Over a year!

°Wow where does the time go! I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve checked in here. Life has been pretty busy as usual, but very good too!

When I left off I was just finishing up teaching my visual merchandising class for the spring 2012 semester. Well after that I headed to China for a summer break.

China was amazing! I visited Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Hong Kong. I ate some amazing and interesting food, met some great people, and learned a lot about the history of China. It was a wonderful trip but really, really hot. I do not recommend going over there in the summer.

I went with Michael (my foreman) who is from there and takes his family back every two years. I’m so grateful they let me tag along, as it is always best to travel someplace with a native.

As a builder to say I am impressed with what the ancient Chinese people built is an understatement. The Great Wall, the lake at the summer palace, the Forbidden City, words cannot explain the magnificence of these landmarks. I, like Michael, am more in awe because I know what it takes to build a simple house with all the power tools at my disposable. Can you imagine building a great wall, with no backhoe, no crane, no power tools, in the jungle, in 90° heat!?!  I could barely walk around when the weather hit 95°+!!  It really puts things into perspective.

Here are a few photos from our trip:


china - 2012

Just landed in Beijing after a 16 hour flight to Hong Kong, then quick connecting flight to  Beijing.  We will be taking a bus to Tianjin, where after exploring the city we ride the high speed bullet train back to Beijing.


The city of Tianjin at night.  This was taken at the train station (getting excited to ride the high speed train). The french influence is everywhere in the architecture of this city.  The fancy building behind me was a a prime example of that!

great wall of china

On the Great Wall outside of Beijing.

stairs of the Great Wall of China

Most people don’t realize you have to climb stairs of the Great Wall to get to the top.  Look at the unevenness of the stairs.  The rise and run vary from each step!!!  Makes it very cumbersome to climb.


This is a lake outside of the Summer Palace.  The Summer Palace is just a smaller version of the Forbidden City.  What’s so amazing about this HUGE lake is that it was dug by hand!!!  I kid you not, I was in complete awe.  The Empress wanted a lake outside of her summer retreat so she had tens of thousands of her people dig it for her.

summer palace in China

Mike, Kim, and Andrew in a courtyard in the Summer Palace.  Look at the inside of the roof of this pergola, such attention to detail.  EVERY single roof had exquisite carvings and painting details.

the bird's nest

The Bird’s Nest is behind me.  The location of the Beijing Olympics.

Forbidden City

Michael and family with our Beijing guide outside the Forbidden City.

the Forbidden City

Inside the Forbidden City.  I swear every time we crossed a bridge into a new courtyard area it looked the same as the rest.  This place definitely earned its name as a “City”.  It’s huge,  It took us hours to walk it and we only saw half if it.  We didn’t even venture down any of the side “streets”.  In my opinion the Chinese believe in repetition of design.  I guess it keeps things simple and easy, yet undefinable.  They were building tract homes long before us westerners (lol)!!!!

starbucks in China


Starbuck’s in China!

Old Shanghai


Inside a shopping area called Old Shanghai.  Loved this place, and it’s where I saw the most tourists.



Shopping in Shanghai with Kim.

Shanghai light


Loved this!  This is what the Chinese consider a porchlight!  Such detail.

Buddha on the mountain


This was a very holy place for Buddhists.  I forget the name, but it had the largest statue I had ever seen in my life!

Green tea farm in China


We visited a green tea farm.  It was so pretty.  I think this was outside of the city of Wuxi.



On a night cruise in Shanghai



Riding a rickshaw in Hangzhou



This makes me laugh, because even though Kim is holding an umbrella due to the rain, it was 96 degrees!

Hong Kong


Finally made it back to Hong Kong.  I didn’t take too many pictures here, as I rarely left the house – it was sooo hot!

So that’s our trip to China.  China is building like crazy!  They have a crazy amount of very tall structures for residential purposes, obviously.  I did see at one point, bamboo used as scaffolding on a modern building.  We drove too fast so I couldn’t get a good picture.  All in all I had a amazing time and can’t wait to go back, just not in the summer!

Right now I’m trying to remember this