Thursday, June 23, 2011

China Part 1

My China trip was so amazing and so life changing- that I don't know how to blog about it. I cannot explain into words the impact that this trip had on me. In fact, I am not even sure that I know to what extent it has changed me. So let me walk you through our adventure as best I can, and show you this country that I love.

We travelled for 24 hours and I didn't sleep the night before we left because my mind was so full of the thoughts and fears of leaving my family and store after that tornado. So I was pretty tired, but you can't just go to sleep when you get to China!
So what do you do? You find coffee!!! Most of you know I can drink some coffee, but I found my match here with Steve. We always backed each other up on "its time for some coffee."
This little place is called Maan Coffee and it had the neatest atmosphere. After you place your order, instead of a number or name, they give you a different color teddy bear to sit on your table. Poor dad misinterpreted and thought the cute little cashier was giving the loud foreigner a gift. That was an awkward moment for everyone. It also had wifi, so I could check for Blake's emails which always made me laugh.
The hotel we stayed at during our first leg in Beijing, was the Rosedale. It was a very nice hotel with a delicious breakfast buffet. We could have anything from eggs(boiled) and fruit to a "make your own noodle bowl bar." You pick what all you want to go in your noodles and then he boils it. I miss good noodles.
There was a beautiful park across the street from our hotel where we would go walk in the morning (hence the foggy atmosphere). Although, air quality is not comparable to Tuscaloosa. You would see people walking, doing tai chi with their pet birds hanging in cages in the trees, and one particular lady caught my attention as she walked in circles screaming one note at the top of her lungs. I am tempted to try that here because it seems like a good way to let out some negative energy, but I'm afraid I would be carted off to the loony bin.
I also saw this sign that caught my attention: Children's Pleasure Ground. It did look quite pleasurable.
Our first adventure was the very next day speaking to the Fast Food Association of China. We went to a deliciously famous Peking duck restaurant for lunch. It was very kind of our hosts to take us there. I fumbled throught the meal, messing up some of the customs, and choked down duck feet and duck tongue like a champ. It was a great learning experience for me, and I hope that if they ever let me go again, I will be far more polished.

This is our meal. Notice the fancy chopsticks. Good stuff! And kiwi juice.

Now it is time to speak! My topic was on how to "Engage and Develop Others." I struggled my first presentation because I wasn't comfortable working with a translator yet. That takes time to learn and find a rhythm. I think I was doing much better by my last one. Plus I'm a freak, and enjoy speaking to large audiences. These days were so fun!

They allowed us to walk through their Restaurant Association Expo that they were finishing setting up for the next day. It was quite impressive and would have thrilled most of my Chick-fil-A friends.

I must close with a picture of the toilets that they use. Our hotels had western syle toilets, however this is what we came across in public. Our first leg of the trip was a short stay in Beijing and then we were off to Anshan. I hope to post Part 2 very soon!