Sunday, March 29, 2009


Some oddities in China that I am (mostly) coming to love...

1. No toilet paper in bathrooms - hence everyone carries their own little packs of tissue wherever they go

2. When eating out: at least one dish is cracked or chipped - whether bowl, plate, tea cup, or spoon

3. When eating out: 1st washing your cup, dish, bowl, and chopsticks with the first teapot of boiling hot water before eating

4. Pay-as-you-go cell phones - which tell you the balance in random text messages. Too bad they're in Chinese...

5. Finding feet, heads, and always bones in at least some part of my food

6. Tea, tea, TeA, and more TEA!!!

7. Being told I'm "strong" by men, who then look at their women and tell them to eat more so they are strong too.

8. Walking the streets and dodging dirty puddles, trash piles, overhanging laundry, etc.

9. Laundry, in general, drying on almost ever outdoor object imaginable: electrical lines, electrical towers - in the middle of the street, street lights, trees, etc.

10. Being asked how tall I am - in centimeters.

11. NO paper towels anywhere, they don't exist - hence wet hands after using the restroom and cleaning one's kitchen with tissue

12. When you order at a restaurant, whatever dish is done being prepared first is the one that comes to your table, so if dessert is prepared first, you eat dessert first. The food just keeps coming!

13. Hawking, picking, belching, burping, slurping, scratching, etc. always happens. yep.

14. Using simplified, SO grammatically incorrect statements in order to have a conversation with semi-English speakers.

Ah, China. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I love technology...

So my blogging came to a halt this past month.

My new computer, the one I raved about in a previous post, got a CD jammed in the drive (don't ask me how, all I did was insert it...) and I've been without it for the past 3 weeks. It's been held hostage in a Apple repair center in Hong Kong. With no way to mail it to me (you can't mail electronics into the country), and I can't go back until next month, so...

March = computer-less.

1st, my hard drive crashed
2nd, my computer CD drive crashed
I love technology. woo!

I've been reading, watching episodes of the Amazing Race off a thumb drive, journaling, more reading, Tae Bo-ing, listening, watching, thinking, learning, waiting, trusting.

I'll try to post soon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I came home in a small rainy thunder and lightning storm this afternoon, my last class canceled. I love living in a country where work can get canceled due to weather.

I promptly opened my cheaply constructed windows and just listened...


The word "abide" has been on my hand all this past week as a small, black, thinly written, reminder of truth.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Decisions. Trust. Leaps of faith. Abide with me, O please, abide with me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sacred Heart Cathedral.

After traversing what seemed like the entire population of China, crammed dirty alleys, relentless vendors, trucks, cars, bikes, shops, noise, smoke, and blaring music, a diamond was found amongst the rough chaos of Guangzhou...

Yes, ladies and gentlemen...
a solid granite Catholic church in China, built over 100 years ago,
completed in 1888 to be exact.

Witness the beauty:

these colors were REAL, bouncing off every wall in the morning light

Holy water and Chinese hymnals

It was breathtaking.

It was quiet, except for a drummer practicing in the corner, causing an eerie sound to resonate throughout the old stone structure.

It was...holy.

It was stepping out of China, just for a moment, into a world of faith so hidden and confusing in this massive land. My heart had been aching for it, and found it, for those few minutes entertained beneath it's massive stained glass windows and aging arches.

If you ever go to Guangzhou, I highly recommend the trek to find this jewel. Though your heart and soul may be exhausted on the search walking through filth, poverty, and noise, it can rest, for just a