Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Great FireWall of China

My apologies - I know many of you visited our blog to stay abreast of our travels only to find no new postings. Some of you were concerned, but all is well - we had to deal with a blocked site (as do Blogger and Youtube) which preventing our continued postings.

We are hopeful this workaround (bypassing this Great FireWall) will allow us to consistently post and update our blog. In the meanwhile, let me share some initial impressions of Xiamen, China.

We are currently housed in a faculty apartment. It is a 2 bedroom apartment with a living room, dining room, small kitchen and bathroom. We have the 3C's - comfortable, cozy and clean(sorta) and therefore we are grateful. David is sleeping on the couch - we are trying to locate another bed for him - but so far, he is fine with it.

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Virtual tour of the apartment


Kitchens are typically small in China unlike those back home. We use gas for cooking - fairly affordable portable blue canisters delivered on mopeds. One lasts us about 3 months and costs 180 RMB (about US$60). To be on the safe side, we boil faucet water for drinking.


For now, David is sleeping on the 3-seater couch - the living room has air-conditioning...


My work desk - where I prepare my lessons for class, check emails and update the blog.


A mosquito net is certainly needed for a 'bite-free' night......


The washing machine worked well. Dryers are uncommon since clothes are hung up to dry and depending on the temps, they do dry quickly. In fact, Gerda was pleasantly surprised when clothes she hung up earlier were completely dry by the next wash cycle ended (about 30 minutes).

We enjoy eating supper at one of the university's several dining halls - the food is convenient, surprisingly affordable (the student union sets the food prices) and tasty. The campus is beautiful and the folks here are really nice.


Hey, what is there not to like, we eat out everyday, no prep work, cooking or clean up! Also, we have gotten to know the servers quite well... so well that they quiz us as to our whereabouts if we miss a meal!


These gentlemen make really tasty meat and vegetable steamed buns (pow - made of rice flour). Occassionally they slip us an extra roll when we buy extras to take home. So sweet!


We have no doubt God sent an 'angel' to help us in our transition - Terry, an alumini of Xiamen University 'happened' to visit the campus on his day off, helped us with directions to Walmart, applying for a campus card and setting up a bank account - between my half-baked Mandarin and his limited English, we were able to get things accomplished.


Sharing a meal with Terry - he helped us tremendously, smoothing the way with setting up accounts for banking, utilities, and transportation.

This morning, Sunday, we attended Xiamen International Christian Fellowship at a local hotel in Xiamen - we had to show our American passports since this church is open only to foreigners. We met several folks who went out of their way to help us and answered our numerous questions over a nice buffet lunch at the hotel where the services were held. Both Hannah and David found new friends as well. It was quite amazing to sing and hear Holy Holy Holy sung first in English followed by Mandarin; what a blessing! God's people are certainly everywhere.

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What a Friend we have in Jesus sung in Chinese!

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