China Once, China Twice

What I had never planned to do

It Was China Twice, Now It Is Ewing Twice And More October 11, 2011

Wow, what a day!  The Ewing library called me.  Their walls were empty, did I have anything to display?

Sure, that was easy, I’ll display the panda bears framed in bamboo.

What I did not know before going down there, was an article in the October Ewing Observer that featured me.

It is me, doing what I do best.  There is still a lot of space left open in the library, I’ll be adding some other photos tomorrow.  They won’t be framed in bamboo, I’ll use just the matting.

Meanwhile, Sam and Daisy think I am working on a 100 photo page scrap-book for them.  Have to put that on hold for a while.  Well, here is page one anyway, and what my dining room table looks like!

Scrap book page 1

It will happen, this mess will go away

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Pandas and Romance August 27, 2011

This is a part from Trip 3.

It’s Mother’s Day again, but the year is 2011.

I am in Qingdao, staying with Sam and Daisy.  They will be married in two days.  It’s even more special now.  On this Mother’s Day we are all going to fly to Wuhan and be with Daisy’s family.  Two mother’s will share this special day together with their children.  I don’t have photos of first meeting Daisy’s mother to share with you.  We couldn’t speak the others language.  It didn’t matter.  You could feel the love we had for each other.  The two mother’s walked, each held closely together with an arm embracing the other.

This is what Daisy had chosen as a Mother’s Day gift for me.  The pandas are embroidered on silk, it rotates so each side is a view of the panda bears.

My Mother's Day Gift

Neither of us would have guessed, that today I am trying to help this endangered species by giving presentations. By helping support the efforts of Pandas International, who would have guessed, this could be happening as I write today?

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In NYC Times Square, despite Hurricane Irene, this add is running.

Thank you, CBS.

The Add Of A Lifetime In Black and White

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Another surprise happened.  Someone knocked on my door.  Sam’s friend who had just returned from China delivered this wedding album book to me.  I have laid it out and photographed it in sequence.  It is not a typical US wedding album.  Another example of a difference in our cultures.

Wedding album cover

Wedding album page 2

Wedding album page 3

Wedding album page 4

Wedding album page 5-1

Wedding album page 5-2

Wedding album page 6

Wedding album page 7

Wedding album page 8

Wedding album page 9

Wedding album page 10

Wedding album - the last page

More to follow later…..

 

NYC – Times Square – adds awareness to the endangered panda bear August 18, 2011

Those cuddly endangered pandas just might make it off the endangered list.

Through the generosity of CBS, they can be viewed on the Super Screen in NYC Times Square

Monday morning, I was moments away from submitting a news article to a local paper here when I came to a complete stop.

Kim Kirmmse Toth, business owner of Positive Aging Inc. in Colorado, (also my high-school friend,) sent me an urgent message.  I had to read an article in that day’s Denver Post.

Panda’s International, who I support through my own small business, had been selected as the non-profit organization to advertise on the Super Screen in Times Square at cost only.

The full Denver Post article can be read here.

5 of the 6 endangered panda bears presentations I have given recently were done right near the Princeton Junction train station.  This train station is a major hub for daily commuters into New York City.

When I present to children, I do not leave them my business card.  I leave them a small panda photo of my own, with a thank you note from myself and Panda’s International. On July 20, 2011, I presented, and left 200 of these hand-crafted small cards at the Princeton Presbyterian Church.

Thank you notes

I may never know who at CBS made that decision, but sure would want to give that person a big hug.

 

The Endangered Panda Bears, A Letter Of Commendation August 12, 2011

Please, don’t let this one disappear on its own!

1 of the 1,600 remaining panda bears still left in this world

So far, I have given six presentations at Vacation Bible School camps.  I took this task on myself.  From a newspaper, I learned a local church would be having a Panda Mania camp week.  The children would use their imagination to travel through China, the land of the endangered panda bears.  Nope, I could not let that happen.

I have over 1000 photos from my own trips to China.  Specifically, I had been very ill the day I was scheduled to be with the panda bears.  Only through sheer determination was I able to see and photograph the pandas in Chengdu, China.  I dearly wanted these children to learn through my own experiences.

Pandas International backed me up with incredible promotional and educational information.  I was good-to-go and off I went.  What I knew about panda bears would surprise both children and their adult staff.

The feedback I received has exceeded my own expectations.  This commendation letter came through.  It says it all.

This letter of commendation says it all.

 

Panda Bears, Chengdu, a Black Tongue and Ms. Sara August 6, 2011

My son chose to teach English overseas and moved to Qingdao, China in early 2008.  My second trip in 2009 was planned around his birthday, September 9th and my own on September 14th.  I used the same on-line travel agency, www.chinahighlights.com, who had successfully planned my first visit.  They knew I was a single female, spoke no Chinese, traveled alone, and would want to tour parts of China.  I was very flexible.  Only two dates and places were non-negotiable.  I had to be in Qingdao on my son’s birthday and the Panda Bear Reserve Center in Chengdu on my birthday.

Before landing in Shanghai, all passengers had to complete and sign a lengthy health form.  Specifics were on flu-like symptoms.  I felt perfectly fine the whole time I was in Shanghai.

Happy Birthday 25 years old

Head cold

Sam and Daisy at home

When I arrived in Qingdao, my son was accompanied by a miserable head cold. His Chinese girlfriend, Daisy, was also a new, wonderful addition to meet. She had purchased the Chinese OTC (over-the-counter) cold pills Sam was taking.  I took his head cold with me to Chengdu.

I felt lousy!  Absolutely I was NOT going to be the planned panda bear caretaker for a day.  It was too great of a risk.   I might pass onto the panda bears, what my son passed onto me.  I agreed that I could see the pandas, but no hands on care.

Having checked I had no fever, my guide in Chengdu called Daisy.  He got the OTC product name and off we went to a pharmacy.   I also wanted a nasal spray, something like Afrin, to help me breathe.  I got something, but the clerk and my guide were confused; they never heard of using a nasal spray for congestion.  So Happy Birthday to me!  China Highlights surprised me with a birthday cake.  Somehow I managed a half day, taking as many pictures as possible of the endangered panda bears.

The panda bears are endangered

They have been here for 3 million years

Only 1600 panda bears are left

The next morning I felt like I should be dead.  Went to brush my teeth, saw my tongue was totally black and thought “Yup, I’m going to die.”  The hotel staff took me to hospital #1 across the street (what we would call a walk-in clinic).  They looked at my tongue and sent me to hospital #2.  It was a cab ride away, but a hospital by US standards with English speaking physicians.  They knew right away the black tongue was from the nasal spray.  That spray was putrid; I had only used it twice.  I was given two other Chinese medications and released.   I had classic flu symptoms, except no fever.

Generally, I stay at 3 star hotels in China, fairly equivalent to 4 stars in the US.  In Chengdu,  www.chinahighlights.com,  felt more comfortable booking me at a 4 star, they knew me well, I was “Sam’s mother.”  I stayed at the Tianfu Sunshine Hotel where I met Ms. Sara, young, caring, and kind.

Sara was a waitress in the hotel restaurant. Her English was fair, her sensitivity astounding.  I was having lunch, reading a book.  It was a Chinese novel, she had an interest in the book too.  We chatted, Sara sensed something was wrong.  She learned I had just left my only son the day before.  Physically, I sure didn’t look so great either.  There was a wedding taking place in the hotel, she led me through the back entrance. I watched the wedding with other hotel employees, while Sara explained different parts of the ceremony.  Later that evening, she called my room to see how I was feeling.

Another day while sitting outside, Sara came by.  We chatted again, she gave me her cell phone number just in case.  The morning I decided “Yup, I’m going to die”, I threw on some clothes and went down to the restaurant.  I found Sara, showed her my tongue.  She stopped serving, found the hotel manager, who took over from there. When I eventually returned later, a warm bowl of congee was in my room.  The rest of the day was sleeping and packing, I had a flight to catch the next morning back to the US.

That evening, back in bed, Sara quietly came to my room.  She sat gently on the side of my bed.  Carefully she peeled, cut, and hand-fed me apples.  That was the last time I saw Sara.  When I checked out the next morning, it was her day off.

Twice I have traveled alone in China.   I’ve seen The Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, and a whole lot more.  By traveling alone, I have had one-on-one experiences with Chinese people.  There were others, with different, meaningful memories.  This time I want the whole wide world to know.  In Chengdu, China there is one, special, young Chinese waitress with a tender heart, known only to me as Ms. Sara.  If you see her, you have met an angel on earth.

 

Pandamania! It’s Everywhere! July 13, 2011

I'm a giant panda bear, please help me

On my second trip to China is when I saw the panda bears.  I am writing after the fact, so the title of this blog will eventually change.  How does “and three times a wedding” sound?

Right now though, in real-time, Pandamania is all over the place.

I called the local Princeton Presbyterian Church after I read their ad in the newspaper.  Asked what they were planning to do, because I had really seen the panda bears “live and in person”.

My Panda Bear Photo exhibit was just ending and I had loved talking to the kids I met throughout the exhibit.  So next week, I’ll be talking to about 125 kids there, sharing my experiences.  Pandas International is right back in this with me again, providing a wealth of educational materials.

I’ve already done my share of industry business presentations, so let’s have some fun.  This time the business is more serious.  Extinction is FOREVER, endangered means we have time.