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My title may or may not entice you, but I saw some unique cars in Beijing during my last visit! Hopefully you will find them as interesting as I did. Would you like to see them?

The Diversity of Cars in Beijing

Arguably, nothing says elegance like a Bentley. This beauty was parked near an area I know pretty well, and I wanted a test drive! I didn’t know this before that day, but “Bentley” is inset in the headlights.The Diversity of Cars in Beijing

Perhaps all of the other Bentleys I have owned didn’t have that option! Ha Ha! The next car I will show you certainly takes a back seat to no other automobile. Can you guess what it is?

The Diversity of Cars in Beijing

This Rolls Royce was literally steps away from the Bentley in this upscale shopping area of Beijing. Rolls Royce has long been considered the measuring stick for other luxury cars, and this one was tricked out on the inside. The leather seats looked amazing. If I could afford a Rolls Royce, I think I could afford an additional paint job to cover the purple! This certainly isn’t a muscle car from the 1970s!

To show you some of the contrasting styles of cars you can find in China, check out my next photo!

The Diversity of Cars in Beijing

This little car was parked very near the Bentley and the Rolls Royce. I would guess this car weighed about as much as the wheels on either the Bentley or the Rolls Royce! Unfortunately, I am a veteran of the traffic in Beijing, and I am not sure I would feel very safe in this vehicle. But it did give me a good comparison for the other cars!

When you are traveling in foreign countries, I would suggest keeping your eyes opened for interesting cars. Oh, it may also help you stay safe when you are walking!

Where have you seen the most interesting cars?

If you recall, a few years ago in China there was a fire in an independent, non-governmental orphanage fire and unfortunately multiple children perished. Shortly after that, the government said any province that had an orphan in an independent orphanage could bring the orphans back to their home orphanage where they are registered. This proved the government had a plan and were taking action.

So, the government workers and police came to the independent orphanages around the country, interviewed workers to make sure the level of care needed for the children was being met, and eventually removed some of the children from what was potentially the only home they had ever known. Unfortunately, the special needs orphanage we support had eleven children taken during this period, if my memory serves me correctly.

Currently, the environment in China is one where all rules and laws are being enforced. So, once again, some of the provinces are removing children from the independent orphanages, like the one supported by Global Partners in Life.

History Has Repeated Itself

If you remember Lei Zi, pictured here, he is a VERY active 4 year old boy that is full of life. He has been removed by his home province and placed in a government orphanage. Five other children from around the country were brought in with him. We have a friend that works in this orphanage, and the friend sent a video of Lei Zi, which was shown to me. He was wearing a shirt and a diaper and no pants. In the video, he was crying and saying “my mom,” meaning the leader of the special needs orphanage we support, “has pants for me.” For some reason, the new orphanage is making him wear a diaper and no pants. He is potty trained, so we don’t understand this.

As I said, history has repeated itself.  We have weathered this storm before, and we intend to persevere again.

As Global Partners in Life celebrates our fourteenth anniversary, we have many wonderful accomplishments to celebrate! Moving forward, we will need to be wise and informed as we serve the people we have been led to in China. 

It was about this time of year when some students and I took a road trip. Actually, it would be more accurate to say a bus trip. The students were from the university where I was teaching, and we decided to go to a smaller town a little north of our city to have a look one weekend. Would you like to know what we saw?

A Peaceful Environment

There was a small river going through the town, and it had this interesting looking bridge. There was a large park along this area of the river, and we enjoyed some street food while sitting in the park. We consumed our glass noodles while eating them out of a clear plastic bag; my first time for doing that. Glass noodles are slippery, and you don’t want to poke a hole in the plastic bag with your chopsticks!

As we walked around town, I saw something that surprised me. They had an old stone wheel for grinding wheat, which is grown locally. I have seen one that used a donkey walking around in a circle to move the stone, but this one used man power. You can see it in the photograph below.

A Peaceful Environment

Some things I also enjoyed seeing in China were the many pools of water with beautiful water lilies in them. I was impressed with the different colors of the lilies, and many times there would be koi swimming around the lilies!

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This was an enjoyable trip for many reasons! This particular area of China enjoyed a much slower pace of life compared to when I was teaching in Beijing!

Maybe this blog will help you remember a calm and peaceful place you have enjoyed. I know it certainly has done that for me!

During my recent visit to the special needs orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life, we delivered Christmas gifts, and I received a nice surprise. There was a lady working there whom I had never seen before, so I asked the lady that leads the orphanage who she was. Her answer was a wonderful surprise for me to hear.

A new worker has been hired, and her name is Li. Her salary is paid by the very generous donors supporting Global Partners in Life, and I am so thankful the children have another worker there to care for them. We have been supporting the orphanage for 11 years, and I have always felt more workers were needed, so this was a wonderful surprise for me. Would you like to meet Li?

What Do You Find Worthy of a Celebration?

Li had gone to the hospital many times to take Fei Bi, the 4 year old girl with cerebral palsy, for medical attention and therapy. After observing the physical therapy, Li decided she could replicate the therapy for Fei Bi at the orphanage. Would you like to see Li in action?

What Do You Find Worthy of a Celebration?

This is one of the many exercises Li does with Fei Bi, and Fei Bi seems to enjoy them. In the past, Fei Bi would scream out randomly, and on this visit I never heard her screaming at all. Here is some huge news regarding the progress of Fei Bi. She can now hold her head up for a few seconds by herself! Previously, she could never hold her head up at all. This may not sound like much progress for most of you — but believe me, it is worthy of a celebration when you work with the children daily!

As you can see, your donations to Global Partners in Life are having life changing results in China!

 

One thing we consistently hear is that the air quality is horrible in the major cities in China. Well, I can show you proof that isn’t always the truth. Granted, the weather can have a huge impact on the air quality, but here is a photograph I took during my recent trip to Beijing, and it clearly shows the sky is beautiful, clear, and blue. Check out the helicopter inspecting the skyscraper under construction below it!

Interesting Sightings During China Trip

If you are into gadgets, I saw a new one in a taxi cab. It is not uncommon at all to see a device plugged into a cigarette lighter for charging a cell phone, but I saw one with more capabilities than simply charging a cell phone. This particular taxi had a cell phone charging device, and built into the device was an electrical outlet. If it looks odd to you, it is because some of the slot configurations in Chinese electrical outlets are shaped much differently than the ones we have in America. Do you want to see it?

Interesting Sightings During China Trip

By the way, the driver of this taxi loves the National Basketball Association. His two favorite teams are the LA Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is amazing how something like basketball can be the catalyst for a great conversation anywhere in the world!

Keep your eyes open when you are traveling, because you never know what you might see!

A Gold Medal for the USA

February 28, 2018 — Leave a comment

With the Winter Olympics on our minds, I must brag and say thank you to my countrymen! No, not for our athletic accomplishments, but for your generosity! According to Wikipedia’s research for 2016, if you look at these 3 questions — have you helped a stranger, have you given to a charity, and have you volunteered your time for an organization — the USA came in as the second most generous nation in the world. If you look at the amount given, America was in first place! Do you want to know who was near the bottom?

One of the reasons the work of Global Partners in Life is so important in China is because their culture hasn’t been very involved with charities for very long. Unfortunately, China came in as the 140th most generous nation, and the horrible earthquake in 2008 was the first large-scale giving to charities for China.

During a recent visit to the special needs orphanage in China supported by Global Partners in Life, we saw a representation of American’s generosity. See some amazing gifts from Americans below!

A Gold Medal for the USA

The wheelchair above was an amazing gift for the young lady you see with it. Her hand is on a joy stick, and the wheelchair is a battery operated one, which helps so much with the difficulties our young friend has. She has a VERY severe case of scoliosis and dwarfism, her hips joints are out of the socket, she has had knee and club feet surgery, and she has a metal rod in one of her legs, so this version of a wheelchair helps her so much with her walking.

A Gold Medal for the USA

This particular wheelchair was designed especially for cerebral palsy patients, which our young friend using it has. It has many adjustments on it which will enable the wheelchair to fit her as she grows, and it has a tray to help with feeding and many other activities. One of the best things about this wheelchair is that you can adjust it to hold a person in a sitting upright position, which is very difficult for many people with cerebral palsy.

I don’t know exactly who provided these wheelchairs for the special needs orphanage, but I was told they were Americans! So, as I think about the Americans that contribute to our work in China, and see how an American provided the desperately needed wheelchairs, I am thankful to see how our country responds to those in need. Thanks to all of you who help strangers, give to charities, and volunteer!

You will never know how much your resources can mean for someone who can’t provide for themselves!

In China, by far the largest holiday is the Lunar New Year, called the Spring Festival or Chun Jie in Chinese. It is based on the moon, so it doesn’t happen on the same day each year. It occurs at the end of January or the first of February. 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. A couple of the lesser-known traditions involve getting a haircut and taking a shower to wash away anything bad.

As you would imagine, in China there will be lots of fireworks all day and night surrounding their holiday, or at least that is how it was in the past. Now there is a ban on fireworks, which is being done to improve the air quality. Honestly, that will be a hard ban to enforce!

Many people 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.

This new year is called the year of the dog, and gou is how you say dog in Chinese. I will display a paper cut-out symbol for the year of the dog for you to enjoy.

happy-new-year

Happy Spring Festival to all of my Chinese friends!

 

Do you have a day in your life that marks a dramatic change in your vision, focus, and direction? I do! My day is January 16, 2004, and I call it my Freedom Day. That was the last day I worked in the corporate world — and I was freed from my desire to have a more prestigious title at work, a job with a higher salary, more direct reports under me, and a better home and car. Yes, I am thankful to say that I have been freed from being self-centered and greedy. My thoughts are no longer all about me, me, me, and more for me; but now I am more focused on others and giving.

While I was working in the corporate world, I had been truly blessed to work with some great companies and wonderful people. In fact, I was surprised with the modest success I had and with my overall compensation. I really didn’t feel that I was worthy, and at the same time, I didn’t feel that what I was doing would matter in 10 years. So I thought about what would matter in 10 years, and my friends and experiences from a couple of trips to China kept coming to mind.

Celebrating My Freedom DaySo, with no knowledge or experience in the area, I decided to start a non-profit to assist children through young adults with their educational, humanitarian, and medical needs . . . in China! Since I was in my mid-forties at the time, I was told I should read a book by Bob Buford called Half Time. In his book, Bob discusses moving from success to significance, and I was hopeful that was what I was doing. Fortunately, I had some people much wiser than me agree to serve on the Board of Directors as I started Global Partners in Life.

Prior to starting the non-profit, when I donated money, it was only because it was the right thing to do . . . and my wife was modeling a giving lifestyle very well for me. Now, when I give, I get a great sense of joy because I personally know who I am helping. I know which special needs orphan will have an operation, because of the support GPiL has received and passed along to the orphans needs. I know the students who have received scholarships from GPiL based on their grades, being English majors, and whose families are financially challenged. I have met the students that became orphans because of a fire in an unregistered fireworks factory in rural China, and we paid their school fees to keep them in school every year until they graduated from high school.

All of this is to say that I am so thankful that I have had a Freedom Day, and that I can see how foolish my diligent pursuit of material things was. I am a much better person and a much happier person since I realized how much I already had and compared it to how little others have.

If you haven’t had your Freedom Day, what is stopping you?

I would encourage you to learn from my mistakes, and pursue what is on your heart! I will help you if I can!

Over the years and during my many trips to China (56, but who is counting?), I have seen an increase in the number of Christmas decorations. Initially, only hotels in larger cities with many foreign patrons would be sparsely decorated; but now restaurants, department stores, and especially hotels like to decorate for Christmas.

Would you like to see some of the Christmas decorations I recently saw in China?

Christmas Decorations in China

Christmas Decorations in China

These two photographs above were also taken in a hotel lobby. You can see how exhausted Santa’s Elf looks, so hopefully that means there were many children on the nice list! Also, you can see a street lamp with a snowy windmill scene in it. Did I mention I was in China?

Christmas Decorations in China

I like the color blue in the picture below, so I like the contrasting colors of red, green, and blue in this decoration. This was actually on the ceiling of a hotel lobby. I am not sure what the hot air balloon has to do with our traditional Christmas decorations, but I guess if Rudolph got sick, Santa could use the hot air balloon to deliver the toys to all of the children!

So there you have a quick tour of Christmas decorations in China. Don’t worry, I saw many traditional Christmas trees, snowflakes, and Santa too!

In an era when most children have an extremely long Christmas wish list filled with expensive electronics, it was extremely humbling to hear the leader of the special needs orphanage in China supported by Global Partners in Life say that all she wanted for the children’s Christmas was shoes — warm shoes. It was equally exciting to provide for this need!

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Thanks so much to the donors of Global Partners in Life, who provided the funds for the warm shoes, as well as many other gifts for the children. It was a powerful moment for me to see a child that struggles to walk get excited about trying on their new shoes and walking in them!

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It was amazing that some of the children even wrote and drew thank you notes, which you can see below. In my many years of going to the special needs orphanage and providing gifts, this may have been the first time the children created thank you notes!

A Special Request for Christmas

This request for warm shoes refreshed my memory on how much we have to be thankful for and how much we take for granted. I have often said that these children are my teachers, because they show me how to be happy and content in all situations. They have been abandoned by their parents, have physical disorders, and yet the smallest things make them very happy and content. I truly need to be more like them!

Thanks so much to the people that support my young teachers and the work of Global Partners in Life!