Thursday, July 30, 2015

How do you Choose?

 So, before I start, I will say that I understand that most of you will not look at this or read most of it because there is just too many pictures. I really did try to choose just a handful, but our trip was just so full, how could I choose?  This is where we eventually made it to...the top of the house in the mountains...we could have stayed there all week, but we had many people to visit and places to see.
 I just love the mountains, the rice fields, and the sprinkling of little village homes along a windy road.
 Haha! Mini date on the train there.  All of the kids had seats on the row behind us :)
 Lauren was quick to make new friends on the train.  This boy is one day older than Lauren.  They have both just graduated from kindergarten and learned many of the same songs in school, so they decide to give the entire train a performance.  Very cute :)

I think this was the highlight of Hudson's trip.  This boy is always saying he wants to drive.  He finally got his wish.  There was a lady at the park who had about 10 of these cars and the kids could pay about a dollar to ride for 2 minutes. It was the quickest 2 minutes ever, but boy did he have fun.  I thought he was going to cry when the car stopped working.

The town we went to is well known for their watermelons and grapes.  I have to say, they were both delicious!  We took home 12 pounds of grapes and 4 big watermelons!! YUM!

So, after 2 buses from the city to the town, we rode another bus from the town to the village.  It was about an hour up the mountain.
This is where we were dropped off to go to the house.  I thought it was similar to where my Papaw used to live...main road to the unpaved big deal.
But the "driveway" turned to a small path...
and eventually to not really any path.  We all LOVED every minute of our 40 minute hike to the house.  I am very thankful Ayi carried Hudson on her back.  She said she would carry him instead of me or Jonathan because she was very familiar with the land and had carried both of her boys when they were little down these same paths.
If you look in the far right corner, you can see the houses that we are eventually making our way to.
So, I was telling the kids to be extremely careful and not fall of the mountain and things like that, but I can't help but take pictures or all the beauty around me.  I saw the kids walking around the curve and the sun was peaking through the clouds and their hair was shining and blowing in the wind and then I did it...I stepped right off the path into the rice field.  My shoe was muddy and drenched!  They all laughed at me  when I got there and gave me some flip flops to where while my shoe and sock got washed and hung out to dry :)
We made it!  The kids played and explore the entire time.  One of them asked if we lived up there "would you let us explore these mountains any time we want?" Sure.
One of three cows that they "found"
Everyone getting a drink of water!  It was cold and fresh.  The kids learned how to drink from their hands...glad that Jonathan had one empty bottle in his backpack that came in handy when we were wanting to guzzle the water a little faster ;)
Beautiful farmland
We watched them sharpen their knife on this stone outside.

firewood being stored for the winter
cooking lunch
I know my children have grown up in Asia, but I am still amazed that Katherine can sit just like all the locals.  Go ahead try it! feet flat on the ground and squatting just inches above the ground...that's my girl.  She just "rests" like that all over taking in the views.
The view from on top of the roof.  They were so excited that we let them go up there!
Me and my baby (still can't believe she is taller than me)

Kid picture
going down the steps from the roof.  The local kids just ran up and down....I mad ermine go one at a time and very slowly! ;)
Hudson taking pictures with his Daddy.
Jonathan carried Hudson down
inside the house...some of their tools for processing their crops
more fire wood (and the back wall is missing) Ok right now, but COLD in the winter if there is no wall!
hay in the loft above us
Visiting the 95 year old grandfather
Love the look on his face
one of the little girls coming in the front door of the house
Katherine's friend the pig...she would snort at him and he would snort right back.  He was quiet otherwise.  I have a funny!

My kids love catching the little ducks.  They were pretty cute (and no, we did not bring one home)

feeding the cows

Don't step off the path! More rice fields.
Leaving and on our way back into town
bamboo everywhere!

In the side of the mountains were these little "caves" that were dug out.  They were all empty right now, but will eventually be full of sweet potatoes.
One of the homes (waiting on a bus to come take us back into town)

We just played in the street for about an hour a half waiting for a bus (don't worry) There were not really any cars and if a vehicle did come you could here it coming way before it got to you :)  Benjamin was so proud of his "scary" stick that he found.
Here's the lady walking down the street with a big ole knife!  Sweet lady just eating her corn asking all kinds of questions about us...the knife just seemed a little big for her piece of corn :)

We saw a shark in the sky!!
Out on the town

I have never picked peanuts was starting to sprinkle, so really they were "picked" by someone else and we all pulled the peanuts off when the bundles got back to the house. Still fun though!
Lauren picking some "la jiao" chili peppers
Now this was one funny lady.  Her hands never left her hips and she was animated! She was trying to guess the ages of everyone in our family.  She couldn't believe it.
Walking a little further to some more relatives homes
The kids in the village trying to get a glimpse of the foreigners.
We had taken some gifts for the 4 kids of this family...the oldest (12 years old) was already working full time and not there, but we did get to meet the 9 year old (green shirt) the 7 year old (pink shirt) and the 3 year old boy.  I have sent some clothes to them via Ayi in the past, but realize now that the kids are MUCH smaller than I realized.
This little boy had a great smile.  I asked him if I could take his picture and he said yes, then he proceeded to give me the most serious face (common picture taking style here) and then I asked him what happened to his great smile...and then I got this picture.  Ayi says his eyes look like Benjamin :)
Katherine hanging on to her watermelon and eating peanuts (another specialty)
What a good big sister! She loves helping her brother.  More noodles for breakfast :)
Just walking down the street and we see the chickens eating corn.
You can't go to a new city without visiting a local park and climbing to the top of the hill.
Look at the love :)
These two little boys hung out with us several days.  It was fun to see the older one wearing all of Benjamin's hand me downs....especially the UT jersey.
Those boys were on cloud nine that they got to eat pizza!  I have never seen a kid eat so quickly! He was so afraid that it would be gone and he would not get any.
A little dancing in the house before we go out again.
Haha!  This little guy still makes me laugh.  He was just frozen staring at us.
Selfie at the restaurant
My crazy girls getting excited over a stuffed worm.  They were definitely enjoying themselves.

Playing on the monkey bars
These are all of the buildings that are being built right outside of the apartment.
Mosquitoes!  Crazy thing bit her eyelid while she was sleeping!  Her eye was swollen for 2 days!!!
Who says you cannot fit 7 people in the back of a car?!?  Here is my proof!
Buying some grapes...12 pounds to be exact....about 50 cents per grapes ever!
on our way back last goodbye
Katherine is cutting one of the watermelons that my sweet husband carried back in a rice sack!
Here are some of the peanuts we picked.  I was told they are good for 3 months after we pick them.  I think we will eat them before three months is up though. :)
We had an excellent time and cannot wait to visit again some day!