“So, Let us be Thankful”

Here in China, the leaves are changing, the air is permanently cold, and the count down for our time here has officially begun. We hit our “One More Month” mark a few days ago, and with only 26 days left in this beautiful country, we are trying to squeeze as much beauty and fun in as we can.Last Saturday, we joined a few of our friends and explored a bamboo forest about a hour and a half away from our home. It was FREEZING, but so amazing to see an abundance of the plant that fills up so much space in China.

We hiked for a while and also rode a cable car up to the top of a mountain in the forest. The temperature on the top of the mountain was even more unbearable, but like most miserable hikes or hard times, it paid off in the end. The views were incredible, I already know that I am going to miss this lush green landscape.On Sunday, knowing well how cold it was outside, we decided to go explore again. Like I said, with only 26 days left we are trying to do as much as we can, even if it means not being able to feel our faces, fingers, or toes.Being as crazy as we are, our friends Tanner, Jared and Montana joined us again. We went to lunch at our favorite noodle place and took the city bus to downtown Changzhou. We’ve lived here for 3 months, and haven’t seen the downtown of our home city, so we decided it was the perfect day to do so.We explored a Buddhist temple, and the beauty it held was way beyond any of our expectations. I’ll let these pictures do the talking.

After walking around the temple grounds, admiring the Chinese locals paying their respects to their Buddha, snapping way too many photos, and feeling like we had frost bite; we decided to get back on the city bus and go more downtown to a mall.

Our friends wanted to check out a DVD and CD store and they also heard of a Wal Mart being in that location. I mean, what’s more exciting than shopping at a Wal Mart that has Chinese prices? We found the DVD store, and they purchased a few movies for a very great price. After attempting to ask a few Chinese locals, and getting laughed at for being “Silly, Beautiful Americans” we never did find the Wal Mart. We ended up grabbing dinner and heading back to the school.With Thanksgiving being here, I am feeling a lot of emotions this week. One of them being; homesick. I am sad I am missing out on my Grandma’s mashed potatoes, laughing too hard with my in laws, drinking too much wine with my friends, and spending time with my sister and nieces who are in town this week.

I am also feeling happy. I am feeling happy that even though there will not be mashed potatoes or turkey, I will be able to indulge in authentic Chinese food that I know I will crave the second I step back into America. I am also happy to spend this week with my Chinese students who have filled my heart more than I ever thought was possible.

And I am happy to have my China family. Who were once all strangers, but are now a bunch of the craziest funnest friends I have ever had And the sweetest.And of course, grateful to spend this week with my husband who, even after spending every second together, for the last 11 weeks, somehow still enjoys my company and wants to be with me at all times. (Don’t worry, I feel the same about him.) 😉Above all I am feeling thankful. Thankful that I have not a lot, but a little more time in this country that has become my second home. Thankful that I have family, friends, and my fur babies who are SO excited to see us next month. Thankful that I am able to experience all of sounds, smells, and incredible sights of this world. Thankful for all of the moments, the good and bad, big and even small. And extremely thankful that I have my best friend by my side for every step of the way.“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us be thankful.”-Buddha

Happy Thanksgiving American Friends!

Onto the next adventure, Wren

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