In Sapporo now!

So after a China imposed block on all things internet, we are back in communication! What an amazing adventure we had in Beijing, Chengdu, Tibet, and Xi’an – words cannot do justice to all we saw and experienced as everything exceeded our expectations: people, places, food, and everything we learned.

Here are a few images from the last three weeks:

Beijing:
IMG_4715
  
  
Chengdu:

  
  

  
Tibet,  amazing Tibet:

  
  
Ben in front of a glacier:

   

Our kind, generous host, ZhiJun:

  
More beauty in Tibet:

  
  
Our guide and driver, Kelsang and Chuedak:

  
And now we are warmly welcomed in Japan, by Mr. Nakamaru and the Chiba family, both taking us on fun biking expeditions::

  
  
  
  
Crazy to know we’ll be back in Boston in a week!

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In Beijing

Well, it’s a bit chillier in China than in Laos and a wee bit more crowded. We couldn’t feel more welcomed than by our warm, friendly host from Beijing 57 (a highschool in Beijing Nobles has a partnership with), Cherry, and ZhiJun Li, a Nobles parent, global entrepreneur, and now generous friend. 

In the last twenty-four hours we have eaten delicious food, had engaging conversations, visited the Dandelion School, and seen the National Museum. On the horizon is an evening concert at the National Theater, a visit to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, a day at Beijing 57 (where Ben will  be signing the formal partnership agreement), a day at Beijing Normal University, the best university for teacher education in China, and then off for an amazing ten days in Tibet with ZhiJun!

All is well in China:             

(a painting in the National Museum)

At the Dandelion School:

 
  
  
ZhiJun with a student from the Dandelion School:

 

Out and about:  
  
  

  
Stabucks is ubiquitous.

Thanks for looking, reading, and caring about us!

Leaving Luang Prubang

What a place. We will be back. 

Last night included another extraordinary evening at Big Brother Mouse. These young men (and a few young women) are so hungry to learn. After two hours of conversation and a few mini gammar lessons they asked for (adverbs, compound/complex sentence difference, and adjective placement), I was saying goodbye and ended with, “You have been so inspirational to me.” 

Immediately, they all pulled out their notebooks and pens that had been stashed away for the evening, and said, “Could you spell ‘inspirational’ and tell us what it means?” 

I mean…really. Amazing.

What we’ll remember

 

  
 
 
  
  

  

  
We’re headed to Beijing via Bangkok. It’s May 7th here, and I’m thinking of my wonderful friend, Cathy, on her birthday. Hope it’s a good day for everyone.

So much to do and see in Luang Prubang, Laos

David was right. We love Luang Prubang. This may be the most friendly, fun city we’ve been to – it’s brimming with temples, culture, delicious food, possible adventures, massage spas, and more. There’s a morning and night market to explore. We’ve loved walking along, eating at restaurants next to, and being on the Mekong River:

  
  
  
The sights we’ve seen include the Pak Ou Caves, filled with Buddha statues:

  
  
From the Elephant Conservation Center in Sayaboury (where we had an overnight stay in a bungalow), we learned so much about elephants from kind, committed people who work or volunteer there.  It was flat out fun, too:

  
 

And here’s the sunset from the top of Mount Phousi, a three hundred step journey in the middle of the city:

  

And there are these moments:

  
  
  
We have a trek out to a waterfall and a bikeride/kayaking adventure on the horizon this week before we leave for Beijing  on Thursday. We feel lucky to have found two cool organizations doing good work in this area:  Big Brother Mouse where we’ve been volunteering in the evenings, speaking English with motivated, inspiring young Laotians and Peace Bombs, which makes gifts (that we’re buying 🙂 ) out of the metal of unexploded bombs the US dropped on Laos duing the Vietnam War. To find out the horror of what our country did to this country, click here for a short video, coincidentally narrated by Tracey Samuelson (Nobles ’01).

Thanks for caring about what we’re up to – we miss our family and friends!