Each winter, I bring gifts, food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies to the special needs orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life. Actually, I do this during my visits throughout the year, but it is a particular focus during winter, when we celebrate Christmas and China celebrates their largest holiday, the Lunar New Year. Just a few weeks ago, I thought I had made some excellent decisions about the gifts I purchased for the children, but I quickly found out I was wrong . . . at least according to one young fellow. Can you guess where I made my mistake?

Sorry, Only Two Can Play This Game

The board game in the photograph above was a game the children knew how to play. When the game was opened, two of the older boys set up the board and began to play. The younger fellow finished playing with a different new toy, and got interested in the board game being played by the two older guys. When the younger fellow was told that only two could play the new game, to say he was upset would be an understatement! I quickly realized my mistake and made a note to myself for the purchase of future games.

After the emotions faded from not being able to play right away, my little friend remained focused on the game. Perhaps he was trying to learn how to play, or maybe he was learning some of the strategy involved. One thing I am certain about, he didn’t like not being allowed to play the new game when he wanted to play. I think he was ecstatic when he finally was allowed to play it!

Even though there was a rocky period with this one particular game, the children are always so enthusiastic to receive their gifts! Unfortunately, they don’t receive many during the year. A special thanks goes out to those that give so generously to the work of Global Partners in Life. We love putting smiles on the faces of the children and meeting their needs!

Would you like to help us? Visit www.globalpartnersinlife.org to learn more!

In Beijing, there are many options for transportation even if you don’t own your own car. Obviously, you can walk or take a bike, but many other options exist too. For those who want to avoid some of the street level traffic, you can utilize the subway system. The streets also offer many different types of taxis. You have your traditional cars, smaller bicycle-powered chariots, and motorcycles that are converted into small carts with a cabin mounted on the motorcycle. As with most major cities around the world, Beijing offers an extensive bus system as well.

Today I wanted us to focus on the trolley type of buses used in Beijing. They have long arms extending from the body of the bus to the cables running along the roads above the streets, and they can hold more people than you would think!

Transportation Options in Beijing

Honestly, with all of the cables and wires above the streets, I have no idea of how these keep from getting tangled with other cables, but they don’t. As you can see in the photograph below, the bodies of the trolleys are shaped very similar to a bus.

Transportation Options in Beijing

From someone who once lived in Beijing in the summer, take it from me: when the buses are crowded on a hot day, they can be stifling inside! You can see what I mean in the picture below! I did feel sorry for the lady by the window, as she looked quite cramped and in need of a fresh gulp of air.

Transportation Options in Beijing

One very interesting thing I have seen on buses in Beijing is what I call “slinky” buses. By that, I mean they are extremely long buses, like two buses connected by a flexible middle section. Not only is that impressive, but some of these buses actually have old hardwood floors! I have never seen that on a bus before!

If you use common sense, you should feel safe on the public transportation in Beijing.  I have never had a problem traveling there, and hopefully you won’t either!

Enjoy the trip!

 

Thanks to the contributions received from the very generous donors to Global Partners in Life, we were able to provide many gifts for the children at the special needs orphanage we support. Right after our Christmas, the children prepared to celebrate their lunar new year called Chun Jie, I was able to provide them with toys to play with while they are out of school.  Would you like to see them?

Who Wants to Volunteer to Clean Up?

Some of the toys could fly, some could bounce, and some others were stackable. It is always interesting and fun to see how the children will play with their new toys. Unfortunately, it snowed that day, so some of the toys — like a badminton set — couldn’t be used immediately.

Who Wants to Volunteer to Clean Up?

Some toys even come with their own containers, so that helps with keeping all of the pieces together. This also helps with the cleaning process. Speaking of the cleaning process, I got a cute surprise when it was time to clean up the toys, as you can see in the photograph below.

Who Wants to Volunteer to Clean Up?

One of the younger boys lined up all of the balls and loaded them in his wheelbarrow to do his part in participating with the cleanup. He was actually the one who made the most noise and biggest mess with the toys, so it was amazing to see him using other toys to help clean up. He was a smart little guy, and he had a good day… thanks to our wonderful donors!

To learn more about the orphans we support, visit GlobalPartnersinLife.org!

I am 57 years old, and I have never had a white Christmas! Perhaps living near Atlanta, GA, doesn’t help in my quest for one. I think having a white Christmas would be wonderful, and I almost had one this year. I was in China shortly after Christmas, and they had snow, so do you want to see what an almost white Christmas looked like for me?

I'm Still Dreaming of a White Christmas

Someone had the Christmas spirit, and they decided to place a Christmas tree in the playground area of an apartment complex. Knowing how the wind blows in this city, I am surprised the tree was still standing! Across the street, there is a park, and it had a lovely view during my visit. I have actually seen people playing ping pong in this park when there was more snow on the ground than this.

I'm Still Dreaming of a White Christmas

I think the snow is so beautiful while it is falling and when it is nice and clean. It amazes me how quiet it makes the area . . . but there is a bad side to the snow. In my opinion, snow becomes ugly when it is driven on and becomes dirty.

I'm Still Dreaming of a White Christmas

There are other negative side effects of the snow, the cold being one of them. I took this picture where a man had a bike repair cart on a busy street corner. He was doing all he could to stay warm, and judging from the suit on the wall, I think he had employed this technique before.

I'm Still Dreaming of a White Christmas

Oh well, I guess I will continue to look forward to a white Christmas, and be happy when I don’t have one!

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

If you have read many of my blog posts, you probably have noticed a pattern. I visit a special needs orphanage frequently, and hopefully that is blatant in my blogs. I love the children Global Partners in Life supports, and I think I do something they enjoy very much. Want to know what it is?

Have You Ever Tasted Individually Wrapped Love?

I bring individually wrapped pieces of chocolate for the children at the special needs orphanage! They seem to like it very much. I know it may not seem like a big deal to us, but for the children, getting some chocolate from the States makes a wonderful day for them. Yes, you can buy chocolate in China, but for some reason they seem to prefer what I can bring from the States. The older children are very good about helping the younger children unwrap their chocolate, as you can tell from the photograph above.

Everyone wants some of the chocolate I bring — young and old are the same in that regard. The lady that leads the special needs orphanage is always cautious about not letting the children have too much chocolate all at one time. I don’t know if she is trying to save some for later, doesn’t want the children to ruin their dinner, or doesn’t want to chase after all of the children with an elevated energy level from the chocolate. I do know, however, that she does prefer their snacks to be individually wrapped.

Have You Ever Tasted Individually Wrapped Love?

From my last trip when I purchased gifts, toys, food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and diapers, I must say thanks to my sister, Toni, and her friends for providing the chocolate which put all of the smiles on the faces of the children at the special needs orphanage! We will never know how much something like this means to someone like the children we support in China. This lets them know that somebody half way around the world from them was thinking about them and thought enough of them to do something special!

Please help Global Partners in Life meet the needs of these children by visiting our website and contributing to the work we are doing!

In China, by far the largest holiday is the Lunar New Year, which is called the Spring Festival or “Chun Jie” in Chinese. It is based on the lunar calendar, so it doesn’t happen on the same day each year. It occurs around the end of January or the first of February, and this year it will take place on the 28th of January.

Happy Year of the Rooster

Some of the main customs surrounding Chun Jie are cleaning your home, eating jaozi (dumplings), and parents giving a child a red envelope full of money. This is called a “hong bao.” A couple of the lesser known traditions would involve getting a haircut and taking a shower to wash away anything bad. And as you can imagine, there will be lots of fireworks all day and night surrounding their holiday!

year-of-the-rooster-2

Many people also receive an extended vacation to celebrate this huge holiday. In fact, it is known as the largest annual migration of people, when all of the city workers travel back to their rural hometowns to visit their families!

Happy Year of the Rooster

This new year will be called the year of the rooster. I am told that the rooster has some good qualities like being a hard worker and not lazy! I hope you enjoy these pictures I just took during my latest trip to China, as they were starting to prepare for celebrating the new year of the rooster!

Happy Year of the Rooster

Happy Year of the Rooster!

 

 

Have you ever had a great distraction? Maybe you are watching a ball game and a friend comes over with cookies, now that would be a great distraction… as long as they ring the doorbell during a commercial!

This charming little guy is having one of those moments, and it is so funny to watch him approach it. A friend of mine was at the special needs orphanage to take some of the children who were physically able to ice skate to the local rink in a mall. The children were lining up to get their shoes and coats, when I came in with bags of gifts I had purchased for the children. Although this fellow is young, he knows I come with gifts, toys, and food. He really isn’t interested with the cleaning supplies, toiletries, and diapers.

Have you ever had a moment of great distraction?

As you can see, his body is lined up to go to the door and get his shoes, but his eyes are focused on the large bags of goodies I had for them. He was all ready to go ice skating, but his mind was saying, hey, let’s check out what Beau has for us this time!

The ice skating was only delayed a little bit while the items I brought were tucked away in a place where all of the little hands couldn’t get to them. Do you wonder if he was thinking about what was in the bags back home while he was ice skating?

Thanks so much for your donations which enabled me to be able to make the purchases for the children!

Some don’t know this, but Beijing actually has two public airports. Everyone has heard of Beijing Capital Airport on the northeast side of town, which has the huge new terminal built to handle the influx of travelers for the 2008 Olympics. But did you know there was also another airport on the south side of Beijing?

Did You Know Beijing Has Two Airports?

The southern airport is called Nan Yuan Fei Jie Chong, and it was once a military airport. When I first started using that airport several years ago it had some amazing charm to it. One of the most interesting things about it was how a tractor with a flatbed trailer would haul the luggage, unloaded by hand, to a barn. The people would walk into the barn, and then the tractor would bring in the luggage. From there, you would exit into a parking lot, where you would argue and negotiate prices with a group of taxi drivers. Believe it or not, it really was a lot of fun going back and forth with those guys. It would always end with laughter, a couple of pats on the back, and a thumbs up.  Another interesting thing about this airport was how you would see old military plans parked around the airport.

Now this airport has undergone massive renovations, and unfortunately, it has lost some of the charm it once had. Your luggage now comes into the terminal on a conveyor belt, so no more barn and tractor. Also, most of the vintage military plans have been moved. Additionally, there is an orderly system of getting a taxi now, and you don’t have to negotiate with the taxi drivers.

The terminal itself is now much larger and more modern. There are several gates now where there was once only a couple, and there are many shops within the airport where there once were none that I remember. Ahhh, I guess this is progress!

Did You Know Beijing Has Two Airports?

One of the more interesting things that is still consistent with the updated facility is the loading process. You still exit the terminal’s gate, get on a bus, and drive on the tarmac where you board your plane via portable steps! It truly is an interesting process to enjoy!

Have you ever been to either of the airports in Beijing?

I am so thankful for the people that have a heart for the young children living at the special needs orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life, and who work so hard to meet their needs.

As you can imagine, it takes a special person to deal with the challenges of having so many children living in the same apartment, not to mention their special needs. I would get very frustrated quickly if I worked there — but not my friends. I have learned that they have a little secret which not only helps them, but inspires them as well. Would you like to know what their secret is?

It Takes Less Than A Generation

Actually, their secret isn’t a what, but a who.

In the photograph above, the boy on the left needed a lot of help just a few years ago with daily issues, but now he is the one helping his younger brother and sisters who are living with him at the special needs orphanage. The boy on the right is blind, and he needed help while we were doing an activity. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the children are very patient with each other when they are helping.

Granted, kids will be kids — and sometimes when they are playing they can get irritated with one another — but how encouraging it must be for the workers to see a child that they once helped helping a younger orphan living with them!

As you can see, this orphanage, the children, and the adults working there have a sweet spirit about them. That is why it is so easy and rewarding for those of us who chose to get involved to assist our younger friends.

Would you care to join us?  Visit http://globalpartnersinlife.org/ to learn how you can help!

The city where I taught at a university in China is full of old charm and culture. Although the population is nearing two million people, it still has some unique and treasured relics and culture. I know this very well about one of my favorite cities in the world — but would you like to see one of the recent surprises it showed me?

The Workhorse of the Skies

I can’t imagine how old this plane is! Can you see the two sets of wings? Maybe that helps date it. The diameter of the engine of this plane is huge, so I believe it must have a lot of power. I apologize for the quality of this photograph, but it was raining and I had to take the picture through tinted glass.

This area is an agricultural area, so the farmers need rain. I know that China practices cloud-seeding to produce rain, so perhaps this old workhorse of a plane is used for that. It looks like the cloud-seeding had worked very well this day!

For those of us that enjoy aviation, this was a very cool plane to see. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to travel who can, because you never know what interesting things you may see or do!

What’s the most interesting place you’ve traveled to recently?