I went to Chinese Mass early early this morning. Apparently it’s BYO songbooks, which is another reason I don’t like Mass on Gulangyu. Also, the tourists were worse than usual – for instance the large man who stood directly in front of the altar filming the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Seriously??
The church is such a tourist mecca; I hate it. I think I like Gulangyu less and less each time I go. It’s certainly the most touristy place that I’ve ever been to, not as a tourist, and I can’t imagine how people feel when they live in such places.
But, I do love my 教友 (church friends). I went to Mass with them for well over a month without anyone making any particular effort to get to know me, but since I reached out they have more than met me halfway. I feel like I’ve been adopted as the tiny puppy someone found wandering around lost somewhere. It really meant so much to me when they called to remind me about the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, for instance. Anyway, today after Mass I talked to one of the women from the pilgrimage who told me that we are all 兄弟姐妹 (brothers and sisters). She patiently answered some of my questions and, after one thing led to another, she offered to take me to a nearby convent after Christmas!
I spent the afternoon writing Christmas postcards and downloading Christmas music. It was weird though – when I tried to expand my collection of Gregorian chant, I found that a lot of the links did not work or were blocked. It seems like you can only download Christian music that sounds like pop music. Coincidence? I think not.
This evening, I went out to dinner with some friends at a Japanese restaurant. It was crazy expensive (almost 90 kuai, or about $12) for all-you-can-eat Japanese food and all-you-can-drink beer and sake. I tried a lot of things that I hadn’t tried before.
Interestingly, I liked most of the new things I tried – the mussels were amazing, I liked the little tiny red eggs, loved anything with the slices of red ginger (which apparently you aren’ t supposed to eat on sushi, but are necessary for me to get it down), and even the sake was quite good. I still don’t like seaweed, though, which is a rather unfortunate hang-up when eating sushi.
We were going to watch 花木兰 (the new Chinese live-action movie Mulan) but it wasn’t showing. We did, however, have a wonderful Disney sing-along, everyone participating in whichever language felt most comfortable, which was pretty good after-dinner entertainment by itself.
The night ended with a few minutes on the beach listening to the waves and discussing the reason for the constant haziness in Xiamen’s air. Even at night, it was 16 degrees (60 F) so I was fine in a dress. In Xiamen:
“What is your idea of the perfect date?”
”Most evenings, because it’s not too hot and not too cold and all you need is a light jacket!”