I will give the details of what and who has caused the major suckage in a soon-to-come future post, but for now all you need to know is that it involved two months of us not receiving any pay. If you are one of the many, many people of this world who are of the adult persuasion who have bills and other financial obligations that must be met, then you probably understand and can even empathize with us and my usage of the work suck. It sucked.
But…it is all better now.
It really is. Once again, I will save that story for another post. For now, let me show you the results of things getting better.
Red and I spent an incredible couple of days in this student center just outside Shipian Village. This village sits on the eastern border of the Shentangyu Scenic Area in Yanqi Town which is in the Huairou district 90 minutes northeast of Beijing and near a portion of the Great Wall. Try saying that sentence without practicing.
This trip is the annual meeting for the teachers of one of the schools we are affiliated with. They send everyone up there for two days to give the annual report (a meeting we were thankfully excused from). This meeting took about four hours and was conducted entirely in Chinese (something we have come to learn is fairly common in China). We were so thankful to not have to attend. Although, without the requirement of the meeting, there was really no reason for us to be there at all. They are just trying very hard to keep us happy. You'll just have to trust me. I will tell that story soon.
As soon as the meeting concluded, everyone had a late lunch and then the party started. Plus, with the Chinese New Year about to start, it really was a party. The beer and wine flowed freely and we've come to learn that doing business in China is all about building relationships. So, we dove in.
After a few hours of drinking, the crowd moved into a back room with a stage where it was time for the evening's entertainment.
Please don't ask for an explanation of what is going on because I have no idea, but it seemed to be a hit with the crowd.
Not all performances were like that. Everyone took a turn on the stage. Most people chose to sing a song or do a traditional dance. And there was a lot of karaoke, although it was still all in Chinese.
Late into the evening, after hours of revelry and drunken karaoke, the crowd finally dispersed to their rooms with a reminder that breakfast would be at 8 a.m. followed by a hike through the mountains.
So, bright and early the next morning, we were out the door to hike through mountain trails in -13° Celsius (yes, that is a negative 13) weather while nursing fairly substantial hangovers. That is 8° in Fahrenheit. However, the views we encountered caused us to quickly forget about the poisons coursing through our bodies.
|I don't know how sturdy it is, but I love rope bridges|
|We look forward to coming back here in the spring|
|It was bitterly cold outside, but it made for beautiful scenery|
|I would love to have these views every day.|
|We eventually climbed up to this spot|
|One of the battlements of the Great Wall.|
These can be seen all over the peaks.
|It's just such a peaceful looking place|
|I just really like this bridge|
|That is a portion of the Great Wall|
We even encountered some of the local wildlife.
All of these activities and adventures centered around a teacher's meeting. The Chinese definitely do meetings better than Americans do. As much as we appreciated being a part of this incredible experience, there was really no reason for us to be there. We had no part in the meeting. We weren't even introduced, but we were glad to be there.
Maybe next year I'll even get up to sing.