Friday, July 29, 2011

Where to Shop In China....

This is a continuation of the posts I promised to do about my recent mission trip to China and Maria's Big House of Hope in Luoyang.  The main purpose of our trip was to love on the special needs babies in the orphanage, but we had a second objective to meet as well.   We were the first makeover design team to grace the doors of Maria's.  Our design challenge was to redecorate the kitchen/lounge and roof top areas the employees use.  We had also promised to give the nurse's rooms a little spruce up as well.  We took fabrics, wall decals, and other things with us from the U.S., but knew we needed to purchase more things once we got to China.  First stop on our itinerary in Beijing was a visit to Ikea!  Robin Hill, from Hope House orphanage was gracious enough drive Donna and me to Ikea! His only requirement was to take only take a couple of us and not the entire group of 13! 
(Wow, what a man to take two total strangers on shopping trip to Ikea!  
I don't know many men who would do that, do you?)

This picture was taking from Robin's car as we approached our destination!
We were sooooo excited!!!!  What woman doesn't love Ikea???

The building looked very much like our local Ikea in Concord, NC !
Once inside, we rode the escalator up to our shopping destination.  
We were greeted by long panels of fabrics, which were hung
 from the ceiling and fell almost to the bottom level! 
Instant excitement!  

When we reached the shopping floor, it felt like we were  in the states at our 
local Ikea.  The furniture vignettes were very much like what we have.  Lots 
of the exact same furniture.   but also things we don't have as well. 
This  is one of the  bedroom vignette.   I loved the way  the framed art was 
 hung over the bed with no space between the frames.
The answer to "how to keep pictures hanging  straight over a bed"!!!  
Clever, clever chinese!!!

Only major difference in the furniture vignettes, other than having some 
pieces our store doesn't carry, were the small framed pictures sitting 
around the spaces. The pictures were all of chinese people,
 not americans of course!

The major differences Donna and I saw were in the textile department.  
They had so many great, bold, bright fabrics we don't
 have in our Ikea, like the fabric below on the pillow with birds and bird cages.
 Donna and I both loved it!  Wish I could have brought some home for a project.

The fabric at the window below is the fabric we purchased for the kitchen
at the orphanage.  The piece we purchased had a white background with
black print which is reversed from the fabric shown.

The housewares area below looked very much like our Ikea.   Money conversion
 was also an obstacle I had not mastered prior to departure.  Robin gave us a quick
 lesson on the conversion process.  Chinese dollars are called rmb, yuans or kuai. The 
pricing of 4.90  kuai on the sign below would be roughly  $1.00 american dollars, 
depending on the currency  exchange rate  of the day.     100 kuai =  roughly 
15.00   american dollars.  In China, when you convert your money, you feel like  
a millionaire because you have so many 100's!  2,000.00 rmb = roughly 300.00
 american dollars,  so you have to have lots of bills to go shopping.  It feels like
 you are playing with monopoly money so you have to constantly remind
 yourself that you are spending "real" dollars!!!  

Sorry this picture is so dark, but it shows the chinese and english meanings
of the symbols on the dishes.  I was impressed that everywhere we 
saw chinese writing, below the chinese would  be the english translation.

This was the area in the housewares where the dinnerware and 
glassware was displayed.  

Luckily, at the end of the trip we were all still smiling!   
Donna and I were so excited about our purchases!  I don't know who was happiest
 that we made quick decisions, but I think it could have been Robin (smile).... What 
a good sport he was!  I loved meeting him!  He and his wife, Joyce are amazing people.  
They started Hope House in Beijing.  Click on Hope House and check out the good work they 
are doing in China. They have a great new book out that you will want to read called 
"The House of Hope"   If you click on the link, you can order through paypal and have
it shipped directly to you!  We were so lucky to have Robin spend time with us.
He is truly an angel walking on Earth!  He made it such a fun day!  Thank you Robin!  

 Thanks for joining me on our trip to Ikea in Beijing.  I hope you enjoyed

 Next up, arrival at Maria's and our trip to the furniture market in Luoyang!

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