Total Pageviews

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Tale of the White Ping Pong Player

Well this time it hasn't been too long friends. I bet your happy you get the pleasure of reading another one of my amazing blog posts, that always seems to brighten your day, ;).  This is a fun story of me going out to visit some of my Chinese friends.  Who go to a university that is like forty five min. out of town.  I hope you enjoy it. I sure did.

So I leave my house at 8:10, really early in the morning, not really.  If you know me, you know that I always plan for detours and bad things to happen when I plan how much time I will need to get somewhere.  In China that is pretty difficult, at least for an ignorant foreigner, who doesn't know the ways of the land.  So to get to the New campus, which is where I need to be, I first need to get to the old campus that is in the city of Xi'an.  I know before hand that I have to take the 106 bus, and let me tell you, this bus is no fun.  Guaranteed  every time this bus will be packed to the limit.  The China limit is about 50% higher than what westerners would have in mind.
This is the infamous 106 bus,  I don't lie friends.
I get to the bus stop, and wait for about ten min.  I realize once I get on the bus that yet again it is packed, but not full, haha.  So I am thinking that this bus is full, but at every stop a herd of Chinese are chasing the bus down to get on, and Chinese don't mess around when getting on a bus.  The will do whatever it takes to get on a bus, especially in the morning.  I once saw a guy who shouldn't have ever fit on the bus, I mean he was being pinched by the door.  This man stood there for like 5 min, while the doors tried to shut, on him, for five min, then finally they closed.  That story really happened.  So I stood on the amazingly comfortable 106, that was sarcasm, for about 45 min feeling like a livestock animal in a semi trailer, I am just guessing that the animals feel pretty uncomfortable, so did I.

I make it out to the university safe and sound.  My friend Pei Hao, that is pronounced pay how, who's English name is Paul, met me when I got off.  When I first met Paul I gave him that English name, and he thought I said poor.  He told me he didn't like the name poor, I said no no, it is Paul, it is a good name.  That was amusing.  After getting off the bus we walked to the gymnasium to watch some ping pong matches.  My other friend Nai Fan was reffing one match.  The matches going on when we got there weren't to exciting, so we decided to go get some hitting in ourselves.  I have fallen in love with ping pong since being in China, and rightfully so, being as big as it is here.  I actually am not too bad, for a white guy, I take that back, Germans are really good, for an American.
A more competitive match. good stuff. 

After lunch we went back to the gym to watch some semi-pro players!  There was doubles going on when I got there.  For those of you who don't know, doubles is just two on two.  It was very entertaining to watch, these players were so good.  After watching the matches for an hour or so, Paul and I went back up to pong some more.  While we were playing, these two girls started watching us.  I am not for sure if that was because we were so pathetic or because I was white, haha, but really.  One of the girls builds up the courage to ask Paul if she can play with me, and he says yes, he should have thought twice about that.  I just think that we are going to gently hit the ball around, I thought wrong.  I hit one back to this girl that was just a little too high, and she murders it, I peed my pants a little. This girl ends up being ridiculously good, and half crazy.  Every time I hit one back a little high she would make me pay, and if it hit me, it hurt physically and emotionally.

By the end of the day I had played four plus hours of ping pong, but it was so much fun.  Hanging out with Paul and my other friend Nai Fan was a blast.  I met Paul and Nai Fan during the Sunshine Camp that I did this last summer.  The relationships we have are truly the most important parts of our lives.  We must never take anyone for granted.  Relationships are gifts, and they must be our top priority.  Live life in the moments that you have friends, we never know when it all will end for us or them.   I hope you enjoyed my story, I enjoyed writing it.  Until next time.

This is Nai Fan about to smash a back hand shot. 
This Nai Fan's teammate on the ping pong team. He was amazing too!

This is another friend and Me ponging it up on the official courts, oh yeah!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Living out of Abundance+Funny China Story!

Hello everyone, it has been a while.  Like we say in China long time no see, and that saying did come from China,  no jokes.  To start off I hope everyone is doing well, living out of the abundance of your heart, easier said than done though.  Life is such an interesting thing.  How it circles around us and so often feels like the same situations happen over and over again.  Even though time is moving and everything around us is changing, it feels the same things happen over and over.  It is coming to a close, my first year in China.  It has been amazing, challenging, joyful, growing, testing, it has been real life.

I first want to tell a short story about my new found obsession.  I would guess most of you know that ping pong is huge in China, but it is probably bigger than you would imagine.  So since being in China I have started playing ping pong and loving it.  The other day I wanted to get out, so I went to the ping pong shop to look around and maybe play some pong.  I started to hit with the owner of the store, and after ten min or so an older Chinese man came in.  The owner said something in Chinese that I didn't understand.  I was guessing that he said this guy was a coach.  So I was like nice, I will hit with him.  He started to give me advice that I only understood by his hand motions and facial expressions.  Then this 80 year old Chinese man came over and started grabbing my arm and yelling at me, again I didn't understand.  I knew he was telling me to relax my arm, because he was grabbing it and shaking it violently.  By the end the coach had stood behind me and grabbed both my arms to help me understand the technique, he needed to do this because I was a not so smart white skinned non-ping pong playing foreigner, I didn't hold it against him, no matter how uncomfortable it was.  He helped me for about an hour and a half. It was a lot of fun, and he really helped my technique.  Ping pong is so much more technical than it looks.

Recently, for many reasons, I have been thinking about life and how we were meant to live.  Not just breathe and go through the motions, but to thrive.  The word thrive might throw you off, I don't mean thrive by the world's standard. I am talking about thriving in the way that we were meant to.  I recently have been wrestling with thoughts about giving and sacrifice.  I sometimes feel sick inside and don't know why.  Maybe it is because I half know what to do, but the thought of it scares me half to death.  Looking around at the world and understanding that there are so many who have nothing.  I have soooo much, yet what do I give up so that someone else can live.  I recently watched a video that talked about living with abundance, not scarcity.  Not abundance in what we have, but abundance in how we give.  It doesn't say in the Book, "it is more blessed to give than to receive" for nothing. It is a revolutionary truth, that I don't fully live.

I don't write this to make people feel guilty.   I hope it opens my eyes a little more to what true life is.  To understand the reality that the life He meant for us is often not realized, because of different reasons.  Fear is a huge one, I believe, especially in  my life.  We must live out of His love, grace and provision, not our strength and wisdom.  Unless we fully surrender to His love and live out of his hands, we will never thrive in the blessed life He has for us.  Because when we let go of control and fear, He moves in ways we wouldn't imagine.  This is when, I believe, we truly live like He meant us to, out of the abundance of our hearts.  I am sorry that I have not put up pictures in awhile, I think I need to hire a photographer.  Please comment if you have thoughts on this post. I appreciate your thoughts.  Until next time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Downtown fun with Ryan & Yamid!

After last night I was thinking that I had better post something. Because I don't too often just post stories. One, because I am not a creative story teller, and two, because funny stories don't happen to me too often.  This will be short and sweet, hopefully with some smiles in between.

Last night, Friday, Yamid, Ryan and I decide to head downtown to the market which we go to usually every Friday or Saturday night.  A ritual has developed since the recent opening of the new Xi'an Subway system.  That ritual being this; when Yamid and I take the subway and we have to swipe our cards to get through the little gate, instead of just swiping it where we know every other person with a brain swipes it, we pull out our license or a business card and try to swipe it in really odd places.   When the workers, who are there to help helpless people like us, come over to help us we start talking in a fake Russian language. Yamid actually speaks spanish, I speak in Russian. We swipe our cards in the end like smart people would, not until we have created a reputation of being the dumbest foreigners to pass through the subway.  Please don't judge me, it is just a little comedic relief.

Once we got to the market, we headed to our friends booth to sit and chat a bit.  So we all sit down in this little  hallway of a store.  We all are sitting on stools that are for toddlers, so we all look like giants, as out of place as we could get, but we love it!  One of our friends' five year old son, who is the cutest little boy, was going around making sure everyone had a little stool.  All I am thinking is I hope my son is that polite.  I am pretty sure I tried something like this as a child, but compared to him I failed miserably.  Hospitality is a very important thing in China, and the Chinese are very good at it.  So after we have talked for awhile they offer us each a moon cake. Which are from the moon festival, that ended one month ago. During that time I didn't eat one moon cake, because I had heard that they have really strange things in them, and they do. I have a weaker stomach than a newborn baby, not really, but it is a good analogy.  So we take the cakes with gracious smiles and thank you's, none of us intending to eat them.  So we all set them strategically by our stools, hopefully out of site out of mind.  One major gag scene was avoided, but I wasn't off the hook yet.

Ten minutes later our little friend brings out little tomato looking things.  I really don't eat tomato's, I know I am pretty pathetic.  All of our Chinese friends were saying, oh they are so good to eat, in Chinese of course.  I have lived here enough to know when someone tells me it's delicious, it's not true.  I have been tricked many a time. I wasn't going to be fooled this time, haha.  Ryan and Yamid are true men, and they ate them with no complaint.  In the meantime they were all still trying to get me to eat my mystery fruit/vegetable, with no avail.   Finally I said to them using Chinese, I am not accustomed to eating them, that usually does the trick.  They let me set it aside, close call.  It wasn't over yet.  The grandpa, the father of the whole family got up and grabbed the thing and gave it to me again, and said, try try try it is very good.  This time I didn't have a choice.  My good friend Ryan was telling me, don't eat it man, you can't handle it.  While Yamid was saying, just eat it!  I was torn, but I had to do it.  I started to peel it, it started to bleed.  I was scared.  My stomach was already turning the wrong way.  I thought I better just lick the juicy cream it had produced, before I take a bite.  Oh man, I licked that stuff, instant gag reflex. No joke, I almost threw up.  Ryan said told you, Yamid just laughed.  In the end I got off the hook.

When we were leaving Yamid put his moon cake in his djembe case in a sly kind of way. The little boy saw him and called him out, saying to Yamid, hey don't you want to eat it?  All the boy knew was the moon cakes were delicious. Yamid just patted him on the head with a big smile, trying to say with his smile, I will save it for later.   Ryan whispers to me, "why didn't he just hide it away". I said to Ryan, "why didn't you hide yours", the cake was at his feet.  Ryan said, "that's not mine, mine is in my pocket". So he picked the one up off the floor.  Big mistake Ryan, the lady then gave Ryan that one too, when Ryan just wanted to point out it wasn't his, haha, it's yours now, sucker.  I made it out unscathed from the exotic foods of China, but was blessed with some awesome time talking with my friends. Practicing my poor Chinese.  Thanks for reading.  Until next time!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kingdom Logic

Hello everyone, I hope your week has been going well. I am sure some of you have had a bad week, maybe a bad month. Just remember, He works out everything for the good of those who love Him.  I have been doing well recently. I have been on vacation this week, because of the Chinese National Day.  I have just been relaxing a lot, when the fire works war isn't going on right outside my window at twelve at night. I have studied a little. I know I am a terrible student, this is why I didn't choose to go to college.  I have felt really good with my Chinese lately. I have been able to go out on the street and have conversations using Chinese, it has been really good. We say something in Chinese, man man lai, it means it takes time.  I try to live by that. It has been really good living with Ryan and Yamid. Thay are both really awesome roommates.  Don't you love how detailed I am, it is a gift of mine, ;)  Here are some pictures for your entertainment. Enjoy!
This is a friend who Yamid and I usually see once a week. She writes using calligraphy .

This is on a street after a billion black cats were set off. Pretty intense! 
This is Yamid in the new Xi'an Subway. 

Living in a foreign country will test you and make you grow.  Going through things that frustrate you and test your patience everyday is not fun, but it builds on the foundation that you hopefully already had.  So for me this process has been good, I have seen change in my life. I don't see it clearly but I know it has happened.  So I will give you a little personal background of who I am.  Some see life through relationship, some see it through adventure and challenge, some see it through education and knowledge, and many other ways. I on the other hand, see a lot of life through numbers. I constantly think of the time, and how much time it would take to do something, or if I have enough time to do a specific thing with the time I have. I am late maybe once a year. I also do the same with money.  I am careful with money, a gift I received from my father.  I always look at what the outcome might be, which stops me from doing a lot things.  A gift? maybe, a curse? maybe.

So recently I have been tested in the area of giving and trusting. Because I am living on just enough to eat and live, nothing else.  So I need to be extra careful right? I can't afford to give to anything to anyone, because I barely have enough for myself.  I am afraid I have missed something huge in how we are called to live.  I can't be used as a blessing to others if I live with a death grip on the little I have.  I believe if we open our hands and trust Him with the rest, He will do more than we could ever imagine.  If we would live in the promise of His provision, He could do such amazing things through us. I believe we have been brought up in a society that teaches us to live using logic, and if it isn't logical don't do it.  I believe logic is for this world, not for Kingdom living. If I used logic for all my decisions I sure wouldn't be where I am today. I believe logic cripples what He wants to do through us. It is our big security net, one of them at least. Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about being financially irresponsible.  I am talking about living in a way that shows that what we have is not ours, but His. Living a life of out pouring, more than just what we logically can, but pouring out what hurts so that others may live. When we choose to live with open hands, I believe that He will do amazing things through us. Not because of logic, but because of love. This is something that I have been growing in, I am a failure in this area. With His grace hopefully someday I can live fully abandoned to this world and the stuff that doesn't really matter. Thank you for reading. I challenge you to set logic aside and live with open hands. Live using kingdom logic.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Moving, School, and More

Hello everyone, it has been awhile since I have had the motivation to write a post, if you love reading my writing, sorry. If you think my posts are boring, your welcome.  If you are on the fence, hopefully this post will kick you off, haha, just kidding.  I hope everyone is doing well with getting started with the new school year. I am sure it is really crazy for some of you. If you ever need a vacation just come on out to China.  

This last week was my first week of the new semester as well.  Back into the books, studying hard.  I am really thankful for some scheduled things again.  I think I was going a little crazy.  I also just moved into a new apartment with my good friend Yamid, he is a schoolmate of mine, and Ryan Clancy. Ryan was a friend of mine from Rapid City, he is a good friend of the family as well.  He flew in Wednesday morning, luckily all his luggage came in. I believe it is like a 5o% chance your luggage won't show up when you fly into Xi'an.  I say that because I lost my luggage when I flew in.  Matt's mom just flew in to Xi'an, she also lost her luggage for the second time.  They lost it when she flew in two years ago, that would be so frustrating to me. Hopefully she gets it quickly.

 Me and Ryan have been making daily run's to the imports store or ren ren le, it is a Chinese super market, it means, people people happy.  Doesn't that make you want to shop there, oh yeah.  I will give you one funny story about shopping in China.  So recently, thanks to me, my brother-in-law Matt Peterson bought a electric moped. They are like the SUV's or trucks of China, no joke.  I am guessing, by the way the Chinese use them, there load capacity is roughly around two tons.  Ryan and I had to go to the super market and look for some household stuff.  We knew we both needed a fan, and we knew they would be a little big. But we took matt's dian dong che, that is Chinese for electric bike, anyways.  So Ryan and I are cruising down a little side road, that has about a thousand Chinese walking, riding bikes, driving cars, and walking dogs.  Basically a recipe for disaster. Whenever Ryan would get nervous that we were going to crash he would move a little bit, and that mixed with my inexperienced driving skills would almost result in a dead dog or an injured pedestrian, YIKES!  Anyways, we made it to the market alive. We bought our fans successfully. Now we just had to figure out how to put them on the bike with two full grown men.  I am sure the Chinese were thinking we were incompetent fools. They could get three people and grip of other stuff on these bikes. Here were we, trying to think hard, all we had was one rubber bike tube, and two incompetent foreigners, no offense Ryan.  So in the end we put both fans on one side and strapped them down with the tube. Ryan had to sit side saddle, which is the way all the girls sit when they ride these bikes, haha, sorry Ryan that was the last Joke.  We made it back to our place, with a million funny looks and a couple damaged vehicle side mirrors, just kidding. It was a fun adventure for us, I am sure Ryan will remember it for years to come.

School started this last monday for me and Yamid, my Colombian roommate.  I was really excited to get started again.  Like the terrible student I am I didn't study much in the Summer, so my Chinese is a bit rusty.  The first day our new teacher tested our Chinese to see where we were. This teacher has taught a ton of famous foreigners who I know.  Just to mention a few Matt and Jeremy Peterson, and Chris Failla.  All of whom I am really close friends with.  So I am really excited to have this teacher, because she is very good at what she does.  We have class for three hours a day, and we talk in Chinese for the whole three hours when she is teaching. Impressed? well you should be, haha.  So I have been really busy lately, but it has been really good.  I will do my best to put some pictures up next post.  Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Until next time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Counting the Cost

Hello everyone, right off the bat I just want to tell you that I am not totally sure where this will go. I am sure in the end it will end up as one cohesive thought, I hope at least. I recently have been staying at a friends apartment, with the duty of watching their dog.  I have been here for one week so far, with no exciting stories to tell you.  It actually has been a boring week. All I do is take the dog out three or four times a day, and go out to eat. So I am kind of like an elderly person living a simple life. Anyways, I have been reading the story of a famous person who gave up everything for the people that he loved.  I am sorry, that is all the detail I will share. I am going to share some thoughts with you based on his story.

I grew up in a family who taught me a lot about love and family, and what the most important things in life are, which aren't things at all.  Growing up I was not aware of how much I would have to be willing to sacrifice to live the life that I knew I was supposed to live. I am not saying I have sacrificed anything, besides some basic luxuries. In my life I know what the most important things are to me.  The true question is, am I willing to completely surrender that part of my life. That is the question we all should ask ourselves. Most of us have things, or people in our lives that we would not be willing to give up.  It is completely understandable and normal.  When will the cause go beyond the things we aren't willing to give up, the things that make us feel comfortable in our little bubble.  When is the cause worth the cost.

The man in the book that I read was a world class athlete. He was the best in the world at the track event he did. He was the most famous man in Scotland, the country where he was from.  He could have done anything, but instead he chose to follow his calling. His calling was not a modern day walk in the park. He lived in the foreign country which he was called to for a few years before he got married and had children.  Soon after his second child was born, the Japanese, who were currently at war with the country he was in, bombed Pearl Harbor. This event made if very dangerous to be in the country he was in, because of the growing hostility the Japanese had towards foreigners.  He had already been living away from his wife and kids, in another little town, for a couple of years.  He sacrificed everything for the cause he believed in. His wife was pregnant with their third child, when he decided it was to dangerous for his family to stay there. He sent her back to her home in Canada, until he could meet her there.  He said good bye to his two little daughters and wife, holding back the tears, not knowing if he would ever see them again. I truthfully can't imagine the pain of doing something like that, and I don't even have children.  He could have thrown in the towel, which would have been the natural thing to do, but instead he persevered through the storm for the goal.   He later was put in a Japanese internment camp, where he lived for 2 years, spreading the love he had in his heart with the other people in the camp.  He died abruptly, never seeing his third daughter or his other two daughters and wife again.  To this man, his sacrifice was worth the cause.

I am not saying this is everyone's calling. Not at all, I am saying that we must be willing to sacrifice for what we believe.  We must look at our lives and know that following Him is not easy.  He promised we would be hated, like foreigners to a land not our own. I need to understand what it might take to carry out the calling.  I must understand it will be hard, it will be war.  I must release my death grip on the comforts that I take for granted.  Unless I release my grip, He won't be able to use me in the way He wants.  Unless I understand the cost and surrender all I am to Him, I have not given my whole self to Him. He doesn't want a piece of our lives, He wants every little bit.  After reading that book I felt like I wasn't doing anything worth while, but that isn't true. I understand it is a journey. This book opened my eyes a little bit to truth of how hard the journey might be. I encourage everyone to take a look at your life, and ask, what am I holding on to that I won't give up. Thank you for reading. Until next time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunshine Camp, Part 2

Now back to the story.  The training had started Wednesday morning and it was now Friday afternoon.  The students started arriving by the bus load from all over China. These students are the best of the best.  They were the top students from the best universities in China. And let me tell you there are a lot of students in China.  I helped some girls load there luggage up twelve flights of stairs, a few too many times. For an in shape person it would have been nothing, for me it was a marathon.  I then went to my room and met the three guys who I would live with for the next seven days; Stone, Kevin, and Paul. I was privileged enough to give Paul his English name. I have trouble remembering English names, Chinese names are a whole other story. His Chinese name is Pei Hoa, pronounced pay how. I was glad to give him my fathers' name.  Another thing that made me really happy was that all the guys in my group were from schools in Xi'an. So after the camp got over I would be able to continue our friendships.   Therefore the camp started out really good. Because the biggest reason I was there was to create relationships that would last. I wanted to influence people with love, and a different way of living, that they probably were not used to. 
From left to right: Paul, Sonny, Me, Stone, Kevin, and Tang Pan.  Awesome group of guys.

I will do my best to shorten this down, because there are so many fun stories I could tell.  The schedule was this; wake up at 7:20 breakfast at 8:00, 9 o'clock morning rally, then lecture and group discussion, then lunch at 12:30. 1:00 to 2:15 ping pong. That was a necessity. At 2:30 we had to be back for afternoon activities, they went until 5:00. Dinner was at 6, after dinner we had to be back in the meeting room at seven. We were usually done by 9:30. We went to bed anywhere from 11 to 12.  I take that back. I went to bed then, the Chinese students went to bed at 1-2 in the morning. They are so crazy. I did that for seven days straight. By the end I was terribly exhausted.
This was my Life Group. 

Some of the major highlights were seeing these students who have never truly opened up to someone in their lives open up to each other.  It is truly amazing to see people being vulnerable, so that other people can better understand the person underneath the mask.  The things we went over in the camp, like living with integrity, love, humbleness, leading with a servant heart and other basic things, were new ways to live for most of them.  The games we played were very basic, but they fell in love with them.  We sang the "hey macarena" song, and all 220 students plus danced to it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a ton of fun, but mostly because they were having so much fun. It was amazing just to see these students break out of their shell for the first time. The whole thing was incredible.  The most amazing thing though was to see how many students told me that they had never seen love like this before in their lives.  Almost all the guys in my group told me that their minds were changed in some way. That is a big step.
Carnival night, this was a booth where you could model newspaper clothing. Pretty awesome!

People left the camp in a flurry, I didn't get to say goodbye to everyone I wanted to, but I guess that is life.  I got home to where I live in Xi'an Saturday afternoon, exhausted and tired.  In the end the camp was everything I expected and more.  It is hard to put it into words. It was such a beautiful thing. When new life comes, new joy and new hope, it is tough to describe it with words. All I can say is that the people who started the Sunshine Camps are making an amazing difference in the lives of many.  Thank you so much for reading. Until next time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunshine Camp 2011, Part 1

Hey everyone!  I am still really tired from the last ten days that I was attending an international camp in Xi'an.  I need to write this post before I forget the interesting details. I hope you are all doing good. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I will break it down into two posts, possibly three. 

So I heard about this Sunshine Camp from a good friend about two or so months before it started.  He said it was so amazing and I had better volunteer to help with it. So I said I would.  I started to fill the application out and soon realized it would cost $200.  Not usually a problem, but right now I have been really low on money. I knew in my mind that it would be worth it, even though I was a little uneasy.  A little later some really amazing people told me they would pay for the camp. Because they understood what an impact it would have on me and on others. Going into it I had some expectations but nothing too huge. I was trying to hope for the best and expect the worst. 

The morning of the 13th, Andrea, a friend of mine here, and I set out for the camp with high hopes and bubbling excitement, well that was true for me at least.  It took us a little while to get a taxi, but not to the point where we were throwing luggage at the taxi's, just kidding we don't ever do that.  So before I go on you need to know that both Andrea and I don't have killer Chinese, hers is better than mine, but it is still very difficult to communicate an uncommon destination to an unassuming taxi driver.   So she tells the driver where we want to go and he nods his head like he knows.  We soon figured out that he had no clue where he was going. Long story short he stopped about five times to ask for directions and stopped at two wrong universities.  Finally we made it after about an hour of confusion. To look at the bright side it could have been worse, much worse.

When I got my name card it said Camper on it.  I had specifically applied to be a coach or counselor, not cool.  I found out later that day that if you're American you have to have graduated college to be a coach. At first I was disappointed about it, but later on I found out that being a coach had a ton of responsibility and not a ton of benefit. Being a student I got to hang out with the Chinese students way more.

So then I had two and a half days before the camp started to do nothing, because I had come early for training to be a coach.  But I got to play ping pong with the top ping pong player at the university we were at. He randomly came up to me and asked if he could play ping pong with me.  It was a lot of fun. He ended up letting me use an extra fan he had, which was such a blessing, because it was so hot in the dorms.
This is the dorm that I lived in for the whole camp. 

This is Nai Fan,  my ping pong friend. He was killer! 

This was the view of the little town from my dorm room. 

This is my friend Rambo and I! 
I will post the rest of the story in a few days time. Thanks for checking in everybody. I know I am not a good writer, but thanks for supporting me none the less. Until next time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Love in the Details

Hello again, thanks for dropping in.  It has been over a month since my last post. Life has continued uninterrupted of anything out of the ordinary. You are maybe wondering why I am posting if I don't have any awesome stories of adventure and trial or laughter and joy. Well I hope this opens some eyes to the beauty that they have been missing.  I know I more often than not miss it.

When living in China it is so easy to try to focus on the big picture. Focus on what I will have accomplished in 3 or 5 years down the road. To live a step ahead of the present. Eyes always on the horizon.  I usually live this way, always looking across the fence.  Well today I am going to tell you what matters most in our lives, at least in my tiny perspective.

I go to school everyday for 3 hours. I take the exact same route everyday. I come in contact with almost the same people everyday, for the most part. Really not to exciting. Don't get me wrong learning Chinese has been amazing in a lot of ways. But when I look back at what I have done since coming to China, it hasn't been that much. In my tiny perspective. Flash back, when i was doing a leadership school in Denver in 2009, one of our last speakers spoke on attitude and living in the moment. It quite frankly rocked my world. Because I always was living in the future. If this happens then I will be able to do this, if only I was in China then I could really make a difference.  If only I was married then life would be so much better, haha.  Your getting the picture.  This truthfully is a poisonous way to live your life. Focusing on the future worried about what could be.  I am not saying being responsible in planning is bad. I am saying 'living' in the future is.

 If we don't live our lives in the present we miss everything. You miss out on all that the Father wants to teach you, maybe through a difficult time or through a hidden blessing. You miss out on all the amazing relationships around you.  You miss out on loving people that are alone and lost. You miss out on helping a neighbor on a rainy day. You miss out on giving something to people that they might not have. You miss out on showing a love that people rarely see. We must stop worrying about the future and live our lives in the gift of today.

Throughout my day to day life I could have the perspective of all the details are pretty meaningless. Or I could live in a way that shared love whenever I had the chance. I could show love to my teachers by telling them how much it means to me what they do. I could show them that what they do is significant. I could love the students I teach even if they misbehave to the point where I want to yell. I could smile at the person that blares his horn at me everyday. I could try to start a conversation with the store clerk, ask him how his day has been. Even though my Chinese is horrible. I need to show love in the details. The father I believe is often concerned with the things that we pass by everyday and don't think about them for one second.  He is concerned with the little things in life. The more I can live in a way that is patient enough not to miss the details the more He can use me in ways I would have never Imagined or dreamed.

It's the little things that matter in life friends. The things that we so often pass by without a second glance or thought. It's the relationships that we so often look past.  The chances to love that are all around us if we would open the eyes of our heart. If we would slow down and try to see how He sees.  I don't want to live my life worrying about what I could be doing, when there are chances to show love all around me. I need to work on this just as much as anyone else. This post was inspired by my buddy Jia Ming.  He sent me a text this morning that read "It's not about the great things we do, but the small things with great love". Thanks Jia Ming. Thank you all for taking the time to read this. I hope it helps you slow down for a second and see the beauty around you. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Unworldly Perspective and Thankfulness

Hello again, I hope everyone is having a spectacular week. For those who aren't, stay strong.  Time has really flown by since I have arrived in China. I feel like no matter how hard you try you just can't ever get it to slow down. Enjoy the journey friends. The important stuff is always in the little things we to often look over.

Growing up I was told so often to be thankful for what I had.  That there is starving children all around the world with no place to call home. No parents to love on them.  I never really bought into it. I acted like I did. I tried my best to believe it and out of that belief live a life of thankfulness.  We all know it is easier said than done.  The older I got the easier it was to appreciate everything I had. From amazing parents to to the shoes on my feet.  It's one thing to appreciate the things we have but it is another to live a life that flows from the thankfulness in our hearts.  I have realized more and more through living and growing that thankfulness is so much more than speaking it out.  When one is truly thankful for everything he has been blessed with it comes out in actions.  Who among us can't talk the talk? There isn't any value in speaking out that we are thankful unless our lives and day to day actions don't concrete our words.  I have more room than you know to grow in this area.  Thank God I have parents that did their best to show me what it looks like to live a life of giving and outpouring into others what you have been given.

I have been teaching for the last month.  I didn't realize how much of a challenge teaching was until I did it myself.  I teach small classes of kids from the age of 4 to 6 a couple times a week.  The kids, most the time, don't behave super well. It is very tasking to try to hold their attention for a half an hour. Especially at seven in the evening.  I have had a super bad attitude about this particular opportunity.  For selfish reason's only. I don't like teaching, it's too hard, it stresses me out, I am not cut out for it.  I am going to throw some truth at myself real quick.  If I was to sit down with my Dad and tell him all my complaints I am pretty sure he would greatly help me with my perspective and attitude on the situation.  He would tell me that I am blessed to have this opportunity, that growth doesn't come unless we are stretched outside our comfort level, that i have a chance to show these kids love. That for me to overlook it would be a huge mistake. I have learned that the hard way.

If we could change our attitude from ungratefulness to thankfulness we would see life in a whole different light.  When we are thankful for what we have it opens us up to be able to give back what has been given to us.  We have to allow blessing to flow through us.  As humans it isn't super natural to want to give. We have a selfishness in us. Just admit it, we all have it.  When we overcome that through a strength not our own. Our eyes can be open to what life really is about, giving back what you think you deserve.  It's not easy. I sure havn't even come close to understanding it or living it.  My parents have showed me the value in living in thankfulness and giving.  When we live for other's we grow in ways we don't even see.  We bless people with out knowing that it might have changed their life forever.

Living with Matt and Heather has been such a blessing for me, in ways i don't always see. It has given me the opportunity to serve in ways I don't feel like. To build relationship when it's not easy. It has shown me that it is never easy but always worth it.  Seeing how they have changed Lilly's life.  Not because they thought they had the time, energy, or money to do it. But because they chose to live life outpouring what they have to bless and help others who can't help themselves.  This is the picture that I want and need to follow for my life.  Giving when it hurts, loving when it's not easy, being thankful when you have nothing. Because life isn't about us. It never was, it never will be. The sooner I can live that out the more blessed I and others around me will be.

The more we can live life with the perspective that this life is too short. Every second needs to be treasured. Love those around you like today's your last. Give to others out of the love you have for them. Use every trial in your life to grow in perspective and truth.  Don't stop, the value isn't in what you can see with your eyes.

One last story to wrap it up.  I go to school with my friend Jia Ming who is Colombian.  His life has inspired and challenged me in a lot of ways.  Just last night Jia Ming, Jenna, another friend of mine, and I were at Mcdonalds downtown. What started as a joke turned out to be a blessing.  Because of Jia Ming's perspective and attitude.  It was ten thirty or so at night. There was a guy sleeping in a booth. I thought it was a little amusing. So i told Jia Ming, who is very crazy in his own way, to go over and sit with him. So sure enough he grabbed a used tray and put some empty coffee cups on it and went over to sit with the sleeping stranger.  I was a little worried at this point, because Chinese people sometimes have an explosive temper. This guy wakes up looking really mad. He walks away from the booth and goes and grabs some food off another table. Then he comes back and sits in the booth behind Jia Ming. Then Jia Ming taps this guy on the shoulder. Now I am pretty worried that this guy is going to give him broken nose. Jia Ming talks to him, in Chinese. Jia Ming then heads downstairs to the ordering counter and this guy follows him. I have no idea whats going on. So we wait for a few minutes and then head downstairs. We find Jia Ming ordering this guy a meal.  It might not seem like much, but i guarantee you it blessed this guy way more than we knew.  Jia Ming gives everything he has back to others who have done nothing for him. That is the way I want to live my life.  It's the way we all should live our lives. Blessing others whenever we can, even when they don't deserve it. Well that is all I have for now. I hope you got something out of this. I know I have.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Great Wall Bike Ride Dragon Boat Race

Hello everyone. Thanks for dropping in.  I have been pretty busy the last past three weeks or so. Out of that business has come a lot of amazing adventures.  I think you will enjoy them all. So here goes nothing. John i promise I will do my best to keep the grammar sufficient. My brother is a little crazy when it comes to that stuff. It's not my thing. I am sure you already knew that. haha.

The first adventure was to the great city of Beijing to see the Great Wall!  There was some friends here for awhile checking out Xi'an. They blessed me with a fully paid experience to one of the most incredible things I have ever seen.  We took a train there and back. On the way there we had a hard sleeper. Basically there are six beds in a space that is 5ft wide by 8ft high and hardly enough room to fully extend your body. Depending on how tall you are. It was "hard" to sleep. I was by myself with five other Chinese people and one of them snored louder than i can describe. I wanted to hit him with my pillow. So we got to Beijing at like 9 in the morning and headed off in two vans to the Wall. Once we got to the wall we made our way up to the chair lift that took us all the way up to the Wall. The Wall was so incredible and mind boggling.  Over one million people died building this structure that was built to protect people. It's crazy to think about. Definitely was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  The real highlight was getting to luge from the top back down to the bottom.  You get on this sketchy looking plastic sled thingy with one hand brake. So I take off, then realize I got the slow luge cart. That always happens to me. It wouldn't hardly move and I was getting so upset. Then the track got more steep. I started hauling. There was little checkpoints where Chinese guys would stand and make sure you were going slow. At everyone they yelled at me to...who knows what, haha. In America I would have had no excuse but since I truthfully didn't understand them I continued at my wild pace. It was so much fun.  Big thanks to Darren Mcarthy for making it happen. 

Thats the Bagota.

The second adventure was definitely the most challenging. So my friend Aaron from Britain tells me like 3 weeks ago that he and a few friends are going to go on a bike ride out to a village. He tells me in the most convincing way that it is only 60 km, or 37 miles away. I am thinking I could to that, it might be a little challenging but i am up to it. I have never rode over 20 miles at a time. We take off from Xi'an at around eight o'clock on Friday Morning. The plan was to ride there then camp and ride back the next day.  Oh and he said it was flat the whole way there. Shame on you Aaron, haha. Anyways, the first hour was all up hill, slightly. We had rode about 15 miles and we had made it to the base of the Ching Ling Mountains. I was feeling good, not to tired not to hot. We make it to a spot to eat some amazing Chinese street food, haha. No it wasn't bad. We had prob gone 30 miles by now. It should be seven miles away right, no. It ended up being 55 miles.  To anyone who rides seriously that isn't that much. For your average out of shape joe, that is a long ways. It was almost all up hill. My legs were so done. On top of it all I had Aaron, my British friend, who rides 1000 km in six days, telling me to man up. I love you Aaron. Him and another American guy Jake had all the gear on there bikes, and they could have done the ride in half the time. I felt so out of shape.  So we get there and ride up a side road to the Bagota, look it up, It is kind of hard to describe. We end up camping right at the base of it. Sleeping didn't work out so well. With four grown men in a little tent and rocks digging at your back it just doesn't happen.  So the next morning we pack our stuff up hike down and load our bikes.  We stop at a convenience store and get some snacks and water, both necessary.  One kind of scary thing slash blessing that happened on the way back. We were headed down a big hill going probably 23 mph. And some of Aaron's load fell off his bike, and at the time we were drifting so we were all really close together. Definitely a miracle that no one got in a wreck. Most of us didn't have helmets on. We made it home. 105 miles in two days, yikes. When i got home I felt like I was paralyzed. It was rough. I am so glad I went though. So many good memories. There was a lot more little fun details that I had to leave out for time sake, I I will tell you the story sometime if you ask. Thanks Aaron D.
Thats Aaron. Enjoying every second of my suffering.

The last, but not least adventure was a school paid trip to An Kang to watch Dragon Boat races. A city south of Xi'an about 3 and a half hours.  We were told that we would get athletic clothes and shoes for free. Sounded a little fishy. And that we would be able to sit in a dragon boat and have our pictures taken. Sounded like an amazing time. Learn this in life and you will go far. Nothing is ever what it seems.  So we took a bus there and drove through the mountains, literally through them. We went through a tunnel that was prob pushing ten miles. It was so long the Chinese put trees in some scenic spots in the middle, haha. We got there and checked into our hotel. Then they tell us that we have dragon boat practice. Whoa, hold up a tick. Dragon boat practice, they must be joking. Nope, they were shooting us straight. So we walk down to the river and see all the Dragon boats and all the lehi(intense) Chinese guys that were going to row them. We end up having to sit and wait in the scorching heat for about an hour. Then our captain a sixty year old Chinese guy that had smoked a million to many cigarettes, tells us how to row the boat in Chinese. To me it means nothing, just an old guy waving flags and ores around in a crazy way. haha. So we board this boat, about 20 of us. There is a massive drum in the middle that is pounded so the people row together. I was lucky enough to sit right next to it, yay I will be def by the end of this.  We start to row to the beat, well we thought we were doing it right. Our over zealous captain was waving his flags with an intense look in his eye screaming something along the lines of row row row. While he was probably thinking, these pathetic foreigners couldn't tie their own shoes, let alone row this majestic boat. By the time we had rowed a quarter mile upstream and back down he was waving his flag like he was asleep. He had given up on us. I don't blame him. It was hard work.

So the next day we are supposed to lead the boats out in front of a crowd of a few thousand. No big deal, we were doomed.  So we led them out, slow as ever. Then they started blowing off fireworks off all the boats. They were like colored smoke grenades that were falling all around you. You can only imagine. People cheered us on like we were special, they forgot it is never what it seems, haha. So we get forced to the bank in front of all the people, because we couldn't steer our or control our boat, yeah we were pretty pathetic.  So we sit there while they perform up on the stage for awhile. Then all the boats started coming from the other side of the river, as fast as they could. While they were in the middle of the river five or six speed boats came out up stream from the dragon boats and started throwing ducks out there boats.  Then what I thought would happen did happen. Each Dragon boat had two divers with speedo's on. They dove in and caught as many ducks as they could in a frenzy of quacking, flapping, and choking. Once this insanely crazy spectacle was over the boats rowed by the crowd holding the ducks in their hands screaming wild chants. You can't even imagine this. It was so funny.  That was the gist of the trip. And let me tell you it is one I will never forget. I think that is all I had to say. I hope you have enjoyed my stories. Until next time.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Not Following Feelings, Feelings Following.

Hello everyone, i would put big money on that you are wondering what the heck this title means, or why i called it that. You will soon find out.  I have mentioned in the past that i have been going to an English corner once a week.  It has been amazing going to the corner, the relationships that have come out of it are priceless. This week I got really crazy and decided to attend another English corner at a university that is very close to the other one I go to.  This particular one was a little bit different in that it was outside and that there was roughly twelve students just listening and asking me questions.  That is a lot, and not everyone gets a turn to talk. Whether that would be because they don't feel confident in their English or that there is one or two Chinese that dominate the conversation because they have very good English.

 Getting to the title of this post.  The conversation got to why I am in China, why China.  I gave the usual answer of, I wanted to experience Chinese culture and visit my sister and whatever else.  I might have said feel a lot, like "I felt like it". I felt like coming, I felt like learning the language, I felt like traveling. This brought one guy to tell me that I do what I feel. Man did I want set him strait. Him saying this made me think on that, do I really follow my feelings a lot?  I really could say that everyday i follow my feelings less and less. Some maybe are thinking why wouldn't you follow your feelings. I would tell you that my heart or feelings are deceiving above all else. We must not give power to our feelings.  If we all did what we felt, where would we be today?  I really don't feel like staying in China, I don't feel like learning a language that is more stretching than you can know, I don't feel like leaving my family, whom I miss dearly.   We must be driven by a far greater cause than our feelings.  We must be driven by love.  Love doesn't give up when you feel like quiting, It serves when you don't feel like it, Love waits when your inpatient, Love gives when you want to keep, Love listens when you don't feel like it.  Love overcomes when you give up.  Love provides when you don't feel like you can. The list goes on and on.

 I was challenged when this man said this to me "so you do what you feel", challenged to take a look at my life  and really examine how often I do what i feel and not what I should.  Our feelings are majority selfish. I know there are some out there that would argue this point. But if we are honest with ourselves we would agree.  If Matt and heather did what they felt they wouldn't have taken their foster daughter Lilly in. My mom and dad wouldn't have adopted two beautiful twin babies after having ten children of their own. I am using these examples because they are real and close to me. I know the more i choose love and put my feelings in the back seat the better off I will be. I know it is a very hard thing to do, I would challenge you to look at your lives as well, and see where your being held back from the good you could be doing because of your feelings.  Thats all, sorry this didn't have very many good stories. I struggle with detail, so I am not good at telling stories. Thank you for taking the time to read this, even though you might not have felt like it. ;)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Friends and Old Lessons

Hello everyone, it has been awhile since my last post.  Not too much has happened since then, but i will let you in on what has aspired to the best of my ability.

School has been going well. Frustrating at times, I know in the end it will be so worth all the time and effort that i will put into it.  I just starting learning some sentence patterns.  It took two and a half weeks to get through the sounds and tones of the language.  At certain points it has been a little discouraging.  I am super thankful to have some routine in my life here. If i didn't have at least a little bit of routine I think i would go crazy pretty fast.  I have recently started playing ping pong at the break between classes with some other foreigners, and let me tell you it has helped a lot with dead brain syndrome, I don't think that is a legit diagnoses.  All in all class has been a real blessing.

I have been going to an English corner every Tuesday.  An English corner is where a foreigner, most likely, sets up a place to meet and practice English.  It is set up so Chinese people can practice their English with native English speakers.  It is a really awesome opportunity to build relationships with people.  I met a guy named Luke there. He is 29, and about to get his PhD in bio chemistry. Pretty intense if you ask me.  Anyway, i gave him my number and told him any time he needed anything or wanted to hang out just to call.

He did call a few days later and asked me to play basketball. If you know me you know i wouldn't turn down an opportunity to play some ball. So we met at the university where i attend to play. I was expecting it to be a shoot around with Luke, Rick, a friend who is my class, and myself.  When we got there there was like 20 courts and they were all full with chinese guys.  So we got a game going with another five guys, we played four on four. I was astonished with how good these guys were.  The worst part is they don't play by points, they don't keep score.  So after awhile after i felt like i was going to have a heart attack, they brought two new guys.  Yao Ming and Nate Robinson, for those who don't watch the NBA, Yao Ming and Nate Robinson are both in the NBA.  Seriously both these guys were so good. Rick guarded Yao Ming to the best of his abilities, and i tried to guard super point guard. They told us that this time they wanted to keep score, sure wear the Americans down to nothing  then pounce on them with two of your best, low blow China. So we ended up losing like 12 to 6. I know pretty sad.  It was a really fun time though.

Back to Luke. Luke and I were talking after the English corner about a week ago. The conversation was going well, we were just talking about life and school. I told him that i was in China to travel and visit, and learn the language. The convo turned to a topic that I was hoping for. Lets just say it was super encouraging to here what he had to say. I gave him the book Purpose Driven Life, and I will discuss it with him very soon. So some really encouraging things have happened lately. Truly the only thing that matters in this life is the relationships we form with other people. I thought i should share that story with you all, i am sorry details were a little blurry. That is some of what has been going on in the last 3 weeks. Hope it wasn't too boring.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Back Into the Swing

Hello everybody out there. I hope life is treating you all well and keeping you on your toes.  Lately I have been looking at my life with critical eyes. I have figured out that I don't want to get to the end of my life and realize that i have played it safe.  Look back on my days and see that I never risked anything for the greater good of people.  Only because i was worried about my life and how it would turn out for me.  I don't want to live a life that gratifies my comfort at the cost of others suffering.  I am tired or worrying about what tomorrow holds, when there are so many needs to be met all around me in the present.  I am writing this because i see it in my life.  I all to often forget how short life is, how fragile it is.  I am coming against my faults, fear, distrust, selfishness, and pride.  It scares me when i think that i could live my whole life, and still miss the big picture. I might be ignoring the poor man outside my gate, and not even see it. This is something that i have been processing lately.  I hope this opens some eyes that have been distracted or temporarily shut.  I know that in my own life i have realized that i have been living a half truth. I know that it will be challenging to get out of the rut i have been in. I know also it is possible.

As far as the title of this blog goes.  I started Chinese language classes on Monday.  I have a whole new respect for everyone in our family here who speaks the language. Especially my lovely sister Heather.  Who can speak very well. And who is the mother of four children, six if you include Matt and I.  It has been a lot of fun starting to learn the tones and some pronunciations of simple words.  They aren't kidding you when they say Chinese is one of the hardest languages to learn.  I am thankful for a small class of three. One of the guys in the class is a friend of the family and has studied for six months already. He is super helpful when i just don't get it.  Which is a decent amount of the time.

 I am excited for the challenge of learning Chinese. A little fearful of the days when i will be so tired of trying that I won't want to go to class. But for those days i have an amazing family to show me i am loved even though i can't speak Chinese worth a garbage. I have a brother who will tell me my tones are spot on, when in his head he is thinking, he is doomed. And three beautiful nieces who will show me love even when i am grumpy in the mornings.  I am very thankful for Matt and Heather right now.  Without them i would not be here in China. I know that this time will be filled with adventure, trial, growth, and fruit.  I am excited for what the future holds, yet devoting my full attention to the present.  Living by example as best i can.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Experiencing The Real China!

This is right outside the snow resort, China is not a clean place.
    The past few days have been an adventure and a lot fun.  On Tuesday I went up to our little snowboarding bunny hill with Chris and other friends that live in Xi'an and one guy who is considering joining our family here.  His name is Toby, he is from Switzerland, he is a super solid guy. I would be so thrilled if he decided to join us.

   The day at the hill was a very exciting time.  The conditions weren't super good so and others tubed most of the day.  I tried to teach a friend how to snowboard. But when it is super icy and you have human missiles flying at you at break neck speeds it is not a prime day to teach a beginner, haha. So when that failed I defaulted to tubing.  The tubing is a rush.  We would connect like fifteen tubes, with ourselves and other Chinese people. Then we would cross our fingers hoping no one would die. In the end no one got hurt, thats always a positive.

   The next day i took a bus with Toby and Jenna down town.  I had to meet with a guy about a tutoring opportunity.  So I talked with him for awhile at Duncan Donuts, go figure.  Then we went and jumped on a bus that we didn't know where it went. Explored a little bit. Then went to McDonalds for luch.  We stopped by a really famous tourist attraction and showed Toby around.  Then we walked to the bus stop we needed and hopped on the the 44 and headed home.  It was a fun day. If you can get out it is usually always a good day.

   The next day we got an offer to go to the Xi'an Museum of History.  When you get an offer like that you don't pass it up.  Winnie, our tour guide and friend, showed us around the museum sharing all the unique information she knew about China and Xi'an.  It took probably two hours to get through the museum.  After that she insisted that we eat a famous style of local food. It's called Hot Pot, and i beat Matt, who has been here for two plus years, to it. I was open to try it, but i wasn't expecting to much, as far as taste goes.  I walked into the restaurant and there was a bunch of square tables with a square pot in the middle of the tables that was being heated by a gas stove below it.  They sit you down and give you, well the Chinese speaking people of the group, the menu.  Then you choose a variation of greens and meet and vegetables that you want.  They bring them out to you uncooked and you throw them into the boiling chicken broth, either the spicy side or the not spicy side, when you want.  They got all kinds of stuff. Most of which i was not inclined to try.  I did enjoy the lamb, but other than that it was a stretching time for food. For me at least.  I did try Tofu, so everyone should be proud. And i might of had dog, not for sure. But good possibility.

    When i got home i was still pretty hungry, so i ate something else that would fill me up.  Later that night we headed over to the Dienta, famous tourist attraction.  We were going expecting to see hundreds of lanterns let off into the sky.  We soon learned that it wasn't going to happen, the Chinese stopped this who knows how long ago because of fires.  So instead we watched the biggest water show in Asia.  Pretty amazing.  We were with some friends, so we decided to play Ninja.  If you don't know what this is i am sorry. It's a really simple game that requires quickness, crazy anticipation, and a unconscious self awareness.  So we played this game in the middle of about 5o thousand Chinese. We didn't get as big of crowd as i had hoped, but it was a lot of fun. You would have had to been there.  We also played a game where you walk at a couple and try to get them to let go of each others hands.  Heather thought she would show us how it was done.  So she basically would lower her shoulder and run through people. The other three of us would start laughing histarically, and all of us would look like fools. Heather never really mastered the art of it, haha.

This is also very close the the ski place. 

This was at Hot Pot, this guy would stretch this noodle out by swinging it around  with great skill and precision. So sweet.
    Then we soon realized that there was no way that we would catch a bus with 500 Chinese waiting at every stop within a mile. A taxi was also out of the question, there was just to many people there.  So we started walking all 10 of us, including Rick and Sheryl's foster baby Mathew.   We would run into people setting off  fireworks on street corners, and they were so loud. You would have the random dud that might take your head off, gota watch those ones.  Heather finally stole a cab from two other Chinese men, she pulled the hungry, cold, tired baby card.  Props to Heather, she saved Mathew.  So the rest of us kept walking another half mile, till we decided to jump into a bump bump cart.  Imagine the sketchiest little three wheeler. Then put a large box on the back of it. Throw in some loose screws and bolts and a crazy driver. And you got a bump bump cart.  But we made it home safely, close call.  That concludes about everything i have done in the last week. Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Food and Life

    So today i went all out by eating authentic food two of the three meals.  I know it doesn't sound to exciting, and your right it wasn't.  But for me that is really living life on the edge.  For lunch i walked with Matt and Aubrey to a little Chinese restaurant and picked up some food. I was doubting Matt when he said I would love all the food he had decisively picked out from the menu.  On arriving home and digging in to the Chinese feast i found that i quite enjoyed the food he had picked out.  There was some fried green spicy beans, potato strings, egg roll thingys, and some fried rice.  I enjoyed all of it.  Maybe my tastes buds have compromised from delicious american cheeseburgers to average Chinese street food, who knows.
   For super we all lived on the edge by taking all four kids out to get Indian food.  Plus Sarah Failla and one of her boys, who is almost 2.  Jeremy and his wife Jenny and there two little boys, and Andrea. So there was seven adults and seven little children.  That might not sound like a feat. Maybe if you were doing it in the states when we all would have our personal vehicles.  In China you use the public transportation system. And adventurous as we are, we chose to take the bus instead of taxi.

     So imagine getting four strollers, seven kids, and seven stumbling adults onto a bus, in a very short amount of time. It takes courage.  We made it on the bus without any casualties.  On top of all this you constantly have Chinese people staring at you and saying random stuff that i don't understand.  In the beginning you don't mind it, but after awhile you start to get very agitated by it. At least I do.  So we got off the bus and made our way to the Indian restaurant.  We took the scenic detour so that i could see all the interesting things in that area.  There was some interesting stuff, and i did enjoy the walk.  While i was walking with all the other "foreigners" in my group i think we made a lot of Chinese' days brighter.  When you stop for even one second, you get surrounded very quickly.  A lot of pictures get taken and a lot of ahhhhs. I tell them that it will cost them 4 RMB, which is the money here.  They never pay.

    We eventually made it to the Indian place.  I wasn't sure if i would fork out the money to eat food that i wasn't sure i would like. I decided against my better judgement and got some "Chicken Noodle".  So i was thinking, whats the gamble. It's cheap and it is noodles and chicken.  Oh was I so misled, there was every herb and pepper known to man in it. I did eat most of it. Unfortunately I will not return my business to that fine establishment. Sorry Megan, I am sure you won't be offended.  One for two in one day on authentic foreign foods is pretty solid. So at the end of the day i wasn't disappointed.  Until next time,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More Awesomeness in China!

      It is day 22 roughly and a lot has happened since the last post. In the spectrum of China.  I recently got to go snowboarding with Chris Failla, the head of our China family.  My expectations wern't very high after hearing Chris say it was only a bunny hill.  So i prepared my heart for something uniquely special. That is exactly what i got.  Most people that ski create moguls. Well the Chinese have a different method of doing it. They bomb down in one straight path and create not moguls but mini half pipes. To top it off they don't know how to stop or turn,  so at the bottom of the hill they just tuck and roll. Let me tell you they really roll!  Chris and I and a couple of other guys from Xi'an built a little kicker and hit that all day. Trying to perfect the 360.  It was a very memorable day of many to come.  

       Another totally amazing thing that I had the privilege of experiencing was the Chinese new year!  It doesn't sound to thrilling but the fact is i couldn't describe it with words.  Last night at twelve o'clock Matt, Chris and I went up on our roof to watch this phenomenon.  From twelve to one o'clock in the morning the Chinese locals set off fireworks.  From everywhere. A full 360 degree experience.  There is nothing in states that would even hold a candle to this. I know some of you would beg to differ, i will tell you that you are wrong.  They blow up right in front of you, it's majestic.  I am sure my eye site and hearing has been damaged permanently but it was so worth it.  I wish i could show you how amazing this was. But unless you come to China during this time of year you will never get the full experience.  That is all the news that has happened recently.  I hope my writing isn't boring everyone.  I am not a writer.  Until next time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Adjusting to China

I am sorry, i had a long interesting post written up. But unfortunately i made a mistake and accidentally deleted it. Frustrating i know, so here's the short version. The pollution and the smell have been the hardest things to get used to. So overall it has not been very difficult adjusting to China. I miss the big blue sky and fresh air of South Dakota. Besides that it's all been good. I have enjoyed being with Matt and Heather and all there wonderful kids. I went to the historic Tera-Cota Warriors today. Little fact tera-cota is not a actual place, it is what the warriors are made of. It is a type of clay. I didn't know that, you might have. You should feel smart. Sorry if you like details, i am not a detail communicating person, i know it's not a great quality. But for now you have to deal with it. Until next time.