Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas, Seafood, Tutoring, Washing Machine and DaMing Lake

The lights at DaMing Lake.

David had to teach on Monday.  Actually, he wasn't teaching, he was conducting final oral exams for his students.  Because next Monday is New Year's Day and an official holiday in China, his students won't be there on Monday for him to test, so he had to start today.  It really tears at his heart strings to hear them praise how they appreciate what he has done for them and how they want us to come back again.

In the afternoon, Kayce and Arron came to meet us at our campus.  We went to the noodle restaurant that Bob and Anna had taken us to and had a good lunch.  Then we caught the bus to the big market that we have enjoyed before to look around.  Kayce was particularly looking for the same small store that she had bought a sword from when we went there last time, but we couldn't find it and eventually gave up and went home.  David wasn't feeling that great and I wish I had told him to stay home.  He really needed another nap.

David's students, Elsie and  Conner, had planned to have Christmas dinner with us, so we reserved a room at the canteen (because our apartment is so small) and invited Bob, Anna, Andrew, and Eva to come eat with us.  Eva had to go to her brother's home somewhere far away and so she couldn't make it.  Bob and Anna sent a message in the afternoon that they had to go to an interview that evening, so they couldn't make it.  Since Kayce and Arron were with us, we decided to invite them to come eat with us and they accepted.

Andrew, Elsie and Conner taking pictures of the food.
Elsie and Conner had ordered a roast chicken from the local KFC and brought that, plus, with the reservation of the room at the canteen, we also got some dishes that come with the room.  We had a LOT of food and took a lot home.  We also had a lot of fun!  The laughter was abundant and made Christmas Day more joyful for us.

Conner, Arron, and Kayce.  She is such a tease with these kids that we were all laughing a lot.
Meat and bread dish.  The meat was good, but the bread didn't have much flavor.
Eggplant with shrimp and cheese baked in.  This was really good!
Tuesday afternoon, we made our way to the Hongialou campus.  Kong Ming had invited us over to pick up the Christmas/New Year gifts that the university was giving to us.  They gave us each a blue tooth!  Nice!  We sat and talked for a while and then made our way home.

Wednesday, the Ding family had invited us out to dinner.  Alan, their son, was home from the University of Texas at Austin,  so they wanted to take us out to eat so we could see him and to celebrate.  David had tutored Alan when we were here four years ago because he wanted to go to high school in the US.  They took us to a seafood restaurant and fed us a royal meal.  So much food and lots of it!
Shrimp, a fish dumpling and the long big one was a type of prawn.  It was hard to peal because there are prickly spines along the shell that hurt.  I only had one, that was enough for me.

Alan, cross from David with the seafood cooking in the middle with the lid on it.  They got the water hot, put a plate in, dumped the live seafood onto the plate, then covered it with the lid to steam it.  The dish in front is pigs ear, crunchy, but okay to eat.

Ding Rongui and his wife.  They are always so kind to us.  She doesn't speak much English, but understands quite a bit.  Ding travels internationally quite a lot, so he speaks quite well.

I am actually eating starfish!  They steamed it with the other seafood. You pull off a leg of the starfish and eat the little tiny bit of black meat that is in the middle of the leg.  Kind of salty tasting, but not too fishy tasting.

We accepted the job to tutor a fourteen year old girl that wants to go to Canada for school.  Jen is a bright girl and already speaks quite well.  She will have about two months of tutoring and then she leaves for Toronto, Canada in February.

David had a meeting with his class monitors on Friday afternoon so that he could thank them for helping him this semester.  I met him there so we could go to a new restaurant the we have discovered on Campus.  It was a really great meal and we had a strawberry yogurt smoothie, something similar to chicken cordon bleu, and waffles with ice cream.  It was delicious!  We almost felt like we were back in the States, because the food was quite American.  Then a slow walk home because the temperature wasn't that cold.
Our waffles and smoothie for dinner.

On Saturday, we did some work in the morning, made a quick trip to get some vegetables and then headed out to meet Kayce and Arron for some fun and sight-seeing.  We had just started down the lane from our apartment building when along comes a small truck with a new chair on it for David.  His office chair had broken, so he informed the building manager that he needed a new one.  The building manager was waving at us as soon as they rounded the corner, so we headed back to the apartment.

The timing was perfect, because the clothes washer had broken that morning and would not spin dry the clothes anymore and I was able to tell the manager, Liu, about it right then.  They will order a new machine, which with all the red tape they have to go through will take about a month to get, but they will also send someone to try to repair this old one.  If they don't have it repaired by Wednesday, I'm going to have to find someplace else to do laundry and I don't know where.  I don't see laundromats in China.
A wall of old sewing machines that we found in one of the malls.

We stopped in a pet store and walked around.  Loved the aquariums.

When we finally met Kayce and Arron at Wanda Plaza, we looked around in the malls and tried to see if we could go up the elevator of the "Bullet" building.  They won't let you go up because it is apartments and office buildings.  One mall had a contest going on for kids to tell stories.  Another had a dance competition going on.  We poked around in a store that sells a lot of foreign products and bought some granola cereal.  When we got hungry, we went to the Burger King in one of the malls and had supper.  We paid over 200 RMB to feed the four of us, which is quite expensive in China.
This little girl was telling the story of the country mouse and the city mouse.  Arron knows enough Chinese to help us get around and understand and get answers when we have questions.

Dance competition at the WanDa Mall.  All boys in this group.
We thought this was fun with the sampan hats on.

After we were done there, we caught a bus to go to DaMing Lake.  They have lights all around the lake and it looks beautiful.  Eva and her husband joined us there and as we walked around the lake and took pictures, Eva's husband would tell stories and information about some of the things by the lake and Eva would translate them for us.  It was a fun evening, but it was getting late and my feet had been walked on enough for the day.  Eva and husband walked us to the bus where we could catch a ride home from DaMing Lake.
The gate and pavilion at DaMing Lake

Some of the lights.

This rock is called the "Husband and Wife" rock.  They insisted that we go have a kiss at that rock.  We had a lot more photographers than just Eva and Kayce!  Of course, Kayce was egging them all on!

Sunday, after church, we had lunch and then sat around and talked until almost four.  David and I made our way home and had some supper.  We got a message from Anna that she had a gift for us for New Year's.  She came over with two of her roommates, Wendy and Jessica, and we had fun teaching them some card games and talking.  All three are bright, fun girls.  It helped to feel more like home to have them come over and play games like we would at home on New Year's Eve.  All we were missing was the eggnog and sparkling cider.

DaMing Lake.

It took about 15 minutes of waiting to get this picture of what we call, "The Bullet Building."  They had a bunch of ads come  up in between the photo I wanted.  It says, "I love Jinan!"

As we were leaving the lake, we crossed over the moat and had to get another pictures.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Twas the Week Before Christmas...

China has been building to a fever pitch for Christmas this week.  More and more people are learning about it and recognizing it as a time of family, joy, and giving.  It is nice to have our students giving us small gifts and wishing us a happy Christmas.  All the signs of Christmas are here: the music, the decorations and the parties.

David's cold was getting worse, so on Tuesday, he decided he better take the antibiotic that we had brought with us.  His cough had gotten really bad and he was starting to feel it in his lungs.  By Wednesday afternoon, when we went to visit with Dr. Tricia, he was already starting to feel better.  He still has some cough, but it isn't keeping him up at night.  He also tires easily and needs more sleep than before.

Our visit with Dr. Tricia was to help her after the passing of her father.  She had questions and we tried to give her answers that would give her comfort.  After our two hour visit, she seemed some better and seemed to be able to accept what we said.  We pray for her everyday and hope that she finds peace soon.  I'm wondering about becoming a grief counselor... (not really).

Purse and silk scarf from Dr. Tricia for my birthday.  I was so shocked that she had something for me.  Even in her grief, she was thinking of others.
Necklace that Yi Bing gave me.  It was carved by her father on a peach pit.

We were really  busy this week trying to get papers graded and get sign-up sheets ready for our students and the finals week that is coming soon.  My eyes were starting to go "bug-gy" after 3-4 hours a day reading interview summaries and grading them.  Put on top of that the need to correct the vocabulary quiz, too.  It seemed that between David's cold and the grading papers, we spent a lot of time in our apartment this week.  Thank goodness for the ease of ordering from Mike's Pizza and the delivery!  It's so nice to have Chinese that can speak English!
These were the gifts from some of my students.  The heart shaped box was full of candy (just what I don't need, but it was a sweet thought).  The apple was from another student.  They give you apples in the new year time.  The Chinese word for apple is "ping guo."  The "ping" is also close to the word for peace, so they give apples at this time of year and wish peace and safety for you.  Such a sweet gift.  We have been given several apples after this one.  

Friday afternoon, we were asked to judge a speech contest at Shandong Airlines Corporate Headquarters at the airport.  They picked us up from our apartment after lunch and drove us there in a nice vehicle, I imagine it was a company car.  Shandong Airline is trying to encourage their employees to learn better English so that they can help customers from foreign lands better.  Six employees had signed up for the contest.  They titled the contest, "The Glory and the Dream."  Their under ten minute speeches were supposed to reflect that theme.  We also had to judge on skill, fluency and pronunciation.  We were introduced to the regional manager for Shandong Airlines, who had a pretty good grasp of English himself.

We chose three winners and it was pretty obvious who had the better skills.  We commended them for trying and for the efforts of the company to try and build their skills.  We related experiences that we have had traveling in China and how we appreciate those who can speak English.  After the contest, we were driven back to our apartment.  They paid us 800 Yuan for doing it.

Saturday was the Christmas Dinner with the other foreign teachers.  We had Mormons, Protestants, a Muslim and some "don't know".  We made it easier on ourselves this time and went to a local restaurant where we could have a private room and order some dishes.  They just so happened to have a roast goose on the menu, so we ordered that and several other dishes.  There was plenty of food.  We also had a "White Elephant" gift exchange.  I'm not sure that Mustafa or the Chinese student, Yang Xu, or even Mr. Hiroshi understood what it was about.  Most of the gifts were okay.  I wish we could have had a gift exchange that showed love and care in the gifts we chose, like the gifts they brought, but I wasn't in charge.  It turned out okay though.
Cuddle fish dumpling.  Tasted good.

This was a lotus root sandwich.  There was a little slab of meat in between the two slices of lotus root.  Normally, I don't care that much for lotus root, but I would eat this again in a heartbeat!  

Our half of a roast goose.  We were all surprised that it was on the menu and since there was not turkey, we choose the goose.  Of course they leave the head on and then chop it up, bones and all before serving it.  I discovered the reason that the Chinese chop up all their poultry like this; so you can pick it up with chopsticks.  They don't think it is right to use your hands to pick up food to eat and they think a fork and knife are too cumbersome to use.

From the left, Yang Xu, Lynn, Mark and Kyle.

From the left, Zina, Pam Holt, Mustafa and Mr. Hiroshi.  All good dinner companions.

Saturday evening, we were invited to a presentation that was all about pomegranates.  We are lightly associated with a group called "Rain Education."  They are trying to build educational opportunities and bridges between cultures.  I'm not sure who the host was for the evening, but he was from a province that grows pomegranates big time and wanted to share his love of his home with everyone.

We met our contact from Rain Education at their office and then we walked to the building where we were invited to have dinner.  It was a pretty fancy affair.  We were served fresh pomegranate as we walked in the door and then seated at a table.  They served us banana pizza (which was really delicious!)  Cooked bananas and a sauce under it (I'm still trying to figure out what the sauce was made from) and then a rich custard that was served in little tiny bottles (they held about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of custard.  There were also some little loaf things that had custard baked inside of it.  I sure wish I had gotten pictures of them!

A little four or five year old little boy was there and his father came and introduced him to us.  The boy spoke about 3 words of English and he wanted to have him speak those words with us.  The boy made David a little Chinese origami boat.  The whole time we were there, we had cameras in our faces and off to the side.  The dad wanted his little boy in some pictures with us, so we had those taken also.

After eating, we were invited to a tea table, the kind where you are basically sitting on the floor.  After we told our contact we didn't drink tea, she said, "I will just tell you about it and then after the pictures are taken, we can go to the other room."  She was true to her word, so if you see us in some pictures drinking some tea, just know that there wasn't even water in the cup.

The next room was where they showed us a video of the place where they grow all the pomegranates and the beauty of that area.  Then the guy who was hosting it, (he took turns speaking in English and Chinese) turned it over to the guy who makes the pomegranate juice into wine, so we had to sit through a presentation on the wine making.  We had been told earlier that afternoon that there was a presentation going on in the concert hall on campus about American music and we wanted to go see what that was, so we had to leave the event we were at.  I was a little disappointed because they were also going to do a demonstration of Chinese writing that I wanted to see, but we had to excuse ourselves and go.

Our beautiful pomegranate gift.
As we left the building, the parents and the little boy caught up with us and gave us each a huge pomegranate in a nice box.  We hurried over to the concert hall and when we got there, a woman was speaking in Chinese with a piano on stage.  She had a power point presentation and on the screen were a picture of Stephen Foster and then another American female composer that I didn't know.  We stayed for about 20 minutes thinking that any minute she would get on to some singing, but she didn't, so we just left and went home.

Sunday, we went to Church and had lunch at the Hanlin with the others.  We came home to rest and then left in what we thought was plenty of time to get to the Jing Si Lu Church.  The bus was pretty crowded but when we got to a place on the bus where we could stand, two nice young ladies stood up and offered their seats to us.  That was good because we had a LONG ride ahead of us!  It took us an hour and a half to get to the church.  The traffic was insane and the buses were super crowded.  A lot of things were going on at the malls that we had to pass, so people were out celebrating Christmas Eve.
BYU teachers and Arron, our Vietnamese member.

One of the choirs.  It was so fun to watch the director.  He really gets into it!  

I wish I had better video of this group.  The kids were so cute!  You can't see it, but the little girl on the front row, third from the right, was the kind of kid that was so fun to watch.  She really put the BIG into her actions!
These lovely ladies were doing a dance and then David leans over to me and whispers, "One Grecian Urn."  I lost it!  Then I told Kayce sitting next to me and she lost it!  It took all three of us a while to stop the giggling. 

The performance at the church went well.  When we got up and sang, Angels We Have Heard On High, the audience was clapping along and I truly believe that EVERY camera in the building was filming us!  We also sang, Joy to the World, but for some reason that didn't get the same response as "Angels" did.  David and I thought it was strange because that one had gotten a big response four years ago.

We left after the choir that sang when we were done.  We were starting to get nervous about getting a bus home if we waited much longer.  Taxis don't like to take Anglo's that might not be able to tell them where to take them.  The ride home wasn't as long as the ride there, but it was still crowded on the streets and in the buses.  We did make it home okay.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cold Weather and David's Cold

Monday afternoon, David and I made our way to the QianFuShan Hospital to meet with Dr. Tricia.  She had asked us to come last week, but we didn't have time until Monday to come.  Her father is still alive, but now, on top of the liver cancer, he also has lung cancer.  She feels like she has failed her father.  She's a doctor and she is supposed to fix things.

When she first thought there might be something wrong after his last physical, Dr. Tricia decided to get him some health insurance first.  She also decided that if it was cancer, her father would not survive the treatments.  Looking back now, she feels like she made the wrong choice.  She talked to a doctor that specializes in liver cancer and he told her that if they can get treatment for the liver cancer early enough, they have a high rate of curing.  This was told to her a few months after she made the decision to not tell him of the cancer.  Dr. Tricia is ridden with guilt and feels so terrible for not getting him treatment earlier.

Part of what Dr. Tricia wanted to talk to us about was what other fields she might go into.  She still wants to be involved with the hospital, but doesn't feel qualified to be a doctor anymore.  Making the wrong decision about her father has her doubting herself and the decisions she made over a year ago.  We discussed the decision and how looking back, she may have made a different decision had she known some other information, but that she still felt it was the right decision for the time.

The other thing that Dr. Tricia wanted to talk about was heaven.  We have to be careful what we say so that we are upholding the trust that the government puts in us to not proselyte among the Chinese people, but we felt that there were certain things we could say to her that would give her comfort in the face of her father's impending death.  We tried to give as much comfort to her as we could.  We pray for her each day.

After we left Dr. Tricia, we had planned to go to Pizza Hut for my birthday dinner.  They have some really good steaks there and a fruit salad that I love!  It took a while to get there because we were in drive-time traffic, and we didn't get off at the right bus stop, so we had to walk back a way to get there.  It has turned pretty cold this week and Monday had a brisk wind with it also.

We ordered our meal and some fruit drinks.  The young waiter was trying to ask us something about the drink and since we didn't understand the Chinese word for ice, he stopped, thought a moment and then got out the word, "Ice!"  We were so proud of him for getting the word!  Chinese in general don't use much ice.  They believe that hot water is better for you, but they have learned to ask about it now since more and more people are changing.  Dinner was nice.
My steak dinner and the fruit salad.  I chose the Australian Style steak.  The water in the blue glasses is warm lemon water.

This was David steak, French style.  We ended up trading because I liked the French Style better.  The Australian was just a little too spicy.  The food comes on a sizzling hot cast iron and the paper around it keeps the spatters from getting on you. 

There was a Chinese student that had shared Thanksgiving Dinner with us, and he had asked David if he would help him go over his letter of application to Brown and Northwestern Universities.  Yang Xu came over Tuesday evening so that David could read over the letter.  Yang Xu had done a pretty good job on his own, but David was able to give him a few suggestions to make it better.

Wednesday, we had lunch with Eva in the canteen.  After lunch, she went with us to try and change my expensive phone plan to a less expensive one, but the phone store was serving number 1110 and we were number 1141.  Eva asked a worker how long she thought it would be before we were served and she said about a half hour.  Well, after 45 minutes, they had only gotten up to number 1115, we decided that it wasn't going to happen that day and went back to our apartment.

Bob and Anna wanted to learn to make cookies.  They are feeling pretty good about Anna passing the IELTS test and they wanted to learn to make cookies so that they might be able to do that when they get to the US and make friends with their classmates.  We had them come on Thursday afternoon so I could teach them.  Chinese cooking is done more by feel, not exact measures.  Following a recipe is not something they are used to.  We had a fun time and they learned a LOT of new vocabulary as we made the cookies.  They brought some dried pineapple and strawberries and we chopped them up to add to our oatmeal cookies.  We also had some raisins and chocolate chips here.  We divided the cookie dough into three bowls and added the chocolate chips and raisins to one, the pineapple to another and the strawberries to the third.  Those were some GOOD cookies!  We just had so much fun doing this with them.
Anna is cutting up the dried strawberries for the cookies.
I am supervising how they stir the batter.  These two kids are so fun to be around!

When we were done, it was suppertime.  Bob was going home to visit his mother that evening, so Anna came along with us.  David had started to feel a cold coming on and he wanted some chicken broth.  They have some in the canteen, but you have to go to a certain window and ask for it.  Anna helped him get a pot of broth, while I went to different windows and got the food I wanted.  Then Anna got her own meal and sat with us to eat.

Before Bob left, he went with us to the student store and helped me change my phone plan to a less expensive one.  I hope it works for me.  Sometimes I have to use my phone for Relief Society and if I don't have enough money or minutes, we lose contact with the other sisters.  Not good for the Relief Society President to just drop off the face of the earth in the middle of conducting.  Oh, the lovely challenges we face doing church on phone lines and internet here in China!
In our classes this week, we had an activity where they pretended to be ordering food in an American restaurant.  The girl with the clipboard is taking the orders for her group.

In my classes, it seemed like the young men were mostly chosen to be the waiters.  It got to be a little bit of a joke.

David's cold got worse on Friday. It was a good thing that he didn't have classes, but he did have other things to do and he was out trying to do all of those things when he should have been home resting.  He met me after my class and we went to the canteen to have lunch with Eva.  David was dreading the thoughts of doing games in the canteen with his students that afternoon, so Eva and I convinced him that he had to call it off.  He sent a message to his class monitors and let everyone know that he wouldn't be there.  I ordered food from the canteen that I could pick up at suppertime so David didn't have to go out again that night.

All this week, the road in front of the gate for our apartment has been torn up so they could repair a water line that was leaking.  They had to shut off our water on Thursday morning, which didn't bother us because we were in class.  We were later informed that they would be turning the water off on Saturday for 3-4 hours to finish the repair.  I didn't have to worry about it because I was gone, but David did.  The road is still torn up, but we have a lot better water pressure now.

Saturday, we spent the morning grading papers and other things for school.  We will be singing on Christmas Eve at the Jing Si Lu Church with the rest of the BYU teachers.  They were having a dress rehearsal that afternoon, but David and some of the others were not able to go.  I made my way there after explicit instructions from David.  He was very concerned that I wouldn't make it.  One of the other BYU teachers made it along with Arron, the Vietnamese student that meets with our group.  It was a good thing he came along.  We had been told that there would be someone there that could speak English, but there wasn't.  We needed to give them information about what we would be singing and how many of us would be there.  Arron was able to do that for us.

 After watching two children's groups perform, we decided that we better get going home.  I got the bus I needed and they took a different bus back to get them home.  I had to make a bus change, so I got off where I knew I could catch the other bus that I needed.  There was a store near there that sells nuts and I bought some nuts before catching the other bus.

I got off near the campus and stopped to pick up some bread and then go to the fruit and vegetable store that was close to the west campus gate.  David was going stir crazy in the apartment, so he bundled up and wanted to meet me.  After getting what I needed, we finally met on the campus, a little more that halfway from our apartment to the gate.  We walked back so I could drop off my purchases and warm up for a few minutes before I headed out in the cold again.  The fruit and vegetable store did not have the celery that I was looking for so I could make a Waldorf Salad for the lunch on Sunday.

I left David at home and headed back out in the cold.  After getting the celery at the fruit and vegetable store south of campus, I started to realize that I was starting to get tired.  I had walked several miles today and in the cold air, I was walking briskly to keep warm and it was finally catching up with me.  However, I knew that the only way to be able to rest was to get home, so I kept up the fast pace until I arrived.

Today was Church and a wonderful lunch and restful visit with the others afterward.  Sunday's are such a peaceful calm day.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Food, Eating, Food, Eating

This has been a week of a LOT of food!  We even skipped a few meals because we were still stuffed from the previous meal!

Our friend, Gilbert, and his wife, Lulu, were in Jinan this week.  Gilbert was a great friend to us when we were here before. They have moved to Beijing for Lulu's job, but they still keep an apartment in Jinan so they can get away from Beijing city life when they can.  We arranged to have dinner with them on Tuesday.

Gilbert picked us up about four in the afternoon and drove us to his apartment.  On the way there, Gilbert took us to see one of the villas that some people are buying.  They are sprawling houses similar to what you would find in the US, but with Chinese style.  One of the houses was 32 million yuan! That translates to just under $5,000,000 US.

Lulu's parents live with them so that they can take care of their son, Marcelle, when they are working.  We had a nice visit and waited for our other friend, Ya Ping to come.  We still had to wait because Ya Ping's wife had to come from the other side of Jinan to join us for dinner also.  In the waiting time, we showed pictures of the family and had pictures taken with them.

Had to have a pictures with Lulu's parents and Marcelle.
Jinan is a city of seven million people.  It is hard to imagine a city with that many people in it, but it makes the city very big from one end to the other.  There are a lot of tall apartment buildings that house people, but it still takes a lot of land just to house people and the businesses that it takes to care for this many people.

Dinner was at a restaurant that specializes in seafood.  We had so many different kinds!  I forgot to get pictures of all the foods, but there were octopus, scallops, oysters, clams and shrimp stuffed mushrooms.  Some of the foods were too spicy for me to eat more than just a taste of it.  We sampled everything, but then the food just kept coming.  All the time while we are eating, we are also talking.  Gilbert talks really well in English and Lulu has some skills also.  Ya Ping understands a lot of English but is afraid to speak much.  His wife doesn't speak or understand much at all.
Marcelle, Lulu, Gilbert, David, Zina, Ya Ping

We talked and talked after the meal until almost 10:30.  It was such a fun night, but the food stayed with us all night long.  First, we get home late, then we can't sleep because the food is still in our stomachs.  It was a long night with not enough sleep and we both had to get up and teach the next morning.  We ate a bare minimum for breakfast because we were still full!

Wednesday we had lunch with Eva in the canteen.  We had talked about going to a different market area to see it.  Kayce (BYU teacher) wanted to go with us, so she came to our campus and had lunch also and then Eva drove us to an area close to her house so that she could drop off her car and we could take a bus to the market area.

Eva had dropped us off on a corner to wait for her so that we wouldn't have to walk all that far.  While we were waiting, a woman on a bike was crossing the street and all of a sudden, she fell in the road.  She was trying to pick herself up and checking to see if she was okay.  A part of her bike had fallen off close to us, so Kayce picked it up and took it to her and helped put it back on her bike.  The woman was so grateful.  She came over and bowed  to us to thank us.  She started to walk away but turned back to us and got her phone out to take pictures.  She got a lot of pictures of us and then thanked us again and finally went on her way, walking the bike.

The market was fun and we found a lot of fun things.  Eva was insistent that David and I needed hats and new scarves.  She found a hat shop and we tried on a lot of hats.  Finally settling on one for each of us and then bargaining the price down.  Then we found a scarf shop and bought scarves and gloves.  Kayce needed to get back for a class, so she left to find a bus stop.  She couldn't find the bus she needed, so she ended up getting a taxi home.

We were also looking for a new shirt for David,  He didn't bring enough with him for winter, so we were looking in several shops.  We finally went into a more formal mall connected to the market and after trying several places found the perfect a fairly high price.  We ended up buying it because it looked so good on him and fit perfectly.  It is hard to find shirts in his size here, but we succeeded.

David's new shirt and hat.  The hat and scarf were Christmas gifts from Eva.

Thursday, Kayce wanted to go back to the market and invited me to go along.  We made it to the market by ourselves and wandered the shops.  After successful purchases for things we were looking for, we decided to go home.  We got lost in the maze of shops and couldn't find the entrance we had come in at.  We wandered for about 20 minutes and finally, I saw a shop that I had recognized as being near the opening to go to the formal mall where we had bought David's shirt.  I knew how to get to the bus stop from there, so we went and had more success getting on the bus and home!

David had games in the canteen for his students, so I met him there and we had dinner with some of his students.  Conner and Elsie, two of the students, wanted to learn to make pies.  We decided that Friday evening would be a good time to make the pies.  Conner wanted a banana cream pie, so they would bring the bananas.

Elsie loves to cook.  She followed my directions exactly, except I was a little nervous about the pie filling burning and didn't let it cook as much as it needed to set up well.  We didn't get to taste it that night because of it.  I was ashamed to tell Elsie how I had failed her.  They ordered food and had it delivered to our apartment for supper while we waited for the pie.  The next morning, I made a new  pie that did set up and we used that one on Saturday evening when Conner and Elsie came back for pie.  We had a fun time both evenings visiting with these fun kids!  Conner is happy that Elsie can make banana cream pie for him now!

Saturday, David and I took the morning to catch  up with our class work that we had gotten behind on with all of the other activities this week.  We went to RT Mart and got some things that we needed.  Eva and Yi Bing (Bob's mother) wanted to take us to lunch.  Yi Bing was so excited to see us and thanked us profusely for helping Bob and Anna with their English.  The lunch was full of laughter and fun and lots and lots and lots of dumplings!  We ate until we were too full and we refused to eat the last of the dumplings.  Not really polite in Chinese society to do that, but we couldn't hold anymore!  We skipped supper that night because of Elsie and Conner coming over to eat pie.
Lunch with Eva, Yi Bing and us.  Good times!

Eva, David, Zina and Yi Bing.  We are outside of the Catholic church in Jinan.  They had just opened it for the Christmas season, so we went in to have a look.

Beautiful ceiling.

We loved the stain glass windows.

The south view of the Catholic Church.  The low building in front is where the nuns live.

After Church today, we had our usual dinner, but not so usual today!  Kayce had bought a cake, candles and balloons for my birthday!  They all sang to me.  We had two Chinese girls come to eat with us.  They have been there before.  It was a fun day.  Oh, we skipped supper tonight also, just too much food this week!
My birthday cake.  Kayce felt successful ordering the cake by herself.  The pigs on the top were cute. Neither Kayce or the bakery new anything of the connection with pigs in my life! 

We all had to put on the reindeer antlers that Kayce bought.  And then the selfie with our Chinese friend.  From left to right, Kayce, David, Deneice Kinghorn, Zina, John Kinghorn, Bonnie Hardman, Kathrine, Sue Stubbs, Summer