Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GuoNian KuaiLe!!

Chinese new year was this past week as I'm sure you're all aware. Let me tell you it was OUT OF THIS WORLD!! this past week was soooo sick. I'm also sooo sick of eating. where does all this food come from? Guess thats just how Chinese New Year is..

the sacrificial altar at its finest

We went to one of our members' houses this week for lunch, and she invited over her two older sisters who are both i think Presbyterian?? (whatever zhanglao jiao is... not sure on the english anymore unfortunately) But one of them was a very special spirit :-) as we were getting to know her, one of the sisters asked her what her hobbies were and her reply was as follows: "Oh I love to read books, believe Jesus, and play basketball and I'm very good at it! What do you like to do?" hahahaha now when people ask me to introduce myself I'll be sure to throw in there that I love to "believe Jesus" as well. so cute.

This week was one of the most culturally rich weeks I have ever experienced. Also one of the most beautiful. I will never forget these experiences. Nothing is like a mission.

This past Sunday we were headed out to the other side of ZhongLi that I am very unfamiliar with so it happened that we ended up arriving about 15 minutes early to our dinner appointment. 

We turned off the super busy and loud street onto a smaller alley where our Ward Mission Leader lives and parked our bikes in front of his house. There was a farm next door and since we didn't know what to do with our next 15 minutes, we decided to go take a short walk to see what was over there. 

We walked down a bamboo lined alley through the super thick fog that has been hanging over ZhongLi this past weekend. We came to the small house with a bunch of lively people standing out front and asked the man of the house who was a little high on the beetle nut he was chewing if we could go take a walk through his farm. Tells us yes so we start walking to his backyard past an open door where there's 3 or 4 people inside singing the most tone deaf karaoke I've ever heard and into the fields of vegies. 

Cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, turnips, carrots, green onions, sweet potatoes, guava, broccoli, to name a few... 

It was actually quiet enough out there in the fields that you could hear the birds singing. And the occasional single loud pop of these chinese firecrackers going off about every 1 to 2 minutes.

There was a lite breeze as we walked up to a woman out there working the ground and called out to her, scaring her to death that we were two white people who spoke chinese haha. She asks if we are Christian, we say yes, and she walks off muttering something to the effect that Christianity is nonsense and she believes in Buddha. 

We finish up looking around and head back to get out and pass by the high guy again and he tells us its too cold to wear short sleeve shirts. My comp tells him he's crazy, its super hot outside side. (hot in chinese sounds kind of like "ruh!") but this guy laughs and says "ruh!" back but ROLLED HIS R!! That is the first time I have EVER met a Chinese person that can roll their R's. Maybe the beetle nut (similar effects to marijuana) gave him that ability, not totally sure...

farmlands of Taiwan

i love this man. he is our Ward Mission Leader and he has influenced my life so much

Then yesterday, (monday) we get done with studies, and head outside into the SUPER thick fog and super light rain for the last day of Chinese new year. We start heading up the alleys by our house into this super thick cloud of smoke. Nearly every business will put this little fire pit thing outside their store and offer sacrifices to their ancestors by putting a bunch of fruit on a table and then burning this huge box of "money" to their ancestors to have money in the afterlife. Unfortunately that just means lots of extra pollution in the streets for us here.
some intense fog...

We get to the park where we wanted to go contacting and start off into the super light rain. It was a cool sensation. I could feel my hair getting very very heavy but not really wet, like all the rain was collecting on my head and just sitting there. Like every 5 minutes or so there was this really loud noise that sounded much like a dump truck unloading a huge load of gravel or something. Finally I asked my comp what that was all about. They buy this huge box of a super long line of firecrackers that when they are done offering sacrifices, they will light off and the point i guess is to scare away all of the evil spirits from their businesses for the year.. Really it was just scaring me haha. Outside was completely silent except for these sudden and random bursts of an array of noise.

the "dump trucks" dropping off their load hahaha.  these are SO loud!!

After living this past week. I learned a bunch about Chinese culture and why they are the way they are. I can see why they are superstitious as well too now, the fog here really is super spooky in a way.

I am well taken care of. Sorry for such a long email. Hopefully this helped you see a bit better of how Chinese New Year is the real way.

Love you all. Keep it all up!!!

our beautiful chapel here in ZhongLi

the crew at the indonesian dance festival

here is my house

check out where I was last Monday :-)

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