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Love is…

By on Oct 30, 2014 in Inspiration - Thoughtful Thursdays | 4 comments

We just celebrated our second wedding anniversary a few days ago, and each year I love to look back through our wedding photos. It so lovely to again lose myself in what a joyful wedding celebration we had. We could not have asked for a lovelier day and lovelier people to be with, it was simply magical. Something I want to start doing every year on our anniversary is to read the verse we used for our wedding sermon. I think that there is no better reminder of what love should be like than that verse: “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy, love does not boast, love is not proud. Love does not dishonour others, love is not self seeking, love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs, love does not delight in evil, love rejoices with the truth. Love always protects. Love always trusts. Love always hopes. Love always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians...

Sidewalk games

By on Oct 27, 2014 in Life in Yunnan | 4 comments

When we first got to China Pete and I were avid backgammon players, and we had the coolest little roll up travel set to play with. We made the mistake of playing a game in public once or twice and then retired to playing at home only. The reason for our sudden retreat from public game playing was the Chinese’s deep love for board games of any sort – from Mah Jong, Wei Qi (“Go”) and Xiang Qi (“Chinese chess”) to sidewalk poker. Within minutes we had a horde of onlookers, muttering advice and commenting on what we were doing. When they realised we could not understand them (at that time we could barely say “hello” in Chinese) they resorted to giving us thumbs up or thumbs down when we made our moves. It was quite difficult to focus on the game with all that attention! I adore walking around the city and seeing groups of people huddled around a game of some sorts dotted all along...

Pregnant in China

By on Oct 22, 2014 in Life in Yunnan | 10 comments

I’m 12 and a half weeks pregnant! And may I add I am super chuffed with myself for managing to keep the secret this long. It has been so tempting to tell everyone about it.   The past 8 weeks has been a blur of beds for me, I was fortunate enough to skip the morning sickness but wow the need for sleep all but consumed me! I managed to drag myself through the mornings at the rehabilitation clinic and barely got home before I fell asleep. Then I would wake up, mid afternoon, eat something and go back to bed, only to wake up for dinner and go back to bed at about 9pm again. This finally stopped around 11 and a half weeks and now I am getting back to my normal routine of teaching, blogging and crafting in the afternoons which is great! It has been quite a roller coaster of emotions being pregnant in China, I think part of my extreme sleepiness was my body’s way of coping with the...

Keeping a promise – The Getu village rice thresher project

By on Oct 19, 2014 in Volunteer work and fundraising | 2 comments

Last year in October 2013, Pete and I went to the tiny village of Getu in Southern China for a climbing holiday. It is a stunning part of the world, filled with fields of rice crop that change colour with the seasons. From lush greens to soft yellows and chocolate-like browns. The entire landscape is dotted with towering karst mountains and barrel shaped water buffaloes. We love that place… Last year was the first time I had seen a rice harvest take place and it knocked me off my feet to see people toil like that; day in and day out they whack big bundles of rice plants against wooden tubs in an effort to separate the grain from the plant. The average annual income for a rural family in China is roughly 5000CNY a year, and a mechanical rice threshing machine costs 1000-2000CNY. Saving up for one of these machines is something only those who have family members who work in the cities...

Carving a house

By on Oct 13, 2014 in Travel in China | 6 comments

I used to accompany Pete on all of his agro-forestry field trips. He goes to the most amazing places for his research, places that are not on any tourist map of Yunnan. Many places are still just the way they were hundreds of years ago, tucked away behind hills and mountains and roads so bad that I was like the A-Team’s Mr T on those roads – I had to be drugged senseless else I would either claw a hole in Pete’s arm from fear or I would vomit my lungs out the whole way. Whenever I came to from my drug induced slumber (Pete thought it is important that I point out the slumber was due to my anti-motion sickness pills, not something illegal!) I did appreciate the stunning scenery as well as the driver’s incredible skill at avoiding killing us all by driving off the un barricaded road sides. On one of these trips we were very close to the border of China and Myanmar, in an area...

China recycles

By on Oct 6, 2014 in Life in Yunnan | 3 comments

You won’t go far in Kunming, or any other place in China for that matter, without seeing someone somehow transporting a mountain of waste products. Be it paper, plastic, styrofoam, or scrap metal… People carry bags of waste on long bamboo poles slung across their shoulders, they haul it along on their backs and they strap it to tricycles. There is literally an army of people who scour the streets and rubbish bins everyday in search for something that they can take to a recycling depot. As Mr Wu who works at the rehab clinic with me says: ”China has the manpower for this. So many people walk around everyday trying to find something to do to buy food, so they pick up rubbish and sell it to the depots” The rehab clinic where i work is situated above one of these depots, one of hundreds in Kunming city. They load the one and only truck they have up to the heavens with one type of waste and...