23 April 2011

Birthday Time

Diane recently celebrated her birthday and got as much mileage out of it as she could.
We started with a celebratory lunch at a new restaurant called Warm Coastal (whatever that means), with Diane wearing her birthday present from Daniel.
Since we had a faculty development session that day, we took a break and had birthday cake. Birthdays are fairly new celebrations here, since the traditional way is everyone turns a year older when the lunar new year arrives.
Diane and Jenny, a teaching colleague, then celebrated together. In China the birthday cake is eaten before the meal. Life is too short to miss dessert, right?
Jenny turned 55, the age of mandatory retirement for women. Dinner was in her husband's show room; he designed the table and chairs in his picture and is on the left in the red shirt. Their son and niece are next to Jenny.
The birthday women finished the meal with the traditional bowl of noodles with egg; the egg symbolizes a year without problems and the noodles are for long life. So we're looking forward to a great year.

16 April 2011

Jining and Hohhot

We recently took a long-weekend trip to Jining, a city where two of our Amity colleagues teach, and Hohhot, the capitol of Inner Mongolia. Visitors to Jining must see Tiger Mountain, where the tigers sport gold-painted teeth and nails. Since our Amity colleagues are British, we gave their students a different accent experience.School officials welcomed us at a local Mongolian hot pot restaurant. Rolls of thinly sliced mutton and an assortment of tofu and vegetables are cooked in individual hot pots, and goblets of yogurt complete the banquet.Daniel strikes a pose in front of a Revolutionary statue.Pineapples from the south of China are pealed with delicate designs.The Museum of Inner Mongolia in Hohhot had a wonderful exhibit by a Chinese American painter, Li Zujian.

07 April 2011


For the past 2500 years China has celebrated Qingming, or Tomb-Sweeping Day, a time to honor ancestors and ensure their spirits have everything they need in the afterlife. Spirit money is sold in the market, along with gold colored paper cars, houses, coins, and even clothing.
The tomb is washed and decorated with new red cloth, flowers are placed on the headstone, and food (fruit, nuts, cookies), cigarettes and spirit money are piled on the grave. Wine is then sprinkled around the tomb and incense is lit.
Prayers to the ancestors are said as the offerings are burned.
This cemetery has thousands of tombs and most of them are visited on this day. It's an impressive sight with hundreds of fires burning as ash floats skyward.
We ended the day visiting friends; Jenny is one of our teaching colleagues and her husband gave us a tour of his new design showroom.