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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.