Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Puppies are coming!!

YIPPEE!! Moby is a father!! 3 out so far...more on the way. The momma was huge so we're expecting a bunch. My kids would hardly go to bed because they thought it was about to happen. They will be so excited tomorrow.

I'm free entertainment

I can't even begin to explain all the stuff that has been shooting bullets at me the last few days. I refuse to let Satan win...instead I am laughing at myself. Here is a small glimpse of it:

My kids were very late this morning to school. The spare car keys to E's car were lost while we were China. I called him home...and out of a meeting (he was a happy camper...the keys were in his pocket). Ignition was were the doors. Everyone crawled in the car through the driver side door, which we leave open just a hair due to no door handle which is why it wasn't frozen. (it gets better) Then I'm running late to pick up my friends' kid and take her to preschool. The babysitter doesn't like me much. I get her buckled in her car seat in the car (finally able to open ONE of the back doors). I go to get in and the handle-less door left ajar has now latched shut. I panicked a bit as I smiled at my friend in the backseat, remembering all the other doors were still frozen shut. But, I was able to man handle the passenger door a bit and crawl over to the driver side. I'm sure the show was very entertaining.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Lucy fell asleep in the car on the way home from guitar at 4:30 pm. I left her in the car in the garage when we got home. I was on the phone with my sister for a long time and as we got off I realized Lucy still hadn't come inside. I went out and woke her but she wasn't having it. So I put her to bed. Yep. 4:30 in the afternoon. And what happened at 8:45 pm just as I got the rest in bed??? Another yep. She woke up. What was I thinking??? Seriously, I thought she'd sleep through the night. She's done it from 5:30 or 6 pm before since school started. It's rough being in kindergarten.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


A few weeks ago our Saturday night small group had some leftover canned whipping cream. It got even wilder after the kids had their share and the adults started in...

Our Sunday night prayer group doesn't always get this wild. A bunch of people gone from the Thanksgiving holiday so we hung out and looked at pictures. Mark played along while Lucy made him Queen...glad he didn't have to participate in full attire. :)


This is the only picture I took for Thanksgiving!! UGH! Taken at Lucy's school party. Our Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. We spent it with friends who graciously invited us so we wouldn't be alone. We had a really relaxing day hanging out. Our kids were entertained by the other kids and we hardly saw them. We are so thankful for friends here in Iowa.

I was talking with Jake and Alex one night and they were telling me what they were thankful for. Alex's was a very sweet list of family, God, books, and friends. Jake's was...truly a Jake thought. He was thankful for the magnetic solar rays that protect us from the harmful rays coming from the sun (ok, so maybe I didn't remember that exactly right but you get the point).

Crazy Hair Day

As we scurried off to school last Wednesday just before Thanksgiving break I stopped the car in the driveway to quickly capture the essence of crazy hair day...Buller style.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


E and I are thoroughly enjoying just "being" the last few days. Today he even went to the store with me and helped me get groceries. I can't remember the last time that happened. We are so blessed to have his schooling behind us. Jet lag is slowly leaving our bodies and I am recovering a bit quicker than E. The kids were on their best behaviors while we were gone but let the cork pop when we came home. They've been bouncing off the walls and a little wild. We are working on it. :) So much to be thankful for as we start this week. Although not just because it is Thanksgiving. There's so much to be thankful everyday no matter what week it is.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


  • All luxery cars are black or dark blue. There are no SUV's and all vans look like condensed versions of American styles.
  • The traffic is wild to a newcomer in China. But once you've ridden in traffic with a competant driver for a few days you begin to recognize how in sinc everyone is with one another. The accidents are minimal and although cars come within inches of one another during a lane change it really is safe. The traffic seems to lean. If you want in another lane you begin to lean towards it and soon you are there. Sometimes our driver would just drive in two lanes until he knew which one suited him. We would stop in the middle of an intersection while he assessed where he was at and everyone around him would just wait. There was no road rage or anger. Everyone used their horn for a friendly acknowledgment that they might drive by you on the shoulder.
  • Cars drive up behind a pedestrian and honk and blink thier lights and come within a foot of hitting them but the pedestrian doesn't even flinch.
  • Little chinese women have no problems running in high heels.
  • Women walk around arm and arm with their girlfriends. Even I got used to this with my chaparone. It is a refreshing sign of friendship. Although I was a little taken back the first time I saw two men with their arms around each other...and then two more and then two more. Eric laughed as he explained it was a cultural thing too. Nothing odd about it.
  • You can have a friendly negotiation on a shopping outage but if you walk away without buying something, the merchants turn bi-polar. Eric was cussed at in Chinese a few times. I took lessons and decided to buy and avoid the heated confrontation caused by walking away.
  • There are a lot of kind, good people in China. Most are lost. Every time I rode in a taxi or spoke to someone on the street I prayed for them. It was an experience I'll never forget.

Lost in Translation

Sometimes the english version of a Chinese sign doesn't quite jive.
We went to hear this jazz band one night. They are legendary in Shanghai. Tony Blair among other "special" people had been to see them. I used to play the sax in a jazz band through high school. It was cool but not so legendary for me. Eric was thoroughly enthralled with the band and even took a video of them at one point to send to some of his ALP buddies. He joked this could be them in 30 or 40 years. The drummer was especially humorous. At one point a group of elderly gentlemen got up and left (about 10 pm) before they turned into pumpkins. It was so sweet how they waved at their friends as they left. While playing, their friends waved back. These guys play almost every night from 8:00 pm - 1:30 am.

When traffic is annoying the drivers just use the sidewalk.

My babysitter, Ice. We were killing time during a meeting. There's only so much shopping one can do. Most of my list was checked off and I had all the silk I could handle for one trip.

Food Continued

Let's face it. I will never be as adventurous as Eric. They knew better than to offer me locust or cockroaches. I passed up eel. But I did try my first fresh water hairy crab.

I also had to bypass watching people when we ate. I had removed the vision of everyone double dipping their chopsticks in the community dishes. Our host would order a large variety of entrees and they would be put on a rotating shelf in the middle of the table. You would take a little and eat it and then take a little more. It was quite a germ-sharing experience at every meal.


The fruit in China was so yummy. Much more tasty than America...or maybe I was just really hungry for "normal" food. :) Every time I ordered fruit it was a work of art.

This became my favorite type of food. Thai. I now love Thai food.

I drank coconut juice out of a freshly cut coconut. I also experienced watermelon juice and cucumber juice.


There were so many buildings in Shanghai with TV's on the side of it or 2 or 3 stories long in lights. This building had both. Very flashy.

This is the old market we shopped in. I am now a very good negotiator. I may never be as good as Eric but I can hold my own.

This is me and my babysitter, Ice. She chaparoned me during the day and took Eric and I shopping and out to eat one night. She was a little Chinese woman about the size of Alex. She was so much fun and like so many in China she had a servant's heart.

Shanghai Night Life

This is a work of art. Eric couldn't get a good picture of the lights in this place so he took a picture while shaking the camera. Very impressive.

The first night in Shanghai the supplier took us to this night club. It was a 70's retro bar. We tried to capture the atmosphere but failed miserabley. There were laser lights and mirrors and disco music playing. The thing about China is it is very safe. The worst crimes we heard of were pick pockets. There aren't drugs and the clubs are very clean. The workers all wear matching uniforms...retro orange long sleeve button ups with black pants. At this place we had popcorn and there were 3 or 4 workers who stood around our couched area and picked up every piece of popcorn we dropped within minutes. If you needed something they were right there. The only thing hard to get out of the Chinese is the bill when you want to leave.


We stepped out of the secured area of the airport to see a Chinese man (the tallest I've ever seen) waiting for us, holding a sign with Eric's name on it. He spoke no English. The Chinese are incredibly kind people with the heart of caretakers. He right away took our luggage and ushered us outside. The driver was in a brand new dark blue BMW. The seats were so comfortable and I was so exhausted. This same driver took us anywhere we wanted to go the rest of the week. Although there was a language barrier this man showed us incredible kindness and humor. He would stay out with us until midnight and then report back to work at 8:30 the next morning. Lazy is not a word the Chinese know very well until they meet an American. :)

Walking into the hotel Sunday afternoon I saw more Westerners (as we were referred to as) in the hotel lobby than I had seen in all of Shenzhen and Xiamen. The hotel lobby was fascinating. Although you could see the age beginning to wear on the hotel as a whole, the sights were still amazing. This was Shanghai's first 5 star hotel. The floral arrangements in every area were enormously magnificent.
The staircase was lit up at night and was cool looking.

The outside of the hotel from the car on the highway.
This view is from our room on the 7th floor. The first night we had a room on the 15th floor and this view was much cooler. This highway interchange looked like a huge hotwheels toy with multi-faceted parts.

I could see this expo center from our window. The screen in the middle ran a buick commerical all day long. I didn't watch TV in the hotel but could watch wherever I went in the city.

We were now in the most densely populated city in the world. Over 18 million people.

Xiamen Continued

Look at the very top of the white building. PIZZA HUT!! In Xiamen this is known as quite an exotic resturaunt. I would say because of it's view. These people have a bit of a let down if they every travel to the US and try to eat at Pizza Hut.

Friday, November 17, 2006


The best part of our whole trip was the weekend we took off and went to Xiamen. It is an island just off the coast (still China). The views were breathtaking and sometimes if I didn't know better it felt like Southern California with the palm trees and ocean breeze. We were still in a third world country bound by political agendas but here in Xiamen all the hustle and bustle of China seemed to come to a stand still for us. This island contained about 1.5 million people. It seemed like a little town compared to the big cities we experienced. While here we traveled by ferry across to a neighboring island called Gulangyu. On this island no cars were allowed and all work was done by hand. The buildings were old and historical and the stories we heard by locals were at times hard to hear after years of persecution. The beauty of this old village island was incomparable to that of any other places we visited in all of China. The peacefulness and the serenity we found here were unbelievable. We walked around most of the island and finished our day with our only trip to McDonald's. We worshiped in a registered international church the next morning where Chinese were not allowed. The service ended with groups gathering for prayer. In our group we prayed with a Japanese couple, a Canadian woman with a Chinese heritage, a Canadian man, and a Liberian man. All people from different walks of life gathered in one place, in a country not our own, to bond together as Christians. It was a very moving experience for us both. We left that church service feeling very humbled and encouraged. And we left Xiamen to head to Shanghai, not wanting to really leave at all.

I fell in love with the Chinese children.

We ate at this beautiful beach-side Chinese restaurant. The views were amazing.

On the island of Gulangyu. These men ran hauling loads of rock. They were incredibly strong. The work ethic in China is hard to put into words.

Looking back at Xiamen from Gulangyu.


Ok, this may just be pictures of a hotel room but this was my scenery for about 2 1/2 days. I was very glad when we left Shenzhen.

The highlight of last week was the completion of Eric's MBA after two long years of sharing him with work and school. The only night we ate outside the hotel was Chinese Hot Pot night which ended up being very tasty. A cross between Fondue and Borcsht. Shenzhen was a little more of a dirty area. We walked around after we ate Hot Pot and I kept smelling a weird smell. I questioned Eric about it and he said, "It's China." And yes, after several days I realized that most places I went smelled the same. Kind of like the back alley at Peking. :) When we got back to the hotel after walking around I took my shoes off and noticed the socks I had put on just before leaving for dinner were trimmed in dirt and grime. I was wearing jeans so I can just imagine how dirty they'd have been had I worn capri's. My first encounters in this new land were immersed in germs and bacteria...all of which we all know I do well with. I also had my first view of a child using the restroom in the middle of a shopping square.

We stayed at a nice hotel in Shenzhen. I think it was the nicest hotel we stayed at the whole trip, although the one in Shanghai was a 5 star. The food in the hotel in Shenzhen was very good - a nice mix of Chinese and Western (American). Except for the weekend getaway, Eric managed to eat Sushi every morning for breakfast. He is very proud of this.

After staying up all night Friday night (10th) we took off for the airport and to be honest I was not sad to leave Shenzhen. I will really be fine if I never have to go back to that city of about 8 million people.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Home. Alive. Sleepy.

I'll catch up on the blog when I catch up on my sleep! :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I'm behind on my blogging so I will quickly try to post some pictures and catch up a bit. Eric is leaving soon for work so I don't have much time.

First and foremost, I spent many days and nights in the hotel last week but the fruits of this are that Eric has finally completed school successfully. He passed the last two classes. We pulled an all-nighter Friday night to make it happen. Praise God it is done. I had to help keep him awake as the jet lag kicked him in the buns and he had trouble each night trying to catch up and keeping his eyes open at the same time. Eric didn't want me to go out and walk around much until he had time to go with me. I did walk around a little on my own last week but this week I am fairly acclimated to everything and feel alright about exploring on my own. We are 14 hours ahead of Iowa time and so it has been a challenge to call the kids before Eric leaves for work in the morning (it is evening there...I always hated it when he would call me in the morning rush) so I haven't gotten to talk to them as much as I'd like. I do miss them terribly. Last week we were in Shenzhen. Shenzhen wasn't quite as exciting as our weekend getaway to Xiamen. Sunday we flew into Shanghai to continue business and finish out the trip. I'll try to post later tonight some of my observations and culture-shock. :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'm in

We walked through this building to get "cross" the border.
My first views just inside China after leaving customs.

We are in Shenzhen for a few days.