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Today, we spent the day visiting the Tianzi mountains, just north of Zhangjiajie, also called the « Alleluia » mountains, where some famous « Avatar » movie scenes were shot. The clouds (and even a bit of rain just after our lunch) didn’t prevent us and many other Chinese tourists to discover these amazing landscapes, and bring back a few pictures to make sure you’ll want to go see them too!
This week-end, we went on a « Wild Great Wall » hike on Saturday, and visiting the Lama Temple and area in Beijing on Sunday.
It took us 2 buses, and a boring 5 hours in traffic to get to the starting point of the hike, but it was well worth it. We first had a good lunch, and then climbed to the wall, and walked a 10km loop up and down. At some point we were in the clouds, adding a touch to the wild ambiance, and we only crossed the path of one other group in almost 4 hours of walking. The kids waked all the way, in front of everyone most of the time! The ride back was much faster, and everyone was really tired.
It was therefore much easier on Sunday, when we experienced a Chinese Hot Pot restaurant after strolling in a Hutong, and then visited the Lama Temple.
Here are some pictures and video of the week-end:
One year ago Mister E who never speaks about China, asked me if we could celebrate his next birthday there the next time. It was a very good timing because I had very similar plans. Today, that very special day has finally happened and it could not have been better or could not have brought more feelings of gratitude and bliss.
This morning, we celebrated just the 4 of us to give E his presents.
Then in the afternoon, we had the privilege and luck to go meet with Mister E’s foster family. This man and this woman, who now have a grandson, have taken care of 12 children in the past 8-10 years, including E. They are currently taking care of 2 New Day children and keep giving their time and their love. They were very impressed to see how tall E has grew and did confirm a bunch of things about him, including how he has always been a good sleeper and that he was already pretty stubborn at 2 years old! They were very happy to look at his pictures and were also kind to give him presents.
At 5pm we invited the staff and the volunteers to come share a birthday cake with us. Mister E received more presents from the staff, including from the gardener and his wife, who adored him when he was at New Day, and who are extremely happy he has been able to come back to visit. Again, as often seen since we arrived here, but in a more visible way in small and big gestures, we could see how much our son was protected, cared and beloved while he was staying here. It make us feel so much joy and gratitude. And to be able to share this day with all the generous people who loved him early in his life, it gives a feeling of something that is complete, like a full circle…until the next one…
Today, we went to visite the Temple of Heaven. Beautiful, but such a hot day!
It’s been more than a week now that we arrived in Beijing, and we’re settling down. The jet lag is now over, and we have found our way around for most of the little necessities of life, such as groceries, laundry, restaurants, getting around and of course what is expected of us here at New Day. Our kids are enjoying a VBS camp that will last 2 weeks, with lots of other kids, activities and fun. Juliette spends a lot of time in the Foster Home, helping the nannies with the kids activities as much as she can. Alex is taking tons of pictures of the kids (if you check New Day’s web site or Facebook, you may see some pictures of the beautiful children taken by him), and is also helping with a project to create videos to teach sign language to nannies and volunteers. We also attend a Chinese class daily, and all this fills our days pretty quickly. The week-end is dedicated to relaxing or visiting around or like today meeting with Yulin (our amazing adoption agency director) and her family in her favourite restaurant.
If we are very impressed by the very good organization of the volunteers staff and the great management of the New Day Foster Home, the most important thing in all this is the amount of love poured in this amazing place for the kids who needs it so much. This feeling is so important for us, as we realize now how much love E. was given when he stayed here for 1.5 years. Giving back a little bit makes even more sense to us now that we can see in action how much attention, care and tenderness can help these children bloom and become what they are meant to be.
Friday: we were able to start volunteering. Juliette did some painting and then spent some time with the children of the foster home, and Alex took pictures and shared some of his knowledge on photography, while M and E did some homework, took naps and then went to play with the other kids of volunteers.
Saturday: weekends are free so we take this opportunity to do some laundry and groceries, as well as relax and rest. The weather is still stormy and rainy, with the benefit of not being too hot while very humid.
We are enjoying the food, which is yummy and cheap and complete the local diet of noodles, rice and veggies with some yogurts and bread in the morning.
Tomorrow we plan to go to the city (New Day is in the country side which we like).