Monday, June 27, 2011


We've had a challenging week. Behavior has had us modifying our plans many times. I think (I probably just jinxed us), that we're over the worst of it. We're still not out of the woods, but at least we're not having horrible behavior for 5 hours straight. Just 2. Right now, I'll take what I can get. On top of this transition, we're looking at a monster growth spurt where he's outgrown all but one pair of the four pairs of shoes we brought along. He's grown at least 1 1/2 inches, and I'm sure we're in for more. He may go home with a whole new wardrobe! LOL

Anyway, back to this adventure we are on.

Sunday Connor and I went with Cat to adventure in the old part of this city we're in. I promise to start taking my camera with me, but even with two people handling a five year old in the middle of all that this one is in the middle of, I'm lucky to come out with my sanity. :)

The old part of the city (I'm taking a few hundred years) has what they call "Commerce Street". Its not just a street, its a web of streets that all network together around a temple dedicated to the fishermen and sailors that leave out of the ports. (Tianjin is a port city.)

Commerce Street is shop after shop after shop selling everything from Calligraphy brushes of all sizes to gorgeous Chinese paintings to traditional Chinese dresses. There are also jewelry vendors that sell beautiful Jade and gold and wooden creations both eastern and western in style. I even saw a few toy vendors. I want to go back and explore the beautiful teas that I saw and maybe pick up a tea pot or two for my collection.

The calligraphy brushes are stunning. Its amazing how intrigued by them I am, but right now, there you are. Some are made with bamboo handles and some are made with plain wood. Some of the handles are stained or painted and some are not. Some are so large that you can use them standing up and paint on the ground. Those handles are at least three feet long. The brushes on the end of the large ones are enormous. The bristles themselves start out fat and then taper to the finest point you can imagine. I saw one that was smaller than a pencil.

The Jade is beautiful. I'm so glad that we have someone like Cat that can help us navigate through picking the right things and helping us learn to bargain for things. I've seen bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and more. I've seen deep green jade all the way to almost white. I know there's more colors and things out there that I haven't seen yet, and WOW, I can't wait to see a whole range of colors and types of jewelry in front of me.

Cat is working with us on learning some key Mandarin words, but its so overwhelming right now, I'm lucky to just get a key word or phrase here or there. And I'm good with that. The language is very difficult. Evidently if you mis-prounouce the word Vanilla in Mandarin, you're saying a very bad word. Needless to say, I have that one written down and just show it to the person I'm trying to order ice cream from. ;)

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