|Weifang International Kite Festival. A day of flying 10,000 kites at the same time!|
David and I are still suffering from the cold/illness that sent him to the hospital. Yes, I caught it also. Just not as bad as he did. David has had a problem with his throat closing off and not being able to breath. The first time was April 10. The air pollution was over 500 and we went to KFC for supper. He took a bite of his chicken wrap and between the spice and the pollution, his throat closed off and he couldn't breath. That night, he woke up gasping. Scared us pretty bad. He went back to Dr. Trisha and Dr. Hu, and they checked his lungs and other things. In the end, it was decided that he has AHR (airway hyper responsiveness). The cough has triggered an asthma like response in his throat, and it starts to shut down.
The best way to treat it would have been to go to the hospital two times a day, and get a breathing treatment like when he first went in. That just wasn't going to be possible, so the next best possible treatment was some pills that help to relax the muscles so that he can get his breathing back. We have had some scary times since then, but it seems to be working, slowly. If you have some extra prayers, we could use them.
Monday, David went back after he was done with class because he had another scary episode that night. They checked him over again and basically said to give it more time. He went back again on Friday because they had said for him to take the pills for only one week. but told him to go ahead and take the pills as needed. It is very scary when he is in the middle of an episode of not being able to breath, but it is what we have to deal with now.
Shandong Airlines has decided to start an "English Club." It is a club where the employees of the airline can get together and practice speaking English. They invited David and I, and also Kayce. Lily came with us to show us where to go. Kayce was invited by her student, Sophia, that works at the airline. Her mother is the director of the Institute for the Elderly, where Kayce takes a Tai Chi class, and I have my painting class.
During the first part, they had three people give speeches on the topic of family. David had been asked to prepare a talk a few days ahead, and when Kayce got there, she was found out she would be giving a speech also! One of the Chinese men (Walter) had been an English teacher in the 1980's, but is now the Communist Party official over the airline, also gave a good speech.
|The Airline's gift to us, model airplanes.|
|This is what it looks like.|
David and Walter scored nine points, Kayce's team scored nine points, Jasmine's team scored eight points and Lily and I scored nine points. We would have scored ten points except Lily did not know the word "vowel." She had no concept of the word. So it came down to a three-way tie. They decided to settle it by playing "Paper, Rock, Scissors." First, Kayce and I beat out David, then I beat out Kayce! Lily and I won!! It was such a fun night. They gave gifts to David, Kayce and I for coming. It was a model of a Shandong Airlines plane, and then they gave us prizes for the game, travel mugs. They ordered a taxi for us to take home.
|Our group from the English Corner.|
The university gave us an opportunity to go to Weifang, the home of the International Kite Festival. We were pretty excited about it because it was one of the cities on our "China bucket list." We had heard a lot about the festival, so we were pretty excited to be able to go.
We met the other foreign teachers that were going with us at the South Gate of the campus. They had a guide hired, and a coach bus for us to travel in. At first we thought we were going to be able to take the high speed train there, but it ended up being the bus. It was an almost four hour trip to get there with the traffic. The foreign teachers from our university were from Korea, Japan, Scotland, England, and South Aftrica.
We checked in to a nice hotel, and after a few minutes of rest, we went down to a conference room where they had dinner set up for us. This was like a joint university trip with Peking University in Beijing. There were two BYU couples in that group that we had met on our other trips with BYU teachers, so we had some friends in the group. I think the hotel was trying to show us how wonderful of a meal they could feed us because the food just kept on coming!
About halfway through the meal, David had another AHR episode, so he quickly went out of the room. I didn't follow, thinking that he would be able to get it back under control soon and be back in. However, someone from the hotel staff observed him leaving and grew concerned about him. He called over the leader of our group and talked to her. She came over to me and wanted to know if he was okay. I went up to the room to check on him. He had finally gotten his breathing under control, but was almost embarrassed to come back. It turned out okay, but I did explain to our group leader what was happening.
The next day, we left the hotel, and drove for about an hour. We were driven to a place that was described as the Temple of the Dragon God. We were given a tour of the buildings that they had built to house the God of the Dragon and also the Gods of the East, North, West, and South Seas.
|At each side of the courtyard area of the Dragon King Temple, there was a tower like the smaller building. Inside one is a huge drum and inside the other is a huge bell. You ring the bell at first light of day and bang the drum at dawn.|
|Three of the gods of the seas. I was looking for the symbols for north, east, west, and south to see who was who, but didn't get it figured out by the time we had to leave. I do know some of the Chinese Characters.|
|The sky was filled with all sorts of kites. I didn't get a picture of it, but one was a long green snake and it was so cool to see it "snaking" around in the sky.|
|Part of the opening ceremony was a program that included this dragon dance and then dances from four different countries. There was a speech from an official that was also read in English. Nice to be included. |
|Another cool kite that I saw. They said that for one this big, you would need to have it attached to a bus to keep it from flying away. Some of the smaller ones had to have about eight people to hold them down.|
|I didn't get a picture of this ferris wheel when we saw it, not knowing the significance of it, but it is the largest ferris wheel in the world without a center spoke. It is built in the middle of a bridge, so I wondered if people actually used it.|
|This cool aquarium was in the lobby of the hotel where we had lunch. Where you see the person standing is actually just a computer screen image. The other is a real aquarium.|
They have a large art and culture museum that we toured. Then they took us into the conference room and talked about our great universities and how we could help spread the word about what they are doing and maybe come join them as they help develop and grow this area. David was asked to give a short speech representing Shandong University, and one of the BYU teachers from Peking University gave a speech for their university. We found it rather interesting that of all we had there, they were the two that they wanted to have speak.
|David speaking at the end of the tour, thanking them for the opportunity to come.|
Our last tour stop of the day was the Kite Museum of Weifang. It was interesting to see all the kites they had there. Kites are an invention of China. Kites have been used in wars as well as in peace. It was a pleasurable pastime that didn't cost much to build, so it could be enjoyed by poor and rich alike.
|Kites are a family activity, as this sculpture depicts.|
|These are dragon kites. They are long with the big head.|
|Some old traditional kites.|
Before we headed back to Jinan, they bought some bananas, boxed milk, and a baked fruit bread for our supper to eat on the way back. We arrived in Jinan about 8 p.m. Bucket list item checked!