After a wonderful first day, Mama and Papa went on a full day tour of the city highlights. They took a few cute pictures of themselves at the Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace in bloom,
and the Forbidden City, by a 600 year-old tree.(Papa looks so trendy because he's borrowing my sunglasses, FYI). At the Forbidden City, Mama also took pictures of various iron metalworks that were historically used to make beautiful rubbings. As a wedding present, she and Papa plan to give us the rubbings at the Forbidden City that her artist friend had special permission to make when they were in China in the 1970s. Turns out these charcoal rubbings were banned by the government soon after Mama purchased them because making them was destroying the 3D aspect of the iron. We haven't seen them yet, but M&P showed us this picture of what one looks likeand we got extremely excited. Basically, it as the perfect present because we had wanted to buy ourselves a black and white Chinese prints to hang up in our future house...and these are even better! Thanks so much, M&P!
The next day, we went to the pearl lady, where Papa bought Mama and his daughters some beautiful necklaces:
We ate lunch at a delicious local restaurant, where the people around us were all staring at our table. I couldn't figure out why until the guy next to me pantomimed using chopsticks with his left hand and burst out laughing--and it hit me. All three of us are left handed, which is still not allowed in China, so the diners had probably never seen people eating with their left hands before...and the fact that all three of us were sitting by each other doing it probably ensured the crazy habits of Westerners became the topics of many dinnertime conversations.
We then went to the hospital, so they could meet my colleagues and have a tour of the facilities.
We finished the day with Mama modeling one of her necklaces over a delicious dinner of Yunnan-style fish.
(I swear that this whole-fish dish was much better than it looks)
The day after, I decided to play hooky (and just work overtime this week) so I could go with them to Mutianyu, the part of the Great Wall where I proposed. The last time I was there, I was obviously super nervous and didn't really remember anything about it. And, to set the stage for those of you on the Rosenberg side of the family, Papa may have a heart of gold, but he has (many) joints of titanium. So while he is literally game for anything and everything, I can't remember him climbing up or down too many stairs.
So imagine my chagrin when this is the first thing we saw,
which was followed by an enormous hill!(By the way, I angled the camera in a weird way so the hill is actually much steeper than it looks. Trust me, I was breathing hard..and Mama is happier than she looks--I hope)
I shouldn't have been very worried, though, because M&P handled the climb like champs (all 430 steps--which I counted!), and we made it to the top!
We then had a delightful picnic with a stunning view, and Mama and I proceded to climb the 10 two-foot steps to physically get ON the wall. I pointed out the backdrop of our engagement photo shoot
and took a wonderful picture of her looking out, imagining the proposal.
We made it down safely, all smiles
but pretty tired. All in all, an unforgettable few days!