Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From The Archives-Beijing China

Over the years, I have kept journals, documenting the experiences I've had singing all over the world. With time, I hope to share all of them on the blog. Here is one excerpt. 

January 9th, 2007
Beijing China

"Neehow! That is hello in Chinese and the one and only word I learned on my trip which I will now proceed to tell you all about. We land in Beijing airport Thursday evening after a long flight. We travelled along with the extended Freundlach family who came in, as we did, for the opening of the first women's Mikvah in Beijing, China. Dini Freundlach, the Shlucha of Beijing, greets us at the terminal with a warm smile and a big van with enough space for all 18 pieces of luggage that her husband, 2 daughters and mother shlepped in from the states. We packed on board and headed to the Chabad house for supper, and the first of many meals we were to have there. 

At the Raskins
We were pretty exhausted after the 13 hour flight so we called an early night at the Raskin's apartment where we were so graciously hosted the 5 nights we were in Beijing. Friday morning we contemplated travelling to the great wall of China but being Shabbos came in so early there simply wasn't enough time. Instead we hit the marketplaces for an day of bargain hunting for scarves, handbags, ties, shirts, and just about anything else you could imagine. At first the clever Chinese shopkeepers quoted us exorbitant prices but being pre-warned we bargained like pros and got all kinds od goodies for absolute bubkes (although we did manage to spend a lot of bubkes!). 
We bought coach bags like they were going out of style. Not one lasted more than a year.Hmmm...
My husband kept telling the vendors to give me whatever I pointed at. I had 10 of them following me.
After shopping we jumped into a taxi and headed to the Forbidden City was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. In English? It's a Chinese Disney land of old castles that takes about three hours to see properly. The weather was frigid so we did a quick run through to be yotzei zein and then rushed back home just in time for Shabbos. 
I don't know why I assumed China would have tropical weather. Apparently it's close to Russia.
That's a lot of stairs for a vacation.
Now that's how I roll.
Frday night the Shluchim was incredible! After davening we sat down to a scrumptious Shabbos meal that we shared with 60 'regulars'. The singing, and Divrei Torah carried on late into the evening and I had to keep reminding myself that we were actually in China! The warmth of Yiddishkeit was burning bright and strong that cold Friday night in a little house in the Far East, that's for sure.
Erev Shabbos in the Chabad House. Their 5 year old daughter Chavi was making a cake. I kid you not. When you're on Shluchos, everyone chips in (plus child labor is more acceptable in China. jk)
Sunday morning came too quickly and we headed out to the Chabad house at 9 a.m. for the big event. Our taxi driver was a little confused by our misguided directions but after a few phone calls and an animated conversation in Chinese he got the directions and brought us safely to the Chabad school. 
We passed this Starbucks. I was excited the first time, then certain we were lost the 4th time.
The Chabad House
The entire school was decorated in beautiful purple tule and ribbon and a yummy breakfast buffet was set up with treats imported from NY special for the 'Spa for the Soul'. The women were divided into two groups for the morning spa sessions and while one learned about skin care and facials, the second learned about the color palette and dressing accordingly.  
After the interesting classes we were invited to watch a fascinating slide show about the Chinese culture compared to the American culture in regard to pregnancy and childbirth. Did you know in China, the law allows only one child per family? There are 1.4 billion Chinese and I suppose there has to be some restrictions or the they will eventually take over the world! The class was interesting but by 12pm we were all smelling the yummy luncheon that was being prepared in the adjoining room. 

After the last slide flickered across the wall, the lights were turned on and we were cordially invited to a scrumptious brunch consisting of mini vegetable quishes, onion soup, salmon and cream sauce, and vodka penne followed by hot chocolate cake and ice cream. I ate quickly and when the lights dimmed after dessert I headed on stage for the concert. 

I sang 'Crown of Creation', 'Perfect by Design', 'Vatispalel Chana','Sister, Sister' and 'It's All My Mother' before the intermission and speaker. After Mrs. Lipsker (who came in all the way from South Africa!) spoke about the importance and beauty of the Mitzvah of Mikvah and marriage, I sang a few more fun songs and thanked everyone for being my audiance in Beijing. 
Probably the most beautiful Mikvah in the world.
The ceiling of the Mikvah, reflects INTO THE WATER!
The women sang with me and really seemed to enjoy the songs. Although I've sung in Anchorange, Baranquilla, South Africa, and Israel. the excitement of perfoming in China and sharing my music with women who lived so many thousands of miles away from me, is and will probably always be, unparalleled. 
The Shluchos in China
Thank you Rabbi and Mrs. Freundlach for inviting us to share in your event and for giving us the opportunity of a lifetime. It was so wonderful!"

I sing tomorrow night at Rosie Gurkov's Bas Mitzvah. I'll be back Friday with some pictures of that. Til then,  follow this blog and let me know so you can participate in Monday's giveaway. Remember every Monday is giveaway Monday so don't miss out. I have some amazing products you WANT to have.

Choir Club tonight. We are really sounding great, rehearsing for our first performance January 22nd. I'll get you that information as we approach the date.

Thank you for all the love towards Morah Blanka. Her son had her read Monday's post and she was thrilled with the feedback.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! Can't believe you were in China and I love watching you follow your dreams and do what you love to do. That is true happiness!