Chapter 3.3

Good news: I made it to China which means I did not get arrested for my antics in Egypt.

More good news: I get to sleep in a bed now!

China is incredible.  I keep saying that but compared to the everyday-ness of Starlight Shores this is amazing.

I decided to take it easy again my first day in China.  I went to the shops and stocked up on goodies to take home.

Of course I got tons of stuff for Bug.  I’d be a terrible Aunt if I didn’t spoil her.

I spent most of my first three days training in Martial Arts.  I quickly learned I am disciplined and I excelled to Black Belt almost immediately,

Word got around that there was a newcomer in the area.  Some woman called me on the phone and told me I needed to spar with some locals to prove myself worthy of the belt.

I lost but I still got to keep the belt.

The last part of my trip was fairly uneventful.  I spent most of my time visiting the sights.  The Terracotta Warriors were by far my favorite.  There was supposedly 7000 of these guys when they were dedicated to the first emperor of China!  And they were all different!  That is discipline right there!

Of course I stopped to check out the Great Wall, too.  How could you not?!

My favorite was just the everyday beauty of China.  Not the grand monuments but the subtle quiet and tranquility of the area.

My last night there I slept in the old Warrior barracks.  It was very peaceful and left me feeling more determined than ever.

So determined thought I could spar with this elderly guy.

He totally put me in my place.  Never spar with old men.  Looks can be deceiving.

After getting by ass whooped I went exploring for relics.  I found some nice vases but that was about it.  No mummies here.

I finally took a moment to slow down and relax by the pool.  It didn’t last long because I find I can never sit still.  I love exploring.

So I tried to read a book on local mythology.

I gave that up too and went fishing.  I’d never fished before but Xander is a master angler so I thought I’d give it a whirl.  I caught the biggest fish EVER.  Well, at least the biggest fish I’d ever seen.

While I was fishing some local children ran by and I realized I really missed Bug and the hustle and bustle of everyday life back home.  Eh, France is coming up and I’m sure I’ll forget about home soon enough!

Chapter 2.14

Just flying into China was a treat!

The Forbidden City was beautiful even from the airplane!

I was so floored by the The Great Wall that I was unable to center my camera.  I was too awestruck!

Soon after landing however, I did realize that the “easy ” trip was too good to be true.  I met with my liaison in China and discovered that the photos needed were from tombs…meaning they were hidden in the tombs.

I stocked up on supplies and then I headed to Dragon’s Cave.  I wasn’t going to back down now.  I’d spent all of my family’s money to come here and make them proud.

After a long hike up the mountain, I found the hidden door leading deep into the earth.  If only I knew what I was getting myself into before I went in there!

Getting the photos was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life!  I had to push and pull statues!

After moving the statues I had to disarm electricity traps.

I had to search out hidden doors.

I fought off bugs and terrible creepy crawlies.  It was awful.

I sat on the edge of a dive well and sobbed.

“WHAT AM I DOING HERE!?”

I spent all of our money…for this…torture?!

Finally I came to the door with the panel I was looking to find.  The keystone I was given fit.  I had made it.

I got the photo they wanted.  That was it.  The fire traps, the statues, and the end of the tomb.  It was worth it.

After spending two and a half days in the tombs I was able to spend my last few hours in China shopping for souvenirs for my family.

It was wonderful getting home.  That is the last crazy photo excursion I take.

Chapter 2.13

Garrett and I had been trying for baby #3 for months with no luck.  We were coming up on a year and I was still not pregnant.  I couldn’t figure it out.  The girls were our Honeymoon babies.  They were so easy…what is the problem now?

It’s another month of bad luck it seems.  The sink broke this morning.  It’s almost like an omen.

I can’t help but feel like I’m broken, too.  Garrett already left for work so I will have to break the news to him when he gets home.  He’s going to be so disappointed again.  We thought for sure this would be our month.

Well, I can’t spend too much time moping.  The girls will be up within the hour and they are going to be hungry.  I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I started cooking.

Halfway through making breakfast and feeling sorry for myself my phone started ringing.  It was an odd number that I didn’t recognize.

“Hello?”

“Greetings!  Is this Mollie Hanks the photographer?”

“This is she.  Who is this?”

“I’m the head of Get Up and Go Travel Co and I need a photographer ASAP.  Can you be in China by Wednesday?”

“You do know today is Monday, don’t you?”

“Well, I said is was ASAP.  We will pay you $10,000 plus whatever you feel photos of China are worth.  We need these like…YESTERDAY!”

“I’ll take it.  I’ll leave as soon as my husband gets home.”

“Great!  We’re counting on you!”

I finished my pancakes thinking that was the weirdest phone call ever.  What had I just gotten myself into?  It couldn’t  be legit…it was too good to be true.

I didn’t have much time to dwell on the call.  As I finished up my breakfast I had more pressing matters.

Ever the sweetheart, Livvy was hungry but calm about it.

“Mommy?  I Hungy.  Can I has pancakes now?  Pwease?”

Penny is more to the point.

“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMY!  My tummy is angry!  PAAAAAAAAANCAKES!  Please?”

How am I going to get by without them for two weeks?

I wanted to be able to present all the information to Garrett when he got home that afternoon.  I got the girls settled and then went to work.  After gathering all the dollars and cents, I sat on the couch to wait for my man.

I wasn’t sure how he would take the news.  It wasn’t great news by any means.  No baby and now I’m taking off for two weeks…tomorrow.

Ever the busy man, his phone was ringing when he walked in the door.  When he saw me on the couch, however, he clicked silence.

“Hey, have a seat, babe.”

“I’m not pregnant…again.  Also, I got a phone call today.  I’ve been hired to go to China for two weeks to photograph the sites for a travel agency.”

The silence was palpable.  It almost hurt.

“When do you leave?”

“Tomorrow.  I need to be there by Wednesday.  It’s going to cost me $1,300 to get there.  Which means that there isn’t enough money for you or the girls to come with me.

“That’s WONDERFUL, Baby!  I’m so proud of you!  You are going to do an amazing job.”

“Really?”

“Yes.  The girls and I will miss you but we’ll be ok.  You need to do this.  For you, for us, and for the girls.  Let’s get you packed.”

And just like that I was off to China.