Wednesday, September 28, 2004
Last night, Richard and I went to a Mid Moon Day, or Mid Autumn Day, Festival. Today is actually Mid Autumn Day, but there were many celebrations last night to celebrate the coming of the holiday. We actually went to two parties. First, we were invited to a party one of Richardâ€™s classes was having. There we ate moon cake, which is a dessert the Chinese east before and during Mid Autumn Day. We also heard many poems and songs in Chinese’ which we really did not understand. Richard and I were asked to sings some songs for the class about the moon, and to share some thoughts about America and China being under the same moon.
One story we had interpreted for us was the legend about how there used to be ten suns in the sky, but the great king called in the strongest man to shoot one of the suns down (I am not sure why). The strong man accidentally shot down nine of the suns, which made the king very angry. So, the strong man was banished to the moon forever. While on the moon, he met the most beautiful lady ever. So I guess they live on the moon happily now.
After that party, we went to a festival the nearby college was putting on. The program there consisted of different departments of the school performing all kinds of dances, music, and poems. The program was complete with traditional Chinese shows, a fashion show, hip-hop, ballroom dancing, and yes, even a Chinese version of the Cotton-Eye Joe. Richard canâ€™t wait until he gets a chance to perform something here in China. Already he dances in class and his kids love it. You can tell how much fun they have with Richard.
Anyway, I wish we were able to get some pictures of the festival, but unfortunately that is not a possibility right now. When we first got here, Richard and Nick went to the store to get an adapter for our electronic stuff. Apparently, instead of an adapter, they got a power strip. Luckily, for our computer it does not matter, but our camera battery charger is likely fried along with the palm pilot charger. Hopefully we will be able to get the situation fixed soon so we can send more videos and pictures. If nothing else, we can buy new batteries and a charger for the camera. At least the camera is not fried.
The past week has been pretty normal. Richard finally went to the college nearby to play basketball with the team there. He originally thought someone was asking him to come teach basketball, but they really just wanted him to come play. He said that once he got to the basketball court, everyone was shouting â€œone to oneâ€ at him. So he played a couple of one-on-one basketball games. Everyone was excited about taking on the American. They want Richard to come play everyday which is not possible with our schedule, but hopefully he will get some playing time in.
I went shopping for shoes the other day. I only brought one pair of shoes to China with me because most of my shoes did not have backs on them, which is culturally not acceptable or safe here in China, and because my tennis shoes were thrashed. So, when I went shopping I got a pair of shoes with a heel so I could wear them with my tall pants, and I got a pair of tennis shoes. By the way, I have to mention that all the dress shoes here are pointy, which is definitely not my style, but obviously that is all there is, so that is what I got. I feel like a witch when I wear them, especially since Richard thinks theyâ€™re ugly too. I have no taste for the shoes here, so I had a Chinese friend come shopping with me to bargain for me and to pick out the shoes.
So anyway, the other day I wore the pointy shoes I bought to school. On the way out of our apartment, Richard and I saw an old lady with a cane that could not walk. Her feet had obviously been bound when she was little because her feet were really small and the only way she could make progress forward was to rock sideways back and forth inching forward while balancing with her cane. I felt so bad for her. Well, by the end of the day, I felt like that lady. Richard and I walk an awful lot during the day, and I am used to wearing tall shoes, but these shoes were terrible. The soles of the shoes were nothing but cardboard, and the streets are rocky. All I could do to get around by the end of the day was shuffle my feet. So, Richard had to give me a piggyback ride from our school to the taxi, and then from the taxi, up seven flights of stairs, to our apartment. Richard and I laughed that the Chinese will probably start teaching their children that Americans carry their wives on their backs. Thank goodness I have a sweet husband who takes care of me. Luckily, the tennis shoes I got are very comfortable. I try to stick with them now.
Thatâ€™s about all I can think to write about right now. I just have some last thoughts to leave with everyone. Richard and I love being here. We definitely donâ€™t love everything about China, but we are having a good time. Richard and I have met several people here we spend time with. We have had several people say to us they can understand my English, but they cannot understand Richardâ€™s English. I keep trying to tell Richard to think simple and use small words even if it is not completely correct. Sometimes when he talks, the Chinese person he is talking to turns to me and asks me to translate. It is pretty entertaining. We are starting to recognize some commonly used Chinese phrases. Our Chinese is coming slowly, but it is coming.
The best part of the day is still entering school. Every now and then I get tired of saying hello because every kid in the whole school seems to want to make sure they say hi to each of us everyday. Once when we walked into school, the students were lined up outside of their classes. One of my classes on the second level started chanting â€œLisa, Lisaâ€. It felt great. We just wave in every direction, smile, and say hello.
We have to go now; we are headed for another party at the Fen River Park. We hope everyone is doing well at home. We love everyone and miss yâ€™all. Once again, we really appreciate all those who have written to us or sent us pictures. It makes us feel loved to be remembered when we know everyone is so busy at home.
Richard and Lisa