June 02, 2013


June 1 is National Children's Day in this country.  Children throughout the country dress up in their finest duds and are paraded around by their parents, in and out of various shopping malls and parks, to be entertained, fed, and celebrated.

Our kids were dressed in their oldest clothes and loaded into our second-hand minivan to be driven to the mountaintop village home of our good friend, Mr. Li.  Many other "foreigner" kids and adults were there, and we spent the day eating barbequed meat and stir-fried vegetables, picking ripe peaches from the village orchards, watching the pigs and chickens, going on long walks on mountain paths, and climbing the little rock-face that our kids have grown to love.

Here is the rock we climbed, and there are Daniel and Zion at the top!

Now in these next pictures, note the fact that Jubilee did NOT know how to use chopsticks when she came to us in August of '11.  She had only ever used a spoon on account of her age.  This skill just came to her a few months ago, totally naturally.  (Just for a point of reference on this, Bright is 8 and has been proficient with chopsticks for only about a year; whereas the other two boys have been fumbling with them their entire food-eating lives).  Is proficiency with chopsticks, therefore, passed down in the blood?  Logic would say not, but the proof is here in the pudding...or rather, in the green beans.

And here is a picture of Bright after scaling the mountain.  His shirt bears a suitable logo, I think.

This is the house we were visiting.  Jubilee is in a lot of these pictures because she was the only one of my kids who stayed with me all day.  The boys were off running around the mountain - catching toads, chucking peaches, wielding long bamboo rods, and flirting with the pretty little girls.  Oh my.

Here we are feasting in the courtyard of the house.  If you come visit us, we'll bring you here, and you can taste the organically grown, fresh-picked, hot fried food and you will never be the same.

This next picture was taken of our hosts' kitchen.  Those are two giant woks, under which a huge fire is kept stoked.  Amazing.

And this is where we wash our hands.  Talk about efficient water usage! 
If I didn't have kids (because kids need things like baths; and kids complain about things like bug bites) I could totally live in a village.  Village life would suit me, I think.  Sure, there's dirt everywhere, but it's clean dirt (oxymoron??)  Neighbors share food with each other.  Pigs grunt happily.  Roosters crow, grapes grow beside the gates, squash plants climb every pole, yams are stored in deep holes in the ground, corn is hung upside down to dry, and everything just feels...natural. 

Happy Children's Day to you all, young and old!