Sunday, June 24, 2018

Dragon Boat Festival, Movie and Heading Home!

Night lights at DaMing Lake.  One of the bridges.

Dragon Boat Festival was on Monday.  Jinan has some performances, but we couldn’t seem to find information on any of them, and there were no dragon boat races on DaMing Lake.  Kayce, David, and I decided that we wanted to go see some of the museums that we haven’t seen here in Jinan.  Aaron has been to them, and he offered to take us.  We went to see the Shandong Provincial Museum and the Shandong Museum of Art.

We had planned on meeting about 10 a.m., but we got busy talking to our children, who were calling for Father’s Day, so we were late.  When we arrived at Shandong Provincial Museum, the line was way out the door!  We were not looking forward to standing in line, but we did anyway.  We smiled at the children that were near us.   Some were brave enough to come up to us, but most weren’t.  It was a big relief to get inside, because it was hot outside.
Last of the line at the museum.
Our goal, to get into the museum, before we roasted in the heat.
When you get inside, you are greeted by a huge stairway.  The museum was well organized by rooms and age of the artifacts.  We didn’t see the whole thing.  There are five floors with ten to thirteen rooms on each floor.  Some of the exhibits had things that were also on display in the museum that is on our campus, so we kind of hurried through those rooms. 
This was the grand staircase that greeted us when we got into the museum.  It was so cool temperature wise and otherwise.

This is the ceiling above the stairs.

One of the ancient stones.  I don't remember what Aaron told us about this.

This is a HUGE bear!

He almost got David!  ;)

This was a tomb for an important person in ancient China.  Similar to the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, he had horses, chariots, guards and a home to live in, miniature style.

After about an hour or more of exploring, we decided to go get lunch at the local underground RT Mart.  Jinan has several underground markets and if you don’t know how to find your way out, you could be lost for days.  We tried to go to one restaurant, but their waiting list was about a half hour.  We went to a food court area, and Aaron helped Kayce and I order several dishes that we were going to share, while David held a table for us.  We had some interesting dishes, but it was good.
Zina doing her Vanna White imitation to show off the beautiful lacquer panel at the art museum.
After we finished eating, we headed up out of the underground and headed to the art museum that was next door to the provincial museum.  There was no line to get into, not that there weren’t people there, just no line like this morning.  We were mostly looking to find rooms that had more traditional Chinese art in them, but a lot of it was either children’s art or modern art.  After exploring several floors, we were tired enough to head home. 
I don't know if they have painted ALL of the electrical boxes in Jinan yet, but they are everywhere!  I love it!
Tuesday was back to final exams with our students.  It is great to see the progress a lot of them have made, but also, how far some still have to go.  You can tell by the way that we test them, if they have just memorized a speech for the first question, or if they really knew what they were saying.  Follow-up questions are so telling.  In the afternoon, we were able to start printing out grade sheets for them and getting ready to turn them in at the end of the week.

Wednesday, I met with Dr. Tricia.  She was planning to give a speech to her department at 11 a.m. that day.  She wanted me there for moral support.  She had an incident when she was ten years old that makes it difficult to speak in front of others.  She was a good reader in her elementary years.  She didn’t go to kindergarten like most students, so she was a little behind her peers when she started school.  She soon learned to love school and was a top student.  The teacher asked her to be the reader to the class because she was so good at reading the Chinese characters.

One day, she was reading along, and she came to the character for sun.  She stopped, tried to say it, looked at it again, tried to say it, but could not get passed that character.  It rather traumatized her and made it so that she couldn’t give speeches or read in front of the class again.  She did find that if she gave a speech in English, then she could do it.  She taught English to university students for ten years after she because a doctor.  She loves the English language and is always trying to improve her language skills.  She did a great job when she gave the speech.

After the speech, we were able to have a quiet lunch together, eating the special DeZhou chicken that she has tried to get for the last few weeks when we have had lunch together.  After lunch, I went to my Chinese painting class.   When that class was over, I sent them all a message on the WeChat group that we were a part of.  Even though we had a language barrier, we are able to get past it and had fun showing each other pictures.  I showed my seat mate how to use the translation part of WeChat so that we can communicate through it. 

Thursday was just more finals.  David had a student who invited him to learn to play ping pong, so he met him in the afternoon and had a fun time playing.  They were able to get up to 60 volleys and only missed one volley in that 60.  There was a lot of practice before that, but David had fun being coached.
My pictures of the light show at the lake weren't very good because we were so far away from it, but another brightly lit bridge will take its place.
We wanted to go see a special light show that the city puts on each Tuesday and Thursday, but you must have tickets for it.  Eva tried to get tickets, but they are usually gone within a few minutes of the time that they open the online tickets site so, no tickets.  There are places on the lake that you can see part of the show, so we decided to go to DaMing Lake and see if we could get to a spot to see it.  Eva was in a meeting that went late, but Dani, a girl who was a student of Eva’s and had helped us earlier in the year, met us and walked us to where we would be able to see part of the show.  She stayed with us and then, because it was getting late, got a taxi and came back with us to campus.

I finished my exams on Friday morning while David stayed home and printed off all the grades he had and most of mine.  We must email them to the department and hand them a paper copy.  We went to lunch with Eva at the canteen and finished putting my grades together when we got back from lunch.

Kayce, Aaron, Marilyn, Sophia, her husband, a girl named Ming, and Patty were all going to see the new “Incredibles 2” movie Friday evening, so we decided to tag along with them.  We met at a shopping center close to where the theater was and had dinner at a Korean style restaurant.  The Korean really didn’t seem that much different than most Chinese food, but it was good.  We had extra time after we finished the meal, so we walked around the area.  David wanted to get ice cream, and I wanted to eat one of the cheese pie tarts that you can get there, so we did.  Last time until we come back. 

While we were waiting for the rest of our group to get there, we were being told some fun stories.  Patty got this picture of us.  I love the look on David's face.  
Our Korean style dinner.  The restaurant people seemed a little overwhelmed when we walked in with nine people.  I noticed one employee take a picture of us without asking us.  Then we asked her to take this picture. 

From left to right, Marilyn (she is a lawyer who comes to Chins to teach for one semester each year and she was a perfect addition to our fun group), Ming, Sophia, and Sophia's husband.

The other half of our group from the left, David, Kayce, Patty, and Aaron.

The movie was fun, a little more intense than we like, but still fun.   Then we all had to find our way out of the maze of the mall and go to our respective bus stops to get home.

Saturday morning, David and I wanted to go back to the cultural market to pick up a few more trinkets to take home, so we got on the bus and rode there.  We quickly found what we wanted and then wandered the rest of the market for a little while.  We didn’t see much else that we were interested in (at least that we were willing to pay their prices for), so we fought our way through the crowd, so we could buy some special peanuts that we have grown very fond of.  When we got back to our area, we went to the technology market to buy some printer ink, stopped at the pharmacy to get some very effective cough lozenges, and tried to get US money from our bank accounts before we go home.  Everything went well except the money from our bank account. 

Sunday was a day of good-byes to some people at church.  Lily came to lunch with us at the Hanlin after church and brought along Frank (from Shandong Airlines) and Fanly, his girlfriend.  It was a nice visit and Lily was able to meet the others of our group – more BYU China Teachers for her to know.  David had an Elder's Presidency meeting at 3 p.m., so we had to leave at 2 p.m. to get home in time. 
Lily with David and Zina.
David had a message earlier today from a Chinese man named Jack.  We had met him last November at our Thanksgiving dinner one Sunday.  He had met previous BYU China teachers and he knew that we would be having a Thanksgiving dinner that day.   He had spent a few years in the US and loved to come and be a part of the traditional meal.  Jack wanted to meet with us tonight.  We weren’t sure what he wanted.  David had helped proof an advertisement for him last January. 

When Jack arrived, he had his wife (didn’t tell us her name) and daughter, Paula, with him.  He was bringing us a gift for helping with the advertisement.  He brought two sheets of calligraphy that he had written himself.  It is an art form here that they study.  We visited for about a half hour and then they left. 
This calligraphy from Jack was a poem by a famous poet and calligrapher.  I recognize one character on there, the one for water.

This calligraphy was also from Jack.  He said that it meant something like "Grow and Prosper."  I should have written his exact words down.

We leave for home on Tuesday, we are ready for a break.  The excitement of seeing and being with our family again has made us very “trunky” this week.  We can hardly wait.  The blog will continue in September when we come back for another year of teaching, socializing and growing here in China.
As we walk hand-in-hand all over China, people exclaim what love we must have for each other.  We do have a lot of love for each other.  We grow more and more together as we go through all these experiences, some good, some not so good, and some that are really hard.  We won't let cancer beat us, we will be strong and keep on trying to do what God wants us to do, spread love to others in the world.  Couples rarely used to hold hands in China, but we are starting to see more and more people walking hand-in-hand.  Sweet love story.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Final Exams, Engineers, Shopping, Gifts, Shopping, Tests

 Monday was a busy day for David and me.  This was our last Monday class, and we finished up finals exams for them.  David had a really crazy schedule because he had a bunch of students that had to cancel the time that was originally set up for their finals, so he scheduled them for later Monday.  He also had some students that needed to make up for their individual presentations because their journalism teacher scheduled a special speaker for their presentation time, and they had to attend that instead of English class.  It was rather frustrating for David.  He came home for lunch and then had to go back to his classroom to finish things up.

I went to the hospital for Sister J’s appointment.  Things were not much better than the week before, so they had to increase her medications, and then they talked about when to have her come back for another appointment.  The next time will be after I am back in the US, so we will see what happens then. 

David had the engineers class in the evening.  This group seemed to have a little better skill in speaking English than the last two classes that he had, and it made it a lot more fun for him to be a part of it.  It kept him busy, but he felt like his time was worth it.
David's engineers class.

This is the "Fruits and Vegetables" PPT that we developed to help them improve their speed in recognizing words as well as learn vocabulary.  It is a game played in teams.  All our classes have loved playing this game!

David is helping some of the engineers to know how to take the orders of the other students in a restaurant activity that we do.  Some of the engineers wanted David to sign their textbooks on the last night of the class.

Tuesday was a full morning of finals.  What I like best about the oral final exam interview is to experience the growth that they made.  There were still those that struggled almost as much as at the first of the semester, but for the majority, we can tell there has been improvement.  As with anything, practice will pay off.

After lunch, we headed to the grocery store for our last shopping trip.  We only had a few things to get, yogurt being one of them.  We stopped by the refrigerated dairy section to pick up the yogurt.  One of the workers there was trying to tell me about the special they had going on for the yogurt.  If I scanned the QR code for the brand (it’s a brand that we like) then the store would give five yuan off if we bought four of them.  I thought that was a pretty good deal.  Of course, all of this is being done with gestures, a little bit of Chinese, a little bit of English and a lot of laughter!
The grocery store ladies that were trying to help me understand and then get the QR code to save 5 RMB.  

I had wanted to go back to one of the markets for some specific items that I had seen there.  I had tried to go with Eva last Friday afternoon, but our trip to the police station for our new residency permits took precedence.  I asked Kayce if she wanted to go, because I wasn’t sure that Eva would be able to go if she had meetings, and I didn’t want to put if off again and not be able to go.  The Chinese like to schedule their departmental meetings on the spur of the moment it seems.

Kayce and I had a fun time at the market and found the items that I wanted.  She was even able to find the last item that she wanted to get, so we were happy.  We made it back to my campus just in time to dump my stuff at our apartment, get David, and head over to the canteen for lunch with Eva.  After lunch, Kayce and I headed to the bus stop, so that she could go back to her apartment, and I could go to my painting class.

David doesn’t have classes on Friday, but I do, so he usually heads out to do different errands.  This Friday, he was off to find the lady on the street that does sewing repairs, so he could get his sandals fixed, buy some bread, and check in on the bank account.  My 8 a.m. Friday class has been a small class of twelve students that are all art and music majors.  Because it is such a small class, I had been able to do things with them that were not possible with my larger classes.  We developed a strong bond. 
My Friday 8 a.m. class.  From the left: Kevin, Eric, Lyric, Sophia Jiang, Isabella, Zoe, Grace, Zina, Hayden, Sophia, Tracy, Blake, and Dominic.

Friday morning, they all came in at about the same time and I’m sure they listened in closely to each other interviews.  As each one came up, they each had a gift for me.  Some were small and some large, but it was so thoughtful of them!  I have had certain students give me gifts, but not the whole class before.  It was very touching.  Here’s the part where David comes in… I needed help to get all the gifts back to the apartment! 
Beautiful and delightfully smelling bouquet from Hayden.

Hand painted fans from Eric and Blake.  The dragon's head was made by Eric.

Dominic drew this from my photo on my professor WeChat account.

Tracy is from Weifang, home of the International Kite Festival.  She brought me this beautiful display box for me.

Book mark from Isabella, wooden comb from Sophia Jiang, key chains from Zoe.  Grace gave me a bottle of drinkable yogurt, a brand that is really good.  Sophia gave me two packages of zhongza, a special food to celebrate dragon boat festival.  

We had lunch with Eva at the canteen.  We waited there for another teacher that was going to help us get some boxes of things sent off to the US.  Ms. Yu came to our apartment after we were finished eating and helped us take things down to the shipping store.  At first, we were going to have the company come to our apartment to help pack things, but we decided to save a little money and just take things to the store.  Between Miss Yu and Eva, we were able to get it all taken care of. 

Saturday, Eva wanted to take us shopping again.  She wanted to show us where an outlet shopping mall was in the north part of Jinan.  We rode the bus to a stop near her home that would take us to the mall.  It was almost a 45-minute ride, thank goodness we were on an air-conditioned bus. 
We had a fun time shopping and talking with people.  It is rather fun to have those that know a little bit of English want to talk with us.  Eva helped me bargain and get the best prices. 

When it was lunch time, we went to a local buffet restaurant.  When we walked in, every eye in the room was honed in on us.  There were very few tables open, but one was just being cleaned off.  The employees told Eva to take us to get our food.  After we got our food, we started to look for a table.  One employee ran over to Eva and told her there was a table that had been saved for us!  After the employee had finished cleaning the table, he sat there and kept it open for us to use!  It was good food, too.
I have been trying to capture this picture ever since we were here four year ago!  This is a family van, Chinese style.  Two kids and the parents on a scooter!

This bathroom takes a lot of courage for us Americans to want to use.  Little to no privacy.  At least there was a separate men's and a women's.  

David and I had been invited to a movie night at Kayce’s apartment to watch, “Mom’s Night Out.”  Aaron and Deneice were there also.  It was a fun movie, and we had a great time.  It is hard to think of being in Jinan again next year without Kayce there.  She is a fun person, and we will miss her.  I’m sure we will be seeing her when we are all back in the States!
The last two weekends, there have been some big national tests conducted on our campus.  These are the parents waiting outside one of the classroom buildings for their students that are inside. The tests are a big deal because they will determine what, if any, college you attend, and what major you may take.

It was interesting to see all these parents standing around to support their kids taking the tests.  While we don't agree with how much pressure is put on the children to take these tests, it was interesting to see the parents supporting their kids.   In America, we will support our kids in all their sporting and extra curricular activities, but do we really support them this  much in their education?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Last Week of Classes, Engineers Class

After my classes on Monday, I went to the hospital to see what the latest tests showed for Sister J and to get them checked out of the hospital.  I was coming down with a cold and wished that I could have taken a nap instead, but I was needed, so I went.  Sister J and H were getting anxious to get home, and there was a time crunch for them to catch the last bus out of Jinan for their town.

The tests showed that her infections were clearing up, but she still needed more antibiotic, and her blood pressure was still too high.  The doctors sent her home with an antibiotic and the medicine for hypertension, with instructions for her to come back in a week so they could check her and see if the medicines were the right dose.

After they left for the bus station, I still had to get them checked out of the hospital and get the money back that had been paid toward their bill that was left over.  In the Chinese health care system, you pay money before hand and then get treatment. After you are released, you go get the rest of your money that wasn’t used back.  When I finished with that, I went back up to Dr. Tricia's office, and we visited for about a half hour before she had to leave for an appointment with a patient. 

All through Jinan, we have seen people painting these electrical power boxes.  It really adds a nice touch to something so industrial looking.  Most are scenes of trees and flowers.  I wish I had a picture of the one I saw today with lotus leaves, blossoms and gold fish.  Maybe next week.

All this week, David has been holding English Corner in the canteen from four to five p.m. each day.  Some of the students wanted to get extra practice in before the finals that are coming up next week.  He had a pretty good turn-out of students each day. I stopped in after my painting class on Wednesday, and one of the students there looked very familiar.  He stood and asked if I remembered him.  I said he was familiar, but that I didn't remember his name.  He told me his name was Stone, one of my students from last semester.  Stone wants to go study in the US and needs to practice, so he can take the IELTS test.   One of his roommates has David for a teacher, and so he came along with him for the practice.  It was nice to see Stone again.  I think he is a promising young man.

Dr. Tricia had invited me to come have lunch with her on Wednesday.  The last few Wednesday's, we have tried to have a private lunch, but she has had "working" lunches that have come up each time.  That doesn't give us much time to talk.  She didn't think she would have one this Wednesday, so she had ordered a special Dezhou chicken for our lunch.  Just as we were getting ready to leave her clinic office to go have lunch, her intern called to say that there was another "working" lunch today.  Dr. Tricia had already ordered the chicken, and it was brought to the lunchroom, but the lunch had been provided by the pharmaceutical company. She asked if my painting classroom had air conditioning.  I told her it didn’t, but she sent the chicken home with me anyway.  She didn’t want to believe that my painting classroom was not air conditioned, so she sent the chicken home with me convinced that it would stay good until I got home.

After riding the hot bus (it was almost 100 degrees F), sitting in the classroom for two hours, riding the hot bus home for 45 minutes, I was very leery about even trying to eat the chicken, so after we ate dinner in the canteen, the chicken came out of my bag, and was dumped into the garbage with the leftovers.  I'm sure that the Dezhou chicken is very tasty, but I wasn't going to risk adding food poisoning to the list of my experiences here in China.
We walked by this tree and just had to stop for some pictures!

Wish we knew what it was called.  Very pretty!

Friday afternoon, I had planned to go shopping with Eva.  There were some special gifts that I wanted to bring back from China, and I needed a Chinese speaker's help to get what I wanted.  While we were eating lunch together in the canteen, David got a text from Kang Ming, the head of the International Relations Office.  She said that we had to take our documents over to the police station this afternoon so that we could get our passports back in time to go home on the date we have our plane tickets for.  It wasn't what we wanted to do, but Eva drove us there, instead of the market that we had planned to go to, and we got the documents turned in.  Now we will have everything back by the day that we plan to go home.  It takes ten working days to get the documents back. 

David is busy teaching the engineers that are going to a foreign country again.  He started on Saturday morning.  The owner of the company, and the main guy in Jinan, Tony, invited both of us to lunch that afternoon.  The lunch is made up of about twenty different dishes, starting with very expensive sea cucumber soup! I tried, but after watching a video that our daughter, Rachel, had posted on Facebook earlier that day, I just could not even TRY to put it in my mouth!!  I have tasted it before, it’s okay, but that video really made it very unappealing!

At the lunch, there was the big boss, the area boss (Tony) another boss of some sort (I think he was introduced as the HR director), the young woman, Jasmine, who was interpreting that day, David, and I.  When the wine was being poured, David and I turned it down, and Jasmine tried to turn it down, but the bosses insisted that she have some. She confided in me that she doesn’t care for wine and would have liked to have some orange juice like we had.  When the toasts started, Jasmine sipped on her wine to complete the toast.  The bosses didn’t seem to like it, so they told her to make a toast and then she had to drink what was left in her glass down.  I know she felt like her job and future in interpreting was on the line, so she did. 
Fruits from our lunch on Saturday.  The watermelon, I'm sure, is very familiar to you.  There are some cherries in the back by the watermelon.  The lighter red fruit it lychee.  You peal it and eat the white center.  It has one semi large pit inside.  The darker fruit was one that I had never seen before.  It is called "yangmei," or bayberry.  I have had it in fruit drinks that I have ordered, but never eaten just the fruit before.

The inside of the yangmei (bayberry).  It is a little tart and dry to the taste, but it was good.  Also has a pit about the same size as the lychee.

Her glass was refilled halfway one more time, and with a few more toasts, it was empty again.  The wine seemed to affect her quite quickly, her actions changed some.  The man who was the HR director, seemed to notice.  After the first small glass of his wine, I noticed that he filled his wine glass with the tea and kept refilling it.  It was like he didn’t want them to even think that he was open to drinking anymore wine.   David’s orange juice was gone, so the HR director quietly went over to the server waiting on us and had her refill our glasses with orange juice and told her also to fill Jasmine’s glass with orange juice.  Personally, I was rather peeved that so much pressure had been put on Jasmine to drink the wine, but pleased that she didn’t have to have anymore, thanks to the actions of the HR director.

We had a fun lunch after Church today.  Marylin, a teacher from Maryland that lives next door to the Kinghorn’s, has been joining us for lunch these last few weeks.  She is a fun, delightful, and perky person.  She invited two Chinese people that she works with to join us for lunch today, Jason and Daisy. We had a great time getting to know them.  Jason spent a lot of time talking with David about education and politics.  Patty was also there.  Patty has been there many times, but lately, she has been too busy, because she was getting everything finished to graduate with her master’s degree.  She is finished now and has the time to join us again.  We all had silly pictures taken of us, and then she put on her graduation gown, and had more pictures taken.   
Patty in her graduation gown and hat.

Patty with David and I.  She decided that I needed a Chinese name today.  It is Pei Ying.  The Ying has to do with a kind, gentle person who is intelligent and smart.  The Pei is a Chinese surname that sounds closest to my maiden name.

Our group with Patty.  From the back L-R, Aaron, Kayce, Zina, David, Sue.
Seated on the couch, Marilyn, John, Parry, Deneice and Bonnie.  We all feel like family!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Hospital for Sister J, Former Students, Eating

We pass by this every time we leave our friends at the Hanlin Hotel to go home.  I snapped a picture of it today.  I knew it didn't look right, but never really paid a lot of attention to it until today. 

Monday morning started out with a lot of stress for me.  We had things set up for the Sister J from Lithuania to come into Jinan for some tests at the hospital, so that we could find out what problems she still had after the birth and death of her baby.  She had been dealing with problems from the preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, and her husband’s family had no more money to spend on getting her the medical help she needed.  We set up through the Church to get her some help.

I had been emailing back and forth with her, WeChat-ing back and forth with her husband and one minute it was yes, we are coming on Monday, and the next it was no, we aren’t.  I had someone from the branch, who speaks Chinese, call him, and explain how the help from the Church would work.  It is hard to admit that you need help, but he loves her, and wants what is best for her in the end.

As time went on, and I hadn’t heard anything from them, I gave up, with my heart breaking, and was in the process of letting some of the key people know that they weren’t coming.  Just as I was about to send the message out to the second person, I get an excited call from Kayce to say that they called her and wanted to know which bus to take to get to her.  We also had Aaron, who speaks Chinese, ready to help, and they were able to get it all figured out.  I hurriedly told all the others that they were here, and that I would see them this afternoon, when I had finished classes and grabbed some lunch.

After lunch, David and I were getting ready to leave, when I felt a strong need for a Priesthood blessing.  I was nervous and pretty keyed up.  So was David.  That blessing calmed both of us down, and I know it helped everything go smoother, and in the way that it should.

After we arrived at Kayce’s apartment, we had a few minutes to visit with them.  Sister J gave me a big hug.  I know she was nervous.  We walked over to the hospital together at 2 p.m. and met at Dr. Tricia’s office.  Our first objective was to get the records from the other two hospitals.  Dr. Tricia explained everything to Sister J’s husband, H, and sent him off to the two hospitals to get the records. 

We waited in Dr. Tricia’s office for quite some time.  At about 4:30 p.m., we got a phone call from H that the printer at the first hospital was down, and it would take about a half hour to repair it.  That meant that he would not be able to get to the other hospital in time to get the records before the office closed.  As it turned out, it really didn’t make a difference if we had the records Monday or Tuesday, the doctor that she needed to see first, was not going to be available until Wednesday. 

The decision was made to take Sister J and H to a hotel for the two nights before she could be admitted to the hospital for the tests.  The Hanlin Hotel is really close, but it is rather expensive.  Dr. Tricia knew of another hotel that was close to the hospital and would cost less, so we decided to go there.  After the walk there, we found out that the hotel could not take someone with a foreign passport.  Rules are set up for those that can take them and those that can’t.  With no other option that presented itself right away, we decided that the Hanlin was the best option, even with the cost, because of how close to the hospital it was.  After getting them settled in for the night, David and I went home exhausted.

Sister J and H spent the next day seeing the sights of Jinan.  We decided to have a dinner with the rest of the Jinan group that could on Tuesday, so they could get to know Sister J and H.  Sister J doesn’t care for much of the traditional Chinese food, so having some American style food made her really happy.  It was a fun evening.

Wednesday is my day off of classes, so I arrived at the hospital at 8 a.m. to be with Sister J and H.  We met at Dr. Tricia’s office, and from there, we were taken down to the nephrology department to start a tour of discovery to find out Sister J’s problems.  She was admitted to the hospital, but there were no beds that were in the rooms available, so she had to have a bed that was just out in the hall.  I felt really bad for her, but there was nothing to do for it.  It is the Chinese way “because they have a lot of people.”  Needless to say, she didn’t get a lot of sleep there, and she has to ask to use one of the bathrooms in the rooms.

After we got them settled, and they started on the tests, Dr. Tricia and I left to go to her office and visit.  She found out that she had a “working” lunch with some of the others in her department, so we had lunch in the big conference room with them.  After the others finished their lunch, Dr. Tricia and I had a chance to visit.  We talked until it was time for me to leave and go to my Chinese painting class. 

Thursday, I went to the hospital in the afternoon to hear the results of some of the tests.  Since I knew how to communicate with Sister J best, I sat in while they explained everything to Dr. Tricia, and then she would explain them to me.  I wrote everything down in the notes on my phone, so I could show that to Sister J.  She understands English better when she can read it, rather than hear it.  I have learned so much about the HELLP syndrome and the havoc that it can wreak on a woman, that it makes me scared for those who get it.  It has been fatal in a little more than 20% of the cases, from what I have read.  Sister J is lucky in that respect.  It did some damage to her liver, but according to the results compared to the records from before, her liver is healing itself! 

Some of her other problems are starting to clear, but some will take longer.  In the meantime, Friday we had Sister J and H to our place for supper and talked for a while.  Sister J started yawning pretty good, so they decided to go home.  On Saturday evening, we got together with Aaron, his Chinese friend, Patty, Deneice, Sister J, and H, so that we could go eat at a pizza buffet restaurant.  Sister J loves pizza and there are no pizza places in their city.  It was really good-tasting pizza, and we all had a great time enjoying the food and the company.  It was better than some pizzas in the US!! 
Big Pizza Buffet!  Good food!  They did charge us a 20 RMB cover fee.  If you didn't destroy the place, you got it back when you left.  I assumed they had some wild parties there in the past.

Sister J and H came to have Church with us Sunday.  She was so excited to be able to partake of the Sacrament and then just be with us.  You could see the joy on her face.  This week in Jinan has been a great benefit to her and her husband in so many ways.  We have had fun getting to know them, too. 
Part of our Sunday dinner.  I made the pies.

The other part.  We had tacos today!  They were able to find tortillas in one of the stores!

One funny little story, when we came Tuesday to eat with the others at the Kinghorn’s room, I noticed that Sister J was wearing some very pretty earrings.  I exclaimed how pretty they were, and H started laughing and getting embarrassed.  He was so pleased that I had noticed this gift he had bought her that day.  We went up to Kayce’s room because we were a little early to go to the Kinghorn’s, and Kayce noticed them also.  Once again, H was just so pleased that someone had noticed and was very happy about.  Same thing happened when we went to the Kinghorn’s.  I loved his reaction to how we noticed those pretty earrings.

I was contacted by one of my former students from four years ago on Wednesday.  Faith has been so very busy with classes and her internship at the hospital, that we hadn’t had time to meet this whole year.  She is finally finished with her exams and has some free time from the hospital, so she contacted me.  We had planned to meet Thursday evening for dinner, but my business at the hospital took a lot longer than I thought it would, so we changed it to Friday at lunch. 

Faith and I.  She was a monitor (like class president) for her class.  
We met at the clock tower and I was astounded by how mature and beautiful she looked!  She had also brought another student from that class, named Zoe.  Zoe had slimmed down from four years ago, but didn’t grow any taller.  We had a nice lunch and then went outside to have pictures taken.
Just as we were finishing the pictures and saying good-bye, along comes another student from that same class!  Prince (his English name because he wanted to be someone that was noble), had just come over to the campus to relive memories from the first year and had in my class.  We had to take more pictures and catch up on what was going on with him. 

David, Zina, Faith and Zoe.
Prince and Zina. 

This is Zoe and Zina from four years ago.
Zoe plans to go into pediatrics.  She loves children, she says, and wants to be able to help them.  Prince will go into urology, so we talked to him about David’s cancer and some of the things he had been through these last few years.  They will all stay in Jinan at Shandong University and learn their specialties here.  Faith is the only one from their class who will be leaving the group.  She has been accepted at a prestigious university in Beijing to enter an internal medicine program, specializing in cardo-vascular.  I am so proud of all three of these students.  They have worked hard and will be a great asset to their country!