As you’ve already seen with my last post, April was a busy month starting out with my amazing trip with my mom to Beijing to see the Forbidden City, Old Beijing, and the Great Wall, and to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Warriors. The next part of April continued to pick up the pace and be very busy!!! Through all the business and and rehearsals it's been fun to see the relationships deepening between us and the Chinese dancers. My goal by the end of our time here is to be able to be such good friends that they would ask me about my beliefs and I would get to share the g-spel with them and lead them to Jes-s. They call me the "one who laughs easily". I want my life to be a testimony of the joy that can be found in Him!
We had our first performance on April 15th (and many rehearsals leading up to it!!!). It was incredible to be able to be a part of such an incredible production. We performed in three dances: a modern piece, a classical Chinese sleeve dance piece, and a Mongolian traditional piece. It was a lot of fun and such a blessing to see the hard work of our teachers and fellow students paid off. I'm still amazed by their openness to include us in a performance they've been working on since last September. The performance was really the beginning of deeper relationships with them and caused them to see us as "one of them" and not the "foreigner". I'm so thankful I've gotten to become friends with these incredible people!
Rehearsal with awesome people!
Traditional fan dancing
Mrs. Ho (teacher), Mrs. Uen (teacher), and Diana (student) rehearsing their solos
The theater was incredible!!!
Dress rehearsal before the show
We had marely!!! Getting ready for the show (Grace, Me, and Kirsti)
Me, Karissa, and Kirsti Bella's (Fangke) hair was incredible!
Me and Bella (Fangke) Mrs. Ho
All of our teachers for this show (Mrs Ho-burgundy, Mrs Uen-blue, Mr Mint-close, Mr Ho)
Different dances in the show
Mrs Ho on the right
Mr Mint and Mrs Ho (I have some incredibly talented teachers!)
Diana (Cao nan)
The costumes were beautiful!
So proud of everyone!
My Indonesian friends came to see me dance =)
Then April 17th and 18th we had the Sports Day for the school. Every University in China has a mandatory two day olympic-type sports event where students participate in field day type actives such as 10-leg races (like 3 leg, but more people), running events, long jumps, and much more. The beginning was like a opening ceremony and we got to walk as part of the International students. It was fun! That same weekend Kirsti was able to visit a friend and her family in a nearby city. This girl has been asking Kirsti lots of questions about her beliefs and is close to making a decision. Pr-y for her when you think about it!
Getting ready for the opening ceremony for the sports days
We were supposed to wear our native clothing...the Indonesians, Laos, and Thai clothing was so beautiful!
Getting ready for the parade
Mascots in the arena
Different groups in the parade
The lighting of the torch
My Chinese teacher was in the Taichi part of the ceremony!
Kirsti, Scing (Thai), Grace, and me
Dancers will be dancers!
That week also was the Southeast Asia New Year. Since our dorm is an International dorm, many of the students were celebrating. It is a three-day festival rooted in Buddhism that has the ritual of large crowds taking to the streets to douse one another with water. Splashing water stands as a religious symbol of bringing good fortune to others, and nowadays is often taken up for pure enjoyment as well as light relief during the region’s hottest month of the year. The International students here also took part in the festival and splashed water on each other. Our dorm was soaked in 3 inches of standing water for about 3 days. It was really fun to see and experience!
The dorm was soaked!
Then April 20th some of us performed for Easter at the local Three Self Government Ch-rch. It was a powerful time for many and a wonderful chance for us to remember what Chr-st did for us. The week after Easter we ended up dancing for 40.5 hours with rehearsals so that the President of the School could preview the performance for the 15th anniversary. We have been practicing with the live orchestra and spent many hours with the dancers. It has been fun to get to further our friendships with them and speak in Chinese! I’ve been making it a point to learn their Chinese names, rather than their English names, and I’ve found it’s been helpful in building relationship as well as understanding Chinese. I've been able to ask more questions with the more Chinese that I've learned. I'm getting closer to asking questions that would lead to salv-tions! The President even bought milk and pastries at the end of the week to bless the students with.
Easter dinner was a potluck at Peter Hall with the foreign teachers....I got to eat bread, mac n' cheese, and salad!!!
I made Easter baskets for my roommates thanks to my mom bringing goodies!
Rehearsal in Jordan Hall with the Orchestra
We also got to have dinner with Shan Chen, the President of the school who gave us the scholarships for the dance program. It was interesting to hear his vision for the school and to see how he helps students create their own businesses.
Getting ready for dinner
It was a really fancy, nice dinner!
One weekend I went with a few of my friends downtown to Huang Di Gui Li which is a monument of the birthplace of the Emperor of this city. We also got to eat muslim lamb sticks and fried octopus! So delicious!!! Grace and I also got to explore the tower on the top of our building. It was crazy!
Beautiful buildings, arch ways, and a cute grandmother
The tree was supposed to be a token of good fortune and luck
The basin was at the opposite end of the park
Taking a picture of the guy taking a picture of us
Huang Di Gui Li is also famous for displaying the most common last names in China
Me and Ben acting like the statue.....some of the last names
A cowboy hat on a Chinese guy! And a beautiful sunset!
Lamb sticks and fried octopus!!!
Yummy octopus and fried fish!
Exploring the tower on the top of our building
We were really high up!
Towards the end of April, some of the senior students had their dance exams. As part of their exams, they had to do two Chinese solos and one more Western solo (which we got to help choreograph for them-spending this extra time with them caused us to be really good friends-pr-y that they would ask us questions about our bel-efs!) . It was fun to see their personalities come out when they were dancing and to watch them dance! Another exciting thing that happened was Karissa and Greg got engaged!!! They have known each other for the past 6 years and have been long distance dating for about the last year and a half. Their plan is to get married this summer in America and return in the fall as Greg is a teacher in the Music department here. I'm excited to see the plans that G-d has for them!!!
So proud of the seniors!!!
Congratulations Greg and Karissa!!!!
Something that He’s been teaching me lately is to rest and abide in Him. While we have all these plans laid out for our near and far future and busily go about trying to accomplish them so we can better serve Him, sometimes all He is saying to us is, “My Child, come rest in me. Spend some time with me under the peace and comfort that can only be found in me. I have everything you need. Find yourself in me and let me direct your footsteps.” So my question for you is are you allowing yourself to find rest in Him? Are you giving Him room to direct your footsteps?
New foods that I've eaten!!!
Fried noodles.........and Korean food with friends
Quail eggs and Muslim noodles!
Pork & green beans on rice.........Fried chicken on rice
Fried bread stuff that tastes like donuts! And Gong Bao Ji Rou (chicken & veggie soup)
Random things I've seen:
Cute little kid at a grocery store and women getting facials in the middle of the grocery store
Cute little baby we saw on the bus! When it's nap time, it's nap time!!!! (There are 6 people in this picture!)