27 February 2008

Lantern Festival

Currently listening to: 2.24.08 Sunday teaching from FEFC

Currently reading: Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds by Tom Davis

The elevator at school really doesn't like me. Episode one: In the fall, I managed to get stuck in it (alone!) with the computer cart. Apparently a paper clip chain attached to the wheels on the cart jammed the doors so they opened only a few inches. I was rescued when our science teacher pulled the doors apart after I went up and down the five floors multiple times.

Episode two: Yesterday. I got the DVD/TV cart from the library and wheeled it into the elevator. Another woman was in it and when we got to the fourth floor, the elevator jolted a bit. Then the woman reached down and handed me the DVD player because it fell off the cart. When she handed me the DVD player, the cord was only about 2 inches long. I freaked out but tried to contain myself because I still had to get the cart off the elevator. I tried pushing the cart but to no avail. Why? The elevator missed lining up properly with the floor by about 4 inches. Try as I might, I couldn't pull the cart up over the gap. Then the same science teacher from episode one walked by and again came to my rescue. I took the DVD player to my principal and explain what happened. While I was worried about it, the teacher side of my brain was thinking that I had a classroom full of students waiting for me and the bell was going to ring any minute. As we were getting started for the morning (this all happened before 8 o'clock!), I told them how I severed the cord in the elevator door and how awful I felt. Then the science teacher came in. In his hands he had the severed cord that was stuck in the doors from the third floor. Apparently the ayis saw it and were getting ready to call the building maintenance because they thought it was a broken cord from the elevator itself. He kindly explained that it was ok and that it was only a broken electric cord. I wish I had a picture of the cord. It was a good foot and a half long and the tail end was completely stripped of the plastic coating and showed all the frayed copper wires. The best part of the story--how the maintenance workers at our school are so awesome that with a little electric tape and some patience, they were able to salvage it--only in China!

Last Thursday was the official end of Chinese New Year celebrations (read: the last day for everyone to set off fireworks). Lantern Festival has it own set of cuisine and my Chinese teacher was kind enough to invite me to celebrate with him and his family in his new apartment. After a wonderful dinner, we went to the Amusement Park (the Chinese name for this park is the Happy Garden) where an impressive display was set up. It was quite crowded--very different than the last time I was there in June. We walked around the park for a while and then returned home to multiple amateur firework shows (AKA neighbor pyros just having fun).

Three sided dumplings and fried sticky rice balls, among other happiness.

My language partner, our teacher, his daughters and wife in their new kitchen.

The explosion of fireworks we set off near our compound as we left for the park.

The crowd of people buying admission tickets to the park.

In my imagination, this was what the whole park was going to look like.

In reality, this was what the displays looked like--more like beautifully lighted scenery that tells a story.

A close up of the ancient Chinese woman.

Nicole, Liu Laoshi and I enjoying the lanterns together.

A dragon is a vital part of all things Chinese.

An amazing replica of Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.

The ever-present fireworks.

The theme for this year's show was the Olympic venues from around the world (hence the orthodox cathedral symbolizing the 1980 Games).

An artistic attempt at capturing the lighted walk ways.

The trashed ticket stubs at the entrance/exit.

The entrance gates lit up in all their Beijing 2008 Olympic glory.

Trying to stay warm!

That light in the upper corner is a floating lantern. It works like a hot air balloon--there's a candle in the inside and a paper dome surrounding it and when it gets hot enough, they take off into the sky by themselves. The sky was dotted with them that night. They were so magical. My goal is do (make?) one myself next year! As we were walking back, we saw one that caught on fire. It looked like a shooting star because it burned up before it hit the ground.

The debris left over from the fireworks outside my gate.

It wouldn't be a complete post without some funny signs.

I spotted this at a restaurant this weekend.

How does a sandwich have eggs taste?

This weekend is our lip sync contest/sleepover. Please Think about our sanity as we deal with 100+ middle school students in the wee hours of the night.

Trusting in His strength,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RPM, I just returned home from China in November -- awesome place! : ) I am Hannah, Tom Davis's sister in law, I saw that you are reading his book! How did it get all the way over there? Are you in China just 'studying Chinese' as best you can for a while? ; ) I was there on a 'cultural exchange' program, it was one of my favorite countries on our world circuit -- the university students were so dear. Me and my friends were in Ch*ng Du. Great memories -- many awesome Chinese and American friends there. Well, much love from a sister across the world! In our Father and with joy.