We heard the exciting news at breakfast that one of the BYU teaching couples were able to go to the Vietnamese Branch yesterday afternoon. They had just gone around a corner when they saw the Humanitarian Service couple, Elder and Sister Perry, just saying good-bye to someone and they asked if the Bjorkman’s wanted to go along with them. They immediately agreed and wished that there had been time to go get the rest of us and go, but the Perry’s had to leave right then in order to make it on time. They got in a taxi and followed Elder Perry on his scooter to the place where they meet (It was a "follow that scooter" moment). It would have been impossible for any of us to have gone to the park and tried to find our way from there they said. They had a wonderful time at the meeting and were very impressed by the people that were there. The Branch Presidency are all Vietnamese. The majority of the members seemed to be young single men and there was just a wonderful Spirit there at the meeting, they said. Once again, it was one of those chance meetings that brought a wonderful blessing!
We all met in the lobby at 10 a.m. and got on the bus for the ride to the airport. Going through immigration was easy and we had our tickets for our second to the last flight of the last 23 days. The flight landed in Guangzhou and after we went through immigration there, we got our tickets for our flight to Ji’nan.
After landing in Ji’nan, we were met by Mr. Zhang that we had pre-arranged to pick us up from the airport with the Pace’s and made it home by midnight. A very long day and we were so happy that Mr. Zhang drove us right up to the gate of the Foreign Teacher’s Complex so we didn’t have to lug our suitcases halfway across campus on a very cold night. It had snowed and gotten very cold in Ji’nan while we were gone!
We had a hard time sleeping because of how cold the apartment was. We have no control over the heat and I think they decided to turn it down with the majority of the teachers gone during the break. David finally turned on the space heater and then we were warmed up enough to get up and get the day going.
After a short video chat with Caleb, Bethany and Aleeyah, we got our coats on and bundled up for the shopping we needed to do. First we went to the Apple Store and got a new power cord for David’s computer. Then we caught the bus to Carrefour and got some groceries. Eva said she was coming to get us, so we waited for her there and after she took us to lunch, she brought us home.
She was here for the next 3 hours looking at our pictures from the trip and just visiting. We told her of our decision to not come back next year and the reasons why. She understands the reasons, but I know she is sad about it. It is going to be hard to leave her behind!