Sheung Road from outypants on Vimeo.

Ping Shan Heritage Trail from outypants on Vimeo.

A Wedding from outypants on Vimeo.

Jane singing from outypants on Vimeo.

party time from outypants on Vimeo.

Jul 27, 2010

Starfish Bay

Wu Kai Sha MTR exit A
View Larger Map

Along the same road as Li Po Chun college. We took a taxi there but I believe it to be less than a 15 minute walk. There was no designated path that we took, we just turned to the right when we saw the water.
Prior to a visit check the tide status. You will want to visit on a low tide day.

Jane, Abby, Joanna, Joseph, Isaiah and Sammy. Elliot not pictured.

Bethany and Ping.
Ping was the one who showed us how to get here. 

Hungry? Sea Cucumber the black blob in the sand is a popular menu item in China.

A really beautiful day.

We saw lots of little crabs along with the starfish. A fun outing for all.

Jul 25, 2010

Shenzhen Museum

This is Shenzhen about 30 years ago


The museum is an eccletic assortment of old and new. Shenzhen is a special economic zone and it's existence as a city is only about 30 years old. The museum touches on the traditional way of life as well as the documenting the growth of the "new" city.

We didn't have time to explore it all, but found it enjoyable and it is free. It is great when museums have a hands on area for the kids. I think this will be one place I wouldn't mind taking the kids back to explore.
Well maintained and set up nicely to keep people moving throughout the exhibits.

China Beach trip

Nathan's co-workers invited us along on what was supposed to be an overnight trip in a town just outside of Shenzhen. After about an hour ride we arrived at a beach. We first were checking out where we would stay. The first place was a village house right by the beach. It was clear to see that this wasn't a hotel but someone's house that was renting out the rooms. We decided to look for a place after the beach.

It was hot so the kids were ready to get in the water. The "changing" rooms was a stall with a squatty potty inside it. I was trying to hold my breath and not let our clothes touch anything ( since there were no hooks) it took me and Jane a few minutes.
Once the kids got in the water they had fun. It was a beach with big waves which is always fun for the kids. The grown ups hanging on to their tubes for dear life as the waves came in was quite entertaining. Nathan pointed out that many didn't know how to swim. Some were swimming in street clothes, we saw one girl still had her belt on. A lot of little kids half naked wearing underwear or some nothing at all. It was clear everyone was having a good time laughing or screaming making it very fun to be a part of it.

We didn't go inside this place although the kids asked. I am not sure if it was an arcade or a bar but the odd assortment of characters dancing to loud music outside seemed random. Pleasant goat and Mickey (unsanctioned look a like no doubt) were dancing to attract (lure?) you in.

We staked out our spots and had a BBQ. This is very popular here and most beaches will have a designated BBQ pit spot - just like the states.
I have been in Asia long enough not to expect hot dogs, hamburgers and Smores. Especially at the invitation of a Chinese person. We grilled chicken, eggplant, hot peppers, bread ( looked like a giant marshmallow) corn, and some lamb kabobs. The kids tried a good amount of it without complaint.

After we left the beach we soon discovered that many hotels were already booked even in different towns. I have to say I was up for staying in a Chinese hotel. Nathan normally stays at 5 star hotels that are very western, since he is on business. This trip was during his extended stay in Shenzhen and we were at the Marco Polo. When we went to Harbin my first trip inside "real" China we stayed at an IBIS. I was excited to be hanging out with local Chinese and doing what they would do, so I was trying to put my expectations aside.
The first hotel we looked at from the outside didn't seem all that nice and I started to worry. It was full anyway. The next one Nathan commented that sleeping outside of Parc Versailles ( our apartment complex) would have been cleaner. I soon realized that our first choice, from the outside anyway looked liked it was the "nice" hotel.
Michael and his wife with their little one were driving us around following another van full of work people and their families all trying to find a place to stay. We did not end up finding a vacancy or a suitable place to stay. So we all headed back to Shenzhen very tired. I thought it was kind of them to invite us and the kids loved the beach.

China Beach from outypants on Vimeo.