Off to Dalian

A few weeks ago we took a half hour flight, across the Yellow Sea, to the seaside city of Dalian.

We were excited to finally get to check out Dongying's new airport. The airport in Dongying only services a few flights a day to about 5 different locations. Dalian was one of those locations. So, since the flight was so cheap, and short, we decided to jump on a plane and see something new!
First night in Dalian, we checked into our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, compliments of Zachary's awesome dad :), and headed to grab something to eat!

Next to our hotel was a food stall street, where we found some delicious lamb kebabs for an appetizer!
For dinner we found, none other than, Pizza Hut! And man o man, it was delicious (way better than in the States)! Zachary fully enjoyed his 5 pieces of pizza!
After dinner, we took a walk around the city and enjoyed the colorful night lights.

We thought this ball was pretty cool! It lit up in all different colors and made a great sight for the middle of the traffic circle.
Giant Saxophone.
Check out this KFC. 

We had a great first night in Dalian!

More Pictures from Qingdao

Zachary says this is the perfect picture of me. Coffee and a travel book. :)

This is what the babes wear in China. Split bottom pants!

Zachary's treat at Hagaan Daaz.

A wedding was taking place at the hotel across the street while we were in Qingdao. Drums and a huge black car procession were all part of the wedding fun!

Foot Massages-Qingdao

We have heard great things about China's cheap foot massages. We decided to give them a try in Qingdao! 

We sat in comfy chairs and drank some tea, to better enjoy our massages. :) 

Check out this fire, glass jar technique! It felt pretty nice!

 Zachary is really loving his massage!

Zachary had a double massage! His legs and feet were going         everywhere!

Some Helpful Wisdom on how to Stay Green

"Mom, we should use phosphate-free detergent."

"Mom, would you like to change the washbasin a new model of water-saving tap?"

"Please cherish and protect environment by planting more trees."

"Consume all oxygen."

"How hot it is!" "It is no good." "What kind of disease it is?"

"Man, how irritating the black fume exhausted from these cars is!"

"Black fume is discharged arbitrarily. I'll report it to authorities."

"We should serve multiple purposes with the same quantity of water."

"Is this water supply company? Here is a water pipe broken."

"Don't pour trash on the bank of the river. it's illegal."

"What JiaJia's classmate said is right, we should economize paper."

"Refrigerator and air conditioner used in our family are freon free and environment friendly. "

"After changing it, the energy saving light is brighter and energy saving."

"You see, I have finished the food completely!"

Chateau Huadong Parry Winery-Qingdao

We took a taxi out to the Chateau Huadong Parry Winery and were splendidly surprised to find a beautiful, European style winery just outside of Qingdao, near Lao Mountain (Lao Shan.)
The only way to get to the winery is by taxi or by setting up a tour via a travel agent. We were very happy to go on our own. For 160 yuan, our taxi driver took us from the city center, to the winery, stayed for 2 hours, and drove us home. It was a little pricey but worth it.
We had a private tour of the winery by our tour guide, Alice, who spoke excellent English.

Seafood- Qingdao

Qingdao is famous for it's delicious seafood, so of course, we had to try some!

We found a popular Seafood Street and choose the busiest restaurant. (That means it's good, right? :)  )

The restaurant had a huge section of tanks filled with live sea creatures. To choose our dishes, we pointed to the sea creatures of choice. :)

With the help of some new friends we met at the restaurant, we selected a delicious meal.

This is our new found favorite, gala, spicy stir fried clams. Amazing and well known in Qingdao!

A seafood classic, crab. Crab is good no matter where you get it and here was no exception. Though this guy did lack the quantity of meat us Texans prefer. :)Isn't he cute? Look at those eyes.

We had to try something really exotic, so we choose starfish! Surprisingly it's not terrible. :) You crack it open and eat the meat on the inside of the legs and body. It looked a little like brain to me and tasted like it, too. Now I have never actually tasted brain, but I think this is what it would taste like. A little flavorless but not disgusting.The brought a soy and vinegar sauce to dip the meat in, which added flavor.

Of course some local, Qingdao beer, to wash it all down and dumplings to fill us up.

Since living in coastal cities, we have really come to enjoy and appreciate seafood! It's healthy and delicious! :) 


Tsingdao Brewery

Tsingdao beer is one of the most famous beers in all of China, especially in Shandong Province, where we live. The bewery is one of the main attractions in Qingdao. 
We enjoyed our time there. For 50 yuan a person, we enjoyed an interesting walk through a museum of beer history in China. 

The Seaside-Qingdao

The seaside was beautiful in Qingdao. We really fell in love with this city and the scenery.
We could really envision ourselves living on the shore and  running with Chara in the afternoons along the Yellow Sea.

The seaside to the East of the city center, we found most enjoyable.
It was much quieter and beautiful, with lots of parks and nice walkways.
We had fun posing with these statues.
The shore is lined with walkways.
There were tons of great places to sit and relax.

Unfortunately, we didn't go to any of the famous beaches, which we imagined were very crowded, and it was a little chilly. So we don’t have much to say about Qingdao beaches.

We did go to the seaside in the West, where most of the popular tourist attractions are, in the old city.

We didn’t like the West side of the city as much. It was crowded, dirtier, and just overall less enjoyable for us.
Stinky Tofu. It tastes as bad as it sounds. Bad.
Roasted corn and candied dates.
Check out that huge chunk of granola bar! 

This granola stuff, sold by some Chinese from the West, was great!

 But if your in Qingdao, be careful to make it clear how much you want, preferably in Chinese. 
We told him we wanted 8 yuan worth, you know, just a taste. We thought we had communicated that well but were surprised when he cut us 110 yuan worth of it. We said we only wanted 8 and that we had told him that but he started fighting with us about it. 
Tons of people crowded around us, watching the action. Really this guy should have paid us for all the publicity! :P
Some people started telling us we should call the police.

 We found out that this happens a lot, and if you just leave, a big group of the granola guys, will surround you until you pay. Eek. 
Finally, through people translating, the guy said he would cut it in half, and we could just pay 60. 
Still really expensive! But since we couldn’t walk away, and we were unwilling to call the police, we paid the 60.

I was happy to find that it was delicious! Packed with protein, and very filling. I told the guy it was delicious! Zachary gave him a good handshake, and so we went on our way, 60 yuan less, and getting a smile from the guy, despite all our arguing.

A note on this: We have tried to act most like Jesus in these situations. Each time is a little different, depending on the circumstance and what we feel about the spirit of the person. We are never trying to be unwise or stupid or the dumb foreigner. But in a world where so many live on less a week than what we make an hour, we have tried to deal with each situation, in the most loving way as possible. And, in the end, money isn’t what matters most to us. So, we spent 60 yuan on some granola. But still we tried to leave this guy, in peace, and in love. 

But I will admit that it never feels good to be cheated. It's frustrating and sometimes embarrassing. A lot of the time it really sucks. We have to remind ourselves often to walk in love in these situations, though it is difficult. 


Urgent Update!!!---My bike was stolen!!!

Just a short moment ago someone stole my bike. It was a faithful bike with its bent pedals and twisted handle bars. It didn't always drive straight, but still it was faithful. Its a sad day:( Lets just say that a quick trip to the store for some butter turned out to be not so quick.

On the bright side I get to go buy a new bike tomorrow!

PS. the story even gets funnier when yesterday my bike was borrowed from the school to go pickup lunch. No one told the owner...me..so I reported it stolen. The security guard told me to wait here. SO... we waited and soon saw a man riding my bike. SO it has been two days in a row that I thought my bike was stolen. And today it really was!

Blessings man who stole my bike. May God bless you and your travels.

***just for those who might be thinking in their mind..Zach didn't lock it....Yes I did.



I know, I know. I have a sometimes, unhealthy Starbucks obsession. But I will say that Zachary helps balance me out. 
I will say though that Zachary and I have noticed that Starbucks is just apart of us.
 It’s more than just a coffee shop to us. 

The corporation bashing part of me is ashamed to say it. 
But it’s true and honest, and God knows my heart. J

Living overseas we have found that Starbucks is consistent. 
The furniture, d├ęcor, product, merchandise, the food, the feel, the communal, yet professional feel, the baristas, they are all consistent. 
It feels like home, when we walk in.

There is not many physical things that are so consistent as Starbucks in other places.
Not only is it consistent and feels like home to us, but it is also a place where the Lord continuously blesses us with good, I mean really good, conversations.
We don’t even ask for it but we always meet amazing people, talk for hours, and feel more filled with purpose when we leave.

It’s a place that ignites our hearts for more of the Father.
It’s a place that warms our bellies with delicious coffee and desserts, with good desserts, I mean delicious, in countries that don’t cook with butter, and have often times, strange tasting pastries.

It’s a place of rest for us, too.
It's where we love to take our journals and sit for hours pondering the Lord, His word & how He's working in our lives. 

Starbucks Corporation, feel free to give us some money for all this name dropping.

Oh! But I will say, 
"Starbucks, what the heck! Why is there no pumpkin spice lattes overseas!!! " 

Heather’s Beverages of Choice, depending on the mood:
Iced Venti Decaf Coffee No Water
one cream
Non fat, sugar free Green Tea Latte
Brewed coffee, in a for-here mug.
Never a mocha.

Zachary’s Beverages of Choice, depending on the mood:
Brewed coffee, in a for-here mug.
Cappuccino, with extra foam.
Green tea cream frappacinno 

What's your beverage of choice?


Chara's New Trick

Here is a quick video of our adorable dog learning how to roll over. It only took her two days to learn. Does anyone have any trick ideas we should teach her?


Sports Day

Our kids had a sports day at school. Their parents came to cheer them on as they ran and participated in other sports, like basketball and relay races. It was awesome seeing our students and their parents having a great time together. And best part, we got the day off! 

Zachary's 25 th Birthday

I turned 25 this year. I can't believe it! Time flies so quickly. I had a great time celebrating with my friend Justin, whose birthday was the day before. I am so thankful for my wife showering me with a new camera bag and delicious food. We had amazing fajitas, queso, salsa and some amazing cakes. 
I am so thankful for everyonesvthoughts and prayers. It was a great day. 
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