After my last post, I got a call from my parents. They made it to Beijing and managed to borrow the cell phone of a girl who didn’t speak English – two significant achievements!
Beijing is not Xiamen, though, so I still had a few hours left before going to meet them. I went to dinner with some friends which, because the end of the semester is here, was pretty much a going-away dinner. Diederik and Jimmy leave tomorrow (although they’ll be back next semester) and Bianca goes back to Sweden for good on Monday. Crazy!
Then I went dancing, where I excitedly told everyone that my parents would be with me next time I went, and then I went to the airport. Waiting for their plane to arrive was excruciating, even though it was 10 minutes early. As I stood there with everyone waiting for arrivals, I told the people that I was looking for the tallest blond guy on the plane. Sure enough, Dad was almost a head taller than everyone he walked out with.
It was so great to see them and get hugs and kisses from my parents! I was very happy to hear that their trip over was smooth as silk. We had worried not a little bit about their luggage, which contained gifts of religious books for all of my priests here. Dad has rehearsed his speech about how the enormous, brand-new Bible was for his own reading on the trip, and they’d carefully scattered the lectionaries throughout the luggage so they weren’t so obvious, but apparently none of those precautions were necessary. And that’s how we like it.
I saw them to their hotel, which is just two bus stops away from my university, and there we exchanged gifts. I gave them a little welcome/survival pack, including a notebook for a dictionary, a journal, a Snickers bar, and a pack of toilet paper. They gave me about two suitcases full of food, baking utensils, and religious paraphernalia. There is another case of Hershey’s bars, TWO jars of Nutella, Mission tortilla chips, marshmallows, homemade strawberry jam, baking chocolate, powdered sugar, baking soda, vanilla, chocolate chips, and I’m sure more stuff that I’m forgetting. There are oven mitts, potholders, small pans, spatulas, and seran wrap. There is a Bible, lectionaries, purificators, and homilies.
It’s like Christmas all over again – presents and family!
Oh! I should share about my taxi rides tonight, as they were all somewhat notable. The taxi to the airport was a Girl Taxi, who got lost on the way to the tunnel. But, she was nice and didn’t charge me for those 2km. It was uncomfortably stereotypical, though . . . The taxi driver that picked us up at the airport caused me to lose face in front of my parents by stubbornly refusing to understand my Chinese when I asked him to not take us through the tunnel. But then he didn’t take us through the tunnel, so I don’t understand what the fuss was all about.
The taxi driver that took me home was my favorite because he talked to me the whole way. When I was telling him how they usually don’t check my ID at the gate because I’m a foreigner, I used the phrase 十有八九, which means something like ‘probably’. It’s a phrase that I’m supposed to use on my speaking final tomorrow, and I just decided to see if it ‘worked’. It did – he understood me, and then made some comment about my use of it. I told him that I was just practicing for my test and asked him if he thought it was 标准 (like, how Chinese people actually speak) and he said it was.
Highlight of my life. Also . . . take that, second taxi driver!
PS – In other news, my blog is blocked in China again. Response to Google’s threat? Anyway, I knew it was too good to last.