Location: Beijing

6:00 AM wake up call was worth the yawns and sleepy eyes at the breakfast table. We were all eager to explore the Forbidden City, having our cameras and selfie sticks ready! We went out for breakfast at a local restaurant in Downtown Beijing practically drooling over the sweet bread and red bean buns. After all of the long lines and security checks, we finally saw Mao Zedong’s outstanding, silky hair and knew we had finally arrived at the center of history dating back thousands of years.

The intricate details and vibrant colors of the city’s buildings were breathtaking. Each step led to a new pattern, new embellishment, and a new structure. We all had our eyes peeping through our camera lens the whole way through. We gazed at the Emperor’s room and living quarters as well as his plethora of palaces. There was so much to see and not enough time. We did, however, manage to attract a crowd of locals while making Wushu poses in front of a mesmerizing wall. I guess with our many cartwheels and shared laughs it was not surprising to attract some attention. Guided by a French travel book, we stopped for a few cold drinks and souvenirs on our way out of the Forbidden City.

Before heading back to home base, Dew Drops Little Flower; we made a pit stop at “Our Favorite Restaurant” for lunch ( We practically live there 🙂 ). Our usual order of sweet and sour chicken, steamed vegetables with garlic and fried rice did not disappoint. By the time we finished up, we were all very ready for some baby time. It is extremely therapeutic and heart melting to rock our kids to sleep, rub their little bellies, and hold their chubby hands. Our daily a-cappella songs are always a major hit and gave the “ayis,” or caretakers, a break so they could take a power nap.

By the end of our day, we all became quite introspective. We all reflected on how lucky we are to be healthy, to have families who love us and be as privileged as we are. We all realized that we could not take things for granted and need to put things in perspective when we too are feeling overwhelmed or upset. At the end of the day, our complaints about how hot and humid it is and how greasy the food is is nothing compared to the hardships these kids face every day. I think we all have already grown so much since we have been here, and we can’t wait to continue doing so!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “How many Forbidden Cities have you cartwheeled through?” – Hannah