October 31, 2006

The Great Wall of China

"He Who Does Not Reach The Great Wall Is Not A True Man"
When we were in China, the Great Wall was our favorite place that we visited. As it is a structure that has helped to define China for hundreds of years, we had greatly anticipated seeing it. We were excited to walk it at last. As with anything that one waits for in anticipation we expected to arrive and find all of the hype to be nothing more than wives tales or tales of grandure. On the contrary we were not disappointed.
The Great Wall streaches from east to west over mountains, grasslands and deserts for a total length of 5600 km. Its structure is still as sound as when it was first constructed and the crudeness of the construction and lack of government spending on facelifts only added to the experience. It was the one thing in China that we would both recommend that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime and I think someday we would like to venture back.

October 22, 2006

Korean Kids Dye On Field Trip

On the last Poly School field trip, Rachel and the kids headed out to a farm. There they spent the day leaning about ancient cloth dying techniques. While the kids created colorful pencil cases, Rachel was delighted to fix her shirt that she had recently bleached.

The Angel Marathon

On October 14th, Rachel and Maureen ran a 10 km marathon. Despite a few non-life threatening injuries, they finished in a little over an hour. The race helped to raise money for kids with cancer in Korea. The day included events such as marching bands, fireworks, hundreds of old, buff Korean men, choreographed Tae kwon do performances and interpretive dancing.

Where's Rachel?

About a month ago, Rachel met these two annoying characters as you might remember. I was fine with it because there were only two of them, but yesterday, she finds more of them (a lot more) and now I have nightmares of these things.

Temple of Heaven

Construction of the Temple of Heaven began in 1420 AD. It was primarily used by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties which ruled China from 1368 AD until the recent formation of the Republic of China. The Emperors of China were regarded as the "Sons of Heaven" who conducted heavenly matters on earth. Here the Emperors would carry out annual ceremonies and pray for good harvest on behalf of the Chinese people. These ceremonies played a huge part in creating the China that exists today.

October 14, 2006

Beijing, China

Welcome to Beijing!
On October 4th, we flew into China for a four day guided tour of the ancient city. The first stop on the list was the Temple of Heaven (below).
Later that night we attended an acrobatic show that was spectacular.
Early the second day we were off to the Great Wall of China. Here we spent the morning climbing timeworn stairs in a pursuit to reach the highest tower. The rest of the day was spent exploring the Ming Tombs.
On the third day, we rushed over to the world famous Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
This was our Chinese ambassador David. Although he had an amazing wealth of knowledge about his native land and many other countries, he had never been allowed to travel abroad based on strict communist regulations.Our last stop was the Summer Palace where we traveled by dragon boat across the lake. Although our trip was short, we enjoyed our time in Beijing.
We recommend seeing the city at least once in your life but we suggest that you go after the 2008 Olympic Games as the entire city is currently being renovated.

October 11, 2006

The Kids of Korea

The top three pictures are Trevor's kids and the bottom three pictures are Rachel's. We have 40 minutes with each class and Rachel would teach 10 classes a day while an under worked Trevor teaches 7 classes a day. A typical class consists of teaching them reading, writing and speaking (Rachel also teaches 2 science classes).