Too much living, and not enough “logueing.” 😀 It has been some time since reporting on the Asia trip, but finally catching up as we are not as busy, as we head into K.C. for my sister’s and brother’s-in-law Golden Wedding Anniversary. I missed another Sunday’s Christian Philosophy Blog . . . on Spiritual Disciplines, no less!! But we traveled from Ulaanbataar to Terilj National Park in Mongolia over the weekend and met with our best friends in Mongolia, Dorjo and Tuya and now Hovor-Erdene. More to report on those days as I finish the travelogue in the next few weeks.
2017-05-27 to 05-28
Today the hotel was in full “wedding mode” with a BIG wedding that was happening here. Our favorite hostess, Zhao Wen Shuang, was on hand to help supervise the activities, although I imagine she has someone else to shoot the guns that will announce the nuptials are complete. And, YES, they WILL shoot the guns!! (Blanks, of course 😉 )
However, we are heading to Anita’s Nanling Campus for her “make-up” class because of the weekend’s Dragon Boat Races that will close the campuses on Monday. En route to Nanling, our LA informed us that there had been a collapse of the light rail where it operated underground, but gratefully, no one was injured as the section was empty of trains at the time of the cave-in. As we passed that section, the work was already progressing rapidly to repair the damaged section.
The campus is in full bloom as the spring quickly passes into summer, but the temperatures are staying sweetly in the low to mid-60s (15-17C). Anita’s class are alert and attentive even though Saturday is usually a day off. They are meeting today as a “make-up day” for missing Monday when everyone was recovering from the International Marathon that was on Sunday. Cannot give a reason for that; it is not like the students were competing; just a holiday, I guess. But most of the college classes are doing the same thing, so it feels like a regular class day.
Today Joanne, an administrator who is a friend to our LA joined us to provide her car for Gan to drive, and he skillfully maneuvered through the traffic and even took the tunnel that Yvonne and Joanne usually avoid. But he safely deposited us at the Din Xin Building where the faculty was gathering for some administrative tasks with our coordinator, the Section Chief of the Office of Teaching Affairs, Xiaohui Liu.
Before leaving the Din Xin Building, Anita and I went exploring a little and found the as-yet unused floors of 7, 8, and 9, and allowed access to the roof for some really cool shots, but much of it was inaccessible due to obstructions there.
Besides the wedding at the hotel, some graduates are also taking advantage of the season to tie the knot, and use the beautiful backdrop of the East Gate for some of their photos.
Joe and I embarked on a mission to locate the Changping Christian Church about which a friend who lived here for three years told us. Krista Jacques was working for ELIC (English Language Institute of China) at the time, and had enjoyed the fellowship of this church.
Joe is an interesting Applied Physics student we met on our first excursion onto the campus, back on May 13. I did not mention him at the time, as he did not respond right away to the email contacts we provided, but since has become a very good friend.
As our group was walking back to the June Hotel that day, I noted a young man following us rather closely, and became paranoid of pickpocketing from our experiences in Mongolia. Without anyone else seeming to notice, I would slow the group down a little, expecting the young man to pass, but he would slow with us. Speeding us up, he kept up the pace and seemed uncomfortably close to those at the rear. After a couple attempts to leave him behind or get him to pass, I realized he was paying “too close” attention to our group, so I stopped walking and turned to look at him. This would discourage most pickpockets as they usually do not want a confrontation, and I expected him, once “marked,” to walk on past us.
Instead this very polite young man approached us apologizing, realizing he was discovered listening to our conversation. He introduced himself with his full Chinese name which we shortened to “Joe.” He explained he was a student at JLU and when he heard native English speakers, wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to learn as much as he could, even just by listening. Bruce and I provided him our email addresses and contact information as we shared a little of why we were in Changchun and Jilin U. Joe very graciously thanked us and insisted we wait just a minute while he bought drinks for us from the store beside us.
When neither Bruce nor I had heard from him, we assumed we had just been a curiosity to him. But he showed up on campus again, and attended my presentation to Bruce’s class (05/25), and to Anita’s small scholarship presentation (05/26). There we scheduled for him to help me locate Changping Christian church on this Saturday.
I showed him the map where Krista had indicated the approximate location of the church building. (If you read my Sunday blogs, you will know “the church” is not the building; it is the people who attend). Passing some interesting “warriors” on the way, they seemed to be guarding a seafood restaurant. The cabbie wanted a specific address, so we approximated one on a nearby street, and got out at one end of a park. Unfortunately, I misread our map and asked to be let out there, and Joe’s English is still somewhat lacking, so he did not realize I did not know what I was doing! 🙂
As we walked to the other end of the park, Joe asked me what the building looked like, and when I said I had never been there before and had not seen it, he responded with his trade mark, “WOW, wow, wOWwww.” 😀
Once in the vicinity of the end of the park on our “map,” Joe did an amazing thing. He saw a couple of elderly women approaching and said, “Let me ask.” Definitely not an American guy :-D!!! The women immediately responded with directions, so clearly, that even I understood most of where we were to go.
As we rounded a corner, he asked another passer-by who was carrying his daughter, and this fellow said he was going right by it, and would lead us there. Arriving at the church building, we found it unlocked and went in to find a cleaning crew getting things ready for the meetings in the morning. We spoke a little about how we knew of and found the building and we were excitedly welcomed to tomorrow’s meeting. I asked one of the ladies to come outside for a photo, and she seemed very embarrassed about her appearance, but graciously came out, so we could get her in the picture with the address and street, for easy identification of the location.
She gave us directions to where we could catch a taxi, but suggested we use the light rail, whose station was just as close. On the way to the station, we passed a billboard that caught my eye. I wondered if it had anything to do with abortion, but Joe informed me it was an ad for a birthing clinic, but still wonderful to see birth being celebrated in China, instead of regretted.
We joined the light rail and I commented to Joe that this train was like every other subway or light rail in the world, whether NY, LA, Japan, Italy, Bulgaria, Korea, or any other country where Anita and I had ridden the rails. At the end of the day, weary workers return home from their jobs, many cat-napping on the train. They are all alike. Each has put in a long day and hopefully goes home to a family where love is rich, food is enough, and shelter is quiet.
We WeChatted Anita that we had been successful, and were taking the light rail back, not where the collapse had occurred, and told her our approximate return time to the office. Upon arrival I notice a building we do not see from “our end” of the campus and commented to Joe about how LED lights enjoyed major attention by Asians. Again, this is the same in almost all the Asian countries we have visited.
Joe joined us for a late supper at the Student Center after which we made our way back to our hotel. Some safety officers passed us with armbands that were really cool! These would be great for bicyclists at night!
Last night we hit the sack as soon as we had arrived because the church meeting started at 9am and Joe was concerned the traffic could be a delay. He very conscientiously wanted to make sure we would arrive on time. At the same time, he wondered if he should attend, or if he might be a distraction to those who are followers of The Way. He just seems completely courteous in a place where that seems in short supply!
It is wedding season where ever it is spring, and a group of red cars and ribboned vehicles passed us on the highway. Must have been a “super” wedding with Superman attending the bride and groom in one of the autos.
We arrived very early with such little traffic this Sunday morning, and Changping has a coffee shop where we waited and visited while the first service was concluding. The shop serves “real” coffee from freshly ground beans, so I had my first cup of real coffee since leaving Beijing! 🙂
The Changping group are a friendly, youthful lot, with emphasis on Bible reading and study. For some more pictures, visit May 29, 2017, on Worship and Celebration. This version of “The Bible Hand” shows all 66 books of the Bible, a miniature library, not one book (see January 25, 2015 ).
In the afternoon, we took in Pirates of the Caribbean’s latest installment, Dead Men Tell No Tales, which according to the Pirates series is hardly true! Like the other Depp movies, this one was mostly brainless entertainment with funny scenes such as a foiled guillotine execution of Captain Jack Sparrow. All the movies seem to be in 3D here on campus.
On the fifth floor of the Student Center, beside the theater, is a swimming pool! We wondered whose idea it was to put a pool on the fifth floor, above a bunch of restaurants and shops. Given what we have observed on some construction sites, we wondered what would happen if the wrap under the pool had a leak or, worse, if the concrete gave way?! But some of the buildings are obviously built very well, and we hope this is the same for the Student Center.