Our weekend started off a little unusually. We normally both have class in the morning. But this Friday, Paul's class was in the morning and mine was in the afternoon. So I stayed home in the morning and did housework and homework. When I took off on my bike around 12:00 PM, it was clear that there was something wrong with the crank on the pedal. So I hopped off my bike, double locked it and got on a bus for language school. I was only five minutes late!
When I left language school at 4:00, the temperatures had dropped quite a bit. The buses took a long time (it takes two buses to get to our home). So when I finally got home, I was tired and very cold. Paul told me that we had been invited out to dinner by a couple we had met several weeks before. We spoke about the true meaning of Christmas at their language school and they seemed enthusiastic to get together. I was tired and not very enthusiastic about going out!
So they picked us up in their car (we don't get in private cars very often) and we took off for the restaurant. While there, they told us the story of their journey of faith. It was amazing to hear this story (in a mix of English and Chinese) of freedom from idolatry, of coming to understand faith, of learning about their Father. It was a deeply satisfying evening and gave us such insight into Chinese people who share our worldview.
Here we are outside the restaurant with our new friends.
Saturday morning, we woke up to a solid sheet of ice everywhere. This is the view outside of our bedroom window. I have no idea what this worker is putting down on the ice. It's too cold here for salt and no one ever uses it.
Yes- ice and snow in March.
Later, we rode our bike about a half a block to get my bike fixed. There are carts like this everywhere. They have inner tubes, air pumps, all kinds of tools to fix bikes. This man fixed my pedal crank for 1 RMB or about 30 cents. That is Paul standing by my bike because my Chinese vocabulary doesn't include words like "fix" or "broken" or "crank."
After fellowship on Sunday, we rode our bikes to this restaurant. We stopped at the same bike man to have Elisabeth's bike seat adjust. Again, one kauai!
We went to this restaurant by accident! We meant to go to one in the next block but accidently turned in front of this one. Notice the "Duan Lian" on the doors. These are Chinese New Year's decorations that are on almost every doorway. Some people believe there are some Old Testament parallels to these decorations as they have similar meaning of "passing over."
We ate this incredible meal for about $10.00. It is "Chun Bing" or Spring Pancake-one of our favorites.
We needed to go to our friend's house for a birthday party. We rode our bikes as far as we could and finally got off and walked them. The sidewalks were solid ice and there was no way to ride on them .
We passed these guys in a store. There were old mannequins on the sidewalk and Elisabeth took a head for a decoration. If we could have fitted a torso into our bike baskets, we would have taken one. Or arms and legs. The workers thought we were nuts. Sometimes we don't mind being the crazy foreigners!
We also stopped off at market to get our shoes fixed (5 RMB) and a pair of jeans hemmed for Elisabeth (again 5RMB). Both services were done well and on the spot. No waiting.
Finally we arrived at our friend's house. Elisabeth spent some time holding the foster baby of one of her teacher's. He is almost 9 months and a charmer.
Finally- the birthday party for JB. JB is an orphan who has been fostered by our friends since last summer. They have literally saved his life. This is a picture of JB when they got him.
This is JB today at one year. Still with significant challenges ahead of him but alive and thriving. We gathered to ask for his future, for a forever family for him and just to be thankful.
It was a good weekend.