On our way to walking to the Hualin Temple we went under this old city sign. I asked our guide what it said and I found it interesting that she didn't know. She said the characters were old writing and she couldn't read it.
Stella noticed the overwhelming scent of incense when we walked in. There were many people there that were praying at altars. I love how people still use these old beautiful places as they were intended to be used many years ago. Also, all the colors made for some beautiful pictures.
Stella took my camera and I let her go to town with it. She takes the most amazing pictures. I think she has such a good eye for what would make a good picture. In fact, I usually like her pictures much more than mine. Plus she ends up taking pictures of things like the front door of our hotel or us getting into our van, shots that I would have never thought of, but I LOVE having because they really remind me of our visit.
The main attraction of the park is to rent boats and drive them on the lake. After the subway drama I wasn't so sure Vivi was up to it, but we walked over to the boats and thought about it for a bit. I don't know why the language barrier was really freaking me out right then. But we were there and Brent was like, let's ride the boats. So we did. Stella was our driver and if you asked her I bet after actually getting a little sister, driving a real mini-sized boat on a lake was her favorite China adventure. Vivi of course didn't like the boats at first, but she settled in and her baby explorer personality overcame her fears. The sun was setting, the night was beautiful, and I was feeling pretty proud of us for heading out of our hotel on our own, finding the park, and then driving the boats. As we were leaving, the boat lady hollered over to us in Chinese and called us to the desk. I thought maybe we had done something wrong, but she was just giving us our 50 yuan deposit back that of course we didn't have any idea about. We left the boats feeling accomplished and $7.26 richer then we had anticipated.
That night Vivi tried oranges and she loved them. Also we left her alone for a moment in the living room and when we came back she was trying to put on her shoes. We know now that Vivi loves shoes but this was the first time she had shown any interest in them. After that she was always trying everyone's on. It was always adorable watching her try and put her shoes on. Up until that point we would put Vivi in her crib and she would just go down for bed. But that night Stella kept coming in and making her laugh. She would hop right up and giggle at Stella and then flop down when she left. Pretty soon they were playing this game where Stella would pretend to go to sleep and then Vivi would very seriously take her pillow out of her crib and throw it on the ground. She would wait for Stella to get it and then she would laugh as Stella gave it back or rubbed it in her face. Each time she threw out that pillow she had this look like she was sending Stella a message that she wanted to play. It was amazing to start to see this terrified little girl start to show her personality. I didn't expect it so soon, and I know I have Stella to thank for it.