China, Family, Father-daughter, Forbidden City, Gold Mountain Mansion, Kaiping, The Great Wall, Travel, Wong Tai Sin Temple
Returning from 11 days of cycling, touring, and service work in China means several things: I have enjoyed many snuggles from the girls since returning home. They seem determined to make up for lost time and I can’t say that I mind. 😉 It means I suddenly find myself in some sort of alternate universe where I am no longer magically served three meals a day. (What? I have to start meal planning and cooking again?!) It means a second cup of (half-caff) coffee is necessary to get me through my jet lagged afternoons…and it means it is time to start sorting through the 1200 photos I took. That’s a lot of photos.
Even while still in China I knew I would split the trip up into blogs on specific subjects but where to begin is a little overwhelming. Cycling through southern China? Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village? Hong Kong? The Forbidden City? The Great Wall? The “artistic” (or my attempt at them!) photos? What is the appropriate kick off for my series on the China trip? Ultimately I decided I should start with where the trip started: with my dad.
My dad has been taking student groups into China since his days of teaching at Hong Kong International School. The tradition continued after moving back to the United States. As more schools became interested in going, Pathways International Ministries was born. If you have a school, church, or family group that would like to go to China…I know a guy! 😉 I was blessed to be brought along on the latest trip with a high school from southern California. It was a phenomenal trip with a phenomenal group of people!
Since I would never have gone if it weren’t for my dad, I thought I would start the photos with our father-daughter shots from the trip! Thanks for the amazing trip and priceless memories dad! I love you!
In front of Wong Tai Sin Temple in our old stomping grounds: Hong Kong
Standing among the unique architecture of Ding Gong Village – which has been ‘discovered’ since dad first started taking students here thanks to a recent film ‘Let the Bullets Fly.’
On top of a Gold Mountain Mansion in Kaiping
Stopping in a rice paddy during one of our days of bikingDragon Air presented us with $75HKD to spend on food when our flight was delayed to Beijing. Having just eaten dinner, we spent our free airport money wisely: on French Macarons! Dad was about to try them for the first time ever. Not bad for having been made in Asia but they didn’t hold a candle to Laduree in Paris!
The Forbidden City. We arrived at our hotel at 3:07AM the night before…do we look like it? The Great Wall – Hiking the Jinshanling to Simatai portionCherry Blossoms in full bloom reach over The Great WallPlenty to come on the rest of our trip but that’s all my jet-lagged mind will allow for now!
Wow Sarah – this looks incredible and like the trip you’ll never forget with your dad. How special!
Thanks Lori!! It was priceless. I look forward to someday going back if he ever needs me to lead a trip but it won’t be the same without him!
Love the pictures, especially the one with the rice fields behind you. And the Great Wall is so clear. I was just in Guangdong Province visiting our girls scholarship winners in the northwest part. I always enjoy eating the food, talking with the teachers and students, and just interacting with all the curious people who stare at you. I have fund memories doing a bike trip with your Dad at Easter time in 1991 – again, it’s as if all those people in rural China are just waiting to be entertained by strange gwailos who like to bike rather than taking a bus or car. It’s always fun!
Thank you! I love that they are just as curious and amused by us today as they were 20 years ago! We had the chance to go (in small groups) throughout many villages interacting, asking people questions about their lives, and were even able to go into some of their homes while we talked. I wish I could go as regularly as you still get to!
Yes, that’s true – still so curious! Speaking of listening to the villagers, here’s a speech that one of the girls, Sally (she’s the one we’re interviewing in the picture at the top of my blog entry that you commented on), wrote and then delivered last weekend at our HKIS fashion show that raised money for the girls. Her father passed away, but the three very bright children continue to pursue their dreams. Sally scored #23 out of her class of 2000 – about top 1% – on her exams!
Hello, my Chinese name is Chen Minzhen and my English name is Sally. I study in senior two of Xiangshan Middle School. It’s my honor to give you this speech and to thank you for your support.
Now, let me tell you something about myself. There are 4 people in my family, my mother, elder brother, younger sister and me. Let tell you about the most important person in my life – that is my mother. In the past ten years, she has raised us by herself. She works day and night in order to make money for us to study at school. Every night she washes dishes at a restaurant and doesn’t get home until 2:00am. In the day time, she usually does farm work. When I see her go to bed with her tired body, I always feel sad.
In 2010 CWEF gave me a scholarship, and this has changed my life. Before being sponsored, it was very difficult for me to pay for my tuition. I always worried about whether I could continue my studies or not. My mother always had to go into debt to borrow money from my family. Ever since CWEF has sponsored me, everything has changed. No more borrowing money, no more worrying whether I have to quit and get a job. Now I can try my best to study as hard as I can.
Do you want to know what my dream is? I want to be an English teacher or an interpreter, because I really like speaking English. I think English is a very beautiful, international language, and I can know more about the world by learning English. If I have a chance to travel, I want to travel to London, England. I really want to see the famous buildings there, like Big Ben. Although my dream is far away from me, I believe that if I can try my best to study hard, keep practicing my spoken English, I will achieve my dream sooner or later. Life is full of ups and downs. With your help, I will choose to go forward bravely to reach my dreams.
I also want to help people who are struggling in China. I believe every poor student who has a dream should be helped. In the future I want to give hope to other students.
That’s all. Thank you for listening my speech.
The speech was very well-spoken and well-received by the 800 people who attended. We raised about $35,000 US for the girls scholarship program.
Oh, that made me tear up! It’s wonderful for the kids to see the direct impact on someone’s life of what they are doing!