News & Events
News & Events
Who knew that eighteen sweaty, sore, and eternal hours pasted onto a plane seat would turn my world upside down? For two weeks I anticipated working hard at the orphanages and improving my Chinese speaking skills, and I got far more than the tea in the pot. I never expected to fly thousands of miles with fifteen strangers to then come back home with fifteen remarkable friends. Together, we moved mountains, as well as climbed them. Very slowly.
But surely, and with an energy fiercer than the slurps of cup ramen. And yet, it had its days where the walls would crumble. But it was okay; we got to fix them up and build them stronger, knowing we would make other people happy by giving them a fresh coat of paint when they needed it most. By transforming other people’s lives, we were also changing our own. Every detail mattered in this portrait of our lives that we were painting. It was a dream to wake up each morning with the sleepy city and watch the sun blushing on the skyline.
There were birds, bicycle bells, barking dogs, and the roar of traffic whiplashing in all directions like a giant pinball machine. The noise rose with the heat of the day, noisier than a chef’s rattling and sizzling pans in the kitchen, heavier and hotter than the beads of sweat clinging to the pedestrian’s brow. The streets filled with vendors, bargainers, cigar smoke, car horns, parasols, and lights of every color and design.
This great and wonderful symphony hummed with life, and I breathed it in thinking to myself, “How lucky am I to be here.”
China takes my breath away in ways I never would have expected. I have been so many places and have tried so many things, but none as humbling as playing with the children in the Shangrao and Nanchang orphanages. Everyone deserves to love and be loved, and it was an honor giving compassion to the children and babies who have never had the chance to feel it the way we are fortunate to in our own lives. And it made me realize how incredibly thankful I am to have the life that I have and to be more conscientious of how much more I want to give to other people less fortunate than I am, which I never realized before interacting with these heartbreakingly kind, creative, and loving kids who give so much more than they receive.
Within two weeks that felt like two years but whooshed by in what felt like two seconds, we lived life with the glass not only half full, but overflowing with all that we did at the places we went and with the people we met. We immersed ourselves in not only the culture of China, but the culture of a world where there is hope for children in need of a home, walls in need of new paint, host students in need of a foreign exchange student (Shout-out to my buddy, Ryan), and a glistening group of teens in need of more eggplant.
I grew to love the people who were with me every step of the way. I grew up with them; in ways I cannot describe but will always feel.
Shout-out to the amazing reps, TJ our 哥哥, 妈妈 Danling, 两个姐姐 Viola and Cathy, team moms Laura and Kim, and finally, my new and beloved friends, Amira, Anya, Zach, Connor, Zoe, Hope, Nora, Bela, Haven, Ellie, Bella, Saylor, Tacy, and Isabella.
Thank you for everything. I love all of you and will remember you, and I hope we can meet again one day. Life constantly moves forward, changing its direction every time we make a decision, and I am thankful I chose this direction to travel. But it’s not over yet. Here’s to facing to the future and walking with a conviction in every step. And so it begins.
We are pleased to announce our Red Thread photo contest!
In celebration of 12 years of incredible adventures, friendships and memories - we invite all our past and current travelers to enter their favorite photos and videos. More information on our Contest Page.
Interested in learning more about Red Thread Heritage Tours? Join one of our upcoming information meetings!
Upcoming Heritage Tour Meetings
Contact email@example.com to join!
CNY Festivities were off to a great start this weekend. We are honored to be hosting master calligrapher Zhang Yansheng as he shares his talents with the Minnesota community. His last public appearance here in MN will be at the MOA, "A Passage China", 2-17 and 2-18. - Please stop by the Chinese Heritage Foundation booth and say hi and receive a free personalized calligraphy bookmark or fan! We will also have a unique necklace activity for the whole family. We would love see you there! 新年快乐
You are invited to join us for a limited engagement with
Master Calligrapher, Zhang Yansheng
- Calligraphy Exhibition -
Brought to you by the Chinese Heritage Foundation and Danling Cai
Saturday, Feb 10th
1 – 4 pm
Gramercy Park, Richfield
Kick off your Chinese New Year celebrations by joining Danling and CHF Friends for an engaging afternoon learning more about this harmonious fusion of art and writing.
All ages welcome!
For More Information: Download Flyer PDF
It's not as easy as you may think to volunteer at orphanages in China as stricter policies for NGO's are enforced. But we are maintaining our Teens' Service Tour and continuing to offer a service experience, cultural exchange and sightseeing for our amazing teens.
Welcome to the Red Thread Tours & Services website! If you are looking for information about our heritage tours, our next online information meeting will be on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 10:00am Central Time. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on joining us from your computer.
Our next heritage tour is Dec. 16 - 31, 2017. This is a great time of year to travel - much more comfortable temperatures and no crowds! There is plenty of space available but planning is underway. Contact us ASAP to get in on this one.
And finally, a nice article written by Maren Longbella for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She writes about her family's heritage tour this past July: "For West St. Paul girls and their family, a homecoming welcome in China"
As of 2015 you now have the option of obtaining a 10 year visa. So if you plan to return again to China this may be a good option for you
We are often asked if we have experience with a particular orphanage, and more often than not the answer is yes! So I thought it would be nice to list the orphanages that we have visited with past families. However, once I started down this road, I soon found out that the list was 85 orphanages long! Whew! I guess I won't list them all here, but rest assured, we have most likely been to your child's orphanage.
Opening the minds of children and their families
through heritage tours of China
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1404 Bluebill Bay Road
Burnsville, MN 55306