We are so-o-o fortunate with the blessings of fellowship with those who have passed through Beijing and gathered for worship/study…with others to join us in coming weeks and months.
We laughed, cried, and just shared so much with Edwin and Mary in the time we had with them. We have so much in common through our life experiences, Harding, his twin brother, Edward, etc. After our Sunday activities, we had one of TJ’s home cooked American-style meals (pulled pork, corn bread, lima beans or green beans, cole slaw, diet coke or decaf tea, etc.). We made Mary’s day when giving her a bag of Fritos to take home with her. 🙂
We enjoy our worship opportunities, though the numbers have been down due to the holiday. Poor economic conditions in America that pulled many out of the business environment here have put us in a ‘rebuilding mode’ for the past months, but God is reliable in “giving the increase” and we will strive daily to find those who are seeking Him…that is my morning and evening (and all the time in between) prayer to the One in control of such things.
We have Family coming through soon from both Australia (for a long-term intern program) and South Africa (week business trip). They represent ‘family we haven’t met yet.”
Terry and I went on a date to celebrate our third Valentine’s Day in China… and during our meal we both acknowledged the difference in Beijing “of walking down the road and not seeing one single person we know or recognize.” Quite different than Jingzhou, where we saw and visited with many teachers and even more students any time we left our apartment. We look forward to the holiday ending so we can have more into our apartment and have time to talk about Important Things!
In 2011 we had just arrived after a trip of some 26-hours and did not know what day it was for at least three of them, and last year we had already begun our heavy teaching load…so this year we had time to relax, eat a good American-style meal, “look deep into each other’s eyes” and say how much we loved each other, and reflect on our 41+ years together. Terry fixed us French toast with bacon for breakfast.
We have spent a lot of time these past few days in instant message discussions with several students…one lost her grandfather…two not enjoying being home with angry parents…another sees the need to “marry a rich man” because her father has a gambling problem and the family “needs the money”…a few asking for advise as they deal with a poor job market…typical ‘stuff’ from college age young people. We really miss the young people and the daily conversations, but do NOT miss the cold classrooms and the work associated with teaching over 650+ students.
One of our teacher friends shared how they are moving into their house, finally, after waiting many months for the paint fumes to leave the premises.
We have begun follow-up with our new Family member….meeting once in person each week and once on Skype, since he lives nearly two hours away on the subway.
We have had Eric and Wendy, our students and teachers (especially those new) in our thoughts and prayers this weekend, since classes began February 24. We’re also very curious to know who has been hired/reassigned to replace us.
We are also beginning to look ahead and make tentative plans for our visit to America. TJ wants to visit her Mom and other family on the way into the country (I also plan to do something similar) before getting to South Florida to meet our new grandson and visit with Tonia and Gregory, Andrea, and Colton (it will be over 16 months since we have visited with Colton in person, so he has changed a lot…so-o-o thankful for Skype!).
We received word that our marriage certificate has been authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. and was hand-delivered via our American Airlines contacts…registration went OK without a hitch and Terry is now enrolled in the language school for the rest of the year (with a vacation and summer break), which also gives us a student visa and spousal visa for that identical…allowing us to ‘relax and get to work’ now that we are secure in our residency.
We have made two trips to the local police station to register (not a scary procedure since we have done nothing wrong, right?) and saw something interesting there: a free condom dispenser for the locals. It was explained to us that since the one-child rule is a national law, it makes sense to help the population to exercise this control.
Phillip is also meeting with us again, now that the Spring Festival is over. He is one of the Let’s Start Talking contacts mentioned earlier…very energetic in his desire to learn English and listens intently to the Important Lessons being taught. We are seeking to follow-up with other students at this time who were ‘signed up’ in the past from groups in this area…waiting to see who will become available to come to our apartment.
Phillip finishes furnishing a new house (apartment) soon and also will await his son’s taking of the national exam that determines where they will attend college. Of course, they hope he does well enough to qualify to enter one of the Beijing universities, where the top students study. Phillip travels once a month to be with his son and wife, since he works here because of the better job opportunity.
Barry has become such a good friend and a big help in getting our Visa extended the second time and getting other items written down in Chinese for us, as we make our way in the neighborhood. We see him most Sundays, so it is a special treat in many ways.
I put on shorts while in the apartment for the first time today…it was 40 degrees outside but was over 79 in the apartment, and since the air quality was very poor, we did not want to open the windows to cool it down…might be a record for me in any country to consider wearing shorts in late February.
The Spring Festival was certainly something to hear firsthand. Fireworks were a major part of the event, the first night lasting in excess of six hours…but also 3-4 hours each night for the rest of the week. After a while, they became just noise, especially when 10 p.m. came along and they were still all around our apartment!
There were times when we could see as many as 11 different areas of the city outside our window with bright colors and ‘flash.’ They finally ended on Thursday evening, and we noticed many family units on the Friday subway with their luggage, making their return home.
Greetings — This week when we were out I realized how much I miss seeing people I recognize. I really miss our friends in Jingzhou. It won’t be long before we know more people here.
We were blessed to have some dear friends worship and eat lunch with us Sunday on their way back into China from the States. It was so good to visit with them. We also had a young man from South Africa who lives in this area join us for worship. We hope to get to know him better.
I have started regular night-time, Skype reading sessions with my grandsons in Shiyan. We are reading Once Upon a Summer by Janette Oke. It is the first in the Seasons of the Heart series. It is one that Eric and I read together when he was young.
Finished reading A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. It is one of Mother’s favorite books; very enjoyable.
Each day we discover new things in our neighborhood: market, bakery, underground parking, etc. Today I sketched a simple map so our visitors can find our apartment and our Sunday meeting place from the subway station nearby.
Whenever we take the subway it is a hassle to take my dark glasses off and on while getting my subway card in and out of my purse. To solve the problem I sewed two pockets to the inside of my coat. Now both are readily available and out of the way. Threading my needle has been a pain lately. But when I dampen the eye of the needle as well as the tip of the thread it goes through without trouble. It must have something to do with the static.
We have had many opportunities to encourage our former students by text and instant messaging as they meet new trials in their lives and head back to school for another semester. — Love, Terry.
The Year of the Snake is everywhere here, so it seemed useful to inform as to some of the news related to this creature, at least from the Chinese point of view.
Every snake part is useful — Every part of a snake is useful. Using snakes as medicine has a long history in China and is recorded in detail in many ancient classics of Chinese traditional medicine, including Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shizhen. The book narrated 17 kinds of snake medicines, most of which about the flesh of a snake.
Fresh snake flesh has a better potency than dried. The flesh of snakes, such as cobras, kraits, vipers, Ptyas korros, Zaocys, etc., can effectively cure rheumatic arthritis, leprosy, ringworm, diabetes, acute poliomyelitis and its sequela, heat rash and so on.
Snake village in China—Zisiqiao, a once impoverished village in Zhejiang province where people used to fish to make a living, has now become the number one snake-breeding industry town in China. A step into the homes of any of the farming families here brings visitors eye-to-eye with thousands of some of the world’s most feared creatures -snakes, many of them poisonous.
Beijing adds 390k vehicles in two year, a big drop—Over the past two years, only 390,000 motor vehicles have been registered in Beijing, less than half of those in 2010, according to statistics from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.
The slowdown in car registrations followed the launch of the license plate lottery system in 2011. Beijing will continue implementing the license plate lottery policy, maintaining the current quota, People’s Daily reported Friday, citing vice-chairman of the commission Li Xiaosong.
More diversified ways of distributing plates are expected to be issued soon. The lottery system reduced new car registrations to 240,000 in both 2011 and 2012, 20,000 per month, 88 percent of which belong to private car owners. The increase in motor cars in 2011 amounted to 173,000, 610,000 less than that in 2010.
In the past, motor vehicles in Beijing increased rapidly, rising from 2.58 million in 2005 to 4.81 million in 2010. The year 2010 alone saw 790,000 more units. By the end of 2012, the total number reached 5.2 million, 216,000 more than that in 2011, a 4.3 percent increase.