• 30Sep

    … that super cute quote is from my old housemate ,Lisa, last night.

    So I lied when I said that the next post would come from Wenshan, because here I am in Kunming writing to all you again!  It hardly seems like it’s been 3 and a half weeks since my last post!  So much has happened that it could have been a year and at the same time it feels like it’s only been a week or so!

    Let’s see… where to begin.

    September 10th I made my move down to Wenshan.  Savana (my new housemate) and I packed… more like stuffed… a van full of our stuff and made the trip down to Wenshan.  We took: a piano, 2 boxes of foam flooring mats, a bike, a 5 foot tall physical therapy ladder thing, 4 very large suitcases/duffels, odds and ends and 3 passengers, all in a van smaller than a Dodge Caravan.

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    You can see the two boxes of floor foam things at the bottom there, the piano base on the right, the driver is pushing in the rehab ladder thing…

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    A view from the side door.  Where you can see the bike, some of the big bags, the ladder thing again and then Savana’s seat!

    Usually moving in itself is the crazy part of it all… but seriously everyday after the move was just packed with busy!

    Day 1: Once in Wenshan, we unpacked our stuff and then we were rushed off to the house of one of the families from the rehab center.  It was a good night of getting to see a lot of the kids and their families again, but boy it was tiring!  After a full morning of packing the car, then a full afternoon in the car, it was tough to spend an evening surrounded by not only Chinese but also the Wenshan dialect!  You never realize how much work it is sometimes to constantly be translating in your head or for other people until you do it when you’re already tired to begin with!  I’ve found that the people that I’m used to being around, speaking and listening in Chinese is not that much work, it’s almost natural.  But even after a long day, sometimes I find it hard to understand all that’s being said by my closest friends.  So after this long day and being surrounded by strangers, I was exhausted.  I slept that night at Pam’s since I still hadn’t bought a bed yet!  I could have easily been sleeping on a cloud instead of the couch because as soon as the light was out I was asleep!

    Day 2:  Sunday didn’t provide much rest though, we had worship and lunch at Pam’s house.  After lunch, Rachel, Savana and I went out shopping for some furniture.  Savana and I needed everything for each of our rooms.  I had remembered a set that I liked the last time I went shopping, so we went to check it out first.  After about an hour of negotiations we finally got to a price that I could agree to.  I bought a bed frame, mattress, wardrobe, dresser with mirror and two night stands.  All matching.  I finally feel like a real adult!  Haha.  It’s my first furniture SET purchase!  I went for decent quality stuff so it should last awhile!  We looked around afterwards for Savana’s stuff but didn’t find anything that she wanted.  We were limited by time as that evening we were off to another dinner engagement, this time with one of the guys (and his family) from the water project (helping the villages dig wells and create water supplies).  So day 2 was almost just as exhausting as day 1!

    Day 3: Monday was a holiday here (Mid-Autumn Festival) so you think that would be a relaxing day… nope.  In the morning Savana, Susanna and I went out to try to find Savana some furniture.  We spent most of the morning shopping but it was a successful trip as she was able to find some stuff that was cheaply priced and not ugly!  (You’d be surprised with how difficult that actually is!)  After shopping it was off to more activities.  The Wenshan team took the opportunity of the holiday to have an activity that we could all participate in together.  We were split into 5 groups and sent out to do a photography scavenger hunt.  We had a list of things that we all had to do in different pictures.  Some were places in Wenshan, others were more generic things like banks, and then others were activities.  It was an afternoon filled with a lot of walking but also a lot of laughing.  Here are some of our shots.

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    We all had to be on playground thing, but then we also added in a different category of having a picture where all of our feet were off the ground.  The guy on the right is Xiao Guang, he works on the water team.  His son is in his lap and his wife is on the far left.  Ye Jie is in the middle and is a friend from the local fellowship.  She’s a great help to the Wenshan team as she’s very connected and a true local Weshan-ite so she knows a lot of the “secrets” in town.

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    Here we’re making a Chinese character, or rather two.  文山.  That’s Wenshan!  I think we did a pretty good job!  In fact we won the whole competition, by 1 point!  After all the running around we all went to a restaurant and shared our pictures, tallied the points and ate a great meal.  It was a great day to team-build and get to know the city a little bit better but also very exhausting.

    Day 4:  Still no time to sleep in!  Tuesday morning brought 8:30 am devotional at the office.  After our hour plus meeting, Savana and I went to the apartment to be at the apartment when the furniture was delievered.  So we spent most of the day cleaning and organizing the apartment.  After all the furniture was brought and constructed, we went to go buy some of the other appliances that we’d need around the house (like a gas stovetop, a water dispenser).  It took seemingly forever to find a good gas stove top thing!  Then we went and bought some of the little things we’d need around the house like trash cans, towels, toilet paper, etc .  We didn’t get home until around 5 ish!  Pam, Susanna and YunFen all came over for dinner (which they brought over) and to pray over the house.  Hurrah for our first dinner guests!img_0274

    Here we all are!  (Side note: As you can see in the corner my Doug and Karissa magnets are decorating my fridge!  Nicole and family are on the other side.  Any chance I can get a Bryant baby announcement???  I love the pictures on my fridge it gives the house a better home feel!)

    That night Savana and I slept at the new apartment!  I found out really quick that the road that we live next to is very noisy.  It isn’t a very busy road, but it’s a very steep road.  So that means that while the cars that use that road aren’t a lot, they still have to use a lot of gas and energy to make it up the hill.  So with my bedroom window facing the street I get to hear all of the cars using all that extra effort to go up and down the street!  It’s not terribly noisy but it’s not nearly as quiet as my Kunming apartment!

    Day 5: After the first night in the new place, it was back to the office for 8:30 devotional.  Still no time to sleep in!  Savana and I decided to bike to the office.  That hill was really fun to go down!  It took us about 10 minutes to bike down there.  So fast!  Unfortunately, that day I woke up with a bit of a headache and stomach ache.  But I didn’t put much thought into until later.  After our meeting, Savana and I went home to be there for the rest of her furniture that was coming.  I was already feeling pretty queazy and my head was pounding like crazy.  I then realized that I was dehydrated!  I started to think about the past 4 days and how I barely had any liquids!  The bike ride home was now going to be even more interesting.  I made it home just in time for me collapse on the couch and try to drink a ton of water.  I was basically in and out of it for awhile.  With the pounding headache and the nausea, it wasn’t the most ideal afternoon.  But then around 3 I had to go back out and check out a building space for our offices.  There is a really big space available so we had an appointment to go see it.  So I was back out running around.

    The place we looked at was great, but it’s a little expensive.  So we’re right now trying to talk the guy into lowering the price.  It would be place where we could put all the offices, the rehab center and the school!  It would be awesome to have a sense of unity for all the different teams.  So please keep this in your prayers for us!

    Rachel and I bought some groceries then headed home to cook our first meal there.  Too bad I was still feeling all the side effects of dehydration, so all I ate was the soup.  But it was great to have our first cooked meal there together.  It’s been a long time coming trying to move down to Wenshan but that really made it official!

    Day 6:  After drinking plenty of water, I was back to feeling better.  Rachel and I took the bus into work (which only took 25 minutes door to door!) for another 8:30 devo.  Afterwards I decided to head back home and try to rest!  Finally rest!

    Day 8:  We (Pam, Susanna, Rachel, YunFen and a bunch of others) went out to one of the local villages.  Feiyan’s (one of the little girls from the rehab center) family invited to celebrate their village’s “Grass and Cow Festival”.  It involved meeting at the office at 9am (again no sleeping in) and then driving the 1 plus hour to get to the village.  While up there we had 2 meals, saw cow fighting, danced with the villagers, and had an “award ceremony” for the rehab kids (all of the families came too!).  The cow fighting was my favorite part of the day.  The villagers take two cows/bulls and put them in the basketball court area (aka a flat dirt area with no walls or boundaries…)and the two bulls push each other around until one decides to run away.  The one that runs away obviously is the loser.  The villagers heavily bet on the game.  The fun part was watching the cows run away and then watching the villagers run after them.  It took them a good 20-30 minutes after the cow “lost” to finally catch them.

    Day 12-14:  The Wenshan team had a 3 day training/team building “retreat” scheduled.  8:30-about 8:30 we spent at a conference center doing various activities, listening to different speaking topics and just being together with each other.  It was good to be able to spend time with the people who I’ll be seeing a lot more of!  But they were really long days!  Overall I think that it was a good experience.

    Day 18:  Savana and I made our journey back to Kunming.  Saturday is National Day here, but it should be more like National Week.  A lot of business shut down or give holiday time for the whole week next week.  Schools are out too.  So tomorrow I’ll be heading up to DongChuan to go visit with Ruth’s family.

    As you can see it’s been quite a busy 3 weeks!  But with internet now all set up at the Wenshan house and hopefully things slowing down a bit when I get back… then I REALLY can keep up with my updates!

    To reward you for all your reading here are some great China Pictures!

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    I kinda agree with the Chinese here in thinking that it couldn’t possibly be called Winnie the POOH, cause that would be gross.  It must be misspelled, but not knowing what REAL spelling must have been, replacing one of the ‘o’s with an ‘t’ only makes sense right?

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    So is this phone made in Chino instead of being made in China?  Is it a misspelling too?  Or are they so clever as to know that Chino is Spanish for China and thus it’s name becomes multicultural?  So many questions so few answers!

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    Who’s hungry?  What is it you ask?  Are you sure you want to know?  For those that don’t… move along to the next picture…. for those that are curious… last chance to move along.  Here we have some type of hive (the brown thing) where cocoons of the white worm/larvae things (seen in the bowls above) are sold still alive and wiggling.  The hives have “queen bee” like things that apparently are also sold (not so alive).  Sold to do what you ask… are you sure you don’t want to move along?  Lisa (from the quote above) tells me that they just stir-fry it like they would a vegetable and eat it.  She said she liked it.  I usually go with the theory that I would eat anything once… but this is really pushing it.  Luckily I just saw it being sold in the vegetable market and didn’t have to face the decision on whether or not to eat it.

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    A less gross picture, but none the less fun.  On the road down to Wenshan I saw this truck.  It was carrying 11, yes 11 of these small mini-truck cars.  The truck did not fit in one lane… and yet when I saw this truck on this trip I thought nothing of it.  It wasn’t until we were behind it for awhile that I remember that this is NOT normal and thus took a picture for all of you to enjoy a little bit of the crazy stuff that they do here.  Someone once told me that you know you’ve been living in China awhile when things like this stop being crazy or weird and start seeming normal.

    I hope the long post made up for the lack of posts for the past 3 weeks plus!

    Things overall are going great here.  Winter is definitely right around the corner as it’s slowly becoming that sad time of the year when I have to put my shorts away and start wearing pants.

    Please keep Lucy in your thoughts as we’re having some trouble getting her a visa for her to come visit the States in December.  We still have a few more things we want to try.  But it’s really becoming a tougher process than we ever expected!

    I’ll be gone for the next week, but hopefully I’ll return fresh with some new pictures and good stories!

    Lup

  • 04Sep

    Let’s see… within the last 3 weeks I’ve been to…

    DONGCHUAN- I took a trip with Ruth to visit her family.  We went on Saturday morning and came back Tuesday afternoon.  It was  a quick trip but it was fun to get to see them all again.  There wasn’t any crazy pig killings or anything, but I did get to bring little WeiWei a TON of gifts.  I felt a little like Santa Claus.  She got 3 new outfits, 2 Duplo sets, a wooden block set and some chalk.  It was the first time since I’ve been at their house that it actually felt like a child lived in that house.  We had blocks all over the floor in the living room and the ground in the “courtyard” was covered with chalk drawings.

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    Here is WeiWei and one of her new outfits and her new toys!

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    My cousin Jona made these bows and WeiWei loved them!  Especially the one with the peppers.

    The ride to her village was pretty exciting.  Once we arrived at the bus station in DongChuan, we had to arrange transportation to her village (which is around 60 kilometers from the bus station).  We found 2 motorcycle guys to take us and all our stuff.  About 10 minutes from the road that goes up the mountain, my driver all of sudden kicked me hard and came to a quick halt.  I had no idea what was going on, other than the fact that we basically stopped in the middle of the road.  After about 2 minutes of sitting there in the middle of the road, he told me to get off the bike.  After getting off the bike I discovered the problem.  A flat front tire.  Ruth and her driver were in front of us so when it all happened they didn’t know.  We called them and they came and found us (Ruth later told me that she had to argue with her driver to let her come with him, she didn’t want me to be alone with limited language!).  Now this road is kinda like a road that you’d take to go to the mountains to camp.  There are a few “towns” here and there but when you’re between towns, you’re really kinda stuck.  Plus there’s no AAA in China.  So it was a bit of a conundrum.  My driver told Ruth’s driver to take the two of us on his bike. But Ruth’s driver said that he didn’t think he was skilled enough to take 2 people on his bike plus our stuff.  So my driver told Ruth’s driver, that he would take us on Ruth’s driver’s bike and that driver could help him find a place to fix his tire.  I wish I could have taken a picture of all of us on the bike.  The driver was practically sitting on the fuel tank and Ruth was smashed between the two of us while basically sitting on my lap because there just wasn’t enough sitting room.  It would have been not that big of a problem if we didn’t have to go UP the mountain on a dirt road.  So bounce bounce bounce for 30 minutes!  A funny sight indeed.  We all made it safe up the mountain!  The driver was really really nice.  He just kept on apologizing for the inconvenience!

    FUN OBSERVATION #2:  While at the Kunming Bus Station I saw the 6 fingered woman!!  I wish it could have been convenient to take a picture of her!  Or I wish I could have a camera in my eyes or something.  So if anyone is looking for the 6 fingered woman who killed your father (or maybe mother)…

    DALI- At one of the retreats I asked an Australian friend in passing what she’d want from America when I came back.  She quickly replied that she wanted Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!  So while I was in the states I picked her up a wide variety of them,from the snack size, regulars and I threw some Reese’s Pieces too.  So I made the 5 hour bus ride up there to drop them off and hang out with her a bit.  I just spent Friday through Sunday up there.  It was a quick trip but we had fun just talking.  We did make a trip to the Dali Bird and Flower Market.  She wanted to pick up some sunflowers and herbs for her garden.  After arriving at the market we discovered that apparently the “Flower” part of the market means house plants and house plants only.  We asked a lady where we could find what we wanted and she responded, “what?! why would we have that here?  Do you know how hard it is to grow those?  We don’t have that kind of thing here…” and a bunch of other stuff I couldn’t understand!

    CHENGDU- The capital of the Sichuan Province, mostly famous for the big earthquake quite a few years back, was my next stop.  Lucy and I needed to make a stop to the US Consulate office to apply for her visa so that she might be able to come to the US this year for Christmas.  We have spent the last 6 months preparing for this trip, with the last few weeks being a little stressed to make sure that we had all of our papers in order.  She had her “interview” on Thursday.  And after asking just 3 questions and not even looking at ANY of the documents that we had prepared, the officer person denied her request.  All hope is not lost though.  I was informed that I can petition on her behalf for reconsideration via email.  So hopefully what couldn’t be done in person can be accomplished by email.

    Most of our time in ChengDu was waiting for our appointment times and trying not to sweat too much (the humidity there equalled the humidity levels of Florida in July!).  So we found whatever air conditioned places we could (which included waiting at the airport for 5 hours… simply because there was nowhere else we could think of sure to have A/C!).

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    Here we are wasting time playing some cards on the airport floor.  Apparently this airport doesn’t have chairs for you to sit in, rather annoying.

    The next trip is a big one for me!  I will be moving this Thursday down to Wenshan.  This will be the actual MOVING moving date.  All the rest of my things (which is mostly just clothes) and I will head down a start our new life down there.  There will be a lot of work to do once I’m down there, so the hope is to get a few good days of rest in before I journey down!

    How about another fun picture… only this one comes from the US where apparently spelling is also a problem, unless I really ate a Sour Doug!!!  Just for your information a “Sour Doug” tastes a whole lot like a Tuna Melt.

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    That’s all for now!  Next post should be coming to you from Wenshan!!

    Lup

   

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