Friday, November 14, 2008

Looking Back at Hangzhou Part 1

I just realized we're about to reach the one year anniversary of coming home from China (Sunday), and I haven't even revisited Hangzhou or Guangzhou...OR Ian's Forever Family Day.

I realized, amidst being sicker than I've been in a while, that revisiting the China trip has been harder than I thought it would be. Is it a bit of depression about putting this milestone behind me?...Like saying I have to look forward now and not back? Is it the fact that I miss China and felt such a connection to the people and country during that trip...with a purpose for our time there that most people will never understand...and this anniversary means that time is a little further away now? I don't know. It has been hard though.

To make up for it, I've posted our favorite Hangzhou pictures. We were there from November 3rd through the 11th last year and I can't think of another part of China I would want a part of our lives. From the Buddhist monastery, to the tea plantations, to West Lake, to the waterfront... We only saw a fraction of the city, but what we did see was amazing.

We had planned to take a 2 hour train ride from Hangzhou up to Shanghai for one of our free days before meeting Ian, but our guide asked us not to. She did not want anything to happen to us so close to our big day. I can understand that. We were technically there to complete a business would be like going white water rafting 2 days before giving birth. Probably not a good idea.

We did do a bunch of great sightseeing those first days. Check out our Hangzhou posts here here here and here for a trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, I was posting some of my pictures to Photobucket because of the Internet connections there, but those links are gone now, so unfortunately some of those pictures don't show up.

Once we had Ian with us, our guide really slacked off and wasn't a great resource from that point on. She essentially took us out in the morning, but then had us back to the hotel by 11 and we were left to ourselves for the rest of the day. After a couple of days of that, we started doing 2 things: 1) Venturing out on our own... with Ian in the hip carrier, it was a piece of cake and we had a blast meeting locals with Ian. 2) Offering to pay for our guide to take us places. We bought her dinner a couple of times and at that point she was willing to spend more time with us. It is what it is...

We still loved Hangzhou and can't wait to go back and share it's history with Ian. Even though he is from Wenzhou, 4 hours south by train, we feel a special connection to Hangzhou.

What's happening present day? Well, Ian's speech therapist continues to be amazed at how great he is doing. He is consistently making huge strides with each meeting (every other week). He is making more complex sentence strings and is starting to use action words and prepositions, which he hadn't been doing with consistency.

He has developed a passion for the Disney cartoon Little Einsteins. I've tried Tivo'ing Ni Hao Kai Lan, Go Diego, and Thomas Train... But he loses interest after a few minutes. Not the case with Little Einsteins. He talks about Einsteins and "rocket" all the time and asks about 100 times a day if he can watch. I usually let him watch an episode every couple of days, or a couple on Friday morning when I go to work later. From only a few weeks of that, he can now differentiate between cello, violin, piano, flute, and drums. He has also developed a love for singing...rather having me sing to him. He'll say something like "train" and I have to sing "Wheels on the Bus" with what a train does on the bus... Everything on the bus. For hours. No wonder I lost my voice last week! He also loves You Are My Sunshine, and I love the look on his face when I sing it to him at bedtime. He knows every word. It's so cute.

Tonight, he's having another sleepover with Grandma Trish and Grandpa Tom. I suggested it this morning so Shawn and I could go to dinner and a movie, and Grandma was more than happy to agree. It's a little too quiet, Polli doesn't know what to do with herself, and I have no idea what I'm going to do with free time tomorrow morning... But I'm proud of myself for caving in again. It's good for Ian and probably good for us, too. Should I have a glass of wine? Yes, I think I should!

Below are some of our favorites from days 1 and 2 in Hangzhou... I'll post more in a couple of days from our other 4 days there before moving on to Guangzhou.

Our first picture in Hangzhou. In front of "Broken Bridge" on West Lake. We got some strange looks... we were among the only "Westerners" in the city. I also got a lot of pointing and rubbing arms, like it was WAY to cold for short sleeves... it was in the upper 60's, but most everyone was in sweaters and several layers.

Our surrogate Polli was ready to meet Ian.

At Lingyin Temple & Buddha Mountain, where there are hundreds of Buddhas carved straight into the mountainside. This one site would be worth a trip to China alone. We now wish we would have gone back to see more.

One of my favorite Buddhas

I loved the lake inlets. This picture really expressed the peacefulness of this sanctuary for me

Pictures were not allowed inside the temples, but there were hundreds of these buildings...and so much to see and no way to describe it in words.

The hillsides just went on forever. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, yet we were only a few minutes from the city.

The Chen Family Dragonwell Tea plantation behind us. This too went on forever.

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean - now the trip is over a year behind us - and it is bittersweet in some ways. Now I am already looking forward to our heritage trip - which will be in like 8 or 9 years - LOL!