Monday, June 30, 2008

The Family Pics are In :)

In case you were wondering what my family looks like lately, Katie's wedding photographer just sent us the family pics from the reception. It's been a long time since all six of us have showed up for a portrait!

The above would be the Steve Brown Family and the below would be the Ned Brown Family. There's not a person missing! Ned's three children, their spouses, and all the grandchildren (including the new husband) are present. A day to go down in history :)

In truth, the only thing that might be funnier than all these ugly mugs, is a video of us actually taking this picture! We were all sweaty, getting dust in between our toes, and worried the sun would go down before Ned (grandpa) finished telling everybody where to stand! We made it through with a smile, but groaned gratefully and spilt in a million directions the minute it was over. All I gotta say is at least it was better than the Miller family picture (my Mom's parents) we tried to take in our house years ago, where someone kept passing gas and no one could stop holding their nose or laughing long enough to shoot the picture. Yes, this is what families are made of.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Side Trip

I surprised my family in June by showing up for a family wedding that no one thought I was coming to! It was great, and a fabulous week of vacation back at home. I played on the beach, ate lots of local seafood, and went in the boat just like I was a tourist. It was great to see everyone, even though I'm going home for the fall semester in August. I had a hard time knowing that everyone I'm related to was getting together in my home town to celebrate my cousin's wedding, and I wasn't going to be there. I would buy the plane ticket again in a heartbeat! Congratulations Katie and Patrick!!

One of the first days I was there, we went out in the boat for dinner and relaxation. It was majical to get back in the river. Here's me, mom and Mitchell cutting up in the back of the boat:

I even got to drive the boat for a minute, but then I got nervous and gave it back to my brother :)

This is us playing in something the locals call "pluff mud." Supposedly good for the skin, but it sure does make a funny scene! After you are completely covered and done rolling around in it, you just slide down the bank into the river to wash off. From the other boats and non-locals passing by, we sure did look like a bunch of crazies!

It just so happened that every time we went out in the river that week we saw dolphins. There must be a recent rise in local dolphin population, because I never saw that many in the past!

This is all the kids in the family at the wedding rehearsal dinner! It was nice to have all 4 siblings back in the house for a week. Sure did fill it back up, even if it was just a short time!

And now to the wedding! This is me after the wedding in the church with all of my grandmother's family, her sisters and brothers from Aiken, SC. This is a special crew, and it was great to see them again, as I don't get to see them often...maybe every few years or so.

This is me with the beautiful bride. I don't have any of the photographer's pics yet, so you'll have to just deal with mine. Katie is my only cousin on both sides that is the same age as me. We grew up together, with her family coming to Beaufort several times a year. Just couldn't miss her getting hitched!

Dad was the caterer (of course) for the rehearsal and wedding. It was great to eat some of his good food again. Don't get me wrong, Chinese food is good, but anyone would be crazy not to miss those cookies!

The bride and groom arrived at the reception by boat. Very romantic. This is them coming off the dock to greet the crowd.

As sunset approached, the couple was getting their picture done by the river. I caught this shot right as the photographer's flash went off. What a beautiful location for a wedding! I sure don't blame these Northerners for wanting to come down to little ole Beaufort for their wedding. :)

I went back to China the Monday after the wedding so I could go back to work for the last two months of internship this year. I look forward to seeing everyone again in August. And congrats again Katie and Patrick! I know you're having fun playing on the beaches of Mexico right about now.

Campbell Gals Pics Part II

I never did finish posting the rest of the pics from their trip in May! Here are a few more of my favorites!

This is two tired chicas climbing the Great Wall. Believe it or not, I actually took them to the WRONG section. As many times as I have been to the Great Wall with visitors, I got the names mixed up. No wonder I couldn't find my favorite toboggan slide down the mountain!

This cute lady really wanted to show us her bird!

I took them by the Olympic stadium complex on their last day in town. That's the bird nest stadium in the background there. How do you like the sand storm? It turns Beijing skies a nice brown color a couple days each spring. No worries, it won't be like that for the summer olympics :) Oh, and the white buildings between me and the stadium are temporary housing that the construction workers live in. Construction workers come to Beijing by the thousands. Migrant workers, but still from China, just from the rural areas of the country.

In front of China's leaning tower. What? Pisa is unique?

Playing in front of the decorative windows in the Suzhou gardens:

Everyone singing their hearts out at Karaoke night:

Getting simultaneous manicures, pedicures and head massages after shopping. Isn't vacation nice?

Here's the girls enjoying my favorite treat on snack street. Strawberries coated in sugar. Who wouldn't love it?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Campbell Gals Pay a Visit

I haven't written in a month, but I've been busy! I got two weeks off in the middle of May because friends Jessica and Judith arrived in Beijing for vacation! We spent a week in Beijing and four nights in Hangzhou and Suzhou. Both of those places were first times for me and fabulous spots. Hangzhou is a city with the famous West Lake, perfect for bike riding, climbing pagodas and kayaking. Suzhou is the "Venice of the East" in that it has small one story houses all along canals, crossed by hundreds of little bridges. Perfect for walking, shopping and taking boat rides! All in all, we had a great time. Here's some pics for ya!

Playing during a sunset on the top of a pagoda:

Getting Lost:

The girls came the same week of the big earthquake in Sichuan on May 12th. This was a memorial on the floor of my building that we saw one night coming home...

Pretend telephone:

Hats Galore!

Buying jewelry in the market from an old friend:

Riding bikes in Suzhou:

Feeding fish outside of the Suzhou Museum: