It’s Still Halloween in Hawaii

Sunday was a full day for me, and Sundays are already quite busy.

sf.picI started off the day with my second softball game. I arrived at the Peking University soccer field a bit before 9 am, and the game started at 9:40.

I fielded fine throughout the game like normal, but my batting hasn’t been very good since I started playing in China. The first game I did not get on base at all. That didn’t feel very good. I batted 3 or 4 times, either struck out, thrown out at 1st, or I caused the 3rd out. This game did not start off well, either. First time up to bat, I hit the ball towards 2nd base and the base, which caused the runner ahead of me to be out, which was the 3rd out. Second time up, I hit a wimpy pop fly foul ball that was caught, leaving my head hanging low as I returned to the “dugout.” I hoped that the team was not losing faith in me. Third up-to-bat, I whispered encouragements to myself. I. Had. To. Get. On. Base. Preferably not by being walked, but I was willing to accept any method.

I hit the ball right over the short stop’s head. I briefly expected him to jump up and catch it, but even as he jumped, it was out of his reach. Yes! I finally made it on base during a game. A few batters later I made it to “home plate” and scored. I returned to the dugout with my head held a little higher and shyly high-fived my teammates’ hands.

Right after the game was over, which was supposed to end at 11 but went a bit overtime, I left the field and rode my bike to church. I was late, so I saw the last few minutes of the sermon, but I did get to see the baptism of 5 christians, 1 whom I know.

pumpkin.pic_hdAfter the church service, I went to lunch with some of my favorite people from church. It was a great lunch. We ended up ordering battered and fried pumpkin in honor of Halloween. This was all on Sunday, November 1, but me and another American, David, mentioned that it was still Halloween in Hawaii, so the eating of pumpkin was justified. We enjoyed eating the pumpkin, which is a common dish in southern China, I believe. I first tried it in Southern China, in Rhea’s hometown, and I really liked it.
I took this picture of David eating pumpkin while pumpkin glasses he brought.

A couple of hours later, I went to Tsinghua University fields to play ultimate frisbee with a lot of members from church. It is always good exercise and a good time to connect with people from around the world. We all usually play for 2 hours, and eat dinner after word.

Overall, it was yet another good Sunday. I also missed this last Sunday, since I was on my trip to Henan. It was good to be back. It almost feels like they notice when I am gone, which has not happened in a long time.

Bible Verse of the Day:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8

Song of the Day:
Kill Em With Kindness
by Selena Gomez

高丹玉

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To Buy or Not to Buy

What do you hope happens by the end of the year?

To be honest, I hope I buy some more long johns to wear here in Beijing by the end of the year. I only brought one pair from the US and I don’t think it will be enough. I strictly do my laundry once a week so wearing the same long underwear every day or close to everyday will get a little funky.

I am currently debating whether I should click the ‘place your order’ button on my Amazon shopping cart that contains 4 books and 1 pair of long underwear. The price of the order itself is quite low, but the shipping cost to get it to China is another story. Grrr I don’t know what to do. I am trying to justify it by saying I need the long underwear for the winter ahead, as well as winters following, and these books have been on my reading list for over a year. I really want to read them.

I pretty sure I can’t buy these books here in China and whatever long underwear will probably not fit me. I did ask one of my Chinese friends where they buy theirs. She said online. sigh… I have no idea if a pair of long johns meant for Chinese customers will fit me! At least with Amazon a lot of their customers are from the West and there would be a better chance of it fitting me.

Any suggestions on what I should do?

Bible Verse of the Day:
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 8:12 NLT

Song of the Day:
In Your Arms
by Nico & Vinz

高丹玉

P.S.
Happy Halloween! I am not going to be celebrating it here. I have heard of Westerners dressing up but not very many of them do. Probably because they already have enough people staring at them and they don’t need another reason! I assume most Chinese people know of Halloween, given that a number of them watch American and other Western television shows, but they have never adopted the practice.

I was skyping with my mom this morning and we thought that for Halloween next year I could possibly be dressed up as a Dutch milk maid or my family dog, Taz, who is an Australian Shepherd.

From The Journal of a Traveler: 河南 (Henan Province)

Preface

Courtesy of the 2 staff members at the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) Beijing Center (which is located at Peking University), a weekend trip to 河南 (Henan Province) was planned for all of the University of California (UC) students here in Beijing.

The passages below are what I wrote while on my trip. I mainly wrote in past tense, referring to what the previous hours have been like, then at the end of each entry, I wrote in present tense, describing the current situation that I was in. I hope it is not confusing to read, as this is my first time journaling while on a trip as well as posting those entries. If you have any tips for me on how to improve, leave them down below in the comments. Enjoy!


2015/10/24 Morning

I boarded the sleeper train and walked down the aisle to find my bunk 16车004号中. On the way, a little girl spotted me. She was on the top bunk, her legs were hanging off the edge, and she was playing with a hand-held game device of some sort. As I was passing by, she looked up at me, took in a huge gasp, and loudly said, “外国人!” (Foreigner!) Everybody started laughing, including myself. I responded to the girl, “对! 你好!” (Correct! Hello!) and I waved at her and kept on my path. Walking the rest of the way down the aisle got me even more stares, but I am used to it.

IMG_8678You may not know this, but a the length of a human’s arm span is supposedly exactly equal to the height of the body. If not exact, then really close. With that in mind, I measured the length of the bed I was going to be occupying for the night to come. It was about as long as my arm span, surprisingly. So, a 6 foot long bed, since I am 6 foot tall (do not let my dad tell you differently). The only factor that shortened the bed was that I kept my backpack right behind my pillow. This wasn’t too big of a deal, though, since I do not normally fully stretch out while sleeping. I do curl up somewhat, though, which was a movement that was very limited in the bunk. The bunk’s width was about the length of one of my arms, without my hand. The barriers, a wall and a rail, restricted me from bending my legs too much.

Regardless of all of these aspects, I slept pretty well.

Right now, I am sitting on a collapsible chair in the aisle-way about to arrive at our destination, 郑州 (Zheng Zhou).


IMG_87272015/10/24 Night

After getting off the train at 郑州, a lot of us, there are 8 people from the program in total, got CoCo’s milk tea, and then we drove about an hour to get to lunch. 少林寺 (Shaolin Temple) followed lunch. On the ride there, we noticed it was kind of cloudy. Adding to the skies was smog. I expected to be leaving the smog behind in Beijing, but that wasn’t the case. Regarding taking pictures, I knew nothing was going to turn out fantastic looking.

IMG_8699I anticipated 少林寺 to look similar to the setting of the movie Kung Fu Panda. 少林寺 did not meet this expectation. It honestly resembled the other Chinese temples that I have seen before. Sure, there are some differences between all temples in China, Asia as well, but 少林寺 was not extraordinarily special to someone like me. However, I did have a good time and everything went along smoothly.

Our dinner was quite elaborate. It included 8 cold dishes and 16 hot dishes. This banquet meal is known as 洛阳水席 (Luoyang Water Banquet), which is one of 3 national level banquets of China. 8 of us ate this meal. We did not finish. There was a lot of food.
I am currently in a hotel room watching Chinese television. I am sharing the room with 赵老师 (Miss Zhao), my teacher and friend from over the summer program. She also works as a UCEAP program assistant. I like her and I like spending time with her.


2015/10/25

We all woke up around 8 at the hotel and ate breakfast at a small buffet room on our floor, the 5th floor. It was probably one of the better Chinese breakfasts I have eaten. I am not saying it was delicious, but I was not struggling to find something worth eating. Around 9 we all checked out and hit the road toward 白马寺 (White Horse Temple).

IMG_8783Like 少林寺, 白马寺 was very similar to temples I have previously viewed. It claimed to be China’s 1st Buddhist temple, but I don’t know if I can believe that. There is probably at least one other temple in China that advertises the same proclamation. But one thing that was different with this location was that there was a Thai-styled temple as well as an Indian-styled temp
le. All 3 centers were bordering each other. A lot of the color gold decorated the Thai temple, and looking at the Indian temple made me feel like I was at Luke Skywalker’s home on the foreign planet Tatooine. I told my classmate this and he agreed while mentioning the fact that George Lucas drew inspiration for Star Wars from Indian culture as well as Buddhism.

IMG_8790Since the time of waking up, it had been raining, or at least drizzling. Towards the end of our visit at the temples, the rain had stopped. However, through lunch and time at our next tourist destination, the rain was continuous, with little wind, thankfully.

Our next and last sight to se was the Longmen Grottoes. It was a whole lot of Buddhas carved into the side of a mountain. Personally, I did not find this attraction that great. The Buddhas were not that grand and it was cold and raining. Of course, the Longmen Grottoes were not horrible, just not the greatest was to spend a rainy day. I generally had a good time with my companions, though.

To warm our bodies up after spending a few hours in the cold, we ate dumplings. Following that, we were driven to the train station. We bought snacks and hot drinks while we briefly waited for the bullet train.

On this 4 hour train ride, I listened to music and I am currently playing a round of the card game Monopoly Deal. These train rides go by a lot faster when I have people to talk to, rather than trying to entertain myself.

Overall, this trip has been pleasant. For one thing, I only packed and carried one backpack, so I did not have to manage too much luggage. As far as previous trips go, I overpack and become overwhelmed with both the weight and too much stuff to keep track of at the hotel.

Secondly, I enjoyed spending time with everybody on the trip. There were 2 other UC students from my exact study abroad program, 4 UC students from Beijing Normal University (which is where I was for my summer language program), 1 of the UCEAP Beijing advisors, and the tour guide and bus driver.

Another mentionable note is that this trip was, in a way, free for me. It was paid for by my program fee, which I had to pay for regardless of my choice to participate in these scheduled weekend trips. So, if I had decided to skip this trip, that money that I had to pay as part of the program would have gone somewhere else that would not benefit me, or at least not in the same way.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Today, I re-watched the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) by ways of Amazon Instant Video.

When I first watched it, I was incredibly moved by it. I was in tears. Ben Stiller’s character travels around the world spontaneously with a goal to accomplish. That seemed so attractive to me (it still does). I had not travelled abroad at that moment, and this movie really fueled that desire of mine. In fact, I wanted to book a plane ticket to anywhere and everywhere right then. My mom, who watched the movie with me, thought I was too much.

Re-watching it sparked that something in me again. I wonder what kind of job gets all of those traveling opportunities. I’m interested.

I think the movie’s calm soundtrack and dialog pauses help it affect my heart. I really like this movie. It is not like it is some outstanding movie. It just really strikes me. Seldom movies do.

Do my readers have a special movie that affects them in a way that most movies do not? You are welcome to tell me in the comments below.

高丹玉

I Don’t Want Just Any Key

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Golden Key.” You’ve been given a key that can open one building, room, locker, or box to which you don’t normally have access. How do you use it, and why? I really want to say I would want access to God’s ultimate and awesome plan that He has for the […]

Check out the RRAOO page!

It’s not the easiest thing to find, but definitely not difficult! Just click the hexagon with the three light-colored lines in it. It is on the right side of my site header. Clicking this will open a falling menu with all of my pages’ titles: “Home,” “About,” and “Asia.” “Asia” is the new page.

It told you it wasn’t difficult.

Asia

Click on the link above to go directly there!

Stay tuned for more posts and pages!

高丹玉