Sunday, May 29, 2011

A day of cross cultural confusion and fun

We haven't had a day like this in quite a while....but it happens even after you have been here for a while.
This afternoon we went to the 25th anniversary of the Shenyang International Church, commonly referred to as Xita (West Gate) as it is in the Xita neighborhood of our city.  Xita is basically Korea town.  Our city is pretty close to North Korea and we have our fair share of North Koreans who have made it out or ethnic Koreans whose families have been in China for a long time.

So we got in the taxi to go there and our driver just finished a cigarette.  Taxi drivers aren't really allowed to smoke when they are driving and most obey that rule.  He was a nice enough guy and asked if we would mind if he ran into a mini-market to get lunch.  He came out with a loaf of bread, a sausage and a diet coke which he ate while he drove us to the church.  He asked about our little guy and we told him his name and a few details.  He told us we had love in our hearts or sympathy (爱心)and then spend the rest of the ride calling out our little guy's name.  Even though that got really old, really fast, it was nice to know that our little guy really does know his name.  The taxi driver lit up another cigarette so I opened up the window and protested.  

On the way to the church, we called up a seamstress who had made some skirts for me.  We had arranged to meet her at the church when she picked up the fabric.  So we called her and we were to meet in front of the church.  When we got there, we waited and waited and waited. After 45 minutes, we finally gave up and went in, thinking that she could text us when she got there.  An hour later she arrived, breathless and apologizing.  She had been up at Qi Pan Shan, about an hour from our city!  We felt terrible that she had rushed back but we had no idea that she was there.  Anyway, the skirts are lovely, if a little form fitting.

The anniversary service was packed with people from all over the world.  There are many Africans here studying at a medical college and many of them are active in the international church.  We like going there for the worship and freedom and joy.  However, the service is on Sundays at 3:00 and that doesn't always work for us.  This service was full of joy, color, dancing, singing and praying.  It was fun and I am glad we went.

Afterwards there was a potluck but our little guy fell apart as it was really noisy and he was really tired. So we walked out onto the main street to a little store that my friend took me to when we first arrived here.  It's one of the only places you can buy light brown sugar.  We also needed diapers and milk but they didn't have diapers.

By this point we were hungry so we went to a Korean barbeque place.  We love Korean barbeque and have eaten it many times.  But somehow, we just couldn't understand the waiter and he couldn't understand us. Usually you order meat and some vegetables and you cook them right there at your table.  We ordered bibimbap, which is my favorite.  Some how an order of kim bob landed on our table and a mystery bowl of soup.  I tried to feed to tofu to our litte guy but it was too spicy.  Fortunately we had an egg on the bibimbap so I fed him that.  We took the kim bob home with us.  It was just the oddest experience to just not understand what was going on in the restaurant. I asked them to cook the egg on the bibimbap a little longer and they brought me some kind of spice. We think they were telling us something about the meat....or maybe not.

As we were leaving, two ladies came in and looked at our little guy.  I heard one say to the other "Oh, he has problems."  I looked right at her and said "That's right."  They weren't being unkind but it still rankled.  We feel very protective of our little guy.

Since we still had no diapers or milk, we walked over to the big Korean grocery and got those things.  To get to the market, you enter a kind of mall and weave your way to the back and then up three flights of stairs.  There is a pretty large Korean grocery store with fun stuff to buy.  But I was on a mission for diapers and milk and that's all I got.  Paul and the sweet baby had to wait outside.

We fell into a taxi and got home more than an hour past the sweet baby's bed time.  He cried a little and then fell asleep.  Maybe he'll be tired enough to sleep past 5AM tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

How insensitive of that woman. Your baby boy is perfect in God's eyes and darn cute in the eyes of most human beings with any taste or class. :-)

Walking to China said...

Except that in this culture it's not unusual to comment directly on someone's appearance etc. She was relatively friendly and when I responded, she smiled.
It bothered me because I feel defensive for him. It's the mama tiger instinct. But all I can do is respond positively.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't thought about the women being from the Asian culture so I guess if it is just how they are, then there is nothing that can you do. Still, I can't imagine making a comment about a child's looks or condition where the parent can hear. Your boy is so precious and I have loved reading your blog. I pray for him and your family every night. If you don't mind, give him a kiss for me and tell him it is all the way from Texas. :-)