A “Chinese Day”

Monday was Dragon Boat Festival here in China. Sunday night we got a text from a Chinese friend asking if we wanted to go to the Dragon Boat races. “Sure!” we responded having no idea what we were getting ourselves into. No response from our friend. Hours later…around 11:30pm…we got a text “Great! Meet at the bus stop at 7:20am.” It was at that point that my friend Emily said “Prepare yourself for a very ‘Chinese Day’…you never know what might happen.”

And was she exactly right.

We met the group at the bus stop at 7:20. Two buses clear across town later and waiting for friends to join us along the way, we finally made it to East Lake for the races around 9:00am. What happened next is still not exactly clear to any of us but the next thing we know one of our Chinese friends asked if some of the group would race one of the boats for a friend of a friend of hers. What?!

Long story short: the competition has been going on for a month, rounds of races, & Monday was the finals. How this Chinese man had a boat in the final race & no team to race it is still a complete mystery to all of us. End of story: some of our group jumped in and, along with 2 older Chinese women, our Chinese friend trying her hand at the drum to keep everyone in sync, & one Chinese guy who looked like he knew what he was doing, raced this stranger’s boat in the finals of the Dragon Boat race competition. Needless to say they got last place but it was well worth the crazy experience that was Monday morning. And they won 1,000RMB for getting last place so of course our new friend had to take us all out for a celebratory lunch after the race. Around 1:30pm we parted ways likely never to see him again.

Post Dragon Boat festivities & lunch we headed back to a friend’s apartment to make a Chinese feast, traditional Dragon Boat festival food & all. It was most definitely a “Chinese Day” but such a fun experience.

The team heading to the start of the race

The winnings :)

A traditional percussion performance. Just a small part of the myriad of festivities happening.

The makings of the feast…

…the food just kept going & going. 3 hours of us all washing, peelings, chopping, dicing, slicing, & smashing.

But all of the colors in the food selection were fun.

Making zongzi – the traditional food for Dragon Boat festival

zongzi – rice “dumplings” wrapped in leaves of some sort stuffed with whatever you wish & boiled or steamed

Chef Ivy at work. This girl can cook! The food was awesome!

The feast

Throwback Sundays…Just a Building

My grandpa passed away four years ago and I smiled when I read the last line of his letter: “The church building itself is the structure that we worship and glorify God in. The real church is the people.”

And I’m smiling today re-reading that. You can read the rest of the post for the story behind the letter here.

Update From China

I feel like it’s been a bit of a whirlwind week & a half since we got here. There are so many new things – sights, sounds, tastes, smells – to take in. I’m desperately trying to absorb it all & not be overwhelmed. The contrast of the old & the new hasn’t ceased to amaze me.

We’re spending most of our time with people here which is awesome. Life here in Wuhan seems to revolve around food & relationships…I kinda like that :) In it all there is so much Hope, so many glimpses of Light, which is exciting & encouraging. So many stories, but for now, here’s a quick photo update.

The trip didn’t start off so smoothly. A long hectic rainy Sunday night in Chicago. A cancelled Monday morning flight. Rescheduled for 9pm. Overbooked. BUT we finally got seats!! After all day in the airport we were off.

Day 1 exploring Beijing.

First Hot Pot experience. I have to say that I’m quite proud of how much spice I can handle. And of my chopstick skills :)

The Forbidden City was stunning. The detail on everything is absolutely incredible.

Climbing the Great Wall. Definitely one for the memory book of life experiences.

Coffee. Sushi. And the orchestra. Random day one in Wuhan.

Just one part of the Wuhan skyline.

Shrimp Hot Pot for lunch.

The strongest cup of coffee I’ve ever had I think.

A beautiful sunset in Wuhan amidst the giant buildings everywhere.