Trains and things and a return to college life (sort of)

4 09 2005

The last time I wrote, we had just gotten to Chengdu, and were just starting to settle in, and I just added some quick thoughts. Here’s some catch up.

The train ride from Beijing to Xian (pronounced Sheeon) was pretty fun, especially because we were all grouped together, and kind of had “our” space. I had a top bunk, and it was fun to climb around on and off the bunks, but it could get annoying too. At night there was a window that kept opening, and at one point it was blowing cold air on my face for a few hours, but I didn’t actually wake up all the way because I kept dreaming that the Rush kids would come by and tell me that we’d be there soon, or someone was going to fix the window etc. Because I was starting to get sick this was a pretty bad thing, and in the morning I could barely talk. By the time we got to the hotel, the medicine that I had taken kicked in, and I was pretty drowsy. I spent most of the day in bed, only venturing out for lunch. I waited for the bus at a street corner near the hotel, and it was my first time alone in China on the street, and it was a bit intimidating, because people tended to stare at me more, but I didn’t feel unsafe, and it was fun to just stand there and watch people. The next day I felt a little better and we went and saw the famous terra-cotta warriors. That was interesting, and I enjoyed finding out about some of the history of the warriors, and the fact that there’s a whole archeological treasure chest just waiting to be explored in that whole area. The tomb that the warriors “protect” is the largest tomb in the world, and is now just an overgrown mound, but accounts tell of pearl inlay, gemmed replicas of constellations, and a river of mercury. They also think that there are more legions of warriors around the area that are yet to be discovered. It’s so interesting to think that these first ones were just discovered right before I was born. I wonder if they’ll ever explore the rest of the area around the tomb, and the tomb it self. Then another train ride, this time to Chengdu, and I had a bottom bunk which I enjoyed much more. This time the group was more split up, with a few of the group in another cabin. Watching the countryside go by was amazing. So beautiful. Have I mentioned how much I love the Chinese hills? They are just perfect. They’re overgrown and aged, but still have spirit and the most beautiful lines to them. No wonder they’re a common theme in traditional Chinese art work. They feel so ancient. Chengdu feels a bit cleaner, and less polluted than Beijing, or even Xian did. I’m rooming with Anna, and it’s nice to have access to a western style toilet and toilet paper right there. I haven’t had to use a squat since we got to the university, although I’m sure that will change as we begin to go out for longer periods of time. So far we’ve had a lecture on cultural differences in communication, gone to the home site of an exiled Chinese poet and a silk factory, and explored a bit of the city. Zeb, Rebecca, Abby and I went swimming yesterday. We also took a Chinese placement test that made me feel miserable about my Chinese skills. I’ve noticed that I enjoy talking to little kids, like 4 or 5, because I feel more on their level linguistically. They’d still have better language skills than I do. It’s so sad. We start language classes tomorrow morning. I’m really nervous. I’m hoping that we start from scratch, at least for some review of the basics, because I don’t really even have those. On my own, I can remember how to count to ten, maybe to 100, but not always recognize numbers out of order; ask someone their name (this takes a bit of time for me to remember the word “name); ask how much something is (again I have to review in my head before asking); and say hello, excuse me, thankyou, and you’re welcome. Oh, and “my name is Stephanie” But I none of those are with correct tones I’m sure. Tonight we had some orientation, and devotion/worship time. It was great, and we sang hymns which was even more great. We sang out of the red hymnal ๐Ÿ™‚ yay! that’s about all for now I think ๐Ÿ˜‰




3 responses

4 09 2005

Hi Steph-

Glad you’re feeling better. The title to your post definitely makes it sound like you’re on campus and right at home. The grand land of Goshen misses all of you (and so do I)! Take care!!


4 09 2005

Dear Stephanie,
The weekend is busy with campers etc. and the weather is perfect. I am working Sat. 6 hours and Mon. 4 hours, but today we went canoeing on the Elkhart river with Lenora and Tobias. The river is not very deep up where they live. We got all 4 of us in the canoe.
Question, Would you like to build on several acres near where Jesse grew up? Oct. 1 there will be an auction of 8 plots, I think, at CR 15 and CR 36. That is about 3 miles west of Goshen and 1.5 miles east of his home. It is probably 4 or 5 miles south of his home. If that sounds OK with you to see what they go for and bid on some if it is not too much, I will mention it to Jesse and we can try to go see them. They do not guarentee anything about water (well) possibility or drainage sites. However, they are 3 to 4 acre plots and one has a long lane and is somewhat behind, and another goes beside that lane to the road but is like creek area. If you put the two together, it would be quite nice. The house could probably have a walk-out basement etc.
Matthew and Karis should be here before you get home. I hope it all works out for them.
God blss you.
Love, Dad

8 10 2005

Hey Steph,

Keep up the good work and hope to see you soon.

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