That Time In Beijing, China

Guest post: Ajia Richardson

On June 24th, 2017 I embarked on one of the most rewarding journeys of my life. After a very uncomfortable 13 hour flight, I stepped off of my plane to hear “Ni hao, ma? Welcome to Beijing,” and there was no turning back. With $300 U.S. dollars in my pocket, a suitcase, and a lot of curiosity, I spent
the next eight weeks in Beijing, China.

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The Great Wall of China

Battling jet lag, I laced up my sneakers and headed to climb The Great Wall of China, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Prior to my trip, I had surgery on my right knee. That made my trek to the top tough, but giving up was not on the agenda. I stopped to sign my twitter handle on the perfect brick, took pictures to remind myself that this wasn’t a dream, and marveled at nature’s beauty.

The wall is a manmade structure, but as I stood on those bricks and looked out into the distance that was all the confirmation I needed that Earth is a piece molded by the Creator. How lucky was I to be thousands of miles from home in awe of such brilliance?

When my classmates and I reached the top we sang, danced,
and encouraged one another in celebration. I stood on history and took in every moment.

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Beijing Olympic Square Park

That very same week I took to the streets again. This time Olympic Square Park was calling my name.

Someone should have pinched me! I was at the home of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where The United States came away with 74 gold and silver medals combined, barely escaping defeat from China. I watched every track & field meet, swim competition, and basketball game. Sports are a big part of my life, so I was like a kid in a candy store.

Along the walk to view the popular bird’s nest and aquatic pool
there was street music, food, and dancing. Mesmerized by the music, my body couldn’t help but move a little. While I danced alone, a friendly older man came and grabbed my hand and we two-stepped the night away. Everyone seemed to be impressed with my moves, but I was just happy to be experiencing their culture and living out my dreams.

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Tiananmen Square/The Forbidden City

To reach the Forbidden City I traveled by subway and entered the streets of Tiananmen Square. Thankfully that day we killed two birds with one stone because the crowds were massive and the sun was unforgiving.

In a way, I felt connected to Tiananmen Square because of the unfortunate massacre that took place back in 1989. Many were killed during this demonstration toward justice in China, similar to my ancestors here in America. I took a moment of silence and further immersed myself in the culture and asked many questions to learn more and enjoy my experience.

The Forbidden City was just that, Forbidden. From the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty it was a palace for royal families, and now people from all over the world witness the breathtaking architecture and history of it all. Many of the popular tourist sites in China have similar architecture, and The Forbidden City has served as the blueprint.

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Temple of Heaven

Last, but not least on my “Must See” list was The Temple of Heaven. The Temple is a very sacred place of religious practices that took place from the Ming to the Qing dynasty. The annual ceremonies were in preparation to ask the Heavens for a successful harvest.

Just as The Forbidden City, the architecture was insane. We also got a chance to enter many of the buildings where ceremonies took place. I’m not from New York, but It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t milly rock on this block (hence the photo below). I did and saw so much over the course of my two month trip to Beijing, and the temple was one of my favorites.

This site taught me the most about the history of Chinese culture, and I realized that in many ways we are the same, searching for guidance from, and living under, a higher power.

Overall

Beijing, China was top 2, and it wasn’t number 2! The two months I spent there taught me a lot about the country and their culture, but I also learned a lot about myself. In a short period of time, I became more independent and adventurous. I took a dream and made it a reality. There is nothing more rewarding than traveling, and whether you get the chance to experience Beijing, Paris, or even New York City, I hope you take it full on. No turning back!


Ajia Richardson, my daughter, and guest of Always LaTonya is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She dug up her Southern roots and transplanted them many miles, and several states away from home. Excited about traveling and seeing the world, Ajia has plans to fill her passport sooner than later. Follow Ajia on both Instagram and Twitter @AjiaTheGreat.

Nunnie Camp 2016

Before summer started I had my mind set on having Nunnie Camp with the Sugababies. A day full day of fun, games, food, crafts and adventure. That one day hasn’t worked out like I planned. But we have had several days of craft projects, fun outings, and fun in the sun, with a few more to come.

 

Before summer started I had my mind set on having Nunnie Camp with the Sugababies. A day full day of fun, games, food, crafts and adventure. That one day hasn’t worked out like I planned. But we have had several days of craft projects, fun outings, and fun in the sun, with a few more to come.

Cooking

One of our first activities was making refrigerator pickles. This recipe was perfect. The ins and outs of traditional canning aren’t necessary. The best part was they only had to sit in the fridge for one week. Because the Nadia and Zoey were out of town the pickles sat for two weeks, making them even better. We’re looking forward to making more really soon.

Fun In The Sun

Lazy Sunday, afternoons are perfect for blowing bubbles. Jericho loves guns, and his bubble gun was just right. He didn’t need any help, and it kept him from eating the bubbles instead of blowing them from a wand.

Blowing bubble snakes was more creative for the girls. Of course, I found it on Pinterest, and wondered why didn’t I think of that?

Outings and Adventure

 

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Growing up, I really enjoyed attending airshows at the Little Rock Air Force Base. When I learned of an airshow in my area, I just had to take the kids. We grabbed our hats, stopped to pick-up drinks and headed out.

Jericho loves all things cars, truck, trains and planes, oohed-and-ahhed at the excitement. For the 30 minutes, we were able to withstand the heat, it was awesome! That day was hotter than hot, and playing in the water was a must. One of my daughters brought out water balloons and water guns making the day absolutely perfect.

Crafts

 

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When the kids come over the first thing they ask after walking in the door is, “Nunnie, what are we doing today?”

This particular day I was ready to make popsicle stick bracelets and a butterfly feeder.

My Sugababies love a good craft, and not just coloring to keep them busy. These bracelets are simple, and look awesome when finished. We literally had popsicle sticks around the house. Our youngest daughter had popsicle sticks for another project, and she still had an entire bag. I did all the prep work, boiling the sticks, and shaping them in a jar.

I did all the prep work, boiling the sticks, and shaping them in a jar. They enjoyed painting, getting messy, and watching their creations take shape. Afterward, we moved on to the next project the butterfly feeder.

Creating a butterfly feeder has been on my wish list of things to do for awhile. I envisioned a swarm of butterflies in my backyard. Like in the movie ‘Field of Dreams,’ if I make it, butterflies will come. We put the feeder in the backyard where we could watch the butterfly from the big window.

Mmmm… The only insects feeding were pesky flies! Ewww! That went to the trash. I was disappointed, to say the least.

There are a few more weeks of summer left, with more opportunities for Nunnie Camp activities. What fun things have you done this summer?

 

 

Six Life Lessons From A Mom of Five

Life Lessons Six Life Lessons From A Mom of FiveBeing the mother of five, and helping to raise a nephew, has taught me a few valuable life lessons. Following are six that stand out the most.

  1. Even with the same set of circumstances, there will always be a different outcome. Mr. Husband and I have produced five beautiful children. Each one, from the two of us, with vert different personalities, likes, dislikes, dreams, and goals.

Life lesson: Every life situation, even if every detail of preparation is the same WILL turn out differently! Recreating or duplication almost always never works. I’ve learned to be surprised and enjoy the outcome.

2. Preparation is key. It was going to be an awful day when I had to get everything, and everyone ready the morning of. Prior preparation of outfits, meals, along with knowing who needs to be where is essential! It has also kept me from losing my mind.

Life lesson: Although every situation is different, planning ahead for the things you can control helps to make life easier to handle. Flying by the seat of your pants will wear you out! 

3. Just wait for it. 

Life lesson: That rain or storm will soon pass over and the sun WILL come out again!

4. There will be lemons… Make lemonade! 

Life lesson: There will disappointments, disasters, and life storms. How you react, and deal with the situation is totally up to you. You have the option to wallow in pity, or make the best of the situation.

5. It’s okay not to have all the answers. When our children were little, I had the answer to most… okay some of their questions. And could fillibuster my way through the rest.  As they got older their questions became more complex and more difficult to answer.

Life lesson: There will be times when you don’t have an answer, don’t know anyone who does, and even Google can’t point you in the right direction. There isn’t always an answer or rational solution. And it’s actually okay!

6. Celebrate the small stuff!

Life lesson: It’s the little things our children, family members etc. will remember. Those little things impact our loved ones the most. Don’t believe me… try it.

There isn’t a MOM manual that comes with children. But growing and learning along the way benefits everyone involved!