Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Plant Park

There are many times here that you get invited to do things and you aren't totally sure where you are going or what you will be doing there. We had dinner with Selah's good friend and her mom one night last week. After the meal, they invited Carrie and the older kids to go to a "park with plants".

Monday was the "Sweeping of the Tombs" holiday here, so the kids were out of school. So we packed up and met our friends. It was about an hour and a half drive to get out there. The mom that was driving the car we were riding in and I had wonderful conversations. We talked about why we discipline our kids, why we named our kids what we named them, and some of the most important questions people can ask. It was fantastic.

Once we got there, the kids went running out to the obstacle course portion of the part. These nets are dangling over water. There is about a 12 foot drop between the net and the water. The kids were brave....for the most part :).

After some time on the obstacle course, the other mothers thought it was time to pick a group leader. This is a funny part of Chinese culture. There is always a need for a class or group leader. In universities, there will be students named class leader, recreation leader, party planning leader, the list goes on and on. Selah has previously been assigned "check hands and throat for sickness" leader. So, each older child gave a speech on why they would be the best group leader. "Um, I'd pick up trash, push my friends on the swings, drink water, etc." That's how most of the nominating speeches went. Then we voted.

Next, we all loaded up again and headed to the "wilderness", to pick vegetables. We really only found some "bitter vegetable". But we had fun foraging and digging up the leafy veggies. As most things are here, we had a competition on who had the most. But there was not declared a winner. Also a very culturally appropriate outcome.

Then, we took the veggies to a nearby eating place. I don't really call it a restaraunt because it was outdoor eating. You bring in the fish you caught or the veggies you pick and the place will cook it up.

There were swings and hammocks that the kids loved.

The food was great. We dipped our bitter leafy vegetables into a salty sauce. We also ate fried tree leaves. That was a first for me. They were actually pretty good.

These ladies were wonderful company. We laughed and shared and had a great time.
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