Visiting the Tokyo Tots

Anyone who has been fortunate enough to join the grandparents club knows the amazing joy of loving (and spoiling) the offspring of our offspring.

I’m so lucky that 7 of my 9 grandchildren live 2 miles away. I get to see them regularly and I’m very thankful for that.

My other 2 grandchildren live 6,469 miles away in Tokyo, Japan.   I don’t get to see them as often. However, I’m very thankful for the technology that allows me to video chat with them regularly.

I’m also thankful I’ve gotten to see them twice in the last 6 months.

In December, our son, Joshua, brought his expectant wife, Emma, his son, Donny and Emma’s parents, Takei and Kazue, to Texas for a visit.

We enjoyed their visit so much and had tons of fun spending Christmas with them and showing off some of the wonders of the Lone Star State.

When Joshua and Emma’s new son arrived in April we knew we wanted to meet Baby Alan sooner rather than later so my husband, Ronald, and I made the trek across the Pacific to spend time with them.

Alan is so adorable and that furrowed brow?  I’m totally owning it as he definitely gets that from me, his Nana.

Big brother, Donny, is just as handsome and at an ideal age for discovering new things every day.

For this trip my main objective was to give – and get – as many cuddles and kisses as two little boys would allow.  Luckily, they are still very young and weren’t opposed to Nana constantly loving on them.

It.Was.Wonderful

Snuggles, hugs, first baby coos, new baby giggles, toddler babbling and a lot of laughter from everyone made for a great vacation and visit.  It’s not easy being far away – I love them and miss them so much – but the life they have created is sweet and I cannot deny they are where they should be.

Matthew 19:5 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’

 

 

Advertisements

Tea in Jiading, China

A repost from July 2016:

Last year we spent two weeks in and around Jiading, China – a ‘suburb’ of Shanghai.  Our oldest son, Joshua, was living there with his wife, Emma, and we were fortunate enough to visit.  A rainy day had given us a break from sightseeing and when it stopped we ventured out.  What we stumbled onto ended up being one of my most satisfying and favorite memories.

***************************************************************************

When the rain tapered off we ventured out for lunch and ended up exploring the streets and shops in the surrounding area.  Our group split up which left my son, Patrick, and I hanging out together.  JIading shoppingWe were wandering around, ambling in and out of the little shops when I spied a sign with a teapot.  Loving all things tea, and especially drinking tea in Asia, we went into the shop to see what was what. The shopkeeper seemed excited to see us and began talking.  Unfortunately, we had no idea what he was saying.  We wanted to ask him questions but were not able to communicate effectively with him.

Between using hand gestures – and speaking super slow (as if that would help) – we found no success asking if his teapots were for sale or just display.  We left the shop to find Joshua – who speaks fluent Mandarin-and, upon our return, discovered this gentleman was completely delightful and wanted nothing more than to share his tea while working on his painting and flute-playing.

One of the things I love about staying in less touristy areas is stumbling upon these amazing experiences that you can’t buy with money.  It had been a lazy, rainy day calling for a ponytail and no make-up.  No matter that I was ultra-casual, our host could have cared less.  Discovering this hidden gem and being treated to an absolutely wonderful encounter completely made my day and ended up being a highlight of the trip.

Jiading Tea

If you would like to see other posts from our China adventures check out these pieces:

Eyes of Asia

What’s In A Shanghai Name

Mass in Mandarin

Confucius Temple and Huilongtan Park

Looking Up

Life Around Jiading

 

 

 

 

 

WPC – What’s In A Shanghai Name?

A trip to Shanghai provided many opportunities to see names in English and the character equivalents in Mandarin.

Shanghai hotelOur hotel in the Shanghai ‘suburb’ of Jiading

Ikea and Amway

Grocery items at the local Auchan (equivalent to Wal-Mart)

A wealth of western shopping opportunities in downtown Shanghai

Shanghai street sign

A street sign on a side street

McDonald’s quarterpounder and KFC/Pizza Hut

A wonderful trip!

 

Mass in Mandarin

Staying in the Jiading ‘suburb’ of Shanghai or district, as they are called here, our light colored skin, hair and freckles have proved to be a source of fascination for many locals.  Heads have turned as we walk by and many have taken our picture.  Some openly and others, thinking we can’t see them, take our photo on the sly.  It doesn’t bother us and we are happy to smile and pose as long as they are relatively polite and respectful.  Which, without a doubt, they have been.

This morning we went to a very small (300 people) local Catholic Church to attend Mass.  We came in the back and sat in the last pew but, in no time at all, word spread through the sanctuary that foreigners were present. Heads turned and they made no secret of staring at us.  I’m not kidding, LOTS of heads turned.

Mass was lovely and while I understood 4 words total….Ni hao (hello) XieXie (thank you), amen and alleluia I was able to follow along because worldwide the service is the same wherever you go.  Same readings and same prayers no matter the language and no matter the location. It.Is.Awesome. (Plus, with Mass Apps I can follow the readings in English)

Jesus I trust in YouI know what this says!! (Jesus, I trust in You)

Sared HeartThe altar of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Diocese of Wenzhou

And a big kudos to the congregation for the beautiful and roof-raising singing.  It was amazing to hear such joyful voices being lifted unto the Lord!

After Mass we wandered back into the courtyard where we ended up the main attraction for pictures. We happily posed for about 10 minutes while taking different group shots and individual selfies.  It was fun and the Chinese – in all their curiosity – were welcoming and excited to see us.

Sacred Heart

Taking a picture of them taking pictures of us

Sacred Heart

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.

Stormy Day in Jiading

The rain came fast and, because I hadn’t been watching weather reports, unexpectedly.  Thunder followed and a stormy day set in.  It was a good time to relax the schedule as the heat and humidity, while sightseeing the day before, had tired all of us.

When the rain tapered off we ventured out for lunch and ended up exploring the streets and shops in the surrounding area.  Our group split up which left my son, Patrick, and I hanging out together.  JIading shoppingWe were wandering around, ambling in and out of the little shops when I spied a sign with a teapot.  Loving all things tea, and especially drinking tea in Asia, we went into the shop to see what was what. The shopkeeper seemed excited to see us and began talking to us.  Unfortunately, we had no idea what he was saying.  We wanted to ask him questions but were not able to communicate effectively with him.

Note….Patrick has had two years of high school Mandarin and both my fluent-speaking Mandarin son, Joshua, and me, his mom, (speaking absolutely no Mandarin) are highly impressed with how well he has been able to communicate.  However, this chatting was above his capabilities.

Finding no success in asking him if his teapots were for sale or display we left the shop to find Joshua and, upon our return, discovered this gentleman was completely delightful and wanted nothing more than to share his tea while working on his painting and flute-playing.

One of the things I love about staying in the less touristy areas is stumbling upon these amazing experiences that you can’t buy with money.  It had been a lazy, rainy day calling for a ponytail and no make-up.  No matter that I was ultra-casual though, our host could have cared less.  Discovering this hidden gem and being treated to an absolutely wonderful encounter completely made my day.

Jiading Tea

Looking Up – Jiading, Shanghai

Looking up to see Fahua Pagoda in the historical city of Jiading.

Originally constructed during the reign of Emperor Kaixi (1205-1207) during the Song Dynasty.  Seven Stories tall it has wooden stairs to the top which gives a birds-eye view of the city.

At night the lights make it even more special.

Jiading Fahua Pagoda

Life Around Jiading, Shanghai

No desert to be found anywhere near here as we are smack dab in the middle of a very large city.  In other words – We made it to Shanghai!  Despite a setback on our original travel day we did finally arrive, without further incident, on the next flight to China.  Shanghai, being on the southeastern coast of China, is hot and sticky but we are having a good time.

My son, Joshua, who lives here, met us at the airport and got us to our respective accommodations before we crashed for the evening. After all, jet lag does take a toll. For this trip we are staying north of Shanghai in the Jiading district.  It’s kind of like a suburb of Shanghai. My teenage boys – Patrick and Ben are staying at the apartment with Joshua and his Japanese wife, Ema, while my mom (Granny) and I are tucked away in a quaint little hotel in a historic part of the city.   We have been keeping it low key since we arrived – soaking up the local culture and becoming familiar with our surroundings.  It’s been lovely.

Jiading Villa Garden Hotel
Our boutique hotel
Jiading Villa Garden Hotel
The view from our room
Granny waving from the window in our room
Granny waving from the window in our room
Our private patio
Our private patio

Scooters are a way of life and it is amazing how creative people can get with transporting things and extra people.

These children were so cute – following me and practicing their English “hellos”.  I couldn’t resist taking their picture and they couldn’t resist hamming it up.

Shanghai McDonaldsMcDonalds

 

 

Adventures in Traveling

07 July 5 (3)

The sun is rising while I sit, looking out my hotel window, with a view of San Francisco Bay, watching as planes land and take-off.  It’s peaceful and I am relaxed and rested after a good night’s sleep. A far cry from the forbidden stress of a crazy travel day yesterday.

Ever heard that saying, “red in the morning, sailors take warning. Red at night, sailors delight.” For us yesterday it was fitting  except I would change ‘sailors’ to ‘travelers’.  When we left the house promptly at 6:00 am I commented on how intensely red the sky was and hoped it wasn’t a sign of the day to come.

It was.

Long story short – for the first leg of our travel we took two separate flights from Dallas to San Francisco.  Don’t ask – it’s just the way it was.  For me and my sixteen year old, Patrick, it was a breeze.  For my mom, aka Granny, and my fourteen year old, Ben, it wasn’t. While our flights were only 30 minutes apart for a variety of reasons we left right on time but they left 2 hours late.

Emma & PatrickIn the end, Patrick got to have a little adventure – taking an international flight all on his own while navigating security on this end and customs and immigration in China.  I can’t wait to hear the details when we finally catch up.

I stayed behind for Granny and Ben and the adrenaline flowed as we attempted to get them off quickly, claim their bags, run from the domestic terminal to the international and get bags rechecked for our next flight.

No such luck and we had to rebook to try again today.

While the day brought it’s fair share of stress we encountered a multitude of angels.  San Francisco peeps rock and we have met several wonderful people who did what they could to help us. It made the stress of the situation a little more bearable.

Ben and Teresa

Today is a new day and it will be a good one.  And, hopefully the next time I write it will be from our final destination in China!

安全旅行 和这一伟大的日子 safe travels and make it a great day in Mandarin (I think.) 🙂

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Small Roads

This challenge took me much longer than I had planned or anticipated.  It’s always fun, though, looking through my archives and taking that inevitable trip down memory lane.

My roads stretch from Texas and Tennessee to Europe, China and Japan.  I’m fond of saying, “Have passport – will travel” and I’m always ready for a new adventure!

St. Joe, TX 2001Visiting friends on their 100 acres in Texas.  So much land they had their own dirt roads.

Tennessee 2003Spending time in Tennessee when my baby was still a baby and my niece was still a little girl.(now she’s in college in Scotland!)

Small road and well-traveled alleyway off the beaten path in Beijing, China.

Great Wall, Beijing 2008

While the Great Wall may not qualify as a small street, alleyway, parking lot or driveway now, let’s face it – at one time or another it probably served each of those functions.

Co Cork 2008This small street in Co Cork, Ireland is similar to many streets found across the Atlantic pond. 

Brugge Belgium 2008The cobbled alleys in Bruge, Belgium took quaint to new heights.

Finally, Taiki-chō, Hokkaido, Japan.  Absolutely stunning country roads with the Hidaka Mountain Range in the background.

Thanks for joining me on my roads-less-traveled adventure today!