October 13, 2008

Our Trip To The Great Goose Pagoda

Hello, hello, hello. Heather, the girls and I, finally got to go see one of the main attractions here in Xi’an last weekend with the Xia’s and again today with our friend Cary. Previously, I (Matt) have seen the Great Goose Pagoda only from the bus or taxi as we drove past it, but not up close and personal. Our first trip to see it with the Xia’s (our Chinese friends) last weekend was a lot of fun. Going with them was good, because we got some culture along with looking at the tower. When we arrived, a stone lion statue sat there greeting us. My friend had me slip my hand in its mouth and rub the inscription on its chest… it looked well worn so I knew that I wasn’t getting sucked into some foreigner joke where everyone laughs, because the American put his hand in the lions mouth and rubbed its chest. As we stood there our friend tells us that the lion statue is 700 years old!!! In my mind if I’m site seeing in the States and I find out that the, let’s say lighthouse, is 100 years old, well then I’m impressed, heck, I would be impressed with a lighthouse that was built in the 70’s. And then there is Xi’an where you don’t even enter the main attraction and there’s a 700 year old lion... So we continued to walk around this amazing area and its really beautiful, a lot of garden type areas and some other statues telling about Chinese history and what not. As we are walking we are trying to have a good time, and it would have been perfect, if it weren’t for one thing… or one person. Sydney. She for whatever reason was like a caged animal, unhappy and ferocious. Something Chinese people don’t really do (at least that I can tell) is discipline their kids. So it’s super awkward for me when a half dozen people stand there as I struggle to keep my kid in time out and she’s absolutely losing it. They just stand there and stare at us. Anyways, I put Sydney in time out and this old lady comes and tries to cheer her up, and I had to chase her off, I felt terrible. But our friend Xia Tian kept buying Sydney little toys and trying to cheer her up, he’s really nice, but Sydney was horrendous. As we walked to the opposite side of the Great Goose Pagoda, we got to watch a water show, and not just any water show. This is the biggest water show in all of Asia (seriously, I’m not making this up). And this fountain shoots water to music and it is really incredible to see, and no lie, this fountain water show was HUGE! As we are watching this, this is what happens. No, first let me set the stage. We are at one of the ancient historical sites on China, the Great Goose Pagoda, I didn’t tell you this earlier, but it was originally built 1,330 years ago, and sits at an impressive 210 feet. It has survived major earthquakes, and in the past it has held Buddhist artifacts and has a lot of history. Not only that, but we are sitting next to the LARGEST water fountain shows in ALL of Asia. And we still manage to have a crowd gather around us and people ask if they can sit next to Sydney and have their picture taken… We aren’t a Hollywood mega couple, but if we were we would be named Matther. This whole situation was really funny to me. Life here is so wild and crazy. Afterwards, we also got to go out to eat with the Xia’s at KFC, which by the way is hugely popular here. Ken Dun Gee, is how you say it, in case you were wondering.

Also, Cary and I (Matt) got to go back to the Great Goose Pagoda today and snap some more pictures. Because we wanted him to get to see it since he is in town. I’ve attached a bunch of pictures of it. None of these pictures have us in them, it’s more of the site and scenery, but I will upload some of us later.

I (Matt) have been having a rough few days with the language. On Friday in class I was struggling really hard. Our teacher will laugh at us, in front of our other students, and sometimes loudly, when we say the wrong thing (it’s very embarrassing). This is really tough for me. I don’t get the impression though that she does it out of mockery. Anyways I got laughed at on Friday and for whatever reason it put me in a funk, then this weekend I had another situation where I felt like my language took another bashing. I felt defeated. BUT!!! Today, as Cary and I took a taxi home I chatted with the driver for a good 5-10 minutes. This was great for me, because when my teacher tells me I’m doing good I never know if she’s being honest and most of my interaction with Chinese people isn’t that long of a conversation. So when I’m in a taxi and the driver ACTUALLY understands me and I ACTUALLY understand his questions its super exciting.

Sorry this is so long, but don’t forget to check out the pictures at the bottom!

With joy,
Matt, Heather, Sydney and little Aubrey